UFC on FUEL TV: Sanchez v Ellenberger Gallery

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted an update. The wife and I were on a much needed vacation last week in our future home of Denver, Colorado. It’s so beautiful this time of year. From Denver, I flew straight to Omaha, Nebraska to cover the inaugural UFC event on FUEL TV, featuring Omaha’s own Jake Ellenberger taking on Diego Sanchez in the main event. We all expected big things from that fight, and it totally lived up to the hype. A tremendous performance by both guys, with Ellenberger pulling out the victory by decision. The two earned the Fight of the Night award for their performance.

The main card on FUEL also featured up-and-coming heavyweight Stipe Miocic who won the Knockout of the Night bonus for his dismantling of previously unbeaten Brit Phil De Fries. 6’11” Stefan Struve scored a TKO victory over a grotesquely hairy Dave Herman. Brazilian Ronny Markes made a successful debut at middleweight, outpointing dangerous Aaron Simpson. That was a great fight too. TUF runner-up TJ Dillashaw scored a lopsided decision over Walel Watson. In the opener, El Salvador’s Ivan Menjivar won the Submission of the Night award in a great, quick fight against John Albert.

Here is a gallery of shots from the night. As always, check out the full take on Getty Images and UFC.com.

UFC on FUEL TV: Sanchez v Ellenberger – 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 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 FX Guillard vs Miller Gallery

I made it back safely to Vegas after quite an interesting day of flying. It was stormy weather the whole way from Nashville to Houston and again from Houston to Vegas. Most of you know I absolutely HATE to fly, so I needed medication to calm my nerves and get through the day. Before I went to sleep, I had some time to reflect on last night’s fights and ponder my blog post.

Overall, the fights themselves last night were pretty good. I can’t speak of the broadcast, as I never get to see any of that. I will say it was a little strange hearing Anik’s voice during the promos and seeing him do the post-fight interviews. Not bad, I’m just so used to Goldie and Rogan that it felt strange. Regardless of anything on the broadcast, the fights were the most important part, and I don’t think you’ll find anyone who watched all the fights say they weren’t entertained. The first two fights of the night set a great tone and pace for the evening. Canadian Nick Denis quickly dispatched my fellow Lubbock-ite Joseph Sandoval with standing elbows in just twenty-two seconds. Quickly following that performance up was another Texan Daniel Pineda derailing Pat Schilling’s undefeated streak with a rear choke submission in under two minutes.

Now typically, I’m not a huge fan of such short fights because it really limits your possibilities for good photos. If you miss one good sequence in a one-minute-long fight, you may well have missed the only good sequence of the fight. But, I digress… On this night, I was editing my own take, so the shorter the fights and longer the breaks between fights, the better. I was able to get photos out of every fight after it happened without falling behind. That’s never happened before. So, even though there weren’t as many great shots due to the short fights, I still feel like the night was a good one.

Jim Miller was able to weather Melvin Guillard’s early storm to score the victory with another impressive submission. This was one fight going in where I just didn’t have a clue which way it would go. I know a lot of people like to bag on Melvin for having no grappling game, but I believe he does. I just think when he gets caught in situations in fights, he tends to panic and make mistakes that seem simple to avoid. I won’t pretend like I know what it’s like to be in a real fight, and thus I will reserve judgement on how the man performs when he is put in those situations. The fact remains that he is still one of the hardest hitters in the world at 155 pounds and stands a chance of beating anybody they put in front of him.

I had really hoped for more from the Ludwig vs Neer fight, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels that way. It was a great submission by Neer, but I think everyone wanted to see three-rounds of toe-to-toe swinging. For the little bit of standup action that took place, Ludwig was looking sharp and in control.

My favorite fight of the night though had to be Jared Papazian vs Mike Easton. Papazian was making his debut, and let’s face it, he was put out there to get Easton another win. From my vantage point, I saw the fight much closer than the scores indicated. I felt it could have been scored 29-28 for either fighter. I was definitely impressed with Papazian and how he took it to Easton and made him fight. This fight should have received the “Fight of the Night” award. I can’t wait to see Papazian in action again.

Below is a gallery of images I captured from the night. You can also view the full take at Getty Images and UFC.com.

UFC on FX 1 Guillard vs Miller – 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 on Versus 6: Cruz decisions Johnson

I’m here hanging out at the Washington DC Reagan International Airport, getting ready to head back home and catching up on some edits. I shot the fights last night at the Verizon Center for Getty Images and UFC.

The fights turned out to be pretty good. A couple that I expected to be good weren’t so much, but then a few of the sleeper fights turned out great. All in all was a pretty decent night. Highlights for me were the Neer/Wisniewski and Wiman/Danzig fights, which you can tell from the pictures. I also enjoyed the Edwards/Oliveira fight, though it’s always tough watching my boy Yves fight since we’ve been friends for more than 11 years. But, he pulled out a big win tonight and looked really impressive in the process.

UFC on Versus 6 – Images by Joshua Hedges