Saturday, July 19, 2008 | 9:30 p.m.
There wasn't much time to see if Anderson Silva was in-shape or not. He caught a James Irvin kick attempt a minute into the first round and caught Irvin with a big right.
Irvin tried to cover up on the mat, but was met with nine unanswered blows and the referee put an end to the match
"This was a good experience," Silva said through his translator Ed Soares. "But my responsibility is to defend my title at 185. I just want to be involved in the biggest fights, whether they're at 205 or 185."
Irvin thought his 20-pound weight advantage would pay off. But he never had the chance to find out. The pair exchanged blocked leg kicks before Irvin tried to rush Silva. Instead he was met with a big right hand and an early shower.
"If you stand up and exchange Muay Thai, this is what happens," said Silva, who improved to 7-0 in the UFC.
Boooring — Fight fans at the Palms weren't too excited about the last fight before tonight's main event as Brandon Vera recorded a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27) over Andy Reese as both fighters felt each other out a lot over the three rounds.
“The fight for sure wasn’t the most exciting I've ever had," Vera told the crowd.
Vera said he didn't think dropping down to the light heavyweight division would make him as tired as he felt on Saturday
"I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal until we locked up, but then I was gassed," Vera said.
Unanimous — Lightweight Frankie Edgar recorded a 30-27 (all three judges) decision over Hermes Franca in a fight that went the distance. Despite taking a late knee directly to the face from Franca, Edgar outmaneuvered and outworked the Brazilian fighter.
"I'm ecstatic," said Edgar, who improved to 9-1. "I've got a lot of respect for him and he really hurt me with that knee. Luckily I was able to stay solid and keep going.
Ground and Pound — Cain Velasquez wasted no time in his heavyweight bout with Jake O'Brien. After pinning O'Brien's arms underneath him, Velasquez unleashed a flurry of punches and elbows for what seemed like an eternity. Finally with 2:02 on the clock the match was stopped.
Eye for an Eye — The crowd inside the the Pearl Theater wanted revenge Saturday night, or more accurately a disqualification for Kevin Burns. Instead the Iowa native recorded a victory over Anthony Johnson in their welterweight bout despite a severe poke to the eye that led to the knockout.
Up until late in the third round when Burns tried to hit Johnson with an open palm, instead catching the Georgia native with his finger, the fight was a very competitive bout.
"Totally accidental," said Burns, who said he tries to hit with an open palm after breaking his right hand three times over the last 16 months.
The crowd wasn't buying the story, booing Burns heavily.
But when Spike TV announcer Joe Rogan walked Johnson back through the video replay, Johnson quieted the crowd done: "Everybody stop booing Kevin, give the man his props. This is a fight, things happen.
"But he did get his fingers deep in my eye and I couldn't see anything. I think he hit me with an uppercut.
Rogan, ever the comedian, corrected Johnson: "He missed the uppercut, but he connected cleanly with the fingers."
The ol’ Peruvian Necktie — It's called a Peruvian Necktie (YouTube offers a How To video), and it's not a good thing.
Just ask Jesse Taylor. The fighter who was kicked off The Ultimate Fighter during season 7, looked to be reversing the momentum of his match with C.B. Dollaway after spending much of the first round on his back.
But just as quickly as he got himself to his feet, Taylor found himself forced to tap out as Dollaway locked him up with his legs.
"It's one of my favorite moves and I work on it all the time," said Dollaway (8-2) a middleweight from Mt. Gilead, Ohio. "It opened up so I thought I would go for it.
Not a Good Start — Cale Yarbrough didn't last very long in his first professional fight. "Crazy" Tim Creduer swarmed him, unleashing a flury of blows on him forcing the fight to stop.
"A lot of people think that because I have a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, that I can't use my hands," Creduer said. "Well they better start reconsidering that, because I'm here to bang."
Stone-cold KO — Welterweight Rory Markham had what could easily be the knockout of the night in the second to last bout before the main card.
The Chicago native, who was making his UFC debut took a series of punches from Brodie Farber. But has Farber leaned in to connect again, Markham (16-4) caught him with a foot to the face, knocking him out cold.
Undercard — Lightweight Shannon Gugerty def. Dale Hartt via submission in 3:33 of Round 1. ... Brad Blackburn def. James Giboo via TKO with 2:29 on the clock in Round 2 of their welterweight bout. ... Nate Loughran def. Johnny Rees via submission in a time of 4:21 of Round 1 in a middleweight bout.
Pre-fight — Donald Trump says it’s the next big thing in Mixed Martial Arts.
Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White says it’ll never work with a “T-shirt” guy running the show.
Luckily fight fans will have the final say tonight when the UFC goes head to head with Affliction’s pay-per-view event in Anaheim, Calif.
“For MMA fans this is the biggest night in fighting history,” said James Irvin, who later tonight will take on arguably the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter in Anderson “The Spider” Silva at the Pearl Theater at the Palms.
“I look at the UFC being the NFL. You have NFL football and you have college football and that’s what I consider all of these other organizations.”
Well I’m not sure what’s going on with the other organization that Irvin is referring to right now in Cali, but here at the Palms things are already off and rocking some four hours before the main event.