UFC on FOX: Velasquez dethroned by Dos Santos!

I had the honor and pleasure to shoot the first ever UFC event on network TV this past weekend in Anaheim when UFC on FOX: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos kicked off from the Honda Center. I was shooting second camera for UFC and Getty Images down in the photo pit, and it was a great night of fights and a very fun experience. Spent the entire night shooting next to my good friend Ed Mulholland from ESPN. It’s always nice to shoot events with colleagues and friends. My friend Donald Miralle was up on the box for us and he got some great shots, as well.

I mostly shot with my trusty 70-200 and switched off to the 8-15 fish-eye when it called for it. Have I mentioned yet that I love that lens? I’ll write a review in the next couple of weeks for anyone that’s interested. Ed and I also ran up top for the Semerzier/Peralta fight and shot from the Press Box at the top of the arena. I had a 400mm which I’m really growing to love. If only it didn’t cost as much as a car. That turned out to probably be the best fight to shoot from up top. I’ll give all the credit to Ed for making the choice on that one, I just followed his lead. We also rigged an overhead remote with a 16-35 which I ran all night from a foot pedal.

I think everyone expected going into the fights that the Guida/Henderson matchup could be the fight of the night, and they did not disappoint. What a great performance by both fighters. It’s a shame one of them had to lose. Benson totally deserved that win, and it’s nice to see how his career has turned around since his loss to Pettis in the final WEC event last December. I really like his chances against Frankie Edgar.

Before the main event, I said I thought Velasquez would take it. I really believed he would just take the fight to the ground and grind out a TKO or decision victory. But, I did say to Ed before the fight started, if Junior lands a clean shot, I don’t know how anyone could remain standing. I honestly don’t know how Roy Nelson was able to weather Junior’s shots. If you’ve ever seen Junior hitting mitts, you’ll know what I mean. To say he has some pop on his punch is such an understatement. And he proved me right when he landed what didn’t even look to be a solid shot, but in just the right spot, to drop Velasquez and then pounced and finished him on the ground afterwards. I didn’t get a clean shot of the punch that dropped him from my hand-held camera, but I did capture the whole sequence and Junior’s celebration on the overhead remote, as well as with the fish-eye. Junior’s celebration was about the best you could hope for when planning a remote. He dropped to his knees in the center of the cage with his arms stretched out wide and leaned back looking straight up at the camera.

I’d like to extend a special thanks to Rebecca How for doing a spectacular job with the edit. And again, huge thanks and appreciation for my friends Ed Mulholland and Donald Miralle. Always fun working with/for you guys. And lastly, for Mike Roach and Kari Hubert. They help me out at practically every fight, mostly shooting backstage and behind-the-scenes stuff. They both delivered again with some really awesome, intimate shots.

Here’s a teaser of my take from the night. Check out Getty Images for the full take from all our photographers.

UFC on FOX: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC on Fox Workouts

The fighters competing in Saturday’s main and co-main events held open workouts today for media and fans at the UFC Gym in Rosemead, California. I was there to cover for UFC and Getty Images. I used my same trusty lighting setup that has worked for the last few open workouts I’ve covered – a single Canon 580ex II strapped to the top of the Octagon and controlled by a PocketWizard remote. For this week, I’ve got a few of the newest PocketWizard FlexTTL units to play with, which among other features, allow you to use High Speed Sync and HyperSync. Quick first impressions… I love them. Configuration is a bit of a pain, as you have to do it from a computer. But, I love that they are much more low profile and less cumbersome than the Plus II and MultiMax units. Most of these shots were done with the shutter at around 1/800 or 1/1000 at f2.8. I had the flash set to manual mode at 1/2 power, and also used an external power pack to help with the recycle time. By the end of the shoot, the batteries were dying and I was only getting a flash about one in every five or six shots. Still came away with tons of cool stuff, I think. Have a look.

UFC on Fox Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC on Fox Presser

We drove over to the Staples Center today to cover the UFC on Fox final pre-fight press conference for UFC and Getty Images. The event was held outside at the Verizon Plaza, just across the street from the staples center. It was a beautiful day outside and the stage was actually facing towards the sun this time, allowing for a much more favorable light than the last outdoor event (UFC 137 presser).

The stage was also elevated considerably, which was both good and bad. Good because it allowed me to wander a bit without having to worry about getting in the shot of video cameras behind me. Bad because the angle was horrible from a seated position in front. I’m not at all happy with the face off shots, but it’s nothing I could control. The only way to get tight shots was to be up close, and the only way to be up close was from the low position. You can see the back lights in all the shots. Wish they’d mounted them 3-4 feet higher, or perhaps just not used them at all. The definitely weren’t needed.

Anyways, here’s a selection of shots from the day. Full take, as always, available at UFC.com and Getty Images.

UFC on Fox Press Conference – Images by Joshua Hedges