The best reason for why Tom Cruise is awesome: No one runs quite like Tom Cruise!

Think what you like about Tom Cruise and his rather unfortunate choice of religion, but there is one thing no one can deny, Tom Cruise is the best runner in movie history!

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Poorly Thought Through Review: F.3.A.R.

F3AR, or FEAR 3 if you like, is the third game in the F.E.A.R. series which stands for something I have long since forgotten. As shown by perverting the initials with a 3, it’s not really important, it just spells out FEAR.

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The original FEAR was a very interesting game that mixed First Person Shooting with horror gameplay, created by Monolith Productions, the same developer behind the excellent Condemned. Putting the player in the shoes of Point Man, a genetically enhanced soldier (hello bullet-time!) sent out with his squad to deal with Paxton Fettel, a nutcase responsible for a string of cannibalistic murders. Things quickly go from bad to worse, and you’re on your own and slowly realizing that there is more to this than you were led to believe.

Soon strange things begin happening, that are centred around a creepy little girl named Alma, an immensely powerful psychic who has completely lost it and is trying to kill everything. The story wasn’t super interesting, but I remember enjoying how you could track down phone messages and files that would shed more light on the story, who Alma is and what happened to her, who Fettel is, and even who you are. It’s a neat way of including more story for the player who might be interested, without beating everyone over the head with it if all they want to do is shoot stuff.

The original FEAR was also interesting in that it was an FPS that worked the best when there were no enemies around. The sequences where paranormal events were happening around you, strange noises, flickering lights, things moving for no reason, Alma appearing out of nowehere, were by far the best and most immersive parts of the game. I would catch myself sighing and thinking “aww not this again, let’s just get it over with” whenever enemies appeared.

After the release of FEAR, there was an interesting chain of events where two more FEAR games were released, Extraction and Perseus Mandate, but created by a different developer. Once Monolith got their IP back after Vivendi went belly up, they ret-conned those two games out of existence and created FEAR 2.

FEAR 2 took place before and during the events of the first game, and followed a new protagonist, Michael Beckett, sent in with his Delta Squad to retrieve a scientist who was ready to leak information about Armacham, the company behind the creation of Alma, Point Man, and Fettel. Needless to say, things go awry, and Beckett is soon in a world of shit. FEAR 2 was a pretty good game, but had that same thing where the combat were the boring parts and the paranormal activity was the entertaining part. It also elaborated on the story of Alma further, as the player learns she was just a little girl with psychic abilities, who Armacham abused and experimented on, even impregnated her in an effort to create super soldiers out of her children. FEAR 2 also ends with the main character, Beckett, getting psychically raped by Alma, which was… interesting.

FEAR 3 (now done by Day 1 Studios) picks up a few months after the events of the first game. You’re back in control of Point Man, the main character of FEAR 1. He’s been captured by Armacham as is being tortured for information on Alma. Suddenly, he gets a helping hand by a surprising ally, Paxton Fettel, his brother who he killed with his own hands in the first game. Sporting a bullethole in his forehead and all, Fettel appears to have left his physical form behind and is now basically a psychic spectre. I’m not sure if he’s real and is using his brother as a host, or if he’s a figment of Point Man’s imagination, it’s never really explained how Fettel has returned from the dead, or if it was, I missed it. Perhaps Point Man has some latent psychic powers himself, that are manifesting in the form of his dead brother, allowing him to embrace his dark homicidal impulses without really facing the consequences of his actions? Who knows, maybe I’m reading too much into things. Fettel is able to possess enemies and help out in combat though, and he just done broke your ass out of jail, so let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth.

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After the events of the second game, Alma is pregnant and is close to giving birth. Her contractions release powerful psychic blasts that wreak ever more havoc on the surroundings. Point Man wants to find Alma and put a stop to this, while Fettel wants to find his mother and share in the joy of the birth of their new sibling. What follows is a long slug through the prison, sewers (of course), towns and military complexes.

In-between levels you are treated to short sequences, showing video tape of Point Man and Fettel as children, held in a containment room doubling as their home. Sometimes a doctor comes in and takes one of the boys away for experimenting, more often than not, Fettel as it becomes clear that Fettel has psychic powers like their mother, while Point Man (Point Boy?) exhibits no signs of psychic ability. Occasionally, Alma will pop in and check on her boys in the form of a little girl. Only Fettel notices her, as Point Man is blind to her presence. As the levels pass, you can see little Fettel becoming more and more powerful, and more and more unhinged, both from the experiments on him and the influence of his mother. Although it’s only a minute or so clip between each level, I found it to be by far the most interesting and compelling part of the story of FEAR 3.

