UFC 141 Rare Friday Night Fights - Rounding Out the Year 2011
New Year’s weekend sought to conclude the year 2011 in spectacular fashion, with UFC bouts in the welterweight, lightweight, and a clash of titans at heavyweight. The evening wasted little time getting down to business, with a most anticipated battle between welterweights Johnny Hendricks and Jon Fitch.
Johnny “Big Rig” Hendricks unleashed his own personal hammer of Thor on perennial contender Jon Fitch’s (who is arguably the second best welter-weight in the division) chin, felling the master wrestler almost before the fight began. It was a brutal shot, thrown easily without much force, but with loads of the highly-touted power the little Big Rig is known to have. In hindsight, it is easy to surmise that striking would have had to be the deciding in this matchup of two monstrously-talented wrestlers; but few could have predicted it would happen in just over ten seconds, and that Jon Fitch would stumble away with just the second loss in his UFC career.
Genuine dislike – if not outright animosity – fanned the competitive flames between the co-main-event fight between lightweights Nate Diaz and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. It was clear their mutual hatred was not a mere publicity engine, and a genuine scowl of disgust from Diaz, followed by a middle-finger in place of the usual glove-touch between competitors before the sounding bell, re-asserted the fact.
The usually easy-going Cerrone sprung forward, enraged, taking the center of the Octagon with almost reckless abandon; an uncharacteristic tactic from the extremely-skilled and effortless fighter…perhaps Diaz had gotten into his head in the weeks leading up to the fight? It certainly seemed like it, as Diaz relaxed into that brutally-effective “Stockton slap” style of boxing utilized most effectively by him and his older brother, Nick (an impending champion at welter-weight), which is a half-power, technically-precise style of boxing that simply lands relentlessly, tiring opponents out and causing them to stumble in-between punches.
When getting punched like that, you don’t have a chance to breathe normally and on your own terms. Nate Diaz basically went clinical on Cerrone, employing Anderson Silva-like accuracy to land virtually everything he threw; and though the game Cerrone bounced back with a much better showing in the second round, the sheer totality of the unstoppable boxing slaps from Diaz were telling, and wore the Cowboy down in the end, to the tune of a split-decision loss. It was a lesson in both striking accuracy, and psychology.Continued on the next page