Friday, 23 September 2011

UCMMA Go 4 It! on Sky Sports - TV Review

It’s time to look into the British MMA scene once again, and having tested the waters of the pay-per-view market Ultimate Challenge MMA returned to their regular television home with their latest show, Go 4 It!, shown on Sky Sports this past Wednesday evening .

The broadcast began with middleweight action as Bret Bassett faced Ben Craggy.

This was a nice way to start the show. Craggy was hoping to keep the fight upright, but after Bassett caught one of his kicks it was downhill all the way.

Bassett soon scored with an impressive take down and dominated on the ground in the first round before taking his good form into the second where he went for a variety of leg submissions before Craggy managed to work his way out and into Bassett’s guard.

It wasn’t long before Bassett was back into control and going for an arm bar. Craggy tried to fight the hold but was soon verbally tapping, giving Bassett the impressive submission win.

Then it on to a catchweight fight as Davin Byfield took on Rae Edgar.

Edgar, who was making his professional debut, soon found out what the game was all about. After Byfield caught his kick he was pushed back against the cage. Byfield then applied a standing arm triangle, quickly taking it to the ground.

However, his positions weren’t quite right, and Edgar eventually managed to escape. But he soon began to look like a fish out of water as Byfield went to work, dominating on the ground and getting the submission win with a rear naked choke. Good work from Byfield, but Edgar looked completely out of his depth.

Action from the welterweight division followed as Ross Pointon took on Jamaine Facey.

This was a strange one. The fight began with both men eyeing each other up for the first minute or so before Pointon scored with the takedown.

Facey managed to reverse the positions though, and after a brief ground and pound flurry the fighters got back to their feet where Facey delivered some more heavy blows.

But instead of going in for the kill Facey held back, and once again the fighters began to eye each other up for a minute or so, and I couldn’t help but think that if Facey had kept up his attack he’d have had the win in the bag.

Then Facey suddenly exploded into action with a big knee that rocked Pointon. He followed this up with some ground and pound before the referee stepped in to give Facey the TKO win.

The Featherweight title was on the line next as challenger Cory Tait went up against champion Nathan Beer.

This was an intriguing and rather scrappy battle. Beer scored with the early takedown and looked to dominate on the ground, but Tait found some novel ways of escaping.

The striking battle looked a little scrappy at times, but by the time the second round started Beer scored with another takedown, only for Tait to escape again.

Moments later Tait locked in a standing guillotine against the cage, and although he managed to escape he looked out of it. Tait took control with a series of kicks and punches, and with Beer looking out on his feet, and with me wondering why the referee hadn’t stepped in, Tait connected with a spinning back fist that sent the champion crashing to the mat, with the referee stepping in to give Tait the title winning KO win.

The title action continued with Darren Towler facing Ben Smith for the vacant Heavyweight title.

Towler came forward early on, unloading with the heavy leather. Smith tried to counter with a takedown but it wasn’t long before Towler was unloading with the heavy stuff once again, connecting with a knee to the head that opened up a nasty cut on Smith’s forehead.

The referee immediately stopped the fight and called in the doctor, and the fight was called seconds later, giving Towler the title win.

The main event saw Peter Irving challenging John Maguire for the Welterweight title.

The only fight on the broadcast to go the three round distance looked to be an interesting back and forth affair. We saw some good striking from both men and some nice ground work as well, with Maguire going for a kimura in the final minute, and Irving looking completely chilled out in the hold as the fight came to an end.

So with the fight going the distance the judges came into play, with all three giving the fight to Maguire.

In conclusion - on the day the British mainstream press were beginning their latest uninformed assault on the world of mixed martial arts I would like to say that UCMMA came along with another quality show.

That’s what I’d like to say. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good performances shown here, but we television fans didn’t get to see everything.

Little cuts to the footage were made here and there so five minute rounds were drastically shortened, and the main event between Maguire and Irving was so clipped it was hard to follow the action, spoiling what looked like a tremendous fight.

Now I know that UCMMA had to do this because of the time limitations, but surely some of the non-title fights could have been left off the show.

Perhaps in future they could try and get either a longer time slot or a live broadcast on Sky Sports. After all, it’s been a few years since Paul Daley swore on live post-watershed Saturday night television. Surely Sky Sports have forgiven them by now!

So in all I’m afraid that the 23rd show under Dave O’Donnell’s UCMMA banner (or is it Cage Rage again now?) gets the thumbs down. I so wanted to enjoy this. I really did.