OK, I admit it. UFC 97 did have a few boring fights.
The worst, hands down, was the debacle between Anderson Silva and Thales Leites. (I find it hard to blame Leites, because he was outclassed by an opponent who clearly didn’t want to engage or push the pace of the fight).
But it really doesn’t matter who was to blame: I’ll just never get those 25 minutes back…
Despite the incredibly lame title fight I was very excited by UFC 97. That’s because this was the first time that I’d personally trained with more than one of the competitors fighting on the same UFC event.
The first fighter was Denis Kang, who I first met at more than 10 years ago. He now trains mostly in Florida and Montreal, but before that we logged a TON of training sessions together. Click here for an early profile of Denis with MMA techniques.
Unlike his first fight in the UFC – which was hampered by a serious ankle injury – in UFC 97 we saw the ‘real’ Denis Kang as he took on and dominated a very dangerous opponent (Xavier Foupa-Pokam).
The second fighter on the card that I was very eagerly watching was T.J. Grant.
I’ve met and trained with T.J a few times when I visited his home town of Halifax, Nova Scotia. To call him an “up and coming fighter” would be to do him a disservice. His opponent was Ryo Chonan, who has defeated MANY high level fighters.
Both my friends put in great performances and I think it’s a real shame that their fights weren’t televised in North America.
And their fights were made all the sweeter by the fact that both of ‘my’ guys won.