Ricardo Almeida defeated Kendall Grove Saturday night at UFC 101 in a battle that was closer than the judges' scorecards might indicate.
As expected, Grove -- who has knockout power and a significant reach advantage -- tried to keep the fight on his feet, while Almeida -- a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt -- tried to take the fight to the ground. Almeida showed off enough of his jiu jitsu ability to win the fight 30-27 on all three judges' cards, but Grove wasn't without his moments.
Grove managed to turn it into a kickboxing match early, and when the fight finally went to the ground with 1:40 to go in the first round, Almeida did only a little bit of damage before Grove got back up. Almeida had one last slam with just seconds to go in the first round, and that slam might have given him the round.
Almeida took Grove down immediately at the start of the second, and Grove, amazingly, almost submitted Almeida with an arm bar. Grove also landed an impressive upper cut in the second, but Almeida mostly controlled the round on the ground. The third was Almeida's best round, as he finally took control on the ground.
The fight turned into a good example of how subjective MMA judging can be. I scored it for Almeida, 29-28, but I wouldn't have argued with a judge who gave it to Grove by the same score. Ultimately, Almeida did enough in all three rounds to convince all three judges that he had won.