Fight Notes: UFC 242
Due to a combination of factors, UFC 242 ends up with the distinction of being the first UFC pay-per-view I did not watch live in a decade. As nice as it was to catch up on the event with the benefit of the fast-forward button, I still enjoy the live viewing experience. UFC 242 was a good event with decent fights all over the line-up and a respectable main card that lived up to its billing in the co-main and main events. This wasn't the best show of the year but it was well above the baseline despite a fight card lacking significant name value.
Kicking off the main card was a fun scrap between Mairbek Taisumov and Diego Ferreira. After they split the first two rounds, with Ferreira asserting himself in the second and pressuring Taisumov throughout it and the third. Taisumov was cracking back at a decent rate, but Ferreira had him on the back foot for almost the whole fight and was unfazed by almost everything the Russian threw at him. A clear 29-28 for Diego Ferreira and a solid showing against a very dangerous opponent.
Curtis Blaydes ragdolled Shamil Abdurakhimov for about a round-and-a-half, eventually destroying the Russian's nose with an elbow that hastily brought the fight to a close. The bridge of Abdurakhimov's nose was utterly shattered by the shot — it looked horrible on the replay. Blaydes turns in a dominant performance as the biggest betting favourite of the card.
Lightweights Islam Makhachev and Davi Ramos had a very tentative opening round in their fight; both seemed content to counter and neither wanted to lead. The fight picked up the pace somewhat in the second round, but was still a bit frustrating to watch. In the third, Makhachev came out of his corner and quickly dropped Ramos with a punch and flurried him on the ground. A finish never materialised, however, but Makhachev dominated the round from full guard and took the fight 29-28 at the absolute worst, and I gave him all 3 rounds. Makhachev successfully puts the break of Davi Ramos' UFC career and notches his best win to date. All 3 judges scored the third round a 10-8, which was nice to see.
The co-main event, a rematch between Paul Felder and Edson Barboza, was quite fun. The first round was very close, with Felder getting busted up with punches and a small, accidental headbutt. The second round saw Barboza get cracked hard with a left hand and shoot for a successful takedown. Felder seemed to be gaining momentum throughout the second and third. Still, the whole fight was incredibly close, with 2-3 strikes separating the two. I narrowly scored it for Felder, giving him rounds 2 and 3; a draw would have been fine. The judges turned in dueling 30-27 scores, which was cool — never change, MMA...
The main event had a bit of tension, at moments, but was mostly the expected mauling from Khabib Nurmagomedov. Dustin Poirier had limited success in the stand-up battles that took place briefly in the second round but could not stop the relentless takedown attempts. Nurmagomedov was in fine form, smothering Poirier; there was an instant where it looked like Poirier might have sunk in a Hail Mary guillotine choke, but Khabib was able to defend and quickly take Poirier's back once his arms gassed out. From there, Khabib secured a rear-naked choke and clinched his 28th consecutive professional victory without even getting into the championship rounds.
- Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Dustin Poirier by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 2:06 of Round 3
- Paul Felder def. Edson Barboza by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
- Islam Makhachev def. Davi Ramos by Unanimous Decision (29-27, 30-26, 30-26)
- Curtis Blaydes def. Shamil Abdurakhimov by TKO (elbow and punches) @ 2:22 of Round 2
- Diego Ferreira def. Mairbek Taisumov by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
The televised prelims started off with a shockingly violent KO, as Ottman Azaitar cracked Teemu Packalen with a right-hand that sounded like a bat hitting a watermelon. Packalen fell over like a freshly cut tree, faceplanted into the canvas and his legs began twitching. One of the year's most vicious KOs is an impressive way to inaugurate a UFC career. Damn. It was good to see Packalen able to stand for the official decision, the immediate aftermath of the KO was very concerning.
Newcomer Liana Jojoua put up a valiant effort, but Sarah Moras just steamrolled her. Moras got the better of the striking exchanges, scored takedowns and outgrappled her on the mat. Moras was able to force the referee to intervene after laying down some ferocious ground-and-pound about midway through the final round.
Zubaira Tukhugov battered Lerone Murphy for most of the first round of their fight, dropping him with strikes and mauling him on the mat. Tukhugov took Murphy down and smothered him for most of the second, although Murphy did threaten with 2 guillotine chokes they were easily defended and barely interrupted the Russian's dominance. Tukhugov repeated the second round — sans being briefly caught in guillotine chokes — and earned a lopsided win. Well, at least one would assume it was a clear win for Tukhugov but somehow the judges handed out a split draw... I have no idea how that happened.
The featured prelim was a very closely fought scrap between Andrea Lee and Joanne Calderwood. Most of Calderwood's success was found standing, and she seemed to easily bully Lee in the clinch. Still, Lee acquitted herself well and was able to score takedowns on Calderwood in every round, making for 3 very difficult rounds to score. I had it 29-28 for Lee, but I could see valid arguments that Calderwood won; the judges were, predictably, all over the place and were split against me.
- Joanne Calderwood def. Angela Lee by Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
- Zubair Tukhugov vs. Lerone Murphy via Split Draw (28-29, 29-28, 28-28)
- Sarah Moras def. Liana Jojoua by TKO (punches and elbows) @ 2:26 of Round 3
- Ottman Azaitar def. Teemu Packalen by KO (punch) @ 3:33 Round 1
The show opener was a chore, mostly consisting of a complete stalemate in the clinch position. There were extremely brief flashes of action, Don Madge finally secured a takedown in the final 2 minutes but achieved nothing from full guard. UFC newcomer Fares Ziam did well on defence but never changed gears to got offensive. I look forward to forgetting this fight, which I would have scored a draw. Madge won a unanimous decision, despite the deficit of activity.
Former welterweights, Omari Akhmedov and Zak Cummings, waged a typically grindy middleweight fight in their new division of choice. Akhmedov likely won each round by scoring takedowns while Cummings had marginal success in the striking exchanges. A decent fight, but nothing really stood out at all.
What looked to be turning into a technical, kickboxing match between Muslim Salikhov and Nordine Taleb ended abruptly when a crushing right-hand dropped Taleb cold in his tracks. Taleb tried to protest the stoppage but he was obviously not thinking clearly; there was nothing controversial about the stoppage.
The final early prelim was a fun battle between Takashi Sato and Belal Muhammad. The latter was able to mix things up nicely, taking Sato down and securing his back in the first and third rounds. In the third, Muhammad was able to get Sato's back and lock-up a rear-naked choke and force the tap. His first attempt was defended but Muhammad switched sides with amazing quickness to get the win.
- Belal Muhammad def. Takashi Sato by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 1:55 of Round 3
- Muslim Salikhov def. Nordine Taleb by KO (punch) @ 4:26 of Round 1
- Omari Akhmedov def. Zak Cummings by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Don Madge def. Fares Ziam by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
A strong B show. There was one of the most violent KOs of the year on the TV prelims, Khabib Nurmagomedov lived up to his billing as he successfully unified the lightweight titles and, overall, the fight card was entertaining.
Published: September 8th, 2019.