UFC 73 Blow by Blow

NEIL SPRINGER -- SLAM! Sports

, Last Updated: 1:55 PM ET

(The Huntington Beach Bad Boy) Tito Ortiz returns to the octagon to settle his feud with Ultimate Fighter 2 winner (Sugar) Rashad Evans.
 
Can Ortiz stop the undefeated Evans dead in his tracks or will the upsets continue?
 
Also, both Sean Sherk and Anderson Silva defend their titles for the first time.
 
Event card and predictions:
 
Alvin Robinson (9-1-0) vs. Kenny Florian (8-3-0)
 
This will no doubt be a submission war as Florian is a BJJ blackbelt and Robinson has won all his matches by tapout. I haven’t seen Robinson fight yet, but I’ve heard good things. In the end, though, I can’t say no to KenFlo.
 
Prediction: Florian by decision
 
Heath Herring (27-12-1) vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (29-4-1)
 
These guys fought twice in PRIDE FC with Nogueira picking up the win both times. Can’t argue with that.
 
Prediction: Nogueria by second round submission.
 
Rashad Evans (15-0-0) vs. Tito Ortiz (16-5-0)
 
This is a tough fight to call. While Evans is undefeated, he’s never fought as big a name as Ortiz. Conversely, Ortiz’ last few performances have been less than spectacular, but he’s still a world-class competitor.
 
Prediction: Since 2007 has been the year of the upsets, I’ll go with Evans by decision
 
Hermes Franca (19-5-0) vs. Sean Sherk (35-2-1)
 
It’s about time Sherk defended that UFC Lightweight title. Both guys are incredibly skilled on the ground, but I would say Franca’s better at the stand up. In the end though, Sherk is just too damn strong and will use his wrestling skills to control the fight.
 
Prediction: Sherk by decision.
 
Nate Marquardt (28-6-1) vs. Anderson Silva (18-4-0)
 
If Marquardt can get the fight to the ground, I have no doubt he can win the title. Though Silva’s takedown defense looked weak against Travis (Sorry I Couldn’t Make Weight, Duder) Lutter, he still managed to win the match.
 
Prediction: Tough one, but I’ll go with Silva by second round KO/TKO.
          
There you have it. Join me back here at 10 p.m. EST for live coverage of "UFC 73: Stacked."
 
Blow by Blow
 
Welcome everyone to the UFC 73 Blow by Blow. “Stacked” is a great name for this show – on paper, it looks like one of the best cards the UFC has ever put together.
 
You got the grudge match between Ortiz and Evans, two very competitive looking title fights, a possible mat classic from Florian and Robinson and the debut of Nogueira.
 
Let’s get to the action.
 
(The Texas Crazy Horse) Heath Herring vs. Antonio Rodrigo (Minotauro) Nogueira
 
Round One
 
I have to admit, I dig Herring using the theme song from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." Can't say I'm a fan of the rainbow-coloured hair, though. But watch out! Nogueira outdoes him with "Gimmer Shelter." Nice.
 
They lock up, Nogueira takes him down and gets side control. Herring escapes and they stand up. They exchange shots, with neither getting the advantage, but Nogueira keeps octagon control.
 
The audience is booing, but I have no idea why. News flash for the audience: most fighters don't swing for the fences right away.
 
Nogueira's starting to land his shots and has Herring backing up.
 
Oh my God! Herring rocks him with a kick and Nogueira's down! Herring can't finish and the round expires! Man that was close!
 
Round Two
 
They start off slow here. I can understand why Nogueira is tentative, but Herring should have been on him like Garfield on lasagna. Nogueira gets hims down and takes the back. Herring gets out and they're stuck in the guard.
 
They stand it up and Herring isn't doing anything. He just keeps backing up. Nogueira takes him down and time expires.
 
Round Three
 
We get more of the same stand up and then Nogueira takes him down again. Nogueira gets the back and has a neck crank, but Herring gets out! Nogueira tries a kimura, but Herring is out again.
 
They stand up again and Herring looks gassed. They lock on the fence, but nothing happens. We return to more of the boring stand up and Herring keeps trying the same kick that worked earlier. The round expires and Nogueira should win this.
 
Winner: Antonio Rodrigo (Minotauro) Nogueira by decision. Well, I picked the winner, but not the method and round - I'm 0 for 1.
 
Hermes Franca vs. (Muscle Shark) Sean Sherk
 
Round One
 
Well, the great music streak continues as Franca comes out to "Crazy Train." Wait a minute, I was going to call this the best UFC soundtrack ever until Sherk walks out to generic rock.
 
My buddy Lucas: Well based on music alone, Franca's got the first round.
 
