Surfers Paradise and UFC on FOX 5 Wrap Up

I write to you today from sunny, beautiful Australia. I’m in the Gold Coast (Surfers Paradise) for the finale for The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes on Saturday. I flew down here straight from Seattle following UFC on FOX 5 and went straight to work, so I haven’t had much time to work on a proper blog post.

I’ll spare you a long-winded writeup and just get to the good stuff. UFC on FOX 5 featured a great night of fights, which capped a fantastic week that I was able to share with my wife in Seattle. I covered the fights alongside longtime Getty staff photographer Ezra Shaw. Here’s my favorite shot from the night.

SEATTLE, WA – DECEMBER 08: (R-L) Matt Brown knocks out Mike Swick with a punch during their welterweight bout at the UFC on FOX event on December 8, 2012 at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

And here’s my full slideshow from the night.


UFC on FOX 5: Henderson v Diaz – Images by Joshua Hedges

Sunday morning, I left Seattle destined for Gold Coast, Australia. My itinerary saw me layover in San Francisco for about 5 hours, followed by a 12-hour flight to Auckland, New Zealand and another 3 hour layover there. I finally arrived in Gold Coast mid-morning Tuesday. Upon arriving at the hotel in Surfers Paradise, I was presented with some of the best working conditions a man could ask for.

SURFERS PARADISE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 11: A general view of Surfers Paradise as seen from the Hilton Hotel on December 11, 2012 in Surfers Paradise, Australia. (Photo by Josh Hedges)

While I haven’t had much time to venture out and see any sights, just the fact that I can wake up and open my blinds every morning to this view makes the workday seem so much easier.

On Wednesday, I spent the day shooting portraits of various fighters on the card. Nothing too exciting, though it was nice to see all the guys again who I worked with at the beginning of filming for TUF: The Smashes. Everyone is in great shape and excited to put on a great fight.

SURFERS PARADISE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 12: (L-R) Robert Whittaker and Norman Parke pose for a portraits ahead of their UFC on FX bouts on December 12, 2012 at the Hilton Hotel in Surfers Paradise, Australia. (Photos by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Thursday saw us drive out to Boonchu Muay Thai for the open workouts. The gym is owned by legendary Aussie fighter John Wayne Parr. It was a pleasant surprise when the man himself greeted us upon arrival and welcomed us into his gym. It’s a very small gym in a warehouse complex, but it worked out great. 8 fighters from the card worked out in some form or another. Some only shadow boxing, others a little more intense. Here is a slideshow of shots from the workouts.


UFC on FX 6 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges

And today saw the fighters all hit the scale for the official weigh in ahead of tomorrow’s fights. All fighters made weigh on their first try and there were no big surprises. TUF Smashes Coaches Ross Pearson and George Sotiropoulos capped off the weigh in with a heated staredown. Below is the slideshow of images from the weigh in.


UFC on FX 6 Weigh In – Images by Joshua Hedges

CarrySpeed Camera Straps Review

I was recently turned on to CarrySpeed straps by a recommendation from photographer Gary Fong. For several years, I have religiously used BlackRapid straps for all my assignments, and for the most part, have been happy with their performance. Sure, there have been some nuances here and there, but overall they served their purpose. I turned a number of people on to BlackRapid, though I had no agreement or compensation to do so. I just liked their stuff. Now that those straps are getting old and worn out, I’m in the market for a new set of straps. I thought before buying more straps from BlackRapid, I would see what else is on the market before investing more money in gear.

I will make the same declaration here before I start getting into the meat of the review. CarrySpeed has not compensated me in any way, and I have no agreement or deal with them. I bought these straps with my own cash to try out, and I feel obligated to give an honest review.

After careful consideration, I decided to order the FS-PRO camera sling strap, as well as the CS-Double 2-camera strap system. I also purchased a handful of various mounting plates and adapters for all my different bodies and lenses.

The customer service from the start was quite pleasant. I placed my order on a Wednesday before my trip to China. I wasn’t sure if they would arrive in time, but had hoped for the best. I was very surprised when they arrived the next day. I unpacked everything right away and familiarized myself with all the pieces and assembly. CarrySpeed pays close attention to the small details. The straps were packed neatly, with all pieces wrapped and labeled individually; along with a complete and detailed instruction set for assembly and operation. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the unboxing. Frankly, I was too excited to get them out and use them.

