Wednesday, 21 November 2007

UFC 78: Validation on Bravo - TV Review

It’s taken fourteen years, but finally there’s a Brit in the main event of a UFC pay-per-view, as Michael Bisping tackles Rashad Evans, the headline fight for UFC 78: Validation, shown on a twenty four hour delay here in Britain on Bravo. Our hosts for the evening, as always, are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.
The broadcast begins with action from the lightweight division, as Spencer Fisher faces off against Frankie Edgar. This was one of those fights where there wasn’t a dull moment. Edgar was able to take Fisher down at will, controlling the majority of the bout, although for most of the time he was unable to capitalise on his advantage. All he could do was frustrate his opponent. But in the end it was enough, as Edgar won the unanimous judge’s decision. A good performance from Edgar here, if only he could have done more with his dominant positions.

Up to the middleweight division next, with Ed Herman against Joe Doerksen. Another action packed fight to continue the show saw Herman controlling the first round, opening up a cut on Doerksen’s left eye lid with a grazing jab, and able to take him down whenever he wanted to. The second round saw Doerksen coming back strongly, and if it hadn’t been for the bell, he would have surely had the victory with a triangle choke. But this didn’t mean a thing as, in the early stages of the third and final round, Herman connected with a hard left that sent Doerksen sprawling to the canvas, giving Herman the knockout victory. Two good fights in a row now.
Action from the welterweight division follows, Karo Parisyan taking on Ryo Chonan. Keeping up the momentum of good fights on this show, and although the Japanese fighter has his moments, it was obvious from the beginning that this fight belonged to Karo. Putting in another exceptional performance, he seemed in control of the fight from the opening bell to the final round. Like others before him, Karo seemed able to take his opponent down at will. Chonan managed to get in a few good shots, but it was obvious that he had nothing to match Karo’s skill. With the fight going the three round distance, Karo won the unanimous decision, and while some of the crowd booed because they thought the fight was boring, this writer thought it was a good performance.

Then it’s time for a light heavyweight fight, with Houston Alexander and Thiago Silva. This was probably one of the most anticipated fights of the past few months, and it certainly lived up to the hype. Alexander controlled things early with a takedown, but Silva soon gained control, and while in the guard position, unleashed with the ground and pound. Alexander had absolutely no defence against this, and was the reason he got knocked out. Silva went into this one with a plan, and executed it to perfection. A great performance here.

Main event time, and we stay in the light-heavyweight division as my fellow Brit Michael Bisping faces the challenge of Rashad Evans, both of them stars of The Ultimate Fighter series. This was a three round corker. The early stages saw Evans take control, at one point lifting Bisping onto his shoulders and slamming him to the mat. He controlled the rest of the first round, and the first half of the second, until Bisping came back strongly and unleashed with a few good combinations. This lead to the third round, which saw both fighters putting in a good account of themselves. Sadly, I didn’t get the result I wanted, as the split decision went in the favour of Evans. A very good fight, worthy of it’s spot on the card, and one can’t help but feel sorry for Bisping for the effort he put in. But credit to Evans for putting on a winning performance.
In conclusion - despite there being no title fights and no “marquee” names on this show, Validation was a solid show, even though I wasn’t exactly happy with the outcome of the main event. From top to bottom we got great matches, and the UFC crew did a great job on this one. Kudos to Dana White and his friends.