FEAR 3 plays pretty much exactly the same as the previous two levels. There’s a bit of a cover system, allowing you to pop  your head out of cover and take a few pot shots if you have a lot of enemies zeroing in on you. The combat is pretty slow, but is remedied by the fact that Point Man is able to slow down time due to his superhuman reflexes, which allows you to basically think “what would Rambo do?”. It’s quite satisfying to be stuck behind a pillar with enemy fire all around you, only to slow down time and just come out spraying bullets all over the place.

The game does introduce enemies later on that require some more different tactics. Some enemies have shields, requiring you to shoot their feet, or wait for them to drop their shield momentarily to reload before you attack. Strangely they don’t seem to react at all to grenades thrown behind them. Then there are the bullet sponge wall-teleporting phase commanders that will take hundreds of bullets to kill. Usually I approve of mixing things up a little, but in FEAR 3 I genuinely just felt annoyed when faced with these enemies, as they broke the flow and forward momentum of my attack.

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Then there are the psychic monsters, at several points in the game you’ll be faced with beasts created by Alma that appear out of the walls. They are by far the worst part of the game. They have no intelligence whatsoever and will just come straight at you, leaping and slashing with their claws. This usually leaves you running backwards while spraying bullets in their face. I suppose the intention was to mix things up a bit and force the player on his heels, but these enemies do not inspire any dread, just annoyance. There’s no entertainment value in fighting them at all, and I would just sigh whenever they appeared in the game.

Then there are the occasional sequence where you get to drive bipedal mechs for a short time, letting you just wander forward like an indestructible force of asskickery, blowing shit up as you go. These sections are short and few, but entertaining and breaks up the action nicely.

Much like the previous games, the best gameplay sequences are the ones without any enemies. When things quiet down, the lights start flickering and paranormal events start happening. Unfortunately, they’ve been done to death by the FEAR series in the past, and aren’t particularly inspired, so while still neat, these sequences are not nearly as compelling as they were in the original game.

There is an excellent level at the end of the game though, that consists mostly of one big paranormal sequence, as Point Man and Fettel revisits the facility they grew up in and have to come to terms with the atrocities they suffered at the hands of Armacham.

As an added bonus, you are able to play every level again as Paxton Fettel after you’ve beaten them once as Point Man, giving you a much different look at the action with Fettel’s psychic powers and ability to possess enemies.

If you’ve got a buddy handy, you can also play the entire game in co-op as Point Man and Fettel. The game definitely feels like it’s designed for co-op, with plenty of opportunities for flanking and such. If you’re like me and have no friends however, it’s kind of disappointing that single player runs removes Fettel entirely. It would have been nice to have an AI partner to at least serve as a distraction and bullet sponge.

Graphically, the game looks pretty dated. It’s not a bad looking game, but it looks like a 2008 game. Put alongside the AAA shooters of the last year, it doesn’t hold up at all. Plus Point Man looks really stupid, he looks like a cross between a cave man and Macho Man, only without the awesome macho madness.

There’s a selection of multiplayer modes as well, including something quite awesomely named “Fucking run!” but we don’t play that multiplayer shit ‘round here son, so I’m not going to comment on that.

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Final thoughts:

FEAR 3 is a competent shooter, with a bit of a hook in the horror parts that sets it apart from the pack.

The story of FEAR has some interesting parts, most notably Alma and her sons and the combination of torture and frightening psychic powers. There are some really interesting psychological angles in the story that sadly and frustratingly goes unexplored. There is real potential there, and nothing is more frustrating than wasted potential.

Graphically, it looks dated and fails to impress, but it’s not bad either. Just perfectly middle of the road.

Ultimately, I think FEAR is a bit played out. The original game was new and interesting and compelling, and I enjoyed it a lot. By now though, in its fifth iteration (counting Extraction and Perseus Mandate) it’s still pretty much the same game and have made very little progress as a franchise. I hope that if they make more FEAR games, they take some chances with it and move the gameplay along, hopefully in a more horror, less action direction.

