UFC 104: Takedowns, Tapouts and Controversy

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October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Lyoto Machida (black trunks) throws a kick at Mauricio Rua(white trunks) during their UFC light heavyweight championship bout at UFC 104. Machida won via controversial unanimous decison . Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Lyoto Machida (black trunks) throws a kick at Mauricio Rua (white trunks) during their UFC light heavyweight championship bout at UFC 104. Machida won via controversial unanimous decison . Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland

Had the opportunity to cover UFC 104 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California this weekend for ESPN.com. I was happy when I was called to cover the assignment, I’m a big fan of the UFC, and I was happy to get the chance to shoot Lyoto Machida, a rising star in the sport and the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. He’d be fighting in the main event against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Relaxed before UFC 104 and went for a drive to Hollywood, testing out my LensBaby along the way.

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Relaxed before UFC 104 and went for a drive to Hollywood, testing out my LensBaby along the way.

Relaxed early in the day and took a drive to Hollywood to see some sights, while I’m working, I always try to do something while on a trip to take advantage of the fact that I am lucky to have the opportunity to travel to a lot of different places I wouldn’t have the chance to see if I weren’t doing what I do. I also took some time to test out my new LensBaby Composer, which I had picked up a day earlier while onsite at PhotoPlus expo in New York City. Fun lens, but I’ll have more on that in an upcoming blog about the lens, with plenty of examples of my travels through Hollywood.

Anyway, finished my travels and headed back to the hotel, packed up and headed over to the Staples Center. Free parking set up for the media right across the street for media (very nice), and wandered up to street level, and into something out of a Dawn of the Dead movie. Zombies everywhere! Apparently there was a Michael Jackson dance contest for the opening of his movie going on across from the Staples Center, and everyone was in costume. Only in L.A.!

Made my way through the credential line, down to the press room, quick dinner and out to the Octagon for the prelims. There are generally 10 or 11 bouts on a full UFC card, so it’s a lot of shooting, and it moves very quickly, often there are only 5 minutes or so between each bout. With ESPN, I upload a shot between each bout, so I have to be very organized with my ingest, captions and editing to get it done and ready to shoot the next bout. Here are a few from the prelims that I liked.

Ryan Bader continued his hot start, running his record to 11 wins without a loss with a decision win over Eric Schafer.

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Ryan Bader (white trunks) lands a left hook to the head of Eric Schafer (blue trunks) during their bout at UFC 104. Bader won via unanimous decision. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Ryan Bader (white trunks) lands a left hook to the head of Eric Schafer (blue trunks) during their bout at UFC 104. Bader won via unanimous decision. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

Pat Barry became very emotional after his knockout win over Antoni Hardonk. He apologized to the crowd for breaking into tears, but it was a big step in his career, who can blame him. (Besides emotion makes for a good image, sorry selfish moment)

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Pat Barry celebrates his win over Antoni Hardonk after their bout at UFC 104 at the Staples Center. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Pat Barry celebrates his win over Antoni Hardonk after their bout at UFC 104 at the Staples Center. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

Anthony Johnson scored an impressive first round destruction over Yoshiyuki Yoshida, but lost some luster (and some cash) by coming in six pounds over the weight limit.

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Anthony Johnson (red trunks) lands a right hook to the head of Yoshiyuki Yoshida (white trunks) during their bout at UFC 104. Johnson won via 1st round KO. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Anthony Johnson (red trunks) lands a right hook to the head of Yoshiyuki Yoshida (white trunks) during their bout at UFC 104. Johnson won via 1st round KO. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

Jorge Rivera bloodied Rob Kimmons, and then implored the referee to stop the fight. The ref did a few moments and punches later.

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Rob Kimmon's face is a mask of blood during his bout against Jorge Rivera at UFC 104.  Rivera won via strikes in the 3rd round.  Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Rob Kimmons face is a mask of blood during his bout against Jorge Rivera at UFC 104. Rivera won via strikes in the 3rd round. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Jorge Rivera (black trunks) looks to the referee to stop his fight against Rob Kimmons (red trunks) at UFC 104. Rivera won via strikes in the 3rd round. Ed Mulholland

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Jorge Rivera (black trunks) looks to the referee to stop his fight against Rob Kimmons (red trunks) at UFC 104. Rivera won via strikes in the 3rd round. Ed Mulholland

And Gleison Tibau scored a win over Josh Neer landing some telling shots in the process.

