UFC 135 featured many fighters walking out to their standard tunes as well as several fight-themed anthems fitting for the MMA battlefield. The air was thin in the mile-high city, but the airwaves rang true with many familiar songs.
Ricardo Romero, who walked in to the Beastie Boys’ “Slow and Low,” was probably feeling pretty low after his slow performance against James Te Huna. His opponent was anything but slow, doling out punishing uppercuts to end the fight in the first round.
A UFC fighter walking out to a song titled “I Need a Doctor” doesn’t inspire confidence. Heavyweight Mark Hunt came out to the Eminem and Dr. Dre song that says, “I need a doctor, to bring me back to life.” Though an odd choice, he managed to secure a decision victory over opponent Ben Rothwell. Both big men probably needed a doctor after the three-round slugfest at high altitude.
Rothwell came out to the more appropriately titled “Burn it to the Ground.” Confident lyrics like, “We’ve got no fear, no doubt, all in, balls out” certainly assert self-assurance. Unfortunately for Rothwell, all the confidence in the world couldn’t protect him from gassing in Denver. After taking some strong blows to the knee in the second round and a cut above his eye, Rothwell was the one who needed a doctor, and literally had to be helped into corner after the round.
Brazilian fighter Junior Assuncao went with a fight classic, Survivor’s “Burning Heart” from the film Rocky IV. The song speaks of the indomitable spirit of a fighter with lyrics like, “In the warrior’s code/ There’s no surrender/ Though his body says stop/ His spirit cries never.” His performance matched up with the lyrics as he earned a unanimous decision victory over Eddie Yagin.
Yagin came out to a classic pump-you-up song, ”American Badass” by Kid Rock. Yagin echoed the fighter’s mantra with the choice of a song with lyrics like, “I live and die for this.” The Filipino-American badass didn’t look as confident as the Kid Rock song implied, as he ate knees and punches throughout the three-round fight.
Takeya Mizugaki went with the popular rock song “Numb” by Linkin Park. Though the song speaks of feeling lost, it also stresses independence and a desire to stick to your guns. Lyrics like, “All I want to do/ Is be more like me and less like you,” highlight the fighter’s defiance and desire to stand out. He did just that when he ended the fight with a flurry of punches during the second round.
Mizugaki’s opponent Cole Escovedo opted for a solid choice of Eminem’s ”Won’t Back Down”. Eminem raps, “You can sound the alarm/You can call out your guards/ But I won’t back down.” Escovedo stuck to this game plan for the first round and a half, going toe-to-toe with Mizugaki, but lost his momentum and suffered a TKO loss.
Nate Diaz chose “Ballad of a Dead Soulja” by Tupac Shakur. Despite the ominous song title, Diaz ended up victorious with an impressive armbar at the end of the first round against Takanori Gomi. The lyrics proved to be rather telling of the drama of another Diaz, Nate’s brother Nick, who lost the chance to fight for the title against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 137 when he failed to appear for pre-fight press appearances. The lyrics to the song Nate chose say, “The plan, to take command of the whole family.” He is doing what he can to redeem the family name in the eyes of UFC brass.
Josh Koscheck, who took his fight against MMA legend Matt Hughes on very short notice, stuck with his usual song, “Higher Ground” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. With his knockout of the night victory over the UFC hall of famer, Koscheck has indeed reached higher ground in the minds of many fans.
Hughes came out to his regular A Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams Jr. As it turned out, this country boy couldn’t survive the strikes of Koscheck. The song might be somewhat prophetic, as Hughes was rumored to possibly retire after this fight. Following his loss, Hughes announced he did not plan to retire just yet.
Another fighter who kept his traditional tune was Jon “Bones” Jones who again came out to ”God Gave Me Style” by 50 Cent. Whomever gave him what he’s got, he was surely showing it last night. Though Quinton “Rampage” Jackson certainly didn’t make it easy for Jones as they battled for four rounds, Jones secured fight of the night honors with his rear naked choke victory.
Jackson came out to ”I Ain’t Going Back to Jail” by Project Pat. Though he did do a brief stint in jail following a 2008 hit and run incident, the song seemed to speak to another issue. The lyrics like, “Wanted Project Pat to fail but the money piles,” insinuate a desire to silence the doubters. Going up against a young star like Jones, Jackson seemed to want to show he had what it takes to reclaim his title, but he just couldn’t hold on long enough to survive Jones’ choke.