UFC 79 notes: Clementi not apologizing for win
LAS VEGAS – Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva built up their battle for years. Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre boast one of the greatest rivalries in mixed martial arts.
But for pure venom, nothing matched the nastiness displayed in the pay-per-view opener of UFC 79 on Saturday night. Lightweights Rich Clementi and Melvin Guillard had a war of words that raged before, during and after their matchup at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Clementi won at 4:40 of the first round via rear naked choke.
“This guy talks (expletive) and can’t back it up,” Clementi said. “He has no respect. He talks and talks and he can’t get the job done.”
After the match, Clementi (30-12-1) stood over Guillard and made a crotch-chopping gesture. A heated Guillard got up and rushed toward Clementi, only to be stopped by referee Herb Dean. Clementi made a talking motion with his hand as Dean pulled Guillard away.
While MMA crowds generally jeer poor sportsmanship, the sellout Vegas crowd of 11,075 roared in approval of Clementi’s actions.
The victor continued the trash talk in his postfight interview, which steamed Guillard all over again. Guillard was escorted out of the octagon at that point.
“I wasn't disappointed about the fight. I was disappointed about the way he disrespected me after the fight,” said Guillard, who lost his second straight match. “That upset me. He was the better fighter tonight, but that was not necessary. If I get a rematch, it will be a different outcome next time.”
Hours later, Clementi held to his opinion of his vanquished foe.
“He’s a punk,” the veteran said in a one-on-one interview with Yahoo! Sports. “He got on The Ultimate Fighter and he got a big head and he (expletive) on everyone who helped him to get to where he got. This isn’t quashed. Not by a longshot. It wouldn’t be done until he learns some respect for people who have been in this business longer than he has. I’ll fight him again and I’ll expose him again.”
The win capped off a solid year for the resurgent Louisiana native, who won five of six matches in 2007 and three of four in the UFC.
“I feel like I’m comfortable where I’m at, fighting (1)55,” he said. “I’d like to fight Roger Huerta. You look at his record, he lost to Ryan Shultz and I beat Ryan, he lost to Melvin and had it overtuned and I beat him. I think I’m a good matchup for Roger.”
The loss concluded a tough 2007 for Guillard, who lost via submission in 28 seconds to Joe Stevenson in an Ultimate Fight Night main event in April, then was suspended for showing traces of cocaine in his system in his postfight drug test.
“I back up everything I say,” said Guillard (20-7-2). “If I say something, I mean it. I don't go back on my word. I'll be back. This isn't the end of me. I'm a young fighter. I still have a lot of good fights ahead of me.”
UFC 79 notes
It’s on: UFC president Dana White confirmed in the postfight news conference that Tim Sylvia will fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria for the vacant UFC heavyweight championship at UFC 81. The Feb. 2 show at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas will also feature Brock Lesnar’s UFC debut against former heavyweight champ Frank Mir.
Sylvia lost the UFC heavyweight title to Randy Couture in March. Couture resigned as champion several months ago. Sylvia, a two-time former champ, got back into position for a title shot with his decision win over Brandon Vera. Nogueira, the former PRIDE heavyweight champion, won his UFC debut over Heath Herring at UFC 73 in July.
Best way to return from an injury: Manny Gamburyan was winning his match against Nate Diaz in the Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale on June 23 when he dislocated his shoulder going for a takedown attempt in the second round. Diaz then went on to win the lightweight fight and claim the crown.
So when Gamburyan returned to face Nate Mohr on Saturday night, he decided to go right back to his bread and butter. Gamburyan fearlessly went for two takedowns right out of the gate. Mohr stuffed the first two, but Gamburyan persisted and scored a slam. Moments later, Gamburyan made Mohr tap with a nasty leglock at 1:31 of the first round.
“It felt good,” Gamburyan said. “It was so good to get back in action and get the one. Last time I talked to Dana White he was like, ‘Do you want to fight for the belt or fight Nate Diaz?’ I told him I want to fight Nate Diaz. That’s a big fight for me. I don’t feel like he really beat me.”
Most interesting message on a fighter’s shorts: “Jesus didn’t tap,” on Jordan Radev’s trunks. While Christ didn’t tap, the fans appeared ready to tap during the bout, as they frequently booed Dean Lister’s attempts to take the fight to the ground. Lister won in a unanimous decision (all 30-27 scores).
Quoteworthy: "The more people get involved in MMA, the more money gets involved, the better for the sport. More people will get involved in MMA and more good fighters will come along. They’re all going to end up with us anyway.” – Dana White on Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban’s interest in the MMA business.
Kevin Iole contributed to this report.