I am live at the O2 Arena in London, England providing you round by round coverage of all the night’s televised action and (most of) the prelim fights on the card. The event is headlined by TUF3 Winner Michael Bisping facing Japanese superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama, with Dan Hardy vs. Carlos Condit and John Hathaway vs. Mike Pyle as the main bouts in support.
- Light Heavyweight bout: James McSweeney (205Ibs)vs. Fabio Maldonado (204Ibs)
I unfortunately missed this fight due to delays with the distribution of media credentials caused by UFC personnel being caught in the notoriously bad London traffic. Maldonado was able to disappoint the home fans, defeating McSweeny by TKO at 0:48 of the third round.
- Lightweight bout: Spencer Fisher (155Ibs) vs. Kurt Warburton (154Ibs)
Missed the opening round of this, so can’t really say too much about it. What I saw was very even and enjoyable, with both fighters not only being very aggressive but fighting at a good pace and with solid technique. Highlight is at the end of the second round when Fisher connects with an axe-kick only for Warburton to grab the leg and attack the ankle. The buzzer for the end of the round saved Fisher there. Fisher won, although I haven’t got the scores yet as the house microphone isn’t working.
- Lightweight bout: Paul Sass (155Ibs) vs. Mark Holst (155Ibs)
Paul Sass is that rarity in British MMA, somebody who actually leads with grappling something he proves first thing by almost locking in a triangle choke after pulling guard. Sass again shows how comfortable he is off his back when looking for repeated submissions after he ended on the bottom when a takedown was stuffed by Holst, with the Brit going close with both a armbar and a heel hook. Sass’ wrestling is pretty week (that’s less of a rarity in British MMA) with his shot lacking power and often allowing Holst to counter and end up on top. But off his back is where Sass is strongest – mixing numerous submission attempts with nice 6-12 elbows. The end is of a piece with the majority of the fight as after his takedown was countered, Sass was forced onto his back where he was able to go for another triangle choke. With the round almost over Holst struggled to escape but at 4:45 he had no choice but to tap out. Impressive performance from Sass but he needs to improve his wrestling if he’s going to progress in the UFC.
- Heavyweight bout: Rob Broughton (257Ibs) vs. Vinicius Queiroz (239Ibs)
They trade punches to begin with but Queiroz is able to take Broughton out of his game with a couple of leg kicks that visibily hurt the big man. Queiroz goes for the takedown, and after spending some time up against the cage he eventually gets it. Queiroz unloads with several punches on the ground, and Broughton looks distinctly uncomfortable off his back. Broughton eventually gives up his back, and Queiroz goes for a rear naked choke. He gives up that attempt and the fight is back on its feet. Broughton is looking flat footed, although he does come back showing his power with three shots (including a nice short uppercut) that noticeably affect Queiroz. Queiroz responds by taking Broughton down and the round ends with the two on the ground. 10-9 to Queiroz.
Broughton charges in aggressively at the start of Round One, but Queiroz is able to duck under and jump onto Broughton’s back to attempt a rear naked choke. Broughton is able to throw him off and connects with some big shots. The Brit seems to have more power than Queiroz but his footwork and wrestling are poor. Because of this Querioz is abel to stay out of trouble most of the time, and when Broughton does put some shots together he just responds with a takedown. At one point Querioz was clearly content to just lay in Broughton’s guard and kill time, forcing the referee (with some encouragement to the crowd) to stand them up. Broughton probably caused the most damage but Queiroz was clearly in control for most of the round. 20-18 to Querioz.
Broughton gets the better of the early exchanges, with Querioz again responding by going for the takedown. But the shot lacks power and Broughton is not only able to stuff it but catches him in a tight standing guillotine. Querioz fights to escape and finally does after Broughton tries to improev his leverage by going to ground. Broughton is on top and is laying in some heavy shots, and Querioz is struggling. Broughton goes for an armbar which Querioz is able to escape from. However he gives up his back and Broughton is able to stretch him out and get the tapout by rear naked choke at 1:46 of the third round. Well I didn’t see that coming.
Broughton defeats Querioz at 1:46 of the third round via submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Scores in the Curt Warburton vs. Spencer Fisher fight were 29-28 across the board by the way. While all three judges had Broughton vs. Queiroz even at 19-19 going into the final round.
