Judge Ian Visser says those who can, fight. Those who can't, write.
Spider versus Predator.
Rosemont, Illinois was the setting for the UFC's October 2008 pay-per-view event, UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote. The main event of the evening featured the five-round middleweight title match between Anderson "The Spider" Silva and Patrick "The Predator" Cote. It promised to be an old-fashioned style-versus-style bout, with Silva having great striking and Brazilian jiu-jitsu abilities, and Cote possessing knockout power and an underdog's determination.
UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote features 10 matches, including four fights not broadcast during the live event. These include:
Josh Berkman vs. Pete Sell
I feel sorry for anyone who came to this event late and missed these non-broadcast fights. Each one is a gem on its own, but combined they present some of the best MMA action I've seen at one event. The Miller-Horwich middleweight bout is a back-and-forth jiu-jitsu marathon with amazing transitions, while the Fisher-Gugerty and Franca-Aurelio fights feature ferocious striking and some great leg work. Don't skip these matches just to get to the main event…there isn't a turkey in the bunch.
The main fight card features the following matches:
Thales Leites vs. Drew McFedries—Textbook jiu-jitsu by Leites ends this match in 90 seconds, courtesy of a rear-naked choke. Kids, learn your BJJ!
Sean Sherk vs. Tyson Griffin—Two lightweights with very technical standup skills make the early going of this match a thrill ride. Sherk gets early takedowns in the first round, but Griffin presses forward throughout the second despite signs of gassing. The third round sees the frenetic pace continue, and Sherk gets the decision. Great action, great fight.
Fabricio Werdum vs. Junior Dos Santos—It's the big men's turn, as heavyweight Dos Santos delivers a massive right hand in the opening moments of the first round to put Werdum on the mat. It's a huge shot that would find a home in any knockout reel. It's a short fight but it ends with real fireworks.
Rich Clementi vs. Gray Maynard—Maynard's wrestling ability gives him a couple of takedowns early in the first two rounds, but Clementi is tricky off his back and minimizes the damage. Maynard keeps the pressure on Clementi during the third round and picks up the decision.
Thiago Alves vs. Josh Koscheck—Koscheck is a talented wrestler with a much-improved standup game, but Alves is a bad dude to mess with any day of the week. Koscheck gets rocked early at the hands of Alves but recovers to escape the first round in good shape. Alves delivers plenty of leg kicks throughout the second, but Koscheck again weathers the storm to make it into the third round. Koscheck does his best to hold Alves off but loses the decision.
Anderson Silva vs. Patrick Cote—Silva is generally considered the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world today, drawing on a reservoir of skills that includes devastating kicks and killer jiu-jitsu. Cote entered the octagon with some serious power in his hands coupled with a four-match win streak. The safe money was on Silva, but Cote promised an upset.
Round one starts tepidly, with Silva spending most of the time feeling out Cote and trying to find his range. Silva scores some strikes, but they do more damage on the scorecard than to Cote. The crowd responds with a lusty chorus of boos.
The Spider comes out early in round two with high kicks that leave Cote exposed for Silva's takedown. Silva stands it back up, where his longer reach and evasiveness continue to frustrate Cote's efforts to connect.
The third round brings a shocker: Cote blows out his knee and is left unable to continue. Cote looks devastated, the crowd is unhappy, and the injury puts a damper on what had been a great night of fighting. Silva gets a TKO for the win, but he doesn't seem to take much pleasure in it.
Where UFC 89: Bisping vs. Leben was a middling affair saddled with mediocre fights, UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote is wall-to-wall action from the very start. The non-broadcast matches are all solid fights and the undercard features solid performers out to win. If there was going to be a disappointing fight, odds are it would have been the aborted title match, which saw Silva ahead in the judging up until Cote's injury prematurely ended things. Silva appeared to be easily outclassing Cote, but the outcome will never be known for sure.
Like all recent UFC releases, UFC 90 has great video and audio quality. The image is full-screen on my television, but Amazon say it should be widescreen; I'm not sure why there is a discrepancy. The video is of the usual UFC level of quality, meaning there are no defects, as is the case with the well-balanced two-channel Dolby audio track. A Spanish play-by-play commentary broadcast during the event is also included.
The UFC is making most of its pay-per-view DVDs in two-disc editions and UFC 90 features a collection of extras that should appeal to fans.
Behind the Scenes takes a broad look at what goes on behind the scenes at a UFC live event. In addition to following ring announcer Bruce Buffer and commentator Mike Goldberg as they prepare for the evening, we get the perspectives of writers, event planners, and fighters as they carry out their respective roles. This is a nice feature that answers some of the questions UFC fans might have about what happens behind the curtain at a pay-per-view show.
Countdown provides an in-depth view of Anderson Silva and Patrick Cote as they approach their match at UFC 90. The promotional piece reviews their pasts, their training, and their fight strategies. The promo also features a look at undercard combatants Josh Koscheck and Thiago Alves. This is the usual UFC puff-piece, but it is well-made and offers a decent overview of each fighter.
UFC.com combines the undercard fighters' pre-and-post fight interviews with short promo pieces that were featured on the UFC website. This is a nice little feature that merges the individual promotional elements of each bout into a larger canvas and gives the lesser-known fighters some exposure.
Weigh Ins feature each fighter as they undergo the public weigh in for their matches. UFC commentator Joe Rogan is on-hand to hype up the crowd and the fighters get a chance to face-off with their opponents.
It's unfortunate the title match ended the way it did, but there is still plenty of bone-crunching action in UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote. If you saw the event and were initially underwhelmed, the addition of four great pre-show fights makes this worthy of a second look.
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