Wednesday, April 24, 2013

UFC on Fox 7 review

The 7th installment of the UFC on Fox was a good to very good show, which I was fortunate enough to be able to attend live.  I missed the two Facebook prelims, but I arrived before the Dillashaw-Viana fight that kicked off the FX broadcast; which turned out to be a great way to get things started and the decisive finish was a preview of things to come.  This event was chock-full of (T)KOs, tying a UFC record with 8, which included impressive performances by Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavidez, and Matt Brown.  But the performance that stands out the most to me was the one turned in by Josh Thomson.  To be the first one to TKO Nate Diaz, and have it include Diaz's corner throwing in the towel, is pretty remarkable and it was quite a sight to see.  It was definitely the highlight of the night.  The only downside to having so many finishes is the delay between fights.  Most of the time it was manageable, but I think there was about a 30 minute gap between the last fight on FX and the first fight on Fox.

As far as the fights that went the distance, they were mostly ok.  The only one that didn't really hold my interest was the Carmont-Larkin fight; which apparently was a good thing, considering the controversy surrounding the decision.  The Mir-Cormier fight was disappointing for a couple of reasons.  First off, a fight that primarily consists of clinching isn't the most exciting display, especially without the benefit of commentary.  It's just not a style that translates well live.  The other reason that it was disappointing was that I was personally hoping to see Mir get dominated.  Him and Tito are probably the two fighters I enjoy booing the most.  Ironically, the only other event I've been to had Tito fighting Rashad Evans.  So I've had the pleasure of booing both guys, but neither fight was particularly satisfying (from a results standpoint).  The Tito-Rashad fight had a little more back and forth and had better crowd involvement (including "Tito" and "Tito sucks" chants), which wasn't the case with Mir-Cormier.

The main event was good, but not great.  I think the problem was that both fighters fought similar stylistically, so it ended up being more of a stalemate.  There weren't really any big exchanges or any moments where it looked like one fighter might be finished.  It was more just point, counterpoint.  The fight playing out this way also led to a close decision, with fans split on who won.  This seems to be a frequent occurrence in the division (Edgar-Penn, Edgar-Maynard, Edgar-Henderson and now Henderson-Melendez).  And with Maynard-Grant being a number one contender's fight, it's possible that such a fight could happen again (if Maynard wins).  This is where Pettis moving down to face Aldo hurts the division, because Pettis' style would force Henderson to be offensive.  I don't think you can go conservative against Pettis or he'll make you pay.  So hopefully Pettis moves back up in the near future (Aldo can move up too).

While the main event wasn't as good as anticipated, it didn't really hamper the event.  It's always fun seeing the fighter's live; even the ones who aren't on the card.  I was a couple sections over from the preshow desk, so of course I saw Dominick Cruz, Chael Sonnen and Brian Stann (I saw Brian take some pictures with fans in between the FX and Fox broadcasts).  The other fighter's I saw were Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, Cain Velasquez, and Ronda Rousey.  Diaz and Shields came out during the prelim fights.  Nick wasn't out very long (don't know if he had something to do or if he didn't want the attention), but Jake seemed to sign every autograph and take every picture.  Big props to him, as well as Ronda.  She was signing autographs and taking pictures for what seemed like forever, as her presence created the biggest commotion.  Doesn't seem like it will be long before she's in the top two or three most popular fighters (if she's not there already).  I think Cain signed some autographs as well (not sure for how long though).  Uriah Faber was also there, but I only saw him on the big screen.  I don't believe they showed Cain or Ronda on the big screen, which surprised me.  The only other famous person I recognized was Aldon Smith, who was most likely there to support Cormier.

All in all, I'd say it was a good show.  Most of the fights delivered, and that's all you can really ask for.  I'd probably rate the event somewhere between an 8 and an 8.9.