THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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It was a year since we saw UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar in the octagon. But now he’s back, and he finally tackled the pretender to his throne, Shane Carwin, in the main event of UFC 116, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on ESPN here in Britain, with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan handling commentary duties.
The show began with the preliminaries, and a light heavyweight bout between Seth Petruzelli and Ricardo Romero. A very entertaining battle here. Petruzelli began the fight with some great striking, and when the fight went to the ground Romero looked like he was about to get the win after a few submission attempts.
It was pretty much the same in the second, although Romero’s ground work was a lot better, and as he tied the Kimbo killer up, trapping his left arm, Romero went for an arm bar on the right arm. Petruzelli tried to move his position while Romero held on to the hold, but it didn’t do him any good. In fact it made things worse, and he tapped out immediately, giving Romero the impressive debut win.
It was up to the heavyweight division for the next fight as Brendon Schaub faced Chris Tuchscherer. A bit of feeling out at the beginning of this one before it suddenly sparked into life when Schaub connected with a big right to Tuchscherer’s temple. Schaub followed him down for some ground and pound before the referee stepped in to give Schaub the TKI win in just over a minute. Schaub looked great in this one.
Filler material followed in the form of Gerald Harris against Dave Branch in the middleweight division. This was a very cagey fight, and although there were a few good moments it didn’t really come to life until the third round, with the most explosive moment at the end. Branch tried to pull guard, but Harris defended and slammed him down to the ground, knocking him out in the process. A great ending to a somewhat lacklustre affair.
The main show began with lightweight action as George Sotiropoulos faced Kurt Pellegrino. A very good fight saw the Aussie put in another impressive performance, controlling the fight when it went to the ground in the first two rounds, as well as out striking his man as well.
Pellegrino’s best work came after he scored with a take down in the third, although Sotiropoulos put on some good defensive work. Then, in the dying seconds, Pellegrino connected with a knee and a punch that rocked Sotiropoulos and sent him down. But then the fight ended so Pellegrino couldn’t capitalise.
So with the fight going the distance the judges were called into action as they have Sotiropoulos the unanimous decision, although the actual scoring came as something of a surprise, as none of the judges gave anything to Pellegrino, despite his good work in the third round.
Then it was on to Krzysztof Soszynski against Stephan Bonnar in the light heavyweight division. This was the kind of fight that Bonnar thrives on, a wild brawl with a bit of ground work thrown in for good measure.
We had some great striking from both men in the first round, which continued into the second. It was great to watch, with Bonnar dropping Soszynski with a knee in a muay thai clinch, following up with a torrent of blows on the ground before the referee finally stepped in. You couldn’t help but admire Bonnar for this performance, especially after his post fight interview.
Welterweight action followed as Chris Lytle faced Matt Brown. A great ground battle saw each men putting in some good work. Brown’s best moment came in the first when he applied a d’arce choke for what seemed like an eternity.
Lytle was able to escape this submission attempt, and took control in the second, tying Brown up with a head triangle from the mount before getting the submission win with an evil looking arm bar. A very exciting battle, and a good display of ground fighting.
It was on to the middleweight division for the next fight as Chris Leben, just two weeks after his last fight, faced Japanese star Yoshihiro Akiyama. Now this was a fight, the kind that makes you proud to be an MMA fan.
It was an exciting fight from start to finish, with Akiyama controlling the pace in the first round with some excellent ground work. Round two saw an energy sapping brawl that could have cost either man the fight.
The excitement continued right through the third, and with just twenty seconds left, Leben locked in a triangle choke, with Akiyama having no choice but to tap, ending an outstanding contest, a candidate for fight of the year.
The main event was the fight that we’d all been waiting for, as Shane Carwin went up against Brock Lesnar for the UFC Heavyweight title. It was great to see Lesnar walk out to Metallica’s Enter Sandman. I was half expecting him to crack open a few beers along the way.
This certainly lived up to all the hype, and the tremendous action began early in the first round when Carwin rocked Lesnar. It looked like he was going to get the win with his extended period of ground and pound, but Lesnar was able to survive, although he looked badly hurt.
Lesnar took control in the second, unfamiliar territory for Carwin, as he scored with the take down, moving into position so he could apply an arm triangle for the submission win. What a fight!
With plenty of time left it was on to more filler material as Kendall Grove faced Goran Reljic in the middleweight division. This fight suffered from one major problem – it was shown right after the Lesnar/Carwin fight.
Don’t get me wrong, it was a very good fight, with both guys putting in good showings, but it suffered because of it’s unfortunate placing on the broadcast. It kind of felt like an anti-climax.
It was an entertaining battle, with Grove making good use of the up kick in the first round. The action looked pretty even throughout, and with the fight going the distance the judges gave Grove the split decision.
In conclusion – another very strong outing for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, once again proving that they’re the best they are at what they do. Each and every fight delivered, most of them big time, with the battles between Leben and Akiyama and the big fight between Lesnar and Carwin delivering in spades.
So in all, well, I’ve already said it, and I don’t want to end up repeating myself.