In what seems to be the very first official post I’ve published here on the blog that’s related to combat sports, I might as well talk about the last two UFC events as of this writing—UFC Fight Night 104 and UFC 208. While most of the focus of this post is on the latter, I thought I should still talk about the former since it was actually pretty good. Hopefully, this becomes a regular thing and I write a post after every MMA, boxing, kickboxing, or whatever event I get to watch.
Too bad UFC 208 went through what it did. While I do think women do have a place in the main event, as the UFC rightfully does as well, they’re gonna have to hammer out a better way to guarantee cards with solid matchmaking. Holm vs. de Randamie didn’t seem to be main event caliber, despite its historical significance.
I don’t know how hard they work to keep tabs with Cyborg, but maybe things could’ve worked out better if they could smooth out communications with that woman. I’m of the opinion that she did get screwed time and again by the UFC, but I don’t think they’d intentionally put her off since she has potential drawing power as a savage female fighter with a fearsome reputation. With Ronda Rousey effectively out of the way, they have to make Cyborg a star. (At least that’s my opinion.)
UFC 208 Main Card
Unfortunately, this was a bore of a card and should’ve been a Fight Night instead. The only real draws here were Holly Holm and Anderson Silva, and they weren’t exactly at their most attractive as they came into this event. Holm had lost her bantamweight title to Miesha Tate, who was then iced by Amanda Nunes; Silva is no longer the invincible GOAT and is now a middleweight gatekeeper.
The only truly interesting fights on the card were Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza vs. Tim Boetsch, which held a bit of middleweight title contender stakes, and maybe Glover Teixeira vs. Jared Cannonier for a slightly higher light-heavyweight rank. The only fight with real stakes was the inaugural women’s featherweight title bout between Holm and de Randamie, and that’s only because Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino couldn’t fight right away.
As far as I’m concerned, UFC 208 should be known as either “Women’s Featherweight Belt-warmer,” “Not Saved by the Bell,” or “UFC 76: Knockout – Part 2.”
Holly Holm vs. Germaine de Randamie
It was a story of the Dutch fighter being able to make the American fighter and former women’s bantamweight champion miss a lot of her shots. Holm is more of the range-based fighter while de Randamie is cast from the standard Dutch kickboxing mold based from Muay Thai. Holm has side kicks and movement, while de Randamie has elbows and the clinch.
But it wasn’t as much of a fight as it was a showcase of some pretty terrible referee work. With de Randamie’s two consecutive hits after the bell, it was undeniable that points had to be docked. However, all the Dutch fighter got were not-so-stern warnings. That’s going to be an issue for weeks to come.
The later rounds saw Holm rally back with some good shots that rocked de Randamie, but then got into clinching matches that went nowhere. With bad refereeing and a lack of proper contingency on Holm’s part, de Randamie became the first UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion.
Meanwhile, let’s see if Holm goes back down to bantamweight or stays in featherweight for a rematch. In my opinion, the latter seems like the better option.
Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson
Much of this fight was about how passive Brunson was, and it cost him. While he thought he was robbed, I do believe he deserved the L here as there’s no reason to not get really aggressive against the living legend of the UFC middleweight division unless he’s either afraid to get countered or didn’t want it enough. A win against Anderson Silva looks good on any fight record, and it would’ve accelerated Brunson’s trip to the top and a title shot.
Yes, he came in at three weeks notice. However, that should only give someone like him more of a reason to go in guns blazing. I apologize for armchair coaching here, but it’s just that my eye was twitching when I watched this fight.
(If you haven’t figured it out yet, I kinda wanted to see the young buck win.)
Ronaldo Souza vs. Tim Boetsch
In the ongoing quest of He-Who-Shall-Always-be-Scorned, Jacare puts away yet another middleweight contender to once again earn the right to beg for a title shot, like he did before losing a split decision to current title challenger Yoel Romero.
I’m a Tim Boetsch fan; I always have a soft spot for Jeet Kune Do practitioners in MMA. His UFC record is spotty, but he’s somehow still hanging around in the promotion. While a wrestler as well who has been known to throw people around, Jacare isn’t a ragdoll.
Either Jacare or Boetsch can fight Chris Weidman next, who is in a two-fight losing streak at the moment.
I wasn’t able to catch Glover Teixeira vs. Jared Cannonier and Dustin Poirier vs. Jim Miller. Sorry folks, my ISP still has this whole network outage thing going on for over four months now, and it’s hindering my ability to watch stuff, including fights.
This guard pass with a half-nelson was pretty cool though.
UFC Fight Night 104
It was mentioned that the Texas State Athletic Commission hadn’t accepted all of the recent changes to the Unified MMA Rules just yet. Since this event was in Houston, Texas, it meant that fighters could do that “touch the floor to not get kneed” bullshit I hated so much.
Like a patch for an online game not yet implemented in an overseas server.
I did watch all of the main card for this event. I don’t get to watch Fight Nights all the time, but maybe I should get more diligent with them now since I keep encountering fighters I didn’t know shit about.
