UFC on FOX
After all the controversy this past week, Saturday delivered an action-packed night of combat sports action. First up was the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s debut on regular TV, which featured a bout for the UFC Heavyweight Title. Along with the fight, hardcore MMA fans were curious about how FOX would introduce new viewers to the sport. For the most part, they delivered a professional broadcast, treating the fight as a legit sporting event instead of a punk rock show. Gone were the “gladiator intro” and generic rock music and in its place were highlights of both fighters and analysis from UFC personalities. As for the fight, reigning champion Cain Velasquez was rumored to be battling some nagging injuries headed into his bout with Junior Dos Santos. With Dos Santos’ KO of Velasquez taking only 64 seconds, it was hard to tell if injuries affected the former champ. Dos Santos has one-punch knockout power and can finish any heavyweight in mixed martial arts. The victory was impressive considering Dos Santos had a meniscus tear a week before and couldn't walk. Despite the short fight, fans should be happy with a knockout as a first impression to casual viewers rather than a boring five round decision. But FOX's choice to not air the Clay Guida / Ben Henderson fight was the obvious major misstep of the night. Henderson and Guida put on a fight-of-the-year-candidate that only aired on Facebook and FOX Desportes. They showed all the different aspects of MMA that makes the sport captivating and intriguing to watch. But as time moves on Henderson's victory will eventually be shown on television and Dos Santos had a star making performance, so the UFC’s first test run on FOX was a successful one, but not spectacular.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez
Next up was the conclusion of the epic trilogy between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Their first two matchups were controversial but thrilling fights that displayed what truly makes the sport of boxing special. After Pacquiao’s victory over Marquez in their second fight, Pacman's career skyrocketed into mainstream America while Marquez campaigned for another shot at Pacquiao. So after three years, Marquez got his wish and on Saturday took advantage of the opportunity. The first half of the fight was razor close with both fighters throwing punches with caution. But then Marquez started outboxing Pacquiao by landing crisp, hard punches. Pacquiao was shockingly tentative and couldn't let his hands go. With the momentum swinging to Marquez' favor, Pacquiao trainer Freddy Roach knew his fighter was behind and pushed Pacman to pick up the action. Pacquiao’s punch output increased and grew even stronger towards the end of the bout. When the fight concluded, most fans and experts had Marquez winning a close decision victory. But when the judges gave the result, one judge scored a draw, while the other two scored the fight for Pacquiao. Fans in the arena and Twitter users were outraged over the decision. Marquez clearly deserved the victory but in the judges’ perspective he didn't have a defining moment that made a case for him getting the win. As for Pacman, he escaped with the win and is unlikely to grant Marquez another fight and will now try to await a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Despite the struggles of Lobo Football, it’s been a landmark year for Lobo sports. Both cross-country teams earned bids for the NCAA championships and the men’s soccer team has had a dream season going undefeated and winning the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title. So on senior night, the football team finally enjoyed the taste of victory with their win over the UNLV Rebels . For the first time this season the Lobos kept a lead for the majority of the game. Their 14-7 lead disappeared early in the fourth quarter but Lobo senior Carmen Messina caused a fumble and the Lobos recovered. Then quarterback B.R. Holbrook drove the Lobos down the field setting up a Demarcus Rogers touchdown. The New Mexico defense held steady and got the 21-14 victory. Despite having only two games left in the season, getting its first win will improve the team's confidence and could lead to the Lobos ending the season on a high note.