Thursday, 30 June 2011

UCMMA 21: Stand Your Ground on Sky Sports - TV Review

British MMA is on the agenda again as we take a look at the latest offering from Ultimate Challenge MMA, with two titles on the line at Stand Your Ground, shown this past Wednesday on Sky Sports here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the welterweight division with Trevor Sukonater taking on Bola Omoyele.

Lots of feeling out at the beginning of this one, with the first action of note coming two minutes into the fight when Omoyele scored with the take down.

Omoyele took control from there, unleashing with the ground and pound. Sukonater went for an arm bar, but all this did was give Omoyele the chance to take side control, and after a series of unanswered blows Sukonater tapped to give Omoyele the TKO win.

The welterweight action continued with Ross Pointon facing Dean Amasinger.

As soon as Amasinger scored with the early take down it was obvious how this fight was going to pan out. For three rounds Amasinger dominated on the ground with his reversals and transitions. Pointon had a few good moments, but they weren’t enough to take control away from Amasinger.

Things got worse for Pointon when he earned a point deduction for continually grabbing the fence. But by then it didn’t matter as all three judges gave the fight to Amasinger.

After a segment which saw co-host Jason Barrett confronting tabloid darling Alex Reid (more on that later) it was on to the heavyweight division as Ian Hawkins took on Ben Smith.

Smith began his assault with an early take down, and from there the former champion unloaded with the heavy leather, taking periodic rests so he wouldn’t gas out, with the referee stepping in in the last minute of the round to give Smith the TKO win.

Then it was down to the lightweight division as Dominic Plumb faced Michael Pastou.

A controversial fight saw an extensive feeling out period before Pastou went for a take down.

But when Plumb connected with a couple of 12-6 elbows the referee quickly stepped in. Pastou slumped to the ground, and seconds later the fight was called off as the referee disqualified Plumb, giving Pastou the win he didn’t really want.

The first title fight saw Denniston Sutherland challenging the ever youthful Mark Weir for the Middleweight title.

Weir tested the waters with a couple of kicks early on, but it wasn’t long before Sutherland’s combinations sent Weir down to the ground.

An inadvertent poke to Weir’s eye stopped the action for a few seconds, but Sutherland soon picked up where he’d left off with a big right hand that sent the Wizard crashing down again. Weir was out of it was Sutherland took the knockout win and the title.

The main event saw Mark Potter challenging Oli Thompson for the Heavyweight title.

Thompson put in a dominating performance in this one. The former Britain’s Strongest Man champion went for an early take down, and although an inadvertent low blow slowed his progress for a few seconds he soon went back to work with the ground and pound, opening up a small cut above Potter’s left eye and bloodying his nose.

Seconds later it was all over as Thompson synched in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

In conclusion - another great advertisement for British mixed martial arts here, a nice night of fight action topped off with two explosive title fights, and another example of how a British MMA promotion doesn’t need to fly in overseas fighters to put on a good show.

However, the only downside was the Jason Barrett/Alex Reid segment, which saw a filmed segment involving Barrett confronting Reid outside his gym before they squared off in the cage just came across as a poor professional wrestling-style segment. Was this thing really needed to promote Reid’s possible return to action? This is MMA after all, and not WWE.

But apart from that particular moment the 21st Ultimate Challenge show gets the thumbs up from me. I just hope they stay away from the scripted confrontations in the future.