William Knight v. Maxim Grishin
Knight comes out in this fight looking absolutely enormous after missing weight by twelve pounds. He’s already the most muscular guy in the division but with the extra weight coming into this fight he just looked so incredibly massive. Grishin, the much taller fighter came out in round one utilizing his reach advantage and was having success with kicks up the middle to the body. Once he had Knight concerned about the body kicks he later went high and landed a nice head kick. The massive Knight just ate it and kept pressing. By the end of the round Knight had made the mistake of never really blitzing to get on the inside and therefore was just picked apart from the outside the entire round. This was a clear round for Grishin and will continue to be a fairly easy fight for him unless Knight adjusts his game plan going into the remaining rounds. In the second round Knight adjusted his approach and was able to get on the inside and utilize some clinches along the fence. He was even able to get a violent takedown where he viciously slammed Grishin. A much closer round which could have gone to either fighter. In the third and final round Knight resumes the clinching approach and is able to spend a lot more time on the inside. He once again is able to get another takedown but for the most part Grishin is able to escape with minimal damage. A fairly exciting fight but in the end the judges felt Grishin had done enough to win every round. Grishin by unanimous decision.
Mike Mathetha v. Jeremiah Wells
In the opening round Wells comes out and instantly starts the grappling. He struggles with Mathetha in the clinch and Mathetha is able to defend several takedowns for a good amount of time but eventually Wells is able to complete his first takedown. From there Wells is able to get into mount and rain down some pretty vicious ground strikes. Mathetha hangs tough though and is able to survive for a good amount of time despite the brutal attacks. Unfortunately for Mathetha however, Wells is eventually able to lock up a choke and it doesn’t take long before Mathetha is unconscious. A sad debut for Mathetha who is one of the City Kickboxing boys who came in with a lot of hype and aniticipation. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to show anything at all. It seemed that Wells was just too much too soon. Wells by first round submission.
Douglas Silva deAndrade v. Sergey Morozov
Morozov starts this fight looking like a straight up assassin. He immediately starts throwing extremely precise shots with vicious power that are landing flush. He eventually lands another flush shot that this time drops deAndrade. While on top, Morozov lands some brutal bombs and then later lands the most devastating shot of the round which comes in the form of a very nasty elbow. The elbow opens a huge cut on deAndrade and he immediately starts pouring blood profusely. By the end of the round, the canvas is stained by blood in various places. A clear cut round for Morozov. In the second round however, deAndrade comes out with a vengeance. He starts blitzing Morozov and having huge success with body shots, hooks and straight punches. He starts dropping Morozov and rag dolling him in the grappling. Morozov hangs tough and continues to fight back but as the round progresses he begins to wilt. The momentum of deAndrade continues to pour on and build like an avalanche until eventually it is just too much. Morozov falls once more and deAndrade is able to hop on the back and lock in a rear naked choke. It only takes a few seconds before Morozov is eventually unconscious. Douglas Silva deAndrade by second round submission.
Jacob Malkoun v. AJ Dobson
As this fight begins both fighters meet in the middle and start exchanging from a phone booth distance. Surprisingly, Dobson seems okay with this instead of staying outside and utilizing his height and reach advantage. Malkoun eventually starts a wrestling heavy approach and is giving Dobson all he can handle at trying to fight off the takedown attempts. Dobson is successful for the most part at fighting off all takedown attempts but Malkoun eventually is able to complete one towards the end of the round. A great round for both and a tough one to score for the judges. In the second round Malkoun immediately resumes his wrestling heavy approach. Although Dobson is able to fight most of them off Malkoun is just relentless and continues to force the issue. He finally gets a takedown that lasts and he starts dropping heavy strikes onto Dobson. Dobson is finally starting to wilt a little bit. The referee even steps in to give a warning at one point signifying that the fight was close to being stopped. Dobson hangs tough though and is able to survive but he was dominated this round and it was a clear cut round for Malkoun. Going into the final round the fight could very well be tied at one round a piece. Malkoun starts the third round with more relentless and dominant wrestling. All the great resistance that Dobson was putting up earlier in the fight is starting to fade. The cardio of Malkoun that he always prides himself on is absolutely shining through. Malkoun spends a majority of the final round on top and raining down heavy ground and pound. Another dominant round for Malkoun which ends up being more than enough to secure him the win. Malkoun by unanimous decision.
