THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to British shores this past Saturday night for UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama, shown live on ESPN.
The broadcast began with action from the welterweight division as James Wilks squared off against Claude Patrick.
From the opening moments it became obvious how this fight was going to play out. Patrick did an excellent job on the ground, neutralising the transplanted Brit so he was unable to get in an y meaningful offence. It may not have been pretty but it was certainly effective.
There was no surprise with the decision as all three judges gave every round to Patrick.
Then it was on to the big boys as Cheick Kongo faced Travis Browne in the heavyweight division.
After a three round ground battle we were given a three round striking battle with only one trip to the ground and numerous clinches against the cage.
Browne rocked Kongo in the first round with a left hook, and rocked him again moments later.
But as the fight went on things slowed down a little, although Kongo had some success with knees to Browne’s right leg in the clinch.
The big moment came in the third when the referee took a point off Kongo for grabbing Browne’s shorts. It was a rule that the Frenchman would continue to break throughout the round, and in the end it would cost him dearly as all three judges scored the fight as a draw. Some good action, but ultimately this fight was uneventful and uninspiring.
It was back down to the welterweight division for the next fight as John Hathaway faced Mike Pyle.
This was a much better fight. Pyle put in a great display with his crisp striking and his excellent ground work, especially in the second round when he tied Hathaway up like a pretzel, locking in a mounted leg triangle and raining down a barrage of blows that raised a knot on Hathaway’s forehead.
Once again the judges were called in action as all three gave the fight to Pyle, and rightfully so.
The welterweight action continued as Dan Hardy faced Carlos Condit.
The first fight of the broadcast that didn’t make it out of the first round saw both fighters connecting with some good shots.
Then, in the final minute of the round, Condit sent Hardy crashing to the ground with a left hook to the chin. Hardy looked out of it before he hit the deck, and the referee quickly stepped in, giving Condit the impressive knockout win.
The main event saw middleweight action as Michael Bisping faced Yoshihiro Akiyama.
This was a lot better than the main event on the last show, mainly because both of these men looked like they actually wanted to fight.
Akiyama tagged Bisping early on, but it wasn’t long before the Englishman got into his stride, asserting his authority with some crisp striking.
And this was how things played out for the remainder of the fight. There was a slight disruption in the third when Bisping caught Akiyama with an inadvertent low kick. The Japanese fighter took full advantage of his rest period, but it didn’t help him as the Count took control again.
Once again there wasn’t a surprise with the judges decision as all three scored in favour of Bisping, rewarding him for another great performance in front of his home fans.
Filler material rounded out the show as Paul Sass faced Mark Holst in the lightweight division.
Although he looked somewhat awkward in the stand-up department Sass looked extremely capable on the ground, pulling guard a number of times and almost getting the win with a heel hook, before finally securing the victory towards the end of the first with a leg triangle.
In conclusion – a largely disappointing evening for the British and European fighters on the main card, although Michael Bisping saved the day at the end.
Overall this was a mixed bag, with two disappointing opening fights followed by three good fights and some entertaining filler material at the end.
So for the second time in a row a UFC show sort of gets the thumbs up, with only four of the six fights featured really delivering. Let’s hope things get better next weekend.