Jessica Rose-Clark v. Julija Stoliarenko
This fight was a very high action fight that was over very quickly. As soon as the bell rings, the fighters march across the cage and start throwing bombs. This was a little surprising as both fighters are usually more tactful and measured. Each fighter lands a decent strike or two and then out of nowhere Stoliarenko quickly ducks under and gets a takedown via a dominant double leg. Once on the ground she quickly moves to side mount and within seconds she’s viciously attacking an armbar. Clark tries to defend but within seconds she’s left no choice but to tap out. Once the submission was released Clark is immediately holding her arm so it was clear that there was some damage done. It’s hard to know if it was broken or just badly torn but either way it was a tough sequence for Clark who badly wanted to get a win in this fight. On the other hand, it was a much needed win for Stoliarenko who was possibly fighting for her job after losing her first three fights in the UFC. Stoliarenko by first round submission.
Jessica Eye v. Maycee Barber
The opening round of this fight was very competitive. Eye comes out with a very nice tactic and uses very forceful clinching to force Barber against the cage. Barber seems very thrown off by this at first but eventually starts getting separation and landing some vicious elbows. Eye still doesn’t let up and continues forcing Barber against the cage with hard pressure via the clinch. Barber continues landing elbows though and Eye surprisingly doesn’t move her head or try to block any of them. It’s like she’s surprised each time another one lands. Although Eye has a majority of the control time in the round it feels that Barber may have won the round with the scoring criteria now placing more emphasis on damage these days. In the second round Eye immediately starts the clinch again and forces Barber against the cage. Barber fights it off with all her might but Eye is once again relentless. Eye is eventually able to land a trip and get the fight to the floor. From there Eye applies heavy pressure and is able to keep Barber pinned down for the remainder of the round. Eye lands some decent ground strikes and appears to win this round pretty comfortably. Going into the final round it is likely tied at one round a piece. In the third round it is another very competitive round. Eye continues to clinch aggressively and pursue the grappling. Barber is able to stay scrappy though and continues landing significant strikes when they really counted. As the round progresses Eye still stays tenacious but she is hit with enough strikes that it appears another clear winning round for Barber. The judges agree. Eye takes off her gloves after they announce the winner and declares that she is now retiring. Barber by unanimous decision.
Uriah Hall v. Andre Muniz
In the first couple minutes of the opening round both fighters are fairly calm and measured. Hall seems hesitant to throw his deadly kicks for fear of being taken down. Muniz also is less aggressive than usual but when he throws it is clear that he doesn’t have the fear of the takedown like Hall has. After a couple minutes of casual striking exchanges Muniz is eventually able to land a takedown. From there he implements his heavy pressure and ground strikes with constant transitions from position to position. Muniz eventually starts attacking submissions which has Hall’s frantic attention. Hall is able to fight off the submissions and survive the round but it is a clear winning round for Muniz. In the second round Muniz is once again the aggressor as Hall is clearly still concerned about the takedown. Muniz is eventually able to get it to the floor again. From there he starts landing ground strikes and slowly is able to move to full mount. Once in full mount he slow cooks Hall with strikes until he finally forces Hall to turn over and give his back. Muniz does not end up getting the submission but it is once again another clear cut round in the favor of Muniz. In the final round Muniz continues his dominance with the grappling and for the most part is able to just completely shut down all offensive momentum on the side of Uriah Hall. It is another dominant win for Muniz which will continue to keep him surging through the division. Muniz by unanimous decision.
Brad Tavares v. Dricus Du Plessis
This fight was all action. In the opening round Du Plessis was being over aggressive throwing lunging combinations very frequently. Towards the end of the round he started showing serious signs of fatigue and Tavares was starting to land some good shots. Tavares also lands a takedown that catches Du Plessis off guard. A very exciting first round but it appeared to go to Tavares. In the second round Du Plessis finds a second win and starts to rally. He lands beautiful 2 and 3 punch combos using straight punches where he leaps across the cage and catches Tavares even when Tavares thinks he’s out of range. Du Plessis also lands devastating body and head kicks. He even lands a flush knee that looks absolutely brutal. Tavares shows an amazing display of his toughness and durability but the second round appears to be a clear cut round for Du Plessis. In the final round both fighters are now hurt and exhausted. Despite this, they still march forward and trade like two bloodied gladiators. Du Plessis continues to land flush shots one after another that would drop most fighters. Somehow Tavares is able to take nonstop crushing blows and just keeping marching forward. He’s bloodied and battered but never falls and keeps throwing back. It is a very violent fight with nonstop action but in the end the judges felt that if was Du Plessis who had done more than enough. Du Plessis by unanimous decision.