Setup took just a minute or two, and then I was able to attach the cameras and begin adjusting the straps. The construction is very high quality. They are very comfortable on the shoulders, especially the double strap. There is quite a bit more padding than other straps on the market, and they are very beefy and secure. Additionally, the FS-Pro has a non-slip material on the underside of the strap that really does a good job of keeping the strap in place.

One simple piece that I’m really happy with is the strap lock that you use to set the position of the camera when it hangs to your side. On other straps that I’ve used, this lock was weak and would often come unsnapped so the camera would just slide all around and pull the strap forward or backward off your shoulder. In fact, on all my BlackRapid straps, I gaff taped all the strap locks to stop them from coming undone. There is no fear of that on the CarrySpeed straps. Their locks are much stronger and stay put when you lock them. They hold so well that they take quite a bit of force to get them unlocked if you need to move them. That’s a good thing. This is one of those things that you’re going to set it once and not want to mess with it again.

All the straps have double stitching, and the quick release buckles have an extra locking mechanism as a failsafe for the straps. The fact that the straps are detachable is a wonderful feature in itself, and the extra locking mechanisms to prevent them from accidentally becoming unhooked are a great extra bonus.

The triple locking quick-release buckles are very secure.

Installation of the various ballhead attachment points is straightforward and easy. They’ve made all the slots in the screws wide enough for any coin to fit in, so you don’t have to go hunting for a screwdriver to make adjustments or install/uninstall them. Of course, I’m more likely to have my leatherman on me than a coin these days, but that works just as well.

There are various different types of attachments to mount on the bottom of your cameras and lenses, and all have their benefits depending on the situation and how much money you’re willing to invest.

(L-R) The F-1 foldable mounting plate, the D1 stainless wide platform ballhead nut, and the C-3 mounting plate with ball head lock nut.

I elected to install the offset folding camera plate on the bottom of both my Canon 1Dx bodies, and the standard offset plate on the bottom of my 70-200mm lens. The folding post is a brilliant feature. I really love the flexibility of that plate, and I like the creative thinking of the designers who came up with the idea.

A big advantage CarrySpeed offers over many of the other strap makers in this class is the offset mounting points on the plates. This allows you to leave the plate mounted to the camera or lens when you want to attach it to a tripod, monopod, floor plate, or anything else using the 1/4-20 mounting screw. For me personally, this isn’t a huge advantage, but I do use a tripod from time-to-time. For others who use a tripod more often, this will be a welcome feature to improve efficiency.

The F-1 foldable mounting plate mounted to the bottom of my Canon EOS-1Dx.
The C-3 mounting plate mounted to my Canon 70-200mm lens.

The camera plates do present one challenge for me, though. The cameras don’t fit into my ThinkTank bags quite the same as normal now with the mounting plates attached. I could always take the plates off every time I pack the cameras, but that becomes tedious after a while, and sometimes you just don’t have the time to fiddle with it. Luckily, I was able to adjust the dividers a bit and flip the camera position to fit comfortably, and thus far it has worked just fine.

My two 1Dx bodies with F-1 mounting plates attached, resting in their places inside the ThinkTank Airport International v2.

One note on the installation of the folding offset plate. At first, it might seem like the proper way to install the folding plate is with the ball joint folding towards the back of the camera body. This is not correct though and will create some issues for you if you try it. I wanted to try it both ways and see what was more comfortable. I can’t see a reason you would ever need to turn it around facing the rear of the camera. Just point it forward like the photos illustrate in the instructions and on their website.

The F-1 foldable mounting plate mounted both ways on a Canon EOS-1Dx.

Now, the folding plate is a bit bulky and is a little awkward to hold when shooting vertically. Not a huge issue for me, it just takes a little getting used to. I have big hands, so perhaps it could be more of an issue for people with smaller hands.

The Ball joint locking mechanism itself is very secure and I feel much more comfortable letting the camera drop during a quick change. However, the ball joint presents a few challenges – 1) there is not a lot of side-to-side play in the ball joint, which is good because it prevents the metal pieces from contacting the camera or lens and scratching them, but it also is a bit awkward feeling at first. After a bit of use, I got used to the new feeling pretty quick; 2) connecting and disconnecting the ball joint is tough to do quickly, if you don’t plan to remove the cameras at all then it’s fine, but I find myself throughout an assignment removing my cameras and re-installing them from time-to-time. After a few hours, I was able to get it down pretty good. It would be nice, though, if there were some soft of quick connect/disconnect mechanism.

The ball joint mechanism is very strong and secure.

