Monday, 22 April 2013

UFC Henderson vs Melendez on ESPN - TV Review

It’s time to step into the Octagon once again as we take a look at the UFC’s latest show on America’s Fox network, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the welterweight division with Matt Brown taking on Jordan Mein.

This was a great way to start the show, a back and forth battle that had you on the edge of your seat, or sitting up in bed in my case. These two began exchanging from the start. One would hurt the other, only for the other to come back a few seconds later and hurt the one.

But when Mein delivered a blow to the body Browne went down, and it looked like Mein was going for the ground and pound. When he got there though he soon found himself in Brown’s triangle attempt. He managed to survive this particular submission attempt as they barely made it to the end of the round.

When the second round began Brown was all over his man like a cheap suit. A big right broke Mein’s nose, and it wasn’t long before he slumped to the ground. Brown continued his assault until the referee stopped the fight to give Brown the TKO win.

Lightweight action followed as Nate Diaz went up against Josh Thomson.

The great action that began in the previous fight continued into this encounter. It began with Diaz stalking his man around the cage, backing him up against the cage. This didn’t put Thomson off though as he connected with a series of kicks, one of which connected to the side of Diaz’s head.

As the round went on Thomson began to add a few punches into the mix, and with Diaz upping his game this was turning into a great bout. When the second round began the swelling on Diaz’s right knee was apparent for all to see. It didn’t hamper him as they engaged in a few clinches against the cage, one of which involved an inadvertent south of the border knee from Diaz.

Diaz took the fight to the ground briefly, and when they got back to their feet It wasn’t long before a kick to the head from Thomson staggered Diaz. Thomson followed up with some more mores as Diaz went down, and it wasn’t long before the referee stepped in to give Thomson the TKO win.

Then it was on to the heavyweight division as Frank Mir faced Daniel Cormier.

This may not have been the most spectacular fight I’ve seen but it certainly was one of the most interesting. Cormier was able to impose his will on the fight for the entire three rounds. His tactics were simple, get Mir up against the fence and grind him down. He did this perfectly, occasionally breaking away so he could deliver some hard shots to the body. It may not have looked pretty, and it may not have played well with those in attendance, but it was highly effective way of shutting Mir down.

The former champion had his moments, mainly in the third round when he managed to get off a few good strikes, but it wasn’t long before Cormier shut him down again.

With the fight going the distance it was put in the hands of the judges. No disagreements here as they gave everything to Cormier.

The main event saw Gilbert Melendez challenging Benson Henderson for the Lightweight title.

This proved to be an intriguing five round affair, one of those fights that looked like it could go either way. Melendez began strongly. His striking looked crisp, and whenever Henderson went for a body kick Melendez caught it, putting his man on his backside at one point.

Everything he did just looked so good, but as the fight progressed Henderson began to catch up to his challenger, asserting his authority on the proceedings. It really was a joy to watch as two of the best in the world went at it, and even though we didn’t see much ground work that didn’t matter, because as the old saying goes these two were leaving everything in the cage.

By the time the fifth round started it looked like it could go either way, and although Melendez was slowing down he was still able to get in a few good shots, as did Henderson.

But with the fight going the distance the judges were called upon once again. This time around they couldn’t agree on the outcome as Henderson took the split decision.

In conclusion - the UFC’s latest foray into Fox’s territory proved to be a very good show.

All of the fights delivered entertainment-wise, although I’m sure there will be some who won’t say that about the Mir/Cormier encounter, and given the way the Henderson/Melendez encounter turned out I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a re-match somewhere down the line, perhaps later this year.

As for my fight of the night no-prize I’m going to plump for the aforementioned Henderson/Melendez fight. It was everything a UFC main event should be.

So with all of that out of the way there’s only one more thing left to do, and that’s to give this show the thumbs up.

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