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Josh Neer (black trunks) takes a left hand from Gleison Tibau (black/green/yellow trunks) during their bout at UFC 104. Tibau won via unanimous decision. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Josh Neer (black trunks) takes a left hand from Gleison Tibau (black/green/yellow trunks) during their bout at UFC 104. Tibau won via unanimous decision. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

The co-feature was heavyweights Cain Velasquez and Ben Rothwell, in what figured to be a back and forth slugfest, but turned out to be a one-sided affair. Velasquez took Rothwell down at will, and landed plenty of strikes, forcing the referee to stop the bout, albeit a bit early in most people’s opinion.

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Ben Rothwell takes a hammerfist from Cain Velasquez during their bout at UFC 104.  Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com  (Here's a good example of the luck of the draw, most of this bout, including the ending, took place behind the posts of the cage door, and limited my ability to shoot)

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Ben Rothwell takes a hammerfist from Cain Velasquez during their bout at UFC 104. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com (Here's a good example of the luck of the draw, most of this bout, including the ending, took place behind the posts of the cage door, and limited my ability to shoot)

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Ben Rothwell (black/blue trunks) gets taken down by Cain Velasquez (black trunks) during their bout at UFC 104. Ed Mulholland

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Ben Rothwell (black/blue trunks) gets taken down by Cain Velasquez (black trunks) during their bout at UFC 104. Ed Mulholland

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Ben Rothwell (black/blue trunks) takes a punch from Cain Velasquez (black trunks) during their bout at UFC 104. Velasquez won via 2nd round stoppage. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Ben Rothwell (black/blue trunks) takes a punch from Cain Velasquez (black trunks) during their bout at UFC 104. Velasquez won via 2nd round stoppage. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Ben Rothwell is angered after being stopped by Cain Velasquez during their bout at UFC 104. Velasquez won via 2nd round stoppage.  Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Ben Rothwell is angered after being stopped by Cain Velasquez during their bout at UFC 104. Velasquez won via 2nd round stoppage. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

The main event was the one I was personally waiting for, I thought it would be a barnburner type of fight as long as it lasted, and I like most felt Lyoto Machida would remain unbeaten and stop Mauricio Rua. That’s why I’m not an expert. There wasn’t nearly as much action as I thought, although it was a good fight, and at the end I (and just about everyone in attendance) thought Rua had captured a close, but clear decision win. What I meant was everyone except the 3 judges, as Machida won a narrow decision. Not the worst decision I’ve seen, but in my eyes not a good one.

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Lyoto Machida (black trunks) throws a right hand at Mauricio Rua(white trunks) during their UFC light heavyweight championship bout at UFC 104. Machida won via controversial unanimous decison. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Lyoto Machida (black trunks) throws a right hand at Mauricio Rua(white trunks) during their UFC light heavyweight championship bout at UFC 104. Machida won via controversial unanimous decison. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com


Machida lands a strong kick to the body of Rua...  (Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com)

Machida lands a strong kick to the body of Rua... (Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com)


And Rua lands one right back.  (Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

And Rua lands one right back. (Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com)


October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Lyoto Machida (black trunks) watches Mauricio Rua(white trunks) raise his hands in celebration after their UFC light heavyweight championship bout at UFC 104. Machida won via controversial unanimous decison.  Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Lyoto Machida (black trunks) watches Mauricio Rua(white trunks) raise his hands in celebration after their UFC light heavyweight championship bout at UFC 104. Machida won via controversial unanimous decison. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com


October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Mauricio Rua (white trunks) reacts with disgust to the decision after his UFC light heavyweight championship bout against Lyoto Machida at UFC 104. Machida won via controversial unanimous decison. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

October 24, 2009; Los Angeles, CA; USA; Mauricio Rua (white trunks) reacts with disgust to the decision after his UFC light heavyweight championship bout against Lyoto Machida at UFC 104. Machida won via controversial unanimous decison. Ed Mulholland for ESPN.com

Good trip, good event, decent shoot, although not near my best, action just didn’t seem to set up for me, and you are not allowed to stray from your spot, just happens sometimes. Love shooting UFC events, it’s becoming one of my favorites to shoot.

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  1. [...] (Proof that nobody looks cool when they’re about to sneeze. Photo courtesy of EdMulholland.com) [...]

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