FEAR 3 is a decent game to kill a couple of days with if you have nothing else to play, but beyond that I can’t see myself recommending it over other FPS’ out there. In fact, I’d recommend FEAR 1 over FEAR 3.

However, if you liked the previous FEAR games and want some more of the same, FEAR 3 is for you. Me on the other hand, I wish they’d leave FEAR on the shelf for a bit and make another Condemned game.

Rating: 7

Joseph Stoneheart – The Paladin (Part 2)

I had intended to make a nice composition with the finished paladin statue, however it didn’t happen. I guess I got distracted. Anyway I finally got around to doing a proper picture with him. I think it turned out quite nicely.

The Paladin is loosely inspired by the Paladins in Warcraft lore. Created using Zbrush, 3Ds Max, Photoshop and Xnormal. 12700 polygons, rendered in Max with standard shader and basic 3 point lighting. Uses diffuse, specular, and normal maps.

A turnaround video of the Paladin statue can be found here: http://youtu.be/Jh2grxX0_jk

Batman statue

I finished another personal project the other day, so I figured I should post something. Since these days have been very Batman heavy, what with the Dark knight Rises coming out and all. I rewatched all the Nolan Batman movies, and also played the Rocksteady Batman games, so I was inspired to take a crack at a Batman model myself.

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He was created using 3DS Max, Zbrush and Photoshop. Most of the work was done in Zbrush, only using Max to create the base geometry and the render to texture function for the normal maps.

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The whole model is 6880 polygons in all, counting the base I did for the statue.

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You can also find a turnaround video of the statue of the model here: http://youtu.be/Ci1yECfE9S8

 

Joseph Stoneheart: The Paladin

I finally got around to finishing one of my personal projects. A Paladin loosely inspired by the Paladins in Warcraft lore. Created using Zbrush, 3Ds Max, Photoshop and Xnormal. 12700 polygons, rendered in Max with standard shader and basic 3 point lighting. Uses diffuse, specular, and normal maps.

I also did a quick turnaround that you can find here: Paladin Turnaround

Tell ’em why u mad son – The Mass Effect 3 Ending

 

WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR MASS EFFECT 3

Mass Effect 3

There has been a trend among games media to misunderstand the fans complaints about the ending to Mass Effect 3. They’ve created a false narrative where they say the fans want a “happy ending”. This is not the case, and grossly misrepresents the major issues with the end of Mass Effect 3.

Most fans would be happy with a simple ending where it recaps what happens to each of the crew, like Bioware did in Dragon Age Origins or Jade Empire. The fans just do not want the weakest type of ending in the world. One that Greeks used because they were just starting to invent plays 5000 years ago. The Deus Ex Machina. (“god out of the machine”) is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object. The Deus Ex Machina is the single worst plot device you can inflict on fans. It’s basically an admission by the writer that “shit, I don’t know how to end this in a way that makes sense, so I’m just going to pull some shit out of my ass”.

The amazing thing about Mass Effect is how you shape the story of Commander Shepard. Mass Effect can be a vastly different experience depending on what choices you make throughout the games.

If I wanted to end ME2 with everyone surviving and living to go on happy adventures down the road, I got to do that.

If I wanted it to be a tragic story where most of Shepard’s friends from ME1 and ME2 don’t make it through the suicide mission, I could do that too.

Hell, If I wanted to be a royally incompetent Shepard and literally suicide so hard at the end of ME2 that I manage to prematurely end the trilogy in the sequel, I could even do that.

But in Mass Effect 3, the end doesn’t even finish with particular relevance to what you did except for the basic idea of the Crucible.

Shepard’s crew, the people who have followed Shepard to hell and back in ME2, abandon Shepard at the last moment without explanation (I thought they were killed by Harbinger’s beam and spent time looking for their bodies). The elevator thing brings you up to the Citadel orbiting around Earth and then a holo-kid AI comes out of nowhere and basically tells you, “Hi, I’m the one behind everything that has happened, now go ahead, pick any ending you want and we’ll show you a palette swapped FMV.”

Shepard, whose single most defining characteristic through the series has been his refusal to give in to anything except his own honour and/or good sense, mutely agrees to the AI and the Reapers ideas without challenging or questioning them. And in the end, the choices you’ve made throughout the past three games are completely irrelevant. Nothing about the ending is a consequence of your past choices and actions, and you can get any ending you want regardless. To add an extra layer of insult on top of that, the 3 endings are all basically the same, only the energy signature of the crucible has a different colour.

