UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs Davis gallery

Hello again from Chicago. I’m currently hanging out at concourse C at O’Hare Airport waiting to fly home. I shot the fights last night at the United Center for the UFC on FOX event, featuring a Light Heavyweight Title eliminator between Rashad Evans and Phil Davis in the main event. As I was also the assigned editor, I was not able to shoot every fight, though I got the majority of them, including all three main card bouts.

The main event went about like everyone expected, I think. Rashad Evans really only seems to open up when someone puts a lot of pressure on him. And, after the first round or two, Phil Davis pretty much quit doing that. In the end, Evans won a lopsided decision with all three judges scoring the bout 50-45. I was a little surprised at the shutout. It seemed like at least in the first round, Davis controlled the action and was far more aggressive, while neither fighter landed any significant strikes. But, that’s hardly anything to be upset over.

In the co-main event between Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping, I found myself wishing that fight had been a five-rounder also. Sonnen did enough to win, but I think Bisping really surprised a lot of people in putting on a good performance and making the fight a lot closer than we all expected it to be. In the end, Sonnen is the more competitive match-up for Anderson Silva of the two, and how could anyone not want to see him fight Anderson again? Especially in Brazil.

The first broadcast fight saw late-replacement Chris Weidman taking on jiu jitsu standout and former title challenger Demian Maia. I didn’t really agree with the crowd as they started boo’ing very early on. I thought the performance by Weidman in the first two rounds was fantastic for anyone against Maia, but especially so for taking the fight on only about ten days notice. Both fighters were super tired in the third round and throwing half-speed wild haymakers. Weidman ended up winning by decision, running his undefeated record to 8-0-0. His next fight will no doubt be another big step up in competition, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he does with a full camp to prepare.

The undercard featured several fun fights, including the fight of the night between Evan Dunham and Nik Lentz. Strikeforce transfer Lavar Johnson scored a big TKO victory over Joey Beltran to grab knockout of the night honors and Charles Oliveira used a series of leg lock transitions to tap newcomer Eric Wisely and bag the submission of the night bonus.

Below is a selection of my shots from the night. Also check out Getty Images and UFC.com for the full take of all our photographers, including my friend Nick Laham who shot up on the box for the evening.

UFC on FOX 2: Evans vs Davis – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC on FOX 2 Weigh In Gallery

Despite the forecast for overnight snow, the weather today in Chicago was quite nice. I walked the short two blocks to the historic Chicago Theatre for this afternoon’s weigh in, expecting it to be quite cold. On the contrary, I really didn’t even need my jacket. Alas, you guys probably aren’t here to read about the weather though, so onto the weigh in.

UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz kicked things off with the UFC Fight Club Q&A session. He was quite well spoken and did a good job overall. It was mostly questions about his next (and past) opponent Urijah Faber, but still had some good insight here and there. UFC vet turned MMA journo Shonie Carter joined the fans in line at the mic to ask the champ about the hospitality and food here in Chicago.

After the Q&A, there was an hour break before the official weigh ins started. Nothing of great note happened during the weigh ins, other than Michael Bisping giving the crowd the double bird after being booed. I think that’s the third or fourth time he’s done so now. Chael Sonnen followed that up by stepping on the scale with his pants still on and weighing dead on at 185. Next up for the main event, Phil Davis came out and stripped down to his Penn State wrestling singlet for his turn on the scale. Phil received a good amount of applause from the crowd. His opponent, Rashad Evans, was met with a mix of boos and cheers when he stepped from behind the curtain and onto the scale. Afterwards, the two faced off nose-to-nose with Davis sporting a sinister smile. He doesn’t seem to be rattled at all by the magnitude of this fight, no doubt the biggest fight of his career thus far.

Below is a selection of images from this afternoon, which can also be found on Getty Images and UFC.com.

UFC on FOX 2 Weigh In – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC on FOX 2 Press Conference Gallery

Another frigid day here in Chicago. Today saw us driving a few short blocks to the W Hotel on Adams for the UFC on FOX final pre-fight press conference. Everything was pretty much as expected, except for the extremely low light conditions of the ballroom. I’m not really sure why it was so much lower than normal, but it definitely made for a more challenging shoot.

It came as no surprise to anyone in the room when Chael Sonnen walked on stage with a UFC belt and proclaimed himself to be the undefeated, undisputed Middleweight Champion. Though, interesting enough, he was seated next to Demian Maia, who did in fact defeat Sonnen by submission in the not so distant past. Nonetheless, Sonnen’s bantering was quite humerous.

Main event opponents Rashad Evans and Phil Davis got into a verbal sparring match when Davis was asked about whether or not he would defeat Rashad in a wrestling match. As Davis was giving his answer stating of course that he would, Evans interrupted taking jabs at the former national champ. Evans repeatedly said that Davis’ technique was “trash” and he could not compete on an international stage. Other than Rashad’s poor taste comments at the first press conference in reference to the Penn State scandal, there hasn’t been a lot of trash talk between these two. Today saw that change. I think it helped generate a little more interest in that fight, which up until now has been overshadowed by the co-main event featuring Chael Sonnen versus Michael Bisping.

Tomorrow is the official weigh in, which of course, I will also be covering. For now, check out the gallery of shots below from today’s presser. they are also available at Getty Images and UFC.com.

UFC on FOX 2 Press Conference – Images by Joshua Hedges

UFC on FOX 2 Open Workouts Gallery

Greetings from Chicago, Illinois. I arrived in town yesterday to begin covering the second UFC on FOX event for Getty Images and UFC. I’ve been to Chicago many times, but this is actually my first time ever staying in the city. I’m usually stuck in a hotel out by one of the airports or in the western suburbs. But this time, they put us up at the Hard Rock Hotel on Michigan Avenue. And while the weather conditions are less than ideal, it’s really nice to be able to stroll out the front door of the hotel and walk around downtown without having to ride on a train or in a cab for a while to get there.

Today, we drove down to the south side of the city to cover the open workouts at the Chicago Boxing Club. The gym is a second floor establishment without any of the frills and gadgets you see at most gyms today. There were two boxing rings in the center of the room, flanked by a few heavy bags and weights lining the walls. It’s what I would consider a classic boxing gym.

All fighters from the three broadcast bouts took part in the workouts, including Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping, Demian Maia, Chris Weidman, Phil Davis, and Rashad Evans. Also on hand was Chicago-based heavyweight Mike Russow. The workouts lasted for nearly three hours, though that mostly consisted of interviews. Each fighter, as is typical at these events, only worked out for about 5-10 minutes.

UFC veteran Shonie Carter was also in attendance. He told me he’s “giving this journalism thing a try.”

Below is a selection of shots from throughout the day. You can also view the full take at Getty Images or UFC.com.

UFC on FOX 2 Open Workouts – Images by Joshua Hedges