Tuesday, 29 May 2012

UFC 146 Dos Santos vs Mir on ESPN - TV Review

Here’s the deal. The USA/Scotland football game ran 20 minutes later, and instead of putting their coverage on a 20 minute delay ESPN decided to join the show in progress. It was then that I decided to wait until the next day for the repeat showing.

So here it is, a little bit later than planned, a look back at the night of heavyweight action as Frank Mir challenged Junior Dos Santos for the title at UFC 146.

All the fights on the main card were in the heavyweight division, beginning with Stefan Struve against Lavar Johnson.

This was quick. Johnson came forward early, connecting with a couple of blows before a clinch against the cage. A few seconds later Struve pulled guard and applied the armbar for the submission win after just 65 seconds. Nice work from the skyscraper here.

Then it was on to the fight between Stipe Miocic and Shane Del Rosario.

We saw a great display of striking in this one. Del Rosario did a good job in the stand up game, using Miocic’s ribs for target practice. It was a brutal display, and if he’d continued in this vein he the win would have been his.

But when Miocic took the fight to the ground early in the second round he went to work with the ground and pound, causing a great deal of damage to Del Rosario’s face, and as he connected with a series of elbows the referee wisely stepped in to give Miocic the TKO win.

It was big country time next as Roy Nelson faced Dave Herman.

This was even quicker than the opener. Herman began testing the waters a little, using his height and reach to good effect. But those advantages meant nothing when Nelson connected with a big right that sent Herman down like a sack of spuds. The referee quickly stepped in to give Nelson the knockout win after just 51 seconds.

The co-main event saw Cain Velasquez going up against the debuting Antonio Silva.

To say Velasquez was dominant here would not be an understatement. Silva began by attempting a kick which the former champion caught before tossing him to the ground.

From there Velasquez went to work with the ground and pound, a hard elbow opening Silva up so badly that he began to look as if he’d been in a battle scene on Game of Thrones.

The doctor checked Silva’s cut and allowed him to continue, but with blood flowing in his eyes the Brazilian had trouble seeing as Velasquez continued his relentless attack, and with both fighter covered in claret the referee intervened to give Velasquez the TKO win.

The main event saw Frank Mir challenging Junior Dos Santos for the Heavyweight title.

Another great fight saw Mir attempting what many others have failed to do early on, taking Dos Santos down. The champion just shrugged off this attempt before asserting his authority in the striking department.

Dos Santos rocked his challenger towards the end of the first round with a big right, and had this happened earlier in the round he would probably have gained the win there and then.

The champion continued in the same vein in the second round, and when a big right sent Mir sprawling across the cage Dos Santos went in for the kill. It wasn’t long before the referee saved Mir from further punishment, giving Dos Santos the title retaining TKO win.

Now having read this you’re probably wondering why I haven’t reviewed any of the preliminary fights that were shown during the main broadcast. The reason for this is simple. During the repeat showing ESPN showed some of these after the main event.

These began in the welterweight division as Dan Hardy faced Duane Ludwig.

A very enjoyable encounter saw a bit of a feeling out period at the beginning and a clinch against the cage until the fight settled down into a nice striking battle, with both fighters getting in some good shots.

But when Hardy connected with a left hook Ludwig went down. The Outlaw celebrated for a few seconds before following his man down, the referee quickly stepping in to give the Brit the knockout win.

Then it was down to the lightweight division as Edson Barboza went up against Jamie Varner.

Barboza began his evening’s work with a couple of hard kicks to the leg, but when he went for a head kick Varner caught it and took the fight to the ground.

Varner was only able to get in a few brief moments of ground and pound before Barboza managed to get back to his feet. The Brazilian then went back to his tactic of choice until Varner scored with the big takedown.

Varner then went to work with the ground and pound again, and although Barboza kicked him off Varner went back in for the kill, the referee stopping the fight moments later as Varner took the TKO win.

Light heavyweight action followed as Kyle Kingsbury took on Glover Teixeira.

No feeling out period in this one. These two began exchanging blows early on, and when the fight went to the ground Teixeira took control, taking the mount for some ground and pound before moving into a position where he could apply an arm triangle for the submission win.

The next fight featured featherweight action as Mike Brown took on Daniel Pineda.

The first fight of the broadcast to make it to the third round proved to be a very entertaining back and forth affair with good performances, from both fighters.

Both guys had some success in all departments, particularly on the ground. Brown looked great, especially when he was barging Pineda across the cage before taking him down to the ground.

Pineda’s best moment came when he was on his back with Brown on the attack. He managed to escape the hold by pushing Brown off with one hand, sweeping him upwards and taking control. He later went on to control the latter stages of the third when he took Brown’s back.

So with neither man able to get the finish it went down to the judges as they gave their unanimous decision to Brown.

The featherweight action continued with Diego Brandao and Darren Elkins.

The second three rounder of the show was another very entertaining affair.

Brandao clearly controlled the first round, his crisp striking putting Elkins on the back foot on more than once occasion. But from the second round onwards Elkins took control, putting in a good stint and basically, as the old saying goes, beating his opponent up.

Brandao managed to come back into the fight towards the end of the third but by then it was took little too late, and with the fight going the distance the judges were called into action as Elkins took the unanimous decision.

The final fight of the show saw Jacob Volkmann taking on Paul Sass in the lightweight division.

Not much of a feeling out period in this one as Sass pulled guard early. Volkmann controlled the action for a few moments with a one arm guillotine until both men grappled for position until Sass locked in a triangle armbar for the submission win.

In conclusion - well, as the old saying goes, better late than never. The problems at the football game in the early hours of this past Sunday morning gave me the chance to see some of the fights I would probably have missed, so let’s take this in two stages.

The undercard certainly delivered some fine performances. We saw some great ground work form the likes of Mike Brown and Daniel Pineda as well as some fine striking from Dan Hardy.

As for the big boys the all-heavyweight main card delivered big time with it’s explosive finishes, and because if this it’s kind of hard to pick out one definitive fight of the night candidate. But as I have to I’m going to plump for Cain Velasquez’s demolition job on Antonio Silva. I hope old Bigfoot comes back strongly though as he was one of the highlights of Strikeforce’s heavyweight division for me.

So with that being said there’s only one more thing left to do, and that’s to give UFC 146 the big thumbs up.

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