UFC 146: Dos Santos v Mir Gallery

I spent the better part of the day and night Saturday at MGM Grand shooting UFC 146: Dos Santos v Mir for UFC and Getty Images. There was a lot of hype behind this historic card, being the first time in the modern UFC era that a main card had consisted entirely of heavyweights. And when it was all said and done, the card lived up to the hype, and then some.

Despite the emphasis in marketing the heavyweight fights on the card, there were several really good undercard fights, as well. Longtime UFC hopeful Glover Teixeira made his debut, putting away Kyle Kingsbury very quickly in dominating fashion. Paul Sass pulled out yet another triangle choke submission against Jacob Volkmann. Late replacement Jamie Varner finished the previously unbeaten Edson Barboza.

The main card kicked off with the tallest fighter in the UFC, Stefan Struve, jumping guard on two-time KO of the Night winner Lavar Johnson and quickly arm barring him. This earned Struve another Submission of the Night bonus and pushed him another step up the ladder in the heavyweight division. Next up was a battle of two unbeatens, as 8-0 Stipe Miocic battled 11-0 Shane Del Rosario. Del Rosario looked good in the early goings, landing a lot of kicks. The first time Octagon jitters didn’t seem to bother him. As the fight drew on, though, Miocic began to land strikes of his own before getting the fight to the ground where he ended it with some brutal elbows.

In the third heavyweight feature bout, Roy “Big Country” Nelson made quick work of Dave Herman with a brutal overhand right, sending Herman crashing to the canvas and earning Nelson another Knockout of the Night bonus. That bout was followed up by Cain Velasquez quickly TKO’ing Antonio “Big Foot” Silva in one of the bloodiest fights I’ve ever witnessed. Cain split “Big Foot” open early in round one and jumped on him like a lion on a gazelle. Referee Josh Rosenthal finally halted the bout a couple minutes later after “Big Foot” could not see through all the blood.

Finally, the main event saw Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos trying to do what previous champion Cain Velasquez was not able to do, successfully defend his title. Dos Santos’ original opponent, Alistair Overeem was removed from the card after a pre-fight drug screening denied him a license for the fight. Frank Mir stepped in on about 6 weeks notice to take the fight, and looked to pose an interesting challenge to the champion. As the fight unfolded though, the champ took control. A barrage at the end of the first round nearly ended the fight, but it would come just a couple minutes later in the second round when Dos Santos floored Mir with a straight right and followed up with some crashing hammer fists on the ground. The champ scored another highlight reel KO, and I nailed the shot!

I had a great time shooting the fights again and catching up with friends and colleagues, including Donald Miralle, Rod Mar, James Law, Esther Lin, and Paul Thatcher. I encourage you to check out their shots from the night, as well.

Below is my selection of shots from the night. As always, check them out on Getty Images and UFC.com.

UFC 146: Dos Santos v Mir – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida – Gallery

Greetings from not-so-sunny San Diego. I arrived earlier today to cover the Strikeforce event this weekend for Getty Images. And, while I was supposed to be relaxing, I decided to take the time to post the gallery for UFC 140 to my website. I served as second shooter and editor in Toronto, so I was only able to shoot 6 or 7 of the fights, but I was happy with what I did. The Walel Watson vs. Yves Jabouin fight was very fun to watch and shoot, though I thought Watson should have been declared the winner.

As for the three main fights, all three winners were as I expected, but none in the manner I expected. Tito Ortiz was decimated by “Little Nog” Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, ultimately being stopped by punches and elbows on the ground in the first round. “Big Nog” Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was well on his way to a TKO victory over Frank Mir in their rematch when suddenly he decided to stop punching and go for a submission. Mir quickly reversed, secured a submission of his own, and took Nogueira’s arm home to mount above his mantle. Truly gruesome, yet awesome. In the main event, Light Heavyweight champ Jon “Bones” Jones started off slow in the first round against Lyoto Machida, getting tagged a couple times with good shots and seemingly looking a bit “off”. He quickly turned it around in the second stanza and put Machida away, choking him unconscious with a standing guillotine choke against the cage.

But, perhaps the most important and looked-forward to event of the night was the return of the ever-popular Octagon Girl Brittney Palmer.

All-in-all, a pretty good night of fights. Can’t wait for the Strikeforce fights this weekend with my boy Gilbert Melendez defending his lightweight strap against Jorge Masvidal. And I’m really looking forward to the heavyweight battle to finish off the year at UFC 141 with Alistair Overeem vs. Brock Lesnar.

My favorite selects are below. As always, the full take from both myself and our primary shooter Nick Laham are available on Getty Images.

UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC 140 Weigh-in gallery

I just wanted to quickly share my UFC 140 images before I head over to the arena for the fights tonight. Nothing too major transpired at the weigh-in, other than Dennis Hallman coming in 2 1/2 pounds over weight. Dana White didn’t seem too happy about that. I guess for most, the other highlight of the event would be the return of Octagon Girl Brittney Palmer.

As always, this is just a small selection. The full take is available on Getty Images.

UFC 140 Weigh-in – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC 140 final presser

Today was spent at the Bell Tiff Light Box cinemas for the UFC 140 final pre-fight press conference. The fighters in the three feature bouts were in attendance – UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones, challenger Lyoto Machida, Heavyweight opponents Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, and Light Heavyweight opponents Tito Ortiz and Antonio Rogerio “Minotoro” Nogueira. I believe this was the first time we’ve done a press conference or any type of event inside a movie theater. It made for a nice setting, though the lighting was a little darker than usual. The seats were quite comfortable though, and I found myself wanting to take a nap as the presser drew on. All six guys were very respectful and there were no controversial comments made.

Below is a taste of my favorite shots. As always, the full take is available on Getty Images and UFC.com.

UFC 140 Pre-Fight Press Conference – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC 140 Open Workouts

Yesterday marked my first full day in the wonderful city of Toronto. I spent most of the day hanging out at the Xtreme Couture gym for the UFC 140 Media Open Workouts. There were a good amount of both press and fans in attendance. The workouts started out good with Lyoto Machida and Tito Ortiz being the first two fighters on the mat and both putting on a decent show. However, after Ortiz was finished, the Nogueira brothers were scheduled to come out. We waited for a bit… nothing. Waited a bit more… nothing. Finally, after about an hour and twenty minutes, they showed up. Minotauro started out doing interviews while his brother Minotoro (aka Lil Nog) spent what felt like another twenty minutes wrapping his hands. Finally, Lil Nog started hitting mits and we were back on track. Minotauro came out and hit pads and shadow boxed for a bit after his interviews were done. The day concluded with Frank Mir putting on a brief demonstration, followed by UFC Light Heavyweight Champ Jon “Bones” Jones who always dazzles the crowd with flashy kicks, knees, and punches. At one point, the fans were calling out moves and Jones would instantly demonstrate them – “Flying knee”, “Spinning hook kick”, “Axe kick” and “Spinning back elbow” were just a few.

The ambient light in the gym was pretty low, so I busted out the trust speedlite and mounted it to a pole. I played around with exposure levels and positions throughout the day. At one point, I had to detach the mounted flash unit and use it on camera when Minotauro was doing his interviews because the camera operators were standing directly in front of the flash unit.

The full take is available on Getty Images and UFC.com. Below are my favorite selects from the day.

UFC 140 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges