Manchester 26.10.13 full review by Assistant Sport Editor Tom Williams.

Last Saturday night saw the Ultimate Fighting Club (UFC) return to Manchester for twelve fights. The co-main event saw Sunderland born Ross Pearson fighting American Melvin Guillard in order to further their hopes of one day getting a title shot. The main event saw former training partners Lyoto Machida (who was called into replace Manchester’s own Michael Bisping after he was injured during training) and Mark Munoz go head to head. The fight was also former light heavyweight champion Machida’s first fight as a middleweight, a class many believe he would have been even better suited for during his early career.

Mark Munoz
Mark Munoz

Results:

Main Card:

  • Middleweight: Lyoto Machida def. Mark Munoz by KO (head kick) at 3.10 of Round 1
  • Lightweight: Ross Pearson Vs. Melvin Guillard: No Contest after the referee deemed Pearson unable to continue after an accidental illegal knee
  • Light Heavyweight: Jimi Manuwa def. Ryan Jimmo by TKO (injury) 4.41 of Round 2
  • Lightweight: Norman Parke def. Jon Tuck by unanimous decision
  • Middleweight: Nicholas Musoke def. Alessio Sakara by verbal submission with an armbar at 3.07 of Round 1
  • Catchweight: John Lineker def. Phil Harris by TKO (punches) at 2.51 of Round 1

Preliminary Card:

  • Lightweight: Al Laquinta def. Piotr Hallmann by unanimous decision
  • Middleweight: Luke Barnatt def. Andrew Craig by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2.12 of Round 2.
  • Women’s Bantamweight: Jessica Andrade def. Rosi Sexton by unanimous decision
  • Featherweight: Cole Miller def. Andy Ogle by unanimous decision
  • Featherweight: Jimy Hettes def. Rob Whiteford by technical submissions at 2.17 of Round 2
  • Middleweight: Brad Scott def. Michael Kuiper by submission (front choke) at 4.17 of Round 1

Bonus awards ($50,000 bonus to each fighter):

  • Fight of the Night: Luke Barnatt vs. Andrew Craig
  • Knockout of the Night: Lyoto Machida
  • Submission of the Night: Nicholas Musoke
Ross Pearson (left)
Ross Pearson (left)

Overall it was an extremely enjoyable event and highlighted the very that the UFC has to offer with the majority of the matches on the card being very well fought. The highlight of the night for the British crowd had to be Cambridge born middleweight Luke Barnatt defeating Andrew Craig with an excellent submission to round off a fight many felt should have been on the main card. Submission of the Night winner Nicholas Musoke, who was making his UFC debut, showed great potential with a beautiful arm-bar that seemed to come out of nowhere. As for Knockout of the Night, Lyoto Machida showed how much of a threat he could be for the middleweight championship with a strong head kick.

My favourite part about the Machida vs. Munoz match was the level of respect and sportsmanship these two showed for each other. Despite being training partners up to when Bisping was forced to pull out of the fight, the two showed professionalism by giving the fight their all. Machida also showed great sportsmanship by not getting in a few courtesy shots once Munoz was down, such is often the practice in MMA.

Overall it was an excellent night for the British fighters on the card with Barnatt winning Fight of the Night, London based Jimi Manuwa continuing his 14 fight unbeaten MMA record with a powerful display, Irishman Norman Parke winning against the previously unbeaten Jon Tuck and Brad Scott winning his fight as well.

Lyoto Machida (right)
Lyoto Machida (right)

The only real disappointment of the evening was Pearson vs. Guillard ending in a no contest after an accidental foul by Guillard left Pearson unable to continue with a large cut on his forehead. The fight was shaping up to be incredibly well fought if the opening exchanges of blows were a sign of what was to come.

Overall UFC Manchester increased the profile of the sport and many British fighters performed very well highlighting how well British MMA is performing in the UFC to a larger British audience. The main event was also a brilliant showcase of the level of sportsmanship and respect that is an integral part of MMA.