Confidence was the theme of the night as UFC fighters came down the tunnel at the Rogers Centre in Ontario, Canada, to songs with titles like “Strength,” “It’s My Time” and “Bleed it Out.”
Bucking the trend of rap and rock, Pablo Garza went with the indie hit “Kids” by MGMT. Garza lived up to the lyrics like, “Making momma so proud” as he beautifully executed a flying triangle choke, a fly-angle if you will, against Yves Jabouin.
Mark Bocek walked out to “It’s My Time” by Fabolous. The melodic rap is declarative and exuded confidence. With lyrics like, “I’m a put it on the line because it’s my time” and “Soon as I walk in, it feels like me o'clock,” this was a solid song choice. Unfortunately for Bocek, it wasn’t his time quite yet and he succumbed to a close decision victory by Ben Henderson.
Henderson chose an equally confident walk-in song, Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life.” Henderson’s mission statement was clear with lyrics like, “It’s my life/It’s now or never,” and he fought hard through all three rounds to convince the judges his plan was “Don’t bend, don’t break/Baby, don’t back down.”
“All of the Lights” were surely on Claude Patrick as the hometown fighter chose the Kanye West track featuring Rihanna and Kid Cudi. His unanimous decision victory over Daniel Roberts echoed the line, “Getting mine baby,” as he chalked up another win for his 14-1 record.
Canadian Rory MacDonald trotted out to DMX’s “One More Road to Cross.” MacDonald likely looked at opponent Nate Diaz as another road to cross, which he did with little trouble. The lyrics state, “We all gots to go but who wants to be forgotten?” but his decisive victory against Diaz helped to further establish the young fighter’s reputation in the world of MMA.
Though his brother Nick has the more controversial back story, Nate Diaz has somewhat become a bad boy by association and his walk-in song was in the same vein. Diaz came down the tunnel to 2Pac’s “Last Ones Left,” an expletive-laden track. No amount of brash trash-talking could protect Diaz from the domination he suffered at the hands of MacDonald, who picked him up and slammed him to the ground three times. In the end it was the Canadian who was the last one left, left standing that is.
Vladimir “The Janitor” Matyushenko really cleaned up in the octagon. After walking in to Motorhead’s appropriately titled “Steal Your Face,” the Belarusian light heavyweight sealed the fate of opponent Jason Brilz in a mere 20 seconds.
Brilz chose a fun punk song for his walk-in, “Bro Hymn” by Pennywise. The pump-you-up anthem features a “Whoa-oh-oh-oh” chorus for the crowd to sing along to and amped up the 55,000 fans in attendance. The song definitely rallied the troops but Brilz went down immediately to Matyushenko’s first combination. The lyrics celebrate friendship with words like, “We can conquer anything together/ All of us are bonded forever,” but MMA is not a team sport and Brilz only had himself for backup against his formidable opponent who speedily overcame him.
Retiring UFC veteran Randy Couture made his final march down the tunnel to Red Rider’s “Lunatic Fringe.” The eerie whistle at the beginning of this song sets the tone for something important to come. The pauses in between the initial guitar riffs build excitement and lines like, “No you’re not going to win this time” issued a challenge to opponent Lyoto Machida.
Machida came out to the Linkin Park tune “Bleed it Out,” overly appropriate for a fight. In the end, it was Couture who lost a little blood when Machida knocked his tooth out with an impressive "Karate Kid"-style crane kick to the face, a move he learned from Steven Segal.
The co-main event featured Mark Hominick and Jose Aldo and both oddly chose songs with females singing at least part of the lyrics. A rarity in UFC playlists, these female-fronted songs proved appropriate.
Hominick came in to Diddy’s “I’m Coming Home” featuring Skylar Grey. The Canadian, from Ontario, was indeed coming home, as he fought his first UFC fight in his home country. Lyrics like, “Back where I belong, yeah I never felt so strong” cemented his local hero status as he was coming off a five-win streak. Despite tremendous efforts, especially in the final round when it appeared his opponent, Jose Aldo, was gassing, Hominick was unable to get the win.
Jose Aldo made it clear he was going to “Run This Town” after his fight with the local favorite. Coming out to the Jay-Z and Rihanna track was bold and Aldo’s confidence was on display as he went a full five rounds to earn the featherweight title and fight of the night honors.
In the main event, Jake Shields came out to “Renegades of Funk” by Rage Against the Machine, perhaps one of the most appropriate band names for walk-in music. Lyrics like, “No matter how hard you try, you can't stop us now” pretty much said it all. Shields’ confidence going into the fight wasn’t enough to overcome the champ, Georges St. Pierre, as Shields looked rather timid inside the octagon. Despite his song choice, the rage was lacking and the urgency was scant until the third round when he seemed to try and turn up the heat, but to no avail.
GSP, often known for choosing French raps, opted for English this time and came out to “Strength” by Stylez Major. These lyrics like, “Doubt me, I wish you would/ Man I do the things that you wish you could” illustrate GSP’s confidence and the dominance he continues to exert over his weight class. Fans are now clamoring for him to show his “Strength” against middleweight champ Anderson Silva.