Sunday, 16 September 2007

UFC 65: Bad Intentions on Bravo - TV Review

It’s a busy pay-per-view schedule over the next few weeks, and we begin with a trip into the mixed martial arts world of the Ultimate FightingChampionship, with UFC 65: Bad Intentions, with two title defences. Our hosts for the evening are Mike Goldberg and “The Natural” Randy Couture.

The night starts in the Lightweight division, with America taking on Japan as the debuting Dokonjonosuke Mishima faces Ultimate Fighter
star Joe Stevenson. As the first round began, Stevenson looked very impressive as he quickly synched in a tight guillotine choke, and although Mishima was able to escape this and several other attempts, Stevenson synched it in for a second time to get the tap from Mishima with just two minutes to go. Stevenson looked very impressive in this one, and let’s hope he’s found his home in the lightweight division.

On to the Heavyweight division, as Frank Mir continues on the comeback trail after his accident, going up against Brandon Vera. Sadly, the comeback didn’t go according to plan. Vera connected with a
vicious looking knee with busted Mir open, and it was only a few moments later when the referee called a halt to proceeding as Vera unleashed with a barrage of punches with a ground and pound. Vera looked great in this one, but you have to wonder what’s next for Mir as he continues to rebuild his career.

Going down one division to the Light-Heavyweights, as Drew McFedries, a late replacement making his UFC debut, faces Alessio Sakara. Sakara, a former Italian boxing champion, took the upper hand early on, as his pugilistic skills carried him along with numerous shots. However, to everyone’s surprise, Sakara went to the mat after what looked like an uppercut from McFedries, leaving Sakara open to the ground and pound, and with Sakara defenceless, McFedries went in with the ground and pound, and the ref stopping the fight with just a minute to go in the first round.

We move on to the first title fight of the evening, as Jeff Monson challenges Tim Sylvia for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. It’s a kind of David v Goliath battle, with Sylvia having a near one foot height, ten inch reach and thirty pound weight advantage over Monson. The first round was very much a feeling out kind of round, with Monson going for the shoot a couple of times, and Sylvia managing to escape quite easily. Monson also got in a couple of good shots on the bigger man, although Sylvia clearly had the upper hand for the majority. It was pretty much the same in the second round, with Monson growing frustrated with his inability to take Sylvia down. Monson finally got the take down he was looking for at the beginning of the third, and although he was able to control things for the most part, Sylvia was able to use his reach advantage to good effect, opening up a nasty looking cut under Monson’s right eye. The round ended with Sylvia coming back strongly. The fourth round proved to be just as good as the third, with Sylvia showing some great grappling skills, dominating in the guard position, and almost synching in the triangle choke. However, it didn’t all go to Sylvia, with Monson showing some great skills as well to reverse the situation for a few moments. Monson ended the round with his right eye getting worse by the second. The fifth and final round couldn’t live up to the excitement of the previous two, and at one point referee Big John McCarthy chastised both fighters for their lack of action as both men were visibly tiring. Monson looked like a beaten man as the fight came to an end, and the judges saw it that way too, awarding Sylvia the unanimous decision in a fight that had both it’s good and bad points.

Main event time, with Matt Hughes defending the UFC Welterweight title angst Georges St. Pierre. Both fighters looked on top of their game early on, although St. Pierre earned the ire of the ref with a couple of accidental low blows, but as the round came to an end, St. Pierre caught Hughes with a hard right hand that sent Hughes crashing to the mat, and opened up a cut above his left eye. St. Pierre continued with his dominance into the second, and soon caught Hughes with a good high kick which sent him crashing to the mat for a second time. He then leapt on top of him and unleashed the ground and pound, before the ref stepped in to award the fight and the title to St. Pierre with a knockout win. To say that the Canadian looked impressive in this one would be a massive understatement.

In conclusion - for someone who is growing disenchanted with the professional wrestling business, the Ultimate Fighting Championship continues to provide a more than viable alternative. A good undercard lead up to a mixed bag of a heavyweight title fight, before we got an excellent performance from St. Pierre as he stopped the most dominant welterweight in UFC history. UFC 65 proved to be a good show for the most part, with everyone gearing up to the showdown between Chuck Lidell and Tito Ortiz next month.