Jerome Rivera v. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
Jerome Rivera comes out in this fight attempting to control the range with his reach advantage, as he should have. He threw kicks up the middle to the midsection of Zhumagulov and threw jabs and hooks frequently. He was able to keep him at range for a while but after a scramble Rivera went down briefly and Zhumagulov snatches up the neck. He throws in a quick guillotine and locks it up with a rear naked choke grip leaving Rivera no chance of escaping. Zhalgas Zhumagulov by first round submission.
Brad Tavares v. Omari Akhmedov
This fight was action packed and was very competitive with each fighter landing heavy shots. Tavares tried to separate himself with an edge in the leg kicks while Akhmedov was more focused on landing several takedown attempts only to have Tavares immediately jump right back up. As the fight went on Akhmedov began to show signs of fatigue and Tavares began to find his groove. The final minute of the last round was the most dominant portion for either fighter. Tavares was landing a wide variety of heavy shots with a very gassed Akhmedov offering little to no offense in return. The fight went the distance and was left to the judges. Tavares by split decision.
Jennifer Maia v. Jessica Eye
This bout was a three round war with Jessica Eye being the aggressor the entire time. Maia seemed content to stay on the back foot and carry out the fight on counter attacks. Surprisingly though she never tried to utilize her grappling which has always seemed to be her best skill. The fight was close and both had their moments but Maia had a slight edge in the striking numbers. That paired with the nasty gash that opened up on Eye’s forehead, although it was caused by a head clash, seemed to be enough for the judges to give Maia the nod. Jennifer Maia by unanimous decision.
Trevin Giles v. Dricus Du Plessis
The opening round of this bout appeared to be won by Du Plessis. Both had their moments but the offense of Giles was just too conservative. The second round Giles began to turn it up a little and he even seemed to rock Du Plessis briefly but the moment he did that he seemed to pause for a second to admire his work, which backfired on him. Du Plessis flies off the cage with an almost superman like punch and lands it clean on the chin of Giles, dropping him instantly. Du Plessis follows up with a few more lethal punches while Giles is flat on his back forcing the referee to step in and stop the action. Du Plessis by second round knock out.
Ryan Hall v. Ilia Topuria
For the untrained eye this bout was wildly awkward looking. For those who know how Ryan Hall normally fights however, it was par for the course. He spent a good portion of round one constantly trying imanari rolls with no success. He tried it at least ten times until Topuria was finally able to get his timing down and pin his arm down to keep him from spinning back out of danger. It was at that point that he was able to land several very hard hammer fists in a row until Hall was left unconscious. Ilia Topuria by first round knock out.
Niko Price v. Michel Pereira
This fight was absolutely a Fight of the Night contender. What a high intensity war this was with nonstop action. Pereira as per usual was the bigger, stronger and more explosive fighter. He landed the heavier shots in the first round and a half but like most of his fights, he began to fade quickly as the fight went on. In the third round Pereira was so exhausted that he was running away from the action. When he threw punches they were labored and looked almost like they were in slow motion. Niko Price sensed this and tried his best to pour on the pressure. Price absolutely dominated the third round but in the end it wasn’t enough. Michel Pereira by unanimous decision.
Carlos Condit v. Max Griffin
Griffin comes out in the first and immediately takes charge. He lands the much harder and more frequent shots on Condit and leaves no question as to who wins the opening round. Round two Condit makes a much better showing of himself landing some heavy straight rights to possibly even the score going into the third. Round three was competitive but in the end, the judges end up giving the round and the fight to Griffin. Max Griffin by unanimous decision.
Sean O’Malley v. Kris Moutinho
This fight had one of the highest percentages of strikes landed that I’ve ever seen. Moutinho took this fight on last minute notice but capitalized on his chance to debut in the UFC. Although O’Malley put on a striking clinic and absolutely dominated Moutinho, a few things can be taken away from this fight. One: Moutinho doesn’t believe in head movement. Two: he may have just laid out a blueprint for future fighters on how to severely challenge O’Malley. Three: Moutinho just scored himself a long contract fighting in the UFC. Dana White absolutely loves fighters like him who can walk forward, take punishment and keep on coming. It is guaranteed we will see him again. Sean O’Malley by third round TKO.
Irene Aldana v. Yana Kunitskaya
Aldana absolutely dominated this bout. She was able to successfully avoid the clinch that Kunitskaya has become known so well for. Aldana sticks and moves as Kunitskaya tries more and more desperately to secure the clinch. After landing some heavy shots repeatedly she eventually drops Kunitskaya with a mean left hook and then follows her to the ground with some vicious ground strikes. She eventually secures the Dagestani handcuff and is able to land the last final blows forcing the referee to stop the fight. Aldana by first round TKO.
Tai Tuivasa v. Greg Hardy
This fight was short and sweet. Tuivasa starts landing heavy leg kicks immediately and was already starting to inflict some damage on Hardy. Then Hardy forces Tuivasa against the cage after rocking him with a hard shot and slightly stumbling Tuivasa. Unfortunately for Hardy he gets too overzealous, rushes in to follow up and gets blasted with a counter left hand which drops him instantly. Tuivasa follows up with some quick ground strikes and the fight is quickly called off. Tuivasa by first round knock out.
Stephen Thompson v. Gilbert Burns
It was the tale of the grappler versus the striker in this one. Thompson is one of the hardest puzzles to figure out in the UFC with his highly tricky karate skills. Burns is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt who has elite level grappling. Round one was close but appeared to be won by Burns due to the takedown and ground control. Round two looked better for Thompson but just as it seemed he might win the round Burns secures a takedown in the last minute which may have made a case for the judges to give him that round as well. Round three was possibly the most dominant round for Burns as he spent a large portion of the round on top of Thompson landing significant strikes. The fight went the distance and was left to the judges. Gilbert Burns by unanimous decision.
Dustin Poirier v. McGregor
The opening round of this main event was very high intensity. Conor looked much better than the last fight returning back to his karate stance and attacks. He also flipped the script on Dustin and was the one who was landing the heavy calf kicks and seemed to get out in front early. The downfall for Conor was when he tried to pull guillotine and drop to the ground. Dustin was able to escape and began landing some very serious ground strikes. Towards the last minute of the fight Conor was able to get back to his feet and began exchanging strikes. Right before the end of the round Conor steps back and his ankle folds over like a piece of rubber. The referee is forced to call the fight. Dustin Poirier is granted the win due to doctor stoppage.