Julio Arce v. Daniel Santos
The opening round of this fight went as expected. Santos came out fast like a tornado like he usually does in the first round. He was the aggressor the entire time marching down Arce and backing him against the cage. Santos landed some nice punches and elbows throughout the round as did Arce. However, towards the end of the round the momentum quickly shifted into Arce’s favor as he landed a very nice flurry that may have been enough to steal him the round. In the second round Santos continued to march forward and pressure Arce. He had success occasionally but the movement of Arce continued to keep him out of trouble for the most part. Both fighters were investing in body shots with the punches and kicks. Going into the third round it could very well be Arce up by two rounds. In the third Santos still doesn’t let up with his forward pressure. He is constantly the aggressor but Arce’s movement is still causing problems for Santos. The closer the fight gets to being over the more aggressive and risky Santos becomes in hopes of trying to finally land the big shot he’s been searching for. Arce is wise to this approach though and his movement just proves to be too much for Santos. Although the fight was competitive it appeared to be a clean sweep for Arce. The judges agreed. Arce by unanimous decision.
Piera Rodriguez v. Kay Hansen
In round one of this fight both girls elected to trade punches for most of the first minute. After that they began to incorporate kicks into the mix and eventually Hansen starts attempting her takedowns. Rodriguez is able to stuff the first takedown attempt and then when Hansen landed the takedown on the next attempt Rodriguez was able to use the momentum to kick her off top and get back up. However, Hansen was relentless and continued to force the grappling. On her next takedown attempt she is finally able to land it and secure top control. She spends the remainder of the round on top and peppering shots which should be enough to steal the round for her. In the second Hansen continues her grappling attempts and is having partial success but in the final minute of the round Rodriguez is able to reverse and even take the back of Hansen. This is a big moment for Rodriguez as she threatens chokes from the back and also lands punches from behind. A big momentum shift and it may have been enough to steal the round for Rodriguez. Going into the third round the fight may now be tied. Within the first minute of the third Rodriguez is finally able to get a takedown of her own. She gets in top control and starts scoring. About two minutes into the round Hansen gets back to her feet. Rodriguez clinches and forces Hansen to the fence. From there Rodriguez keeps pressuring Hansen against the cage and lands strikes while controlling her torso tightly. As the final moments tick down it has been a dominant round for Rodriguez. This proved to be enough to be enough to win her the fight after also winning the second round. A close fight but Rodriguez was able to come back nicely after losing the first round.
Aleksei Oleinik v. Jared Vanderaa
The ageless wonder that is Aleksei Oleinik enters this fight already having 76 professional fights. He is 44 years old and continues to fight extremely tough competition. Although he has been in somewhat of a slump he is a fighter you can never count out, especially if he gets to engage in his grappling. As the first round begins Vanderaa clearly is trying to stick and move and do anything he can to evade the clinch of Oleinik. He does well and lands occasionally but in the final two minutes Oleinik is finally able to get inside and grab ahold of Vanderaa’s torso. Vanderaa scrambles and falls but is able to end up on top of Oleinik using his huge weight advantage. Oleinik hangs on to one leg though and continues to let go of his grip. That’s why he’s called the boa constrictor. He eventually brings down the giant and is able to take the back. Once this happens against Oleinik you are in very deep trouble. He latches on from the back and threatens rear naked chokes. But eventually he is able to work back around and take side control which is really the ultimate place he wants to be. He finally locks on his signature scarf hold choke and from there the spectators all know it’s officially over. It only takes a matter of seconds before Vanderaa can no longer take the pressure and is forced to tap out. Another amazing performance by the ageless wonder. Oleinik by first round submission.
Mickey Gall v. Mike Malott
This fight was very short lived. Malott comes out and appears calm and composed at first but as soon as he finally decides to throw he throws with absolutely everything he’s got. He misses the first attempt but soon after lands a bomb that very clearly wobbles Gall. Somehow Gall is able to remain standing and even appears to get his composure back after a few seconds. Gall begins to start throwing strikes of his own again but it doesn’t take long until Malott lands another devastating shot. This one is a left hook and is maybe even harder than the previous bomb he had landed. Gall is unable to eat this one though. He falls straight on his face. Malott rushes after him to land a couple follow up strikes but the fight was already over as the referee was sprinting over to stop the fight. A very impressive UFC debut for Mike Malott. Malott by first round KO.