Ronnie Lawrence v. Mana Martinez
Lawrence comes out in this fight and waits ninety seconds before he finally tries his first inevitable takedown attempt which not only lands but is extremely explosive. From there Lawrence lands some strikes but eventually Martinez is able to escape and get back to his feet. During the striking exchanges on the feet, Lawrence eventually lands a strike that drops Martinez. Lawrence immediately hops on top and this time is able to control Martinez. He completes the remainder of the round on top landing strikes which makes it a very dominant first round for Lawrence. In the second round Lawrence continues his dominance landing several takedowns and once again landing flush and dropping Martinez for the second time. By the end of the round it was easily a 10-8 round in the judges eyes. In between rounds the coach of Martinez tells him he’s behind and needs a finish and urges him to take some chances. Martinez listens and comes out highly aggressive. This new found approach is highly successful for him. He starts landing good shots on Lawrence and starts building momentum as the crowd starts to awaken noticing the turn around. Then out of nowhere, Martinez land a flush spinning back fist and drops Lawrence. Lawrence hops back and gets hit flush with another shot that drops him again. By this point the crowd is erupting. Lawrence scrambles on the ground moving back while wobbled and under fire. The judge hovers over him and it appears that Lawrence was one shot away from the referee stopping the fight. He somehow manages to dodge the last brutal shot, grab onto a leg and complete a takedown. He is able to survive which seems like a miracle after how close he was to being stopped. A highly entertaining final round and the crowd is roaring as the final buzzer expires. Aside from the scare at the end, it was a very dominant fight for Martinez. Martinez by unanimous decision.
Carlos Ulberg v. Fabio Cherant
Ulberg comes out in this fight much more patient and calculated. He picks at Cherant from the outside using good jabs, leg kicks and body kicks. Ulberg eventually lands an accidental low blow which clearly angers Cherant. When the fight resumes the frustrated Cherant comes out swinging violently blitzing forward with wreckless abandon. He lands a very flush and hard shot on Ulberg but he somehow is able to eat it and carry on. Ulberg then lands a surprising takedown which slows the momentum of Cherant. Once back on the feet, Ulberg starts finding his rhythm and begins to land some lethal strikes which has the crowd excited. At the very end of the round however, Cherant lands a monstrous punch that drops Ulberg. A great back and forth round to start the fight. In the second round Ulberg continues building his confidence as he remains picking Cherant apart from the outside. For the most part, Ulberg is outclassing Cherant in the striking but the threat of always present danger is still there with Cherant. Everytime Cherant decides to go he blitzes in with devastating power that just barely misses. In the final round Ulberg continues to bounce around from the outside and pick at Cherant. Cherant still hangs back and threatens with big power like a coiled snake. Ulberg stays sharp though and is always just inches away from all the scary blitzes of Cherant. A nice fight for Ulberg and a great way to bounce back. Ulberg by unanimous decision.
Kyler Phillips v. Marcelo Rojo
As per usual, Phillips comes out looking lightning fast and precise. He throws a wide variety of dynamic strikes and lands fairly frequently. Unfortunately for Phillips, Rojo just eats every single shot and doesn’t seem to be affected in the slightest bit. Rojo continues to march forward right through the barrage of attacks from Phillips. A fairly action packed first round and most of the success came from Phillips but Rojo was right there making it a fight the whole time. In the second round Rojo continues to march forward undiscouraged but it is Phillips that continues to outclass and out land Rojo with a nice variety of attacks. By the end of the second, Phillips has slowly built on his lead from the first round and it feels like he is probably leading the fight two rounds to zero. In the third round Phillips puts an exclamation point on his already beautiful performance. He eventually ends up on the ground with Rojo and is able to lock up a triangle. While Rojo is trying to scramble against the triangle Phillips then begins attacking the arm bar simultaneously. As tough as Rojo is, he eventually is left no choice but to tap. A masterful performance by Phillips to continue on his rise through the division. Phillips by third round submission.
