I spent much of Saturday night looking silly. Silly when my first three picks went horribly awry, including the crushing of my Maia mancrush (although I DID manage to scratch back to 2-3, even hitting the outcomes of the last two fights. Go, me.) Silly when I walked into a taxi covered in Jack Daniels after some idiot dropped $16 worth of liquor on my jeans at the stool at bar's end.
Mostly, though, I felt silly for writing the other day that I would have much rather seen Randy Couture and Minotauro Nogueira fight in their prime. That's because the battle they put on Saturday night was not just a prime-level encounter; it was maybe the fight of the year.
If Philadelphia had an inferiority complex before, the events of the last month could not have helped. While the UFC's first visit to the City of Brotherly Love yielded a night of pugilistic somnambulism, the UFC's first visit to Portland produced a card that I'd put among the best of 2009. Seriously, have you been to Portland? It's delightful there. It doesn't NEED this, and yet, in spite of ticket sales that were reported to be relatively lackluster, they got a real gem.
You know it's going to be a good night when even the preliminaries deliver something to remember. In this case, it was a UFC-record seven second KO by Todd Duffee over Tim Hague. I heard about that one before I wandered out for the night, so it's always fun to turn to the guy next to you at the bar and start counting backwards from seven when the fight starts. You look like a wizard when you do that.
The trainwreck fans also got their money's worth when Ed Herman's knee exploded against Aaron Simpson. Simpson dominated the fight, though, and I'm pretty sure that Herman had it coming after five solid minutes of "he keeps knocking me down so I keep bicycle kicking."
I must admit, I was a little worried about the card when the first fight televised was a snoozer between Brandon "Wasted Great Nickname" Vera and Sozzy Bear. Vera controlled the action for three rounds, and I have no desire to watch him do it again. It was one of those fights that was a net negative for both careers. Hate to see that.