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UFC 97 – Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua Live Play By Play

To me, Chuck Liddell vs. Shogun Rua overwhelms the main event. While the UFC would like us to think that Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites is the main event, it’s truly not what’s going to draw the PPV buy rate. While Chuck isn’t the same draw that Brock Lesnar is right now, he’s still one of the top five draws in the company.

1. Steve Cantwell vs. Luiz Cane

Cantwell was the last WEC light heavyweight champion.

It was all stand-up with Cane as the aggressor. Cantwell took a lot of good shots, but stayed active and moved around. He tried to make it hard for Cane to get comfortable. Near the end of the round, Cantwell started to get better shots in.

This was an awesome round. Cane started off nicely again, but Cantwell took over. His counter strikes were quick and he threw a high kick that would’ve knocked out most guys. He had a few flurries that were vicious. It’s 1-1.

It was another fairly close round, but Cantwell took the harder shots and looks the worse for ware. Cane’s defense is better as Cantwell went to the high kick several times, but it was blocked every single time. Great way to open up the show.

Winner: Luis Cane by way of unanimous decision

Two judges gave Cane the second round. I’m not sure about those scores.

2. Cheick Kongo vs. Antoni Hardonk

Get ready for lots of leg kicks.

Congo took Hardonk down late in the round and pounded away. That probably won him the round convincingly. It was fairly even until then, with Congo maybe getting the better shots, but neither guy was hurt.

Hardonk went for a leg kick and went down. Congo jumped on top and worked the ground and pound until the fight was stopped.

Winner: Cheick Kongo by way of 1st round TKO

Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Brian Stann

I hope I don’t have to type out Soszynski too many times.

Soszynski just worked Stann. He took him down and was working the kimura the entire time. You could hear Stann scream when he finally tapped.

Winner: Krzysztof Soszynski by way of 1st round submission

They just showed some footage of the UFC video game. It looks excellent for a first game.

4. Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Rua is smuggling bananas in his trunks.

Shogun is making Chuck the aggressor and that’s not necessarily where Chuck is strong. Rua looks much better than he’s ever looked in the UFC. Liddell looks slow with both his hands and on his feet. Rua is throwing front leg kicks that seem to be bothering him already. Rua took him down and went for a knee bar, but Chuck got out of it. Rua threw a punch and missed, which made him easy prey for a take down, but Liddell let him back up. Rua caught him with a left hand, Liddell went down like a bag of rocks. Rua hit him with some hammer fists and the referee couldn’t stop it fast enough.

Winner: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua by way of 1st round TKO

That was hard to watch.

My dad once told me that watching Muhammad Ali fight Larry Holmes was one of the hardest things he’s had to watch. That might’ve been that same moment for me.

The announcers are playing it up like Chuck is done. Let’s hope so.

5. Sam Strout vs. Matt Wiman

Wiman has a great beard in honor of Evan Tanner tonight.

Wiman is fighting much how you’d expect a crazy bearded man to fight. He’s all over the place and trying to bring the fight. Stout is just the much better striker and you have a feeling that he’s just going to eventually catch him.

Wiman looks tired. Stout dropped him with a body shot and went down to finish him, but Wiman went for an arm bar and that made Stout sit up quickly and they were back on their feet.

This third round is all Wiman. He was able to get the take down and had great position for a rear naked choke, but Stout turned him over. Wiman again got the take down.

The scoring will be interesting here. Wiman was the more active fighter all fight long, but Stout didn’t allow it to become a Wiman fight until the third when he was a bit overwhelmed. Wiman might’ve just won this fight with the third round in the eyes of the judges, but on my scorecard Stout won the first round.

Winner: Sam Stout by way of unanimous decision

Well, I had Stout winning round’s one and two, but my buddy Dan had Wiman winning the first round.

Tatum Channing is being interviewed by Mike Goldberg. Cung Le is also with him. Uh oh. Of course, there’s no mention of Strikeforce. But they did mention Frank Shamrock.

6. Thales Leites vs. Anderson Silva

There was enough action in the first round to fill up a dixie cup. Silva threw a nice hook to the body and dropped him with a leg sweep. Leites was working a take down near the end of the round. Could be a draw round.

Leites probably takes the round with a take down and keeping Silva on his back for half of the round. He didn’t do anything and Silva did get a few shots in from the bottom. Another pretty boring round.

It’s a cat and mouse game. Looks like Silva eye poked him and Leites went down. Rather than let him get up with bad vision, Silva tried to kick at him on the ground. Silva is leg kicking, but that’s about it. He’s completely unconcerned about Leites’ stand-up. Leites is trying to drop to his back at every single opportunity and the crowd is groaning. A, “GSP, GSP, GSP!” chant erupted for a few seconds. Silva started to open up with about 90 seconds left. Leites continues to fall on his back like jiu jitsu is all he has.

Silva tried to take out the front leg after landing at least ten leg kicks that ranged from front kicks to right above the knee, to kicks behind the knee, and even did a step over kick with his back leg. He was also dancing all over the place and toying with Leites. Leites has nothing.

Leites had a great shot as he grabbed Silva’s leg, but Silva stuffed it twice and ended up on top. The amount of disparity in overall MMA skill between the two is alarming. Leites can do nothing on his feet. This is a terrible fight, but part of it is because Leites doesn’t trust that he can do anything on his feet. I don’t really blame Silva because the guy just wants to fall on his back.

Winner: Anderson Silva by way of unanimous decision

Whoever scored that fight 48-47 should get their judging license taken away.

Looks like Stout vs. Wiman was live because the undercard went long. They barely got the entire card on TV. It ended with less than ten minutes to spare.

Rogan is saying that Liddell is done.

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