Fight Notes: UFC 229
As the dust begins to settle, UFC 229 will go down in the history books as one of the craziest spectacles in UFC history. Unfortunately that won't be due to the fact the fight card delivered an amazing set of bouts, almost all of which featured incredible action and thrilling finishes. What everyone will remember is the near riot caused by Khabib Nurmagomedov and his entourage following the end of the main event. The ramifications of Nurmagomedov's actions won't be known for some time and will be the subject of plenty of discussion in the coming weeks. All of that aside, UFC 229 was a great show and the fights themselves were excellent.
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Conor McGregor by Submission (neck crank) @ 3:03 of Round 4
There was not a whole lot of surprise as to how this fight played out. The threat of the takedown left Conor more tentative than usual, though he did press forward at the beginning of every round. Khabib secured a takedown and burned up the first round by just holding Conor against the fence. In the second, the takedown lead to a lot more sustained grappling which seemed to drain all the energy out of Conor, despite the fact he wasn't threatened with much in terms of submissions and he managed to avoid taking too much damage from ground-and-pound. Khabib looked like he just took the third round off, and an exhausted McGregor was unable to capitalise on that, showing no snap or power in his shots. In the fourth, Khabib landed another takedown and the end was visibly near; after taking McGregor's back, Khabib was unable to secure a proper rear-naked choke and instead forced the tab with a painful looking neck crank.
Immediately after the fight, Khabib decided to have a normal one and scaled the cage, jumped outside and immediately began fighting with one of McGregor's corner men, Dillon Danis. At this point, a bit of a melee broke out that saw Conor fighting 2 of Khabib's corner men briefly in the cage before security managed to subdued everyone and calm the situation down. It was a ridiculous scene and the sort of thing that would be embarrassing if MMA were a real sport.
Tony Ferguson def. Anthony Pettis by TKO (corner stoppage) @ 5:00 of Round 2
This fight was fireworks from the opening bell until it was called off. Ferguson came out, hyper aggressive as always, and immediately began pressuring Pettis, who spent the whole first round backing up. Ferguson landed a lot of kicks and punches, Pettis took them well but they started to add up. In the second frame, Ferguson picked up where he left off but ended up getting dropped with a counter-right, though he maintained his composure and got back to his feet after a brief grappling battle on the ground. Pettis had a huge cut opened on his hairline, which was leaking blood everywhere, and this seemed to encourage Ferguson to keep going. Both men exchanged good shots as they continued to stand right in front of each other and wage war, but Ferguson's offence proved too much. Pettis was backed against the cage and severely battered. As the rounded ended, Pettis looked completely defeated and after confiding in his corner that his right hand was broken, Duke Roufus called the fight off in an unexpected show of proper concern for his fighter.
Dominick Reyes def. Ovince Saint-Preux by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
As shocking as this is to say, it looks like we have an actual prospect at 205 pounds. Dominick Reyes put an absolute clinic on OSP, he never once seemed to get comfortable in the fight. Reyes blasted OSP with heavy volume in the first, and probably experienced some form of adrenaline dump as his output dropped off significantly for the remaining 2 rounds. Still, Reyes was slick on his feet, showed good defence, and soundly outstruck OSP who couldn't put any offence together and ended up getting dropped right at the end of the fight. There was a good argument to be made that OSP was knocked out at the end of the fight, but the referee didn't rule it that way so Reyes had to accept a one-sided decision instead. Reyes' performance was impressive given his relative inexperience and the size of the stage he was competing on.
Derrick Lewis def. Alexander Volkov by KO (punches) @ 4:49 of Round 3
I expected a ridiculous heavyweight affair, and the outcome exceeded that expectation by a wide margin. For almost the entirety of 3 rounds, Lewis was repeatedly staggered and hurt by Volkov's punches. Multiple times, it looked like Lewis was going to be finished with flurries against the cage but somehow he managed to rally back. By the third round, both fighters were tired, though Lewis was absolutely exhausted. Somehow, Volkov decided to give Lewis every opportunity to stage a comeback, and kept walking towards Lewis — right into the range "The Black Beast" needed — and eventually got tagged with a massive right-hand. Volkov crumpled to the mat and Lewis dropped some truly scary ground-and-pound to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with only 11 seconds left in the fight. Truly amazing.