The two straps come with an additional support strap for telephoto lenses. I personally won’t use this a lot for my own assignments, but I could see if being a nice feature for someone taking strolling through a park or zoo taking scenic pictures with a longer lens. Nonetheless, it’s another creative thinking solution by the design team, and it comes free with the straps.

My only real complaint about the straps is the length. Being tall, my biggest complaint with all camera straps of this style has been that they are not long enough to hold the cameras at a comfortable position on my hips. I would like to see the straps be 4-6 inches longer with the ability to cinch up some slack. This is more an issue with the single strap, but would also be nice to have the length a little longer on the double straps, as well. Perhaps maybe an option to have custom straps made would be a possibility, or even just an extra strap spacer that could be clipped into the triple-locking release buckles. I would gladly pay a few bucks extra for this.

I was able to put these straps through their paces for a week in China covering the UFC Macao event. All in all, I am very happy with the CarrySpeed straps and would gladly recommend them to anyone in the market for this type of strap. I will be keeping my eye on them for future products, enhancements, and improvements; and I will definitely be purchasing more equipment from them.

For more information on CarrySpeed straps, check out their website at www.CarrySpeed.com.

My Trip to China

I sit here on another overnight plane, headed to the east coast. As I look back on the week past, I can’t believe where I’ve been and what I’ve been apart of. Last week, I covered the first ever UFC event in China from the Venetian Resort in Macau.

I flew into Honk Kong on Monday night, which is now the longest flight I have ever been on – 14 ½ hours from San Francisco to Hong Kong, in economy class, no less. I joke, it’s not all bad. I got comfortable tucked into my window seat with my laptop and a pile of TV shows to get caught up on. Of course, I would have preferred if my upgrade cleared, but I also knew it wasn’t very likely. The flight surprisingly went by quick, even though I slept very little.

Once on the ground in Hong Kong, I met my greeter and was whisked away to immigration and baggage claim. The immigration process in Hong Kong was one of the easiest I’ve experienced over the years. Before I knew it, I was in the back of a very nice Mercedes on the way to my hotel. I checked in at the Marco Polo Hotel in Kowloon and ordered room service before crashing.

Tuesday morning, I had a meeting at the Harbour City Mall, which conveniently was attached to the hotel. I headed over an hour early and walked around the mall, hoping to find some good deals. Sadly though, it was full of stores much higher end than my budget or preferences called for. We took a look at the space where the press conference and workouts would be held on Wednesday. It was a nice open area near the sports stores. It was originally designed to be a basketball court for kids to play on, so it was quite spacious.

After the meetings, I got my first experience on the TurboJet ferry across to Macau. The ferry terminal was about a 4-5 block walk from the mall/hotel, which isn’t as fun as its sounds when carrying all your luggage. With some help of my co-workers, I made it just fine. Ferry tickets are about $150 HKD, which is about $20 US. The ferry trip is about an hour across the South China Sea to Macau. From there, it’s another 20 minutes in the cab to the Venetian. I checked in at the Venetian and drug all my gear upstairs. The rooms there are quite similar to the Venetian in Vegas if you’ve ever stayed there. If you have, well, let’s just say they’re nice. Venetian is known for being an all suites hotel, and they are true suites, not just the holiday inn style. After a quick burger at McSorley’s Irish Pub, it was off to bed for the night.

Up and at it the next morning, I was headed back on the ferry to Honk Kong for the press conference and open workouts. The idea of doing them on the same day, in the same location, was brilliant. Let’s hope that trend continues.

The press conference kicked things off with just 4 fighters on the dais – main eventers Rich Franklin and Cung Le; Chinese fighter Tiequan Zhang; and Korean fighter Dong Hyun Kim. There was a solid turnout of media in attendance, though the press conference only lasted about 25-30 minutes. The new Octagon girls were in attendance – Jessica Cambensy and Ye-Bin Kang. There were a number of photo ops with and without the girls after the press conference concluded. Once all that was out of the way, they simply moved the tables and podium and laid down mats on the stage for the “demonstration” part of the day. This was just a normal open workout, with the added bonus of Urijah Faber providing commentary and explaining techniques to the media. Only Rich Franklin and Cung Le worked out, and only for about 10 minutes apiece. After that, there were some more photo ops. The day rounded out with Urijah Faber and Chuck Liddell teaching a couple techniques to some kids from a local outreach program in Hong Kong.

HONG KONG – NOVEMBER 07: Cung Le works out for media and fans during a UFC open workout session at Harbour City Mall on November 7, 2012 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

After that crazy long day, we boarded the ferry back to Macao. I was able to get all my edits done on the boat in transit and uploaded everything quickly when I returned to my room.

