THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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It’s taken them sixteen years, and they’ve had to overcome many obstacles, but the Ultimate Fighting Championship has reached it’s hundredth major show with UFC 100: Making History, shown live here in Britain on Racing World (yep, a horse racing channel – well we Brits had to watch it somehow!) in the early hours of this past Sunday morning. As usual, Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan handling the commentary duties for this one.
The broadcast begins with action from the middleweight division, and the debuting Yoshihiro Akiyama taking on Alan Belcher. An event of this magnitude demanded a great fight to begin the broadcast with, and it got it with Akiyama and Belcher. Both fighters put in good performances here. Belcher knocked Akiyama down in the first with a big left, just a few moments after he caught him with an inadvertent low blow. From there both fighters worked well on the ground, but it was in the stand up game that Belcher really excelled, especially with his leg kicks. Akiyama was clearly limping by the time the third round started, and his left eye was starting to close as well. But despite these setbacks, Akiyama was still in the fight, although it seemed that, as time went on, Belcher was slowing getting the upper hand. Sadly, the judges didn’t see it that way, with Akiyama getting the split decision. One of the judges even gave every round to Akiyama, leaving this writer scratching his head. To be blunt, Belcher was robbed.
Up next, more action from the middleweights, and the fight I was really looking forward to, the battle of The Ultimate Fighter coaches, Dan Henderson against Michael Bisping. I think you can guess who I was rooting for in this one. Sadly, things didn’t go to plan. Henderson put in a great performance, out boxing Bisping completely in the first round, and even though the Brit came back a little in the second, it just wasn’t enough to stop Henderson, who connected with a big right that sent Bisping crashing to the mat. Bisping was out before he hit the ground. Henderson went down for a final right before the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. A tremendous performance from the legend in waiting, and kind of sad that Bisping couldn’t follow up Team UK’s dominance of The Ultimate Fighter with a victory here.
Main event time #1, with Thiago Alves challenging Georges St-Pierre for the UFC Welterweight title. If you ever needed an example of just how good a fighter GSP is, then this is it. From the first minute of the first to the last minute of the fifth, St-Pierre dominated in almost every aspect. He was able to take Alves down at will, nine times in all, and along the way he cut Alves above the eye and bloodied his nose, and he accomplished this in the last two rounds with a groin injury. Credit to Alves though for hanging in with GSP, even though he was clearly out fought throughout. All three judges gave every round to St-Pierre, and rightfully so. A tremendous fight for the Canadian, but I’m left to wonder just what is there left for him in the welterweight division.
Main event time #2, with UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir and UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar looking to unify the titles. Once again Lesnar showed just how much he’s improved as a fighter over the past year or so. It was a dominating performance from the former WWE superstar, using his wrestling ability to take Mir down, and using his power to pound away on his face, opening him up in the first round. Although Mir got in some good shots in the second, it was pretty much the same story later on. Lesnar took him down, pounded away on his face with his right, and soon knocked him out. An excellent performance from Lesnar. As for the post fight interview, well, you can take the wrestler out of WWE, but you can’t take WWE out of the wrestler.
The final fight of the night saw Jon Fitch facing Paulo Thiago in the welterweight division. A technically sound battle fought mainly on the ground saw both fighters have their moments as they sought to end the fight with a submission, with variations of the choke the chosen move, and with the fight going the three round distance, it went down to the judges to render the decision, with all three giving the fight to Fitch. A good fight, but it suffered from it’s position on the card.
In conclusion – the UFC’s 100th show really needed to deliver, and it did. There were five great matches on this card, and they delivered the full gamut of emotions, from Akiyama’s controversial win in the opener, to Henderson’s knockout of Bisping, GSP’s continued dominance of the welterweight division, and Lesnar’s continuing heel performance, this show had it all. For me, mixed martial arts really is becoming a great alternative not just to boxing, but to professional wrestling as well. So in short – great show, and thanks to everyone who has ever worked for the UFC since the beginning.