Aspen Ladd v. Raquel Pennington
The opening round of this fight was all action. Pennington was the aggressor as she marched forward and tried to be first. Ladd was very clearly trying to stay on the outside using head movement and counter strike. Both had their moments but it was Pennington who appeared to be getting the better of the exchanges. Pennington landed some good body kicks and punches while Ladd’s both shot was the counter left hook. In the final minute of the round they just stayed in phone booth range and threw flurries at each other. Both fighters bit down on the mouthpiece and were swinging wild while the crowd erupted. A very good finale to the opening round. The second round started out a little more calm but as it progressed it starts picking up steam again. Both fighters have their moments but again in this round it appeared that Pennington was just slightly getting the better of the exchanges. And almost as if it was an unspoken agreement, they once again end the round with a super wild flurry that once again gets the crowd to erupt. A very action packed fight so far but it seems that Pennington may be up two rounds going into the final round. Half way through the third round Ladd is finally able to start the grappling and starts trying to take the back of Pennington. The crowd gets loud but Pennington is able to get back to her feet. Ladd keeps Pennington pinned against the fence while peppering punches and knees to the body. As the final round comes to a close it is the best round for Ladd as she was still coming on strong. But in the end it wasn’t enough. Pennington by unanimous decision.
Anthony Hernandez v. Josh Fremd
This fight was nonstop action and was the most exciting fight of the night thus far. From the opening bell Hernandez blitzes across the cage and immediately closes the distance. This was a brilliant idea because Fremd was much taller and longer by a very large amount. Hernandez makes Fremd grapple the entire first round and is constantly making him work while threatening submissions and landing strikes. Anytime Fremd is able to escape the grips Hernandez immediately latches back on and never gives him space. In the second round Hernandez continues right back to his relentless grappling pressure. However, in this round Fremd finally just quits trying to disengage in hopes of being able to have a striking fight. He just fully commits to the grappling and starts doing offensive wrestling of his own. In fact, Fremd eventually starts getting the better of the grappling exchanges and finds himself in top control landing hard strikes and now threatening submissions of his own. The crowd is extremely loud at this point after seeing how much Fremd has turned this fight around. Another exciting and close round but this one may have actually gone to Fremd. In the final round though, Hernandez gets right back to his relentless pressure but this round does not go nearly as well for Fremd. Hernandez basically just drowns him with the grappling pressure this time and as the round begins to unfold it just never gets any better for Fremd. As the fight comes to a close it was a very exciting bout but it was clearly won by Hernandez, two rounds to one. Hernandez by unanimous decision.
Ian Garry v. Darian Weeks
This was the second UFC bout for the highly touted prospect Ian Garry. He comes into the fight with a lot of hype against a durable and crafty Darian Weeks. In the opening round Weeks was the one marching forward trying to get Garry backed up against the cage so he could look for opportunities to grapple. Garry stayed on his bike and continued to move and bounce laterally along the outside of the cage. However, eventually Weeks was finally able to get ahold of him and make him do some grappling. Garry did okay with the grappling defense but he was definitely forced to work and fill up those arms with lactic acid. In the second round Garry started landing some more output and was getting the better of the striking exchanges. Weeks still pursued the grappling but Garry was able to evade it much better this round. In the final round Garry did his best work and was even able to drop Weeks when he lands a flush punch on the chin. Weeks recovers and continues to march forward but Garry was able to stay moving and landing counter strikes throughout the round. The fight goes the distancce and although Garry did not get a finish, he did get some valuable and much needed octagon time to add to his experience. Garry by unanimous decision.
Vinc Pichel v. Mark Madsen
The first round of this fight was a chess match. Everyone knows that Madsen’s best asset is his Olympic wrestling so Pichel made sure to stay careful throughout the round. For the most part Madsen chose to engage in the striking exchanges for a majority of the first round. The objective was to try and take Pichel’s mind off of the wrestling. After about three and a half minutes Madsen finally lands his first takedown. Pichel is able to mitigate the damage though and before long he has worked his way back to the feet. A closely contested first round and a tough one to score. In the second round Madsen is once again able to get a takedown and this time he is able to hold control slightly longer. Unfortunately for Madsen he is not really able to do much damage again. Pichel works back to the feet and once again discourages Madsen. Another close round but Madsen is struggling to do much of anything when he finally gets his takedowns. In the third round Madsen gets another takedown but this time is able to stay in top control for the longest period of time in the whole fight. Madsen peppers shots and threatens submissions and a slightly more fatigued Pichel is unable to get up this time. For a majority of the final round Madsen is in top control and winning the most dominant round of the fight. In the end, the judges thought it was Madsen who had done just enough. Madsen by unanimous decision.
Mackenzie Dern v. Tecia Torres
This fight was a very competitive fight. Torres did her best to always stay moving and keep distance in order to never let Dern get too close. Dern is by far the best BJJ fighter in the female division and if you’re not careful she will latch on and you will never escape. For the most part, Torres was mobile and agile enough to barely edge out the striking exchanges but Dern landed the heavier strikes. In the second round Dern decided to pull guard while Torres was still standing. This forced Torres to carry Dern’s weight while the whole time Dern was attacking the arm mid-air. Eventually Torres hits the ground but is able to survive the round even though Dern was constantly threatening submissions and transferring back and forth between various attacks. In the third round Torres gets right back to her movement but once again Dern is able to get the fight to the ground and threaten submissions. As the fight comes to an end, Torres has out landed Dern in striking numbers but Dern has landed the occasional heavier strikes and had a giant amount of submission threats. In the end, the judges thought it was the submission threats and grappling control that had the higher value. Dern by split decision.
