Monday, 25 June 2012

UFC Maynard vs Guida on ESPN - TV Review

It’s time to step into the Octagon once again for the first of my UFC double header reviews. With my UFC 147 review a few days away because of technical problems (a heavy rain storm knock out the signal to my Sky box) we’re going to begin by taking a look at the latest show on American network FX, shown in the early hours of this past Saturday morning on ESPN here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the featherweight division as Ross Pearson faced Cub Swanson.

This was a great way to open the show. After an initial feeling out period both fighters put in good performances in a highly entertaining back and forth battle.

Swanson’s striking game looked perfect, his superior speed keeping him ahead of the Brit on more than once occasion as he unleashed his combinations and kicks, most of which Pearson just seemed to walk through.

Pearson, for his part, scored with some explosive takedowns followed up by some nice ground and pound. Swanson managed to escape every time though, as well as scoring with the odd up kick.

The end came in the second round. After staggering his man with a front kick Swanson connected with a right/left combination that sent Pearson crashing. The referee quickly stepped in to halt the action as Swanson took the TKO win.

It was up to welterweight for the next fight as Brian Ebersole faced T.J. Waldburger.

Having witnessed some great striking in the previous fight we were then treated to some great grapping in this gripping three round affair.

Waldburger put in some really good stints on the ground, particularly in the first two rounds, almost getting the submission win in the first with a d’arce choke, as well as going for a variety of submissions in the second and third.

But the frustrating thing for him was the fact that Ebersole managed to escape each and every time as he came back with some ground and pound which included some well placed shoulder strikes.

So with the fight going the distance the judges came into the equation as everything went to Ebersole.

Lightweight action followed as Sam Stout went up against Spencer Fisher.

The third fight of their trilogy proved to be an entertaining affair. They began trading blows early on, and as the fight progressed Fisher looked as if he was getting the better of the exchanges.

Although he seemed at a slight deficit in the striking department Stout sought to take the advantage with some impressive takedowns. He put in a good sting on the ground, although Fisher managed to recover every time as the fight ended with a flurry of blows.

Once again the judges were called into action as Stout took the unanimous decision.

The main event featured more lightweight action as Gray Maynard faced Clay Guida.

I think the best way to describe this fight would be interesting. For five rounds Guida bounced around the cage as if he’d overdosed on Red Bull. He managed to get in a few good shots and kicks but these were few and far between.

If this tactic was designed to frustrate Maynard then it worked a treat. Maynard himself managed to get in some good blows, but like Guida’s these were also few and far between, although this wasn’t Maynard’s choice.

Maynard finally managed to grab hold of Guida in the forth with a muay thai clinch before moving onto some dirty boxing. Guida countered with a takedown but he soon found himself in a guillotine which he bounced his way out of.

It was pretty much the same in the fifth, and at one point the referee got so annoyed with Guida’s tactics he gave him a warning for not engaging.

With the fight going the distance the judges came into play once again, and this time they differed in their opinions as Maynard took the split decision.

In conclusion - the UFC’s latest foray into the world of network television proved to be something of a mixed bag.

The undercard certainly delivered. There were some good performances there, particularly from Cub Swanson and Brian Ebersole, with Swanson’s win over Ross Pearson getting my fight of the night honours.

But the main event was one of those frustrating affairs that left you wondering if Clay Guida actually wanted to fight. It brought back unpleasant memories of Kalib Starnes. I can really sympathise with Gray Maynard, and it really says it all about this fight that the fans were cheering wildly for Guida at the beginning and soundly booing him at the end.

So with that being said it’s time to give the final verdict, and this time around a UFC is going to get the thumbs up on the strength of it’s undercard. It would have been the big thumbs up had it not been for Clay Guida.

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