Monday, 27 April 2015

TV Review: BAMMA 20: McDermott vs Lazarz

We're entering the world of British MMA for the first time in a while as we take a look at the 20th offering from BAMMA, shown live this past Saturday night on Spike here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the lightweight division as Andre Winner went up against Colin Fletcher.

This proved to be a very interesting battle. Fletcher began in an aggressive manner as he put together a few nice combinations, but as the fight went on Winner began to impose his will on the proceedings, causing some damage to the Freakshow's eye and putting a little icing on the cake with a handful of takedowns.

Fletcher had his moments, there just weren't too many of them, and he only really enjoyed about a minute or so of dominance in the final round. But by that time it was more or less a given who was going to take the win here. Winner had spent the entire fight in his proverbial comfort zone throughout, content to keep Fletcher at bay with some nice combinations and ground work, happy to keep it in the lower gears.

As for the judges, no surprises here with Winner taking the unanimous decision.

The main event saw Brett McDermott facing Marcin Lazarz for the vacant Light Heavyweight title.

The second three rounder of the evening was another of those fights to put in the interesting folder, and it's one that would have sent the Birmingham fans home without a smile on their faces.

McDermott came out looking to take it to his man, and it wasn't long before a big left wobbled Lazarz. However, the Pole reacted instantly when he scored with the takedown, and that was a sign of thing to come because from that moment on Lazarz more or less dominated the action.

Lazarz's performance was great in almost every aspect. He controlled the striking beautifully, working the angles well and connecting with countless well-placed shots. McDermott, for his part, seemed a little second-rate, a little flat-footed as he looked to connect some powerful blows.

It was almost the same kind of story on the ground. The Pole, although not overly-flashy, did a good job of controlling the action there as well, and even when the referee stood them up due to apparent inactivity late in the fight he quickly took the action back down and finished the fight in complete control.

Once again there were no surprises from the judges as Lazarz took the unanimous decision.

With some time to spare it was on to some recorded action, beginning with the bantamweight clash between Regis Sugden and Ant Phillips..

Phillips got a good reception from his hometown fans during his introduction, but sadly for him that turned out to be the highlight of his evening.

Sugden, a young strip of a thing at just 19 years old, put in a great performance throughout. His crisp striking allied with some nice ground work showed why some rate him so highly already, and what he did towards the end of the first round showed just that.

He'd already put in a good stint with his striking, but when he connected with a double left combination it was all over bar the shouting. Phillips quickly slumped to the mat, with the referee stepping in after a brief moment of ground and pound to give Sugden the TKO win.

Then it was on to the Bantamweight title fight between Ed Arthur and Alan Philpott.

I think action-packed would be the best way to describe this particular encounter. They dispensed with the feeling out period when Arthur came forward early on and Philpott fought on the counter. It wasn't long before Philpott was enjoying some nice dominance on the ground. There was a brief stoppage due to an illegal knee from Philpott, but apart from that the visiting fighter enjoyed a great first round.

Sadly for him he couldn't take that momentum into the second. This time around it was Arthur who scored with the early takedown, much to the delight of his local supporters, and it wasn't long before he took Philpott's back and synched in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

In conclusion - it's been a while since I've watched any British-based MMA action, and I'm glad that BAMMA's deal with Spike's new British TV outlet gave me the opportunity to catch up a little.

All of the fights shown in the broadcast delivered to varying degrees, and although we didn't see that big knockout or submission in the two marquee matches we were treated to some nice action throughout, especially from the two bantamweight clashes.

As for my fight of the night no-prize I'm going for the Arthur/Philpott Bantamweight title fight, mainly because it wasn't too one-sided.

So with all of that out of the way there's just one thing left to do, and that's to give BAMMA 20 the thumbs up.