Tuesday, 5 July 2011

UFC 132 Cruz vs Faber on ESPN - TV Review

On the night that David Haye was complaining about his little toe Urijah Faber was attempting to take the Bantamweight title from Dominick Cruz in the main event of UFC 132, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN here in Britain.

No prelims for British viewers this time so it was straight on to the main show as Carlos Condit faced Dong Hyun Kim in the welterweight division.

This certainly was an explosive way to start the evening. After a testing of the waters early on Kim scored with the take down, only for Condit to reverse the positions almost immediately.

They quickly returned to their feet, but when Condit connected with a flying knee it was all over bar the shouting. Condit followed Kim down for some ground and pound, with the referee stopping the fight seconds later.

It was up to light heavyweight for the next fight as Tito Ortiz went up against Ryan Bader.

Ortiz needed to make a big statement in this one, and he did. Both fighters tried to find their range early on, but when Ortiz connected with a big right Bader went crashing down.

Ortiz went in for the kill as he followed Bader to the ground, pulling guard and synching in a guillotine choke for the submission win.

Lightweight action followed as Dennis Siver took on Matt Wiman.

The first fight of the broadcast to make it out of the first round proved to be a very entertaining affair.

Siver did a good job of defending against Wiman’s take down attempts, but the handsome one had great success with his chosen tactic in the second round, cutting Siver open with his ground and pound.

Wiman had more success with his take downs in the third, and although Siver had his moments it looked to be a sure fire win for Wiman.

Except that the judges didn’t see it that way, with all three giving the fight to Siver. Wiman was none too happy with the decision, throwing his cap across the cage and storming away.

ESPN then returned to their old ways, coming back late from a commercial break, which meant that we missed the start of the lightweight filler material encounter between Melvin Guillard and Shane Roller.

Thankfully we didn’t miss that much. After accidentally poking Roller in the eye Guillard sent him crashing after a lightning fast combination.

Roller was able to get back to his feet, but it wasn’t long before Guillard sent him back down, with the referee stopping the fight after a brief moment of ground and pound.

Then it was on to the big middleweight encounter between Wanderlei Silva and Chris Leben.

The blink and you’ll miss it affair of the evening saw Silva coming forward with a couple of combinations early on, only for Leben to counter with a left that staggered the Brazilian.

A series of huge left uppercuts sent the Axe Murdered to the ground. Leben followed him down before the referee quickly stepped in to give Leben the knockout win.

The main event saw Urijah Faber challenging Dominick Cruz for the Bantamweight title.

The first Bantamweight title fight in UFC history proved to be an outstanding advertisement for the division.

For five rounds two of the best entertained us with some excellent exchanges, mixed in with some nice take downs and scrambles, with both fighters giving their all, neither able to put the other away. It was a terrific fight that had so many great moments.

This was one of those fights where I didn’t envy the judges. All three of them gave the fight to Cruz, one by quite a huge margin, which came as something of a surprise to me.

The show rounded out with more filler material as Donny Walker faced Jeff Houghland in the bantamweight division.

This was a very enjoyable three rounder. We saw some good striking exchanges here allied with some excellent grappling.

Houghland put in a sound performance, going for a few chokes and a couple of arm bars. Walker managed to escape from one of these by slamming his way out.

So with the fight going the distance it was up to the judges, with all three giving their decisions to Houghland.

In conclusion - after a disappointing performance from Britain’s big boxing superstar this was just what the doctor ordered.

This was another great show from the UFC, and even though some of the decisions had me scratching my head a little every fight delivered, especially the outstanding main event.

So with that being said UFC 132 gets the big thumbs up. While the boxing world is somewhat floundering at the moment the MMA world is flourishing and delivering quality shows.