Ian Garry v. Gabe Green
The opening round of this fight was very exciting. Green marches forward with heavy aggression while Garry stays on the back foot and chooses to be the sniper counter striker. Garry looks very good in this fight and is showing his improvements. In each fight he shows up having made leaps in his skill set. Green gets hit with some hard flush shots and even has a cut open underneath his left eye. Green takes a decent amount of damage but he is not discouraged and continues to march forward. Despite this, it appears to be a clear cut round for Garry. In the second round Green gets right back to his heavy forward pressure. He has a little more success in this round and starts to round some good strikes, especially in the second half. Garry continues to be a sniper and lands beautiful straight punches. Green still never eases up a bit and continues to stress Garry with nonstop forward pressure keeping Garry backed up against the fence. The second round was much closer and could have gone to either fighter. In the third round Garry lands a blistering punch early in the round and drops Green. Garry tries to follow him to the ground but Green grabs ahold of a leg and is able to work his way back to the feet. Throughout the remainder of the round Green continues with his heavy pressure but Garry is too poised and consistently is able to pick him apart from distance. Green makes it a fight the entire time but the height, length and skills of Garry are just a little too much for Green to ever get much going. The judges agree. Garry by unanimous decision.
Donald Cerrone v. Jim Miller
The first round of this bout was a nicely contested round. Miller is the more aggressive striker on the feet but Cerrone remains poised and never gets overwhelmed. The fight eventually ends up on the ground with Miller on top landing ground strikes. Cerrone remains poised on the ground as well and eventually is able to reverse the position to end up on top. From there he lands a couple strikes but Miller is active from the bottom and lands his own strikes while also threatening submissions. The round comes to a close and is competitive which is nice to see for Cerrone. In the second round both fighters are choosing selective strikes from the feet again. Cerrone actually lands a beautiful head kick that looks nasty and sounds even worse. However, after the kick lands, it is actually Cerrone who falls when Miller blitzes forward while Cerrone’s foot is still in the air. Cerrone hits the ground and before he knows it Miller has jumped on top and snatched up a very tight choke. Cerrone tries to escape and is hanging on for dear life but the choke is very tight. Cerrone’s face is turning red while he’s still trying to escape. After a few more seconds of intense pressure on the neck Cerrone is left no choice but to tap out. A sad sight to see the legend Cerrone lose yet again, especially because after the fight he chooses to retire. He takes off his cowboy hat and gloves and sets them on the floor. He sats the hat down and places the gloves inside. The crowd erupts and cheers him on. A sad site to see but another very impressive win for Miller especially this late in his career. Miller by second round submission.
Brad Riddell v. Jalin Turner
Wow, this fight was over before it even could really get started. Riddell marches forward and Turner stays back calmly. Turner waits for his moment then lands a brutal right hand. Turner then closes the distance and Riddell ducks down to try and grab the legs. Turner quickly snatches the neck and then falls on top of Riddell. Turner then locks in the legs to secure the body of Riddell and make the choke even tighter. Riddell tries to hang on but after a few seconds the choke and leverage are just too tight and he has no choice but to tap out. The fight is over in about 30 seconds. Nobody has ever handled Riddell in that way. Turner is absolutely on fire and has now won five fights in a row with all five victories coming by finish. What a statement he has made in an already scorching hot division. Turner by first round submission.
