Monday, 17 September 2007

UFC 69: Shootout on Bravo - TV Review

It’s a busy time for the Ultimate Fighting Championship in April, as they began their pay-per-view schedule with UFC 69: Shootout, headlined by Georges St. Pierre defending his welterweight title against Matt Serra. As usual, our hosts for the show are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.
The show begins in the middleweight division with a bout between Kendall Grove and Alan Belcher. Standing at 6’6”, quite tall for a middleweight, Grove used his extra leverage to good advantage throughout the fight, putting in a great all-round performance with great striking and wrestling, and his dominance was such that he was able to get the submission victory towards the end of the second round with a front choke. 

Still in the middleweight division, Mike Swick faces Yushin Okami. A very interesting fight here, as Okami showed great grappling skills, almost synching in a kimura in the first round, and dominating the fight for the most part, except for the moments that Swick was on his feet and using his fists to good effect, and it was no surprise when all three judges awarded the fight to Okami as it went the distance.

Then, UFC President Dana White made his big announcement, the signing of former Pride Heavyweight Champion Antonio Nogueira. A hell of a signing for UFC here, and I can’t wait to see him in the octagon.
It’s back the action next, this time in the lightweight division with Roger Huerta taking on Leonard Garcia. This fight was a perfect example of what the lightweight division is all about - explosive, dynamic action. While the first round was pretty even, with neither guy able to sustain an advantage for any period of time, Huerta dominated the second in almost every aspect as Garcia looked like he was running on empty, and continued to do so in the third, and Huerta’s dominance was awarded with the unanimous judges decision.

On to the welterweight division next, with Diego Sanchez and Josh Koscheck. Given the build-up and the apparent hatred between these two, this one was very disappointing. Sanchez showed almost nothing here, while Koscheck was able to get in a couple of good shots in this mostly stand-up fight. It didn’t make for good viewing, with Koscheck getting the unanimous decision. 

Main event time, as Georges St. Pierre defends the UFC Welterweight title against Matt Serra. Now this was more like it. After a feeling the champion out for a couple of minutes, Serra launched a ferocious attack, knocking St. Pierre off his feet a few times before pouncing on him for a final time and unleashing with a barrage of blows. With St. Pierre unable to defend himself, referee John McCarthy had no choice but to stop the fight, with Serra winning the title via TKO. A great effort by Serra here, coming into the fight as the underdog, and shocking the world with his victory.

In conclusion - another good effort from the UFC here (except for the Sanchez/Koscheck fight), with the Serra/St. Pierre fight and the lightweight encounter showing just why I’m enjoying mixed martial arts a whole lot more than professional wrestling at the moment, and with the signing of Antonio Nogueira, things are going to get a whole lot more interesting.