By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

The UFC once again is blazing a new trail for MMA. This time along with media giant FOX, the power couple launched a very MMA-centric channel called Fox Sports 1. The channels debut featured one of the UFC’s best cards of the year, headlined by Chael P. Sonnen vs. Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua. The packed TD Arena in Boston was shaking with the arrival of fan favorites Joe Lauzon and John Howard, how ever the biggest ‘pop’ of the night came when Conor McGregor made his entrance. The Irish featherweight displayed an extremely versatile striking attack early in the fight, however he injured his knee in the second round and needed to utilize his wrestling to secure the decision win over a very savvy Max Holloway.

The Co Main event was by far the biggest upset of the evening, as Travis ‘Hapo’ Browne came back from a vicious early body attack to knock out Alistair Overeem in the first round of their fight. Browne, was floored from an early knee to the gut, and withstood a relentless assault from Overeem that prompted the ref to warn Browne on several occasions that a stoppage was near. Browne, withstood the barrage and then channeled his inner Anderson Silva and kicked Overeem in the face. The blow floored Overeem, and a few Browne hammer fists erased all doubt.

For Browne, his name is now solidified on a short list of contenders for the title. Maybe a match up against Fabricio Werdum would solidify a #3 contender. Overeem’s future is much cloudier. After being viciously knocked out in his last two fights it may be time for him to take a long vacation from the sport. He is not the type of fighter to hang around on mid card status, so his time in the UFC may be coming to an end. Even if it is not, his brain has been rattled lately it might be in his best interest to take at least a year off!

Following the Browne upset, two legends took to the cage. Less than ten seconds into the fight, one of those legends had already imposed his will. Chael Sonnen was able to get across the cage, grab a hold of ‘Shogun’ Rua, and slam him to the mat in less than 10 seconds. ‘Shogun’ did his best to resist, stood up a few times, and then surprised everyone by taking Sonnen down! However, he wasnt able to hold him, and Sonnen was able to reverse position.

Sonnen blanketed the former champion, refusing to let him up. Utilizing his position, Sonnen was able to secure a guillotine choke at the end of the first round that forced Rua to tap. To ‘Shogun’s credit, he rolled and resisted as long as he could. Sonnen, as Joe Rogan pointed out several times has a deadly guillotine,

Like Overeem, these fighters are not really in any title pictures anymore. However unlike Overeem, neither one of these guys has ever appeared to be “done” fighting. For Sonnen, there is talk of a match between him and Wanderlei Silva. A fight that really has no implications, but its should be a fun fight to watch. For Rua, the loss extinguishes any hope of returning to title contention. He has been in a lot of wars, and I wouldn’t blame him if he did hang up the gloves, but I don’t think he will. Maybe a fight with Bisping would make sense.

Analysis of Debut on Fox Sports 1.1:

First the name sort of makes the numbering of events, well redundant, and unclear (For example this was titled UFC on Fox Sports 1.1). I don’t see how that wasn’t brought up already! Secondly, FOX needs to brand the UFC separately from the NFL. For example Kill the robot, and please destroy the NFL music. I’d rather hear the signature “Bring the Pain”. Also, keep Curt Menefee of the broadcasts. Watching him learn about the sport on the fly, hurts my feelings.

Other than those obvious ticks, I think the UFC and FOX hit a 3-run Triple with this swing. Overall exceeded expectations in my eyes. It is a very exciting time for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, which had been in a recession of late. Hopefully these free public displays will infuse life back into the sport that will trickle down to the regional levels. This way the sport continues to grow, and more importantly continues to feed itself!

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