Saturday, 19 April 2014

UFC The Ultimate Fighter Nations Finale: Bisping vs Kennedy on BT Sport - TV Review

It's time to head off into the Octagon once more as we take a look at the latest final of the UFC's Ultimate Fighter franchise, shown in the early hours of this past Thursday morning on BT Sport here in Britain.

The show began with featherweight action as Dustin Poirier took on Akira Corassani.

My favourite pro wrestling commentator would probably describe this one as a slobber knocker. Me, I'd describe it as a great way to open the show.

These two began trading with moments of the start, with Corassani having some early success when he sent Poirier to the canvas briefly. But as the fight progressed and the cobwebs cleared Poirier began to work his way into the fight, out-working the Swede in the striking department and going for a couple of chokes in the latter stages of the round.

Both fighters looked to continue their great striking exchanges as the second round began, but when Poirier connected with an uppercut it was the beginning of the end for Corassani. A few more shots, including one to the body, saw Corassani crumple against the cage as the referee stepped in to give the Diamond the TKO win.

Then it was on to the welterweight final between Chad Laprise and Olivier Aubin-Mercier.

I really enjoyed this one. For three rounds we were treated to a very good fight between two up and comers eager to prove themselves on the big stage.

Laprise put in an impressive performance throughout. His striking and movement around the cage looked top notch throughout, while Aubin-Mercier always looked one step behind him in that respect. He managed to get in some good blows of his own, but Laprise's good work meant that he had trouble closing the distance.

Aubin-Mercier's best work came when he scored with a couple of takedowns, the only trouble there was that whenever the fight went to the mat Laprise always managed to find his way back to his feet within seconds. It was a great show of defensive wrestling.

But with no finish in sight the decision on who would be getting the big contract went down to the judges, and it seemed a little surprising that they couldn't agree as they gave Laprise the split decision.

The middleweight final followed as Sheldon Westcott faced Elias Theodorou.

This was even better than the last final. Westcott came out swinging as soon as the fight began, and it wasn't long before the action went downstairs and Westcott took his man's back. Theodorou soon countered though, and when he got back to his feet he worked well to get Westcott off his back.

From that moment on the fight belonged to Theodorou. As Westcott began to tire after his somewhat energetic entrance and early going's on Theodorou took control with some great striking, and as the first round became the second round he cemented that control when he took the fight to the ground himself.

Westcott looked absolutely exhausted as Theodorou began to dominate, and as the round neared it's conclusion and Theodorou unloaded with a barrage of blows the referee stepped in to give Theodorou the big contract and the TKO win.

The co-main event featured welterweight action as Patrick Cote faced Kyle Noke.

Those two finals proved to be the perfect appetiser for the coaches of the show could do, because for three rounds these two put on a very good fight.

Each round followed a similar pattern. Australia's coach Noke would open up with some good striking, particularly in the second round when he countered Cote's takedown attempt with a knee to the jaw. Cote managed to survive that particular scare though.

As for Canada's coach Cote always enjoyed the second part of the rounds, scoring with takedowns and unleashing with the ground and pound, and although Noke went looking for a submission attempt or two Cote managed to maintain his control.

As for the judges they were in complete agreement as Cote took the unanimous decision, much to the delight of the Canadian fans.

The main event featured middleweight action as Michael Bisping faced Tim Kennedy.

This five round affair was the perfect way to end the show. Both fighters came into this one looking to make a statement as they attempted to climb up the rankings, and the case for one of them was certainly a viable one.

Kennedy's performance here was top notch throughout. He enjoyed a great deal of success on the ground, beginning with the early takedown in the first round. There were times where he simply swarmed all over Bisping, and even though the Brit showed some sound defensive skills at times Kennedy always seemed to stay one step ahead of him.

Bisping's best moments came in the second round with his striking, but it just wasn't enough most of the time as Kennedy allied his takedowns with some nice blows of his own, and when Kennedy took the fight to the ground in the fifth it was becoming obvious just how this fight would play out.

With no finish in sight the judges were called upon for the final time. They continued to agree as Kennedy took the unanimous decision.

In conclusion - this was a pretty enjoyable show, with all the fights delivering. The two TUF finals once again showed that there's some exciting talent coming through from that franchise, while the other fighters definitely lived up to the hype.

As for my fight of the night no-prize the powers that be gave their award to Dustin Poirier and Akira Corassani, so I'm going with the flow with that one.

So with all of that being said there's just one more thing left to do, and that's to give the UFC's latest offering the big thumbs up.