Darian Weeks v. Yohan Lainesse
The event starts off with these two fighters who deliver a fairly mild opening round. Weeks is content to just hang back for the first part of the round and waits for Lainesse to come to him. Lainesse is the aggressor and lands some occasional punches with decent force as well as some good leg kicks. Weeks counter strikes but is losing the exchanges. In the second part of the round Weeks becomes a little more aggressive and finds some better success. Despite this, the round still appears to be edged out by Lainesse. In the second round Weeks starts the round off much more active and is now the one pressing forward. Weeks is throwing combinations now and appears to have heard some urgent direction from his corner to pick up the activity. Lainesse is now the hanging back and looking to be the counter striker. The round is fairly even aside from the couple of brief takedowns that are pursued by Weeks. Although the round is fairly even, it is the forward pressure and brief grappling sequences that likely edge out the round for Weeks. Going into the third round the fight may be tied now. In the final round Weeks continues with the forward pressure and occasional takedown attempts. It appears that the fight may be slipping away for Lainesse but in the final minutes he finally starts throwing some heavy shots and getting aggressive. He lands a couple of good ones in the final 30 seconds and this late flurry of aggression ends up being just enough to scrape by with the win in this evenly contested fight. Lainesse by split decision.
Elise Reed v. Melissa Martinez
Martinez makes her UFC debut in this fight and comes out aggressive against the more experienced Reed. The aggression looks good initially and puts Reed on notice but eventually Reed lands a flush shot that drops Martinez instantly. She hops back up and shakes it off but she now has been forced to respect the counter striking that is coming back from Reed. As the round progresses, Martinez starts adding grappling to her strategy. She shoots for a couple takedowns and accrues about a minute of clinch time against the cage. The round is fairly close but the better strikes are landed by Reed. That fact accompanied with the knockdown should be more than enough to win Reed the round. In the second round Reed is now the one moving forward aggressively. Martinez bounces around on the outside and now looks to be the counter striker. Reed forces Martinez up against the cage and throws a flurry in which she lands a couple of flush shots. Later in the round Reed now accrues her own control time via the clinch against the cage. Martinez is staying scrappy but the pressure, clinch control and better strikes are all belonging to Reed. This likely will win her another round. In the final round Martinez starts finding early success and is clearly winning the round. However, this appears to spark something in Reed and she starts fighting with more urgency and determination in the second part of the round. There is a late push from Reed that most likely leaves a good final impression in the judges eyes. The fight is competitive but Reed does plenty to show the debuting Martinez that there are no easy wins in the UFC. Reed by unanimous decision.
Chad Anheliger v. Heili Alateng
The opening round of this bout belongs entirely to Alateng. He lands a beautiful left hook that is flush and instantly hurts Anheliger. He later lands a flush right hand that once again hurts his opponent. Anheliger stays tough and throws back but Alateng is landing at will. As the round comes to a close Anheliger is bloodied up pretty good and the round is a clear cut win for Alateng. In the second round Anheliger changes up his approach and starts being the one to march forward. He is now finding much better success with this approach. Eventually Alateng seems to realize this and once again tries to be the forward aggressor. The two fighters alternate moments of walking forward and it seems that whoever is moving forward is finding the better success at that time. The round is close and could have gone to either fighter. In the final round Alateng surprises Anheliger with an early takedown. He lands a couple of good strikes while standing over Anheliger. Eventually the referee stands it back up and the fighters continue to exchange in the center of the cage. Anheliger stays game throughout the entire fight but it is Alateng who seems to edge out most of all the sequences. This proves to be more than enough to coast him to a fairly comfortable win. Alateng by unanimous decision.
