Rafael Kayanan has bowed in with his comments on Saturday’s Ultimate Dighter live finale, which was all fights all the time. You will find his commentary under the cut, as well as a few notes from The Beat.
Manny Gamburyan Vs. Nathan Diaz
This was sort of an anti-climatic finale for me. I was concerned about Manny’s previous shoulder injuries. He’d had surgeries for both shoulders prior to entering the octagon’s TUF house. It was a short fight with the dislocation coming in on the second round. What does stand out in hindsight was that Manny never had to resort to so much pulling and tension on his right shoulder in any of the previous TUF matches.
If you check out the first round you will see Manny apply a lot of pressure with the same shoulder, whether it be pummeling motions, leverage chess matches with Diaz, escaping arm related submission attempts by Diaz and trying to crank on the guillotine. I also caught a glimpse of Manny having a subtle reaction to a Diaz heel kick when Diaz was on the ground kicking away at Manny. Usually the BJJ guys try to stomp up at the standup opponent. Diaz did this bicycle kick type motion that caused his heel to land at Manny’s shoulder joint. Not enough to cause the injury but enough to shift already fragile muscle structures in an abrupt manner. The kind of freaky occurrence that happens out of training mode when adrenaline is high. In the previous matches Manny used his whole body equally and pulled with both shoulders. This does not lessen Diaz’s efforts. He did what he could against Manny, but I felt that Manny was winning the match purely based on being the aggressor. The TUF series has shown Diaz to improve as the fight wears on, often catching his opponent when they lull themselves into a vulnerable position.
In the second round, Manny’s takedown attempt and subsequent shoulder dislocation was what I felt a culmination of all the previous movements and tension in the fight and possibly even in his training for the fight. Once you dislocate a joint it is much easier to dislocate again. The whole mechanism is just looser. I’ve seen boxers whose fights ended because their shoulders would just pop right out due to previous injuries, same with football players and (baseball) pitchers.
I can’t sign off without a quick mention of the main event. Jens Pulver versus the “Prodigy” BJ Penn.
BJ Penn is a phenomenal grappler. He can pull off moves that most fighters can’t just because he has exceptional agility and flexibility. He also has an aggressive ground game. Jens Pulver was never in the fight as Penn pretty much could have ended the match earlier in my opinion but decided to punish Jen with strikes as he held his body in check. You can see Pulver had studied escapes well, but Penn even passes the guard a little bit differently than other fighters. He seems to climb out of the opponent’s guard while he simultaneously slithers up the side. Most fighters are content with passing the guard and getting side control or getting a high position on top of their opponents. Penn keeps his opponent guessing and only his opponent can feel this awkwardness. There’s a psychological advantage in not having your opponent see where you are. Penn looks like a serpent slithering up a tree.
Penn finally applies a rear naked choke and does it by also pinning one of Pulver’s arms to his side. This means that Pulver could only counter with his right arm as BJ applied the choke. Check out the final seconds as Penn holds the choke a bit longer after Pulver’s tap.
To his credit Pulver was classy in defeat and even stated that he will train with Penn in the future. That’s whole other series right there!
While obviously enthusiasm for all things fight-related have waned in the wake of the Benoit tragedy, I will still say that I enjoyed this finale. The Emerson/Maynard fight looked to be pretty exciting before the bizarro double DQ finish. Manny looked great up until the shoulder popped out — I fear this will kill any career he has, and it’s too bad because he was an exciting fighter. I’m sad that Jens lost, although we all knew he would BJ looked lethal and earned his announced title shot. I hope Jens finds something constructive to do with himself — he is quite an entertaining character.
And so adios from the house, for now.