UFC 142 shows sport is in golden age

UFC 142 shows sport is in golden age

Published Jan. 14, 2012 12:00 a.m. ET

While much of America was gripped by the NFL playoffs Saturday night, fight-fans the world over were glued to their television watching the action unfolding inside the Octagon in Rio De Janeiro. UFC 142 didn’t just have everything you could ask for — it had things that the viewer at home had never even thought of requesting.

In the first fight of the main card, there was an astonishing first-ever spinning wheel kick by Edson Barboza that literally felled Terry Etim like a log. Etim was knocked unconscious before he fell backward to the mat.

In the second fight, Erick Silva destroyed Carlo Prater in 30 seconds, but didn’t get the win. Referee Mario Yamasaki robbed Silva of the victory by disqualifying him for what Yamasaki thought were illegal blows to the back of the head. But UFC commentator Joe Rogan, the fans and Silva himself got to explain to the referee why he got it so badly wrong.

In the third fight of the night, Rousimar Palhares grabbed hold of Mike Massenzio’s leg and, in an instant, secured a devastating leglock that brought the fight to an end in just one minute.


In the top two fights of the night, Vitor Belfort and Jose Aldo needed only one round to confirm themselves as national heroes to the cheering Brazilian fans.

Belfort, already a celebrity in Brazil and in his first fight in his native land since 1998, punished Anthony Johnson for his unprofessional failure to make weight the day before. Belfort impressively overcame adversity after his right eye was closed up by Johnson early on, battling back from a bad start to choke out his larger adversary.

Aldo, on the other hand, was nowhere near as well known as “The Phenom” entering the fight, but after Saturday night’s performance the people of Brazil will never forget him.

Having finally dropped some of the excess weight that was dragging his performances down in 2011, the UFC featherweight champion was back to his explosive best against Chad Mendes, outclassing his one-dimensional challenger. Repelling numerous takedowns, Aldo secured the knockout after connecting with a brutal knee right at the end of the first round. He then flew into his hometown crowd to celebrate in a scene no-one had seen before at a UFC event.

It was a tremendous end to what was an incredible event.

Not only was the action inside the Octagon Saturday night exciting, but it demonstrated everything that makes MMA the fastest growing sport in the world. From innovative striking to destructive grappling, the action presented by the UFC has never been as good as it is now in its 15th year of existence.

The UFC has staged an amazing run of excellent shows that has since June only once failed to provide entertaining matches inside the cage. And with the addition of a flyweight division and an influx of Strikeforce heavyweights, we already can see developments that are going to make the UFC bigger, better than ever before.

When it comes to in-ring quality, UFC fans really have never had as it so good.