Gilbert Burns v. Khamzat Chimaev
This fight was the fight of the year. Period. Chimaev came into this fight as the most dominant prospect we have ever seen in the UFC. Absolutely nobody was giving Gilbert Burns a chance. Chimaev not only has won all his UFC fights in dominant fashion but nobody ever even touches him. The opening round of this fight saw Chimaev marching forward as usual throwing heavy shots. He then shots in for a takedown and lands a takedown with ease. However, surprisingly, Burns is able to fight off the attacks and work his way back to his feet. We have never seen anyone do that against Chimaev. Burns now starts landing shots of his own and you can slowly start to see the nerves leave his body in place of confidence. Towards the end of the round though Chimaev lands a stiff jab that drops Burns. Chimaev follows to the ground and then lands flush elbow that cuts open the head of Burns. As the round ends it is close but it appears that Chimaev certainly did enough to win the round. In the second round Burns starts really finding momentum. Chimaev is still highly dangerous and walking forward but Burns is finding rhythym and is starting to outland Chimaev. At one point Burns even lands flush and drops Chimaev. The crowd erupts as Chimaev stands back up and although wobbled, continues to walk forward and throw back. The second round ends with Burns clearly out landing Chimaev and the fight now possibly tied at one round a piece. The crowd is deafening at this point. In the final round Chimaev finding momentum again there is a point late in the round where it looks like Burns is so tired he can’t even throw punches anymore. He is forced to just take all the attacks of Chimaev and can barely even lift his arms to defend. Just as it looks as though the fight is about to be stopped Burns finds a second wind. He starts throwing back and with heavy power. The momentum is now switching back to Burns and Chimaev is starting to get rocked now. The crowd erupts and as the final seconds unwind, both fighters are wobbly and still throwing flurries with all their might. What a fight. In the end the judges thought that Chimaev had done just enough. Chimaev by unanimous decision.
Aljamain Sterling v. Petr Yan
This fight was much different than the first fight. Sterling comes out much more poised and calm than the first fight. Instead of throwing nonstop flurries in the first round this time Sterling stays on the outside and slowly chooses his strikes. He appears to be much more focused on energy efficiency this time. Yan lands occasionally as does Sterling but Sterling mixes in takedown attempts, although unsuccessful. A close round to score for the judges. In the second round though everything changes. Sterling is able to finally have success with a takedown and immediately takes the back of Yan with three minutes still left in the round. From there he controls the entire remainder of the round with nonstop strikes from behind and constant rear naked choke threats. This round was a very clear win for Sterling and could possibly have been a 10-8 round. In the third round it ended up being more of the exact same. This time Sterling takes the back of Yan with three and a half minutes left in the round. He once again threatens with rear naked choke threats and landing shots from behind. Another very clear cut round for Sterling and once again could have possibly been a 10-8 round. In the fourth round Yan finally has a little bit of success. He even ends up on top on the ground and has some top control for the last couple minutes of the round. A much better round for Yan and the first very clear cut round in his favor. In the final round Yan once again is able to evade the takedowns and even end up on top himself once again. He holds control and does enough to once again clearly win the round. In the end though, the judges thought it was Sterling who had done just enough to get the win and become the undisputed champion. Sterling by split decision.
Alexander Volkanovski v. Chan Sung Jung (The Korean Zombie)
The opening round of this title fight was all Volkanovski. He was just too fast and too elusive for Zombie to ever find success. Every time they engaged Volkanovski was beating Zombie to the punch and striking with much more power. There were several different instances in the first round that Vokanovski not only landed flush but wobbled Zombie. A very clear cut opening round for the champion. The second round was just more continued success and momentum for Volkanovski. He continues beating Zombie to the punch and landing flush wobbling Zombie again and even dropping him once. Zombie is able to survive the round but things are not going well for him. It’s beginning to feel that this fight will not go the distance. In between rounds Zombie just sits on the floor against the cage and doesn’t even use the stool. In the third round it’s more of the same and it’s beginning to be hard to watch. Especially since Zombie is such a likeable guy. He once again is wobbled and hit with more and more extremely hard shots. He somehow survives to make it to the fourth round but his face is now battered and all different colors. In the fourth round Volkanovski continues his abuse but this time he finally lands a flush shot in the middle of the Octagon and even though Zombie doesn’t fall, the referee steps in and saves him from himself. A fourth round stoppage for the champ in one of his most impressive and dominant performances to date. Volkanovski by fourth round TKO.