After a stellar pay-per-view it was time for the Ultimate Fighting Championship to return to free to air television with their 24th Ultimate Fight Night, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN here in Britain.
The broadcast began with featherweight action as Leonard Garcia went up against Chan Sung Jung.
A strong show opener saw both men testing the waters with strikes and kicks, with Garcia looking the stronger of the two.
But when the fight went to the ground Jung was the stronger, especially in the second round, setting Garcia up with some nice ground and pound. Moments later he took Garcia’s back, switching over so he could apply a twister for the submission win, the first time that particular hold had been seen in the UFC.
It was up to welterweight for fight as Amir Sadollah faced Demarques Johnson.
This battle of former Ultimate Fight alumni proved to be a highly entertaining affair.
There was no feeling out period in this one as the exchanges began straight away, with both guys getting some good shots in.
When the fight went to the ground in the first round Johnson looked great as he put in some solid work.
Sadollah worked his way back at the start of the second, and as Johnson began to tire Sadollah took control on the ground.
Johnson had no answer to Sadollah’s ground and pound, and just when it looked like the referee was about to step in Johnson tapped out, ending a great performance from Sadollah.
The welterweight action continued as Dan Hardy went up against Anthony Johnson.
While this may not go down as the most spectacular fight in UFC history it featured some solid technical action throughout, although this didn’t sit well with some of those in attendance.
When Johnson decked Hardy with a high left kick early in the first round it became obvious that he’d use his size and reach advantage to good effect, especially on the ground.
Johnson was able to take Hardy down whenever he wanted, dominating the fight on the ground. Hardy went for a couple of kimura but just didn’t have the power or the leverage to see the hold through.
Although he dominated Johnson’s best submission attempts came in the final round with side choke and neck crank attempts. Hardy survived these but by then it was too late.
The judges were called into action for the first time during the broadcast, and all three gave every round to Johnson, a just reward for his solid efforts.
The main event saw Light heavyweight action as Antonio Rogerio Nogueira took on Phil Davis.
Another interesting three round saw little Nog frustrate Davis early on as he soundly defended Mr. Wonderful’s take down attempts.
But from the second round onwards Davis changed his tactics, switching from double leg to single leg take downs, something that the Brazilian just didn’t seem to have any defence against.
Once he’d taken his man down Davis was able to take control with his ground and pound, controlling the remainder of the fight.
Once again the judges came into play, with all three giving Davis the biggest win of his career.
In conclusion - after a great pay-per-view the UFC have done it again with a great free to air show.
I know I’ve said this before about other shows but there wasn’t one bad fight here, and the fact that this one featured the likes of Hardy and Nogueira just shows how deep the UFC talent pool is at the moment. It’s also an example of how fighters who come in as replacements always seem to be up for the challenge.
So in all this show gets the big thumbs up, even though the Brit didn’t get the win!