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

UFC Sweden Gustafsson v Silva Gallery

I’m current sitting in the SAS Business Lounge at Stockholm’s Arlanda International Airport getting ready to board my plane back to the United States. I’ve slept a total of two hours over the last 2 days, so hopefully I’ll be able to relax and sleep once I get on the plane.

Last night was a great night of fights. The arena was amazing. The crowd was awesome. The fighters all brought it and put on great performances. I was very impressed with the level of talent exhibited by the Scandinavian fighters on the card, who collectively amassed a 3-3 record on the night.

I don’t think anyone is surprised that Brad Pickett and Damacio Page put in a “Fight of the Night” performance. They both have a history of doing so. Pickett looked greatly improved from his last performance against Renan Barao. Page looked a bit jittery, perhaps from the long layoff, but still did a solid job.

In the main event, Stockholm’s Alexander Gustafsson thoroughly dominated Thiago Silva over the course of three rounds to score a unanimous decision. It was Gustafsson’s first career decision. It looked like the fight would be over before it even started when Gustafsson landed a barrage early in the first round that nearly put Silva out. However, the Brazilian hung on and battled back. There were moments when Silva landed some good shots, but he never had Gustafsson in any danger. The partisan crowd warmed up to Silva by the end and cheered on both men in the closing moments of the third round.

Below is a gallery of images from my take last night. You can also check out the full take on and Getty Images. I will try to add more images to the gallery when I get back to the states.

UFC on Fuel TV 2: Gustafsson v Silva – Images by Joshua Hedges