Norma Dumont v. Danyelle Wolf
Wolf makes her UFC debut in this fight against the veteran Norman Dumont. Wolf is a national champion boxer who now pursues MMA. It is expected that Dumont will use a grappling heavy attack to test the entire skill set of Wolf and avoid the dangerous boxing exchanges. Surprisingly, the entire first round plays out on the feet and Dumont never once pursues any grappling exchanges. Even more surprisingly, it appears that Dumont may have edged out the round despite going against such a skilled boxer. In the second round Dumont finally starts the grappling. She gets a nice takedown with minimal resistance. Wolf works back to the feet fairly quickly but eats some shots and then is pinned against the cage via the clinch of Dumont. The fighters eventually break away back to the middle of the cage where Dumont lands a flush shot that drops Wolf instantly. Wolf scrambles for survival and is able to get her feet back under her. In the final ten seconds Dumont lands another very flush shot directly on the chin. This drops Wolf once again but there is so little time left in the round that Wolf is able to survive. In the final round Dumont lands another takedown and stands over Wolf landing occasional shots. She eventually goes down onto the ground with her to take top control. In the final minutes of the round is absolute dominance as Dumont stays on top in full control and raining down shots. Wolf does well to survive the fight but she quickly realized that Dumont was too much too soon for her. Dumont by unanimous decision.
Jake Collier v. Chris Barnett
The opening round of this bout is extremely high paced and action packed for a heavyweight fight. Collier comes out very aggressive and starts throwing immediate combinations. He eventually lands flush and drops Barnett but Barnett scrambles and is able to survive. Collier continues the heavy pressure and barrage but Barnett is throwing back wildly. The intensity has the arena on their feet and the commentators are blown away by the wild frenzies being displayed by these heavyweights. Despite being hurt and the barrage Barnett is able to survive the round. His eye is very bloody and extremely swollen. The doctor examines the eye in between rounds and allows Barnett to continue. In the second round Collier continues to walk forward. Barnett stays poised and looks for his chance. Eventually he lands some good shots but Collier just eats them. In the middle of the round a scramble ensues and Collier slips. Barnett jumps on top and this is the beginning of the end. Collier tries his best to scramble out but he is just too tired and Barnett is too heavy on top. Barnett throws down nonstop shots and Collier tries everything he can to survive. Unfortunately for him he is just never able to escape and the barrage is too much for the referee to not stop the fight. Barnett has an amazing come from behind victory which he then follows with a legendary post fight interview. Barnett by second round TKO.
Jamie Pickett v. Denis Tiuliulin
The first round of this bout is a nice back and forth battle between the two fighters. Tiuliulin is the aggressor who is continually marching forward with the pressure. Pickett bounces around along the outside and looks to counter strike. Tiuliulin is throwing nothing but full blast shots and is strictly looking for knockout blows. Pickett tries his best to evade and when he counters his strikes aren’t nearly as powerful. Pickett is having trouble finding respect from his opponent who never stops stalking and throwing haymakers. The round is close but it may have been edged out by Tiuliulin due to the power of his strikes. In the second round Tiuliulin lands a low blow which is now the second one of the fight. The referee ends up taking away a point as a consequence but this only seems to anger Tiuliulin. When the fight resumes he comes out with even more aggression and urgency. He eventually lands flush and drops Pickett. Tiuliulin sees his chance and does not let it pass. He rushes over to Pickett and throws nonstop follow-up strikes in search of the finish. Pickett tries to hang on and is close to making it out of the round but after several warnings from the referee he does not allow Pickett to endure the final few seconds of the round. The fight is stopped and Tiuliulin grabs another impressive win. Tiuliulin by second round TKO.
Jailton Almeida v. Anton Turkalj
In the first few fights of Almeida’s UFC career he has yet to find anyone that can even survive one round with him. His physique, power and grappling prowess make for a deadly combination that no fighter has yet to been able to endure. In the opening round he throws a few strikes and then instantly gets to the grappling. He gets a quick takedown and immediately starts trying to improve his position. Turkalj is competent on the ground so he remains calm and doesn’t make any mistakes. Almeida stays persistent though and is constantly making moves to force Turkalj to respond. The poise and composure of Turkalj is impressive compared to what Almeida’s previous opponents have done but it still isn’t enough. Almeida keeps the pressure and is searching for submissions. Turkalj fights them off but eventually Almeida gets on the back and in full mount. He throws punches to get Turkalj’s hands involved in defending. Once this happens Almeida quickly sneaks his hand under the neck and begins his deadly squeeze. Turkalj is face down with the weight of Almeida on his back and the arm under the chin squeezing full force. The pressure is just too much and Turkalj finally is left with no choice but to tap out. Another absolutely dominant performance by a very real contender who is surging up through the division with almost no resistance. Almeida by first round submission.
