Free Event Holds Up (UFC on Fuel TV 5 Review)

The UFC have had more free events this year than ever and the majority of them have been better than the Pay-per-Views. This week the UFC went back to their free fight as they continued to look for recovery after cancelling UFC 151. After UFC 152 underwhelmed in the majority of the main event fights the next fight up was UFC on Fuel TV 5. The UFC went to Nottingham England with a fight card full of rising stars that promised to put on a great show for the English Fans. More than just saving the UFC from the cancelled event this fight card was a showcase of the talent in Europe. North America has dominated the UFC for years with college wrestlers and golden gloves boxers representing the first generation of fighters in the sport. Then came the Brazilian invasion as Royce Gracie brought Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to the game that changed everything. Since then it has been the USA and Brazil dominating the fight game in the UFC. As the sport of MMA has grown it has spread throughout the world and as a result more and more fighters from all over the world have entered the UFC. Still there has yet to be a dynamic fighter with a belt from outside the western hemisphere but the time may be coming. UFC on Fuel TV 5 was a fight card to feature some of the best European fighters as it introduced the UFC fans to a number of rising stars from across the pond. The fight card featured 13 fighters from Europe including fighters from Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland along with a number of fighters from England. It was a chance to see the talent that is located in Europe and a chance to possibly see the first European champion in the making. One fighter who has been pegged as potentially the first European champion is Stefan Struve who had plenty of promise when he entered the UFC. As Struve progressed through the UFC he had his losses but continued to climb improving in every fight. He would try to take another step towards the title at UFC on Fuel TV 5 when he would take on the American Stipe Miocic. Miocic has been relatively new to the UFC and has made an impact so far as he looked to represent the USA’s dominance in the UFC. Both fighters would face off in the free fight as they both looked to get to another level in the heavyweight division. For Miocic it would continue his quick run up the division ladder while for Struve it would put him back on the track he was on before losing some key fights. It would be a matchup of a BJJ practitioner in Struve against the hard-hitting Miocic in a classic matchup in MMA. Both fighters came out swinging as it seemed that Struve didn’t really want to take it to the ground. This was odd as Struve would have likely been able to dominate on the ground but instead he stayed on his feet. The first round was Miocic’s as he got inside the long reach of Struve to do a lot more damage while Struve seemed to find it hard to keep him on the outside. Struve did prove that his chin was not as bad as once thought as he ate some big shots from Miocic but remained standing. After a first round where Miocic dominated the fight on the feet Struve needed a comeback round to help him even out the score. Struve did not look for the takedown though as he decided to stand again with Miocic in round two. This time though Struve was getting used to his range and began landing more heavy shots on Miocic while keeping him outside. As the round wound down both fighters began throwing heavy punches looking to get those last points before the round ended. Then Struve pushed Miocic against the fence and started to unload with some big uppercuts. The fight continued but Miocic seemed to be out and if he wasn’t against the fence he would have been down. The fight was over as Struve took the KO as a much improved stand up fighter with some heavy hands. With the win Struve will climb up the ladder again in the heavyweight and could be two fights away from a title fight if he can beat the top fighters in the division. With the loss Stipe Miocic was brought down to earth after an undefeated start to his UFC career. Now he will remain a dangerous fighter but will need to string together another winning streak if he hopes to fight the best of the division.

One of the biggest focuses for the Nottingham crowd was the last fight of the main card as hometown boy Dan Hardy would take on Amir Sadollah. The fight was a good one as Dan Hardy won in a much more controlled effort by Unanimous Decision. This fight was a great one but it was another fight on the main card that really caught my eye. Matt Wiman and Paul Sass faced off in a main card fight that was essentially a chance for Paul Sass to show off his submission skills in front of his home country crowd. Sass had only fought three times before UFC on Fuel TV 5 and every one he ended with a submission. Meanwhile Wiman had been out of the UFC for a year and was essentially put in to the fight as a sacrificial lamb according to most. As both fighters came to the octagon something was a little off in Wiman’s corner. Wiman was wearing a pair of white and blue UFC shorts with no advertising and no sponsorship on them. The corner was also bare with no sign showing his sponsors or twitter accounts and only his trainer and his wife instead of the four people who usually stand there on introductions. Wiman seemed to be the one fighter who was without any support besides the people he is closest with. It was almost as if he was just thrown in against Paul Sass as another victim for Sass. Then the fight started and the fight began going Sass’s way proving the point that Wiman had no shot. With the fight on the ground Sass began trying to sink in submissions to end the fight against the striker. Then the unthinkable happened as the underdogs, in the truest sense of the word, got his own submission attempt. As Wiman continued to fight on the ground he took an arm and eventually took the armbar against one of the best submission specialists in the UFC. It was one of those stories where a true underdog finished off in the biggest upset, mainly because of the way he did it, of the night. It was one of the feel good stories of the UFC on Fuel TV 5 as it will now be great to watch Wiman and see what this underdog can do.

Before the fight Dana White was expecting some great fights and a lot of bonuses to hand out in a great card. The fight card did not provide multiple bonuses but it did provide some great fight the best of which got their $40,000 bonuses. The Submission of the Night went to the biggest upset as Matt Wiman for his Armbar win against Paul Sass. The Knockout of the Night went to a hometown favorite Brad Pickett for his devastating KO of Yves Jabouin. The Fight of the Night went to the main event as Stefan Struve and Stipe Miocic who fought a stand up battle won by Stefan Struve in the second round. UFC on Fuel TV 5 was another example of a great night of free fights overshadowing a Pay-per-View as the UFC continues to try to figure out how to make every event exciting.

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve def. Stipe Miocic
(KO; Rd. 2)

 

Main Card:
Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy def. Amir Sadollah
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Brad “One Punch” Pickett def. Yves “Tiger” Jabouin
(KO; Rd. 1)

 

“Handsome” Matt Wiman def. Paul Sass
(Submission; Armbar, Rd. 1)

 

John “The Hitman” Hathaway def. John MacGuire
(Unanimous Decision)

 

“Beautiful” Che Mills def. Duane “Bang” Ludwig
(TKO; Referee Stoppage, Rd. 1)

 

Undercard:              
Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa def. Kyle “Kingsbu” Kingsbury
(TKO; Doctor Stoppage, Rd. 2)

 

Akira Corassani def. Andy “The Little Axe” Ogle
(Split Decision)

 

Brad Tavares def. Tom “Kong” Watson
(Split Decision)

 

Gunnar “Gunni” Nelson def. DeMarques “Darkness” Johnson
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 1)

 

Robbie “Problems” Peralta def. Jason “Young Guns” Young
(KO, Rd. 1)

 

Upcoming Events:

 

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

 

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. Stephan “American Psycho” Bonnar [Middleweight Title]
Notable: Minotauro Nogueira vs. Dave Herman
Notable: Glover Teixeira vs. Fabio Maldonado

 

UFC on Fuel TV: Franklin vs. Le (Saturday November 10th; 9:00 am EDT)
– Free Live on Sportsnet/Fuel TV
– Macau, China (Cotai Arena)
Main Event: Rich “Ace” Franklin vs. Cung Le
Notable: Thiago Silva vs. Stanislav “Stucky” Nedkov

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