- Light Heavyweight bout: Cyrille Diabaté (204Ibs) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (204Ibs)
Kickboxing exchanges to begin with Gustafsson getting the better standing, knocking Diabate down with a left hook. Gustafsson dives into to finish the fight, but Diabate does a good job of maintaining position of his back. They eventually get back up, and Gustasfsson is again pushing the action with his boxing. He goes for a takedown and while Diabate is able to stuff the takedown he can’t get off the cage and is being caught by some nice punches, with the short uppercut in particular getting through. One connects cleanly and Diabate is down. Gustafsson tries to follow up with some ground and pound, but again Diabte is able to stifle off his back. Back to their fight, Diabate puts together a good flurry that has Gustasfsson backpedalling for the first time, but even on the offensive Diabate is unable to pick out the short uppercut that Gustasfsson is seemingly landing at will. Diabte goes for a takedown, which is counter and the round ends with Gustasfsson dropping some heavy punches from top position. 10-9 to Gustasfsson.
A dominant round from Gustasfsson, who throws Diabte to the ground early on and from that point is in complete control. Unlike in the first round he is able to really hurt Diabte from top position, forcing Diabate to give up his back. Gustasfsson repeatedly tries for a rear naked choke. After going back to his ground and pound to further weaken Diabate, he finally gets it locked in and Diabate has no choice but to tap at 2:41. Gustasfsson looked excellent here – showing great standup and wrestling. Very impressive.
Alexander Gustafsson defeats Cyrille Diabaté at 2:14 of the second round via submission (rear naked choke).
Main card (Live on ESPN UK and Spike TV, 8PM local time)
Good reaction for Wilks. Tentative early on as they exchange kicks, fighting at range whilst feeling each other out. Patrick goes for a takedown, forcing Wilks up against the cage. He gets it, landing in half guard. Wilks is dangerous off his back, and goes for a triangle choke. Patrick escapes, stands up then jumps back in with a diving punch. Patrick is struggling to do anything from top position, with Wilks stifling him excellently. He again stands up, this time to throw some leg kicks. After those he jumps back in, but is clearly struggling to get past the excellent grappling defense fo Wilks. He again stands up, throws some punches standing and then dives back in. Whilst its clear that Patrick is struggling, one shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Wilks has been on his back for almost the entirety of this round and since the triangle attempt early on hasn’t provided any offense. The round ends with Patrick having moved to full mount, but he isn’t able to get many punches off. Patrick’s round obviously, 10-9.
Wilks goes for a takedown early on, but Patrick is able to stuff it after ending up against the cage. The fight then gets stuck there for two minutes, with both trying but failing to get the other down. Patrick finally gets the takedown and it then becomes a repeat of the first round, with Patrick maintaining positional dominance on top but unable to do any actual damage due to the grappling defense of Wilks. The crowd is getting very restless, heavily booing the fight by the time the buzzer goes. Patrick takes a nothing round and leads 20-18 on my scorecard.
More of the same unfortunately, with the two struggling for the takedown against the cage early on only for Patrick to get it. Patrick can do nothing on top but Wilks isn’t threatening off his back. Patrick tries to push the action by again standing up and looking for space to dive, which causes a brief moment of excitement when Wilks grabs hold of Patrick’s leg, but nothing comes of it. The round ends with Patrick on top but neutralized in Wilks guard, which is apt because that was the story of every round. I have it 30-27 for Patrick, as do all three judges. But what a terrible, terrible fight that really shouldn’t air on Spike ahead of some of the (much more entertaining) pre-lims.
Claude Patrick defeats James Wilks via unanimous decision.
