Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

It was billed as the best MMA card ever. The Affliction "Banned" card didn't quite reach that level but it was a very good show and in the end overwhelmed UFC's attempt at counter-programming. It wasn't a complete KO but we'll give Affliction a 30-27 win.

Between the two cards, the favorites won 17-of-18 fights that were booked in Las Vegas. A few upsets may have helped the intrigue on both cards.

The Affliction card featured four really entertaining fights with the capper being the unreal destruction of Tim Sylvia laid down by Fedor Emelianenko. The Josh Barnett knockout of Pedro Rizzo was awesome. Andrei Arlovski's athleticism was jaw-dropping against a very tough Ben Rothwell. Vitor Belfort's debut at 185 over Terry Martin was very good as well. For fans who are into the nuances and technical end of the fight game, the Babalu, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Matt Lindland fights were all entertaining as well.

The UFN 14 card was really sputtering to a close before the big win by Anderson Silva. UFC was saved in some ways by the vicious knockout of James Irvin by Silva. The lead-in fight with Brandon Vera and Reese Andy was a total snoozer. Vera was clearly affected by his weight cut and Andy had nothing on the feet. The bout before that featured Frank Edgar putting on a nice exhibition of ground control and transitions against Hermes Franca but for the casual fan it was a tough fight to watch.

UPDATE: We went back and watched the UFC card one more time. We'll change our score to Affliction 29-28. The Cain Velasquez win was quick but dominant. It was impressive to see Velasquez pin both of Jake O'Brien's arms down then land 78-of-79 punches over the next 47 seconds. It was also cool watching C.B. Dollaway submit Jesse Taylor with the little known Peruvian Necktie. The Edgar-Franca fight did get UFN 14 Fight of Night by default. There weren't many candidates on the card. The fact that such a one-sided bout got Fight of the Night, says a lot about the card.

UFC's card did bring out the celebs so there was often more to watch in the stands than in the cage. The Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce (pictured with Sacramento Kings owner Gavin Maloof) was on hand as were several members of the Kings. Patrick Ewing Jr., Kevin Martin, Spencer Hawes and Brad Miller all seemed to enjoy the card from a skybox at the Pearl Theatre. Sitting ringside were Usher and Mandy Moore. UFC fighters Frank Mir, Dan Henderson, Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin all made appearances as well.

Not surprising was the absence of Quinton Jackson. UFC Dana White inferred on Friday that Jackson would be under medical care through the weekend. That wasn't the case as he was seen watching the Affliction card live in Anaheim.

Also on hand at Affliction were Donald Trump, Tito Ortiz, Jenna Jameson, James Toney, Michael Strahan, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, Don Johnson, Michael Madsen, Bill Goldberg, Rob Schneider, Manny Ramirez and Randy Couture.

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