UFC 137, live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and sponsored by UFC Undisputed 3 (scheduled to be released Feb. 14, 2012), featured welterweight Nick Diaz's return to the octagon. Fans were also subjected to a torpid heavyweight clash between two UFC legends, Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo. A post-match interview set up a future showdown between Diaz and Georges St-Pierre.
Now, on to the card:
Nick Diaz vs. B.J. Penn
Winner: Diaz, Unanimous Decision
UFC 137 was originally to be headlined by Diaz fighting Georges St-Pierre for the welterweight title. Then Diaz was replaced by Carlos Condit; but after GSP tweaked his knee a few weeks ago, the event was scrapped entirely. Diaz drew another MMA legend in B.J. Penn, and the two gave fans a memorable three-round battle that left both of them bloody. Penn retired after the fight, leaving a legacy of unreached potential.
The fighters threw punches for 15 minutes straight, with Diaz coming out on top. During his post-match interview, Diaz was fired up, claiming that GSP was afraid to face him. UFC President Dana White moved quickly to lock in the much-anticipated match, which will likely happen on Super Bowl weekend.
Matt Mitrione vs. Cheick Kongo
Winner: Kongo, Unanimous Decision
In contrast to the action-packed Diaz/Penn fight, the co-main event, a heavyweight bout between Matt Mitrione and Cheick Kongo, was slow and uneventful, eliciting lusty boos from the fans. No interview was given to the winner, a sign of deep dissatisfaction by the UFC brass. The two fighters spent most of the bout avoiding strikes or grapples, and the crowd was quick to voice its displeasure.
Roy Nelson vs. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic
Winner: Roy Nelson, TKO (Punches)
After showing up at the weigh-in wearing a fat suit under his T-shirt, pudgy Roy Nelson looked a little leaner when fight night rolled around. That's bad news for the rest of the heavyweight division. Despite a prominent gut—his trademark celebration is rubbing his belly—Nelson has excellent jiu-jitsu skills and an iron chin.
A mid-carder throughout his UFC career, Cro Cop gave it his best, but after losing to Nelson via TKO, he hung up his gloves for good. It's a shame, because there was a time when Cro Cop was the most feared fighter in the world. He'll always be remembered for his devastating high leg kick.
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