THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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British mixed martial arts is on the agenda again as we take a look back at Ultimate Challenge’s first show of 2010, Resurrection, shown on Sky Sports this past Wednesday here in Britain, and hosted by O.J. Borg and Dave O’Donnell, with Rob Nutley, Pierre Guillet and Malcolm Martin handling commentary duties.
The broadcast began with lightweight action as Azran Quasid took on Scott Jansen. This certainly proved to be an interesting and explosive battle. The early parts of this fight will be remembered for it’s rule infringements. Jansen was poked in the eye, Quasid was hit in the ground, and Jansen then elbowed Quasid right in the spine. Then we got the stand up battle. Quasid bloodied Jansen’s nose, before a vicious elbow opened up a nasty cut on Quasid’s head. Then, when we all thought we’d get a knockout, Jansen got the submission win with a textbook kimura, and all of this in the first round! An explosive start to the show, and a great fight as well.
The big boys were up next, as Peter Yendell faced Karlos Vemola at heavyweight. This one was quick. Vemola came out straight away with a barrage of blows before getting a big take down. A few seconds later a series of big rights did for Yendell with the referee quickly stepping in, giving Vemola the knockout victory with a very impressive performance.
The heavyweight action continued with Shola Adeniran and Stav Economu. This one began with some wild shots from both men, before Economu got the big take down. The big man quickly moved to the full mount for some ground and pound. Seconds alter he took Adeniran’s back, and with his opponent flat out on the ground, Economu synched in a rear naked choke for the submission win. You know, if you look at Economu you’d think he’s just a big fat guy, but this guy has some impressive skills.
Kickboxing action was up next, with Mark Weir facing Mark Epstein for the vacant UK1 Middleweight title, a title recently held by a certain Alex Reid. Fought over three two minute rounds, it saw mixed fortunes for these MMA standouts. While Weir seemed to get more and more comfortable as the fight went on, Epstein seemed to struggle somewhat as he was put on his backside twice, taking two eight counts. The fight went the distance, with Weir getting the unanimous decision. While Weir’s performance was okay, Epstein was very disappointing.
The main event saw former Ultimate Fighter contestant Dean Amasinger challenge Alberto Mina for the Welterweight title. This was definitely the best fight on the show. Both fighters paced themselves brilliantly throughout, and showed some tremendous skills as well. Mina looked very comfortable on the ground with his submission attempts, with Amasinger showing great defensive work as he made his escapes. Both men looked fresh as the third round began, and halfway through Mina scored with a take down, getting the mount and taking Amasinger’s back moments later. Amasinger was flat out and offering no defence as Mina unleashed with the ground and pound, with the referee eventually stepping in and giving Mina the title retaining TKO victory. It’s a good job that this fight ended with a stoppage as the judges would have had a hard time separating these two, it was that close.
In conclusion – Ultimate Challenge’s first show of the year certainly delivered. While I wasn’t exactly impressed with the Weir/Epstein kickboxing fight, the four MMA fights were certainly worth watching, with the Amasinger/Mina main event worth the price of admission alone. Dave O’Donnell and his crew once again proved that they are the top MMA promotion in Britain at the moment, although I do wish Sky would give them a longer time slot, as they did in the old Cage Rage days.