Friday, 14 September 2007

WCFC No Guts No Glory - TV Review

This past Tuesday saw the debut of a new mixed martial arts promotion in Britain, as the World Cage Fighting Championship presented “No Guts, No Glory” from the MEN Arena in Manchester, and broadcast on Sky Sports. The host for the show was regular Sky Sports News presenter Paul Boardman, ably assisted by former UFC Champion Bas Rutten, who also acted as master of ceremonies for the show.

We begin with Paul and Bas telling what MMA is all about, and hyping the eight man tournament, as well as Mike Tyson’s appearance as a special referee in one of the super fights.

We begin with the first round of the tournament, as Japan’s Yuki Sasaki takes on Holland’s Rodney Faverus. The Japanese fighter dominated with his submission attempts, with Faverus getting in a few good shots, but Sasaki was soon able to apply an armbar for the win.

Next up, Brazil’s Leonardo Nascimento goes up against Rodney Moore from Northern Ireland, who came into the fight at extremely short notice, which certainly went against him as Leonardo got a very quick win with an armbar submission.

The third bout of the tournament saw Brazil’s Roan Carneiro against France’s Gregory Bouchelaghem. The Frenchman got a ton of heat from the fans before the bout with his seemingly cocky attitude, but was only able to deliver a few punching flurries, with Carneiro clearly dominating with his superior grappling skills, getting the judges decision as the fight went the two round distance.

The final bout of the first round had Petras Markevicius of Lithuania against Matt Horwich of America. Petras began the bout extremely well, almost getting an armbar, before Horwich came back impressively, getting the win with a rear naked choke, Petras tapping with the first round just a few seconds from ending.

Bas then introduces Mike Tyson to the crowd, who tells us how he’s enjoyed the action so far, and how he’s looking forward to his debut as a referee.

With the first round of the tournament complete, it was on to the first super fight of the evening as America’s Din Thomas went up against Brazil’s Luciano Azavedo. A pretty even fight (the second round was cut from the television coverage) with Azavedo getting the win with a unanimous decision.

Back to the tournament, and semi-final action with Yuki Sasaki against Leonardo Nascimento. Leonardo unloaded on Sasaki early on, before synching in a choke to get the quick submission victory.

Paul Boardman then interviews up-and-coming boxing star Amir Khan. There’s the usual questions about Khan taking part in MMA action in the future, something that he quickly dismisses.

The second semi-final of the tournament sees Roan Carneiro against Matt Horwich. Another round is edited out of the television coverage here. With Horwich looked dazed and busted open, Carneiro controlled the majority of the round until Horwich suddenly sprang to life in the closing seconds. But it wasn’t enough as Carneiro won by a majority decision.

Then it’s time for Mike Tyson to earn his keep, as he referees Spain’s Diego Gonzalez against England’s Terry Etim in another non-tournament fight. Not much work for Tyson to do here, as after a quick flurry from Gonzalez, Etim locked in a triangle choke for the submission win in under a minute.

Paul Boardman then interviews Tyson, who like Khan before him says he won’t be giving MMA a go.

Next up, Holland’s Alistair Overeem, fresh off a win in Pride in Japan, takes on Lithuania’s Nikolajus Cjikinas. The Dutchman made quick work of his opponent, getting a quick win with an armbar in the first round.

Then it’s time for the tournament final, an all Brazilian affair, as Leonardo Nascimento takes on Roan Carneiro. Both fighters were visibly tired after their two previous fights, which resulted in a slower pace at times. The end was something of an anti-climax, as Carneiro quit on his stool after the end of the first round, suffering a broken bone in his foot, meaning that Leonardo won the tournament.

In conclusion - an impressive debut from WCFC here. The link-up with Sky Sports meant great production values which helped the overall presentation, making it look a lot better when compared to the likes of other British MMA promotions such as Cage Rage or Cage Warriors. However, I’m not sure about Bas Rutten’s performance as MC here. While Rutten obviously has name value in the MMA world, it isn’t an MC’s job to give either opinions or running commentaries as the fighters enter the cage. But overall, well done to the WCFC team for putting on a great show.