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I’m personally not so much puzzled that it’s not a perfect ending, I can deal with a bad ending. Hell I’ve sat through the ending of Metal Gear Solid 2 five times now, and I still love that game. What truly baffles me about ME3 is how lazy an ending it is. You’re left with a “choose you own ending” mechanic that directly contradicts the narrative and gameplay mechanics Bioware established for three whole games.  As a game designer, after carefully crafting and establishing the mechanics of a game, I would have fought a decision like that ending until my dying breath. Considering how much attention to detail Bioware likes to put into their games, I can’t comprehend how this could have happened.

I’m fine with an ending that isn’t happy. Most people complaining are not looking for a happy ending. It’s a desire for a thematically appropriate ending that is in keeping with the rest of the series.

The thing that frustrates me the most is that the resources are already in game for the best ending that any gaming series ever had. A true Clint Eastwood style genuinely bittersweet ending.

All they needed to do was after the conversation with the Illusive Man, you see the scene with Shepard and his mentor Admiral Anderson, both gravely wounded. You get either no conversation with Anderson, the in-game conversation with Anderson, or the extended conversation if you’ve essentially maxed out your Reputation. Then you show Anderson dead, and Shepard slowly dying alone but smiling in victory, the Crucible docking with the Citadel, and then detonating to destroy the Reapers. If your Effective Military Strength (EMS) is below 3000, the Reapers die, the relays are destroyed, and Earth is destroyed. If your EMS is above 3000 but below 4000, the Reapers die, earth is destroyed, and the relays are intact. If you’re above 5000, the Reapers die, but Earth and the relays are intact.

It basically comes down to how well the fleet was able to build the device and protect it, a direct result of your own actions as Shepard. In all endings, Shepard dies. There’s basically everything you need to make that ending with existing resources, and it would have given Shepard a great ending.

But it didn’t happen. Bioware somehow managed to create an amazing saga that spans three games, with a level of narrative depth unheard of in gaming, only to completely drop the ball in the last 30 minutes. How did this happen?

UFC 136: HOLY SHIT!! Edition

I originally posted this at www.pttogames.com

Going into UFC 136 I was pretty hyped. The card was stacked, with some really good matchups, the return of Chael Sonnen and the Edgar-Maynard re-match I’d been waiting for.

Anthony Pettis vs Jeremy Stephens


This should have been a great fight.

Things didn’t start out very well, with Anthony “Showtime” Pettis giving us an anti-showtime display against Jeremy Stephens, and wrestling his way to a split decision victory.

It’s nice to see Pettis learning from experience after Clay Guida derailed his title shot aspiration by annoying
monkey grinding himself to a win in Pettis’ first UFC fight. Pettis has obviously spent the time since then working on his wrestling, as he showed considerably improved wrestling skills.

It was a good win for him, but for the guy who won the WEC Lightweight Championship by jumping off the cage and kicking Ben Henderson in the face, it was a little underwhelming. Especially
considering it was Showtime Pettis vs a real slugger in Stephens. What should have been an awesome and dynamic stand-up war turned into a mediocre wrestling match.


There wasn’t a lot of this going on for Pettis at UFC 136.

Demian Maia vs Jorge Santiago


The crowd is already asleep.

This match almost put me to sleep.
It consisted mostly of Demian Maia, one of the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu artists in the world, continuously taking down Santiago and not doing much of anything. Santiago was in complete turtle mode and didn’t give Maia anything to attack
with submissions, but his ineffectual ground strikes and general lack of pace against an opponent who didn’t really have anything to offer in terms of resistance was disappointing.

That was the last preliminary fight, and the pay per view was due to start proper. At this point I wasn’t so excited about UFC 136 anymore, and kind of zoned out and started doing other things while things played out in the background.

But that was when the Melvin Guillard vs Joe Lauzon fight came on.


Melvin “I’m gonna get dat knockout bonus yo!” Guillard

Melvin Guillard tends to be his own worst enemy. A supremely physically talented kid, with power, speed and insane
explosiveness, he’s always had problems getting it together mentally. Guillard had been back to his cocky self in the lead up to this fight, focusing more on what move he should use to knock Lauzon out with in order to get the KO of the night bonus than doing what he needed to do to actually win a fight.

