UFC 87 promotes a Welterweight Championship match, Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring, two great matches involving Kenny Florian and Demian Maia and more.
UFC 87: Seek and Destroy took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota and featured three high profile matches. Kenny Florian battled Roger Huerta for a possible Lightweight Title shot, George St. Pierre battles Jon Fitch for the UFC Welterweight Title and former WWE star Brock Lesner battled veteran Heath Herring.
While the St. Pierre/Fitch match was the main event, the match that brought the most intrigue was the Lesner/Herring battle. Lesner was 1-1 at this point in his UFC career and was battling a man who had established himself with a record of 28-13. It was a battle of a tried and true veteran against an upstart that many know from competing in a “fake sport.” However, the fans were solidly in Lesner’s corner, as the card took place in the state of Minnesota, Brock’s hometown where he won the 2000 NCAA Wrestling Championship for the University of Minnesota. In his only other UFC sanctioned match (UFC 81), Lesner lost to Frank Mir by submission, so this match might have been his last chance.
I have to give credit to the two men as they played the crowd like a piano, almost giving it the feel of a professional wrestling rivalry. It is no spoiler to reveal that Lesner won this match in dominating fashion, completely dismantling “The Texas Crazy Horse” and went on to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 91 from Randy Couture. The match brought in many fans of the WWE who wanted to know if their “fake wrestler” could beat UFC’s real ones. Lesner didn’t disappoint, and his blow to the head of Herring to start the match was brutal.
The main event featured Georges St. Pierre (16-2) against Jon Fitch (21-2). Fitch was on a fifteen match winning streak, including eight in the UFC. This was St. Pierre’s first title defense since unifying the UFC Welterweight Championship and beating Matt Serra in the rematch at UFC 83. The match would go all five rounds but by the end St. Pierre was dominating his opponent and was awarded the unanimous decision. The aftermath would lead to BJ Penn coming down and challenging St. Pierre to a future title match, which St. Pierre would win at UFC 94.
None of the matches were amazing, but all offered some fun and there were some impressive performances by Kenny Florian and Demian Maia. The highlight was definitely the Brock Lesner match, both for the magnitude of his incredibly quick rise to power in UFC as well as the intense reaction from his home town crowd.
The Preliminary Matches
Ben “Killa B” Saunders (5-0-2) vs. Ryan “The Tank Engine” Thomas (13-1) – This is Saunders’ second UFC fight and Thomas’ UFC debut. The two went at each other hard and strong with kicks but Saunders wore down Thomas and won in Round 2 with an inverted armbar, leading to a submission. It was a nice little opener with a solid ending.
Chris Wilson (13-3-1) vs. Steve Bruno (11-3-0) – Chris Wilson lost his only other UFC fight at UFC 82 while Bruno is making his UFC debut. Wilson dominated the match and won by decision. It was slow going to start but Wilson just started beating the hell out of Bruno and wore him down.
Andre Gusmao (5-0-0) vs. Jon “Bones” Jones (5-0-0) – Interesting bout here as both men were unbeaten going in and both were making their UFC debut. There was a great moment in Round 2 where Gusmao hit a low blow on Jones and then pretended he was the one who took the shot. The match went to the limit and, while Gusmao acted like he won, the judges awarded the unanimous decision to Jones.
Cheick “Unstoppable” Kongo (11-4-1) vs. Dan “Viking” Evensen (10-2) – Evensen is making his UFC debut and Kongo is coming off a split decision loss to Heath Herring. Kongo took Evensen down twice and then just beat on Evensen as he was on the ground. The match ended right before the first round ended when Kongo smashed Evensen in the head and then beat him until the referee stopped the match. Evensen got his ass kicked. After the match, Kongo declared he was one of the best in the world and wanted a title match.
Luke “The Silent Assassin” Cummo (6-5-0) vs. Tamdan “The Barn Cat” McCrory (10-1) – It’s funny, even guys who aren’t that good, like Cummo, have nicknames. Cummo is from Ultimate Fighter 2, making it to the finals of the contest. Both men are coming off loses. With the exception of a nice body blow in Round 3 and a couple of triangle attempts, which were broken, Cummo really didn’t do much in this match. McCrory wins a unanimous decision in a match he dominated.
Demian Maia (7-0-0) vs. Jason “The Athlete” McDonald (20-9-0) – McDonald is 4-2 in the UFC and Maia is 2-0, since signing with UFC. The matchup pits the reach of McDonald (8 inches longer) against Maia, one of the greatest Ju-jitsu fighters in the world. There was an amazing moment in the first round where Maia locked McDonald into a triangle and the announcers claimed it was over but McDonald fought back to his feet and got out of the hold. The first round was an amazing back-and-forth matchup. Maia came out strong in the second round and took McDonald down, pummeling him to take the lead. The third round looked like another struggle, but Maia locked in the rear naked choke and got the submission win. In a post match interview, Maia gave a lot of credit to McDonald for getting out of the triangle in the first round. This was a really fun match.
