THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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This past Wednesday saw the return of Ultimate Challenge UK to British television screens, with their most recent show, Mayhem, shown on a ten day delay on Sky Sports. The show received a great deal of mainstream publicity thanks to the appearance of Katie Price’s current boyfriend Alex Reid, defending his UK1 Middleweight Championship against Jack Mason. The show was presented by O.J. Borg and Dave O’Donnell, with Pierre Guillet, Rob Nutley and Malcolm Martin.
The broadcast began with Wesley Murch taking on Mark Smith in a lightweight fight. This proved to be a very enjoyable contest, with both fighters showing some good work on the ground, changing positions a number of times and going for a few submission holds. The final submission, in the first round, saw Murch synching in a kimura, with Smith making the inevitable tap. Both fighters did well here, with Smith the slightly more dominant until Murch came back strongly for the win.
Then it was up to the light heavyweight division, with Mike Edwards facing Jamie Hearn. If ever you wanted to see a dominant performance, then all you’ve got to do is look at this fight. Although Hearn scored with some good combinations early on, Edwards dominated as soon as he took the fight to the ground. His ground and pound was relentless, and it wasn’t long before Hearn was tapping. This was a good performance from Edwards, although I’m left to wonder just where Hearn’s ground game was.
The first title fight of the evening followed, with Francis Heagney challenging Tim Radcliffe for the UCUK Lightweight title. A lot of people thought that Radcliffe was going to get the win here, but things didn’t exactly go to plan for the champion. The first round saw Heagney take him down repeatedly, while Radcliffe earned a yellow card from the referee for up kicking Heagney in the head, and although the beginning of the second round saw a slightly improved performance from Radcliffe, it was Heagney who came out on top, finishing Radcliffe off with a guillotine choke to end a very good and very entertaining fight.
The fight that everyone wanted to see was up next, with tabloid favourite Alex Reid defending his UK1 Middleweight kickboxing title against Jack Mason. Fought over three three minute rounds, Reid went into this one with some critical over his apparent lack of training. Reid began strongly, and although Mason looked poor in the first round, he certainly upped his game as the fight went on, with Reid looking visibly tired, and looking like the better fighter in the third round. The commentators at ringside, and yours truly, thought that Mason had won the fight, but the judges were apparently watching something different, with Reid winning the unanimous decision. I was left scratching my head with this one.
The final fight of the show saw Ben Smith taking on Frenchman Kiane Sabet for the vacant Heavyweight Superfight title. This was another of those one-sided affairs. Sabet showed some good take down defence, but when Smith finally secured the take down, then that was it. Sabet looked like the proverbial rabbit in the headlights, and with his eyes wide open he looked like a man who just didn’t know what to do, so it came as no surprise when Smith got the submission win with an arm triangle. A good performance by Smith here, but Sabet looked very nervous and very inexperienced.
In conclusion – another good outing from Dave O’Donnell and his crew with five very enjoyable fights, but there was one thing I really didn’t like about this show, and that was the over-exposure of Alex Reid.
As readers here in Britain will now, Reid has got a hell of a lot exposure because of his relationship with former glamour model Katie “Jordan” Price, but the amount of times he was featured on this show bordered on the ridiculous. Not only did we get the usual pre-recorded pre-fight promo, we also had a pre-fight interview, as well as a post-fight interview, as well as numerous shots of his darling girlfriend during the show. Now, while it’s understandable that Ultimate Challenge would try to cash in on his newfound fame, fame he would never have got if it hadn’t been for his girlfriend, but did we really need to see so much of him here? I would like to say something else, but that would probably be considered libellous, and I really don’t want to spend a great deal of time replying to long-winded e-mails.