Hakeem Dawodu v. Julian Erosa
The first round of this bout is the Julian Erosa show. Dawodu is a very respected striker and many felt that if Erosa was going to have success he would need to incorporate the grappling. Surprisingly, Erosa mainly contests the first round on the feet and is actually the one who is having all the success in the striking. He hurts Dawodu on several occasions. Dawodu is wobbled and retreating more than one time but he stays gritty and is able to survive. A clear cut round in favor of Erosa nonetheless. In the second round Dawodu comes out recovered and aggressive. He knows the first round went very poorly for him and seems very determined to turn things around. He starts finding success by being more aggressive and lands some great shots to test the chin of Erosa. Eventually Erosa finds a way to get the grappling going on. He gets Dawodu to the ground and takes the back. Dawodu spends most of the remaining time in the round fighting off rear naked chokes and taking punches from behind. Going into the final round Dawodu will need a finish to get the win. In the third round Dawodu stalks forward but Erosa now is being patient on the outside knowing he has a clear lead in this fight. Dawodu finds a few good moments with Erosa now moving backward but eventually Erosa turns back on the pressure. The round is much closer this time but as the fight comes to a close it becomes extremely clear that Erosa has cruised himself to a very obvious win. Erosa by unanimous decision.
Johnny Walker v. Ion Cutelaba
This fight went very quickly as expected. Cutelaba comes out very aggressive as he always does. He lands a good shot and eventually gets the takedown. Walker lays on his back and does a good job at avoiding any of the big damage. Eventually he sees his opportunity and is able to reverse. Once Walker is no longer on bottom he stands over Cutelaba and rains down strikes. Walker then chooses to hop back down on the ground and takes side control. He throws shots and each time Cutelaba scrambles Walker stays one step ahead and is always improving his position. Walker eventually takes the back of Cutelaba and is quickly threatening rear naked chokes. Cutelaba does a good job of fighting them off but eventually Walker is able to sneak under the chin. Cutelaba tries to survive but eventually you hear him gargling which usually means the tap is coming shortly after. This was exactly what happened. Cutelaba taps out just as he is going unconscious. A very big and much needed win for Walker to get him back on track. Walker by first round submission.
Irene Aldana v. Macy Chiasson
In the opening round Aldana is landing some good strikes. Chiasson throws leg kicks from distance and nice hooks. Despite this it is Aldana who is getting the better of the punching exchanges. Eventually Chiasson initiates a takedown sequence but during the scramble Aldana grabs the arm and has a tight armbar. Somehow Chiasson is able to survive despite it looking like her arm was about to snap. Chiassson escapes but her arm is once again grabbed again and it looks like it might break again. She once again hangs on for dear life and finds a way to survive. A clear cut round in the favor of Aldana. In the second round Chiasson comes out with determination and finally lands a takedown where she can assume the top position. She starts landing ground strikes while Aldana is squirming. Chiasson then is chasing submission while continuing to land shots. Aldana continues to squirm but Chiasson is able to always stay one step ahead and in dominant positions. Chiasson has about a ten second sequence where she is raining down nonstop elbows which prompts the referee to warn her to defend herself. Aldana survives but this is a clear cut round in favor of Chiasson. In the final round the fighters circle each other and trade strikes. Chiasson stays patient and times another beautiful takedown. She is standing over Aldana and throwing occasional strikes but Aldana is throwing wild up kicks. One of the up-kicks she throws in the form of slamming her heel against the body of Chiasson. The heel randomly catches Chiasson in the liver on the way down. The strike immediately buckles Chiasson and she curls up in the fetal position. The body language is clear that this fight is instantly over. The referee stops the fight and Aldana once again finds a way to win despite being greatly tested. Aldana by third round TKO.
