Fight Notes: UFC 234
The night did not start off on the best foot, with the main event getting pulled at the very last minute. Robert Whittaker was diagnosed with a hernia, which required emergency surgery, thus leaving him unable to compete. Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva were moved up to the main event, and Lando Vanata versus Marcos Mariano was promoted from the Fight Pass Prelims to the co-main event. Overall, the fights were decent, although the name value was sorely lacking from this fight card; this may as well have been a regional Australian MMA event, save for the main event. Far from the worst fight card in recent memory, UFC 234 was just lacking in name value and a true emotional hook — a reason to really care. The show exceeded expectations, but only because they were pretty low to begin with, and still should not have been a pay-per-view. This would have been a decent UFC Fight Night card, but that's about it.
Israel Adesanya def. Anderson Silva by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
The good news is that this fight didn't end up anything like the massacre that I was expecting to see. Adesanya controlled the whole fight, but Anderson did a lot better than I expected, and never ended up in any real danger of being stopped. Adesanya landed more strikes, but Anderson didn't get lapped by any means. The first two rounds were very close, and you could maybe argue that Silva took the second, but ultimately Adesanya was the clear winner. Anderson was clearly diminished, as one would expect seeing him fight someone 20 years younger, but he didn't look completely shopworn which was nice. I don't know if Adesanya "took it easy" on Silva, or if he was surprised and thrown off by how defensively capable "The Spider" was, but it was anything but a one-sided beating. I still hope Anderson retires, but at least he didn't get violently demolished like everyone — including myself — was expecting when this fight was announced.
Lando Vannata def. Marcos Rosa Mariano by Submission (kimura) @ 4:55 of Round 1
Lando just steamrolled Marino, who had nothing for the UFC veteran. Lando was able to back Mariano up, secure a bodylock takedown, and then control him from full guard. Just as the round was coming to a close, Lando was able to secure a kimura and force Mariano to tap out. This obviously shouldn't have been the co-main event — or even on pay-per-view at all — but it was at least a dominant performance from Vannata.
Ricky Simon def. Rani Yahya by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)
Basically, Simon beat Yahya up for the better part of 3 rounds. The tenured WEC and UFC vet was able to keep his wits about him, but couldn't put together any meaningful offence, depite mostly keeping pace in the official strike totals. Simon dropped Yahya multiple times, but couldn't put him away. Yahya shot for something like 9 takedowns, but didn't complete any of them and Simonw was wise enough to not mess around on the ground too much. Yahya didn't get finished but he did get dominated, although I did not agree with the 30-25 scorecard — there is an argument for a 10-8 first round but that's it.
Women's Flyweight Fight
Montana De La Rosa def. Nadia Kassem by Submission (armbar) @ of Round 2
The first round was spent almost entirely on the ground, with De La Rosa stuck in Kassem's guard and unable to advance or threaten much. The second round initially looked like it was going to be more of the same, as De La Rosa took Kassem down after they clinched against the cage. This time, however, De La Rosa was able to advance to a mounted triangle, rain down elbows and then slickly transition to an armbar which forced a verbal submission. A good showing for Montana De La Rosa, completely dominating Nadia Kassem.
Light Heavyweight Fight
Jim Crute def. Sam Alvey by Technical Knock Out (punches) @ 2:49 of Round 1
It looked like we were going to get a typical Sam Alvey fight, a low action affair where he endlessly circles away, searching for a single, big counter. Then, Crute landed a left hand that dropped Alvey to the mat. Crute walked away, expecting the fight to be waved off but Alvey was given a chance to recover. Crute swarmed a staggered Alvey, dropping him again and throwing a barrage of punches which forced Marc Goddard to stop the fight. Alvey was livid, protesting the stoppage, but he was done — I didn't see a problem with the referee's decision at all; Alvey was facedown, turtled up while Crute was raining down punches on him after he had already been dropped and staggered.
Devonte Smith def. Dong Hyun Ma by Technical Knock Out (punches) @ 3:53 of Round 1
After taking a few minutes to figure his opponent out, Devonte Smith unleashed a barrage of strikes on Dong Hyun Ma and ended the fight in short order. Ma collapsed, face-first on the canvas and Smith followed-up with a series of nasty punches — at least one of which looked like a foul — and forced the ref to call the fight off. Smith's post-fight interview was pretty amusing, so he's going to be worth keeping an eye on as his career progresses.
Shane Young def. Austin Arnett by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
This was largely a striking clinic by Shane Young, as he kept Austin Arnett on the back-foot for most of the fight. Young was able to rack up points by steadily outstriking his opponent, even if there were no moments where it looked like the fight might be close to ending. At the end of each round, Young would pick up the pace quite a bit, though it almost backfired in the second frame. Arnett just had no answer for Young's superior boxing, and handily lost a decision. Not a bad fight but it started erasing itself from my memory within moments of it ending.
Kai Kara-France def. Ralian Paiva by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
this was a a good, evenly matched fight. Kara-France looked like he was injured by one of Paiva's body-kicks in the second round, but fought on nonetheless. France was able to outpoint his opponent, but just barely, over the course of the fight. I gave him the first and third rounds, in a very close fight. Paiva looked good, and had zero respect for Kara-France's power as he walked through the majority of his shots — but they still counted as landed strikes.
Kyung Ho Kang def. Teruto Ishihara by Technical Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 3:59 of Round 1
This was an intense fight for as long as it lasted. Ishihara managed to clip Kang early, but couldn't put him away. The Korean was able to recover and began landing hard punches of his own, briefly stunning Ishihara and backing him up. About 1:30 into the fight, they both decided to just brawl like it was the last round of the fight. Ishihara threw a lot of wild overhands that missed, while Kang kept landing punches. Kang was able to stun Ishiara and take his back, eventually securing a rear-naked choke and putting his opponent to sleep for a technical submission. Not a very surprising outcome to the fight, I'm pretty sure the wheels came off the Ishihara hype train over a year ago. Still, a good, decisive win for Kyung Ho Kang.
Fight Pass Prelims
Jalin Turner def. Callan Potter by Knock Out (punches) @ 0:53 of Round 1
Rebounding from a rough UFC debut, wherein he got wrecked by Vicente Luque, Jalin Turner needed less-than 1 minute to demolish Callan Potter. A series of right-hands, a body-kick and an uppercut put Potter on the canvas, and Turner followed-up with some nasty lefts to secure a quick finish. Potter had a terrible night, and was incredibly overmatched; hopefully Turner's next fight booking won't be one extreme end of the difficulty scale or the other — give him someone of roughly equivalent experience and potential.The Luque fight was a really bad booking, and this — a squash match over a local journeyman — didn't do anything but keep a fighter on the card.
Jonathan Martinez def. Wuliji Buren by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
A spirited, back-and-forth fight, but one ultimately dominated by Martinez. Buren was unable to do much on the feet, and had mixed success with takedowns, often finding himself reversed once they got to the mat. Martinez was able to reverse submission attempts and control most of the fight, earning a clear decision win in a fight between 2 well matched opponents. Not a bad fight to start the night off with, though a very a low-stakes affair.
Published: February 10th, 2019.