It’s time to step into the Octagon for the second time in two weeks as we take a look back at the UFC’s latest trip to my homeland for their latest Fuel TV show, shown live this past Saturday night on ESPN here in Britain.
The broadcast began with welterweight action as Che Mills went up against Duane Ludwig.
This one didn’t last long, but what we saw was pretty encouraging, and pretty good.
Mills took the fight to the ground early on with a nice trip, and his offence looked sound until Ludwig managed to get back to his feet. Mills soon took the fight back down, but after Ludwig scrambled up again his knee gave out.
Ludwig knew immediately that he was done, and the referee quickly stepped in to give Mills the TKO win.
With some time to kill it was on to filler material and the featherweight clash between Jason Young and Robbie Peralta.
This was quick. After the initial feeling out period both fighters began to swing for the fences, and when Peralta connected with a big right Young went crashing. Peralta followed him down but it wasn’t long before the referee stopped the action, giving Peralta the knockout win.
Normal service resumed with more welterweight action as John Hathaway took on John Maguire.
This was the perfect example of how a fighter can use his size and reach advantage to good effect.
For almost three entire rounds Hathaway used the gifts that nature had given him to tremendous effect. Maguire just couldn’t handle his attack, and although he managed to get in a few good shots he just couldn’t get the distance.
Hathaway’s striking was sound and effective, and when he scored with the takedown in the second his ground and pound also hit the spot.
Maguire’s best moment came when he scored with a takedown of his own late on, but with just over a minute left in the fight it was too little too late.
So with the fight going the distance it came as no surprise when the judges gave each and every round to Hathaway.
It was down to lightweight for the next fight as Paul Sass faced Matt Wiman.
Now this was good. Sass scored with the early takedown and went to work straight away, moving his man towards the fence and going for a variety of submissions.
But it wasn’t all one-way traffic. Wiman did an excellent job in countering Sass’ submission attempts with some attempts of his own, and as the first round neared it’s final minute Wiman locked in an armbar for the impressive submission win.
More filler material followed in the form of the catchweight encounter between DaMarques Johnson and Gunnar Nelson.
I’m glad they showed this one. Having seen a bit of Nelson in recent times I was eager to see how he got on on the big stage.
He didn’t disappoint. He opened his UFC career with a big head kick, scoring with the takedown moments later, and although Johnson went for a couple of submissions Nelson dominated. It wasn’t long before Nelson took his man’s back, taking the submission win with a rear naked choke.
Normal service resumed again with bantamweight action as Brad Pickett took on Yves Jabouin.
Can I use my now this was good line again? I’m going to anyway, because this was a great back and forth striking battle.
Both guys had their moments throughout, and if truth be known Jabouin looked the better of the two fighters.
That was until Pickett lived up to his nickname and dropped Jabouin with just one shot, a right uppercut. Pickett followed him down briefly until the referee stepped in to give One Punch the knockout win.
Then it was back to welterweight as hometown boy Dan Hardy faced Amir Sadollah.
This proved to be one of those very intriguing battles. The emotion of the occasion looked like it got to Hardy in the first round as Sadollah looked the better of the two fighters, but as soon as the second round began hardy managed to impose his will on the fight.
Everything he did looked good, from his striking to his takedowns he more or less dominated, opening up a couple of nasty cut’s on his man’s face, and although Sadollah was always on the look out for a submission off his back Hardy was always one step ahead of him.
The only thing missing was a finish, which meant more work for the judges as all three scored in favour of Hardy, much to the delight of the hometown fans.
The main event featured heavyweight action as Stefan Struve went up against Stipe Miocic.
For a main event this wasn’t too bad. Miocic took control early on, using some good foot work to get inside Struve so he could connect with some hard body shots.
It looked as if Miocic was executing the perfect game plan when the big Dutchman was having trouble finding the distance.
But as soon as the second round began Struve finally went to work, and although Miocic still managed to get in a few good shots, particularly to the body, Struve repaid him in kind. Miocic was on rubber legs when Struve connected with an uppercut that more or less ended things. Miocic didn’t go down, and it took a referee stoppage to give Struve the TKO win.
In conclusion - looks like they’ve done it again.
The UFC’s latest trip to merry old England certainly delivered some quality fights filled with great action, and although it was a night of mixed fortunes as far as the British fighters were concerned it didn’t detract from what was a great show.
As for my fight of the night, while the experts went for the Struve/Miocic encounter yours truly is going out of the box a little by giving my prestigious no-prize to Gunnar Nelson and DaMarques Johnson for Nelson’s outstanding performance.
So with all of that out of the way let’s wrap this thing up by giving the UFC’s latest Fuel TV show the big thumbs up.