Browne twice tries to rush Kongo early on , but the Frenchman is able to get out of the way with ease and looks to connect with a left hand. Kongo connects with some some heavy leg kicks, to which Browne responds by rushing in but again can’t connect with anything. Kongo is fighting off the backfoot, content to let Browne rush in whilst he uses his superior footwork to avoid the incoming shots. They exchange leg kicks, and Kongo changes tactics to rush in with several punches. Browne catches him on the way in with a right hand, which clearly rocks Kongo. Browne again tries to push the action, going close with an uppercut. Browne puts together some good one-two boxing combinations and the overhand right. Kongo goes on the offensive connecting with right hands and knees to the mid-section, and as the round ends Browne responds with a kick to the upper torso. Strange performance from Kongo who seemed subdued and unwilling to push the action. 10-9 to Browne
Kongo is more aggressive in this round, pushing the action from the start and far more willing to lead with his boxing. Kongo pushes Browne up against the cage and is connecting with good punches and knees, when Kongo accidentally (?) low blows Browne. At the restart Kongo continues to be the aggressive, although Browne gets a flash knockdown with Kongo complaining of an eye poke. Kongo puts together several unanswered shots and Browne is visibly reeling. Kongo pushes Browne up against the cage and delivers repeated knees to the mid-section and inside leg. The referee eventually calls the separation to cheers from the crowd. Despite this they get trapped against the cage again with Browne looking for a takedown. He gets it just as the buzzer for the end of the round but its not enough to give him the round. I have it 19-19 on my scorecard.
The fight breaks down completely in the final round, with the referee having to repeatedly separate the two fighters as they get stuck in the clinch against the cage. Kongo is constantly holding onto the shorts of Browne, even after a warning from the referee. Eventually the referee’s patience wears out and he docks Kongo a point. With the crowd turning on the fight, Kongo goes on the offensive stalking Browne across the Octagon. It is Browne that lands the cleanest blow of the exchange, with a straight right connecting as clean as a whistle. Kongo responds by going for a takedown but Browne counters and ends up on top as the fight ends to a chorus of boos from the O2 crowd. I give that round to Browne. All the three judges disagree, giving it to Kongo meaning that all three score the fight 28-28 due to the point that Kongo was deducted for holding the shorts. The fight is ruled a draw.
Cheick Kongo and Travis Browne is a draw (28-28, 28-28, 28-28)
Mike Pyle is having a lot of fun with being the foreign heel – after yesterday’s Stars and Stripes’ underpants he now comes down to the ring to ‘Born in the USA’. Tremendous stuff. John Hathaway responds with “Two Tribes (Go To War)” which is also pretty funny. The crowd is pumped up after all that. They’re both feeling each other out, throwing at range so not connecting. Pyle goes for a takedown and after a brief struggle gets it, although Hathaway is quickly able to scramble to top position. Back on the feet, Pyle connects with a knee whilst Hathaway tries to work the jab. Pyle connects with a hard overhand right. Hathaway goes for a takedown, but Pyle is able to stuff it off the cage. Hathaway is having more success with the jab, towards the end of round mixing it in with right hands. At the end of the round, Pyle ends up on top after landing a knee and lands a few punches before the buzzer goes. 10-9 to Pyle.
Hathaway is more aggressive standing and seemingly has Pyle hurt midway, with his repeated jabs beginning to wear down the American. He looks to capitalize but is unable to as Pyle successfully slams him down to the canvass. Pyle traps Hathaway’s head in side position, and although Hathaway at first tries to roll out of the position he eventually is forced to lay there as Pyle connects with punch after punch. While Hathaway wasn’t exactly being subjected to a barrage of punches, its difficult to see how anyone could claim that he was intelligently defending himself when he literally couldn’t move his head out of the way of multiple shots. Because of that the referee’s decision to allow Hathaway to make it to the end of the round is at the very least questionable. But see out the round he does, earning deserved applause from the crowd. The round is obviously 10-9 to Pyle.
Another disappointing round, with Pyle able to take Hathaway down and control him throughout the round. After the superior wrestling that he showed against Diego Sanchez, his failure to be able to defend against Pyle’s takedowns is a surprise. Hathaway tries to offer something to change the dynamic of the fight, but attempts to scramble back to his feet or go for a submission of his back fail. Pyle sees out a round that caps off a dominant display against a fighter that many had fought to be the most talented British fighter in the organization. I have it 30-27 on my scorecard, as do all three judges.
Mike Pyle defeats John Hathaway via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
After three bad fights and two high-profile British fighters losing, the UFC could really needs Hardy and Bisping to win in impressive fashion to send the crowd home happy. Condit enters with a song that at the beginning is a Hendrix(-esque) rendition of Stars and Strikers Banner. However not even that could compare to Hardy’s entrance, with The Outlaw being greeted by a huge reaction by the sellout crowd here in London.
