UFC, Spike Scores Big With Fans

By Tom Donelson
Updated: February 22, 2009

Ultimate Fighting ChampionshipIOWA CITY — If you want to know why Mixed Martial Arts is becoming popular, watching “UFC 95″ provides part of the answer. For one, the UFC had a three hour program that included seven matches, that is right , seven matches.

Even when boxing has a PPV, they often do not include all of the bouts. You get four fights for nearly 50 dollars, and not all of the fights on the card included.

UFC gave fans seven fights on SPIKE TV, thus not only providing a value for the fans but they put this on SPIKE as oppose to PPV; so fans can actually see the bout as oppose paying their cable networks additional bucks.

On a night where boxing had three stars fighting on two separate cards on PPV, MMA had a card of up and coming stars for free. The first fight featured Josh Koscheck versus Paulo Thiago.

Koscheck opened with an overhand right and set the pace throughout the opening stanza. Thiago retreated and it looked like this was going to be Koscheck’s night.

He moved to do one more attack but after missing with a combination, Koscheck walked right into a right uppercut followed by a left hook. He went down and the referee stopped the fight.

This showed one of the excitements of the MMA.

One punch can turn a fight around and Thiago, being behind throughout most of the first round, turned the fight around with one punch and ended it with a second follow up punch.

Brazilian fighter Demain Maia challenged American Chael Sonnen and his expertise was submission. In the first minute, he managed to get Sonnen on the ground but the American escaped the first time but Maia pushed Sonnen to the Octagon, threw Sonnen to the ground and just like that, Sonnen submitted.

The Brazilians continued their winning streak as Junior Dos Santos unleashed a fierce combination within the 30 seconds of the bout and stopped the 6-foot-11 Stegan Struve.

The first three bouts of the evening ended with spectacular knockout or submission. In the first round, Nate Marquardt and Wilson Gouveia went after each other.

Marquardt whipped round house kicks to the body and leg whereas Wilson Gouveia countered with hand strikes and during the middle of the round, went for the guillotine on a takedown.

Marquardt escaped and then went for a ground attack on his own. He appeared to have the advantage in the first round and the second round saw him take the offensive at the beginning of the round

Marquardt nailed Gouveia with body shots with his round house kicks and knees. But then Gouveia nailed Marquardt with a right but made a mistake as he left himself open after a combination.

Marquardt took advantage of Gouveia’s mistake and took him down to the ground, going for guillotine to end the fight. Unable to get a submission, Marquardt retreated and with the next opening, he nailed Gouveia with a right hand followed by two knees.

But the bell saved him as he wobbled back to his corner.

Gouveia started the third round by attacking Marquardt, but made no real contact in the opening minute as he moved away from the aggressive Gouveia.

Marquardt trapped him to the Octagon, but Gouveia went for a counter guillotine move to change the momentum of the fight. But Marquardt retreated one more time, setting up Gouveia for one more attack.

He nailed Gouveia with a right and as his knees wobbled before Marquardt flew right into Gouveia with a flying knee strike followed by a round house kick.

The fight ended as Marquardt took another step toward a second UFC Championship shot. This was the evening best fight.

In the next bout, Britian’s Terry Etim gave the local London fans something to cheer about as he dominated Brian Cobb with superior skills. Cobb’s strength belied in his wrestling skills, but Etim took control of the first round with his striking skills including round house kicks to the leg as he slowed the explosive power of Cobb’s wrestling skills.

In the second round, Etim rocked Cobb with a round house kick to the body before he moved a second round house kick up to the head. This ended the fight as the referee stopped the action.

The next three bouts ended as quickly as the first three. Evan Dunham nailed Sweden Per Eklund with a straight left and ended the fight quickly and Mike Ciesnolevicz followed up in the next bout with a nasty submission that nearly popped Neil Grove leg.

And not to be outdone, Brit Dan Hardy hit Roy Markham with a right hand within the opening 30 seconds and the bout ended with one of sports’ most exciting moments, the knock out.

The final event saw Diego Sanchez fight Joe Stevenson in the only bout that actually went to the judges’ scorecard. The deciding factor in this fight was Sanchez more diversified attack.

Whereas Stevenson is an excellent boxer, Sanchez’s addition of kicking techniques gave him the advantages in exchanges as he consistently nailed Stevenson with more strikes that began with kicks and often ended with upper cuts.

Each round were close but Sanchez had the slight upper hand as his connect rate with both kicks and punches outnumbered Stevenson connect rates with punches.

Sanchez had the slight advantage with ground attack and again not by much, but enough to win the judges scorecard as he came around with a 29-28, and two 30-27 scores.

In a bout that showed two competitive fighters, this showed that in Mixed Martial Arts, the fighter with the more diversified skills often wins.

This bout saw spectacular knockouts and submission followed by a display of solid skills shown in the main event. This is why fans are loving Mixed Martial Arts.