Casey O’Neill v. Roxanne Modafferi
Modafferi comes into this fight after announcing it will be the last of her career. In typical Modafferi fashion, she chooses to take a very tough fight against a rising fighter with a ton of momentum. Surprisingly, the opening round plays out entirely on the feet. Many thought O’Neill would choose to take Modafferi down repeatedly and try to dominate her there as she had done in her prior wins. Although O’Neill lands double the strikes that Modaferri does in the first round, it is O’Neill who is wearing all the damage. O’Neill wins the first round but she finishes the round with a bloody nose and a black eye. In the second round, the fight continues to play out on the feet. As O’Neill continues to find her rhythm and build momentum, she starts yelling out her war cries loudly into the air. The crowd responds and both fighters feed off of the energy. O’Neill yells out again and Modafferi decides something needs to change so she quickly ducks under and gets the first takedown of the fight. A nice change up for Modafferi but the takedown comes too late in the round and is too little too late. In the final round Modafferi comes forward with even more pace knowing this will be the last round of her career. O’Neill continues to land nicely but Modafferi continues to eat them and press forward. She even still mixes in the takedowns and clinching occasionally. In the end, it appears to be a clear cut win for O’Neill but another admirable performance by Modafferi to top off her even more admirable career. O’Neill by unanimous decision.
Andrei Arlovski v. Jared Vanderaa
Arlovski has had such an amazing career. He enters this fight having the second most fights in UFC history. Vanderaa is known for being heavy handed but as the opening round begins to play out, there is a clear speed advantage for Arlovski. As per usual, Arlovski stays defensively sound and outlands his opponent. A closely contested round but Arlovski appeared to do enough to win the first. In the second round Vanderaa switches up his strategy and quickly goes for the clinch up against the cage. Arlovski eventually escapes and quickly throws a head kick that grazes Vanderaa. After meeting back in the middle and a few exchanges Vanderaa accidentally lands a low blow. When the fight resumes Arlovski continues to enjoy his speed advantage and is able to get the better of the striking exchanges. Going into the third round it appears that Arlovski is up two rounds to zero. In the third Vanderaa tries to pick up the pace but Arlovski is just much quicker on the feet and is able to evade just about everything. Another impressive performance for the ever ageless Andrei Arlovski. Arlovski by split decision.
Bobby Green v. Nasrat Haqparast
This fight was highly anticipated as both fighters are highly skilled and lethal in the striking. As per usual in a Bobby Green fight, he comes out looking slick with his striking and even more slick with his defense. He has some of the best shoulder rolls in the game. Both fighters act supremely confident like they know they are the better fighter which makes for all action in the middle of the cage. Green starts talking to Haqparast while throwing shots and landing. Haqparast is caught up in looking for single KO strikes while Green is staying slick and throwing clean combos with lightning speed. After the first round it appears that Green has out landed Haqparast. In the second round, they get right back to where they left off. Green continues to throw and land more volume with precision while Haqparast still stays too focused on the single power strikes. By the end of the second round Haqparast is now looking battered as he has been hit repeatedly with flush shots right down the middle. In the third round Green just continues to show exactly how slick he is. He is the Roy Jones Jr. of MMA. He just continues to out land, out class and out work Haqparast. An absolutely beautiful display by Bobby Green who just continues to improve and impress. Green by unanimous decision.
Alexander Hernandez v. Renato Moicano
Moicano enters this fight with a considerable height and reach advantage. In the opening round Moicano immediately starts utilizing his reach advantage. He starts landing on Hernandez at will. Hernandez remains tough as he tries to find his range and rhythm. As Moicano starts building momentum Hernandez just out of nowhere snaps and starts catching fire. He lands a flush combo on Moicano. He then follows that with a hard leg kick followed by a body kick. He continues to land and out of nowhere the momentum is all in the favor of Hernandez. Moicano seems hurt and now has almost no offense while Hernandez continues to pick up steam. By the end of the round Hernandez may have done enough to turn it around and steal the round. Round two Hernandez tries to pick up where he left off but Moicano tries to stand his ground better this time. Out of nowhere Moicano lands a flush uppercut followed by a hook that wobbles Hernandez. He stumbles backwards while Moicano chases with follow up shots. He rocks Hernandez once again which now drops him to the ground. Moicano follows him to the ground and locks up a rear naked choke. Within seconds Hernandez is forced to tap out. A brilliant display by Moicano. Moicano by second round submission.
