The first Fight Pass event proved the oft repeated maxim that the quality if fights is not directly proportional to the casual fan name value on offer with some fun scraps and a very satisfying main event.
As to whether it was worth the £6.99 charge we were asked to pay on UFC.TV is another question but in any case BT Sport pulled through and we got to watch the main card at the very reasonable timeslot of 9-11pm – and it makes me think it would be pretty cool to get mainline UFC events replayed from 9-12 on a Sunday night, for those of us who succumb to sleep during the live card…
Just a thought.
The undercard saw redeeming wins for established fighters like Max Holloway, Dustin Kimura and debut victories for Russell Doane, Royston Wee and Mairbek Taisumov.
The main card opened with a physical mismatch as Kyung Ho Kang rag-dolled the experienced and skilled Shunichi Shimizu for thirteen minutes before finally sinking in the submission.
The match was made all the more interesting as Kang had two points deducted in the first round for a pair of 12-6 elbows (this would become a theme of the evening) meaning he needed to win all three rounds to win the fight.
Shimizu showed plenty heart and ability and I’d like to see him get another go round at Flyweight, as he looked way to small to compete in the UFC’s 135lb division. This wasn’t helped by the fact that Kang is one of the biggest bantams I’ve ever seen…
Next up, we had our compulsory scowling Brazilian in the shape of Luis Dutra facing off against Kiichi Kunimoto and living up to his grim aspect by using multiple 12-6 elbows to the back of Kunimoto’s head when pressed against the cage.
It’s never good to see a fighter stretchered from the cage as Kunimoto was here and it’s even worse to see his opponent show such a lack of remorse and dispute the perfectly correct call of a DQ for the use of (two!) illegal moves, resulting in a stoppage.
The co-main event saw long time Asian superstar Tatsuya Kawajiri making his UFC debut against a fellow debutant, Blackzillian product Sean Soriano. Soriano showed some good skills, especially in the first round while evading Kawajiri’s takedowns but in the end experience and grappling skills won the day and ‘Crusher’ took the second round submission victory.
Kawajiri then embarked on the most expressive promo I’ve ever seen from a Japanese fighter, ignoring Brian Stann’s questions and totally wrong footing the always-nice translator lady.
I choose to interpret this outburst as ‘BANZAI!!!’ and look forward to seeing more from him…
The main event, featuring Tarec Saffiedine against late replacement Hyun Gyu Lim was a great match, pitting Saffiedine’s speed, technique and rightly celebrated leg kicks against Lim’s size, aggression and utter lack of quit.
Saffiedine dominated the bulk of the match, slipping Lim’s punches, landing counters and peppering leg kicks from the outside. On a few occasions, lim would land a heavier blow and push Saffiedine back or catch a leg kick and end up in top on the ground but the balance of the bout
Into the fifth, with Saffiedine surely well ahead on the scorecards and Lim almost unable to put weight on his lead left leg, the Korean started pushing forward and was very much the winner of the round, with the Belgian backing up and desperately grappling to stop getting punched as the bell went.
You can’t teach heart like that.
All in, this was a fun event and almost everyone involved (aside from Luis Dutra and referee Steve Perceval who made some very weird calls) raised their stock. I just wonder how many fans actually watched it…
• Tarec Saffiedine def. Hyun Gyu Lim via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)*
• Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Sean Soriano via technical submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 0:50*
• Kiichi Kunimoto def. Luiz Dutra via disqualification (illegal elbows) – Round 1, 2:57
• Kyung Ho Kang def. Shunichi Shimizu via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 3, 3:53
• Max Holloway def. Will Chope via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:27
• Katsunori Kikuno def. Quinn Mulhern via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
• Royston Wee def. David Galera via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
• Mairbek Taisumov def. Tae Hyun Bang via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
• Dustin Kimura def. Jon Delos Reyes via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 2:13
• Russell Doane def. Leandro Issa via technical submission (triangle choke) – Round 2, 4:59
* – Not officially announced