Wednesday, 9 April 2008

UFC Ultimate Fight Night 13 on Bravo - TV Review

This edition sees us taking another trip into the world of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but not for a pay-per-view or DVD review, as we take a look at Ultimate Fight Night 13, shown this past weekend here in Britain on Bravo, with our regular hosts, Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.
The broadcast begins with action from the light-heavyweight division between Houston Alexander and James Irvin. This was a fast one. They squared up to each other, Irvin connected with a Superman punch, and Alexander fell like a sack of spuds, and the referee stepped in as Irvin went for the ground and pound and Irvin connected with another solid shot. The knockout time - eight seconds. Impressive stuff from Irvin, although, as I’ve said before, it’s kind of hard to rate a fight that lasts only a few seconds.
Then it’s down to the lightweight division, with Nate Diaz facing Kurt Pellegrino. The first round saw a dominating performance from Pellegrino, as he controlled Diaz in every position on the ground, and bloodied up his face. Indeed, for a few moments Diaz looked out of it, and was clearly on the defensive. The second round saw a much better performance from Diaz. Although Pellegrino once again controlled the round from the outset, Diaz came back strongly, and after Pellegrino took him down for the final time, Diaz was able to synch in the triangle choke, with Pellegrino tapping moments later. If truth be told I didn’t think Diaz would be able to come back given his performance in the first round, but he showed a lot to come back from a losing position to get the win.
Back to the light-heavyweights next, with Matt Hamill and Tim Boetsch. With the first round looking even, even though Hamill suffered a cut lip thanks to a couple of hard knees from Boetsch, Hamill turned things up a little in the second. When Boetsch took Hamill down, he did nothing afterwards, and Hamill rained down with an almost continuous barrage of blows, and with Boetsch doing nothing to defend himself, the referee had no choice but to step in and top the punishment. An impressive end from Hamill here.
Welterweight action follows, with Karo Parisyan facing Thiago Alves. As with the previous fight, the first round looked very even, the finish came quickly at the beginning of the second. Alves connected with a left knee to the face, and as Parisyan crumpled, Alves connected with a couple of blows before the referee stopped the fight, much to the annoyance of Parisyan, who thought the stoppage was premature. A good fight here, the exchanges in the first and the explosive start to the second making this one.
Sticking with the welterweights, with Tommy Speer facing Anthony Johnson. This one didn’t last a minute. Showing tremendous hand speed, Johnson unleashed with a barrage of blows which Johnson simply didn’t answer, with a hard right knocking Speer down, and earning him the knockout victory. A great performance from Johnson here, and that’s one fighter I’ll be looking forward to seeing again in the future.
Then it’s back down to the lightweight division, with Frank Edgar facing Gray Maynard. The first round began with the fight looking pretty even, although Edgar managed to open up a cut about Maynard’s eye. Maynard gained the upper hand a little when he took Edgar down, although he was able to work his way back to his feet. The second round proved to be very interesting, with both men equally as skilled as the other, each taking their man down a couple of times, and each scoring with some good combinations in the stand up positions. The third round saw Maynard as the dominant force, able to take Edgar down at will, although there were times when he didn’t really capitalise on his advantage. In the end Maynard’s performance earned him the unanimous judge’s decision, and rightfully so, just reward for a good performance.
Main event time, with Kenny Florian taking on Joe Lauzon in the lightweight division. This one had a somewhat controversial star. While Florian was lying on his back, he connected with several elbows, with a couple of them landing on the back of Lauzon’s head, a move which is illegal under UFC rules. And what was worse, the blows opened up a cut. The rest of the round proved to be action packed, with each man having their moments, especially Lauzon, who almost locked in a heel hook on a couple of occasions. The second round was just as action packed. Lauzon had his moments, but the momentum quickly shifted to Florian, who rained down with a series of blows for what seemed like an eternity, and the only reason the referee didn’t stop the fight was because Lauzon kept trying to escape. But there came a time when Lauzon stopped trying to escape, and as Florian connected with numerous unanswered blows, the referee stepped in to stop the fight, with Florian getting the TKO victory. The best fight of the night here, with Florian putting on a great showing.
In conclusion - this is the first free-to-air UFC show I’ve reviewed since the third Ortiz/Shamrock fight, and I have to admit that I didn’t think it would be as good as a pay-per-view. But I was wrong. From top to bottom we had seven fights that were good in their various ways, with the Florian/Lauzon contest being fight of the night. A very good show from the UFC here, and let’s hope that once the UFC’s contract with Setanta Sports in Britain begins in earnest in June, we’ll get to see a lot more of these shows over here.
Don’t forget to check out my online store at www.lulu.com/twosheds316 to pick up a copy of my latest book, “The WAW Years”, which features all of my articles from within the British wrestling business between 2001 and 2005.