Big ‘Hardy’ chant as we start. Hardy in the centre of the ring, the two fighters trading leg kicks with Condit throwing more but Hardy’s being harder. Hardy mixes in some jabs and goes for a high-kick, which misses. Hardy connects with a good left hook. Condit throws a high kick and looks to follow with a jab. Hardy goes for a jab and Condit counters with a spinning back elbow. Hardy lands a straight punch that forces Condit back, and they exchange in the centre of the ring both landing with big punches. Condit is starting to get the better of the exchanges and connects with a devastating left hook. As replays would later show, Hardy was also throwing a left hook, but Condit’s was the one that connected and Hardy is down. Condit dives in, landing several big punches from the top and finishes it at 4:27. In the post-fight interviews, Condit is booed remorselessly by the home fans whilst Hardy is greet to a raucous reaction, as he explains simple that he lost because he “got punched in the face”.
Carlos Condit defeats Dan Hardy at 4:27 via TKO.
Well now the UFC could really do with Bisping leaving the O2 with a victory. In an event filled with great entrances, Akiyama surely has the best of all. Television really does get over how epic that song is in the arena. He’s actually greeted pretty positively by a crowd that has been boring every foriegn opponent of a British fighter all night. Bisping is of course greeted to a huge reaction from his home fans, and respectfully goes up and shakes Akiyama’s hand.
Bisping starts with a jab, Akiyama counters with a big overhand right. Bisping connects with a kick to the mid-section. Akyiama lands a jab and a leg-kick, Bisping counters with a jab and high kick. Akiyama misses with an overhand punch. Bisping has started to repeatedly check his eye. Bisping goes for a takedown, its stuff, goes for another one and gets it. Akiyama is immediately back on his feet. Bisping throws a kick but Akiyama catches the leg, however Bisping is able to roll out. Bisping is starting to feel more comfortable standing, and is getting several big punches through. Bisping goes for another takedown but its stuffed by Akiyama. Akiyama connects with some low kicks, and a high kick kick. Bisping responds with kicks of his own. Akiyama tries for a spinning back fist. The round ends with Bisping landing a glancing blow with a jumping knee. Good round of action, with Bisping taking it 10-9.
Akiyama gets a right hand through, Bisping responds with punches of his own. Bisping is not doing a good job of fighting tall and making the most of his four inch height advantage, often crouching into his punching. There’s a furious exhcanges with both just staying in the pocket and trading. Bisping is getting the worse of these exchanges, with the area around his right eye clearly bruised. There’s a pause in the action after Bisping is poked in the eye. Bisping seems more comfortable standing at the restart, getting several punches through. He goes for another takedown but Akiyama is able to stuff it. Akiyama seems to be tiring, with Bisping starting to take control standing. Several times Bisping catches Akiyama on the way in with cute counter-punches. Everything Akiyama lands on the other hand is goingg straight down the pipe. Akiyama has Bisping hurt at the end of the round, pushing him up against the cage and landing several big punches. That final flurry makes it Akiyama’s round and its all level on my scorecard at 19-19.
Bisping takes control in the third round, using his jab and his kicks to brutalize Akiyama from a distance. Akiyama is visibly wilting under the pressure, with Bisping managing to avoid being sucked into a slugfest. Bisping goes for an inside-leg kick and accidentally connects low. Akiyama reacts as if he’s been shot – laying on the ground for a prolonged period of time and taking all the available time to recover. Akiyama tries to push the action, with Bisping looking to counter with the jab and high kick. Bisping connects with a couple of Muay Thai knees to the mid-section. Bisping was allowing himself to be pushed around the Octagon too much, but he finally retakes the centre position and lands several hard one-two boxing combinations as Akiyama just stands there. Bisping is in control for much of the remainder of the round, having particularly success with the jab. Akiyama threatens to steal the fight with a late flurry but Bisping drops him as the buzzer goes. I have it as Bisping’s round and his fight 29-28. The three judges give Bisping all three round, making him the winner by unanimous decision.
Michael Bisping defeats Yoshihiro Akiyama via unamnimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
This concludes our live coverage of UFC 120. Stay tuned to Inside Fights for all the latest news and analysis from the world of mixed martial arts.
Tags: Cheick Kongo, dan hardy, Dana White, James Wilks, John Hathaway, Michael Bisping, Mike Pyle, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC 120, UFC.com, Wanderlei Silva, yoshihiro akiyama