Friday, October 29, 2010


I've been a fan of Brendan Schaub ever since his days as a cast member on The Ultimate Fighter Season 10. He made it to the finals that season but lost against heavy favorite Roy "Big Country" Nelson. He's very much a newcomer to this sport, but has shown genuinely constant improvements every time he steps in the cage. His last two fights prior to this featured some very impressive first round knockouts. His opponent this time, though, Gabriel Gonzaga, is a former top contender who has knockout power in both hands and feet, and is one of the stronger fighters in the division. 


Schaub comes out with very fast and accurate hands and some very impressive footwork. He's not being too aggressive at the moment, as he's still feeling out his opponent and getting comfortable with the reach.

Gonzaga, on the other hand, looks afraid to throw. Schaub lands several crisp jabs successfully throughout the round, just as Gonzaga begins to advance, and they seem to be resetting Gonzaga's mindset and position. Every time Gonzaga gets hit with one of these punches, it's like he goes back to square one and begins checking out his opponent anew. This happens often enough that Gonzaga hardly ever throws any strikes throughout the entire round.

Near the end of the round, Schaub manages to cleanly tag Gonzaga with a right hand, and though he didn't immediately capitalize on it, he eventually pressured Gonzaga and even knocked him down with another right.


At this point, it is all too clear what the game plan of these two titans are:
Schaub, all too familiar with the knockout power that Gonzaga has, plays it safe by scurrying wisely around his opponent with some well-planned footwrok and peppering him with some stealthy, but accurate jabs. Schaub has power in his punches too, though, so if he sees an opening, he should go for it and capitalize. Otherwise, just outscore his opponent and go for the unanimous decision if need be.

Gonzaga, on the other hand, seems to be looking for that head kick. He threw one or two head kicks in the first round and is clearly gauging the distance. Unfortunately, Schaub's got his number, and the fast footwork is constantly preventing Gonzaga to get a clear lock. Because of this, Gonzaga doesn't know what to do half of the time.

Gonzaga's countering this, though, by throwing a bunch of successful, and brutal, leg kicks. Jose Aldo can tell you what a couple of well placed leg kicks can do to a guy's mobility. Schaub can take it, though. Though the leg kicks are obviously having a cumulative effect on him, his general speed and footwork doesn't seem to have diminished much.

Schaub's showing a lot of strength as well against the man known as Napao. Gonzaga's tried to take Schaub down a few times during the match, but Schuab just pushes Gonzaga off successfully every time. He's also much more comfortable this round, as he manages to back up Gonzaga with consecutive combinations every  minute or so.


I'm actually very surprised at Gabriel Gonzaga. Two whole rounds in and he still hasn't adapted to his opponent. This is a serious veteran who's been in the sport for 7 years now, against a relative newcomer who's only been fighting professionally for 2 years.

Then again, this is how BJ Penn, one of the greatest Lightweights of all time, was beaten. Twice in a row. Speed killed the champ that time, and it looks like it's managing to fell Gonzaga this time around as well. Up until the last few seconds of the round, Gonzaga remained relatively docile. He still strikes very sparingly, and lacked almost any sort of aggression.

Brendan Schaub wins via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)


Brendan Schaub continues to impress this time around, showing the fans that he not only has his usual arsenal of strength and power at his disposal, but also speed, footwork, and the ability to go three whole rounds without running out of gas. He has now called out former champion Frank Mir, in hopes of climbing even further up the Heavyweight ladder.

Gabriel Gonzaga, on the other hand, has been officially cut from the UFC. Shame, because I'm still a fan of Napao and still consider a very strong heavyweight, though his terribly lackluster performance was probably a heavy factor in the decision.

Check out my reviews for the rest of the card, and head on over to the official UFC website for more amazing photos of the event!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...