Weekend Combat Sports Review
This past weekend featured two cards in the world of Combat sports that sparked my interest. Manny Pacquiao returned to the ring for his first fight since losing to Floyd Mayweather last Spring. And Junior Dos Santos stepped into the Octagon, looking to prove that he still was atop heavyweight in the world vs the rising Ben Rothwell.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley 3
In a dominating performance, Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) won an impressive two knockdown 12 round unanimous decision victory over Tim Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs) tonight in their fight on HBO PPV from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Fighting each for the third time, Pacquiao knocked Bradley down with big power shots in the 7th and 9th rounds. The final judges’ scores were 116-110, 116-110 and 116-110. With the win, Pacquiao won the WBO International welterweight title.
It was a good performance from the 37-year-old Pacquiao in knocking Bradley down twice in the fight in the 7th and 9th rounds. There was a huge crowd of 14,665 fans to see the two fighters perform, and this was definitely the perfect way for Pacquiao to bow out of the sport. If this is the last fight of Pacquiao’s 21-year pro career, then he really did himself proud in boxing a masterclass against the 32-year-old Bradley.
While the judges had Pacquiao winning by a 116-110 score on all three scores, it could have been more along the lines of a more lopsided score. This was Pacquiao’s first fight coming off of right rotator cuff surgery after his 12 round unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. last May in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bradley looked slow and too bulked up for the third fight, and that hurt his ability to put his shots together. But what hurt Bradley more than his loss of hand speed and punch volume, was the fact that he spent too much valuable time in the fight staying on the outside and moving around the ring. That was a plan that would never work against an aggressive fighter like Pacquiao, because it enabled him to win rounds the easy way by being the aggressor.
Bradley’s movement made him look like he was trying to evade Pacquiao rather than fight him. That made Bradley look scared, and the judges obviously were never going to give the rounds to Bradley with him look like that. You can blame Bradley’s trainer Teddy Atlas for failing to give him another “Fireman” speech to impress upon him the need for him to reverse course and go after Pacquiao to make the fight an actual fight instead of Bradley stalling out the fight with his nonstop movement. That’s what it looked like Bradley was doing. It appeared that he was just trying to stall out the rounds with movement.
Sunday afternoon featured UFC Fight Night 86: Rothwell vs. Dos Santos from Arena Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia. The event was headlined by a five-round bout in the heavyweight division as #4-ranked Ben Rothwell puts his 4-fight win streak on the line when he takes on former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos. Going in, many thought Junior was done. They were wrong.
BEN ROTHWELL VS. JUNIOR DOS SANTOS
BY RYAN FREDERICK of the Wrestling Observer
ROUND 1- Dos Santos definitely looks different from when he was champion so let's see if he's a different fighter still. Not much happening in the first round. Dos Santos lands a left hook. Rothwell with a big right hand and Dos Santos circles away. They each land a punch. Dos Santos with a right hand to the body and follows with a body shot. Rothwell with a leg kick. Rothwell with an overhand right. Rothwell lands another. Dos Santos with a right hand. They exchange in the pocket. Dos Santos with a left hand to the body. Rothwell lands a big right hand. Dos Santos with more punches to the body. Rothwell with a leg kick. 10-9 Dos Santos.
ROUND 2- Rothwell with a right hand and he slips for a moment but gets right back up. They are trading punches but Rothwell isn't changing stances. Rothwell's right eye is starting to swell. Dos Santos with a Superman punch. He lands a straight right hand. Rothwell with a leg kick. Dos Santos with a right hand to the body. Rothwell pokes Dos Santos in the eye and we have a break in action. Back to fighting and Rothwell lands some leg kicks. Dos Santos with a right hand. Dos Santos with a left hand and then lands a right hand. Dos Santos with a big right hand and then a front kick to the body drops Rothwell but the round ends. 10-9 Dos Santos, 20-18 Dos Santos.
ROUND 3- Dos Santos with more body punches and he lands a nice combo. Rothwell misses a head kick. Dos Santos with a body punch. Rothwell with a nice combination. Dos Santos lands a straight right hand. Dos Santos with a jab to the body. Rothwell with a right hand. Dos Santos is starting to land a lot more right now. Dos Santos with a spinning kick to the body and then more punches to the body of Rothwell. Dos Santos with a right hand. Rothwell is missing on his punches. Dos Santos with another spinning kick to the body and he just misses a right hand. Rothwell barely lands a right hand. 10-9 Dos Santos, 30-27 Dos Santos.
ROUND 4- Dos Santos going back after the body and he lands a left hook. Dos Santos with a right hand. They trade side kicks to the body. Dos Santos with a right hand and then another. Rothwell is in a lot of trouble. Dos Santos goes back after the body with punches. Dos Santos continuing after the body with punches. Rothwell is just unable to land anything and is eating a lot of shots. Rothwell then lands a big right hand and just misses a head kick. Dos Santos with some jabs and then a right hand to the body. Rothwell misses a right hand. Dos Santos with more body punches and he is controlling this fight big. 10-9 Dos Santos, 40-36 Dos Santos.
ROUND 5- Rothwell needs a finish. Dos Santos with the jab. Rothwell tries to land a right hand but Dos Santos is circling away well. Rothwell with a body punch. Dos Santos lands a left hand. Dos Santos with more attacks to the body. Rothwell just misses a head kick. Dos Santos lands a knee and then goes back to the body. Dos Santos with more body punches. This is the best he has looked in many years. Dos Santos with a straight left hand and then a right hand. Rothwell lands a left hand but has been unable to do much else. Rothwell lands a left hook but then stumbles into the cage. Dos Santos with more left hands to the body and then an overhand right. Dos Santos with a spinning wheel kick that lands. Dos Santos with a front kick and then a combo to end the fight. Great performance from Dos Santos. 10-9 Dos Santos, 50-45 Dos Santos.
Junior Dos Santos def. Ben Rothwell by unanimous decision
(50-45, 50-45, 50-45)