Monday, 11 November 2013

UFC Belfort vs Henderson on BT Sport - TV Review

It's time to step into the Octagon for the second time in a week as we take a look back at the UFC's latest trip to Brazil, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on BT Sport here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the featherweight division as Rony Jason faced Jeremy Stephens.

Not really much to write home about here. Jason tested the waters a little with a flying knee attempt and a kick to the body. Stephens responded with a kick to the head that dropped his man like a bad habit. One right hand and that was it as the referee stepped in to give Stephens the knockout win after just 40 seconds.

Then it was up to welterweight as Santiago Ponzinibbio took on Ryan LaFlare.

This proved to be a very interesting three rounder. LaFlare put on a great display of ground fighting throughout. It began early in the first round after Ponzinibbio tested the waters a little, and as worked into position it always looked like he could get a submission at any time.

The Argentine had his moments, but from the second round onwards fatigue began to set in, although that didn't stop him from getting in a few good blows, with one particular barrage giving LaFlare no end of trouble.

But with Ponzinibbio looking absolutely exhausted by the time the third came around the fight looked his for the taking. A knee to the jaw sent the Argentine to the canvas, but try as he might the American couldn't get the finish, and just before the end Ponzinibbio connected with an uppercut that put LaFlare on his backside. The only problem was that by that time his fuel tank was close to empty.

As for the judges they were in complete agreement as LaFlare took the unanimous decision.

The welterweight action continued with Paulo Thiago taking on Brandon Thatch.

This one began with the proverbial water testing period before Thiago scored with the takedown as Thatch came forward. Thatch didn't give him much chance to work go, getting back to his feet within seconds.

From there they exchanged a few combinations, and after Thatch connected with a right kick to the body a knee crumpled Thiago over. Thatch followed his man down for a couple more blows until Thiago tapped to give Thatch the submission win.

Light heavyweight action followed as Rafael Feijao took on Igor Pokrajac.

This one didn't last too long. They began trading as soon as the fight began before Pokrajac instigated a clinch against the cage. A few moments later Feijao connected with a series of knees to the head and the body from a Thai clinch sent the Croatian crashing to the mat. The Brazilian followed up with a series of big rights until Pokrajac tapped to give Feijao submission win.

With some time to spare it was on to filler material in the form of the middleweight encounter between Thiago Perpetuo and Omari Akhmedov.

These two certainly weren't being paid by the hour, judging by the amount of action they gave us in this one. Perpetuo scored with the knockdown early on when a right to the top of the head sent Akhmedov crashing. But within seconds the Russian had recovered and scored with a takedown before getting the better of a clinch against the fence.

Almost exactly the same happened a few moments later, only this time around Akhmedov drove Perpetuo across the cage and against the fence before he scored with the takedown. Then, just a few seconds later, Perpetuo scored with a takedown of his own, but the Russian was able to get back to his feet a few seconds later.

Then came the ending. As Akhmedov was back peddling on the break he connected with a couple of right hands that sent the Brazilian to the canvas. The referee quickly stepped in to give Akhmedov the knockout win.

The penultimate fight featured more middleweight action as Cezar Ferreira took on Daniel Sarafian.

This all-Brazilian affair proved to be an entertaining three rounder, and it looked like it could go either way, until the final few minutes that is.

Both guys put in good performances in the first two rounds. Sarafian looked like he was going to get the win with a guillotine early on, but it was his striking that put Ferreira on the back foot on more than one occasion.

As for the TUF Brazil winner his ground game looked solid throughout, although he had room to feel a little aggrieved when the referee stood the fighters up just when it looked like he was about to do something.

For me the turning point came in the final few minutes of the fight. Ferreira had put in some good work on the ground when the referee stood the fighters up again. To prove his point Ferreira scored with the immediate takedown, and even though Sarafian got back to his feet Ferreira took his back and went for the rear naked choke as the fight came to an end.

As for the judges they couldn't agree as Ferreira took the split decision.

The main event featured light heavyweight action as Vitor Belfort went up against Dan Henderson.

These two spent the first minute or so circling each other looking for an opening. That opening came when Belfort's right hand sent Henderson down. The Brazilian followed him for a barrage of blows, and when Henderson got back to his feet a left kick to the head sent Henderson into la-la land. That was enough for the referee as he quickly stepped in to give Belfort the knockout win.

In conclusion - they've done it again. For the second time in a week the UFC have given their fans another quality show.

These Brazilian shows are starting to seem a little special. They're always filled with great action, as was the case here. From top to bottom the fights delivered and provided a great night of entertainment.

But it wasn't just the fights that entertained me, it was the fans as well. As with the previous show they really added to the whole atmosphere, and even though it was a mixed night for the South American fighters the respect they showed for the men who beat their favourites is something that we just don't get to see in other parts of the world.

As for my fight of the night no-prize I'm going to differ from the official decision and go for Vitor Belfort's KO of Dan Henderson. I know it was a little one-sided, but I'm kind of a sucker for quick finishes like that.

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