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UFC provides knockout action in Macao

(CRI Online)

10:10, November 13, 2012

South Korean fighter Dong Hyun Kim works from the bottom in his fight against Paulo Thiago at UFC Macao, November 10, 2012.
(Photo: Weiyi)

The Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) first Chinese event is in the books and it provided a little bit of everything that the promotion was hoping to showcase in front of a majority Asian crowd. Despite the fact that Zhang Tiequan, the only Chinese fighter competing on the card lost a unanimous decision to Guam's John Tuck, the overall event was arguably a resounding success for the promotion which is keen to tap into the potentially huge audience awaiting them on the mainland.

A three-fight preliminary card kicked off the event, during which the frailties of mixed martial arts judging came into focus as Alex Caceres beat Japan's Motonobu Tezuka via split decision. Two judges scored the fight in favor of Caceres 30-27 after he virtually dominated his Japanese opponent. However, one judge scored the fight in favor of Tezuka, 29-28, leaving some members of the crowd and commentary team scratching their heads. Nonetheless, Caceres walked away with the win.

The main card kicked off with Japan's Takeya Mizugaki against Jeff Houghland from the US. Both men came into the bout having lost their previous contest, and both men were keen to cement their place within the world's premier mixed martial arts organization. Mizugaki stayed true to his "win-one, lose-one" form by grinding out a less than aesthetically pleasing victory, earning a unanimous nod from the judges. As previously mentioned, China's Zhang Tiequan was bested by UFC newcomer John Tuck in a back-and-forth style matchup. Both men featured on the UFC Macao event poster and Zhang had received an understandable push, promotionally speaking, in the run-up to the event. However, China's lone UFC fighter fell short once again, putting his UFC record at 1 win and 3 consecutive defeats; leaving a huge question mark over his immediate future.

Former Pride superstar, Takanori Gomi, recaptured some of his luster with a split decision victory over Mac Danzig while South Korea's Dong Hyun Kim dominated Brazil's Paulo Thiago in an impressive unanimous decision victory. The only submission of the night came in the only main event bout not to feature an Asia fighter, as Brazil's Thiago Silva defeated the Bulgarian Stanislav Nedkov via an arm-triangle choke at 1:45 of the third round. As a result, Silva picked up submission of the night honors and a check for 40,000 dollars.

While fans were getting value for money in terms of the length of contests on display, as seven of the evening's eight bouts had gone to a judges' decision, the crowd had not yet been treated to a knockout performance the likes of which has made the UFC famous around the world. However, they did not have to wait long, as main event fighter Cung Le took out Rich Franklin with a devastating right hand that has been touted as knockout of the year. As Franklin attempted to time Le's infamous kicks he seemed to lose concentration. As Franklin threw one of his own leg kicks, he found himself on the end of a pinpoint right hand which sent him crashing to the canvass. The referee immediately waved off the fight and handed Cung Le his second UFC victory, and arguably the most important victory of his career.

After his victory, Le told the audience in attendance, "We were ready for a five-round battle; you know I just caught him with a punch and that's what happened. I feel I represented all Aisan people, not just the Chinese, but everyone, all Asians around the world and I fought my heart out and I got a big win for the Asian people." Among the audience members at the Cotai Arena, movie stars Donnie Yen, Daniel Wu and Nicholas Tse were all in attendance. As for the figures, the attendance for the event stood at 8,415, which fell short of the 15,000 capacity. The paid gate stood at 1.3 million US dollars, which stands out as the second highest of those events within the UFC on Fuel TV series.

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