UFC on FOX 3 fight gallery

Saturday night, UFC returned to the IZOD Center (formerly Meadlowlands Arena) for the first time in nearly 11 years with the third installment of UFC on FOX. I was in Jersey covering the event for UFC and Getty Images. Fresh off of Sports Shooter Academy IX, I was very eager to work on new things I had learned and try to challenge myself more instead of just going for “safe” shots. I think the end result is one of the better shoots I’ve had since I began shooting the UFC. It always helps to have good fights too.

The main event featured a lightweight contest between New Jersey standout Jim Miller and Stockton, California’s Nate Diaz. This event proved to be UFC’s best FOX broadcast yet with all four main card bouts thrilling the fans. The undercard on FUEL TV was also a really good collection of fights.

Diaz handled Miller in the main event with little trouble. I was quite surprised at how easy Diaz made it look. He ended up submitting Miller with a tight guillotine choke in the second round – the first time in Miller’s 25-fight career he had been finished. Diaz used his length to pepper Miller with punches from the outside. Once he got the opportunity to go for the submission, he jumped on it and sealed the victory quickly. After the bout, Diaz said he found it difficult to get motivated to train for this fight because he had nothing but respect for Miller and no animosity. He also encouraged the fans to buy Miller’s signature TapouT shirt for which a portion of all sales will go towards the medical fund for Miller’s nephew little Danny Miller.

In the co-feature, Johny Hendricks earned himself a shot at the UFC Welterweight Championship with his split-decision victory over former title challenger Josh Koscheck. Hendricks looked a little nervous early on, but it didn’t take long for him to open up and start landing power shots. Koscheck’s eye began to swell early in the second and seemed to bother him. He was never able to find his rhythm. In the end, the judges scored it 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 for Johny Hendricks.

In a middleweight bout, Alan Belcher survived the ground attack of Rousimar Palhares and put him away by TKO in the first round. At one point, Belcher was working for a submission of his own before ending up in the top position and raining down punches and elbows.

The opener on the FOX broadcast featured two heavyweight sluggers going toe-to-toe as Lavar Johnson earned his second UFC victory and second “Knockout of the Night” award, putting away Pat Barry in the first round. It was clear early on that Barry’s size was going to make for a very rough night. Barry is the shortest heayweight in the UFC, and that played right into Johnson’s game allowing him to land heavy shots from a distance where Barry could barely even connect. At one point, Barry got the fight to the ground and was working a submission, but Johnson endured and made it back to his feet where he was able to finally drop Barry and secure the TKO victory.

Several undercard fights were quite good, as well. Fight of the Night honors went to Louis Gaudinot and John Lineker who stood toe-to-toe swinging for the fences for the better part of two rounds. Neither showed a clear advantage until late in the second round, Gaudinot jumped into a guillotine choke and put Lineker to sleep with just seconds remaining in the round.

TUF 13 winner Tony Ferguson had his first stumble in the Octagon as he was out-pointed by TUF 12 finalist Michael Johnson. The fight was contested entirely on the standup. Both fighters had their moments and landed big shots. In the end, it was Johnson’s higher rate of strikes, and having dropped Ferguson twice that earned him the victory.

Below is a gallery of my shots from the night. Please visit my website (www.jhedgesphoto.com) for the complete gallery, as well as UFC.com and Getty Images for their editorial selections from the night.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, and questions.

UFC on FOX 3: Diaz v Miller – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC 143 Diaz vs Condit Gallery

Hey everybody. What a great night of fights last night. As usual, I covered UFC 143 for Getty Images and UFC. The annual Superbowl weekend event was originally set to feature a Welterweight Championship battle between heated rivals Nick Diaz and Champion Georges St-Pierre. However, a training injury sidelined St-Pierre and gave Carlos Condit his big shot at UFC gold. The new contest between Diaz and Condit was established to be for an interim championship belt, since St-Pierre could be out of action for up to a year.

As is sometimes the case, the undercard fights nearly stole the show. In the first bout of the night between debuting fighters Stephen Thompson and Dan Stittgen, the KO of the Night award was handed out when Thompson landed a great three strike combo, finishing with a high kick that put Stittgen out for good. Matt Brown also had a great performance in knocking out Chris Cope. Newcomer Henry Martinez looked great in his debut, but came up just a hair short in a split-decision loss to Matthew Riddle. The Submission of the Night award was won by Dustin Poirier who transitioned beautifully between different submissions on the ground, finally tapping out Max Holloway with a mounted triangle/arm bar.

The new UFC intro aired in-house to get the crowd fired up, and I must say it was quite awesome. Before the fight, I had a chance to grab shots of a lot of celebrities in attendance, including my friend Wilmer Valderama, Vanilla Ice, Benji and Joel Madden, Jaime Pressly, MC Hammer, Roy Jones Jr, and all-time hits leader Pete Rose. MC Hammer was actually there for the first fight of the night, which is impressive if you’ve ever been to a UFC in Vegas. Barely anyone is in the arena for the first 2-3 fights.

Starting off the main card was Ed Herman weathering a good storm from Clifford Starks and eventually putting him away with a rear choke submission. Renan Barao handled Scott Jorgensen with a unanimous decision, running his unbeaten streak to 28 fights. Welterweights Josh Koscheck and Mike Pierce went the distance, as well, with Koscheck winning a split decision. In my opinion, I thought Pierce did enough to win. In the co-main event, Fabricio Werdum completely dominated the always-tough Roy “Big Country” Nelson, scoring a unanimous decision. Both men were awarded the Fight of the Night bonus after their performance.

