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UFC 96 Recap: Jackson Earns Title Shot, Carwin Braves Storm To Win

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I'll tell you what, the last two UFC cards have lacked big names but they have delivered.  I was pleasantly surprised by this card by a couple of things.  You had exciting KO's....a devastating headkick from Hamill...a drubbing of Pete Sell by Matt Brown.  Carwin getting hurt pretty bad, then KTFO of Gabriel Gonzaga.  Rashad and Rampage talking smack to one another was CLASSIC.  Plus, we got to see a BUNCH of fights!  Let's get to my thoughts on the fights:

Maynard/Miller-I picked Maynard to win this one and win it he did.  His stand up looked much improved as he picked Miller apart and punished him when the fight did goto the ground.  I wrote about Maynard being a darkhorse months ago, and he's proving me right.  I'd like to see him take on the winner of Guida/Sanchez next.

Hamill/Munoz-I picked Hamill to win and he absolutely killed Munoz.  I told you guys it was a MMA fight and not a wrestling match with the people saying Munoz was a better wrestler.  In fact, he couldn't even take Hamill down.  That headkick was VISCIOUS.  How could you not be a fan of Hamill after that post-fight interview?  That guy is all class for real for real.  I need to see him against Luis Cane next.

Brown/Sell-Wow, I didn't see that one coming.  Brown has really improved since TUF and he ran through Pete Sell.  Sell showed a lot of heart, but that was a terrible ref job by Yves.  I know the ref's have been under criticism as of late for stopping the fights too early, but you can't start to stop the fight then let it continue like that.  Also, it was obvious that Sell was out of it when he kept falling down.  Nice win for Brown. 

Grove/Day-Wow, another quick KO...that was a very crisp 1-2 that put Day down and Grove did a good job of pouncing for the finish.  Grove gets to fight another day!  Very good performance considering the pressure Dana White put on him about being cut if he lost.

Carwin/Gonzaga-Wow, Gonzaga was dominating the fight until he got hit on the button.  The power is impressive from Carwin, but Gonzaga had him on his back, had him rocked and everything.  So he needs to get to work in the gym something serious IMO.  Gonzaga took him down rather easily, but it was probably because he had Carwin hurt a little.  Good win for Carwin.

McCrory/Madigan-The fight went just how I thought it would, except McCrory finished him with the GnP instead of a submission.  McCrory was popping off a little bit about Dana choosing his music.  He better watch that!!!

Jardine/Jackson-First of all, very good fight and I give Jardine a lot of credit.  He was hurt quite a few times and he kept coming.  The announcers pissed me off because they were biased as hell for Jardine.  Everytime he thew a leg kick they mentioned it, but never mentioned Jackson countering many of them with punches that were landing.  I had the fight 30-27 for Jackson.  I thought he did a good job of mixing in takedowns for those calling him one dimensional.  Although, he didn't do much with them admittedly.  Jardine did a good job of getting back to his feet.  Now, we get to see Jackson vs. Evans.  The first time the UFC has two black guys in a title fight.  LOL@ the trash talking between them in the post fight interviews.  Wow...I want to see that fight right now!

Vera/Patt-Vera dominated Patt, just as he was supposed to....now maybe he can get back on track against some top competition.

UFC 96 was much better than I thought it would be.  It's a another case of not judging a card before it happens I suppose.  Very good fights, good finishes, and we got to see a ton of fights.  What more do you want?  How would you rate UFC 96?