Friday, 29 June 2012

UFC 147 Franklin vs Silva II on ESPN - TV Review

Here’s the story. I was all set to take my latest trip into the Octagon on Sunday night, but a rain storm here in merry old England knocked out the satellite signal while I was recording the show. This meant that I had to wait to record the repeat showing in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

So, after a slight delay, I can now bring you my thoughts on the return fight between Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin in the main event of UFC 147, originally shown this past weekend on ESPN here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the featherweight division as Yuri Alcantara took on Hacran Dias.

This was the proverbial game of two halves. While the striking game didn’t exactly set the world alight the ground game featured some great technical action.

Dias put in a dominating performance in that particular area, going for an arm triangle on a couple of occasions. Alcantara, for his part, showed some sound defensive work, almost getting the submission with an armbar at one point. It may not have been flashy but it was technically great.

With neither man able to get the finish the judges were called into action as Dias took the unanimous decision.

It was up to heavyweight for the next fight as Fabricio Werdum faced Mike Russow.

Russow was almost booed out of the building before the fight began just because he wasn’t Brazilian. When the fight began Werdum was on the front foot straight away.

We saw a brief clinch against the cage that came to nothing before Werdum took the fight to his American opponent, and as the first round passed it’s halfway point Werdum connected with a right uppercut that sent Russow down. Werdum followed him down for a spot of ground and pound before the referee stepped in to give him the TKO win.

Then it was on to the first of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil finals, this one in the featherweight division as Godofredo Pepey went up against Rony Jason.

This historic fight proved to be a very interesting three round affair. They began by swinging for the fences before Pepey pulled guard and took the fight to the ground.

The problem with this tactic was that when Pepey took the fight there he did very little from that position. His only offensive tactic was a kimura attempt.

It was a tactic that Pepey would try again later on, but this time around Jason caught him and slammed him to the ground to begin his stellar stint.

As for the striking although it was a little wild at times it was also effective. Pepey was a little too effective at times though when he connected with a couple of kicks south of the border.

With no finish from either man the judges were brought into the equation again as Jason took the unanimous decision.

Then it was on to the middleweight final as Cezar Ferreira faced Sergio Moraes.

The story of this fight was simple. It was the tale of the striker versus the brawler.

Ferreira’s striking was top notch, extremely technical in every sense. His punches were crisp and his somewhat spectacular kicks were more than effective.

On the opposite end of the scale you had Moraes, who spent most of the fight swinging for the fences and putting on an effective display in his own right.

It made for a fine three round encounter. Both men had they moments as they put each other on the back foot on more than one occasion. It was compelling viewing.

There was more work for the judges at the end of this one as Ferreira took the unanimous decision, although I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw more of Moraes in the Octagon in the next couple of years.

The main event, a catch weight bout made at 190, saw Wanderlei Silva taking on Rich Franklin.

This was one of those intriguing fights you couldn’t take your eyes off. It may not have been filled with flashy action but technically it was great.

The first two rounds looked pretty even. Both fighters got in some good shots and combinations. The tide turned towards the end of the second though when Silva upped his game, rocking Franklin with a series of blows before sending him down with a big right.

Silva followed him in for the kill and unleashed a ground and pound barrage. Franklin was lucky to survive, and as the old saying goes he was saved by the bell.

While Franklin went back to his good work at the beginning of the third Silva looked visibly tired. It looked as if exertions at the end of the second had caught up with him, especially when Franklin began to pick him apart.

Franklin scored with the only takedown of the fight towards the end of the third, and like Silva five minutes before he looked to take the win via ground and pound. But like Franklin Silva managed to survive.

Franklin’s excellent striking continued into the fourth and the early stages of the fifth, but as the fight entered it’s final moments Silva seemed to get a second wind and connected with a series of rights. Franklin fought back, a big left sending the Brazilian down as the fight ended.

So with no knockouts in this fight the judges were called into action once again as Franklin took the unanimous decision.

In conclusion - having been slightly disappointed with the UFC’s last show their latest trip to Brazil certainly made up for that.

I really enjoyed this one. All of the fights were great, particularly the two Ultimate Fighter Brazil finals, and although those fighters put in stellar efforts my fight of the night must go to the Silva/Franklin encounter. It was nice to see these two in the cage against each other again. Hopefully we’ll see them go up against their original opponents some time in the future.

Only one more thing left to do now and that’s to give UFC 147 the big thumbs up.

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