Saturday, 28 May 2016

Catch-Up: UFC 198 Werdum vs Miocic

It’s time to play catch-up as we take a look back at the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s most recent visit to Brazil for the Heavyweight Title showdown between Fabricio Werdum and Stipe Miocic at UFC 198, show recently on BT Sport here in Britain.

We begin in the welterweight division with Warlley Alves and Bryan Barberena.

The first three rounder of the show was a great way of kicking off the main card. As the old saying goes they left it all in the cage, beginning when Warlley scored with an early takedown and went looking for a guillotine choke. Barberena managed to survive that particular scare, and from there the fight gave us some nice striking exchanges.

Barberena’s elbows looked brutal throughout, especially in the clinch, and he also targeted his man’s lead leg to good effect at times as well, while Warlley was able to get in plenty of good shots himself. But despite all of their good work neither man could get the finish.

Which, of course, meant that the judges came into the equation as Barberena took the unanimous decision, which was kind of ironic considering that his corner warned him about how difficult it would be to get a judgement against a Brazilian fighter in Brazil.

It was up to light heavyweight for the next fight between Shogun Rua and Corey Anderson.

The second fight on the main card to go the distance was a very interesting affair. Anderson was going up a class or two against the former champion, and he just about managed to bridge that gap with some nice striking throughout, allying this with a few takedowns as the fight went on.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic though, because Rua often gave as good as he got, particularly at the ends of the first two rounds. He ended the first five minutes by putting Anderson on his backside with a left hook, and he was only saved by the bell as the Brazilian unleashed with the ground and pound, while the second round ended with Anderson put down with a big right.

Thankfully for Anderson it wasn’t the same result at the end of the fight. Having been successful with his takedown attempts before he decided to avoid Rua’s punching power by going for another takedown.

All of this meant more work for the judges as Rua took the split decision.

Then came the women’s catchweight fight, made at 140 pounds, between Cris Cyborg and Leslie Smith.

Well, it finally happened, and it gave us the quickest fight of the night. The most anticipated women’s debut since Ronda Rousey saw Cyborg getting off some good shots early on. Smith got in some good blows of her own, but as soon as Cyborg unleashed with the heavy leather just a minute into the fight it was the beginning of the end.

A left/right combination sent Smith crashing to the canvas, and after Cyborg followed her down for a spot of ground and pound it wasn’t long before the referee was stepping in to give Cyborg the TKO win after just 81 seconds.

The co-main event featured middleweight action and the all-Brazilian affair between Jacare Souza and Vitor Belfort.

This battle between two of the top contenders in the division could be called a one-sided affair. It began evenly enough during the feeling out process, but when Souza took his man down by pulling his leg out from under him he began to assert his authority.

His ground and pound was spot on from the start, and it wasn’t long before he opened up a cut on the bridge of Belfort’s nose. A brief stoppage so the doctor could check on the cut only halted Souza’s progress momentarily, and even though Belfort managed to get back to his feet after the re-start he soon made the fatal mistake of pulling guard and taking the fight back to the ground.

It was just the thing that Souza was looking for as he went for the ground and pound once more. Belfort offered nothing in reply to this sustained attack, so it came as no surprise when the referee stepped in to give Souza the TKO win.

The main event saw Stipe Miocic challenging Fabricio Werdum for the Heavyweight title.

This was the icing on the cake as far as the main show goes. The feeling out process began with an exchange of leg kicks, an exchange which Miocic seemed to get the better of. But as the action began to settle down a little it looked as if the champion was getting the better of the exchanges.

Then, about halfway through the round, Werdum came forward with some rather sloppy looking punches, putting his challenger on the back foot but leaving himself wide open. It was then that, having already tagged him once, Miocic connected with a short right that sent the Brazilian into la-la land. He quickly followed him down as the referee stepped in quickly to give Miocic the title-winning knockout.

In conclusion. It certain was a mixed night for the Brazilians on their home soil as far as the main card goes, and while the likes of Shogun and Cyborg can rightfully be happy with their performances Alves might consider himself a little unlucky to be on the wrong end of the split decision.

As for Werdum, it was more than obvious that his sloppiness led to his downfall. He started off well, but going forward like he did was asking for trouble. It was an opportunity Miocic couldn’t help but take, and it was a deserving title win.

As for my prestigious fight of the night no-prize, as I didn’t see the official winner I’m going for the enjoyable Alves/Barberena opener.

So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing left to do, and that’s to give UFC 198 the thumbs up.