Wednesday, 11 June 2014

UFC Henderson vs Khabilov on BT Sport - TV Review

These UFC shows are coming fast and furious these days, and now we’re going back to last weekend’s Fight Night, shown on BT Sport in the early hours of this past Sunday morning here in Britain.

The show began in the bantamweight division as Eric Perez took on Bryan Caraway.

Perez came into this one with the crowd firmly behind him, but sadly for them it didn’t go the way they wanted it to.

After the initial early exchanges Caraway pulled guard and went for a guillotine, and although Perez survived that situation he soon found himself with Caraway on his back.

Perez managed to up his game a little as the fight went on, but when he scored with a takedown early in the second a quick scramble saw Caraway ending up in top position. A few moments later he took Perez’s back once again and synched in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

Lightweight action followed as Yves Edwards faced Piotr Hallman.

This one took a little while to get going, but when it did they gave us some nice back and forth exchanges, when they weren’t poking each other in the eye that is.

Things didn’t really step up a gear until Hallman scored with the takedown in the third round. Edwards had got in a few good blows, but from that moment on it was all Hallman, and although Edwards showed some sound defensive skills in the third when he stuffed a few takedowns Hallman took control again when he took his man down. Edwards looked exhausted by this point, and he was easy prey as the Pole took his back and synched in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

More lightweight action followed as Rafael Dos Anjos went up against Jason High.

High’s first fight at his new weight began with a couple of big slams, but once they got to the ground High found it difficult to do anything when RDA went looking for a couple of submissions.

The Brazilian really turned things around shortly afterwards with his striking and ground game, and by the time the second round started High was starting to show signs of fatigue. He had some success on the ground when he scored with a takedown, briefly taking RDA’s back, but this hardly troubled the Brazilian.

As the second entered it’s final moments RDA connected with a big left that sent High crashing. He quickly followed him down for a spot of unanswered ground and pound before the referee stepped in to give Dos Anjos the TKO win.

Then it was down to Flyweight as John Dodson took on John Moraga.

Now this was a rather interesting one. The first round was a somewhat cagey affair in which both fighters got in some good blows, although neither man seemed able to gain any sort of advantage.

When the second round began it was Moraga who looked the better striker. Dodson seemed to spend most of his time moving backwards, trying to avoid Moraga’s blows.

Then, as the round neared it’s conclusion, Dodson suddenly came to life, connecting with a big left that wobbled Moraga and following up with a knee that split his nose open. Dodson then followed his man to the ground, and Moraga was lucky to survive the round as Dodson rained down a torrent of blows.

Sadly for Moraga he didn’t survive the doctor’s inspection as the physician called the fight because of the damage to his nose, which gave Dodson the TKO win.

The co-main event featured yet more lightweight action as Diego Sanchez faced Ross Pearson.

The only fight of the broadcast to go the distance was another of those encounters that fits perfectly into the interesting file, and you’ll see why a little later.

For three rounds Pearson fought the perfect fight. His striking looked top notch throughout as he connected with body shots time and time again. His best blow was reserved for Sanchez’s chin when he connected with a right hand straight down the middle.

Sanchez’s best moments were few and far between, and when he did try something big like a flying knee Pearson managed to avoid it more often than not.

The big surprise came at the end, because even though Pearson appeared to dominate the action the judges didn’t see it that way as they gave their split decision to Sanchez.

The main event featured even more lightweight action as Benson Henderson took on Rustam Khabilov.

After the disappointment of the last fight this was just what the doctor ordered, a nice back and forth encounter with no judges required.

The first three rounds proved to be very entertaining. Both guys had their moments when they got off some good strikes, but it was Khabilov who scored with the impressive takedowns, especially when he caught Henderson’s kick and took him down straight away. As good as those takedowns where though Henderson always found a way out, which gave him the chance to try for a few submissions.

But just when everyone thought this one was going the distance Henderson connected with a right/left combination that floored the Russian early in the fourth. Henderson quickly took his back and synched in a rear naked choke as Khabilov tapped to give Henderson the submission win.

In conclusion - once again the good and the great of the UFC gave us a very good show, even if one of the decisions left everyone scratching their heads a little.

Although the main card gave us some very entertaining fights and very entertaining performances it will probably be remembered by the somewhat shocking decision in the Pearson/Sanchez fight. It certainly is baffling when you consider that two of the judges thought that Sanchez had the upper hand. But as the old fan forum saying goes maybe they were watching a different show. Boy do I hate that saying.

As for the fight of the night no-prize as I didn’t see the official winner my vote goes to the Henderson/Khabilov main event. There’s a big part of me that would love to see Henderson win the title again.

So with all of that out of the way there’s one more thing to do, and that’s to give this Fight Night the thumbs up.