Sherk slams hims, but he's caught in a guillotine! His face is turning red; this could be it! No! he manages to escape! That was close!
 
They're in the guard, but Sherk passes and gets the mount. Sherk is trying an arm triangle, but Franca escapes and Sherk now has side control. They get stuck back in the guard and Sherk passes again. He's trying the triangle and delivering some shots, but nothing to earn a knockout win. Sherk should take that round.
 
Round Two
 
Franca almost knocks him out with a knee, but Sherk just muscle-sharks him over and they're back in the guard again! Franca explodes and now he's in Sherk's guard! Sherk is all like, "Oh yeah?" and explodes to get back on top. Nice stuff.
 
Sherk gets side control, but Franca turns him over and almost gets a guillotine. Sherk's arm is blocking the choke, though. Franca is starting to look tired and time expires. Sherk is up two round to nothing here.
 
Round Three
 
Sherk takes him down and almost gets a north-south choke, but Franca escapes. Sherk has side control again, but just kind of lays there. Sherk is fighting for his back, but can't quite get it.
 
Franca's up again, but gets taken over. Sherk almost gets an americana, but Franca escapes and the round expires. Three to nothing for Sherk.
 
Round Four
 
Franca lands another knee, but Sherk takes him over again! I'm beginning to sense a pattern. They stand up and Sherk slams the hell out of Franca!
 
Sherk has side control and tries to take the back again. He keeps dominating, but is not able to finish and the round ends. Franca needs to come alive in the next round.
 
Round Five
 
Whoa, deja vu. Sherk slams hims and they're in the guard. Franca's nose is bleeding.
 
Sherk tries getting the back again, but they wind up in the guard. More of the same happens and the round expires. Sherk definitely won this, but it was a pretty boring fight after the second round.
 
Winner: Sean Sherk by unanimous decision and I'm 1 for 2! Thank you Muscle Shark.
 
(Sugar) Rashad Evans vs. (Huntington Beach Bad Boy) Tito Ortiz
 
Round One
 
The audience seems pretty split here. Tito shoots and takes him down, but they're stuck on the fence. The crowd gets a Tito chant going. They stand up and get back to the centre of the cage. Rashad loses his mouthpiece and they restart.
 
There's not a whole lot going on here, so Tito starts delivering leg kicks. He tries to shoot and knees Rashad in the groin. They keep it going though and Rashad cuts Tito with a punch. They stay locked to the fence and the round expires.
 
Round Two
 
Rashad attempts a takedown, but gets nothing. They lock up on the fence and Tito tries working knees in the clinch. Tito shoots in and gets the slam on Rashad. Rashad keeps trying a takedown, but Tito grabs the fence. Come on!  Okay, they're docking Tito a point for holding the fence. Tito almost gets a guillotine choke, but the round ends!
 
Round Three
 
Tito takes him down against the fence again, but doesn't seem to be doing much here. Rashad stand up, but can't shake the onslaught of Tito.
 
Tito's looking tired, but Rashad's running out of time. Tito keeps holding on. Rashad gets the takedown, but the time runs out! The announcers are calling this a draw because of Tito's love of the fence.
 
Winner: No one! That includes the audience. Tito really shot himself in the foot there. If only he didn't grab the fence. Well, I'm 1 for 3 now.
 
Tito on holding the fence: "My instinct was to grab, but they say: if you ain't cheating, you ain't trying." Well if that isn't the best logic ever.
 
Nate (The Great) Marquardt vs. Anderson (The Spider) Silva
 
Round One
 
Silva tries a knee, but Marquardt takes him down. Rogan notes that Silva caught Lutter in a triangle choke from his, but if I remember correctly, all he did was elbow him in the head. Marquardt can't do anything from the guard so they stand up. Silva catches him with a straight left and gets on top. Marquardt has the leg and is trying to take him over, but Silva reverses and start raining bombs! Silva wins!
 
Winner: Silva by TKO. Well, I'm 1 for 4.
 
Alvin (The Kid) Robinson vs. Kenny (KenFlo) Florian
 
Round One
 
They exchange some shots, but get stuck on the fence. Florian takes him down, but gets stuck in Robinson's guard. They stand up and Robinson lands some shots, almost buckling Florian.
 
Florian takes him down and starts working those awesome elbows. He gets side control, but they stand up. Robinson lands a nice knee, but gets taken down again. Florian gets on top, though, and starts throwing the bombs! It's over!
 
Winner: Florian by TKO. That makes me 1 for 5. Florian gets on Sherk's case for not finishing his fights. Can't argue with that.
 
Thanks for joining me for UFC 73, check back August 25 for the UFC 74 Blow by Blow.

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