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 UFC.com and Getty Images. I will try to add more images to the gallery when I get back to the states.
Just finished up my edit for the UFC 136 weigh in. As usual, covered for UFC and Getty Images. I’m a little fried from the long day, so I’ll get right to the good stuff. All fighters made weight, though a couple had to drop their drawers and utilize the towel. Chael Sonnen looked ripped. Gray Maynard looked confident, if even a bit cocky. Jose Aldo was all smiles, as usual.
Another day covering UFC for Getty Images. Today featured the UFC 136 open workouts for 8 of the feature fighters on the card. We also got our first peak at the layout for the UFC Fan Expo as the workouts were held in the Octagon inside the George R. Brown Convention Center.
As is typical for open workouts, the available light was minimal. So, I took the opportunity to use my off-camera wireless flash unit which I secured to the top of the cage with a GorillaPod. This made for a highly stylized look that I think turned out great. Not much interesting usually happens at these open workouts. Fighters typically don’t do anything strenuous two days out from their fight, so anything you can do to create your own drama helps.
Some members of the Houston Dynamo soccer club were in attendance and came in the Octagon for a publicity stunt that saw featherweight opponents Kenny Florian and Jose Aldo battling each other in a “kick off”. Both guys were high level soccer players prior to their fighting careers, so it proved interesting. Though UFC PR guru Dave Sholler declared it a draw, I scored it a clear victory for Florian.
Below is a small selection of my favorite shots from the day.
My first full day on the ground in Houston had me covering the UFC 136 pre-fight press conference for UFC and Getty Images. Even though it was an hour earlier than normal, it still wasn’t bad for me as the Toyota Center where the presser was hosted is across the street from my hotel. I love it when things work out like this, though it’s very rare.
Not much of note to report from the press conference. Chael Sonnen was rather somber and not talking much, if any, trash today. Quite a change for his usual presser behavior. Brian Stann was all class, as usual. Not much was asked of the four championship headliners on the dais – Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, Jose Aldo, and Kenny Florian. The pace was pretty fast and before we knew it the guys were facing off. Maynard got right up in Frankie’s face, but Frankie didn’t back down at all. That made for a couple good shots.
Here are a few of my favorite shots from the short shoot.