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UFC Fight Night 26: Shogun vs. Sonnen review

August 19, 2013

Right so, a quick recap of the weekend’s mixed martial arts action as the UFC debuted on new U.S. sports channel Fox Sports 1. Broadcasting live from The Garden in Boston, the sold-out crowd were decked out in a sea of green as if St. Patrick’s Day had come early. It would be churlish of me, both as an Irishman and an MMA fan, to hide the fact I was as excited as this Boston crowd was for Dublin-born Conor McGregor and this his second-only bout in the UFC after making short work of Marcus Brimage back in Stockholm in April. Even though McGregor was only fighting on the undercard, the hype surrounding his fight was mad. Hell, he even got the full blackout treatment before his walkout. Not bad work for the former plumber’s apprentice who was drawing the dole before he got the big call! While not the spectacular knockout finish many were hoping for, McGregor simply outclassed his opponent Max Holloway in the ring and looked incredibly relaxed as he breezed to a unanimous decision from the judges.

On the main card there were some cracking bouts as well. My girlfriend (not a fight fan) was kind of half-watching the opening bout between Michael Johnson and Joe Lauzon and declared that Johnson would win. I laughed at her like a prick, explaining that Lauzon was the hometown favourite and had better form. I looked quite the fool when Johnson turned in a great performance and picked up the unanimous decision. Next time I’m listening to her (and betting accordingly). John Howard vs Uriah Hall was a weird one in that both fighters went past the point of showing mutual respect and transitioned into some kind of display of epic bromance. I was disappointed to see fellow ginger beard owner Mike Brown knocked clean out in the first round against Mike Pyle. Business really picked up with the fight between Urijah Faber and Iuri Alcantara. The Brazilian was something of a dark horse going in to this fight but Faber absolutely dominated him over the three rounds. With his incredible cardio and lethal elbow strikes, Faber was the clear winner. Two big units rolled in to the octagon next with the Michelin Man-proportioned Alistair Overeem taking on the Hawaiian Travis Browne. Overeem messed up Browne big time within minutes of the first round with some killer Muay Thai knee strikes against the cage. However, the 6 ft 7” Browne maintained and came back with a swift front kick that duly knocked a sluggish looking Overeem the fuck out. A coupleof hammer fists later and it was good night, sweet prince.

Last up was the main fight between Chael Sonnen and Shogun Rua. Shogun’s status in the world of MMA is legendary, but I was kind of rooting for Sonnen in this fight. I’m a big fan of Chael Sonnen as he adds a massive dose of much-needed personality into the sport. He’s basically a mid-80s WWF heel that’s wandered into the UFC. Fair play to him for getting the guillotine choke on Shogun in the first round and causing him to tap. A great end to a most-enjoyable pay per view!

by SeanM