Monday, 24 January 2011

UFC Fight For The Troops 2 on ESPN - TV Review

It was time for the men of the Ultimate Fighting Championship to pay tribute to the American armed forces with their latest Fight For The Troops show, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN here in Britain.

The show began with lightweight action as Cole Miller went up against Matt Wiman.

This battle of The Ultimate Fighter 5 rivals certainly proved to be a great opener, and a somewhat one sided affair.

From the moment the fight started Wiman dominated with his striking, whether it be in the stand up or on the ground, even invoking the tactics of the great Sakuraba a few times.

With the fight going the distance the judges were called into action. No surprises here as all three gave the fight to Wiman.

It was up to the heavyweight division for the next fight as Pat Barry went up against Joey Beltran.

It was obvious from the outset what Beltran’s tactics were, neutralise Barry against the cage and try to take him down, taking away his kickboxing skills.

They worked to some extent, but Barry was able to impose his will at times. His leg kicks to Beltran’s left leg looked absolutely evil, with one hard kick in the third sending him crumbling to the ground.

Another three rounder saw the judges put to work again, with Barry getting the unanimous decision.

Featherweight action in the form of Mark Hominick against George Roop followed.

The story here was Hominick’s punching. It began with a big right dropped his man. From there Hominick teed off at will, a left sending Roop down before the referee stepped in after a brief moment of ground and pound, giving Hominick the excellent TKO win.

It was back to the heavyweight division next as Matt Mitrione went up against Tim Hague.

Yet more evidence of how old meat had has progressed. Apart from one moment when Hague caught a leg kick this fight belonged to Mitrione. His left hand shots were lethal, knocking Hague down twice, and after the final knockdown Mitrione followed him down for some ground and pound. The referee quickly stepped in, giving Mitrione another impressive victory.

The main event saw Evan Dunham taking on Melvin Guillard in the lightweight division.

A fast paced fight saw Dunham get the early take down, but after that it was all Guillard as he rocked Dunham with some great combinations, staggering him with a knee to the head. A second knee finished him off, with the referee stopping the fight shortly afterwards.

Filler material in the form of Al Snow look-a-like Cody McKenzie against Yves Edwards in the lightweight division followed.

This was a very good fight, especially on the ground. After some crisp striking from Edwards McKenzie took control with some great ground work in the second round.

But just when it looked like McKenzie would maintain his control Edwards managed to gain the mount, quickly taking McKenzie’s back and locking in a rear naked choke. McKenzie refused to tap, with the referee stopping the fight when he passed out.

In conclusion - the UFC’s first free show of the year was a highly entertaining affair.

All the fights shown delivered in one way or another, with Matt Mitrione’s performance again impressing the hell out of me. He may have failed in The Ultimate Fighter but he looks like he could go a long way outside of the house.

So in all UFC Fight For The Troops 2 gets the thumbs up from this particular writer, a great show for a great cause.