It’s time for a better late than never review, and this time around we’re heading to Tokyo for the UFC’s latest show on Fuel TV, shown live on ESPN here in Britain.
The broadcast began in the welterweight division as Don Hyun Kim took on Siya Bahadurzada.
This proved to be a solid three rounder. Early on Bahadurzada managed to cause quite a swelling above Kim’s right eye. Sadly for him that was the only meaningful damage he caused all night.
Kim went on to dominate the action for the remainder of the fight. He was able to take Bahadurzada down at will, and when his man managed to escape he took him right back down again.
Kim’s best work came in the third when he went for an arm triangle, and when that didn’t work he took the mount and unleashed with the ground and pound. A lesser fight would have tapped, but Bahadurzada stuck it out.
As for the decision the judges were in total agreement as Kim took the unanimous decision.
It was down to featherweight next as Mizuto Hirota faced Rani Yahya.
I really enjoyed this one. Yahya controlled the action for the first two rounds with some excellent takedowns and grappling. His work was top notch as he made Hirota look poor, especially when he went for an arm triangle.
Hirota seemed like a different man when the third round started. He was suddenly able to defend against Yahya’s takedown attempts before he took control when he went for an armbar. But with Yahya visibly tiring Hirota really upped his game, connecting with some sound shots as the fight came to an end.
Once again the judges were in complete agreement as Yahya took the unanimous decision.
Middleweight action followed as Yushin Okami went up against Hector Lombard.
The third entertaining three rounder saw Lombard trying to shorten the distance early on, but it wasn’t long before Okami took the fight to the ground as he began to assert his authority.
Okami allied his sound ground game with some nice striking in the second, but when the third began Lombard’s striking came to the fore as he staggered the Japanese star. Okami managed to survive though, mainly because Lombard preferred the ground game to his striking attack.
For the first time during the broadcast the judges differed in their opinion as Okami took the split decision.
Then it was down to lightweight as Takanori Gomi took on Diego Sanchez.
This was one of those very interesting encounters. It began with Sanchez racing out of the blocks to take the centre ground, and although Gomi’s boxing looked great from the start whenever he went for a kick Sanchez countered with a takedown.
Gomi changed his tactics a little from the start of the second round. The kicks were gone as he concentrated on his boxing. It proved to be a sound decision as he took the upper hand. Sanchez had some good moments of his own, but his takedown attempts were ineffective, although he did end the fight with a flurry.
Once again the judges differed in their opinions as Sanchez took the split decision.
The big boys of the heavyweight division were up next as Mark Hunt faced Stefan Struve.
I really liked this one. Given the obvious differences between these two it looked to be an intriguing fight on paper, and an even better one in the cage.
Both men got in some good shots early on before Struve pulled guard and took the fight to the ground, and although Hunt had some success on top it wasn’t long before Struve reversed the positions and took the mount. Struve quickly unleashed with the ground and pound, but Hunt managed to survive this onslaught to make it to the second round.
It was then that the former K1 standout had even more success, particularly with his leaping left hook. Then, for some reason, he decided to take the fight to the ground. That was all the encouragement Struve needed as he went looking for the submission before another spot of ground and pound.
Both fighters were visibly tired by the time the third round started, but that didn’t stop Hunt from unloading with the heavy leather, and this time around he managed to stagger the big Dutchman, backing him up against the fence before dropping him with another big left hook. Hunt then backed away as the referee stepped in to give Hunt the TKO win.
The main event featured light heavyweight action as Wanderlei Silva went up against Brian Stann.
Well this one certainly had a lot of action in it. The big guns were brought out early as both men went at it full tilt. Each man got in some good shots as they rocked the other, with Silva opening up a nasty cut on the bridge of Stann’s nose.
The stoppage looked like it was going to come early until Stann misdirected a kick. Silva’s rest period gave they both time to recover, and although they restarted at a somewhat slower pace they went back up to full throttle at the end of the round.
It was the same story in the second. Once again both fighters got in their fair share of big blows, and with neither man backing down it began to look like the fight could go either way.
But as the round entered it’s final minute Silva connected with a right/left combination that sent Stann crashing. Silva followed him down for a few more blows before the referee stepped in to give Silva the knockout win.
In conclusion - as with some of my other recent television reviews other issues and commitments meant that I wasn’t able to see this show until a few days after it happened. I had considered passing on this review. I’m glad I didn’t.
It was another night of great action as the UFC continued their quest for world domination. All of the fights shown on the broadcast delivered, and then some.
As for my fight of the night no-prize there was only ever one contender, and that was Wanderlei Silva’s tremendous knockout win over Brian Stann. Although I have to admit that if that fight hadn’t been on the show then the nod would have gone the way of Mark Hunt and Stefan Struve.
So with all of that out of the way let’s wrap this thing up by giving the UFC’s latest trip to Japan the thumbs up.