Undercard outshines once again (UFC 152 Review)

The UFC has seen a strange trend lately as the Pay per View events have been less than great while free fights seem to be the better fights. Since signing the deal with Fox the UFC has put on more free fights than ever before and they are impressing many. The point of these free fights is to get new fans to purchase the Pay-per-Views that are the backbone of the UFC. For those watching the free fights many may consider buying a Pay-per-View event as the free fights showcase everything that is great about MMA. They may be disappointed spending their $50 on the Pay-per-View though as these fights tend to be very underwhelming. These fights are some of the biggest names in the UFC and yet they seem to be more careful fights where the two fighters seem to be more afraid of making a mistake rather than trying to win. It has plagued the UFC for the past year as these big events have regularly been less than great. As the UFC went to Toronto for their next big event the promotion needed a great main card more than ever. After cancelling UFC 151 when Jon Jones decided not to take a fight against Chael Sonnen and there were no other big names on the card to take over the main event the UFC needed to make a big impact. Not only had they come under scrutiny for the amount of fights watering down the competition but the space between the fights has never been as big as this space. The UFC was looking to a reworked UFC 152 to bring the UFC back from one of the worst periods since Dana White and the Fertitta brothers took over. It was not the performance they may have wanted though as most of the fights were less than great. Instead it was the undercard that really impressed with the first three fights of the night ending in the first round. The main card began with a strange KO and from there showed a number of unanimous decisions that put most fans to sleep. The main event of the evening was the last hope for the UFC as Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones would take on the always exciting Vitor Belfort. After a long and dramatic wait Jones would finally defend his belt against one of the most dangerous fighters in the UFC in Vitor Belfort. The fight was not great though as it did not really save the night of boring fights. It was better than most of the main card fights as the action was slightly better but it was not the all out brawl many expected. The fight began with both fighters standing and trading to test each other’s stand up game. Then Jones shot for the takedown and began sitting on top of Belfort. It seemed to be a mistake for Jones as Belfort locked in an armbar from his back and seemed to have it in tight enough to possibly make Jones tap. Jones did not panic though as he stayed in a good position to relieve the pressure on the arm and eventually got out of the hold. As Jones sat on top the fight got a lot less exciting as he continued to land just enough elbows to not for the fight to the feet. The second round was another chance for Belfort to get his standup game going and both fighters seemed to be happy to fight on the feet until Belfort inexplicably pulled guard. From there the second round ended with Jones landing elbows and continuing the pattern of the first round. The third round was much of the same as both fighters stood and exchanged with no fighter getting the advantage and then Belfort pulled guard. With the fight on the ground Jones continued to land elbows as pulling guard was again the wrong decision for Belfort who seemingly believed he could get the submission like in the first round. The fourth round finally saw Belfort breakthrough as he began landing some big shots but once again pulled guard. On his back Belfort continued to take punishment and continued to get tired causing a mental lapse from the BJJ black belt. Jones was able to take advantage of the lapse grabbing Belfort’s arm and locking in an Americana to end the fight. Jones earned the win while Belfort took the loss all the while the fans continued to be unimpressed with a decent fight but nothing spectacular. After the win Jones will continue on in his division clean out as he will likely look to Dan Henderson once again or even Chael Sonnen who has expressed interest in moving up in weight class. Belfort lost the fight but stayed in it while jumping up weight classes on short notice meaning the loss will not be devastating. Instead he will likely move back to middleweight and remain one of the top contenders possibly even getting a title shot against Anderson Silva again.

The Co-main Event was another fight that did not meet expectations but was better than most people have thought. The first ever Flyweight championship was up for grabs between Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson at 125 lbs. The two fighters represented the lightest weight class that many expected to be an all out brawl that would be too quick to follow. It was a good bet that both fighters would fly around the octagon as both fighters were the fastest fighters in the UFC. One thing that was not being said as much was the fact that Demetrious Johnson was also one of the most elusive fighters in the UFC. With that in mind many should have expected a fight that would see a lot of punches thrown yet not a lot landing. That is what happened as both fighters came out in the first round with Benavidez looking for the KO with big strikes while Johnson was looking to dodge and score. Benavidez landed a number of good punches but the fact was that Johnson avoided most of the shots and landed most of his own. Landing 110 shots to 91 by Benavidez is the reason that Johnson became the first ever Flyweight Champion in UFC history. It was a good fight that many fans did not enjoy but that is the flyweight division it is technical and fast but will likely not provide the KOs that many fans want. The Flyweights are fast and elusive and knockouts will be rare with their size but technically they are great. After the win Johnson will need to wait and see who the next challenger is as the division is still being worked out. Possible candidates could be TUF winner John Dodson or Chris Cariaso who could both be in line for the next shot unless the UFC decides to give Benavidez a rematch after a split decision. Benavidez with hope to get a rematch but may have to fight his way through a few more people in the division until he can get back. Overall UFC 152 was very exciting in the undercard but the main card was less than impressive. The flyweight fight was a good fight but after a strange KO to start the card and an extremely boring Matt Hamill fight put everyone to sleep not much could have saved this main card that once again underwhelmed.

Despite a less than great main card the UFC still gave out their $65,000 bonuses for the best performances of the night. The “Submission of the Night” went to the main event after Jon Jones defended his belt locking in an Americana against Vitor Belfort. The “Knockout of the Night” went to Cub Swanson after he landed a big hook against Charles Oliveira that, after a few seconds, sent “Do Bronx” to the mat. The “Fight of the Night” went to TJ Grant and Evan Dunham for their three round fight that saw Grant win after bloodying his opponent for the unanimous decision win.

 

Fight Results:

Main Event:
Jon “Bones” Jones def. Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort [Light Heavyweight Title]
(Submission; Americana, Rd. 4)

 

Co-Main Event:
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson def. Joseph Benavidez [Flyweight Title]
(Split Decision)

 

Main Card:
Michael “The Count” Bisping def. Brian “All-American” Stann
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Matt “The Hammer” Hamill def. Roger “The Hulk” Hollett
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Cub Swanson def. Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira
(KO; Rd. 1)

 

Undercard:
Vinny “Pezao” Magalhaes def. Igor Pokrajac
(Submission; Armbar, Rd. 2)

 

TJ Grant def. Evan Dunham
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Sean “The Punisher” Pierson def. Lance Benoist
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Marcus “The ‘Bama Beast” Brimage def. Jimy “The Kid” Hettes
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Seth “Polish Pistola” Baczynski def. Simeon “The Grin” Thorensen
(KO; Rd. 1)

 

Mitch Gagnon def. Walel “The Gazelle” Watson
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 1)

 

Kyle Noke def. Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman
(TKO; Rd. 1)

 

Upcoming Events: 

UFC on Fuel TV: Struve vs. Miocic (Saturday September 29th; 4:00 pm EDT)
– Free Live on Fuel TV/Sportsnet
– Nottingham, England (Capital FM Arena)
Main Event: Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve vs. Stipe Miocic
Notable: Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy vs. Amir Sadollah

 

UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot (Friday October 5th; 8:00 pm EDT)
– Free Live on FX/Sportsnet
– Minneapolis, Minnesota (Target Center)
Main Event: Travis “Hapa” Browne vs. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
Notable: Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger vs. Jay “The Thoroughbred” Heron

 

UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar (Saturday October 13th; 10:00 pm EDT)
– Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (HSBC Arena)
Main Event: Anderson “The Spider” Silva vs. Stephen “American Psycho” Bonnar
Notable: Minotauro Nogueira vs. Dave Herman
Notable: Glover Teixeira vs. Fabio Maldonado

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