Thursday was now a much easier day, having done both the press conference and open workouts already. I only had to shoot portraits of 4 fighters, and then do some more editing. The portrait setup was a little simpler than I would have liked, but when you’re traveling internationally, you can only bring so much with you. I was able to source some light stands and a backdrop in Hong Kong, so I only had to travel with four Canon 600EX-RT speedlites and my various Honl Photo softboxes. If I haven’t mentioned these before, let me just tell you David Honl puts out an amazing group of products. His speed strap system is the easiest and most portable light modification system I have ever used. Check out their full range of gear at HonlPhoto.com.

The fighters all showed up right on time, and for the most part were very cooperative. I noticed that Hyun Gyu Lim was a little less attentive than the other guys and he was refusing to remove his sunglasses for the photos. After finally convincing him to remove the glasses, I noticed his eyes were a little more sunk in that usual. He definitely looked to be struggling with the weight cut. I had visions of the last time I shot Anthony Johnson, when he came in 6 pounds overweight. But, we still had 32 hours until the weigh in, so I was confident Lim would make the weight.

I was met with a surprise the next morning when I woke to find the Lim v Mitchell fight had been cancelled after Lim apparently passed out in the sauna cutting weight and had to be sent to the hospital. The weigh ins were scheduled for 6pm, two hours later than normal. And with no Q&A session or anything before, I had a free day to get caught up on emails and have a nice lunch. I headed down to the arena around 4:00 pm to get setup and scope out spots to shoot from. The setup rarely changes for a UFC weigh in, so I typically end up shooting from the same spot every time. I just have to make sure I get there relatively early before anyone else steals my prime real estate.

Aside from two guys having to strip down butt naked and weigh in behind the towel, the event went off without a hitch. Everyone was on weight, despite several fighters complaining about the jet lag from the long travel and time difference from America. I think most agreed though that it was worth the extra bit of suffering to go through this experience.

Fight day finally arrived, and I was anxious for it to begin. I had been having trouble sleeping off and on all week, but on fight day I awoke just after 3:00 am. I tried to take naps throughout the day, but didn’t have much luck. The first bout didn’t start until 8:45 pm, so it was a little tough finding stuff to occupy myself in the meantime. I ended up arriving at the arena around 5:00 pm, hoping to have an internet connection to be able to get some work done. Unfortunately, the communications department took quite a while to run my internet line and I was left twiddling my thumbs for quite a while. I sat through rehearsals a few times and watched as some of the fighters started showing up to warm up inside the Octagon.

It was finally time for the first bout, and that opening scrap was a fun one. Riki Fukuda battled Tom DeBlass to a decision victory. DeBlass looked much better at middleweight and gave Fukuda all he could handle; though it was pretty clear Fukuda did enough to get the nod. The crowd was filling up quickly and was very enthused.

MACAU, MACAU – NOVEMBER 10: (L-R) Riki Fukuda and Tom DeBlass trade punches during their middleweight bout at the UFC Macao event inside CotaiArena on November 10, 2012 in Macau, Macau. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The flyweight bout between John Lineker and Yasuhiro Urushitani was a barn burner. Lineker had Urushitani hurt a few different times throughout the bout, but could not put him away. Both guys are very fun to watch and this was one I thought would contend for fight of the night. Lineker took a unanimous decision victory.

The next few fights were decent, but nothing really stood out to me. The Danzig/Gomi fight was very close and could have gone either way. In the end, I felt Gomi did enough to get the decision, though Mac Danzig definitely disagreed.

The crowd went crazy for the Chinese fighter, Tiequan Zhang, as he battled newcomer John Tuck. You may remember Tuck from his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter Live when he gave Al Iaquinta all he could handle in the elimination fights, suffering a badly dislocated toe in the process. While Zhang had moments where he looked to be making a stand, Tuck was in control for most of the fight and looked quite comfortable despite making his UFC debut in the home country of his opponent. I had high expectations for Tuck, and was very impressed with his performance.

MACAU, MACAU – NOVEMBER 10: (L-R) Jon Tuck punches Tiequan Zhang during their lightweight bout at the UFC Macao event inside CotaiArena on November 10, 2012 in Macau, Macau. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The fight that stole the show was Thiago Silva taking on Stanislav Nedkov in the co-main event. Nedkov came out firing early and was battering Silva. He would come in with 3-4 punches then go for a takedown, and then they’d separate and repeat again. Nedkov appeared to be in control of the first two rounds, having dropped Silva towards the end of the second round with a big right hand. But Silva managed to survive as Nedkov used a lot of energy trying to finish him. In the third round, Nedkov came out looking noticeably exhausted. Silva started teeing off on him right away with leg kicks, and then following up with overhand rights. At one point, turned his head and walked away, then looked at the referee like he wanted to quit. Silva rushed him quickly, took him to the ground, and quickly secured the arm triangle submission. Great performance by both guys. I was very surprised to see Nedkov tire. I’d really like to see him at 185. His frame is too small to compete against the big guys at 205.

