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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

UFC 295 review: A night of crowning historical champions from a beginner

At+the+end+of+a+night+of+surprises%2C+two+champions+were+given+the+honor+of+holding+the+belt.
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At the end of a night of surprises, two champions were given the honor of holding the belt.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever expected to be this invested in a sport, let alone one that is so brutal. If you don’t know what the UFC is, you aren’t alone–until a month ago I didn’t either. UFC, otherwise known as the Ultimate Fighting Championship, is a mixed martial arts competition where two opponents battle it out in an octagon ring. 

I’ve watched a few UFC matches, courtesy of my boyfriend. Once a month we, along with a group of friends, go to a local Greensboro theater on Saturday night to watch the pay-per-view fight of the month on the big screen. Each match is always exciting because there’s always an opportunity for an underdog to take the fight.

On Nov. 11, I found myself at this month’s pay-per-view with no real expectations. Since I’m new to the sport I know very few fighters to root for, but that doesn’t make watching people fight any less exciting. 

The UFC pay-per-view consists of five one-on-one fights, the first four are three rounds long, each lasting three minutes. The main event of the night can go up to five rounds, each round still lasts three minutes though. In the pay-per-view I watched that night, no fight lasted longer than two rounds and the longest fight lasted under 5 minutes, all of them ending via a knockout.

Though all the fights ended rather quickly this week, they weren’t boring by any means. However, I couldn’t help but crave a little more. This happens a lot after fight nights. I begin wondering more about the fighters and their previous matches. This is when my boyfriend taught me how significant these fights were for some of the divisions, specifically the co-main event and main event which were the heavyweight and light heavyweight respectively.  

I’ll start with the co-main event: Sergei Pavlovich versus Tom Aspinall. These two fighters are known in the ring for their ability to knock out their opponents in one shot.

Aspinall won this fight in a little over a minute, winning the Interim title for the division, that is, until the current champ Jon Jones decided to enter the ring. After winning, Aspinall dedicates the belt to his father in what may be the most heart-warming post-fight interview I’ve ever seen. From now on, I definitely plan on rooting for Tom Aspinall whenever he enters the ring.

The main event, featuring Jiří Procházka, a former light heavyweight champion who was forced to relinquish his belt after sitting a year out due to an injury, returned to fight for the title against UFC light heavyweight newcomer Alex Pereira, who was previously the champion of the middleweight division after just 9 battles in the arena. In my eyes, Pereira is a UFC prodigy in the making and I can’t wait to see what he does next. 

Pereira’s win was controversial due to an unclear and early knockout call by the referee. Still, Procházka, the former light heavyweight champion, did admit he was out and congratulated Pereira. Usually, when a knockout happens, the theater erupts in chaotic shouting and cheers. But for the first time, the theater was in awe with confused silence. Personally, I thought the call was clean even if Procházka had gotten to his feet by the point Pereira had the position advantage and had control over the fight.

At the beginning of this piece, I said that I could never imagine caring about a sport this much. Now, I finally figured out why I do. I appreciate the storytelling, in which we get an overview of their history, highlights and arena personality as each fighter walks out. We also get a brief interview with each fighter. This is what makes UFC easy to watch–you don’t have to go in knowing a lot about the sport or the fighter. In fact, these pre-fight walkouts are what makes me root for one fighter over the other. 

The other reason why I care about the sport is surprisingly the community. You aren’t expected to know every fighter the second you walk in–the fun part is watching. For me, a lot of sports are very complex. This sport, however, is a lot more straightforward. It’s fighting, which is not that hard to understand.

I have gotten to a point where I think I’m looking forward to UFC fights more than I expected and I have found myself actually remembering and rooting for fighters. For once, I find myself a part of a sports community and I couldn’t be happier about it. 

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