Pedro Munhoz v. Sean O’Malley
This fight ended in an unfortunate fashion. As the first round begins to play out, we see a much more measured O’Malley who is actually being challenged for a change. He is trying to assess the movement of Munhoz and is waiting to counter strike. Unfortunately for O’Malley, Munhoz is wise to this and electing to hang back with the same approach. With both fighters not wanting to go first, we see a much more mild first round than usual for an O’Malley fight. Despite the hesitancy on the punches, Munhoz is throwing leg kicks pretty consistently. Although O’Malley is trying to pick his shots, he is clearly being challenged this time. As the round comes to a close it feels as though Munhoz likely wins the round due to the leg kicks and forward pressure. In the second round O’Malley begins to pick up the pace a little and is actually electing to go first now. He lands some good punches and some occasional nice kicks as well. Unfortunately what happens next is quite a disappointment. Munhoz comes in for an exchange and O’Malley reaches out his hand to block which leads to an accidental eye poke. The referee the pauses fight to allow Munhoz time to recover. The doctor is brought in to assess and out of nowhere he turns around to the referee and calls off the fight. The crowd erupts in disappointment and is a big let down for all spectators as this was one of the more highly anticipated fights of the night. No contest due to accidental eye poke.
Robbie Lawler v. Bryan Barberena
This fight actually ended up being what everyone thought it could be. Two legendary savages meet in the Octagon and put on an absolute barn burner. As the opening round begins to play out, Barbarena is throwing more output than we have ever seen. Lawler is the aggressor and he walks forward and has Barbarena’s back against the cage. Barbarena stays fairly calm under the pressure and throws shot after shot to keep Lawler back. Each time Lawler enters, Barbarena throws 10 and 15 punch combinations. He’s not throwing full power but he’s peppering shots nonstop to keep Lawler back. Lawler’s boxing is looking beautiful, specifically his defense. He bobs, weaves and rolls to evade the punches. Barbarena’s incredible output is a sight to behold but Lawler is moving so beautifully that most of the shots do not have much of an effect. When Lawler finally chooses to throw he lands pretty significantly. There are times when Lawler throws one punch versus the thirty that Barbarena just threw and it is Lawler who got the better of the exchange. As the round comes to a close Barbarena has thrown 190 punches. The output is so incredible it is possible that he won the round but it’s not for certain. In the second round Barbarena slows the output a little and Lawler walks forward slightly increasing his. The fighters start landing flush now and during one of the exchanges Barbarena finally hurts Lawler. Barbarena sees his opportunity and blitzes forward with follow up shots. He continues to land flush on a wobbled Robbie Lawler and eventually there are too many flush shots landed consecutively. The referee steps in to stop the fight. Barbarena by second round TKO.
Sean Strickland v. Alex Pereira
This fight was highly anticipated as both fighters are quickly surging through the division and hoping to fight for the title next. As the opening round begins, Strickland marches forward with slow pressure like he always does. His hands are clasped together in front of his jab with very little head movement. Strickland utilizes his excellent jab as he slowly moves forward. Pereira throws the heavier shots and the more varied shots but Strickland continues to inch forward with his deadly jab. He lands a couple good jabs but Pereira is now throwing hooks and kicks. Strickland evades for the most part but then out of nowhere Pereira lands one of the most beautiful left hooks you will ever see. There is no loading up on the shot and he sits down on the punch to land flush on the chin of Strickland. It is a textbook left hook that drops Strickland immediately. He tries to hop back up but gets hit with a straight right before he can stand fully and it drops him again. He is very close to being unconscious now. The referee rushes over to save him from any further damage. An absolutely stunning performance from Pereira who handles Strickland in a way that nobody has been able to do in the past few years. It appears that Pereira will be next to challenge for the title. He does this after only three fights in the UFC. What a performance. Pereira by first round TKO.
