Sunday, 20 September 2009

UFC Ultimate Fight Night 19 on ESPN - TV Review

As an appetiser to this Saturday’s coming show, the Ultimate Fighting Championship travelled to Oklahoma City for their nineteenth Ultimate Fight Night show, shown live her in Britain in the early hours of Thursday morning, and headlined by a lightweight battle between Nate Diaz and Melvin Guillard. Commentary for this one was handled by Mike Goldberg and Kenny Florian.

The broadcast began with middleweight action as Nate Quarry faced off against Tim Credeur. This was a great fight to start the show off with. Credeur almost got the win in the first with a rear naked choke, which Quarry managed to escape from. From there, Quarry really upped his game, getting the better of Credeur in both the stand-up and ground games, and looking like he could get the win any minute with his ground and pound. Credeur was on the defensive for the rest of the fight, save for the brief moment when he went for a heel hook. With the fight going the distance, it really came as no surprise when Quarry got the majority decision, and rightfully show.

The second fight saw former WEC star Carlos Condit take on Jake Ellenberger at welterweight. With the way that the first fight panned out, this one had a lot to live up to, and not only did it match the first fight for action and drama, it exceeded it. This one was a back and forth encounter in which both fighters put in great performances, with Ellenberger, a relatively late replacement, looking exceptional. This was one of those fights you just couldn’t take yours eyes off, and another that went the distance. With two great performances, it was surprising that the judges had differing views, with the split decision going to Condit. Condit did well here, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see these two paired with each other again.

Fight three saw Gray Maynard facing Roger Huerta at lightweight. After two great fights, this one also had a lot to live up to, and succeeded in being just as good as those that went before it. The first two rounds saw some good exchanges between the two fighters, with both men getting some good shots in, and it wasn’t until the third round that the fight went to the ground, with Maynard scoring with some great looking takedowns. Huerta tried to escape, but Maynard just took him down again, and it wasn’t long before Maynard went for a kimura. Huerta’s arm was at a really hideous angle, and while everyone, myself included, thought he would tap, he actually escaped. This was the third fight in a row to go the distance, and again the decision was split, with Maynard picking up the win. Two more good performances here.

The main event saw more lightweight action, with Nate Diaz going up against Melvin Guillard. You just knew that this was going to be intense when you saw their stare down. The first round looked pretty even, with both men getting take downs, although Diaz was soon sporting a nasty cut above his right eye. He didn’t have to worry about the cut for long though. Although Guillard was able to get a messy looking take down early in the second, it wasn’t long before Diaz was on the offensive, synching in his modified version of the rear naked choke, with Guillard soon tapping and giving Diaz the submission victory. An exciting match up, and a fitting way of bringing the evening’s proceedings to an end.

In conclusion - as you can probably tell, I really enjoyed this show. The fights just seemed to get better and better as the show went on. We had three great tactical battles, nicely topped off with a great submission win. These may not have been the UFC’s marquee names on display here, but they’ve certainly set the stage for Rich Franklin and Vitor Belfort on Saturday night. Let’s hope that they can pick up the ball and run with it.

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