Fight Notes: UFC Fight Night 136
Following up the last two UFC events would be difficult for any fight card, but the offering for the UFC's first trek to Russia certainly left a lot to be desired. While the fight card was packed with members of the UFC's deep Russian roster, the name value was lacking and the fights were a mixed bag when all was said and done. Far from a terrible event, UFC Fight Night 136 had its share of ups and downs, culminating in a bittersweet conclusion of the main event. The sting was dulled somewhat by the fact that I was able to watch the entire event on Fight Pass — avoiding the usual blackout issues when portions of a card are televised in Canada — and the early start time was another bonus.
Oleksiy Oliynyk def. Mark Hunt by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 4:26 of Round 1
This fight left me very conflicted. Mark Hunt looked pretty good for most of the fight, using devastating leg kicks to severely affect the movement of Olinyk, and even cracked the Russian with a heavy shot that would have felled almost anyone else. Olinyk was able to remain patient and easily absorbed all damage Hunt was able to inflict, before cracking the Samoan with a right-hand that looked to stun him. Olinyk sensed his time to pounce and dragged Hunt to the ground, quickly taking his back and securing a rear-naked choke with the finesse and savy of a man with a 93% finishing rate over 50+ fights. An unfortunate end for Hunt, who drops to a .500 record — and leaves many to wonder about the sharp decline in durability he's experienced — and a signature win for the gritty Russian grappler.
Jan Blachowicz def. Nikkita Krylov by Submission (D'Arce choke) @ 2:41 of Round 2
The fact that Blachowicz looked to be a whole weight class larger than the returning Krylov did not bode well. Krylov had some moderate success on the ground, after taking Blachowicz down but was unable to seriously threaten any sort of submission. After Blachowicz swept him, Krylov defended with a lot of urgency but was unable to counter effectively with submission attempts or get back to his feet. In the second round, Blachowicz quickly took Krylov down and again and eventually secured a submission after visibly exhausting his opponent. Blachowicz looked better than he has in a long time, and Krylov looked like a middleweight in there. I'm glad to see Krylov back, and hopefully he rebounds from this.
Shamil Abdurakhimov def. Andrei Arlovski by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
I literally fell asleep during this fight. The parts I did see were exceptionally boring, as has been the case with Arlovski's fights lately. Ever since the loss to Overeem, the Belarusian seems to grow more and more disinterested every time he competes. I don't know if he's shot per se, but his activity level is nonexistent and there is zero urgency in anything he does. The only positive I can note is that Arlovski's chin continues to hold up in his twilight years. Abdurakhimov looked terrible, again — typical heavyweight MMA.
Alexey Kunchenko def. Thiago Alves by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Thiago Alves issues the latest reminder that fighting is a young man's game. While he didn't get beaten down or humiliated, Alves looked every bit the 13-year UFC veteran as he was outpointed in a fairly unremarkable fight against an unheralded Russian fighter in their hometown. Not a good night for the UFC's "Pitbull" contingent. Kunchenko looked decent, but he's a complete unknown and given the UFC's scheduling tendencies you may or may not even see him again until the UFC runs a random European MMA card next year.
Fight Pass Prelims
Khalid Murtazaliev def. CB Dollaway by TKO (referee stoppage) @ 5:00 of Round 2
After battling back from a brutal liver kick in the opening minutes of the fight, CB Dollaway eventually wilted under the sustained pressure and body attacks of Murtazaliev. The ending of the second round was pretty horrifying to watch, as Murtazaliev rained down punches on a completely broken and defenceless Dollaway while referee Herb Dean did nothing to stop the fight. It was only after the round ended and Dollaway remained on his knees, refusing to go to his corner, did Dean end the fight. I was actually shouting "stop the fucking fight!" at my TV, it was that bad. I don't know what the story is, but Herb Dean is having a lot of these lapses lately and it's not good.
Petr Yan def. Jin Soo Son by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
This fight was pretty nuts. Petr Yan was a -1000 favourite in this fight, which he did win fairly handily, but the debutting Jin Soo Son made things very interesting. The two of them waged an exciting three-round battle that saw them trading a lot of shots — though Yan was getting a much, much better exchange rate. Son displayed incredible durability and a fighting style that should earn him a lot of fans and likely a short career. Yan did very well considering the pressure on him versus a complete unknown, and stayed composed and tactical as he won a clear decision in the clear Fight Of The Night.
Rustam Khabilov def. Kajan Johnson by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
This was a typically low-action Kajan Johnson fight, but Rustam Khabilov was able to beat him at his own game and land more shots. Khabilov was also the clear aggressor, even though Johnson did have a fair bit of success when he chose to be offensive. There's not a lot else to say about this fight, it wasn't terrible but it was not memorable at all. I would not be surprised if Johnson — a vocal labour agitator — is cut after this loss.
Mairbek Taisumov def. Desmond Green by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
I have no real recollection of this fight. Seriously.
Magomed Ankalaev def. Marcin Prachnio by KO (head kick and punches) @ 3:09 of Round 1
Not much to say about this fight except that it yielded a highlight reel finish, as Ankalaev cracked Prachnio with a head kick and then flurried him as he crumpled against the cage. I was hoping this second finish would start a longer streak, but that was not to be.
Jordan Johnson def. Adam Yandiev by Submission (arm-triangle choke) @ 0:42 of Round 2
Jordan Johnson just beat the breaks off Adam Yandiev, a fighter with a questionable past (story) and a somewhat lacking record. Johnson outclassed Yandiev, taking him down and beating him up throughout most of the first round. Battered and exhausted, Yandiev was immediately taken down again in the second round where he was quickly submitted with ease.
Ramazan Emeev def. Stefan Sekulic by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)
Ramazan Emeev seemingly fought way more conservatively than he needed to, against an opponent who had negligable success and seemed committed to takedowns that he just could not complete. Emeev was never in any real danger and handily won a fight I firmly believe he could have finished had he really wanted to.
Merab Dvalishvili def. Terrion Ware by Unanimous Decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-25)
Despite being a completely one-sided fight, earning two 10-8 rounds, it was far less exciting than you'd think. Merab Dvalishvili did a very good job mixing striking with wrestling, and Ware was unable to time when takedowns were coming, leading to him spending most of every round with his back on the mat. It wasn't a very exciting fight, since neither fighter was in any apparent danger, but Ware was completely dominated for the entirety of the fight and Dvalishvili rebounds after an unfortunate loss in his last fight. A decent fight to kick-off the card with, even if there was no finish or absurd violence.
Published: September 15th, 2018.