Column: Koco’s Corner #116 – (The Three Combat Sports “Stars of the Week” of 12/8 to 12/14 2013)
In ice hockey, the three stars of a match are the three best players as chosen by a third party, with the first star considered the best of the three players, akin to the man of the match in other sports. So once a week on Koco’s Corner I will choose the three stars of the week from all of the Combat Sports.
Sorry about this column being posted so late, my health was horrible in the beginning of the week and my other job got in the way. But I am proud to announce I finished my novel and will focus my attention to my true love this site. Pablo and Gerry have been working to make the site awesome and in 2014 I’m going to demand I stay healthy(that will work… right?) and be awesome with the site. Thank you for those who stuck by me during a very hard 2013.
On to the awards:
1. Demetrious Johnson (MMA)
In a shot that no one seemed to see coming, least of all Joseph Benavivdez, Demetrious Johnson retained his flyweight title with a massive knockout on Saturday night in front of Benavidez’s hometown fans.
With Benavidez throwing a left, Johnson drilled him with a right hand on the button. Benavidez’s legs gave out and he hit the canvas. “Mighty Mouse” dropped four more fists on the challenger before the stoppage came at the 2:08 mark of the first round.
The flyweight title bout was the main event of today’s UFC on FOX 9 event at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. It aired on FOX following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and Kocosports.com.
Benavidez pushed forward early with kicks as Johnson danced on the outside. The challenger backed the champ up several times early with kicks, then tried to get inside with punches while changing his stance.
But as Johnson took the center of the cage and backed Benavidez up toward the fence, he then landed a bomb of a right hand that may have had Benavidez out before he even hit the canvas.
After referee John McCarthy pulled Johnson off, the champ did a backflip in the center of the octagon to celebrate. He became the first fighter to finish Benavidez – who now has four losses in his career, with two to Johnson and two to bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
Johnson defended his flyweight title for the third time. He won the belt 15 months ago with a split-decision win over Benavidez at UFC 152 in Toronto. Talk before the fight was that the rematch might prove to be much different with Benavidez training under new Team Alpha Male head coach Duane Ludwig. But this time around was clearly decisive – and not in the way some were expecting.
“Tonight was a great moment for my career, but in reality it’s just another fight,” Johnson said. ”My goal is to keep evolving and displaying my skill set to fans and having them enjoy my fights.”
Benavidez was understandably disappointed, and now has lost all three of the title fights he’s been in – two to Johnson and a shot at the WEC bantamweight title against Cruz.
“I’m so upset right now – I thought tonight was going to be my night,” Benavidez said.
Johnson (19-2-1 MMA, 7-1-1 UFC) won for the fifth straight time and won by knockout for the first time since February 2010. Benavidez (19-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) had a three-fight winning streak snapped.
UFC on FOX 9: Demetrious Johnson Post-Fight Interview
Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson speaks with Joe Rogan about his stunning knockout of Joseph Benavidez to retain his title.
2. Marcos Maidana (Boxing)
Marcos Maidana overpowered Adrien Broner to take the WBA welterweight championship, knocking him down twice in a unanimous decision Saturday night.
Maidana was dominant in handing Broner his first loss in 28 bouts. After the judges’ scores of 115-110, 116-109 and 117-109 were announced in favor of the Argentine boxer, Broner ran out of the ring.
Broner is nicknamed “The Problem,” but Maidana (35-3) had the answer with power that the three-time world champion had never faced before.
With the victory, Maidana set up a possible fight against Keith Thurman, who stopped Jesus Soto Karass in the ninth round on the undercard.
Maidana staggered Broner early in the opening round with an overhand right to the back of the head, causing the American to stumble trying to regain his footing.
Maidana then sent Broner tumbling into the ropes early in the second round with a lunging left hook to the chin. After a standing eight count, Broner charged and wrapped up Maidana’s upper legs in an attempt to recover.
Maidana landed 57 punches in the opening two rounds to only 13 for Broner. But the American regained his balance, spending the next five rounds trading punches and clenches before Maidana took control.
Maidana floored Broner in the eighth round with a left to the midsection and an overhand right. After another standing eight count, Broner was hit in the jaw by Maidana’s head and went to the canvas again.
Maidana pummeled Broner again in the ninth round, unleashing combination after combination the American struggled to avoid.
Marcos Maidana – Post-Fight Interview – SHOWTIME Boxing
Straight from the ring following his victory over Adrien Broner, Marcos Maidana talks to SHOWTIME Sports.
3. CM Punk (Pro Wrestling)
CM Punk def. U.S. Champion Dean Ambrose
How’s this for Insult of the Year? Despite the fact that CM Punk bested the self-proclaimed “baddest man in The Shield,” Dean Ambrose, it was the star-spangled champion’s ascendant teammate Roman Reigns that truly left The Straight Edge Superstar humiliated after the match was over.
Suffering through a set of bruised ribs, the bout was an uphill battle for Punk from the word go. Ambrose ruthlessly exploited his opponent’s injury, countering a cross body with a knee to the chest that left the former WWE Champion writhing in pain. Punk slowly fought his way to an advantage with body blows of his own, and Ambrose’s hasty dismissal of his Shield-mates after a ringside spat left him vulnerable to a surprise roll-up from Punk. The Shield’s pack-of-Hounds mentality kicked in immediately, though, when Rollins distracted Punk at ringside and Reigns capitalized, obliterating the battered victor with his Slammy Award-winning Spear.
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