Friday, 1 April 2011

UCMMA 19 Lights Out on Sky Sports - TV Review

British MMA was on the agenda as Ultimate Challenge presented their 19th show, Lights Out, shown this Wednesday on Sky Sports here in Britain.

The broadcast began with action from the welterweight division as Dyson Roberts faced Colin French.

This was an action packed encounter. Roberts rocked French early on with a nice combination. French tried to counter with take down attempts, but Roberts easily defended against these.

From there it developed into a great back and forth battle, with both men going for guillotines at the same time at one point.

After a couple of triangle attempts from French Roberts unleashed with the ground and pound, and as the first round neared it’s final minute French had had enough, verbally tapping to give Roberts the impressive win.

It was down to the lightweight division next as Joe Holder went up against Dejo Lema.

A lengthy feeling out period at the beginning of the fight ended when Holder went for a take down, which Lema managed to defend against for what seemed like an age.

Then the fight suddenly exploded into action when Lema began connecting with strikes. The fight quickly went to the ground where Holder went for a couple of heel hooks. Lema countered with some vicious strikes, while Holder continued with his submission attempts.

Eventually the onslaught was too much for Holder as he verbally tapped to Lema’s final assault.

Light heavyweight action followed as Chris Harman took on Ian Martell.

The experts expected this to be a stand up war, but they were pleasantly surprised when Martell scored with the early take down.

Martell dominated from there, controlling with the ground and pound. Harman tried to escape but Martell soon re-established control.

With Martell taking the mount he soon went back to work with the ground and pound, and when Harman was knocked out for a split second the referee wisely stepped in to stop the fight, giving Martell the highly impressive win.

The first title action of the night followed as Giorgio Andrews and James Lutman fought it out over the vacant Bantamweight title.

Andrews came forward early in this one, Lutman countering with an extended take down attempt against the cage.

Lutman eventually took Andrews’ back, with Andrews soon reversing the positions into the guard.

It wasn’t long before Andrews postured up, and a hard shot to Lutman’s eye was enough, the referee stopping the fight as Lutman grabbed his eye, giving Andrews the title clinching TKO win.

The first of two heavyweight fights followed as Ian Hawkins went up against Marcin Bartkiewicz.

These two behemoths began swinging as soon as the fight began, the brawling only stopping because of a clinch against the cage.

Bartkiewicz then began to unload with the heavy stuff, but try as he might Hawkins just wouldn’t go down.

Hawkins managed to get the take down towards the end of the first, but by then he was too tired to do anything.

Both fighters began the second round looking like they were moving around in slow motion, but when Bartkiewicz got the take down it was all over bar the shouting.

Hawkins just didn’t have any response to Bartkiewicz’s ground and pound, and it wasn’t surprising when the referee stepped in to give Bartkiewicz the TKO win.

The main event saw former strongman competitor Oli Thompson challenging Ben Smith for the heavyweight title.

Unlike the previous fight these two knew how to pace themselves, and it made for a much more enjoyable fight.

These two big guys took it to each other from the outset. Thompson looked great with his take downs, putting in some great work on the ground, particularly with his transitions.

The great action continued into the second round. Smith put in some more good work, although once again Thompson took control with his take downs, eventually taking Smith’s back and locking in the rear naked choke for the submission win.

In conclusion - when I heard that a former World’s Strongest Man competitor was in the  main event I wondered if Dave O’Donnell was going back to his Cage Rage roots and the freak show main events. I also had visions of Mariusz Pudzianowski’s lumbering performance for Moosin MMA a while back.

But with Oli Thompson putting in a great effort to dethrone Ben Smith it once again proved that British MMA is getting stronger every day, and this show was the perfect example of that.

So once again UCMMA gets the big thumbs up from this particular writer. Nice work all round.

Although I do with they’d start releasing their full shows on DVD. Think of the money you could be earning Dave! You’d certainly be having it large!