Malcolm Gordon v. Denys Bondar
Gordon came into this fight a huge underdog. A lot of people speculated that it would be a very one sided fight in the favor of Bondar. The speculators commented on the overwhelming attack of Bondar, a finishing machine and how it would be a bad mix for the suspect chin of Gordon, who has been finished many times due to strikes. As the opening bell rings both fighters quickly meet in the middle and start exchanging immediately. After a few seconds of exchanging, it is actually the underdog Gordon who lands the first very flush shot and rocks Bondar. Bondar, slightly wobbled, immediately ducks under and gets a quick takedown to stifle the follow-up shots and to buy himself some time to recover. While on bottom, Gordon quickly latches onto one of the arms of Bondar and within seconds he is putting an immense amount of torque on the arm. Unfortunately for Bondar, you eventually see the elbow snap and he is left no choice but to cry out and verbally tap which immediately ends the fight. A very impressive win for a highly slept on underdog. Gordon by first round submission.
Jason Witt v. Philip Rowe
This fight was a very intriguing one due to the grappler verse striker style clash and the extreme height and reach advantage of Rowe. As far as the reach advantage, this fight had the second biggest reach discrepancy in UFC history. Rowe had a mind blowing ten and a half reach advantage. As the opening round begins to play out, Witt is extremely careful and staying on the outside to try and keep away from the reach of Rowe. As he blitzes occasionally, he finally finds his opening to secure his first takedown. Rowe stays patient and is able to get back up fairly quickly but once again he is taken right back down where he spends a majority of the round. A clear winning round for Witt due to the large amount of top control. In the second round Witt gets right back to work and is able to secure another takedown. Rowe once again stays patient and is able to eventually get back to his feet. It is at this point that everything changes. Rowe closes in on Witt, backing him against the cage and unleashing a deadly combination. He starts the combo with a straight right that lands followed by a blistering left hook that obliterates Witt and stuns him. Rowe follows those two shots with one more straight right that drops Witt. From there Rowe lands two more hammer fists while Witt is dazed on the ground and the referee is left no choice but to step in and stop the fight. Another very impressive finish for Philip Rowe. Rowe by second round TKO.
Danilo Marques v. Jailton Almeida
Almeida comes into this fight after a very polarizing finish on the Contender Series against a highly respected Russian wrestler. Marques, a tall fighter who is also a well known grappler, is expected to be another great test for Almeida. As the round begins, Almeida wastes absolutely no time. He closes in and throws one shot followed by a very intense blast double leg. He quickly secures a body lock on Marques and within seconds he has him on the ground. From there he begins to dominate. He starts landing shots and eventually gets to full mount which is basically the beginning of the end. He starts landing nonstop hammer fists from mount position. Marques is able to buck Almedia off balance a couple of times in order to buy himself a few more seconds but each time Almeida once again finds his balance and resumes his hammer fist attack. This happens several times as the referee keeps warning Marques. Eventually he just can’t get out of the situation and is clearly drowning from top pressure and hammer fist shots. After the final warning from referee Mike Beltran, Marques is unable to do enough to buy himself any more time. The fight is stopped and the division is put on notice from another dominant and polarizing finish by the newcomer Jailton Almeida. Almeida by first round TKO.
Alexis Davis v. Julija Stoliarenko
The opening round of this bout is all action. Davis wastes no time in quickly gaining top control on the ground and from there she starts dropping ground strikes on Stoliarenko. In typical fashion, Stoliarenko immediately starts attacking armbars. Stoliarenko is notorious for finishing fights with armbars so when she starts sinking them in very deep, the announcers quickly become highly animated. Impressively however, Davis is able to work her way out from extreme danger on several different occasions. Although Stoliarenko is able to offer extreme threats on several different points in the round, Davis escapes and remains in dominant top control. A clear cut round in the favor of Davis. As round two begins to play out, the fight remains on the feet this time. Both fighters have their moments but Stoliarenko appears to have the slight edge in the striking and by the end of the round, the face of Davis is a bloodied mess. As the final round begins, the fight may be tied at one round a piece. In the opening minute, Davis lands a shot that drops Stoliarenko and Davis quickly follows her to the ground to claim top control. From there she gets back to work as she did in round one with busy ground and pound. She spends the entire remainder of the round in top control and is even able to open a pretty significant cut on the face of Stoliarenko. Another fairly easy round to judge making a pretty clear cut fight to judge as well. Davis does enough to win two rounds out of three. Davis by unanimous decision.
Marc-Andre Barriault v. Chidi Njokuani
This fight was extremely short lived. In fact, it contained the second fastest finish for a debuting fighter in UFC history. Barriault is a very durable fighter who has shown great pressure and experience in his UFC career. Unfortunately for him, he has never come across a fighter like Chidi Njokuani before. Within the first few seconds Njokuani rushes across the cage and lands a jab followed by a very flush cross that drops Barriault. From there he quickly follows up with a couple more strikes while Barriault is dazed on the ground. The referee scrambles across the cage as fast as he can to stop the fight but not before Barriault is now officially unconscious. It took sixteen seconds in total for Njokuani to make his debut performance and put his division on notice as well. A very impressive performance indeed. Njokuani by first round KO.
