The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to Germany this past Saturday night as Nate Marquardt faced Yushin Okami in the main event of UFC 122, shown live on ESPN here in Britain.
The broadcast began with welterweight action as Duane Ludwig faced Nick Osipczak.
For the most part this was an entertaining opener. Ludwig got in some good blows but as soon as the fight went to the ground Osipczak took control, opening up some nasty cuts above Ludwig’s eyes.
That was how the fight played out until the beginning of the third. After Ludwig connected with a big right the Brit went into defensive mode, hardly offering anything in reply to Ludwig’s offence.
The judges were then called into action as they gave the split decision to Ludwig. If only my fellow Brit hadn’t tired so much in the third round.
It was up to light heavyweight for the next fight as Krzysztof Soszynski went up against Goran Reljic.
This was another good fight. Soszynski looked great early on and his big left set up by a right was a thing of beauty.
The first two rounds looked pretty even, but it was in the third round where Soszynski imposed his will, always looking for the kimura, and delivering some big ground and pound bombs.
Reljic looked absolutely exhausted, and the referee would probably have stopped the fight during Soszynski’s final onslaught had the horn not sounded.
Once again the judges were called into action, with all three giving the fight to the Polish Experiment.
Then it was back down to the welterweight division as Amir Sadollah faced Peter Sobotta.
Even though he was fighting in front of his home country fans Sobotta always looked a couple of steps behind Sadollah. The Ultimate Fighter winner put on an excellent display of kickboxing, targeting the German’s right leg.
No surprise with the decision. All three judges scored in favour of Sadollah’s great performance.
Action from the lightweight division followed as Denis Siver faced Andre Winner.
The first fight of the broadcast that didn’t go the distance began with some fast combinations from both men, but when Siver dropped his man with a counter left it was only a matter of time before the transplanted German took the win, Winner tapping out to a rear naked choke. An awesome performance from Siver here.
The main event saw Nate Marquardt taking on Yushin Okami, with a shot at the middleweight title on the line.
A nice back and forth affair, and the closest fight of the night. Both men had their moments in this three round encounter. Marquardt went for a couple of guillotines in the first, and Okami showed some excellent stand up skills, but despite these good displays neither man could put the other away.
Which brought the judges into the equation again, with all three scoring in favour of Okami.
The rest of the broadcast featured filler material, beginning with Seth Petruzelli and Karlos Vemola in the light heavyweight division.
These two fought at a frantic pace throughout, and when Vemola scored with a couple of big slams it was obvious his power advantage was going to see him through, and although Petruzelli went for a couple of arm bars it was Vemola’s ground and pound which secured the TKO win.
Then it was down to welterweight as Kris McCray took on Carlos Eduardo Rocha.
Another fight that saw both men swinging early before they went to the ground. McCray took his man’s back a couple of times, but it was on the second occasion when McCray left himself open. Rocha quickly synched in a knee bar for the submission win.
It was back up to light heavyweight next as Vladimir Matyushenko took on Alexandre Ferreira.
The final fight of the broadcast was somewhat sloppy at times, although it featured some good back and forth action on the ground before Matyushenko’s ground and pound went unanswered, with the referee stepping in and giving him the TKO win.
In conclusion – the UFC’s latest incursion into the European mainland was a very entertaining affair with some very good performances.
The European fighters acquitted themselves very well, and the Marquardt/Okami main event was definitely worth the price of admission. But that being saw it would be nice to see some of the championships defended on this side of the pond to give the cards that little extra “oomph”.
But in all a very good show, which definitely gets the proverbial thumbs up from this particular writer.