THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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It’s time for the Ultimate Fighting Championship to make their latest appearance on free TV with the twentieth Ultimate Fight Night, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on ESPN here in Britain, and featuring Nate Diaz taking on old rival Gray Maynard in the main event. As always, commentary was handled by Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.
The opening fight saw Amir Sadollah taking on Brad Blackburn. This proved to be a great contest. Blackburn had his moments, but this one belong to Sadollah from the opening round as he showed good stand up work and great work on the ground. Sadollah looked like he was going to get the win in the third after he rocked Blackburn with a flying knee, but Blackburn survived, only to be dominated on the ground. In the end the unanimous decision went to Sadollah, as he continued the impressive form he started against Phil Baroni.
Fight two saw Tom Lawlor face Aaron Simpson at middleweight. The second fight to go the distance was an entertaining contest. Lawlor dominated the first round with his fighting skills, and he looked like he was going to get the knockout win. But Simpson managed to recover and work his way back into the fight. By the time the third came around Simpson was dominating as Lawlor was visibly tiring. It was enough to give Simpson the split decision win, and while many in the crowd disagreed with the decision, this writer thought it was the right one.
Then it was down to the lightweight division as Efrain Escudero took on Evan Dunham. This was very similar to the previous fight. Escudero took the first round, dropping Dunham with a big right, and showed some good work on the ground. But Dunham made his comeback in the second, scoring with the take downs and the ground and pound. The end came in the third. After escaping Escudero’s guillotine, Dunham took his man down, taking his back before applying an arm bar. Escudero’s arm was at a horrible angle, and he tapped out later than he should have, giving Dunham the deserved submission win. In fact, Escudero was hurting so badly that he didn’t stick around for the official announcement.
The main event saw further lightweight action as Gray Maynard faced Nate Diaz in a rematch from the Ultimate Fighter 5 semi-finals. To be honest with you, this one was a tad disappointing. While the fight action was okay in parts, and the performances of those involved can’t be faulted, it just lacked that certain something. This may have been because Maynard was intent on getting the knockout win. Both men had their moments, but in the end Maynard’s superior boxing earned him the split decision, and possibly a title shot against B.J. Penn.
I(n conclusion, although, for the first time in ages, I’ve expressed some disappointment in a UFC fight, Ultimate Fight Night 20 proved to be a good card. For me Escudero/Dunham was the fight of the night, with Lawlor/Simpson a close second.
I was also pleased that, unlike their counterparts at Spike across the pond, ESPN didn’t go to a break between the rounds. Seeing what’s going on in the corners between the rounds adds to the drama of the fight, so kudos to ESPN for this one, as we now look forward to the battle of the legends in a few weeks.