He came in, jumping around, high fiving the crowd and generally acting like he had already won. Once the fight started, he clearly gave zero fucks about Joe Lauzon’s standup and showed no respect whatsoever, jumping in with kicks and flying knees without bothering to keep his hands up.

Naturally, it ended up being basically a replay of his loss to Joe Stevenson: he got caught with a hook, got shaken up, couldn’t recover, and got submitted.


Oops. No knockout bonus for you.

Lauzon jumped on the chance as he always does, and get the rear naked choke. Crowd went wild! Melvin Guillard is so talented, and had looked like an absolute beast after joining Greg Jackson’s gym, so Lauzon had been completely counted out of that fight. He got the upset in just 47 seconds and got the pay per view off the ground with a bang.

Leonard Garcia vs Nam Phan


This is all part of Garcia’s plan. His Homer Simpson syndrome will wear them out!

This was a rematch of one of the worst robberies of 2010, when Garcia (aka Hypnotoad) won a majority decision over Nam Phan after Nam spent 3 rounds beating him up while Garcia was mostly swinging at air.The judge’s decision was so bad that Dana White still gave the win bonus to Nam Phan.

They were all set to have an immediate rematch, but that was derailed by injuries. Nam would go on to lose a hard fought decision to former WEC 145 pound champion Mike Thomas Brown in what was a spirited effort from Phan. Leonard Garcia went on to have a different rematch of one of the craziest fights of 2009 against the Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung. Garcia quite spectacularly lost to Jung by a twister submission, the first and only twister I’ve ever seen in MMA competition.

The UFC 136 fight between Nam Phan and Leonard Garcia picked up exactly where their last fight left off, only worse, with Nam absolutely picking Garcia apart. Phan showed tight boxing and great body punches as he kept tagging Garcia while Garcia was swinging at air with wild looping shots.

This kept going until the 3rd round, when Garcia suddenly appeared to have a massive second wind and scored with combinations ending with leg kicks until he nailed Nam with a hook that dropped him.

Nam got back up and the crowd went wild while Garcia wailed on Nam against the fence like a madman. It looked to be bad, but upon re-watching the sequence, Garcia missed or had his punches blocked almost every time.

Pretty soon Nam was back to picking Garcia apart until the final bell.

What followed was one of the most idiotic Joe Rogan moments I’ve ever seen. Throughout the fight, Rogan kept complimenting Garcia on being exciting, as Garcia was stumbling forward and swinging at air like drunken Affliction t-shirt wearing idiot in a bar. After Garcia was well and truly beaten and Nam Phan stood there with his hands raised in joy after actually winning a decision against the hypnotoad, Joe Rogan came in and started babbling about how awesome Leonard Garcia is.

Leonard Garcia came over and was interviewed while Nam just kind of stood there not knowing what was happening. And at the end Joe Rogan said:

“Ladies and gentlemen, Leonard Garcia!! … …. Oh and the winner, Nam Phan!”

Usually I really like Joe Rogan, and it’s Bill Goldberg that annoys me, but man, I wanted to slap Rogan after that.

Despite getting screwed by the judges last time, and screwed by Joe Rogan this time, Nam still whooped up on Leonard Garcia LIKE A BOSS!

Next up was my most anticipated fight of the night: Chael Sonnen vs Brian Stann.

Brian Stann, while boring as a brick, is a hard hitting stand up fighter, who really showed his power when he knocked out Chris Leben, a feat that only Anderson Silva has accomplished before.

Chael Sonnen on the other hand, is a hilariously awesome fighter who no one really cared about when he got a title shot against Anderson Silva, but got everyone’s attention with his outrageous pro-wrestling style dissing of his opponent.

Chael Sonnen happily took a fight with Brian Stann, a guy no one wanted to fight because since Stann is an ex marine and a real American hero, everyone who fights him becomes the bad guy. Chael didn’t care, he loves playing the heel.

Come fight time, Chael Sonnen had been out of the cage for over a year. But he went in there and did not miss a beat. If anything, he looked better than he ever has. For the first time, rather than hanging out in the guard and just doing damage and earning points with strikes, Sonnen actively worked to pass guard, go for submissions and finish the fight. Stann didn’t have a chance. His ground game isn’t terrible, but he got worked by one of the best wrestlers in MMA.

