It’s time to head to the Octagon for the third time in as many weeks as we take a look at the UFC’s latest show on FX, shown live in the early hours of this past Saturday morning on ESPN here in Britain.
The broadcast began in the welterweight division as Josh Neer went up against Justin Edwards.
Sadly British viewers were blighted by poor picture quality here, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the action. After a very brief feeling out period Edwards jumped up and locked in a guillotine choke. Neer quickly dropped to the ground, and the referee stepped in after just 45 seconds to give Edwards the submission win.
Flyweight action followed as John Dodson took on Jussier Formiga.
Time to be totally honest. This fight wasn’t exactly that inspiring. For the entire first round and the majority of the second it looked as if both fighters were a little tentative, mainly because Dodson was weary of being taken down by the debuting Brazilian.
That was until Dodson connected with a big left that sent Formiga to the canvas. It looked as if Dodson was going to get the win there and then when he followed his man down for a spot of ground and pound, but when Formiga got back to his feet it was back to normal.
A minute or so later Dodson connected with another left as Formiga went down once again. Dodson followed him down again, and with Formiga offering nothing in return the referee stepped in to give Dodson the TKO win and a shot at the title.
Filler material followed in the form of the lightweight encounter between Michael Johnson and Danny Castillo.
Now this was more like it. After an initial feeling out period Castillo connected with a big right that sent Johnson crashing. Castillo quickly followed him down, and after a few well-placed hammer fists Castillo went for an arm triangle. Johnson managed to survive, but only just as Castillo went on to dominate the rest of the round.
Johnson looked like an entirely different fighter in the second round. He went on the attack as soon as the round began, a short left putting Castillo on his backside. A brief moment of ground and pound followed until the referee stepped in to give him the knockout win.
Normal service resumed with more welterweight action as Jake Ellenberger went up against Jay Hieron.
The only fight on the broadcast that went the distance proved to be a solid if somewhat unspectacular encounter.
Both guys put in solid performances, although Ellenberger seemed to slightly edge it throughout the fight. This was particularly evident when Hieron went for a takedown when he caught Ellenberger’s leg. As Hieron looked for the sweep Ellenberger began to hop around the cage as if he were on a pogo stick until he finally escaped from his man’s clutches.
Later on Ellenberger scored with some impressive takedowns, but Hieron’s defensive work meant that he couldn’t impose his will on the fight. The second takedown was a good example of this when Hieron got back to his feet almost immediately.
After all that, and with no finish in sight, it went down to the judges as they have their unanimous decision to Ellenberger.
The main event featured heavyweight action as Travis Browne took on Antonio Silva.
Browne began his night’s work by going for a couple of explosive blows, including a spinning back kick. The action then settled down a little until the fighters engaged in a clinch against the cage.
But after Browne connected with a few blows from a Thai clinch it became obvious that he’d hurt his left knee, and after Silva connected with a couple of kicks to worsen the damage old Bigfoot connected with a big right that rocked his man.
Browne went crashing, and Silva followed him down before the referee stopped the fight to give Silva the TKO win.
In conclusion - while this was definitely the weakest of the recent shows it still produced it’s fair share of great action.
The Dodson/Formiga encounter wasn’t the best advertisement for the new flyweight division, although it did show, after the recent criticism, that the smaller guys are capable of finishing their opponents. As for Ellenberger/Hieron, it was okay, but it won’t make any fight of the year lists.
And seeing as how I didn’t see the official fight of the night I’m left with three candidates for my prestigious no-prize, and this time around I’m giving it to the big boys of the heavyweight division, Travis Browne and Antonio Silva. It was great to see Bigfoot get back to winning ways, and I hope he gets a fair crack against the division’s top stars.
So with all of that out of the way let’s end this thing by giving this show the thumbs up. Not the big thumbs up though.