Monday, 8 August 2011

UFC 133 Evans vs Ortiz 2 on ESPN - TV Review

Just a few hours after a tabloid darling went at it with the star of a mobile phone recycling commercial in London light heavyweight greats Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans went at it for the second time in the main event of UFC 133, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN here in Britain.

No preliminary action for us Brits this time around, so it was on to the main show beginning with Rory MacDonald against Mike Pyle in the welterweight division.

This was a great way to start the broadcast. MacDonald dropped Pyle early on with a big right, although it was hard to tell if Pyle went down because of the blow or if he slipped.

Pyle did a good job of escaping from MacDonald’s guillotine attempt, but it wasn’t long before MacDonald went to work with the strikes again. Pyle could do nothing as MacDonald went for the ground and pound after a left hook to the jaw while in the guard, with the referee wisely stepping in to give MacDonald the tremendous TKO win.

It was up to the middleweight division for the next fight as Jorge Rivera went up against Costa Philippou.

I really enjoyed this three round encounter. Philippou did well early on after scoring with the take down, moving Rivera up against the fence, although he seemed to lose his way a little after the referee separated them for lack of action during a clinch against the cage. Rivera came back strongly with some nice combinations.

The second round began in the same manner, with Philippou beginning strongly, looking like he was going to get the win when Rivera didn’t respond to his ground and pound. The veteran soon managed to escape, but later on found himself in Philippou’s alma plata attempt. The only problem was that he didn’t seem to know how to finish the hold.

By the time the third round started both fighters began to look tired, and although they continued to go for the win they were clearly running out of gas.

So with the fight going the distance the judges came into play as they gave Philippou the split decision and his first win in the octagon.

It was back down to welterweight for the next fight as Dennis Hallman took on Brian Ebersole.

A great back and forth encounter saw Hallman almost running forward, looking for the quick submission win as he took Ebersole’s back. But the man with the arrow shaved into his chest put in some great defensive work, eventually escaping from Hallman’s clutches and taking the guard.

From there Ebersole went to work with the ground and pound, connecting with numerous vicious shots that busted Hallman open and reddened his face, and when Hallman went limp the referee stepped in and stopped the fight to give Ebersole the TKO win.

By the way, what was with Hallman’s budgie smugglers? (If you don’t know what that means find a friendly Australian.)

More middleweight action followed as Vitor Belfort faced Yoshihiro Akiyama.

This was vintage action from the Phenom. After  lengthy feeling out period Belfort went to work with the strikes, dropping Akiyama with a left to the temple. Belfort was all over him like the proverbial cheap suit, and after a barrage of blows on the ground Sexy-Yama was out like a light as the referee stopped the action and gave Belfort the knockout win. Awesome stuff.

The main event saw Tito Ortiz facing Rashad Evans in the light heavyweight division.

No draw this time around. Ortiz looked good to begin with but it wasn’t long before Evans took control with a big slam, going to work with the ground and pound, although Ortiz was able to defend himself.

When the second round started Ortiz looked spent, but he had enough fuel to go for a guillotine attempt. It didn’t get the job done though because of Evans’ position, and from there Evans took control again with the ground and pound, and while Ortiz sat on the mat with his back against the cage Evans connected with a big knee to the body. The bad boy slumped to the mat as Evans went to work with the ground and pound, with the referee stepping in to give Sugar the highly impressive TKO win.

With lots of time to kill it was on to filler material, beginning with the welterweight encounter between Johny Hendricks and Mike Pierce.

This battle between grapplers proved to be a mainly striking encounter. Both men looked good with their exchanges throughout the first two rounds, allying this with a number of take down attempts that never came to anything.

The only real ground work came in the final few minutes, but after Hendricks was warned for an up kick that connected to Pierce’s chin while he was still grounded it was back to the striking game as the fight came to an end.

Which meant that they’d left things in the hands of the judges as Hendricks took the split decision.

It was down to bantamweight for the next fight as Ivan Menjivar went up against Nick Pace.

An intriguing show closer saw good performances from both fighters. Menjivar put on a Masterclass with his punches and kicks, and there were times when Pace had no answer to his onslaught.

Pace put in some good grappling work, going for a rear naked choke in the first round as Menjivar was standing, and looking good when he scored with a take down late in the second.

Menjivar’s great striking continued in the third, but when Pace connected with a knee to Menjivar’s left eye the tide turned immediately. Menjivar was having trouble seeing out of his let eye as Pace upped his game, but in the end time was against him.

So it was down to the judges once again as Menjivar took the close unanimous decision.

In conclusion - well, what can I say? Dana White and his crew certainly delivered once again. There wasn’t a bad fight shown here, with the second meeting between Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans the highlight of a stacked show, with the only downside for me being Dennis Hallman’s fight wear. (Have you found out what budgie smugglers are yet?)

So in all UFC 133 gets the big thumbs up from this particular writer. Great stuff all round.