Louis Smolka v. Vince Morales
This fight was short lived. Both fighters come out and waste no time throwing. Smolka is the aggressor and is throwing head shots while Morales throws several body shots in succession. About two minutes into the opening round Morales is throwing more body shots and then he surprisingly throws a right hand while in close but goes to the head this time. He catches Smolka off guard and drops him instantly. Morales face plants and is hit with a few more shots while face down on the canvas. The referee stops the fight immediately. Smolka by first round knockout.
Claudio Puelles v. Chris Gruetzemacher
Round one of this fight was pretty much all Puelles. He gets a takedown early in the round and dominates from top control for most of the round. An easy round to score for the judges. Round two Gruetzemacher starts being able to stop the takedown and has a little more success. They both trade shots throughout the round but by the time the round ends it is Puelles that appears to have the edge in the exchanges. He may be going into the third round up two rounds. The third round was the most competitive round of the fight as Gruetzemacher increases his pressure in pursuit of the much needed finish. He stalks Puelles and occasionally has some success but Puelles slows him down some by clinching against the fence and peppering with shots. Towards the end of the round Puelles locks up a knee bar and Gruetzemacher tries to tough it out but eventually grimaces and screams forcing him to verbally tap. Puelles by third round submission.
Alonzo Menifield v. William Knight
The opening round of this fight was a lot more grappling heavy than expected. After a few initial strike exchanges Knight quickly shoots for a takedown but it is immediately reversed by Menifield. From there both fighters go through a series of reversals and position changes. A whole lot of movement and energy expended for such giant boys carrying all that muscle. In the last 20 seconds of the round Knight rocks Menifield and chases him with a flurry while Menifield stumbles all around the cage. Fortunately for Menifield, he is able to survive as the buzzer sounds. He stumbles over to his corner. In round two, Menifield starts rocking Knight with heavy shots but Knight also hangs tough. Both fighters finish the round by throwing single haymakers showing no real concern for putting together any combinations. In the final minute of the round Menifield finally starts getting his jab going and has some good success. A hard round to score for the judges but it may have gone to Menifield. In the 3rd round Menifield clinches and tries to stall out the round feeling like he is in the lead. For the most part, he is successful at neutralizing the offense of Knight. A close fight to score but the judges surprisingly thought Knight had done enough. Knight by unanimous decision.
Mallory Martin v. Cheyanne Vlismas
Vlismas comes into this fight after recently separating from her husband so it was unknown what type of performance she might deliver. In the first round, it is Martin who walks Vlismas down and is in constant pursuit. Vlismas counters consistently but never really lands too many things flush. Towards the end of the round Vlismas starts taunting her opponent and gets fired up which often is a sign that she’s about to start fighting at her best. In round two both fighters had their moments but it was a very closely contested round and could have gone to either fighter. Round three may have been the best round for Vlismas as she finally started landing some flush shots. Martin continued being the aggressor walking down Vlismas and continuing to clinch and look for takedown attempts. The takedown defense of Vlismas holds up and in the final few minutes of the fight Vlismas really gets going with her striking. Martin starts showing damage on her face and Vlismas is getting more pumped up and aggressive as the fight nears it end. She lands some of her best shots in the final minute and does enough to convince the judges. Vlismas by unanimous decision.
Bryan Barbarena v. Darian Weeks
Weeks comes into this fight as a short notice replacement. He starts the opening round with good straight punches and blistering kicks straight up the middle to the body and even near the face at times. Barbarena stays patient and tough as usual but at the conclusion of the round it may be Weeks who had done just enough to win the opening round. In round two it was another very competitive round with both fighters having their moments. Towards the end of the round however, Weeks begins showing some slight signs of fatigue with loud heavy breathing and the mouth being left open for long periods of time. In the third round Weeks clinches early as he may have been attempting to buy himself some time to catch his breath. Barbarena eventually separates however and starts pouring on the offense. Weeks maneuvers and counters and towards the final minutes of the round both are trading at full power with almost no footwork or focus on defense. The fight goes the distance and in the end, the judges thought that Barbarena had done just enough. Barbarena by unanimous decision.
Zhalgas Zhumagulov v. Manel Kape
Both of these fighters are lightning fast so going into this fight we knew that it would be a high octane battle. Both fighters waste no time and immediately begin trading extremely quick combinations. Each fighter lands their share but over time Kape begins investing in the calf kick. The first few he lands don’t seem to have much effect but we know how those calf kicks are, it only takes a few. Eventually the leg of Zhumagulov begins to stiffen up which rapidly decreases his ability to evade. Kape eventually lands a big shot which stumbles Zhumagulov and forces him back to the cage. Kape closes in and lands a left uppercut which makes Zhumagulov shell up. From there it is a full on blitz by Kape throwing a 12 punch combo. The referee steps in and stops the fight. Kape by first round TKO.
Maki Pitolo v. Dusko Todorovic
Pitolo comes out looking great in the standup but as per usual in his career, he makes a poor decision and just can’t ever seem to get out of his own way. He grabs the neck during a scramble and instead of letting it go he pulls guard and voluntarily goes to the ground. The ground was the one place Pitolo could lose this fight and unfortunately for Pitolo, he put himself there voluntarily. Todorovic lands some ground and pound and continues to improve his position until he’s eventually in full mount. From there he rains down bombs and the referee has seen more than enough to stop the fight. Todorovic by first round TKO.