It was finally time for the main event. Vietnam born Cung Le was to take on USA’s Rich Franklin in his return to 185 pounds after several years fighting at 205 and 195. The fight did not go at all as I thought it would. Rich came out throwing his usual kicks to the legs and body with a few straight lefts mixed in that didn’t do a lot of damage. Then, all the sudden, Le landed a right hook and the fight was over. I didn’t even know I caught the punch until about 15 minutes later when I loaded the card up to start downloading. It all happened so fast, everyone was in a bit of shock. Cung was jumping around the Octagon like he just won the title, and later he stated it was just a lucky punch. I understand he’s just being humble, but there was no luck in that. He timed it and placed it just right. It was a fitting end to another great event.

MACAU, MACAU – NOVEMBER 10: (L-R) Cung Le knocks out Rich Franklin with a punch during their middleweight bout at the UFC Macao event inside CotaiArena on November 10, 2012 in Macau, Macau. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

So now, it’s on to the next one. As I write this, I’m en route to Montreal for UFC 154. But before that, please check out my gallery of shots from UFC Macao: Franklin v Le.


UFC Macao: Franklin v Le – 11-10-2012 – Images by Joshua Hedges

Back in the states

I had hoped to have more time to write while in Rio, but unfortunately I was up late working every night. Between the slow internet and horrible traffic, everything in Rio takes much longer. So, I’ll spare you all the boring details of the presser and weigh in, and move on straight to fight day.

I set out on my journey back to HSBC Arena in the early afternoon on Saturday. We weren’t three blocks from the hotel when our crazy van driver slammed into another car from behind. Of course, it was all the other driver’s fault. He had stopped at a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross. But, in Rio, things like crosswalks, lane dividers, stop signs, and red lights are merely suggestions that are often ignored. When our driver finally let up on the horn and began driving again, we passed the car and realized who it was – former Strikeforce middleweight champ Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. He had a few choice words and fingers for our driver as we sped past. Fortunately after that, we made it to the arena without further incident.

Because of the unpredictable traffic situation, I arrived at the arena far earlier than I needed to be there, nearly four hours before the first fight. It gave me a chance to test out the internet, clean and prep all my cameras and lenses, and prepare all my templates for the night. After that was done, I still had a good chunk of time before the fights started, so I went to walk outside and take some pictures of the arena and fans lined up. Of course, just as I made it out to the front of the arena, it started raining and I scurried back inside to sit and wait for the fights to start.

The opening bout between Reza Madadi and Cristiano Marcello got the fans going and helped set the tone for the night. It was a back and forth fight with both guys swinging wildly. It seemed to me that Madadi was getting the better of the exchanges, and Marcello’s swollen face tended to agree with me. I was a little surprised when Marcello was awarded the decision. The crowd was happy though and Madadi didn’t put up much of a protest, so I guess it wasn’t too bad of a decision.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 13: (R-L) Reza Madadi punches Cristiano Marcello during their lightweight fight at UFC 153 inside HSBC Arena on October 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The rest of the preliminary fights had some great wars. I was thoroughly impressed with Rony “Jason”, who may just have supplanted Akiyama for the title of best walk-in song. “Jason” landed several nice flying knees and really battered Sam Sicilia, who was one of my favorite fighters to come from TUF Live. Francisco Trinaldo took it to Gleison Tibau and I thought he was going to get the victory. In the end, Tibau scored the decision, but even he looked a little surprised when his hand was raised. Trinaldo had him in all sorts of trouble, which I don’t recall seeing Tibau in since his first UFC fight against Nick Diaz.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Rony “Jason” Mariano Bezerra punches Sam Sicilia during their featherweight fight at UFC 153 inside HSBC Arena on October 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The whole night was kind of a blur to me. We had no breaks between fights, so I was hurrying to download and edit whatever I could. I didn’t finally transmit my first images until just before the start of the main card. It’s never easy to shoot and edit your own stuff as the fights are happening, but I tried to make the best of the situation and I think in the end I did a pretty good job given the circumstances.

