The Octagon is our next destination look back at Lyoto Machida’s attempt to become the third two weight champion in company history at UFC 175, shown in the early hours of this past Sunday morning on BT Sport here in Britain.
The show began with bantamweight action as Marcus Brimage faced Russell Doane.
The first three rounder of the show proved to be an intriguing back and forth affair. The first round clearly belonged to Doane. Brimage managed to get in some good strikes early on, but when Doane scored with the takedown it wasn’t long before he took his man’s back and went looking for a choke.
Brimage managed to scramble his way to safety, and from the second round onwards he looked to impose his will on the proceedings. His takedown defence suddenly began to work, but his best efforts came when he began to target Doane’s lead leg, knocking the spring out of his step. It was a good performance from Brimage, although Doane managed a comeback of sorts late in the third when he landed a few good blows.
No stoppage meant work for the judges, and they couldn’t agree as Doane took the split decision, which I personally found a little surprising.
With the cancellation of the heavyweight clash between Stefan Struve and Matt Mitrione it was on to the middleweight encounter between Uriah Hall and Thiago Santos.
This certainly was an interesting one. Santos’ striking looked top notch in the early part of the first round, and his leg kicks looked absolutely brutal, but as the round entered it’s final stages Hall really upped his game. With his hands down by his waist he called Santos onto him, showing a great deal of disdain as he connected time and time again.
Then came the drama. After the first round ended Hall limped back to his corner, and it quickly became apparent that he’d broken a bone in his right foot. The medical men tried to check him out, but Hall’s corner men convinced them that he was alright to continue. So Hall sucked it up, went out for the second round, and put in a hell of a performance.
Every strike he threw looked so crisp as he caused Santos no end of trouble. He even connected with a few good kicks with his injured foot, such were his efforts. Santos was more than up to the task though, and he often retaliated in kind.
But once more the ringside medics took a look at Hall’s foot between the rounds, and although he was visibly limping he sucked it up once more and went on, continuing with the great striking he’d started previously. Santos managed to take his back at one point though, although Hall soon countered with a kimura attempt that Santos quickly escaped from.
So with the fight going the distance the judges were called upon again. This time they were in complete agreement as Hall took the unanimous decision, much to the delight of the fans in attendance.
Then it was on to the co-main event as Alexis Davis challenged Ronda Rousey for the Women’s Bantamweight title.
The blink or you’ll miss it affair of the evening saw both women connecting with blows early on before Rousey scored with a great looking throw down. Then, while holding onto Davis, she connected with a series of right hands. Davis was soon out cold, and the referee stepped in to give Rousey the knockout win after just sixteen seconds.
The main event saw Lyoto Machida challenging Chris Weidman for the Middleweight title.
This one was definitely worth the price of admission. It was a great five rounder with gutsy performances from both champion and challenger.
The first three rounds saw Weidman put in a tremendous performance. If his intention was to show that the wins over Anderson Silva weren’t flukes then he succeeded. His Octagon control was spot on as he took the centre ground and kept Machida on the outside, and there were times when he made the former light heavyweight king look rather ordinary with his striking and takedowns.
But as Weidman entered deep waters for the first time in his career Machida came back into the game in the fourth round with some top notch striking. Although he’d been busted open by that point it didn’t seem to faze him as he finally put the champion on the back foot, rocking him time and time again with some nice combinations and lethal-looking kicks to the body.
Machida went into the final round knowing that he needed to do something big, and although he continued his great work from the fourth into the early stages of the fifth Weidman soon came back, scoring with a takedown and taking his man’s back. It was during this time on the ground that the fight slipped away from Machida. His chances of pulling off something big were gone, and even though he managed to scramble his way to safety time was against him.
So after five rounds of great action the judges were called upon for the final time as they gave Weidman the unanimous decision.
In conclusion – although fate’s intervention meant that I didn’t get to see what looked to be a promising heavyweight encounter overall UFC 175 proved to be a very good show.
All four of the main show fights certainly delivered. We saw two great three rounders and a courageous performance from Uriah Hall, a demolition job from the reigning queen of the UFC, and an exciting five round title fight that ticked all the right boxes.
As for my prestigious fight of the night no-prize I’m going to join the popular opinion and give it to the Weidman/Machida Middleweight title fight.
So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing left to do, and that’s to give UFC 175 the big thumbs up.
By day I’m an unemployed retail worker, and at weekends I volunteer at a local museum, but by night I’m the author of The Two Sheds Review, Britain’s longest running professional wrestling and mixed martial arts blog. Visit my site at www.twoshedsreview.vze.com. It’s been online in one form or another since June 2000!