I recently attended UFC on Fuel: Weidman vs. Munoz in San Jose, California. This was only my second UFC event to see live and it was completely amazing. The crowd was under 5,000 so it was a pretty low key event. There were some big time name fighters there though like Georges St-Pierre, Matt Serra, Gilbert Melendez, Cung Le, Cain Velazquez, Josh Thompson, plus (of course) the guys competing on the card. The first fighter I was able to meet was Kenny Florian who was rushing from cage side to backstage but stopped for everybody who wanted a pic and to chat. I was amazed at how every fighter and even Dana White stood around until they had posed for every pic and handshake or the fights were about to start. Nobody was left waiting or wanting to meet these guys. Truly, it was above and beyond what I had hoped for.
Once the fights started it was all business. Everything ran very smooth and there were no long delays or technical issues. When a hometown guy was fighting you really knew it as Chris Cariaso and Mark Munoz got the loudest cheers of the night. The first fight started off well, and ended with a clean TKO in the second. I definitely set the card off on the right note. Fight # 2 between Marcelo Guimares and Daniel Sittigen was pretty slow at times with Guimares trying to get the takedown mostly and Sittigen countering well. By the end it really looked to be an upset for Sittigen but the judges went with Wanderlei Silva’s guy in Guimares and the decision was heavily booed.
Andrew Craig vs. Rafael Natal was a blast with Natal goading Craig from the outset, and controlling Round 1. Then Natal got a knockdown and looked to end it in Round 2 but couldn’t finish the unbeaten Craig. From the beginning Craig was throwing some nice body kicks and at the end of Round 2 switched it up and threw a nasty head kick that Natal thought was going to the body. The move resulted in a quick, violent knockout for Craig.
Cariaso’s clash with Josh Ferguson was next and it was crazy how over Cariaso is here. Chris dominated pretty much the whole fight and worked out of a few tough positions and Ferguson showed some great toughness by always moving forward and not mentally breaking when he was in bad spots. Overall it was a great fight and the crowd enjoyed it.
Alex Caceres vs. Damacio Page wasn’t quite what I expected but fun as Page took Alex down and tried for a ground n pound style, narrowly avoiding the submissions for the first round but not the second. Good win for “Bruce Leeroy”.
Finally on to the main card. All the while in between fights we would see some fighters walking around. I got my pic with Melendez and Velazquez. Let me tell you, as a fan who sees these guys on TV and appreciates their abilities, there was no doubt I was having a great time at this point!
The televised fights went great with Rafael Dos Anjos showing another quality performance, T.J. Dillashaw being very dominant, Francis Carmont looking great over Karlos Vemola, and Aaron Simpson getting a good win over a very tough Kenny Robertson.
In the co-headliner my favorite fighter of the night was featured, i.e. Joey Beltran, who looked great at 205 but couldn’t get the win from a tough James Te Huna. I don’t know how Joey made it out of the first frame but that guy is triple tough, and the place went nuts when Joey knocked Te Huna down in the second. It was a very gutsy display from the “Mexicutioner”, and Te Huna impressed me not just with the win but with the fact he went as hard as he did despite breaking his hand and foot early on. It’s hard not to think professional fighters like Te Huna and Beltran are amazing even if they aren’t stars.
Come the main event all I could think was, “Boy, is Mark Munoz over!” But, I gotta say, the haircut was a little strange and the fight was all Weidman. Mark never got anything going and Chris landed a perfect counter elbow and some nasty GNP to seal the deal.
Afterwards a lot of fighters were walking around singing things and taking pics and they were extremely nice to everybody. Jon Anik was basically being pulled out the doors by his people but still signing stuff for people.
Overall it was a great experience. You could pretty much just start talking with anybody near you and it was like you knew then forever. The people were great too. At one point I was getting a photo with Melendez and just handed my camera off to somebody who had a bit of trouble with it. I kept saying sorry to Melendez and he was so nice, laughing about it and said repeatedly no problem. I was a little worried about taking my young kids so I went with my sister but after this I am sure it truly is fun for any age.
Long story short, if you have a chance make sure to attend a UFC event no matter how big or small it may be. It may be a little expensive but as a fan it will provide an experience you’ll never forget.
Here are some of my pictures from the show:
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