Demian Maia kicked off the main card with a very quick submission of tough wrestler Rick Story. That was by far Maia’s best performance in the Octagon. He is a whole different animal at 170 pounds, and I think a real contender for the title.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 13: (R-L) Demian Maia secures a rear choke submission against Rick Story during their welterweight fight at UFC 153 inside HSBC Arena on October 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The rematch with Phil Davis and Wagner Prado followed. The two fought earlier this year in a bout that ended in a no-contest after Prado suffered and accidental eye-poke and couldn’t continue. The fight was a little slow in the first two rounds, and Davis appeared to be ahead going into the third. Prado started pushing the pace a little more and ended up getting caught in an arm triangle choke. He escaped that, but then quickly found himself in an anaconda choke that he couldn’t get out of.

Next up was what I hoped would be fight of the night, and that turned out to be correct. Erick Silva took a big step up in competition when he stepped in the Octagon with Jon Fitch. Silva came out swinging and Fitch absorbed a couple big shots before getting in close and scoring a takedown. But he really wasn’t able to do much with the first takedown. Silva got back to his feet and was noticeably a little more tentative, but still attempting some of his flashy kicks and knees.

In the second, Silva had Fitch is a very dangerous position with a rear naked choke all but sunk in. I’m still not sure how Fitch was able to power out of it because the elbow was under the chin and Silva had a good grip. Next thing you know, Fitch is on top and going for an arm bar of his own. This all happened just below me, which made for some great pictures.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Jon Fitch attempts to secure an arm bar submission against Erick Silva during their welterweight fight at UFC 153 inside HSBC Arena on October 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Fitch came out in the third with a mission to finish the fight. He got Silva down and quickly moved to mount. He alternated between mount and back mount through most of the round, landing heavy punches throughout. Silva escaped just at the end of the round, but the effort proved too little too late. Fitch scored the victory in one of his most impressive performances to date.

Next up was long-time hardcore favorite Glover Teixeira taking on a late replacing, but always game Fabio Maldonado. Teixeira blasted Maldonado right away and wobbled him standing. Something we really haven’t seen happen to Maldonado, who always brags about his granite chin. This allowed Teixeira to score a takedown and quickly move to mount where he punched and elbowed Maldonado for several minutes. How the fight was not stopped, I’m not sure. Near the end of the round, Maldonado managed to escape after Teixeira tired of punching. Maldonado landed a shot that stunned Teixeira momentarily, but wasn’t able to capitalize.

Between rounds, the doctor checked on Maldonado and allowed him to continue. His face was bleeding and badly swollen, but he came out swinging in the second. He was able to land a few more shots early in the round, but eventually Teixeira stormed back with some nice power shots standing that seemed to have Maldonado on the ropes. He continued to batter Maldonado throughout the second. Near the end of the round, time was called and the doctor again checked on Maldonado. Fabio pleaded his case and the doctor allowed him to continue. He survived the round, but the doctor finally stopped the fight between the second and third rounds. Teixeira was actually pretty upset with himself after the fight because he said Chuck Liddell told him to knock the guy out and he was not able to do so. Still, a very impressive performance by Glover Teixeira.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Glover Teixeira punches Fabio Maldonado during their light heavyweight fight at UFC 153 inside HSBC Arena on October 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The co-main event featured Brazilian legend Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira against Dave Herman. The beef going into this fight stemmed from Herman saying that jiu-jitsu does not work. After battering and dropping Herman with punches, Minotauro proved jiu-jitsu does in fact work when he made Herman scream in pain from an arm bar submission.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 13: (R-L) Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogeuira defeats Dave Herman with an arm bar submission during their heavyweight fight at UFC 153 inside HSBC Arena on October 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The night was capped by a masterful performance from the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter – Anderson Silva. He was taking on Stephan Bonnar in a light heavyweight, non-title affair. The match was thrown together quickly to save the event after both the main event and co-main event fell off due to injuries. For the first couple minutes of the fight, Silva purposely put his back against the cage and let Bonnar tee-off on him. Bonnar landed some very impressive shots and I was really surprised none of them were able to hurt Silva. After all, Chael Sonnen was able to hurt Silva in their first fight, and Bonnar appeared to be landing much harder shots. And then, as if he flipped a switch, Anderson Silva decided to finish the fight and it was over. A knee to the chest followed by a few punches on the ground and that was all she wrote. The crowd went nuts as Silva sat in his corner looking over at Bonnar. The referee asked Silva to come to the center for his hand to be raised, but Silva refused until he knew Bonnar was OK. That sums up the man that is Anderson Silva. He will knee you until you can’t continue, then feel compassion for you immediately after.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 13: (R-L) Stephan Bonnar punches Anderson Silva during their light heavyweight fight at UFC 153 inside HSBC Arena on October 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Anderson Silva punches Stephan Bonnar during their light heavyweight fight at UFC 153 inside HSBC Arena on October 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 13: Anderson Silva reacts after his TKO victory over Stephan Bonnar during their light heavyweight fight at UFC 153 inside HSBC Arena on October 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 13: Anderson Silva sits in his corner after his TKO victory over Stephan Bonnar during their light heavyweight fight at UFC 153 inside HSBC Arena on October 13, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Below is a full slideshow in chronological order from the night. I encourage you to also check out my site, as well as the full take on Getty Images and UFC.com.