Normally, I’m not a wrestling fan. I think if wrestling as a transition art, used to control where the fight goes, while striking and submissions are finishing arts. As such, wrestling is a great support pillar to back up your finishing attempts. A wrestler can win fights on points because of his control, but he can’t finish fights without striking or submissions. Usually pure wrestlers are the most boring fighters in the world.

Chael on the other hand, at UFC 136, he showed some of the best MMA wrestling I’ve ever seen. He was working and moving and passing guard and threatening at all times, blending wrestling skill and improving BJJ seamlessly. There was not one boring moment in a match that consisted almost entirely of wrestling based grappling. That, to me, is a marvel.

After schooling Brian Stann, Chael was approached by Joe Rogan for a post fight interview. Cheal completely ignored Rogan’s questions and launched into a pro-wrestling style promo.

“Anderson Silva, you absolutely suck!”

Cut to Silva sitting ringside with his manager Ed Soares on one side, and Charles Barkley on the other, all with a WTF look on their faces.

Stann had been vanquished, the all American marine was out of the way, so Sonnen got right back to talking smack. He issued a pro-wrestling style loser leaves town stipulations challenge to the champion Anderson Silva, stating that if Chael wins, Silva has to leave the 185 pound division, and if Silva wins, Sonnen will leave the UFC.


We need this again!

Would Sonnen really leave the UFC
now, after he’s finally becoming a big name and getting in the position to make big money, and would Dana White allow an emerging cash cow like Sonnen to go? Probably not. But regardless, it was great showmanship. There is no way Dana White and Joe Silva can not make this fight now. While you could make cases for other challengers previously, such as Dan Henderson if he defeats Shogun Rua for example, who has massive momentum after knocking out Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce, and has said he wants to cut down to 185 for another shot at Silva. But with that post fight challenge, Chael Sonnen basically guaranteed himself another title shot. While not officially confirming it, Dana White said it himself in an interview with MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani, that he would be stupid not to make that fight.

Me, I was so hyped after that fight. Joe Lauzon put on a great warmup act with his upset win over Guillard, they set the night up perfectly, and Chael Sonnen just went in there and knocked it out of the park.

Not only do I hunger to see the Silva vs Sonnen rematch, I still think Sonnen has a very real chance to beat Anderson Silva. Silva’s one weakness has always been his wrestling, and Sonnen showed that he is very capable of closing the distance, taking Silva down and controlling him on the ground. If the ground work Sonnen showed at UFC 136 also comes with an increased awareness of submissions and better submission defense, we have a serious fight on our hands. A fight where you feel like Anderson Silva actually might lose, a fight you tune in to see not how Silva is going to play with his prey before he finished his opponent off, but if Silva can actually pull off the win.

I haven’t been this excited for an Anderson Silva fight since his fight against Dan Henderson. As far as I was concerned, UFC 136 had already delivered, and we weren’t even at the main events yet.

Jose Aldo vs Kenny Florian

Kenny Florian gets yet another title shot after dropping to 145 (he fought at 185 in the Ultimate Fighter season 1, wtf?) and beating Diego Nunes. I honestly didn’t expect much from this fight. Kenny is weird in that he fights differently in title fights. Normally he’s really aggressive, fights smart, but goes for the finish at all times. But in title fights he comes in with some strange ideas of gameplanning, and instead of doing what got him there in the first place, he spends the fight pushing people against the cage and trying to lame it out so he can win on points.

Kenny Florian has long been one of my favourite fighters, since he’s not very talented physically, he’s just a scrawny jewish kid. He’s had success in the UFC through heart, determination and intelligence. He beats people who on paper are way better than him because he’s smarter and he just wants it more. That’s exactly the kind of fighters I can’t help but love.

Unfortunately, his gameplans for title fights just don’t work out. He always gets to the big show, that opportunity all fighters hope for, and then comes up short. His first title fight was against Shean Sherk in 2007, and he got absolutely mauled. He had another shot against BJ Penn, and got just outclassed by a much better fighter. He was given a title eliminator fight against Gray Maynard, and got outwrestled and controlled.

Jose Aldo on the other hand, is an absolute beast. He packs world class BJJ, vicious Muay Thai, and fantastic takedown defense (seriously, over 90%) together with a powerful and explosive physicality. He honestly hasn’t looked super impressive in the UFC so far, but his knockout highlight reel from WEC is something to behold.

