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

Missing The Shot

I’ve had this blog idea for quite some time, but haven’t taken the time to put it together. I’ve heard more than a few people say something to the effect of “How hard can it be to stand there and take photos?” throughout my career. Sure, it may seem like all you have to do is hit the shutter button at the right time and let the camera do all the work. Well, that may be true of some things, but shooting professional sports, there’s definitely a lot more involved.

So, I call this entry “Missing The Shot”. I’m going to show you a couple things that can go wrong during a MMA fight to cause a shooter to “miss”. This happens far more than anyone would ever care to admit. But no one ever sees these shots and they just assume a group of selects are all there was to the take. In each of the following examples, you’ll notice the action sequence was perfect and the image is sharp. But there are still other factors that turn a “select” to a “miss”.

In the first shot, Stephen Bass lands a left in his bout against Marcus Brimmage. The framing is good, the subjects are sharp, and you can see both fighters’ faces. Unfortunately, referee Josh Rosenthal photo bombed me.

This next shot was the same problem as above. Good framing and focus, good action, bad referee! Ok, so he’s not a bad ref, but come on man.

And lastly, here’s a shot that would have been a definite keeper. Perfect timing on the connection, both fighters facing towards the camera, and tack sharp. Problem was I had the wrong lens in my hand. This happens often and you have to make a split second decision. Do I switch cameras and risk missing a knockout shot, or do I stick with the camera in my hand and hope the guys get close enough to both be in the frame. In this case, I should have realized I was not going to be so luck with two guys who have such long reach as Edwards and Ferguson. Luckily, there was a ton of “keepers” from this fight anyways and this shot was not of any fight defining moment. So, in that regard, I still got lucky.

Another issue I encounter quite a bit, but can’t find an image to represent at the moment, is when a big shot lands but the fighters are both facing away from the camera or at an angle that you can’t make out what’s happening.

This happens to me just about every time I shoot an event, whether it be fights or baseball or something else. There are many other variables you have to think about and compensate for when shooting. It’s not just as simple as focusing and holding down the shutter button.

Hope this helps shed a little more light on what we shooters go through during fights.