Fight Notes: UFC 230
After a rocky start with a tepid opening bout, UFC 230 delivered a fairly entertaining fight card, even if the main event was thrown together at the very last minute. The event also lost a fight after Brian Kelleher fell ill after missing weight, scratching his fight with Montel Jackson. The event still managed to deliver some exciting finishes and a pair of very closely fought bouts worthy of Fight Of The Night honours. Given how atypical the last 2 pay-per-views were, UFC 230 was definitely a regression to the mean but still a very entertaining night. Here are my thoughts on the fights.
Heavyweight Title Fight
Daniel Cormier (C) def. Derrick Lewis by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 2:14 of Round 2
As enticing as it was to want to believe that Derrick Lewis was on the precipice of shocking the world and becoming UFC heavyweight champ, the fact of the matter is that Daniel Cormier is really, really good at this whole MMA thing. Aside from a few glancing shots — which Cormier claimed hurt quite a lot — Lewis was completely overmatched and had no answer for the tenacious, elite level wrestling that Cormier possesses. Cormier controlled almost all of the opening round, save for a few moments at range where nothing of note happened. The second round looked to play out like the first, with Cormier securing easy takedowns, until Lewis gave up his back for the third or fourth time and Cormier was able to take his back. Once Cormier had Lewis' back, he wasted no time in locking up a tight rear-naked choke and coaxed a quick tap from an overmatched, fan-friendly contender. The outcome was not surprising in the least, but
Ronaldo Souza def. Chris Weidman by Technical Knock Out (punches) @ 2:36 of Round 3
Given the grappling skills of both men, it wasn't a big surprise that this fight turned into a kickboxing match. For the better part of the whole fight, Chris Weidman was winning the battle, landing the better punches and pressuring "Jacare" for the majority of the bout. Weidman broke Souza's nose, but the Brazilian was undeterred and was able to land his own offence, including repeated body punches to the liver-area. I had Weidman winning the first two rounds, and he seemed to be on his way to notching a clear decision win when he got a bit sloppy and "Jacare" pounced on the openings he provided. After landing a solid counter-right, Weidman crumbled to the canvas completely out of sorts. For whatever reason, referee Dan Margliotta didn't call a stop to the fight, forcing "Jacare" to throw 4 more completely unnecessary strikes before the stoppage was declared. I truly thought "Jacare" was washed heading into this fight and figured that Weidman, although he wasn't his old self, would be able to take this handily. Chris Weidman drops to 1-4 in his last 5 fights, with each loss coming by way of violent stoppage.
Jared Cannonier def. David Branch by Technical Knock Out (punches) @ 0:29 of Round 2
The first round was all David Branch, who managed to land 5 takedowns although he was unable to really do anything with them. Cannonier stayed composed, and kept getting back to his feet, seemingly content to just wear Branch out. By the end of the opening round, Branch seemed a lot slower and diminished. In the second, Cannonier wasted no time: landing a hard punch that sent Branch reeling to the canvas, and following up with vicious ground-and-pound to secure a stoppage and make a real statement in his middleweight debut. It looks like Cannonier finally found the right weight class, and David Branch is sent back to the drawing board.
Karl Roberson def. Jack Marshman by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
This was a typically bad middleweight fight. Marshman had no answer for anything Roberson had to offer; a guy no one knows or cares about handily lost to another complete unknown. I have no idea how or why this fight was on the pay-per-view portion of the event, but here we are. Roberson was dominant in victory, but it's middleweight so I'm still not overly enthused....
Israel Adesanya def. Derek Brunson by Technical Knock Out (punches) @ of Round 1
This was fairly short and sweet. Brunson was shooting for clinches and takedowns right away, obviously aware of how dangerous Adesanya is on the feet. Unfortunately for Brunson, he was not able to land any takedowns and the clinch positions never favoured him either. Adesanya was able to stuff takedowns and finally land a head-kick that set the end of the fight in motion. From there, Brunson kept getting tagged with hard, precise shots; Adesanya knocked Brunson down 3 times in under a minute and Herb Dean was forced to wave the fight off. Brunson looked completely outmatched and Adesanya's star continues to rise.