The main event didn’t end up being the slugfest everyone had hoped for, but was still a decent, highly technical fight. Carlos Condit ended up scoring a unanimous decision victory Nick Diaz with the judges’ cards reading 48-47, 49-46, 49-46. A lot of people apparently feel Diaz should have won. I personally don’t see how, but I’ll concede that I don’t get the best view of the fight from a judging perspective. I had Diaz winning only one round, with one more being close. A very frustrated Diaz appeared to announce his retirement from MMA in the Octagon after the fight, stating that he’s “tired of playing this game.” Condit captures the interim UFC Welterweight Championship with the victory, as well as a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle. Quote of the night comes from Condit at the post-fight presser when asked what Diaz was saying to him throughout the fight. He said at one point, after he threw a spinning backfist, Diaz said to him “Oh, so we’re throwing spinning shit now?” Carlos said, “I had to laugh at that.”

We tried out some strobes for the first time during live fights, with a couple lights mounted at different angles, and on different channels. I think they turned out great, especially the ones I shot from the press box overhead. This is definitely something we will be doing again. Big thanks to Nick Laham for the idea and allowing me to use them to capture a few shots. Also thanks to our always trusty assistant Mike Roach for helping with the rigging and testing.

Below is a selection of shots I captured throughout the night. Check out the rest from all our photographers on Getty Images and UFC.com.

UFC 143 Diaz vs Condit – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC 143 Weigh In Gallery

My long day is finally over and it had the perfect ending – a great dinner with my lovely wife and photographer/friend Nick Laham. I was at Mandalay Bay early this morning to begin setting up a remote camera for the fights tomorrow. That all went pretty smooth, and hopefully there will be some good moments to capture. After we finished that up, it was about time to start getting ready for the weigh in.

The arena, and especially the smaller-than-usual media section, started filling up earlier than normal. As a result, I was trapped in my seat for much longer than I’d care to be so as to insure I would not loose it. UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre was the special guest for today’s UFC Fight Club Q&A session. He revealed that he expects to be back training in fight mode by July and should probably be ready to fight the winner of Diaz vs Condit in the fall. Georges was not at all secretive about his desire for Nick Diaz to defeat Carlos Condit so that he will finally be able to fight Diaz. St-Pierre also stated that he thinks Nick Diaz has some mental problems, but was quick to add that he himself also has his own demons which nobody sees. All-in-all, it was a good Q&A session with the champ.

As the weigh ins approached, my buddy Rod Mar showed up and took a seat next to me. It’s always nice passing the time by talking shop with fellow photographers and friends. The hour was eclipsed in no time and the weigh ins began. No great surprises as everyone made weight. Only Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres had to employee the use of the towel to reach his contracted weight. Mike Pierce took a shot across the bow of Josh Koscheck by donning a bleach blonde wig for his face off with Koscheck. The two had to be separated by UFC President Dana White. Expect some heavy leather to be thrown in this bout.

Heavyweight Roy Nelson looked much slimmer as he tipped the scale at 246 pounds for his bout against Fabricio Werdum. That’s six pounds lighter than his last bout against Mirko Cro Cop and nearly 20 pounds down from his heaviest fighting weight inside the Octagon. Werdum also weighed in at 246 pounds in his return to the Octagon after more than three years away.

And in the main event, both Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit weighed in a pound under the limit for their Interim Welterweight Championship bout, capping off what should be a great night of fights. One things is for sure, this bout promises to be non-stop excitement. Both fighters are known for their fan-friendly fighting styles and willingness to try to finish the fight, not just score points.

Below is a gallery of shots from this afternoon’s weigh in event. As always, be sure to check them out at Getty Images and UFC.com, as well.

UFC 143 Weigh In – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC 139 weigh-in

Today, all the fighters on the UFC 139 card weighed in at the HP Pavilion to make their fights official for tomorrow night. Before the official weigh-in, as is customary, UFC hosted a Fight Club exclusive Q&A session with welterweight fighter Josh Koscheck. Though Josh was a bit subdued, he still managed to raise a couple stirs from the crowd. He mentioned that he has considered changing his name to “Boo Koscheck” so that when he enters the arena, people Boo’ing will be cheering for him. He also expressed his sadness for friend and teammate Cain Velasquez after his loss last weekend to Junior dos Santos, but mentioned that Cain was back in the gym again Monday morning after the loss. Finally, in answer to a common question Koscheck always receives, he said that he would rather move up to 185 pounds or stop fighting completely instead of facing teammate and fellow 170 pound contender Jon Fitch.

As the weigh-in began, there appeared to be issues with the scale, or perhaps the operator, as several fighters missed weight. It began with Shamar Bailey who came in 2 pounds over and was noticeably upset about it. Next, Nick Pace weighed in well over the limit, but his overage was apparently known about ahead of time and he came in 5 pounds over the limit. His opponent, Miguel Angel Torres, also mixed weight. Torres was also noticeably upset and turned to UFC President Dana White to say something. After that, the rest of the guys on the card made weight without (much) event. Dana had to separate Rick Story and opponent Martin Kampmann after Story got in Kampmann’s face and Kampmann, in turn, pushed him away.

In other news, I received a call last night that I had been bumped up to first shooter for the event due to an unfortunate scheduling conflict. Though I never wish for someone else not to be able to do the job, I’m quite happy and excited to back on the box for a big show again. And of all the shows we have lined up, this is probably the best option as far as excitement. So, I will do everyone proud and make the most of my opportunity. I’m really looking forward to it.

Here are some of the weigh-in selects. Check out UFC.com and Getty Images for the full take.

UFC 139 Weigh-In – Images by Joshua Hedges