Sunday, 10 November 2013

UFC Fight for the Troops 3 on BT Sport - TV Review

It's time to step into the Octagon once again as we take a look back at the UFC's latest tribute to the American armed forces, Fight for the Troops 3, shown this past Wednesday night/Thursday morning on BT Sport here in Britain.

We begin with the preliminaries and the women's bantamweight encounter between Amanda Nunes and Germaine De Randamie.

These two began by testing the waters with a few kicks, but when Nunes caught one of De Randamie's long legs she was able to instigate a clinch against the cage before scoring with the takedown a few moments later.

From there she quickly took the mount and went to work with the ground and pound. At first it looked as if De Randamie was deflecting most of the blows with her arms, but eventually the elbows got through, and with nothing being offered in reply the referee stepped in to give Nunes the TKO win.

Then it was on to the featherweight division as Dennis Bermudez took on Steven Siler.

Now this was good, real good. For three rounds these two put on a somewhat frantic back and forth encounter, and it was an absolute joy to watch.

The first round was probably the most frantic, and the most back and forth. Each man had their moments, and these came thick and fast as they exchanged guillotine attempts and a whole lot more.

By the time the second round started it became a slightly more sedate affair with Bermudez taking a small amount of control, especially on the ground. His neck crank variation looked great, but not great enough to get the finish, and when the third round began he showed what a great striker he was, although by that time Siler came back into the fight a bit more.

But with no finish it meant that the judges were called into action as Bermudez took the unanimous decision.

It was down to bantamweight for the next fight as George Roop faced Francisco Rivera.

These two didn't bother with the feeling out process, they began trading with the heavy leather as soon as the fight began, and it wasn't long before Rivera was getting the better of the exchanges, as evidenced by his right/left combination.

But when Roop scored with the takedown it signalled a change in tact. Rivera tried to defend as best he could as Roop tried to take his back, and it was only a brief mistake by Roop that allowed Rivera back to his feet.

Round two seemed like a completely different affair, especially after Roop connected with an accidental low kick. After a brief rest period Rivera came out like a house on fire, and his barrage of blows soon had Roop in some trouble. The big man tried to back pedal a little but it was no use. A final combination sent Roop down to the mat for a second time, and that was when the referee stepped in to give Rivera the TKO win.

The final preliminary featured lightweight action as Bobby Green took on James Krause.

This one proved to be a somewhat controversial affair. It began with some nice striking from both men, and as the action went on you got the feeling that this one was going to go a few rounds.

Then Green connected with a couple of accidental low kicks, the second of which earned him a point deduction, and a few minutes later Green connected with another kick that looked a little low, and as Krause fell flat on the mat the referee John McCarthy waved the fight.

Confusion then reigned as nobody knew what was going on, and while Krause claimed to have been hit by another low kick referee McCarthy said otherwise, saying that he'd stopped the fight because of Green's kick was above the cup on Krause's waistline, and that Krause had decided he wasn't going to fight anymore, which meant that the official decision was a TKO win for Green.

Filler material followed in the form of the middleweight encounter between Derek Brunson and Brian Houston.

The blink or you'll miss it affair of the evening saw Brunson connecting with an early head kick that sent his man down to the ground. Brunson quickly followed him there and took his back, synching in a rear naked choke. Houston was like a wild man as he tried to fight the hold, but it was no use as he eventually tapped out to give Brunson the submission win after just 48 seconds.

The main show began with more lightweight action as Colton Smith took on Michael Chiesa.

I know I've used this line already, but what the hell. Now this was good, real good. It was one of those fights jam packed with action from start to finish, and if you took your eyes off it for a split second then there was a chance that you'd miss something.

The ground work from both guys was frantic in the first round. Chiesa was the first to go for a submission when he took Smith's back and went for a rear naked choke. Smith managed to survive that particular scare, and a few seconds later it was his turn to take the back and go for his now rear naked choke. Chiesa looked in real trouble, and it was only when he slammed his way out that he managed to escape the pressure.