UFC 153: Silva v Bonnar – Images by Joshua Hedges

Bom Dia, do Rio de Janeiro

This morning is the first chance I’ve had to collect my thoughts and write a proper blog. I arrived in Rio de Janeiro for my UFC 153 coverage two days ago on Tuesday morning. The first event on the schedule was yesterday’s open workouts which were held at the Arcos da Lapa in the center of the city.

The trip was expected to take a little under an hour by bus from our hotel at Barra Beach. Thanks to some late attendees, we actually departed about 45 minutes late from the hotel, so I didn’t expect much setup time once I got there. The drive ended up taking about an hour and ten minutes. The traffic in Rio is always horrible, so there is no easy way to plan for journeys in the city.

Once we arrived at the venue, we quickly unloaded and found a spot to store all our gear while we waited for fighters to show up. The setup was pretty much the same as all our previous UFC events down here. Outdoors with the mats up on a stage, cooking in the hot sun. The temperature outside just before noon was a nice 36 degrees Celsius (about 97 F). Yes, it’s the beginning of summer down here in the southern hemisphere.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 10: A general view of the venue before an open training session ahead of UFC 153 at Arcos da Lapa: Praca Cardeal Camara on October 10, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The biggest issue we’ve had in the past with doing the workouts outside is the heat of the mats. They have tried a number of solutions, but all have failed. However, this time, the workers were certain they had solved the problem. I couldn’t believe it when they removed the towels from the top of the mats covering a layer of ice that had been spread over the mats. Just before the first fighter was to work out, the workers scraped off the ice and did their best to dry the mats. Of course, as soon as the mats were cleared, the sun started baking them again and they were incredibly hot by the time the workout started. I’ve told them since the first time they’ve tried this that there is no good solution, aside from having the workouts indoors, which of course they do not want to do. So, the only other option is for the fighters to wear their shoes when working out.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 10: Workers spread ice to cool the mats before the UFC 153 open workouts at Arcos da Lapa: Praca Cardeal Camara on October 10, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The first two fighters to workout were Dave Herman and Stephan Bonnar. Both put on very abbreviated training sessions due to the heat. Once the Brazilians started showing up, the fans were treated to a little more effort on the mats. Workers struggled between sessions to try to cool down the mats, but their futile efforts served no real purpose. The afternoon sun was cooking the mats and there was very little shade to be found anywhere. To make matters worse, the tent where we had stored our gear was taken over by the band Linkin Park and their security would not allow us inside. So, I spent the majority of the nearly five hours standing outside in the sun with two increasingly heavy cameras hanging off my shoulders.

All the suffering paid off at the end of the day when Anderson Silva showed up. The light was beautiful and the champ put on a great workout, hitting pads and lightly sparring. The fans showed great appreciation. One fan in particular was brought on stage by Anderson’s team and treated with a personal meeting, photo, and an autograph. She was overcome with emotion. So, when it was all said and done, it was a pretty good day. I still wish there was a better solution than standing outside baking for five hours.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 10: Anderson Silva works out for fans and media during an open training session ahead of UFC 153 at Arcos da Lapa: Praca Cardeal Camara on October 10, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Below is a slideshow of my shots from the afternoon. You can also see the full take on Getty Images, as well as UFC.com. Stay tuned for more updates from Rio.


UFC 153 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC 152 Weigh In

Today saw the official UFC 152 weigh in taking place at the old Maple Leaf Gardens here in Toronto. Was cool to be inside such a historic building, though I was kind of bummed they have completely gutted it and rebuilt it inside to a modern university sports facility. Still cool though, and not just because we were sitting on the ice.