Florian tried to fight smart, and I actually had him winning the first round, with his cage pushing and control method. His takedown attempts had Aldo hesitant to throw his murderous kicks, which is Aldo’s #1 weapon, so Florian was doing good. But then in the second round, Aldo connected with some strikes, and Florian seemed to never really be the same after he felt Aldo’s power. Soon Jose Aldo was back to kicking the lead leg of Florian, stuffing takedown attempts, and winning almost every striking exchange.


Why does Kenny keep getting title shots?

You’ve got to give Florian props for going all 5 rounds, as he looked more and more outmatched every round, the dude has heart. But it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t really an exciting fight.

Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard

Frankie Edgar was 13-1-1 in his career. That’s 13 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw. Those were both Gray Maynard. Frankie Edgar was 13 and Gray Maynard.


Maynard was so close to being the champion.

In their first fight in 2008, Gray Maynard repeatedly took Edgar down and controlled him to a dominant decision victory.

In their second fight, Edgar has become the champion after getting an upset win over BJ Penn, and then proving himself to be the anti-BJ in their rematch, when he dominated Penn for the decision win. Maynard came in full of confidence, knowing he had beaten Edgar before, and he showed it. He caught Edgar with a huge hook and had him reeling. Edgar, showing the heart of a lion wouldn’t stay down though. Maynard chased him around the cage, dropping him 3 times in one round and just continuously beating on him. Somehow, Edgar survived the round. It’s the worst beating I have ever seen anyone take and come back from. Easily should have been a 10-7 round. In the second round, Edgar got his wits about him again, while Maynard had punched himself out and was really gassed. Edgar regained momentum and started catching up in the scorecards.

By the end of the fight, it was so close, it was scored a draw. Both fighters were disappointed, but Maynard much more so. He almost had it, that championship he’d been working for, and it
slipped away.Anthony Pettis was supposed to get the next title shot after Maynard, being the WEC champ and all, but Dana White declared that Edgar and Maynard would have to happen again, in order to settle it.

This brings us to UFC 136, and the rematch of one of the craziest comebacks in MMA history. The feeling of the fans was that Frankie Edgar would probably be able to do what he did the last few rounds of the previous fight.

Once again, Gray Maynard was full of confidence, and showed it. He caught Edgar with an uppercut in the first round and dropped him. The crowd went wild. I was on my feet. Again? Seriously?

It wasn’t quite as bad as the first fight, but it was by far the worst way the fight could have started for Frankie Edgar. He got dropped twice, and was out of it and running away to recover. Maynard was much more measured in his approach this time, wary of punching himself out like last time. Once again, Edgar showed incredible heart and lasted the round, but clearly a 10-8 round for Maynard. Frankie was in a hole again.

But
Edgar has the heart of a lion.

In the second round, something weird happened. Maynard had nothing. He wasn’t tired like last time, but he came out tentative, not pressuring and not trying to push his momentum. Edgar managed to
get his feet back under him and found his timing and range. Maynard gave the round away and let Frankie Edgar back into the fight. In round 3 and 4 it just got worse, as Edgar started picking Maynard apart with his speedy footwork and accurate strikes.

In round 4, Edgar caught Maynard right on the chin with an uppercut and hurt him. Maynard had repeatedly stated that Edgar has no power and couldn’t hurt him, but now he was in big trouble.
Edgar jumped on it and tagged Maynard again with some solid hooks, Maynard fell face first as Edgar descended on him and pounded his face into the ground with repeated strikes. It was done. Little Frankie Edgar had knocked out the powerhouse Gray Maynard.

That was an amazing end to a surreal night. Frankie Edgar once again basically made himself into a real life Rocky Balboa as he got his ass kicked and came back to win through pure heart and determination


Finally rid of Maynard.

Frankie Edgar finally vanquishes the Gray Maynard demon, while Maynard has some serious thinking to do after having the champion at the brink of defeat and basically giving the fight away twice.

All in all, UFC 136 was an amazing event, despite the lackluster Pettis vs Stephens and Florian vs Aldo fights. It had upsets, all out wars, dominations, comebacks and crazy talk, submissions, KO’s and actually entertaining (and not screwed up) decisions, I don’t think we as fans can ask for much more than that.