Michelle Wateson def. Felice Herrig by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 29-28, 30-27)
This was a decent fight, even if it wasn't extremely high-action. Waterson, despite being the much smaller fighter, was able to bully Herrig in the clinch and had good success during striking exchanges. Herrig did well to defend herself but was never really winning the fight at any moment; I had it clean sweep for Waterson and, in typical MMA fashion, the judges spit out a random array of numbers even if they did manage to get the winner right.
Jussier Formiga def. Sergio Pettis by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-28)
This was a very closely contested fight, but Formiga was just a little better in the striking and was able to secure takedowns in every round. For most of the third frame, Pettis ended up wearing Formiga like a backpack and had to fend off rear-naked choke attempts. Pettis just couldn't get anything going and handily lost a decision, even if he didn't really get beat up much for his efforts.
Vincente Luque def. Jalin Turner by KO (punches) @ 3:52 of Round 1
In typical fashion, UFC matchmakers have zero interest in grooming prospects. Fresh off an appearance on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series, Turner got fed to one of the hardest hitters in a weight class above where he normally competes. The fight was completely one-sided and Luque eventually countered a spinning back-fist attempt and put Turner to sleep. A terrible mismatch; clearly the matchmakers just needed to fill a slot on the card, I highly doubt they "saw something special" in Turner, regardless of how skilled me may be. Luque continues his violent streak and I'm anxious to see him fight again.
Aspen Ladd def. Tonya Evinger by TKO (punches) @ 3:26 of Round 1
I completely misjudged this fight; Aspen Ladd looked about 10 minutes from death on the scale, but seemed fine in the cage. Evinger tried to take the fight right to Ladd, but ended up getting bullied to the ground where she was utterly bludgeoned with absurdly powerful ground-and-pound. Ladd dispatched a fighter renowned for her durability with ease — a very impressive performance.
Scott Holtzman def. Alan Patrick by KO (elbows) @ 3:42 of Round 3
I missed most of this fight due to real-life distractions, but tuned in for the third round. The stats show Holtzman outstruck Patrick by a margin of about 10:1, and in the final frame he dropped the Brazilian, took the mount position and bided his time until he unleashed a flurry of elbows. Patrick was put completely to sleep, and Holtzman showcases the fruits of an impressive maturation process over his UFC career.
Fight Pass Prelims
Yana Kunitskaya def. Lina Lansberg by Unanimous Decision
This was a very forgettable fight, which saw a lot of clinching against the cage. Kunitskaya controlled the bulk of the fight and easily bullied Lansberg when standing and whenever the fight went to the ground. Every one of Lansberg's subsequent fights has made the fact she got put in a cage with Cris Cyborg look more and more absurd. Kunitskaya handily won a fight I won't remember in a week's time.
Nik Lentz def. Gray Maynard by TKO (head kick) @ 1:19 of Round 2
This was a difficult fight to watch, as Nik Lentz just put a beating on a shopworn former lightweight title contender in Gray Maynard. After what could have been a 10-7 first round, Maynard's corner still thought it was a good idea to send him out for the second round. After landing a couple decent shots of his own, Maynard took more punches and got dropped with a head kick. Luckily referee Dan Margliotta was sharp and waved the fight off immediately, seeing — as anyone with any sense and compassion could — that Maynard was absolutely done. I really hope Maynard retires but I won't hold my breath.
Tony Martin def. Ryan LaFlare by TKO (head kick and punches) @ 1:00 of Round 3
For the first round, Martin established his right hand as the perfect counter to LaFlare's telegraphed shots. In the second, this lead to 2 knockdowns and Martin spent the majority of the round in top position on the ground, and even came close to sinking in a D'Arce choke. In the third, Martin seemed to have LaFlare completely figured out and dropped him with a perfect head-kick with his right foot. LaFlare crumbled, and Martin followed up some with extra shots that shouldn't have been necessary but the ref was slow on the draw.
Published: October 7th, 2018.