I wanted to get my thoughts out about this instant classic, simply because I'm finding it difficult to remember a more wall to wall 15 minutes of excitement. One of the best fights I've ever seen.
I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to relish the weekends that do not feature a UFC event. With the barrage of cards we got last month, my head was ready to explode. Hey, its Gegard Mousasi and how about that FOX card and did you SEE Urijah Faber and holy shit Jon Jones is fighting a pointless fight and OH MY GOD LOOK AT HIS TOE! Arggh! It was too much. Let’s all take a moment to breathe.
Are you breathing? Okay, good.
Weekends like the last two are obviously for family, friends, glass blowing, scrapbooking, monster trucking, skeet shooting, auto erotic asphyxia, or whatever else you sickos in the MMA community desire.
For me, almost all of the things I just mentioned took place (I’ll let you speculate which ones), but another addition to my weekend festivities was re-watching my favorite fight of the year so far. This is my third installment in my “A Look Back” series, and it raises a question: Is it dumb to wax poetic about a fight that happened less than 3 months ago? Probably. Look at this article as the modern-day equivalent to one hour photo processing. Let’s go with that.
(Disclaimer: My timestamps will begin when the fight starts in the video, which is … let’s see, 2:30. Also, I'm uncertain as to whether or not I can post a link to a fight video here, so I refer you to my website, which is linked above. Come on, do it just this once)
0:45: Grice has a trip takedown stuffed and winds up mounted. Uh oh. Not a good start for Donald Matthew Grice, who, for my money, has one of the unluckiest UFC careers ever. He got guillotined by Terry Etim (in a fight he was winning handily) and Shannon Gugerty (in a fight where he was fighting Shannon Gugerty). He then ran into a buzzsaw in Ricardo Lamas, who turned out to be pretty damn good. I never thought Grice was a certified badass or anything, but he’s better than his record indicates. Anyway, Bermudez lands a series of hard, clean punches to Grice’s head, which causes Grice to make a face that men only make when they’re getting punched and they can’t stop it. I remember thinking “Geez, Grice has already dug himself a hole. How can he come back from this?” Little did I know.
3:15 : After getting tagged with umpteen left hooks and leg kicks, to the point that you wonder if he just enjoys being hit, Bermudez comes forward and lands several jabs as Grice moves straight back. Still, Grice is scoring, particularly with the left hook when Bermudez retreats.
3:40 : Grice lands a big combo as they separate. Dennis tries to respond with an overhand right that even Leonard Garcia thought was too wild, and is punished for it with a gigantic left hook that you could hear clearly on the broadcast. THWACK! Bermudez falls like a sniper took him out, but pops right back up. That’s one of those shots that Bermudez will truly feel in 40 years when he forgets where he put his bottle of Jose Cuervo and starts swearing at people even though he’s the only person in the room.
5:00 : Another big combo for Grice, who’s shown big improvements in his standup. Polished punches, elbows, and knees. Incredibly, he comes back to win the round on my scorecard even though he took some significant damage. 10-9 Grice.
5:53 : Left hook lands for Grice. You could hear it.
5:59 : Rogan dusts off one of his favorites: “This is the best version of Matt Grice we’ve ever seen inside the octagon.” That’s right, folks … Grice has paid off all of his backed up hospital bills, he’s patched things up with the people he’s hurt, and he’s even ventured down to nursing homes to read James Patterson novels and play canasta with old people. He’s the best version of Matt Grice.
6:50 : For the second time this round, Grice lands a glancing blow to Dennis that inexplicably sends him flying. To quote the underrated Mr. Baseball (Tom Selleck what?!?) “He’s wound so tight you couldn’t get a greased bebe up his butt.” Indeed.
A lull in the action prompts Goldie to launch into one of his prepared stories about Matt Grice, detailing how he was in a bad car accident that sent him flying through the windshield and required 12 surgeries, thus ending his college wrestling career. Rogan calls him on it, asking “What were the injuries to?” Goldie responds with “It went through the, uh, it went through the windshield, alotta head injuries, body was battered up, 12 surgeries.” All that was missing from that response was “Joe, you know damn well I have a piece of paper telling me this shit. Are you trying to fuck with me? ARE YOU?!?”
10:16 : Bermudez finishes the second round cradling Grice in an arm in guillotine, but that’s another one for Grice in my book. He landed the harder, crisper shots, especially those left hooks and right leg kicks. Still no real effort to put one another on their back, which is leading to this striking contest. The good news is, Grice is becoming increasingly more technically sound and fun to watch on his feet. 20-18 Grice.
10:40 : Bermudez comes out with a sense of urgency and cracks Grice with a right uppercut. Grice falls like a ton of bricks, and Bermudez tries to pounce. Several solid punches land big for Bermudez, including the series that prompt Grice to will himself back up to his feet. You can sense the lunacy that is about to happen.
12:08 : Bermudez rocks Grice again with punches and a big knee, eating that patented Grice left hook like he was hungry for it.
12:15 : Grice is rocked again with punches. He’s stumbling around the octagon like Dennis Hopper in Hoosiers.
12:30 : In the last 15 seconds, Grice has been absolutely shitfaced rocked two more times. Holy Jesus. Props to Herb Dean for letting them fight. A lesser ref would have waved it off. Then again, Matt Grice would also have more working brain cells.
12:36 : Grice slumps against the cage like he’s doing a trust fall. The crowd erupts with delight.
13:21 : Another big uppercut rocks Grice. By my count, that’s six separate times that he’s been stanky legged this round. If you don’t believe in 10-7 rounds, watch the 1st round of Edgar-Maynard 2, the 1st round of Velasquez-Rothwell, and this round. Then talk to me. I have no idea what kept Matty Grice on his feet. None. And even though he kept getting plunked, he was firing back the whole time. What the hell is wrong with these people?
13:55 : After yet another series of left hands against the cage, Bermudez switches it up and starts winging more rights. Grice is so rocked that he’s starting to stagger like the late Justin Eilers. Too soon?
(I’m not a good enough writer to describe this. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY BANANAS.)
14:05 : Two more rights land for Bermudez. That’s eight separate times Grice has been staggered this round. Eight! And yeah, I know Bermudez has punched himself out by now, but still, these are all punches that are landing on the chin. Grice has a permanent look like he has a toothache, kind of like how you see certain guys at bars with the permanent whiskey face.
14:49 : Grice lands a left hook. I’m not dead yet! Just a flesh wound!
15:27 : Dennis and Matt spend the final 12 seconds of the fight trading punches. The horn sounds, and the crowd erupts as they embrace. Great moment. I have goosebumps.
That’s a bloody 10-7 round if there ever was one. My scorecard reads 28-27 for Dennis Bermudez.
Here’s where the comedy begins: two judges had it 29-28 for Dennis, and one had it 29-28 for Grice. All three judges scored the third round a 10-9. How does this happen? How do three people that allegedly know things about MMA botch that one so badly? This was a freaking 10-7 round, and not one judge even saw it as a 10-8? I give up.
I wanted to write about this because it really was just a randomly great fight. I don’t think many people had any sort of expectation going in, other than “here’s two UFC roster guys fighting on a random undercard”.
If either of these guys never win another UFC bout again, it doesn’t matter. This one will stand the test of time. I’ll let Dennis Bermudez bring us home …
“We tried to kill each other, and afterward, it’s weird when you meet someone by fighting. You both have common goals. (Afterward), you’re like ‘You’re a good person.’ I know it sounds ironic, but you can really tell alot about a person by their willpower and drive. He’s one of the coolest opponents I ever had.”