The beginning of the second was a little more sedate, but when Chiesa scored with the takedown he took Smith's back once again. This time around there was nothing he could do to stop the rear naked choke being synched in, and it wasn't long before he tapped out to give Chiesa the submission win.

The lightweight action continued with Jorge Masvidal taking on Rustam Khabilov.

This was another great back and forth encounter. Khabilov signalled his intentions early on when he connected with a big overhand right, and from there it developed into a nice little striking battle. Khabilov clearly had the better of the exchanges early on, but as the round progressed Masvidal began to match him.

The action continued in the same vein in the second round, although the third round was the most memorable after Khabilov connected with a spinning back kick that sent Masvidal crashing. The Russian followed his man down to the mat, and what followed was a series of somewhat frantic exchanges where one fight would score with the takedown and take his man's back before the other scrambled away and took the advantage himself, making this another of those fights where you daren't avert your gaze for fear of missing something.

But after all of that neither man could get the finish, which meant more work for the judges as Khabilov took the unanimous decision.

It was back to middleweight for the next fight as Ronny Markes faced Yoel Romero.

This proved to be a very interesting encounter. Romero's rather unique style seemed to put Markes off his game a little, and it gave Romero the chance to connect with a few left hands right down the middle. Mind you, he was helped by the fact that Markes was more or less a static target most of the time.

Romero continued with his great striking into the second round, and it wasn't until that round entered it's final minute that Markes really exploded into action. A big right hand right into Romero's face caused him a few problems, but after he continued his pace into the early part of the third the pace slowed down a little.

That was until a big swinging left from Romero sent Markes crashing to the canvas. Two more shots later and it was all over as the referee stepped in to give Romero the TKO win.

The co-main event featured women's bantamweight action as Liz Carmouche took on Alexis Davis.

I really liked this one. For three rounds both of these women put on great striking displays, and it was another nice advertisement for the UFC's newest division.

Although Carmouche came in as the favourite it was Davis who was the better striker of the two. Her kicks to the right leg gave Carmouche no end of trouble, and although she checked a few of them as the fight went on they were still causing a great deal of damage.

It wasn't all one way traffic though. Although she wasn't getting the better of the majority of the exchanges Carmouche did cause some damage with a big outside right that opened up a nasty cut above Davis' left eye. It probably would have been wise to target the eye afterwards, but Davis' game was such that she was able to keep control.

As for the judges they gave everything to Davis as she took the unanimous decision.

With some time to spare it was on to more filler material in the form of the lightweight encounter between Yves Edwards and Yancy Medeiros.

These two didn't bother with any feeling out period. As soon as the fight began they traded kicks, with Medeiros connecting with countless front kicks to the body, and while Edwards got in a few kicks himself he preferred to let his hands do the talking as a series of right hooks stunned his man.

But when Medeiros connected with a left uppercut Edwards crashed down like the proverbial sack of spuds. Medeiros followed him down for a couple of more blows before the referee stepped in to give Medeiros the knockout win.

The main event featured middleweight action as Tim Kennedy took on Rafael Natal.

This was the perfect way to cap off this show. Natal clearly had the better of the early exchanges, and his kicks to Kennedy's left leg gave him a little bit of trouble. But as the round went on Kennedy began to show a little more confidence, and with just twenty seconds to go a big looping left sent the Brazilian down to the canvas. Kennedy followed him down briefly until the referee called the action to give Kennedy the TKO win.

In conclusion - the UFC's latest tribute to the American armed forces proved to be a fantastic show from top to bottom.

Although there was a little disappointment with regards to the Green/Krause affair all of the fights delivered big time. It was as if every fighter on the card upped their game so they could give a little more for the troops in attendance.

As for those troops mention must be made of the electric atmosphere they created. They gave each and every fight a rapturous reception, and they were really into everything that happened, and while it's the fights that make the shows the crowd also play their part in making a show special.

As for my fight of the night no-prize while those in the know went for the Masvidal/Khabilov fight I'm plumping for the Chiesa/Smith encounter. The official winner was good, but Chiesa and Smith was just a whole lot better for me.

So with that out of the way there's just one more thing left to do, and that's to give UFC Fight for the Troops 3 the big thumbs up.