Kenny “Ken Flo” Florian (11-3) vs. Roger “El Matador” Huerta (25-1-1) – Huerta is 6-0 in UFC, winning five fights in 2007 alone. Florian is coming off a four fight win streak since his last loss in UFC 64. The winner of this match should get a shot at BJ Penn’s Lightweight Title. In a pre-taped interview, Huerta actually called this match a cakewalk. He actually said he will never lose again. Oops. Following his loss here, Huerta announced he was leaving MMA fighting indefinitely to pursue a career in acting. Florian has not received a title shot yet, but it looks like it is coming. As for the match, the fans were behind the cocky Huerta, a hometown boy. The first round was pretty even. Round 2 saw Florian start to go to town on Huerta and take a small advantage. The match was very close but when they made it through the third round it was a unanimous decision for Florian. This was the most even match on the card so far and could have gone either way.
Manvel “Anvil” Gamburyan (7-2-0) vs. Rob “The Saint” Emerson (10-6-0) – Both men are from Ultimate Fighter 5. In professional wrestling, this is what is called a squash. Emerson got the win by knockout in 12 seconds. Emerson threw a hard right and then one left punch later knocked Gamburyan out. That was two brutal punches.
Brock Lesnar (1-1-0) vs. Heath “The Texas Crazy Horse” Herring (28-13-0) – Brock is coming off a loss in his UFC debut to Frank Mir. Herring’s last win was against Cheick Kongo at UFC 82. In pre-taped interviews Lesnar mentions no one has taped footage of him and doesn’t know what he can do. Herring makes a snide comment that if he beats Lesnar, it will be the final nail in the coffin. Lesnar was over HUGE in this match with the crowd. Lesnar jumped on Herring early with a HUGE punch, busting open Herring and setting the tone. He kept Herring on the ground delivering short punches and elbows, eventually busting Herring open. Lesnar wins the unanimous decision. It was a slightly boring match that was kept alive by the incredible response from the crowd. Lesnar did a really gay bronco riding immitation after winning, making fun of the Herring nickname. It was funny that Brock didn’t really answer any questions during the post match interview and instead delivered some quick one-liners promoting himself, similar to pro wrestling. And all over America, WWE fans found themselves smiling as their “fake fighter” beat the UFC’s “real fighter.”
Welterweight Championship – Georges “Rush” St. Pierre (16-2-0) vs. Jon “OOUAH” Fitch (21-2-0) – Coming into this match, Fitch was on an eight match winning streak in the UFC, tying the record held by Royce Gracie. If he were to win this match, he would not only win the title but also break Gracie’s record for most wins in a row. Unfortunately for Fitch, GSP is arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC today. The bout would go all five rounds and end with GSP getting the unanimous decision, giving Fitch his first loss in 6 years. To describe the action properly, I just need to say that GSP, over the course of the match, beat the shit out of an overmatched Fitch. Following the match, the Lightweight Champion BJ Penn came into the ring and said he wants to step up and fight St. Pierre and the two agreed to meet each other. The two would face at UFC 94, where St. Pierre would come out on top.
The DVD is set up where you can watch it straight through, or you can view the matches one at a time.
The second DVD offers the special features. The first feature is the Countdown to UFC 87 (39:17). The show is a basic opening to a sporting event, with the various fighters and trainers interviewed. The first fifteen minutes goes into detail on the main event. The next section covers the Florian vs. Huerta fight, which Dana White called his most anticipated fight on the card. This bout lasted fifteen minutes as well. The last three minutes of the countdown focused on Brock Lesnar vs. Heath Herring.
Weigh-In (14:37) is exactly what it advertises as Joe Rogan introduces the combatants for their weigh-ins. For those who don’t know, they are weighed and then pose for a picture. The only fighters who got to say anything was Fitch and St. Pierre.
Behind the Scenes (44:20) is the next feature. This follows the fighters as they prepare for the fight. It also includes interviews and footage from prior fights of all the major competitors. It also includes post fight footage of the fighters. As with the Countdown, most of the feature focused on Lesner, Herring, Florian, Huerta, Fitch, and mostly on St. Pierre.
UFC.COM Features (41:13) takes everything that the Countdown ignored, mainly the undercard fighters, and showcases and talks to them. The extra features are pretty comprehensive as a package.