UFC 131 is bloody but faceless affair

Calgary's Nick Ring drives his elbow into American James Head during their middleweight bout last...

Calgary's Nick Ring drives his elbow into American James Head during their middleweight bout last night at UFC 131.

Steve Buffery, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:16 PM ET

VANCOUVER — Rogers Arena was a sea of blue on Friday night, as in blue Canucks jerseys, and a sea of red on Saturday, as in blood.

Lots of blood, pouring from foreheads and eyes and every other spot on the human skull.

In fact, by the third fight, the UFC 131 Octagon was covered in blood.

And that, in the end, is what saved UFC 131 — that, and the fact that a couple of Canadian fighters, Sam Stout of London, Ont., in particular, came up huge. Hey, mixed martial arts is all about blood and violence, and Saturday’s show at the Rogers Arena delivered it in spades.

What UFC 131 didn’t deliver was big-name talent.

In fact, it was a rare UFC card that seemed to lose its way.

The star of the show was supposed to be MMA heavyweight Brock Lesnar. But he was forced to withdraw after coming down with an illness.

The main event then became a non-title affair featuring two fairly popular heavy-

weights in Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin, but neither is a so-called UFC rock star, like Lesnar or Georges

St. Pierre — who headlined UFC 129 in Toronto two months ago.

Compared to the mega

UFC 129 at Rogers Centre on April 30, UFC 131 seemed minor league. There were no title bouts and no Canadians on the main card. And with the beloved Canucks just one victory away from winning the Stanley Cup, the excitement level for the event in Vancouver was underwhelming. Indeed, a few times during fights, the crowd broke into spontaneous chants of “Go Canucks Go”.

Fortunately for the organizers, the gaggle of Canadian fighters on the card performed spectacularly, namely Stout and Calgary middleweight Nick Ring.

Stout (15-4-1) certainly lived up to his Hands of Stone nickname. Late in the first round, Stout exchanged blows with his lightweight opponent Yves Edwards of Austin, Tex., eating a right hand before nailing Edwards with a vicious left hook that knocked Edwards out before he even hit the ground. Stout knew he had the KO right away, lifting his arms in celebration before the referee officially stopped the fight.

A couple of minutes later, after being attended to by the ringside doctors, Edwards climbed to his feet and mouthed “What happened?”

Ring who ran his pro MMA record to a perfect 12-0 by pummelling American James Head with vicious head strikes and kicks en-route to a third round victory when he put a rear naked choke hold on Head (7-2), an Oklahoman who is sponsored, of course, by a gun store.

Light-heavyweight Krzysztof Soszynski of Winnipeg earned a unanimous victory over American Mike Massenzio.

The Canadians certainly save the day, at least early on, as the card got off to a shaky start, and even UFC president Dana White wasn’t amused.

The first bout featured Japan’s Michihiro Omigawa against American Darren Elkins in a featherweight contest. Omigawa, who had “Pray For Japan” printed on his shorts, in response to the recent Earthquake and nuclear disaster which befell his nation, appeared to dominate late in the fight and opened up an ugly cut on Elkins’ forehead early — resulting in a constant stream of blooding pouring down the American’s face. But in the end, the judges awarded Elkins a unanimous decision, prompting boos from the crowd. Elkins looked apologetic standing in the ring, while Omigawa and his entourage stood by, stunned at the decision, which promoted White to twitter: “WOW. The judges rob another fighter!!! Omigawa won that fight!!!”

The second bout featured two flabby American heavyweights, Aaron Rosa and Joey Beltran. While certainly tough looking dudes, the brawny pair, lamentably, punched like girls, pushing their blows. Their best weapons was a timely knee to the family jewels. Beltran delivered his first, sending Rosa to the canvas in agony, and then the Texan answered with his own knee to Beltran’s jewels.

The crowd, of course, ate it up. The bout was finally stopped after Beltran got Rosa to the ground and rained blows off his head.

And there was more blood for the fans.


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