Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its Fox Sports 2 debut yesterday (Oct. 26, 2013) at Phones 4U Arena in Manchester, England, with UFC Fight Night 30: "Machida vs. Munoz." The mixed martial arts (MMA) event was originally planned to pit Mark Munoz against Michael Bisping, but an injury forced "The Count" from the card.
Machida was willing to step in on short notice to face his training partner for his Middleweight debut. The bout wasn't exactly exciting, but it did end in spectacular fashion (watch full fight video highlights here). Machida is now a title contender in the 185-pound division and Munoz is back to square one.
There were other fights, but I don't want to spoil the rest of this reaction piece. So without taking any more of your time, let's talk about last night, er, yesterday afternoon.
So, About Last Night ...
The Machida-era begins again!
Lyoto Machida needed to make a splash in his Middleweight debut. He was coming off a string of lackluster performances at Light Heavyweight, including a loss to Phil Davis at UFC 163 in Brazil in his last outing. This meant that his bout with Munoz served not just as a debut, but an indicator of his placement in the current landscape.
He passed his test with flying colors by scoring an amazing head kick knockout in the first round. Now, the fight wasn't particularly exciting prior to the finish, but it doesn't matter what happened as long as he impressed in the end.
The mark of Voldemort
I had hoped that the fight between Melvin Guillard and Ross Pearson would deliver fireworks. I'm pretty sure that they did, too. And for a short amount of time in the first round, it looked like we would see the fight for which I'd hoped. But, then two questionable knees from Guillard landed and split open Pearson's forehead (see cut pic here).
It was in a really bad spot and the doctor called the fight. It was ruled a "No Contest" because of the illegal knees to a grounded opponent. While there's no way of knowing what would have happened if they continued, at the time of the stoppage, Guillard was swarming and looking to finish.
The good news is that UFC has decided to do an immediate rematch next year in the promotion's return to London in March. Hopefully, there won't be any controversy.
Is Jimi Manuwa for real?
Usually whenever a question that begins and ends with "is ___ for real" is asked, it's going to set up a negative comment. I won't be doing that. Instead, I'd like to know if Jimi Manuwa is the fighter who could possibly put the United Kingdom back on the Light Heavyweight map.
His bout with Ryan Jimmo ended in bizarre fashion with Manuwa's hand raised and Jimmo clenching at his leg. The only problem was that Manuwa didn't do anything to damage Jimmo's leg. It was a total freak accident that automatically puts an asterisk next to the "W."
But, despite the weird ending, Manuwa is still a highly touted fighter from England and currently undefeated in his MMA career. It's now time for him to prove that he belongs at the top of the 205-pound division.
Will John Lineker ever make weight?
John Lineker picked up an amazing win with an amazing first round stoppage of Phil Harris. It's his fourth win in a row and under the correct circumstances should put him in line for a Flyweight title shot.
But, Lineker has a problem with making the 125-pound limit. In his time with UFC, he's missed weight three times. At first it was believed that he was having difficulty because he lacked the support system from a reliable team. Then it was a money issue.
Now, after joining American Top Team (ATT) and making better money inside the Octagon, he's out of excuses. If he wants to be champion, he's got to act like a champion. And that means making weight every single time that he steps on the scale.
- There was absolutely no reason for Rosi Sexton to come out in the third round against Jessica Andrade. She was beaten up badly on the feet in the second round and wasn't presenting any issues to her opponent. Her corner should never have sent her back out to finish the fight. Their entire job is to ensure the safety of the fighter. They failed.
- Alessio Sakara fought. Did you know he's been in UFC for Eight. Straight. Years? Because I found that out. He's possibly the most mediocre fighter on the current roster in that he's "meh" at everything and not really good at anything. This is now four straight fights in a row that he's lost. Will there be a fifth?
- Luke Barnatt was impressive in his win over Andrew Craig. He was able to land hard punches on the feet and ultimately finished the bout with a rear-naked choke. If there is a criticism of his performance it's that he celebrated a knockdown instead of looking for an immediate finish. Those kinds of mistakes will get him hurt one day.
- I joked around that the bout between Munoz and Machida looked like a Blackhouse sparring session. Munoz just didn't look like he had any clue about how to solve the Machida puzzle and therefore, decided to not engage at all. Seriously, he landed zero punches. Nada. Zilch. Maybe it was nerves, but Munoz needs to come back soon and make a statement because this performance left me disappointed.