Tuesday, 5 January 2010

UFC 108 Evans v Silva on ESPN - TV Review

It was the first UFC show of the year, but it wasn’t the main event we wanted. With no Rampage Jackson, Rashad Evans faced off against Thiago Silva in the main event of UFC 108 Evans v Silva, shown live here in Britain in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN, with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan handling commentary duties.

The broadcast began with the much travelled Gilbert Yvel making his UFC debut against the hard hitting Junior Dos Santos. It was another impressive outing for the Brazilian, who after some good exchanges dropped Yvel with a big left, with the referee stopping the fight after some quick ground and pound, giving Dos Santos the TKO win. This was another great outing from Dos Santos, who must surely be close to a title eliminator now.

Then it was down to the lightweight division, with Jim Miller and Duane Ludwig. This proved to be another good fight, with both men getting in some good combinations before a right from Miller knocked Ludwig down. Miller followed him down to the ground, quickly getting the mount. Ludwig tried to escape, but soon found himself in an arm bar with no choice but to tap. Both guys looked good in this one, but Miller was just that bit better, adding his name to the somewhat crowded list of contenders.

The first filler material saw more lightweight action, with Cole Miller and Dan Lauzon. This was an explosive back and forth affair, with both men rocking the other before the action went down to the ground. Miller then showed some impressive skills before getting the submission win with a kimura/inverted triangle combination. That’s three good fights in a row, with Miller continuing to impress this particular writer.

It was big brother’s turn next, with Joe Lauzon taking on Sam Stout. Lauzon looked like he was going to get the early win here, after busting Stout open with an elbow and going for a kimura. But after Stout escaped he put on a hell of a performance, defending Lauzon’s take down attempts and putting on a great kickboxing display. Indeed, it wasn’t until the third round that Lauzon briefly came back into the fight, getting his much sought after take down, before moving onto a guillotine attempt that Stout managed to escape from. But it was too little too late as Stout’s performance earned him the unanimous judges decision. It was a tremendous performance from the Canadian, meaning that that list just got a little more crowded.

Welterweight action followed, with Martin Kampmann facing Jacob Volkmann. Another great one round encounter saw Kampmann back on track with a good performance as he outclassed Volkmann, eventually knocking his opponent down, before getting the win with a unique looking guillotine, which looked like a reverse rear naked choke. Good work from Kampmann here though.

More welterweight action followed, with Dustin Hazelett facing my fellow Brit Paul Daley. Daley actually came in just over the welterweight limit. Lots of feeling out at the beginning of this one, which was followed by Daley’s explosive left hook, which sent Hazelett crashing to the ground. Brief ground and pound followed, before the referee stoppage gave Daley his second UFC win. Another great performance from Daley. This guy has impressed me from the first day I saw him, and I’d love to see him get a crack at the welterweight title.

Then it was back to more filler material, middleweight action with Mark Munoz and Ryan Jensen. A good start from both men, before the action went down to the mat, with Munoz delivering a sustained period of ground and pound. Jensen had no choice but to tap, although the referee missed this at first. Nice performance from Munoz, who looked far more comfortable at middleweight than he did at light heavyweight.

The main event saw Rashad Evans facing Thiago Silva in the light heavyweight division. This fight was definitely worthy of it’s spot on the card. Evans looked great in the first two rounds as he was seemingly able to take Silva down at will. By the time the third round came by it was obvious that Evans was winning. Then Silva began to showboat, urging Evans to fight, before rocking him with a big right. Evans was there for the taking, but instead of going for the kill, Silva began showboating again as he tried to preserve his energy. It cost him dearly. Evans had done enough in the first two rounds to earn the unanimous decision, and rightfully so. He then threw out the challenge to Rampage Jackson. Hopefully we’ll see this fight sometime soon.

The final filler material saw Mike Pyle taking on Jake Ellenberger at welterweight. The first round saw some great groundwork, particularly from Pyle, as he frustrated Ellenberger with some great defensive work. But it was at the end of the first round that Pyle suffered a rib injury, which clearly hampered him going into the second, as Ellenberger unloaded with a big right that dropped Pyle, earning him the deserved TKO win.

In conclusion - 2010 certainly got off to a good start for the UFC. Evans and Silva put on a great showing in the main event, ably supported by a strong undercard. So as you can probably tell I really enjoyed this show, and I’m really looking forward to the upcoming year.

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