Alex Morono v. Mickey Gall
The opening round of this fight was mostly Morono. They started the round trading shots but eventually Morono lands a shot that drops Gall. Morono follows Gall the ground and spends a good amount of time there in top control. Gall survives and eventually gets back to his feet where the round ends. In the second, Gall gives a better account of himself as he begins to land occasionally. Morono would usually be expected to dominate Gall in this matchup but Morono has been focusing more on coaching lately and it was clear he hasn’t been training quite as much. Round two stays pretty competitive and by the end of the round Gall is starting to get his confidence up. In the third and final round Morono starts looking really out of shape and Gall continues to build on his momentum. By the end of the fight it was an entirely different fight than when it started. The first half was all Morono and the second half appeared to be trending in the way of Gall. In the end though, surprisingly, the judges thought it was a mostly one sided affair. Morono by unanimous decision.
Brendan Allen v. Chris Curtis
Curtis came into this fight after an explosive debut that just happened recently. He handed Phil Hawes his first loss in shocking fashion. Allen comes into this fight on a winning streak which he achieved by mostly utilizing his grappling. In the opening round of this bout however, Allen didn’t do much grappling. Choosing to stay in the standup and trade with Curtis is a dangerous approach for Allen. Both have their moments in the first round but Curtis actually finished the round in top control over Allen. Round two begins and Allen once again chooses to engage in the standup. Stupid decision. It doesn’t take long until Curtis lands a flush shot and rocks Allen very badly. As Allen stumbles backwards to the cage and Curtis pursues, Allen still doesn’t choose to grapple. Instead he does the usual stumbling fighter approach where he tries to throw wild shots back. It only takes a matter of seconds until Curtis lands a few more shots forcing the fight to be stopped immediately. Curtis wins by second round TKO.
Clay Guida v. Leonardo Santos
Well once again Clay Guida proves that he has the key to the fountain of youth. He comes into this fight just turning 40 years old and was apparently underestimated by not only the odds makers but also the fans, analysts and his opponent. In the opening round Santos rocks Guida with a hard shot and from there absolutely demolishes Guida with shot after shot including a flush knee to the chin. Any other referee would’ve stopped the fight long ago but for some reason Keith Peterson lets the fight continue to play out with Guida taking nonstop unanswered shots. Then out of nowhere, like a miracle, Guida somehow gets back to his feet and flashes a smile. Santos on the other hand, is now completely gassed and looking confused. The round ends and starting the next round Guida blitzes immediately as per instruction from his corner. The still exhausted Santos tries to survive but Guida eventually takes him down, takes his back and locks in a rear naked choke. Santos is forced to tap out. Guida by second round submission.
Jimmy Crute v. Jamahal Hill
This fight was very short lived. It was expected that Crute would grapple Hill and that would be his key to victory. But in yet another fight, the grappler chooses to engage in the standup with a very dangerous fighter. And once again, the grappler paid the ultimate price. It only took a matter of minutes for Hill to land a full blast shot on Crute and drop him. Crute makes it back to his feet only to be hit with another flush shot that drops him once again. Hill follows with one more devastating shot and Crute is knocked out. Hill by first round KO.
Rafael Fiziev v. Brad Riddell
This bout was one of the most anticipated fights of the night. Both fighters are incredibly skilled and it’s hard to picture either fighter ever losing. Both come out and it is clear they both respect each other but each time they threw their shots it was with 100% power. Each have their moments in the opening round and occasionally land flush but neither ever flinched one bit. A very competitive first round. In the second, they pick up right where they left off. They continue trading at full power but it appears to be Fiziev who is getting the better of the exchanges. By the end of the round, Riddell is starting to show some serious damage on his face. In fact, they bring in the doctor in between rounds to check the cut over Riddell’s left eye. The doctor allows the fight to resume. As the final round begins to unfold, Riddell begins to start going for takedowns. He’s clearly not loving the damage he’s enduring in the standup exchanges. Although the fight remains close, it still appears that the exchanges are being won by Fiziev. And then out of nowhere it happened. Fiziev lands a spinning wheel kick that lands flush and we see something that you almost never see. Riddell looks partially blinded and is staring at the floor and saying something. His brain had clearly short circuited and the referee was smart enough to rush in and stop the fight immediately before any more damage could be done. Fiziev by third round TKO.
Rob Font v. Jose Aldo
In the opening round Font comes out fast and starts taking it to Aldo immediately. Font looks very good and is dominating Aldo for a majority of the round but towards the very end of the round Aldo lands flush. Font drops and Aldo blitzes in but Font survives as the buzzer goes off. In round two the fighters continue exchanging full blast shots. Font gets rocked once again but not quite as bad this time. He regains his composure and continues to land his own hard shots along the way. Another well fought round for both fighters. In the third round they resume again but this time Aldo lands a surprising takedown and starts doing work from top control. He doesn’t rush or force anything but remains in control and is scoring points. Font eventually gets back to his feet and as they standup it becomes apparent that Aldo’s right eye is starting to swell shut. Font must have landed something significant while they were on the ground. We now head into the championship rounds. Early in the fourth round Aldo once again lands flush and drops Font. Aldo follows him to the ground and Font is somehow able to recover while Aldo stays working from top control. The round ends with Aldo on top. As the final round begins both fighters have one eye completely swollen shut. As the round progresses, Aldo lands one more straight shot that had been working all night. He stumbles Font once again. Aldo ends up on top and is content to ride the remainder of the fight out in top control. When the final buzzer goes off, both fighters are exhausted and completely bloody. An incredible fight but in the end the judges thought that Aldo had done more than enough for the win. Aldo by unanimous decision.