The UFC had their monthly pay-per-view event today in England at the O2 Arena. The main event featured former welterweight champion Matt Hughes going against youngster Thiago Alves. The main event was supposed to be Chuck Liddell vs Rashad Evans but Liddell had to pull out of the fight due to a hamstring injury.
The first fight on the pay-per-view was Brandon Vera vs Fabricio Werdum. Werdum got full mount and started to rain down punches on Vera. The referee, the now infamous Dan Miragliotta, called off the fight with about 20 seconds left in the first round. Vera got up immediately and protested to Miragliotta, but to no avail. The issue I had with this stoppage was that Vera was blocking some of Werdum's punches and was still trying to be active. When Vera got up, his face looked the same as when he entered the cage. Werdum will probably a title shot next year. Good luck Dana White in trying to sell Werdum in a main event.
The second fight shown was a middleweight fight between Nate Marquardt and Thales Leites. This was a three-round war and one of the better fights on the card. Leites had Marquardt in trouble in the first round and knocked down Marquardt with a punch. Leites got on top of Marquardt but was unable to finish him off as Marquardt recovered and got up to escape Leites' ground and pound. Marquardt landed some good shots of his own and had Leites in trouble later on in the fight, but the referee had to stop the fight for a few minutes because the aggressive Marquardt landed an illegal knee when Leites still had one knee on the mat. Marquardt had a point deducted for that and also for an illegal elbow to the back of the head in round three. Although Marquardt dominated the last two rounds of the fight, Leites was awarded the fight in a decision due to the point deductions. Marquardt said he wanted a rematch after the fight and that rematch should definitely happen so we could get a clear and decisive winner next time.
The next fight shown was a prelim fight between Luiz Cane and Jason Lambert. This was one of my favorite fights of the day. Cane destroyed Lambert standing up as Lambert was swinging wildly and missing while Cane seemed to connect on most of his punches. Cane knocked down Lambert three times until referee Herb Dean stopped it. While Cane was celebrating, Lambert was still out of it and grabbed Dean's legs thinking it was Cane's after the fight had already ended. This was a one-sided fight but one of the most entertaining.
Marcus Davis and Mike Swick were up next on the show. Swick and his American Kickboxing Academy team had a great game plan against Davis. Instead of exchanging punches with the former pro boxer, Swick landed some kicks and took Davis to the ground. Swick also got the better of Davis everytime they clinched.. Swick had the height advantage which affected Davis throughout the whole fight. Swick won by decision in a very boring fight. UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan said that the fans were doing the wave during the fight. Rogan's partner, Mike Goldberg, said it was a "great fight." I looked forward to this fight but it was a letdown and one of the least entertaining battles.
Davis had won 11 fights in a row before this but most of his victories were against mid-level competition.
Michael Bisping defeated Canadian Jason Day in the second to last fight. Bisping was on top of his game and was able to ground and pound Day to a victory. Bisping totally outclassed Day and made it a quick and one-sided affair. The fans were really into this fight as their favorite British fighter won.
The main event was next as Alves entered the cage first with rapper T.I.'s "Big Things Poppin" blaring over the arena speakers. Hughes came out to a slow country music song which I think could make fans fall asleep. This fight was at a catch weight of 174 because Alves weighed in four pounds over the weight limit of 170 at the weigh-ins.
The first round did not have much action as both fighters were trying to feel each out in the beginning. Hughes went for some takedowns but Alves stuffed them. Alves was quicker than Hughes and was able to land some knees. In the second round, Alves landed a flying knee on Hughes and finished him off with a punch before the referee stopped the fight.
Alves made Hughes look slow and old. The 24-year-old Brazilian is now in line for a title fight against the winner of the Georges St. Pierre and Jon FItch fight which will happen in August at UFC 87 in Minnesota.
Alves said the reason he came in four pounds over the weight limit was because he had a sprained ankle and could not run for a few days. He apologized to UFC management but also begged Dana White for a title shot.
Hughes got on the mic next and said he was not disappointed for himself but for his kids who were watching. He said he wants to fight Matt Serra next and that even his wife wants to see him fight Serra.
Since there was a lot of time left on the pay-per-view show, UFC showed two more prelim fights. They showed Martin Kampman beating Jorge Rivera by submission and Matt Wiman knocking out Thiago Tavares in the second round with a right hand. Wiman was a big underdog going into the fight and it was one of the best fights on the show.
Overall, this was a good show although there were some lackluster battles. Werdum and Alves established themselves as contenders for the heavyweight and welterweight titles respectively.
UFC's next big show is on June 21 when Spike will show The Ultimate FIghter finale. The main event that evening will be Kendall Grove vs Evan Tanner.