Hakeem Dawodu v. Mike Trizano
The first round of this fight is an all striking affair. Neither fighter ever pursues any grappling and they stand in the center and trade shots the entire time. Dawodu ends up getting the better of the striking exchanges. He appears to be faster, have a wider variety of strike selection and lands the more significant strikes between the two. By the end of the round, the numbers are high enough in favor of Dawodu that there should be no question in the mind of the judges. Round two plays out entirely on the feet as well. Trizano has his moments and even lands a few strikes that clearly get Dawodu’s attention. But all in all, it is once again Dawodu who has the much higher numbers and the far better variety of shot selection. He is mixing up the attacks and variety in a beautiful display. In the third round it was a continued brilliant performance by Hakeem Dawodu. He once again has the higher volume, the more significant strikes landed and the wider variety. In the end, it was a very admirable performance by Dawodu who was able to get a clean sweep and win all three rounds. Dawodu by unanimous decision.
Miles Johns v. John Castaneda
The opening round of this fight is highly competitive. Both fighters are careful with tight defense and very measured attacks. Although it is a close round, it appears that Castaneda may have edged out the round due to a slightly higher volume and a clear case of being the aggressor who was constantly walking forward. Round two was a little more clear cut with Castaneda continuing to be the aggressor and landing the higher volume. In addition, Castaneda lands a couple of very flush shots that clearly stumble Johns until he loses his footing and eventually falls. Castaneda follows him to the ground and finishes the round in top control which left no question as to who was the winner of the round. Round three is when Castaneda really puts the finishing touches on all his work. He continues to rock Johns with volume and flush shots while making Johns miss by a mile with over aggressive shots. You can clearly start to see Johns wilt and eventually he’s hit with a combo and once again falls to the canvas. This time Castaneda follows him to the ground and is quickly able to lock in a head and arm triangle. It only takes a few seconds before Johns is unconscious. A very impressive performance by Castaneda. Castaneda by third round submission.
Julian Erosa v. Steven Peterson
The first round of this bout had a lot of action. Although Peterson did attempt one takedown, he was unable to complete it and the round played out completely on the feet. Peterson had his moments and did land some flush shots here and there but ultimately it was Erosa who did the best work. Round two was the best round of the night up to that point. Both fighters were rocked at several different points and there were numerous times when the fight appeared that it was about to be stopped. Somehow, both fighters were able to survive and what resulted were two wobbly, exhausted and very sloppy fighters who were just slugging it out and making one of the best rounds of the year. In the third round it was Peterson who struck first and once again rocked Erosa. But Erosa was able to secure a takedown and buy himself some time to recover. Peterson eventually works his way back to his feet. What ensued after that was more absolute chaos. As wild as the previous round was, it may have actually been overshadowed by this round. Both fighters, once again, extremely bloody, exhausted and wobbly continue to trade nonstop shots. Both show extreme heart and in the final minute Erosa is screaming out to Peterson and loving every minute of the chaos. Erosa lands a couple of key takedowns in the fight which may have actually been the only subtle difference. An absolute slobber knocker and definitely an early contender for fight of the year. What a fight. Erosa by split decision.
Bryan Battle v. Tresean Gore
The opening round for this fight appeared to go to Battle due to output alone. It was Gore who was constantly walking forward and doing all the stalking but Battle just fired continuous shots from the outside and continued to pepper Gore to keep distance. Gore appeared too focused on looking unconcerned the whole time but offered almost no output and ended up losing the round pretty clearly due to lack of output. In between rounds though, Gore’s coaches stressed these same points to him and he came out in round two a much more motivated fighter. Gore started round two immediately with much more output. He continued stalking forward but he was actually throwing a good amount of shots now. Battle continued to try and evade while peppering shots of his own. Gore ends up landing a couple of flush shots and rocks Battle so smartly, Battle clinches and begins engaging in the grappling to slow down the progress of Gore. After a bit of back and forth grappling it is actually Gore who ends up on top to finish the round. A very close round in the end but Gore may have done just enough and the fight could very well be tied now in the judges eyes. The final round was competitive but once again it was Battle with the high output and Gore with the lackadaisical effort acting as if he was not too concerned with anything. By the end of the round it was clear that Battle had much more volume and just overall put forth more effort in the fight. A smart and heart filled effort by Battle and a performance by Gore that left something to be desired. Gore will definitely look back on this fight with regret knowing that he could have done a lot more. Battle by unanimous decision.