Derek Brunson v. Jared Cannonier
The opening round of this bout was exciting. Cannonier comes out trying to throw bombs while Brunson looks for his takedown attempts. Cannonier is able to defend the the first few attempts which forces Brunson to stand up and strike with him. At the point that Brunson starts looking like he might be discouraged he starts landing a few surprisingly nice strikes. From there he starts landing his takedown attempts. Cannonier is able to escape the first takedown fairly quickly but then Brunson is able to drop him with a punch. He follows him to the ground and throws on a choke. There’s not enough time to get the submission but the round ends with Brunson holding a choke making it a clear winning round for him. In round two Brusnon resumes the wrestling immediately and has success. When the fight finally gets back on the feet Brunson appears to hit a brick wall. Out of nowhere he looks extremely exhausted and all of his movements are extremely slow like molasses. Cannonier starts pouring on the pressure and Brunson just continues to melt under the pressure. It doesn’t take long before Cannonier lands a devastating elbow followed by a backfist. Brunson wobbles backwards and Cannonier chases to land a couple more hard shots. Brunson drops and gets hit with 3 or 4 consecutive elbows until he unconscious. A very big win for Cannonier, in dramatic fashion. Cannonier by second round KO.
Tai Tuivasa v. Derrick Lewis
This fight, as expected, was all action. From the very first moment the spectators hold their breath. Both fighters possess that super human power where any one shot can end it. As both start to exchange both are able to evade for the most part. Tuivasa blitzes Lewis towards the cage and clinches. He’s able to hold Lewis there and land some good knees to the leg and light shots to the body and head. As the fighters separate and get back to the middle of the cage we get a surprise that nobody ever saw coming. Lewis ducks under and shoots for a double leg. He locks his hands and is able to take Tuivasa down. The whole crowd erupts feeling like it is only a matter of seconds now before the end comes. Then out of nowhere, Tuivasa does a highly unrecommended approach to getting up. He scrambles as fast as he can while taking repeated punches on the way up from one of the hardest punchers in the entire UFC. He somehow eats the shots and is able to stay conscious. He makes it back to his feet and eats one more shot that wobbles him. He survives. As they begin to trade both fighters are able to barely dodge each others shots. Tuivasa is able to clinch again along the cage. He then lands two punches that wobble Lewis. The crowd erupts. Then out of nowhere it happens. Tuivasa lands an elbow from inside the clinch that does it. Lewis is knocked out and falls forward on his face. A site we have never seen. The knockout king is knocked out. An absolutely insane fight with so much excitement. Tuivasa by second round KO.
Robert Whittaker v. Israel Adesanya
In the opening round Whittaker comes out looking extremely nervous, as can be expected. Everything he tries is missing while Adesanya is landing consecutively. No matter what Whittaker tries it just doesn’t seem to be working. As the momentum continues to build for Adesanya and he continues to outpoint Whittaker, he adds an exclamation to his round when he lands flush and drops Whittaker. The crowd erupts as Adesanya follows up with strikes. The time expires but Whittaker survives. In between rounds Whittaker looks completely defeated while sitting on the stool. When he comes out in the second however, he begins to find small successes here and there. He lands a couple of good strikes. He then gets a takedown. The crowd erupts again but the takedown is short lived. They resume on the feet and Whittaker lands a few more shots occasionally. Even with these successes Adesanya still may have done a little bit more which may have been enough to win the round for him. A definite confidence builder for Whittaker though. In the third round Whittaker comes out with more confidence. He begins having success again in the striking but he still is just slightly out landed by Adesanya. Whittaker gets another takedown but again it is short lived. This fight has now officially gone longer than the first meeting. Adesanya is still just edging everything out. Going into the fourth round Adesanya might be up three rounds to zero. In the fourth round Whittaker is able to clinch Adesanya and slip around to his backside. He jumps on the back of Adesanya while he’s still standing. Whittaker pursues a rear naked choke while on the back of Adesanya. The crowd is louder than ever now. Adesanya is eventually able to escape. Another minor victory for Adesanya but also a minor victory for Whittaker. Going into the fifth the crowd is on their feet. The fighters get right back to the action and begin to trade shot for shot. The main difference seems to be the left kick of Adesanya. He has landed them continuously throughout the fight to the body and leg of Whittaker. The wrestling attempts continue to come from Whittaker and he is able to get takedowns sometimes but they never seem to last long. The fifth round was the best for Whittaker and the most clear cut in his favor. As the fight ends the crowd erupts and Whittaker has given a much better account of himself. In the end, two judges give two rounds to Whittaker and one judge gives one round to Whittaker. Another win for the champ. Adesanya by unanimous decision.