Tuesday, 1 January 2008

UFC 79: Nemesis on Bravo - TV Review

It’s the fight mixed martial arts fans have been waiting years for. Lidell v Silva. Chuck v Wanderlei. The battle of the two best light-heavyweight fighters in the world right now. Oh, and there’s also a fight between a couple of welterweights as well. So it’s time for my review of UFC 79: Nemesis, shown on a twenty-four hour delay here in Britain on Bravo. As usual, our hosts for the evening are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.
After the usual introductions, it’s on to the action, and the first fight of the show sees Melvin Guillard take on Rich Clementi in the lightweight division. A fast and exciting battle saw both men get the upper hand for a few moments, until Clementi managed to take Guillard’s back, taking over-and-under control, synching in a rear naked choke, with Guillard having no choice but to tap out. And when all was said and done, this didn’t end the bad blood between the two fighters, and it looked like a second fight would break out afterwards. A great way to begin the broadcast, with an awesome performance from Clementi.

Then it’s up to the light heavyweight division, with Lyoto Machida against Sokoudjou. Sokoudjou came into this fight with a lot of hype, hype that wasn’t really justified. He looked lost in the octagon against a fighter of Machida’s class, who dominated from the word go, and it was towards the end of the second road that Machida locked in the arm triangle to get the tap out victory. A dominating performance from Machida, and Joe Rogan put it best when he said that Sokoudjou offered nothing here.

Up a division to the heavyweights, as Eddie Sanchez faces Soa Palelei. Palelei, like his fellow debutant Sokoudjou before him, looked very poor. But then again, this fight was a little poor as well. The only action came when Sanchez was able to connect with a few stiff blows, one of which bloodied the Australian’s nose. Just over ninety seconds from the end of the fight, the referee stepped in and stopped the fight, awarding the TKO win to Sanchez. A disappointing fight on all parts here.

Back down a division, and it’s the fight we’ve all been waiting for. Chuck Lidell v Wanderlei Silva. The Iceman against the Axe Murderer. Need I say more? Right from the start, this had the big fight feel about it. Fought mostly in the stand-up position, things looked pretty even until Lidell turned things up a notch halfway through the second, and by the end of that round Silva’s face was a bloody mess. The third began with Lidell taking Silva down, before they returned to the stand-up game, where Lidell turned things up a notch once again, hurting Silva with a series of combinations, before taking Silva down again towards the end of the fight. It was an awesome performance from Lidell, earning him the unanimous judges decision. A well deserved win for the Iceman, and a tremendous contest.

Main event time, and with Matt Serra injured, former champions Matt Hughes and George St. Pierre square off for the interim Welterweight title, with Hughes looking to avenge the defeat he suffered at the hands of the Canadian. It was a dominating performance from St. Pierre, able to take Hughes down at will, with Hughes seemingly unable to do anything to stop him. Outclassed, Hughes verbally tapped out to St. Pierre’s kimura as the second round came to an end, winning the interim title. This was probably the most dominating performance I’ve seen from an MMA fighter all year.

In conclusion - aside from the disappointing Sanchez/Palelei fight, UFC 79 was a great way to end the year. Lidell v Silva more than lived up to expectations, and while it was sad to see Matt Hughes lose again, the performance of George St. Pierre was something to hold, and at this moment in time he’s probably the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world. 

So another good outing for Dana White’s crew here, and a great way to end the wrestling/MMA pay-per-view year.

And while I’m on the subject - a happy new year to all the readers of The Two Sheds Review. Once again, thank you for your continued support.