Jordan Rinaldi def. Jason Knight by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-26)
Unfortunately for fans of Jason Knight (myself included), Jordan Rinaldi put a wrestling and jiu-jitsu clinic on in this fight. Knight was unable to get anything going in the stand-up battles, and spent the bulk of each round on the ground, defending submissions. On multiple occassions, Rinaldi had very tight rear-naked chokes but Knight was able to escape them all. A difficult setback for Knight, who was trying to get his career back on track with a win. Rinaldi, however, put in an impressive showing even if he didn't manage to secure a finish. The one time Knight had top position on the ground, Rinaldi was able to reverse him with a kimura and take his back shortly thereafter. Jordan Rinaldi's ground game is superb, I'm curious to see his next fight.
Women's Catchweight Fight
Sijara Eubanks def. Roxanne Modafferi by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
I don't have much to say about this fight; Modafferi looked as awkward on the feet as she always does, and Eubanks got the better of pretty much every striking exchange. Eubanks took the first easily, taking Roxanne down and dominating the round via position. The second round was more of the same, although Eubanks began to tire significantly at the half-way mark, although I still gave her the round. The third was more of the same, albeit with Eubanks even more exhausted. Modafferi just couldn't get anything going, unable to land shots powerful enough to deter her opponents and was outmatched in the grappling department as well. Eubanks won, it just didn't look great and, considering she also failed to make weight, this win probably doesn't raise her stock much. I'd also like to say that I'm not all that keen on seeing more fights involving Modafferi.
Sheymon Moraes def. Julio Arce by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-26)
Moraes opened the first round by dropping Arce with a hard shot. However, Arce was able to throw up an inverted triangle in response to Moraes' looming over him and looking for ground-and-pound shots. Arce was able to get to his feet, clinch and take Moraes' back by jumping off the cage and then spent the remainder of the round in that position, threatening rear-naked chokes. The second frame saw Moraes more dominate the stand-up, cut Arce's head with elbows, and open up some horrendous cuts. Moraes dropped Arce again in the second and arguably notched a 10-8 round. The final round was actually very close, despite being contested entirely on the feet. The judges' scores were mostly good, but Doug Crosby somehow had the fight 30-26 for Moraes, which is ridiculous. The third round was close and you could make a case for Arce winning it and the first, but I thought Moraes won 29-28 by taking the first two frames.
Lyman Good def. Ben Saunders by Knock Out @ 1:32 of Round 1
This was short and violent. Ben Saunders spent the entirety of the round trying to get off the cage as Lyman Good walked him down. They finally engaged in a clinch, and Saunders unloaded a flurry of rapid-fire knees. It wasn't enough to deter Good, however, who dropped Saunders with a succession of uppercuts. Saunders was out before he hit the ground and Good followed-up with a few more coffin nail punches for good measure. Saunders was KO'ed in eerily similar fashion to when Patrick Cote did it at UFC Fight Night 81, and I think it's safe to say he's on the downside of his fighting career at this point — this is his 7th loss by KO.
Fight Pass Prelims
Lando Vannata -vs- Matt Frevola was a Majority Draw (28-29, 28-28, 28-28)
Vannata and Frevola put on an amazingly close back-and-forth fight. Frevola took what looked to be a close first round until he closed out the frame by dropping Lando, attempting a guillotine and ending in full mount. The second round saw Vannata stagger Frevola several times and even drop him, but fail to put his opponent away. Tied going into the third and final round, I honestly had it a draw as well; you could make a case that either man won the round which says to me that it was even. An early contender for Fight Of The Night. Frevola made a very good showing and Vannata has now been in a draw in 2 of his last 3 fights. As much as I think a draw was appropriate here, the fact it costs both fighters the Win portion of their pay underscores a big problem with fighter compensation. (Hopefully this is made right behind the scenes, but still — that's not how that should be handled.)
Shane Burgos def. Kurt Holobaugh by Submission (armbar) @ 2:11 of Round 1
The fight opened up with both men landing a lot of solid strikes but drawing little in the way of a reaction from the other. Holobaugh eventually landed a hard shot that dropped Burgos. As Holobaugh attempted to finish the fight with ground-and-pound, Burgos quickly threw up his legs and secured a deep armbar and forced the tap. Holobaugh remains winless in the UFC and Burgos gets back on the winning track in a brief but immensely entertaining fight.
Marcos Rogerio De Lima def. Adam Wieczorek by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
This fight was terrible; De Lima landed a sparing number of leg-kicks and was otherwise content to just keep taking Wieczorek down and holding him there. Despite having success on the feet, De Lima opted to grind out a decision victory that was as boring as it was one-sided. Wieczorek snapped a 9-fight winning streak by taking this short-notice fight and De Lima did nothing to raise his own stock in victory.
Published: November 4th, 2018.