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Now let us get to the main attraction, it was 55,000 that filled the Rogers Centre for the first MMA event in Toronto Canada, UFC 129.
The headline of course Montreal’s own GSP VS Jake Shields. The first fight took place close to 6:20 pm. It was a good fight which allowed the crowd to start roaring and of course the loudest ovation was for the octagon girls. There were a couple of fights leading up to the 8:00 pm preliminary fights which would be broadcasted on Spike and Sportsnet. There was one fight in particular that got the crowd up and going nuts. It was a stunning spinning back fist to the face which landed a massive knockout. Now we thought it would be the KO of the night but there was another great KO that night that I will discuss a little later, which won the fight of the night. Sitting watching UFC with a Budweiser in front of 9 massive HD screens really was something else. It was an increduble feeling and I do agree with critics if you close it down to go to the ACC and have 21,000 going crazy the atmosphere would be bottled up and even better, but how can you deny 55,000+ fans. I mean you know in Toronto you can sell out 70,000 tickets if they could fit that amount so how can you deny all those fans and only go for 21,000. I think the UFC did the right thing and maybe after another 1-2 events they can make the switch and see if the experience really is better in a closed environment like the ACC.
8:00 pm finally came and UFC 129 was live! Everyone had the same idea as me unfortunately by going to the washroom and getting some food before the main fights started. Must of been 30+ in each line. The first fight was not the greatest, it saw Canadian own Sean Pierson get knocked out. The second fight was one of the best fights of the night. Rory Macdonald vs Nate Diaz. The crowd was going nuts! FU Diaz chants, Rory pushing the pace and what was probably 30,000 at that point going insane. Rory at one point managed to pick up Diaz 3 times and drop his on his head like a WWE style suplex. It was a tremendous fight and I saw it in Vancouver when Rory had his first UFC fight, the crowd loves him and he will be Champion some day. The Rogers Centre was screaming as loud as possible with Rory Rory Rory chants.
So far it was a great event and the main card did not even start yet. we had 2 ok fights to start things off and that led to machida vs Couture. The crowd embraced Randy as if he was Canadian, he is a hero and the crowd loved him. It was a good fight but Randy ended up getting knocked out with a stunning heel kick to the face from Machida. Soon as Randy got up he acknowledged the crowd which was pretty funny, and 55,000 people got up and gave him a deafening standing ovation. A great career over but he went out with the largest MMA crowd ever giving him a standing ovation so I am proud that I could say I saw his last fight.
The Co Main event featured Mark Homnick vs Jose Aldo. The first 3-4 rounds was all Aldo. Showing his skills and why he is Champion. Later in the match the cameras zoomed in and everyone saw a massive bruise starting to form on Homnick’s head. It was gruesome and looked like we was some sort of alien with his forehead coming out another 5 inches. 55,000 people looked in awe and you heard the ooos and awwsss throughout the stadium. After the 4th round the doctor check out Mark to see if he could continue and Mark said yes let me fight. The crowd falling in love with this guy and his heart and dedication he was showing. Than in the 5th the unthinkable happened, Mark got on top of Aldo and ground and pounded for the whole 5th round. Just laying rights and lefts and just feeling the energy of the crowd, everyone on their feet yelling and screaming the loudest I have ever heard a crowd, punching along with mark were some of the fans everyone thinking maybe, just maybe he can get a KO and win the belt. The bell rang and that was it, these two left it all in the octagon and made this fight one to remember. Also won the decision but Homnick left the match with a whole lot more fans. What a fight, and if you get a chance you should google what Mark had to fight with, which looked like a tennis ball coming out of his forehead.
Great energy fed the stadium and everyone was ready for the main event. The sad part was it did not deliver. The crowd so badly wanted to go crazy and chant GSP! but the fight was pretty weak and did not give the opportunity for the crowd to go insane. Sure there were times that it happened but nothing like if the fight would have been a great one. Many left disappointed, GSP had a problem out of one eye and I think that is why the fight was not as good as it could have been. I think the blame should be on Shields too because it is not like he did anything to push the pace or bring the fight to GSP. GSP is an athlete, someone who wins with strategy, he will not get you up off your feet with a KO or submission but he will outwork you 3 or 5 rounds and win. He is smart and really if you can keep winning that is all that matters. That is what you have to do to be great, win with strategy not with stunning KO’s to please the fans.