All fighters made weight, thought it took Charles Oliveira some extra time to come in under the limit. The remotes worked out well. I can only imagine how cool it would have looked had we been in a huge, packed arena. Stage left camera was a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV with a EF 16-35mm 2.8L lens set at ISO 2000, 1/400, f4; stage right remote camera was a Canon EOS 1Dx with a EF 14mm 2.8L II USM lens set at ISO 3200, 1/400, f5. Most of the images in the slide show are cropped in quite a bit to lose some of the clutter and dead space.

Huge thanks to my friend Ed Mulholland for lending me his EF 300mm 2.8L IS to shoot the front shots on the scale. I originally planned to use the 70-200mm from the floor up front, but decided last minute to move to the camera platform in the back for a less extreme angle. The 300mm/1Dx combo worked out perfect for the distance.

Also, another thank you (not!) to the commissioner who knowingly refused to get out of the shot after each guy weighed in, even after he was asked to move. Really frustrating when that happens, but what can you do?

Here is a slideshow of shots from the afternoon.


UFC 152 Weigh In – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC 152 fight week

Greetings from Toronto, Canada. I won’t bore you with all the details of my exhausting week up here thus far. I’ll be covering UFC 152 on Saturday for UFC and Getty Images, and have been here since Tuesday night covering all the events leading up to the fight. Below are a couple slideshows from Wednesday’s open workouts and Thursday’s press conference.

I’ll be doing a bunch of new remotes for today’s weigh in, so stay tuned for those shots later tonight.


UFC 152 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges


UFC 152 Press Conference – Images by Joshua Hedges

Boxing: Canelo Alvarez v Josesito Lopez

Last night, I covered the Showtime boxing card dubbed “Knockout Kings” for Getty Images. The main event featured championship bout between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Josesito Lopez. Also on the undercard were three other title fights. I had the pleasure again of working with my good friend Nick Laham, and that proved to be a huge help as he has shot a number of boxing events in his career, so I was able to ask him a number of questions throughout the day and night. Plus, it’s just always nice to be working with people you know rather than being the new kid on the block.

We showed up about an hour before the first bout to find our positions and get setup. One aspect about boxing that is drastically different than UFC is the lack of importance of the undercard fights. I felt really bad for the guys in the first few bouts. There were less than 50 people in the arena for the first couple of bouts, and most of those were the commissioners, production staff, and a handful of media.

The main card broadcast started at 6:00 pm, leading off with a war between IBF Bantamweight Champion Leo Santa Cruz and former title holder Eric Morel. Santa Cruz punished Morel to the body from the onset and as the fight drew on it allowed him to put together more combinations to the head. Morel’s corner eventually stopped the fight after the fifth round.

Up next was another war between Marcos Maidana and Jesus Soto Karass for the vacant WBA intercontinental welterweight title. This fight had a little bit of everything. Both guys had points deducted for unsportsmanlike conduct after hitting and shoving on the break numerous times. Maidana later had another point taken for a second offense. Both guys were moving forward and throwing heavy leather. It looked like Karass was wearing down Maidana around the fifth or sixth round, but then Maidana mounted a comeback scoring a knockdown in the seventh round and then later finishing off Karass with a TKO in the eighth.

In the last bout before the main event, WBC featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez dropped his belt to Daniel Ponce De Leon after suffering a cut from an accidental headbutt in the eighth round. By rule, the round is scored and then a decision is declared. Ponce De Leon was ahead on all judges scorecards and was awarded the unanimous technical decision victory.

The arena had finally filled in time for the main event. Mexico’s next big star, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez was making the fifth defense of his WBC super welterweight title against Josesito Lopez. The much lighter Lopez was at a disadvantage from the start as it was obvious the size difference would be a decisive factor. Lopez showed glimpses of success, but in the end would succumb to the attack of Alvarez. After seeing Lopez knocked down in rounds 2, 3, and 4, referee Joe Cortez halted the bout in the bout in the fifth as Alvarez was landing punishing shots against the ropes. I think Lopez definitely did better than a lot of people expected and he has a bright future, but at a lighter weight.

For anyone curious about camera settings, I shot most of the night using the following settings: ISO 4000, 1/1250s, f3.2. Most were shot with the EF 24-70 2.8L, though a few were using the 70-200mm 2.8L II and the 16-35mm 2.8L. All of course on Canon EOS-1Dx bodies.

Here is a slideshow of my shots from the entire night. You can also view the full take at GettyImages.com.


Boxing: Canelo Alvarez v Josesito Lopez – Images by Joshua Hedges