The only fighters I recognized from the prelims were Tecia Torres and Bec Rawlings, who fought each other. Rawlings is now at a two-fight skid, while it’s Torres’ rebound after her loss to Rose Namajunas.
Meanwhile, the main event for this could’ve made the people in Brooklyn more excited than Holm vs. de Randamie ever did.
Chan-sung Jung vs. Dennis Bermudez
If there’s one thing I like (and kinda hate) about Koreans is they fight until they’re burger. I got to watch a One FC show live where Soo-chul Kim beat Kevin Belingon by decision while needing help standing up after the fight.
Chan-sung Jung is pretty much the Korean duke of “take one, give two” in the UFC. He had to take a break to serve his mandatory military service; he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d dodge that.
At this point, anything with the Korean Zombie in it is always a treat, although I’m not entirely sure about his chances with marketing himself in the WME-IMG era of the UFC (I don’t know how good his English is at the moment), but all they really have to do is to keep pushing him as “THE KOREAN ZOMBIE” and make that synonymous with exciting slobberknockers for the casual fans.
Meanwhile, Dennis Bermudez is good, but still has to have that break-out performance. He had that chance against Jeremy Stephens in UFC 189, but got murc’d in the third round. He does have a win against Max Holloway and was the 9th ranked featherweight coming in.
(It’s interesting to see how they just put “Zombie” on the graphics. Not “Jung,” but “Zombie.” They’re really going with it. I like that.)
This didn’t end up being the usual Korean Zombie horror flick though. While he did get cracked once to the chin with a right hand early, Jung kept up with takedown defense and hit a counter uppercut flush to the chin for the first round knockout as if he never took a break at all.
The counter uppercut is not as spectacular as what Jeremy Stephens landed on Rafael dos Anjos years ago, but it’s still such beautiful technique. It’d be good to see him fight a top 5 featherweight next to see if he can climb higher.
Felice Herrig vs. Alexa Grasso
I was actually quite interested in this fight; I’ve watched these two since their Invicta days. Alexa Grasso came into this undefeated at 8-0 and still only 23 years old, while Felice Herrig is half a year removed from her submission victory against Kailin Curran. It was a sprawl-and-brawler (mostly) against a kickboxer with pretty good jiu-jitsu.
Grasso looked good at first, especially with that heel hook attempt in the first. From what I heard in Herrig’s corner in between rounds, it sounded like they planned to go the distance the whole time while maintaining a fairly high pace. Perhaps it was a good game plan as Grasso seemed to fall into her opponent’s pace and Herrig kept landing right-hand counters throughout the fight and even some takedowns. Herrig just controlled the whole fight, not allowing Grasso to get her rhythm, so her unanimous decision win was well-deserved.
James Vick vs. Abel Trujillo
They had to have a hometown boy in the main card, so James Vick was it. He was coming off his first pro career loss against Beneil Dariush around seven months before. Meanwhile, Abel Trujillo was three fights up after a sub loss to Tony Ferguson.
The main story here was Trujillo’s susceptibility to jiu-jitsu—he had 3 sub losses coming in. That’s not good for him since Vick is a submission fighter, and it seemed like the local boy did his homework as he had him in a pretty good D’Arce choke in the second round and has been piling on the damage for most of the fight.
Vick then rocked Trujillo early in the third and went for another D’Arce that was tighter and got the tap. This was not a bad fight at all.
Volkan Oezdimir vs. Ovince St. Preux
Never mind the fact that OSP’s opponent was named Volkan, which is a really badass name. This fight was kinda sloppy except for those uppercuts OSP gets to land every now and then (I’m a big fan of uppercuts). First round saw a lot of big shots, second round saw them diminish, and last round wasjust a lot of heaving and hauling ass. OSP did have that final rally before the end of the fight, but it was too little too late.
This is not the same Ovince St. Preux that hit Jon Jones with some pretty good bombs and went the distance last year. He is now on a three-fight skid, which puts him in danger of being cut. Meanwhile, I do hope Oezdimir somehow gets his bearings and comes back stronger and with a bigger gas tank in his next fight. Well, at least he won his debut.
Marcel Fortuna vs. Anthony Hamilton
Not much to say about this heavyweight bout. After getting cut from an accidental headbutt, Fortuna gets a walk-off knockout in the first round after landing a clean 1-2 on Hamilton’s head. Fortuna had already hit a right hand earlier, which must have been damaging as well as Hamilton was stumbling his way up after the finish.
At least we know he has knockout power. Maybe he should fight someone like Gabriel Gonzaga next (if he’s still in the UFC).
Jessica Andrade vs. Angela Hill
Classic in-fighter/out-fighter match-up with Angela Hill vs. Jessica Andrade, and it ended up being a great opener for the main card. Hill showed much toughness, but she just couldn’t keep Andrade off her, even when she tried to implement the “two punches then move” game plan. It’ll be interesting to see how Andrade’s pressure addresses the problems courtesy of Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s dynamic Muay Thai.
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