Daniel Rodriguez v. Li Jingliang
The first round of this fight is a very competitive one. Rodriguez is the one moving forward while Jingliang hangs back to counter strike. The edge in power appears to go to Rodriguez but the edge in speed is clearly in the favor of Jingliang. The fighters contest the first round entirely on the feet and each of them have their moments. Jingliang mixes up his strike variety a bit more than Rodriguez but despite this it will be a very hard round to score for the judges. In the second round Rodriguez continues to be the forward moving aggressor. Jingliang continues to counter strike and he finds success with his speed. Rodriguez lands more head strikes but Jingliang’s variety continues to add up for him as well. Late in the round Rodriguez lands a head kick but Jingliang partially catches it and throws Rodriguez to the ground. Another very close round and going into the final round it could be anybody’s fight. In the final round Jingliang continues to add up his leg kicks. Rodriguez marches forward and lands good jabs as well as an occasional leg kick of his own. The fighters continue to trade and are very evenly matched. Rodriguez continues to find a home for his jab but Jingliang always answers back with a kick. The fight is razor thin and when the judges slightly lean Rodriguez, it is likely that he only won due to the forward pressure. This may have been the next judging criteria they had to move to since the fight was so even. Rodriguez by split decision.
Khamzat Chimaev v. Kevin Holland
This fight was like a surge of adrenaline. Chimaev comes out and as Holland reaches out to touch gloves, Chimaev ducks under and blasts for a takedown. Holland goes down but uses rolls to try and reverse. Chimaev stays all over him and although Holland is doing good at being scrappy, the strength and speed of Chimaev is overwhelming him. Holland gets back to his feet but only briefly. Chimaev slams him right back down to the canvas. Holland continues flopping around and being scrappy but eventually Chimaev locks in a choke. Holland defends nicely but Chimaev eventually finds an opportunity to lock the choke in tighter. After trying to fight it off and survive for a good amount of time, Holland is left no choice but to tap out. Another explosive and dominant win for Khamzat Chimaev. He will likely be fighting for the championship very soon. Chimaev by first round submission.
Tony Ferguson v. Nate Diaz
The opening round has the crowd already on their feet. Ferguson comes out and quickly looks to be the faster fighter. As the round progresses though Nate shows that he is slick and sneaky. Ferguson throws head kicks and leg kicks with occasional jabs or spinning elbows. But Diaz switches speeds and breaks up the timing to constantly throw off Ferguson. Diaz lands some good off speed punches that surprise Ferguson. Towards the end of the round the crowd is chanting “Diaz”. It is a fun opening round and could have gone to either fighter. In the second round Diaz continues to land sneaky punches and eventually Ferguson now has blood that is bothering his right eye. Diaz walks forward and throws continuous one-two punches that catch Ferguson off guard. It is another close round but this one seems to be more clear cut in the favor of Diaz. In the third round Ferguson starts really butchering the legs of Diaz. They are clearly starting to bother Diaz and they buckle a time or two. There is a clear swollen mass on the shin of Diaz’s leg. Diaz does some funny antics that get the crowd screaming and then he engages once again. Now both fighters legs are battered. Diaz has swollen shins but Ferguson’s shin is pouring blood heavily. Nate lands more sneaky punching combinations but this round may have been edged by Ferguson. It will be interesting to see. In the fourth round the madness continues and the two fighters continue to trade with their unorthodox styles. Eventually a grappling sequence ensues and Diaz locks up the neck of Ferguson. Normally Ferguson is good at escaping submissions but Diaz has his arm trapped and unable to defend. The choke is tight and before we know it we see Ferguson tapping out and the crowd erupting. Diaz finds the happy ending after all. Diaz by round four submission.