Sunday, 6 November 2011

UFC 138 Leben vs Munoz on ESPN - TV Review

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to British shores this past Saturday night as Chris Leben faced Mark Munoz in the main event of UFC 138, shown live on ESPN here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the lightweight division as Terry Etim went up against Edward Faaloloto.

We began with a blink and you’ll miss it affair. Etim came forward with a couple of strikes and a spin kick before synching in a guillotine when Faaloloto went for a shoot. The Hawaiian had no choice but to tap after just 17 seconds.

After that quick finish it was up to the light heavyweight division as Cyrille Diabate faced Anthony Perosh.

This one lasted a little bit longer. Diabate began well, using his reach advantage to keep Perosh at bay, opening up a cut under the Aussie’s eye.

But as soon as Perosh took the fight to the ground early in the second he dominated, transitioning with ease as he looked for various submissions, finally getting the win when he took Diabate’s back and synched in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

Then it was down to welterweight as Chris Cope took on Che Mills.

Both guys tested the waters with kicks early on, but as soon as Mills connected with a big left knee it was all over bar the shouting.

Cope managed to get back to his feet but soon found himself on the end of Mills’ onslaught, and it wasn’t long before the referee stepped in to give Mills the TKO win after just 40 seconds.

The welterweight action continued with Thiago Alves facing Papy Abedi.

These two began by exchanging heavy blows, with Abedi looking to make a big impression on his UFC debut, putting Alves on the back foot a couple of times.

But when the Brazilian connected with a right/left combination Abedi buckled. Alves soon took control, unleashing with the ground and pound before taking Abedi’s back and synching in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

Bantamweight action followed as Brad Pickett took on Renan Barao.

These two were swinging from the fences as soon as the fight began. Each man caught the other with some stiff shots, but when Barao connected with a right knee and followed up with a torrent of blows One Punch went down.

Barao soon took Pickett’s back, and although he defended at first the Brazilian soon went for the rear naked choke, Pickett tapping out to give Barao the submission win.

The main event saw Chris Leben taking on Mark Munoz in the middleweight division.

The UFC’s first five round non-title fight was an intriguing back and forth encounter which didn’t need the extra rounds.

The first round looked even, with Munoz scoring with the early take down but with Leben quickly getting back to his feet. From there both men had some good moments, both in the striking department and on the ground.

As the second round began Leben looked exhausted, while Munoz looked as fresh as a daisy, and it was because of this that Munoz was able to take control. Leben had his moments but Munoz controlled the majority of the round, bloodying Leben’s face and damaging his left eye.

There was one point where the referee called the doctor in to examine Leben, who said he couldn’t see out of his damaged eye retracted the statement when the referee asked him if he wanted to continue. Leben said he was okay but ended up on the end of more damage from Munoz.

The fight was stopped between rounds. As the doctor examined Leben again once again he said he couldn’t see out of his left eye, and that was enough for the referee who called a halt to the proceedings, giving Munoz the stoppage win.

Then it was back to welterweight as John Maguire took on Justin Edwards.

Edwards began his night’s work with two illegal low kicks, and after Maguire rested for a few moments Edwards went back to work, rocking the Brit.

It wasn’t long before Maguire came back into the fight, and from there he put on a great display of ground fighting, scoring with numerous take downs and a slam and going for a number of submission attempts.

Edwards had his moments as well, with some nice striking, particularly at the beginning of the third round.

So with the fight going the distance the judges were called into action as the unanimous decision went to Maguire.

In conclusion - it’s been a while since Dana White and his crew came over to these shores, but once again they’ve delivered another quality card.

From Terry Etim’s lightning quick win in the opener right up to the war between Chris Leben and Mark Munoz and the great three rounder between John Maguire and Justin Edwards UFC 138 achieved it’s goal. It was another great night of fights, once again proving that they don’t need to load a show with their mega stars to put on a great event.

So once again the UFC’s efforts get the big thumbs up from this particular writer. Well done all round.