Alexander Volkanovski v. Max Holloway
The opening round of this fight is highly competitive as were the previous 10 rounds between these two fighters. As the fighters meet in the middle and begin to exchange the speed advantage of Volkanovski is once again apparent. Holloway is the aggressor who is constantly moving forward but when they sit down and trade it is the speed and angles of Volkanovski that give Holloway problems. Volkanovski lands some good flush shots that clearly get the attention of Holloway. Max lands occasional shots as well but it is Volkanovski who lands the better shots. Be the end of the round Holloway already has a cut under his eye. A close round but it appears to go to Volkanovski. In the second round Holloway continues to march forward. He starts finding the mark more often with his strikes but once again it is the speed of Volkanovski still causing problems. About halfway through the round Max gets caught with the hardest shot of the fight thus far. The punch immediately opens up a huge gash over the eyebrow of Holloway’s left eye. Holloway continues with his pressure and absolutely has some good moments. But with the heavier strikes and the considerable damage caused, it once again may be a Volkanovski round. In the third round the fighters continue to trade in the middle of the cage but after about three minutes the clinching warfare begins. Holloway clinches and forces Volkanovski against the cage but he never can hold him in place for long. Volkanovski clinches back and turns Holloway around for his own small moments of control. The fighters once again take turns having their moments but going into the fourth round it appears that Volkanovski may be up three rounds to zero. In the fourth round round Holloway presses forward and tries to go first more often. In doing so he opens himself to be countered more. Holloway once again has his moments but the speed and skill of Volkanovski just always seems to leave him one step ahead. By the end of the round Holloway is now having issues with his right eye as well. The damage on Holloway’s face is considerable and it is not a pretty picture. Going into the final it appears to be a clean sweep in the favor of the defending champion. Holloway is doing all he can and it just isn’t enough. In the final round Holloway comes forward knowing he needs a finish. He changes his tactics slightly by ducking under on Volkanovski’s entries. He is able to get under a few times and lock his arms around the champ but within seconds Volkanovski has stripped away the grasp and once again frustrated Holloway. By the end of the fight Holloway is a bloody mess. His shorts are covered in blood, his right eye is swollen shut and his left eye has a gash that is so deep it makes you cringe to look at. It was yet another brilliant performance by the champ and was an absolute master class. The skill gap has now widened and the champ somehow just keeps getting better. Volkanovski by unanimous decision.
Israel Adesanya v. Jared Cannonier
In the opening round of this main event title fight it is mostly a one sided affair. Cannonier marches forward but Adesanya hangs back and counter strikes using his length and his precision sniper shots. Cannonier lands occasional leg kicks and a few body shots but outside of that he doesn’t inflict much damage. Adesanya lands leg kicks, body shots and straight punches. Cannonier does pretty good defensively but that does nothing to help him score in the eyes of the judges. In the second round Adesanya is now walking forward. It appears he has downloaded enough information and is now ready to go on the offensive. He pushes forward throwing stiff one-two combinations and usually lands at least one of the two punches. He continues with his leg kicks and body shots as well. In the later part of the round Cannonier starts to land some of his own shots. He lands some good jabs as well as leg kicks. He even sprinkles in a couple body shots. This is a much better round for Cannonier but it appears that the champ has likely edged out this round as well. Going into the third round the champ is likely up two rounds to zero. As the fight progresses the champ becomes more comfortable and is more willing to stay in the pocket where the risk is higher. Cannonier never takes the bait by trying to lunge in with heavy strikes. He stays within himself and is calm and measured. Cannonier utilizes the clinches in this round and holds the champ against the cage and lands some good inside shots. The third round is the closest round thus far and appears to be the only round that could have possibly gone to the challenger. In the fourth round Cannonier tries utilizing clinches again but it is short lived. The champ breaks away and gets back to the middle where he resumes his work. As the round plays out it is the least active round up to that point. Neither fighter did a whole lot but each did have their moments. Due to this fact, there is a world where a judge could have given that round to the challenger. Going into the final round it is likely three rounds to zero for the champ or the fight is tied. Somebody needs to make a statement in this final round. As the round begins the champ comes out with some pep in his step. He utilizes beautiful footwork and gets back to his straight punches. In the opening minute he touches up the challenger pretty nicely. As we get to the middle of the round Cannonier resorts back to the clinches against the cage. He peppers shots which are likely scoring but the damage is minimum therefore the scoring is minimum. It is another close round but it feels as if the champ has edged out the round despite the clinching control and strikes from the challenger. Neither fighter really ran away with this fight and for the most part if was a very tactful fight. However, the early deficit created by the champ was never able to be closed by the challenger. And still. Adesanya by unanimous decision.
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