THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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It was an historic night for the Ultimate Fighting Championship as they travelled to the land down under for the first time for UFC 110: Nogueira v Velasquez, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday on ESPN here in Britain, with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan handling commentary duties.
The broadcast began in the heavyweight division, with Mirko Cro Cop facing Anthony Perosh. As a massive Cro Cop fan I was really hoping that the Croatian could get back to top form, and thankfully he did in this one, dominating against a very game Australian. Perosh was on the back foot for the majority of the fight, with Cro Cop bloodying his nose in the first round. Perosh tried to take the fight downstairs a number of times, but Cro Cop showed some great defensive work. The second round continued in the same vein as Cro Cop continued to stalk his prey, and when the fight did go to the ground a vicious left elbow opened up a nasty gash on Perosh’s forehead. The doctor checked him over, and the Aussie, much to Cro Cop’s surprise, wanted to continue, but Cro Cop’s continued onslaught saw the doctor step in at the end of the round to call off the fight, giving Cro Cop the much needed win. It was an impressive performance from the Croatian, and while it was great to see him get a win under his belt, it may take a few more wins like this before we see the feared Cro Cop of old again.
It was down to light heavyweight for the next fight between Keith Jardine and Ryan Bader. The first fight of the broadcast to make it into the third round proved to be an entertaining back and forth affair with good performances from both men. While Bader controlled the first and Jardine the second with his stand up game, the pivotal moment came when Bader rocked Jardine with a right, following up with a flying knee, before sealing the deal with a left hook that knocked the Dean of Mean out, with the referee stopping the fight immediately, giving Bader the win as he maintained his unbeaten record.
Welterweight action followed as Chris Lytle faced Brian Foster. This filler material was fast paced and very enjoyable. Foster looked great early on, scoring with a big slam and some great shorts. But when they went down to the ground for the second time Lytle quickly moved into position so he could apply a knee bar which Foster quickly tapped out to, giving Lytle the submission win in one of those fights that could have gone either way.
It was down another division for the next fight as Joe Stevenson took on George Sotiropoulos in lightweight action. An excellent performance from Sotiropoulos here. Buoyed on by the Sydney fans, the Aussie put on a great display as he and Stevenson had a tremendous battle on the ground, with Sotiropoulos dominating for the most part, and Stevenson mounting a slight comeback in the third. But with the fight going the distance the judges were called in as they gave the unanimous decision to Sotiropoulos, and rightfully so after his excellent display.
So after that great fight it was on to the fight I was really looking forward to, middleweight action as Wanderlei Silva took on my fellow Brit Michael Bisping. It turned out to be a tremendous fight. In no way was Bisping overawed by the legend in front of him as he put on a good display against a Silva who looked back to his best, unfazed by the weight cut that seemed to take a lot out of him in his last fight. Bisping showed some good work with his striking and his take downs, but Silva just seemed a couple of steps ahead of him, especially as he ended each round in a dominant position. Once again the judges were called upon to render a decision, with Silva taking a very close unanimous decision, Could the Axe Murderer be back to his best now?
Then it was on to the main event as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira tackled Cain Velasquez in the heavyweight division. This one was certainly explosive. Both fighters got off some good shots, and about two and a half minutes in Velasquez scored with a right/left combination that sent Nogueira crashing to the ground. Velasquez quickly followed him down for some brief ground and pound before the referee stepped in, with Velasquez getting the great knockout victory.
The broadcast rounded out with more filler material as Stephan Bonnar faced Krzysztof Soszynski in the light heavyweight division. A very entertaining fight so both fighters put on a good display of striking, and the fight looked pretty close after the first two rounds, but early in the third an accidental clash of heads opened up a deep cut on Bonnar’s forehead, which was made worse by a left elbow from Soszynski. As the claret began to pour the doctor was called in, and he stopped the fight immediately, giving Soszynski the TKO win. A good fight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these two go at it again given the way this fight ended.
In conclusion – the UFC’s Australia debut can only be termed a great success. I looked at this show as a legends versus up-and-comers affair, and while Nogueira went down to the heavy hitting Velasquez, Wanderlei Silva put on a vintage performance against Michael Bisping. It was also great to see Mirko Cro Cop back to winning ways as well. So in short, another great outing for Dana White’s crew. ‘Nuff said!