Monday, 20 May 2013

UFC Belfort vs Rockhold on ESPN - TV Review

The Octagon is our next destination as we journey with the Ultimate Fighting Championship to Brazil for their latest offering on America’s FX network, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the middleweight division as Rafael Natal took on Joao Zeferino.

This battle of the homeland fighters proved to be a very interesting affair. Zeferino looked promising early on, his striking causing Natal a few problems, and when Natal slipped Zeferino followed him to the ground.

They soon found themselves in the 50/50 guard. This was a somewhat intriguing situation as both men went for and defended against various foot and leg locks, although neither man was able to gain any sort of advantage.

Natal began to take control from the second round onwards as the fatigue factor came into play. Although he threw a few good combinations Zeferino began to looked a shadow of his first round self, and when the third round began Natal’s control was complete. He stuffed all of the takedown attempts, and when he took the fight to the ground himself all Zeferino could do was hang on for dear life.

With the fight going the distance the judges were called into action. All three were in agreement as Natal took the unanimous decision.

Then it was down to the lightweight division as Rafael Dos Anjos faced Evan Dunham.

This is another of those fights that fits firmly into the intriguing file. For three rounds these two put on a great back and forth affair. We saw some top notch striking throughout, particularly from Dos Anjos. He threw everything bar the kitchen sink at Dunham, but no matter what he did Dunham kept coming back for more as he repaid the Brazilian in kind with some choice shots of his own.

As the fight went on both men began to display the scars of combat, especially Dos Anjos, who suffered a nasty cut over his eye after an accidental clash of heads. This didn’t stop him much though, and as the fight reached it’s conclusion both men began to swing for the fences.

But with no end in sight the judges came into play once more as Dos Anjos took the unanimous decision.

Then it was back to middleweight as Jacare Souza faced Chris Camozzi.

To say that Souza put in an excellent performance would not be underestimating things. Camozzi came forward early on with a couple of good blows, but as soon as Souza scored with the takedown he began to show just why he is so highly regarded.

The Brazilian looked almost unstoppable as he went to work. Camozzi tried to scramble away at one point but ended up in an alma plata shoulder lock. Souza was back on top seconds later as he began to transition at will until he locked in an arm triangle. Camozzi passed out as the referee stepped in to give Souza the first round submission win.

The main event featured yet more middleweight action as Vitor Belfort took on Luke Rockhold.

This was the first fight on the show that had any kind of feeling out process, and although Belfort had some success with his strikes it looked like Rockhold was going to take the early plaudits with his kicks as he tried to use his natural size advantage.

Then, from out of nowhere, Belfort connected with a spinning back kick that sent Rockhold down like a sack of spuds. Belfort quickly followed him down for a spot of ground and pound until the referee stepped in to give Belfort the first round knockout win.

In conclusion - it proved to be another triumphant night for the Brazilians on their home turf, and they sure went about it in an exciting way.

Which meant that the UFC’s latest trip to South America proved to be another great outing. All of the fights delivered big time, and praise must go to all of the Brazilian fighters on this show. I guess fighting in front of such vociferous fans gives them such a great boost.

As for my fight of the night no-prize as I didn’t see the official winner I’m going to plump for the Dos Anjos/Dunham three rounder. That really was a fight that could have gone either way decision-wise.

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

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