Fox Sports 1 Opens with a Bang (UFC Fight Night 26 Review)

Chael Sonnen vs Shogun RuaThe UFC would open their new home with UFC Fight Night 26 as the UFC would put together a great card to debut Fox Sports 1. It was another move for the UFC as they would essentially gain their own channel on a major network. Although the UFC is not the only part to the new sports network there is a reason why Fox decided to open up with a day of UFC leading up to UFC Fight Night 26. The UFC is still on the fringe of sports with many people still wary of the sport that pays people to beat each other up. Still considered by some to be human cock-fighting the UFC may never gain that respect that they want. They will continue to try though as they look to get their sport among the big four in North America. On their way to trying to get their, the UFC has progressed from being a purely Pay-per-View promotion to a small cable network to a major network. The progress towards being a major sport in North America would continue at Fight Night 26 and the UFC would look to make an impact. The main card would be big with some of the top fighters in almost every division entering the octagon. Meanwhile the undercard would feature some Massachusetts faithful and an Irish fighter that had more hype than any other fighter on the card. Ultimately though, the card would come down to the main event when Chael Sonnen would take on Mauricio Rua in a matchup that both fighters needed to win. It was not that either fighter was at risk of being cut but both are nearing the end of their careers and may have only had one more run at a title in them. For Sonnen the fight would be a chance to finally put a win on the record after losing two straight title fights. He can be forgiven for losing those two fights though as he would take on the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC. For Rua it was a chance to avoid a two-fight losing streak after he lost to Alexander Gustafsson in his last fight. Both fighters are getting up there in their careers and neither has anything more to prove in the UFC but that won’t stop either from fighting for their pride. The fight would come to fruition after Sonnen called out Wanderlei Silva but would not be able to get the fight and instead took the fight with Rua on short notice after Antonio Rogerio Nogueira dropped out of the fight that was to take place at UFC 161. As usual Sonnen would talk his way into the fight calling our Rua when Nogueira dropped out of the fight. Rua would take it personally as he would not be a fan of the way Sonnen talks about Brazilian fighters including Wanderlei Silva. Sonnen would surprisingly stay quiet for the most part once he got the fight claiming it was an honour to fight Rua. It wouldn’t last though as Sonnen began to call Rua Silva’s henchman and would say that he will finish Rua on his way to Silva. The fight was a big one for both of these fighters after all of the talk was done with both fighters looking to get back in the win column and to save face after the war of words. The fight would start out with Sonnen looking to get the fight on the ground and use his advantage to win the fight. Rua would be taken down multiple times but he would continue to get up and try to keep the fight standing. Sonnen would eventually get a Guillotine locked in while he was standing and would drop to the guard to tighten the submission. With only half a minute left in the first round Sonnen would lock the choke in tighter on the ground and force Rua to tap showing why Sonnen does deserve to get these fights. For Rua it was another loss but it was not the end of his career as he plans to continue fighting. He may not get another shot at the title though with his career winding down and more than enough challengers coming up to face Jon Jones. Sonnen would take control of the post fight interview and would call-out Wanderlei Silva with an elaborate rhyme and an insult torn straight from Full Metal Jacket. Sonnen wouldn’t surprise anyone if he gets this fight but with Sonnen any fight at any time seems to be his mantra. One thing is for sure Sonnen will be back with four fights left in his five fight contract as he will look to solve grudges with the remaining fights.

The main event would not disappoint as it was a great fight with a good ending that many did not see coming. The rest of the card was also great as the UFC put together a lineup of stars to open their time on Fox Sports 1. Whether it was Massachusetts native Joe Lauzon going down to Michael Johnson, who needed the win, or TUF star Uriah Hall talking on veteran John Howard in a respect filled fight. The big moment of the night would come in the main event though as  heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Travis Browne would face off with a potential title shot on the line. Overeem would come out firing in the fight as he would press Browne to the fence and unload his devastating knees. After a few knees to the body Browne would go down and Overeem would go after the finish loading up on punches while Browne was down. Browne would survive the early onslaught though and would get away from Overeem to recover from almost losing the fight. Overeem would look to try to end the fight again as he came forward with almost no regard for Browne believing that Browne was essentially out. It would not happen that way though as Browne would catch Overeem coming forward with a bug straight kick to the chin. It would end the fight in an instant knocking out Overeem and giving Browne the win. With the win Browne would start a two-fight win streak and may be looking at a title shot in the near future if he can continue to end fights.


Fight Bonuses

Submission of the Night
With so many great fights on the card the UFC would go all out with the bonuses as Michael McDonald and Chael Sonnen would win Submission of the Night as McDonald would get it for his Triangle Choke against Brad Pickett and Sonnen for the Guillotine Choke against Rua

Knockout of the Night
Two more bonuses for KO of the Night as Travis Browne would earn one for his devastating kick against Alistair Overeeem while Matt Brown would also win one for his first round KO of Mike Pyle in the main card

Fight of the Night
There would only be on Fight of the Night as Brad Pickett and Michael McDonald earned it for their back and forth battle in the preliminary fights with McDonald coming out on top with a third round Submission


Fight Results

Main Event:
Chael Sonnen def. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
(Submission; Guillotine Choke, Rd. 1)


Main Card:
Travis “Hapa” Browne def. Alistair “The Reem” Overeem
(KO; Rd. 1)

“The California Kid” Urijah Faber def. Yuri “Marajo” Alcantara
(Unanimous Decision)

Matt “The Immortal” Brown def. Mike “Quicksand” Pyle
(TKO; Rd. 1)

John “Doomsday” Howard def. Uriah “Prime Time” Hall
(Split Decision)

Michael “The Menace” Johnson def. Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon
(Unanimous Decision)


Michael “Mayday” McDonald def. Brad “One Punch” Pickett
(Submission; Triangle Choke, Rd. 2)

“The Notorious” Connor McGregor def. Max “Blessed” Holloway
(Unanimous Decision)

“Super” Steven Siler def. Mike Brown
(TKO; Rd. 1)

Diego “DB” Brandao def. Daniel “The Pit” Pineda
(Unanimous Decision)

Manvel “The Anvil” Gamburyan def. Cole “Magrinho” Miller
(Unanimous Decision)

Ovince St. Preux def. Cody “Donnybrook” Donovan
(KO; Rd. 1)

James “The Texecutioner” Vick def. Ramsey Nijem
(Submission; Guillotine Choke, Rd. 1)


Upcoming Events 

UFC Fight Night 27: Condit vs. Kampmann 2 (Wednesday August 28th; 8:00 pm ET)
Indianapolis, Indiana (Bankers Life Field House)
Main Event: Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit vs. Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann
Notable: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Rafael Dos Anjos
Notable: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Brian Melancon

UFC 164: Henderson vs. Pettis (Saturday August 31st; 10:00 pm ET)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin (BMO Harris Bradley Center)
Main Event: Benson “Smooth” Henderson vs. Anthony “Showtime” Pettis [Lightweight Title]
Notable: Frank Mir vs. Josh “The Warmaster” Barnett
Notable: Chad “Money” Mendes vs. Clay “The Carpenter” Guida

UFC Fight Night 28: Teixeira vs. Bader (Wednesday September 4th; 7:00 pm ET)
Belo Horizonte, Brazil (Mineirinho Gymnasium)
Main Event: Glover Teixeira vs. Ryan “Darth” Bader
Notable: Yushin “Thunder” Okami vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Notable: Joseph Benavidez vs. Jussier Formiga

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