Sunday, 16 September 2007

UFC 62: Lidell v Sobral on Bravo - TV Review

Re-matches seem to be the in thing in the Ultimate Fighting Championships at the moment. We’ve had Sylvia v Arlovski, Ortiz v Shamrock II, and now Chuck Lidell v Renato Sobral for the Light-Heavyweight title at UFC 62, shown on a twenty-four hour delay on Bravo here in Britain, with are hosts for evening, Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan calling the shots from Las Vegas.

We begin the show in the lightweight division, with Jamie Varner facing Hermes Franca, easily recognisable with his dyed green hair. With the first two rounds looking pretty even, Franca turned things up a notch in the third, connecting with a few knees, and not even a time-out could save Varner, who looked exhausted by the time Franca applied an armbar for the tap-out in what was a highly impressive showing from the Brazilian fighter.

Next up, heavyweight action, and a battle of the Europeans as Hungary’s Christian Wellisch tackles France’s Cheick Kongo. Wellisch started off well with some good grappling, but Kongo came back well, connecting with some good punches and finishing off the Hungarian with a knee to the head which was enough for the ref to stop the fight. Given a couple of more good showings like this, and Kongo could be in line for a shot at the heavyweight title.

Moving on to the welterweights, with Josh Neer facing Nick Diaz. The first two rounds saw the fighters employ the stand-up game, which Diaz clearly had the upper hand in, and Diaz continued with his advantage in the third, taking Neer down as he tried to apply a guillotine choke, making Neer tap a few moments later with a kimura.

Re-match time in the light-heavyweight division, as Forrest Griffin goes up against Stephan Bonnar. Picking up where they left off just over a year ago, the two former Ultimate Fighter contestants put on another great fight full of drama and tension, with both me preferring the stand-up game, and Griffin showing just how much he’s come on by edging it and winning the judge’s unanimous decision. Afterwards there was talk of Griffin possibly fighting for the title, but as with Kongo in the last but one fight, he may need a couple of more fights under his belt before he challenges the likes of Chuck Lidell.

Main event time, as Chuck Lidell defends the Light-Heavyweight title against a man he’s beaten before, Renato Sobral, who has won seventeen of his last eighteen fights. This one was quick and again proof that Lidell may be the best fighter in his weight class at the moment. Sorbral got in a couple of shots early on, but when Lidell connected with an uppercut, it was the beginning of the end, with the referee stopping the fight seconds later after a barrage from the champion for a title retaining victory.

In conclusion - the UFC continues to impress, and for me it’s more than a viable alternative to professional wrestling at the moment. As I said before, Chuck Lidell may be the best fighter in his weight class at the moment, and hopefully the fight with Wanderlai Silva isn’t dead.

Here’s looking forward to next month, as Matt Hughes defends his Welterweight title against former champion B.J. Penn.