Friday, 7 December 2012

UCMMA 31 on Sky Sports - TV Review

It’s time to step into the world of British MMA for the second time this week, and this time around we’re heading to The Troxy in London for UCMMA, shown this past Wednesday night on Sky Sports here in Britain.

The broadcast began with action from the welterweight division as Tautvydas Lileikis faced Khalid Ismail.

We had quite a lengthy feeling out period at the beginning of this one, but as the action went past the one minute mark it suddenly exploded into life.

Lileikis went for a takedown, but Ismail showed a great deal of strength when he simply barged his man over. He then went to work with the ground and pound, and with Lileikis covering up as Ismail rained down a torrent of heavy blows it wasn’t long before the referee stepped in to give Ismail the TKO win.

Catchweight action, made at 80 kilos, followed as Jimmy Miller took on Joel Reid.

This one was touted as the striker versus the grappler, and it wasn’t long before the striker took control. Miller took a while to gauge the distance, but when he found his range he started to use Reid’s face for target practice, opening up a couple of cuts.

But as the first round entered it’s final stages Reid suddenly turned the tables and went for a kimura from a standing position. Miller managed to survive when the fight went to the ground only for Reid to take the mount and deliver a few moments of ground and pound.

Reid continued his comeback into the second round. Miller looked a spent force as Reid went to work with some great strikes, and when they went to the ground it was all over as Miller tapped when Reid took his back and delivered numerous unanswered blows.

Then it was on to the lightweight division as Andy Cona went up against Jamaine Facey.

The introductions for this one lasted longer than the fight did. As soon as the bell sounded Facey went to work, connecting with a left kick to the head. A couple of more kicks followed before Facey connected with a flying knee to the head that sent Cona crashing. The referee quickly stepped in to give Facey the knockout win after just 15 seconds.

It was up to light heavyweight for the next fight as Aurelijus Kerpe took on Nick Chapman.

After highlights of the first round were shown the action began halfway into the second. Chapman looked quite impressive with his takedowns, but once he got there he didn’t seem to do much. It wasn’t a surprise when the referee stood the fighters up as Kerpe connected with a couple of good shots.

The third round followed the same pattern, with the addition of long moments against the cage where Chapman tried to go for a single leg while Kerpe tried to go for a guillotine. Eventually Chapman got the takedown and went to work with the ground and pound. It looked better this time around, although it didn’t look like he’d get the finish.

Which meant work for the judges as Chapman took the unanimous decision.

It was back to welterweight for the next fight as Richard Griffin squared off against Paul Kelly.

As the fight began one of our esteemed commentators, Mr. Rob Nutley, declared that the fight wouldn’t go to the ground. Kelly promptly scored with the takedown, once again providing us with a good example of the sports commentator’s curse.

Kelly dominated as soon as they hit the mat. His lefts to the ribs looked and sounded brutal, and although Griffin took a lot of punishment and showed sound defensive skills at times Kelly was able to move around at will.

They followed the same script in the second round, and once again Kelly delivered some hard shots to Griffin’s body. Griffin went for his man’s leg at one point before Kelly synched in a guillotine for the submission win.

The first of the title fights followed as Jody Collins took on Cory Tait for the Bantamweight title.

Tait began his night’s work with his usual stance, moving around the cage with his hands by his waist, and when Collins came forward with a couple of blows Tait simply moved out of the way.

Collins soon caught his man when he scored with the takedown, and he did good job of controlling the action, taking Tait back down again when he briefly got back to his feet.

But it wasn’t long before Tait came back into the fight, and after a quick scramble Tait went for a couple of submissions before applying a toe hold for the submission win.

Then it was on to the Middleweight title fight between Dan Dixon and Ben Callum.

These two began swinging for the fences as soon as the fight began. Callum rocked Dixon, then Dixon rocked Callum. Then they went down to the mat where Callum took control after a quick scramble and locked in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

The main event featured giants as Tomasz Czerwinski went up against Neil Grove for the Interim Heavyweight title.

I wasn’t expecting a technical classic with this one, but what I got was very interesting.

We had an extensive feeling out period at the beginning, and whenever big Czerwinski came forward, displaying his usual tactic of going for a barrage of big blows, Grove countered with a big left that stopped the big man in his tracks.

Although Czerwinski is one of the most likeable fighters on the roster he once again showed that he’s a tad one dimensional. It wasn’t long before he came forward again, and once again Grove stopped him with another counter left.

The really interesting part came when Grove connected with a right leg kick to Czerwinski’s left leg. The big man made the mistake of showing that the kick hurt him by rubbing his leg. This was like a red rag to a bull as far as Grove was concerned, and another well-placed right kick saw Czerwinski crumple to the canvas. Grove followed him down for a spot of ground and pound before the referee stepped in to give Grove the TKO win.

In conclusion - having been very disappointed with Channel 5’s handling of BAMMA’s recent show it was nice to get back into the swing of things with some quality British action.

UCMMA 31 more than made up for the previous disappointment and showed just how an MMA show should be presented on television. Every fight delivered to varying degrees, with some more enjoyable than others, my only gripe being the cuts made to the Kerpe/Chapman fight.

As for my fight of the night this time the no-prize is going to the Bantamweight title fight between Jody Collins and Cory Tait.

So with all of that out of the way it’s time to wrap this thing up by giving UCMMA 31 the thumbs up.

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