UFC 129 was good, it had a lot of great fights and no it was not the best card ever but it ended up being worth the money and one of the better cards.
Hey fellow Bloggers,
So this past weekend was a historic one in Toronto. The first MMA event to be held in the beautiful City of Toronto. First came the Fan Expo which allowed fans to meet some of there favourite fighters and take photos with them and get autographs. The event took place at the Direct Energy Centre on Friday and Saturday. I was one of the people who attended Friday. It was a great event and it all started from 10am-6pm. The lineup began very early as you could get your tickets starting from 8am. We managed to lineup for Rashad Evans and an hour later came out empty handed because he was only at that booth for 1 hour. We than tried to find the next booth he would be at but found ourselves in another line, which would be none other than BJ. Penn. This was one of the major problems, you could be in line for 1-2 hours and still come out empty handed, no photos, no autographs. My friend and I got to meet Mr.Penn and Mark Coleman happened to be there too. Penn was a cool guy but seemed to have more of an ego than the other fighters. In between we also met some other fighters that were near the line so we made the most of our time. Throughout the day I got to meet Jon Fitch, Chandella Powell, Eddie Wineland, Matt Mitrione and some other great fighters, but the main autographs we wanted were Clay Guida and Rashad Evans. Time was expiring and we still did not meet the two fighters we wanted to meet. So just happens that Diego sanchez was standing right beside me but my friend was not around me at that moment so I had nobody to take a picture of me and him. What a shame! No line, nothing, he was right beside me. Anyways we ended up getting in a line which was to meet Diego Sanchez but was ending in 20 minutes. Rumour was that Clay Guida was the fighter coming over, so we waited and waited over an hour until finally we got to meet Clay Guida. He was pretty zoned out, apparently watching the wiegh ins so he did not sign or meet any fans during that period. Well it doesn’t matter, the main thing is we got a photo of him and an autograph.
UFC is a very smart company and they know how to utilize their fighters and stars to make them more money. So they came up with a VIP line, if you buy a t shirt from that booth you get to skip the line and enter the VIP line. T shirts ranged from $25-50. The problem is if you want to meet 5 fighters are you really going to buy 5 t shirts. Of course this was only for the main fighters but still pretty ridiculous. We unfortunately did not get to meet Anderson Silva or Dan Hardy and I am sure I am forgetting another 2-3 people we wanted to meet. At he end of the day we did find another Rashad Evans line with just under 45 minutes until the expo closed. So my friend came through and bought a shirt from the booth granting us VIP entrance. Now apparently I was not allowed because it is only for those who buy something which is stupid because it should count towards me too. Well I was the camera man and gave my t shirt to my friend to get signed which Rashad did. I than asked him for a picture and he gave me some kind of look I thought he was going to punch me or something lol. I looked at the picture after and he was smiling while I looked kind of dazed. So I got to meet Rashad and got an autograph and picture but I sure wish I could have looked a little happy in the picture haha.
It was a fun day, and yea sure you can complain about a lot of things, like the lines, the outrageous food prices, but after all were all fans and at the end of the day getting photos with a bunch of fighters and meeting them personally is something priceless and makes it all worth it. The price of $35 is nothing and I think that is because they know food, shirts and lines will be of a much higher cost.
Matt Mitrione was one of the coolest fighters to talk to, he was a really nice guy. Chandella was also a cool person to meet and I wish I would have met Aryianny but I ended up being in a different line while my friend was in hers with no service on his phone. So depressing, but at least I got a photo of her, I am just not in it. It was a lot of fun and me and my friend both got UFC shirts full of autographs that we can later frame.
That was my day at the Fan Expo! I will post pics up soon!
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