THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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After all these weeks it finally came down to two fighters, and once again I didn’t have a clue who they were because I can’t stand reality television. But that didn’t stop me from watching the UFC’s twelfth Ultimate Fighter finale, shown live in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on Sky Sports here in Britain.
The show began with featherweight action as Nam Phan went up against Leonard Garcia.
This historic fight for one of the UFC’s new weight classes proved to be an excellent advertisement for the fighting aspect of the sport.
Phan looked tremendous throughout, especially in the second round, controlling the fight on the ground after Garcia went down following a side kick.
Garcia looked good at times, but his shots were wild as he looked like he was in desperate need of target practice.
With the fight going the distance the judges were called into action, with Garcia, surprisingly, taking the split decision. To say that everyone was surprised would be a big understatement.
It was up to welterweight for the next fight as Johny Hendricks faced Rick Story.
After that awful decision in the previous fight messrs Goldberg and Rogan went to great pains to distance themselves and the UFC from the judges, as well as commenting on Spike’s new Higher Learning evening of shows. So which gun is best for jiggling a woman’s boobs?
As for the fight, it was a nice back and forth battle, a pretty even affair with both men putting in good efforts in all departments.
There was more action for judges as all three scored in favour of Story, one decision that you can’t really argue with.
Then it was down to lightweight as Cody McKenzie faced Aaron Wilkinson.
McKenzie came out quickly at the start, and just seconds later the fight went to the ground. McKenzie was relentless as he went for the guillotine, and it wasn’t long before he was able to lock in his desired hold, with Wilkinson soon succumbing to the move, giving McKenzie the very impressive submission win.
Middleweight action in the form of Demian Maia and Kendall Grove followed.
Maia put in a great performance in this fight, especially on the ground in the first two rounds. The taller Groves just didn’t seem to have any answer to the Brazilian’s grappling game. Grove’s best moments came in the third with a few good strikes.
More work for the judges, with all three scoring in favour of Maia, and rightfully so.
Then it was up a division to light heavyweight as Stephan Bonnar went up against Igor Pokrajac.
Bonnar has really upped his game since the defeat to Marc Coleman, and it showed again in this fight.
It was a good display of ground fighting from the American Psycho, but it wasn’t without it’s controversial moments. Pokrajac was deducted a point for a knee to Bonnar’s head while they were on the ground, while Bonnar himself lost a point as the fight ended for a series of punches to the back of Pokrajac’s head.
It didn’t effect the outcome that much though, with Bonnar getting the unanimous decision.
The main event saw Jonathan Brookins facing Michael Johnson in the lightweight Ultimate Fighter final.
While not on the level of Bonnar/Griffin this was certainly an interesting battle.
Johnson exposed Brookins’ stand-up game in the first round with some crisp striking, but from the second round onwards it was all Brookins as he scored with a series of take downs and a very impressive slam.
Brookins’ ground work was enough to take him through, earning him the unanimous decision and the big fat Ultimate Fighter contract.
In conclusion – apart from the decision in the opening featherweight encounter the Ultimate Finale proved to be a great show. Every fight delivered in it’s own way, proof once again that you don’t have to be a big marquee name to put on a good fight.
Although in the case of Nam Phan it helps if the judges actually watch your performance.