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The world's premiere combat blender celebrates its 100th (actually, 133rd) show tonight. If you came around a little too late and didn't feel like taking out a second mortgage for $40,000
seats -- or simply didn't want to chance stepping on David Spade -- then you're likely watching from home.
Look on the bright side: Living room attendance usually means less blood, cheaper snacks and a significantly reduced risk of impulse-buying TapouT socks or a Dana White commemorative plate from the souvenir stand.
Epic notes for an epic event to follow.
12:49 a.m. ET -- On the Octagon Girl Cam, Arianny Celeste displays a deep respect for the physical and emotional commitment of the athletes by texting on her cell; Thiago works an anaconda choke, but Fitch is too slick. He'll win a decision at the end of what could be the UFC's most financially successful event. If Lesnar was not pay-per-view's biggest attraction before tonight, he is now.
12:41 a.m. ET -- Fitch works his wrestling. Backstage on the Burger King Cams, Mark DellaGrotte lightly punts Quinton Jackson in the crotch.
12:35 a.m. ET -- Thiago spends the first two and a half minutes attempting a choke. That hissing sound you hear is the air slowly being let out of the event.
12:32 a.m. ET -- Battle of contenders, I suppose. Fitch was involved in that infamous row with UFC over video game likeness rights. Who's guessing no "Ultimate Fitch" specials are forthcoming? Anyone?
12:26 a.m. ET -- Paulo Thiago enters and tries not to look too upset over fighting for a half-empty arena.
12:22 a.m. ET -- "You don't like promoting fights very much," Rogan tells Lesnar. What guy has he been watching?
12:18 a.m. ET -- Mir smiles through the half of his face still recognizable. At 245 pounds, he tries a flying knee, which earns him a lot of crowd love in exchange for a big takedown. Lesnar finishes with some incredibly solid punches. Lesnar has an adrenaline/manic episode, gets in Mir's face, and prompts security to rush into the cage -- to do what, exactly? He caps an excellent evening by flipping off the crowd.
12:15 a.m. ET -- Lesnar refuses to touch gloves. That's for suckers.
Lesnar appears more tranquilized than in their first fight, taking Mir down after a feeling-out and staying tight. Mir eats several punches as Lesnar cradles his head. If this is a match of who can capitalize on a seamless knot of bodies, Lesnar appears to be getting the better of it.
12:04 a.m. ET -- Lesnar enters wearing Steve Mazzagatti's skin as a walk-in robe. The crowd reacts, possibly unaware they're expected to have some emotional reserve for the Jon Fitch-Paulo Thiago swing fight set to play the arena after the main event.
Midnight ET -- Interim champion Mir enters first looking calm and collected, not quite the typical mood for someone about to be run over by a piece of construction equipment.
11:58 p.m. ET -- Multiple choice. Lesnar looks like:
A). A bunch of rocks stuffed in a sock.
B). Lou Ferrigno after a cycle of horse meat and a Creatine IV
C). An emergency stand-in for the King Kong ride at Universal Studios
There's a lot of fuss made about Lesnar's strength and bulldozer style, but I really have my doubts that A). He's learned enough in three years to avoid a submission from Mir and B). Any one of his limbs are stronger than Mir's entire body. Fighting is a science: Mir holds an advanced degree, and Lesnar is still dissecting frogs.
I'll give him this: Lesnar has no business moving around as quickly as he does. There's no shortage of lumbering heavyweights: he accelerates. It's scary.
11:52 p.m. ET -- Lesnar and Mir are seen in their respective lockerrooms. Lesnar is huge, intimidating, strong and nowhere near the martial artist Mir is.
I might be way, way off, but I see Lesnar's chances as slim and none in this fight. Consider: the same judgment that selected his chest tattoo is the same judgment he uses in a fight.
Mir by rational thinking.
11:50 p.m. ET -- St. Pierre winces as Rogan interviews him: GSP speculates he tore his abductor ligament, which might mean he fought without a working groin.
11:45 p.m. ET -- Alves enjoys roughly two minutes of offense when St. Pierre sacrifices position for an armbar attempt. He makes up for it by nailing three more takedowns. The decision is academic at this point. Is anyone dying to see St. Pierre-Mike Swick at this point?
Unless Jake Shields become a free agent tomorrow, St. Pierre should either head to 185 or wear an arm sling the next time he's in the cage -- just to make it interesting.
11:34 p.m. ET -- If there was any chance judges considered seeing the third round for Alves for being aggressive on the feet, St. Pierre snuffed it by --hey, there's Lyoto Machida-- snuffed it by knocking him down and pouncing as the bell sounded.
11:28 p.m. ET -- As previously mentioned: GSP is a complete fighter, but he's more or less a wrestler at this point, holding and controlling opponents until they break or until time expires. "Whaaat a great round you did, Georges!" Greg Jackson is praising GSP like a collie.
11:23 p.m. ET -- Jason Statham sighting. Lots of celebrities in attendance: Ultiman is seen screaming obscenities. Now he's being escorted out.
11:22 p.m. ET -- St. Pierre erases any doubts that he can take down Alves -- by taking down Alves. Alves pops back up, but a round or three of defending and standing up will suck the fight right out of him. GSP busts out a Kyokoshin spin kick just to remind people that he knows some karate, too.
11:14 p.m. ET -- Instant controversy: St. Pierre looks to have an errant glob of vaseline on his deltoid.
