Sunday, 16 September 2007

UFC 63: Hughes v Penn on Bravo - TV Review

Matt Hughes is the most dominant champion in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but one man, his toughest opponent, B.J. Penn, stands in his way in the latest defence of his welterweight title at UFC 63: Hughes v Penn, shown in a twenty-four hour delay on Bravo here in Britain, with our hosts for the evening, Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.

We begin the show in the lightweight division, as the returning Jens Pulver faces the debuting Joe Lauzon. This was a quick one, with a surprising outcome. Lauzon took Pulver down early, and soon took out the former champion with a knee, quickly followed by a left hook, which sent Pulver crashing, with the referee stopping the fight and giving the TKO victory to Lauzon. The fight time? Just forty-eight seconds. An impressive debut from Lauzon here.

On to the light-heavyweights, with Rashad Evans facing Jason Lambert. Evans was highly impressive in this one, controlling Lambert throughout the first round with excellent all-round skills, and taking Lambert out in the second, taking him down, getting the full-mount and starting the ground and pound, knocking Lambert out. Great stuff from Evans here, and hopefully we’ll see more of him in the future.

More lightweight action follows, between Melvin Guillard and Gabe Ruedigger, another UFC debutant. Guillard began the first round quickly, and looked like he could win several times, before Ruedigger came back well and looked like he could win at the end of the round. But then the second didn’t last long as a crushing blow to Ruedigger’s mid-section saw him double over, and the referee stopping the fight with Guillard getting the TKO win.

On to middleweight action, as Mick Swick faced David Loiseau. The first round saw Loiseau looking very nervous, with Swick able to use his speed to gain the advantage with a takedown. The second round was really slow, with very little action, save for a solitary takedown. Loiseau seemed to finally wake up in the third, catching Swick with some good shots, but it wasn’t enough as Swick came back well towards the end of the fight, which was enough to earn him the victory via unanimous decision.

Yet more lightweight action follows, between Tyson Griffin and David Lee, Britain’s latest export to the UFC. Sadly, my fellow Englishman didn’t fare too well, as Griffin, who was also making his UFC debut, quickly took him down and applied a rear naked choke, with Lee tapping out seconds later.

Main event time, as Matt Hughes defends the UFC Welterweight title against B.J. Penn. The first two rounds saw great action from both men, especially the second, as Penn fought back from Hughes’ onslaught, which saw Penn almost getting the win with a triangle choke/armbar combination, with Hughes probably being saved by the bell. A fatigued Penn came out for the third, and Hughes went to work, taking Penn down, isolating both of his arms, and unloading with a barrage of fists. With Penn unable to defend himself, the ref had no choice but to stop the fight. A hell of a contest, and once again proof of how dominant Hughes is right now. Afterwards, George St. Pierre, Hughes’ next challenger and the man Penn replaced because of injury, came into the octagon and told everyone that he wasn’t very impressed with Hughes’ performance, which only served to annoy Hughes and his thousands of fans.

In conclusion - hey, it’s UFC, and it was a great show, with Hughes/Penn top of the list. The only downer was that David Lee lost! Maybe he’ll get another bite of the cherry soon!

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