Sam Alvey v. Brendan Allen
Sam Alvey comes into this fight on a six fight losing streak. Although there were some questionable decision losses in there, six in a row is still very alarming and rarely is a UFC fighter able to keep their job after a bad stretch like that. Brendan Allen however, comes into this fight on extremely late notice and is trying his hand for the first time at the 205 pound division. In the opening round, it is Allen pressing forward and Alvey with his back to the cage, as per usual. He backs up and continues to look to land his big bomb counter strikes. Alvey does show some improvements in volume in the opening round and even lands several good flush shots on Allen. The round is fairly competitive but in the final 20 seconds Allen is able to land a few shots that wobble Alvey. Alvey clinches and is able to survive the round but that small flurry at the end may have been enough to steal the round for Allen. In round number two Allen gets right back to work with the heavier output and it doesn’t take long before he lands his best punch of the fight. He lands a blistering left hook that drops Alvey immediately. Allen rushes to the ground and is able to take the back and lock up an extremely tight rear naked choke. It is only a matter of seconds before Sam Alvey is forced to tap out. Allen by second round submission.
Shavkat Rakhmonov v. Carlston Harris
This fight featured two highly touted prospects who were both coming off a couple of extremely impressive wins. The pairing of the two was actually somewhat surprising as the UFC often will not want to burn up a prospect so soon and will wait to build them up so that they can meet later down the road. The opening round was competitive and Rakhmonov did his usual stalking but Harris was showing what all the hype was about with his lightning speed and powerful counter shots. Harris also was impressive in how he was able to contest the grappling attempts of Rakhmonov which few are able to do. As the round was nearing the final minute however, everything changed. Rakhmonov throws a spinning head kicks which lands and immediately drops Harris. Rakhmonov follows Harris quickly to the ground and throws a few very hard follow up shots which also land flush. Harris is soon unconscious and the fight is over. Another very impressive performance by Rakhmonov and once again the division is on notice. Rakhmonov by first round KO.
Punahele Soriano v. Nick Maximov
Maximov comes into this fight after a very impressive debut peformance in which he dominated his opponent with absolutely suffocating wrestling. In the opening round of this fight, Maximov lands a quick strike and immediately shoots for his first takdeown. Soriano is able to evade and then the strike/takedown formula for Maximov continues on a rinse and repeat basis for the remainder of the round. Somewhere along the way however, Soriano lands a beautiful punch that opens a big cut on the face of Maximov which Soriano then follows up with a flush and devastating knee to the face. Maximov is able to survive due to his immediate clinch and wrestling that followed. A very close first round and a hard one to score if you are a judge. In round two Soriano starts landing more flush shots and just as it appears the fight is starting to get away from Maximov, he is able to once again lean on his wrestling and slow the pace and momentum of Soriano. Another very close round and tough one to score and it will simply be up to what each judge favors, strikes or wrestling. In the start of round three, Maximov secures a takedown immediately. A very smart approach and he is now showing how badly he clearly wants this win. Soriano is able to get back up fairly quickly but Maximov stays relentless and glued to Soriano with suffocating pressure just as he had done in his UFC debut. For the entire third round, Maximov continues with his relentless grappling and just suffocates Soriano which in turn limits any possible chances of offense for a very frustrated Soriano. In the end, Maximov doesn’t land a lot of damage but he does demonstrate enough control to convince the judges. Maximov by split decision.
Jack Hermansson v. Sean Strickland
The start of this main event went according to plan. Hermansson comes out and trades a few strikes and then turns quickly to his grappling attempts as expected. Strickland stays patient though and is able to defend nicely. Hermansson puts forth a lot of effort but is unable to ever truly secure a takedown. A close round and tough one to score as neither fighter ever truly had any real true damage but both had their moments of chipping away. In the second round it was once again competitive with Hermansson once again unable to complete a takedown and the fight playing out on the feet. Each fighter has their moments but it stays mostly competitive until the final seconds of the round. It is at this point that Strickland lands a flush right hand that drops Hermansson immediately. Strickland chooses not to follow him to the ground and as Hermansson gets back up the buzzer sounds ending the round. Definitely enough to win the round for Strickland. In the third round it was more of the same from both men. Hermansson is still unable to get any grappling going which always seemed like his most likely path to victory. Strickland is still coasting nicely and just kind of winning the fight with his jab. Hermansson’s face is now starting to get pretty red from all the jabs he’s eaten. In the fourth round Hermansson comes out a little more aggressive and although his output and attempts increase he still is just unable to ever get anything going on Strickland. According to the stats, Strickland has the best defense and is the least hit fighter in the whole division. He once again demonstrates why that is true with his very slick tricks at getting out of the way just enough. Round five is more of the same for Hermansson. He once again comes out with more enthusiasm but is just never able to find Strickland very well and cannot get anything going. In the end, it is pretty much all Strickland who does more than enough to get the job done. Strickland by unanimous decision.
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