11:06 p.m. ET -- After plugs for UFC 101 and UFC the Magazine, Dana White pushes UFC on Demand, a video service on cable providers. "It's a great time to be a UFC fan," White says.
Follow the direction of the cash flow and it's actually way better to be the UFC.
11:04 p.m. ET -- Royce Gracie smiles for the camera. The UFC doesn't respect its pioneers? What nonsense: Teila Tuli was issued several tickets. And he's been nothing but gracious in escorting people to their seats.
11:00 p.m. ET -- More respect shown by both in the second round -- right up until Henderson lands the right hand that absolutely crushes Bisping. Henderson wound that one up from Oregon. That may have been the most definitive punch in the UFC since Rich Franklin flatlined Nate Quarry.
10:54 p.m. ET -- Bisping dives for a takedown, an attempt so preposterous the crowd actually boos.
10:49 p.m. ET -- Bisping looks to have the weight cut on lockdown: trim to the point of emaciated. He nearly mows down Mario Yamasaki in an attempt to get away from an advancing Henderson. The Big Right Hand" connects. It's predictable: so is a handgun. Doesn't mean it can't work.
10:45 pm. ET -- Henderson, owner of the most distinctive profile since Alfred Hitchcock, enters looking indifferent. Very few people are giving Bisping much of a chance in this one, but how do you ever pick against the guy? It's like trying to submit or knock out a brick.
10:42 p.m. ET -- Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping exchange pleasantries in a video package. Bisping promises that "Ahm gonna knock him out." A bold prediction, considering Henderson has never been KOed and Bisping hasn't done that to anyone in years.
10:38 p.m. ET -- Belcher stands stunned as a split decision victory is awarded to Akiyama: one observer had it 30-27, which is a huge stretch. Are judges tested for recreational drugs?
10:32 p.m. ET -- Akiyama is limping from earlier leg kicks; one eye is clearly bothering him. Belcher tries a high kick on the blind side.
Being nice doesn't pay the electric bill. Then Belcher propels himself off the cage with his foot to land a flush Superman punch. Amazing.
One judge is cheering.
10:28 p.m. ET -- Goldberg reminds us we're watching the biggest UFC event ever -- until UFC 101: Declaration! Aug. 29! Live from the Wachovia Center! Tickets on sale now!
10:27 p.m. ET -- Akiyama is looking good on the ground. There's always something to be said for first-time cage jitters, but Japanese MMA is about two steps away from the Christians and the lions. This has to feel tame in comparison. Belcher can't punt his face like a football if he makes one false step.
10:20 p.m. ET -- Akiyama tosses a burst testicle into the cheering crowd and resumes fighting, cementing the durability of these athletes. He looks considerably smaller than Belcher, but he's more than willing to exchange. Round 1 to Sexyama.
10:19 p.m. ET -- Notable necrophiliac Holly Madison puts her bio-chem textbooks down to take a ceremonial lap around the Octagon; Belcher wastes no time attacking "Sexyama," firing some noisy kicks to his legs and torso. One lands right in the yams.
10: 12 p.m. ET -- Akiyama enters and kneels near the backstage entrance, praying he'll be blessed with the ability to drop Belcher on his head. Forget what I said about Goldberg's tan: Akiyama looks irradiated.
10:08 p.m. ET -- Yoshihiro Akiyama, facing Alan Belcher, is described as having "Chuck Liddell levels" of celebrity overseas. Does he pass out on live television, too?
10:07 p.m. ET -- Joe Rogan, eyes the size of two hard-boiled eggs, says that welterweight challenger Thiago Alves could weigh up to 200 pounds tonight. This has become a game of who can survive three days in a sauna.
10:05 pm. ET -- Mike Goldberg has bronzed himself to new shades of orange for this event. He is now the color of a regulation NBA basketball. Considering he once called an Ultimate Fight Night from Tulsa, Okla., "the Super Bowl of mixed martial arts," you can probably expect his head to explode tonight, pressurized like a free diver by his own hyperbole.
10:03 p.m. ET -- There's a nice pan shot of the excitable crowd, most of them marveling that UFC has produced 100 events since Forrest Griffin-Stephan Bonnar in 2005. One fan is wearing a t-shirt with a Grim Reaper applying a Kimura to Che Guevara.
10 p.m. ET -- Live from Mandalay Bay, site of many a spectacular, sanctioned beating. I really don't wish ill on anyone, but could we get at least one flying tooth, just for old times' sake? I'd even settle for a veneer.
9:41 p.m. ET -- Florian pays his respects to guest Royce Gracie. Some whining I'll get out of the way now: it's a damn shame that Gracie isn't fighting Ken Shamrock in a 205-pound bout for this show. (Technically, he'd only have t
o weigh 186.) It's a minor miracle two of the original tournament entrants are fit to fight 16 years after the fact. Any irony that both are submerged in hot water for performance enhancers and couldn't fight even if the UFC wanted it?
No? OK. Moving on.
9:36 p.m. ET -- ESPN's "MMA Live" is broadcasting live from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas with Jon Anik, Franklin McNeil and Kenny Florian's eyebrows. Florian has a serious future in broadcasting, yet another indication MMA is kinder to athletes' brains than in boxing. Can you imagine Joe Frazier breaking down a fight? Can you imagine him ordering a pizza?