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 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 on FOX open workouts gallery

Nate Diaz works out for the fans and media during the UFC on FOX open workouts at Church Street Boxing Gym on May 2, 2012 in New York, New York.Today was my first day covering events for the UFC on FOX card on Saturday night here in New Jersey. We got up really early this morning to drive into the city to Church Street Boxing Gym where the workouts were being held. This was my first time at the Church Street Gym and I was really impressed with the layout. It worked out really well for my lighting ideas as there was a balcony above the mat area that allowed me to mount a light. My plan from the outset was to shoot everything using high speed sync flash, which I’ve done several times in the past, but this time I wanted to push the limits even more and try a couple techniques I haven’t before.

Aside from a couple minor hiccups in the beginning, everything went very smooth and overall produced the results I was looking for. If I had to change anything, I would have probably narrowed my triangle a little between myself, the fighter, and the light. But I still think this looks really good. Most of these shots were taken with the following settings, though there was some variance – ISO 800, 1/1250s, f2.8, white balance 5600K. The light mounted on the balcony was a single Canon 580EX speedlite, running at 1/2 power. The face of the light was probably setting about 15-20 feet from the center of the mat. For the blurred shots, I used second-curtain sync at 1/15s, f16.

Take a look at the gallery and let me know what you think.


UFC on FOX 3 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC 141 Lesnar vs Overeem Gallery

Wow, two blog posts in less than 24 hours. I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of this. Well, as many of you already know, I covered UFC 141 on Friday for UFC and Getty Images. The night was a bit slow starting out, with all the prelim fights going the distance and not a whole lot of excitement. But, in the end, the fight we all were looking forward to – Cerrone vs Diaz – lived up to the hype and then some. While I didn’t totally agree with the judges cards (I had Cerrone winning round 2), the right guy (Diaz) got the nod in the end and made a strong campaign for a shot at the 155-pound title.

After the war between Cerrone and Diaz, the main event was very unsatisfying. I didn’t expect Lesnar to try and stand with Overeem, and I definitely didn’t expect Lesnar to retire after being dispatched. While it wasn’t surprising and makes total sense, I just had never thought about it, even given his health issues in recent times. I’m a bit sad to see him go. He’s always been friendly to me and has given me some great shots over the years. I am very much looking forward to the matchup between Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem though.

Below is a selection of my favorite shots from the night. You can view the full take from myself and my friend Donald Miralle at Getty Images. I will add more to this gallery when I have a chance to look through the overhead remote shots. Special thanks to Rob Tonelete for a great job editing for all four photographers on the night.


UFC 141 Lesnar vs Overeem – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC 141 Open Workouts Gallery

With UFC 141 coming up this Friday, I wanted to share my coverage from all the events this week leading up to the fight. The first of which were the media open workouts which took place over at the Ultimate Fighter Gym on Tuesday. Only four fighters were scheduled to appear, and of those four, only three worked out. I’ll give you one guess who the individual was that chose not to participate. I’ll give you a hint, it’s not the first time he’s done something like this. That wasn’t the only drama of the afternoon though. Due to the shift in scheduling, Donald Cerrone was brought into the gym early to begin his workout while Nate Diaz still stood some 30-feet away doing interviews. Through his entire workout, Cerrone continually looked over Diaz’s way and muttered various obscenities to himself, while hitting and kicking the pads harder and harder each time. Eventually, Diaz left and Cerrone finished his pad work, wrapping up the somewhat abbreviated workouts.

My lighting setup in the dimly lit gym consisted of two Canon 580EX II speedlites, raised to about ten feet high and shooting almost straight across from each other. One was set to 1/8 power and the other 1/16 to create a little bit of shadow. I shot most of the images perpendicular to the lights to further enhance the shadows.

Below is my selection of favorite shots from the afternoon. You can see the full take on Getty Images or UFC.com.


UFC 141 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges