Fight Notes: UFC Fight Night 139
Taking place at the in Denver, Colorado, the birthplace of the UFC, UFC Fight Night 139 featured a really cool throwback UFC canvas — complete with old-school UFC logo — and fight graphics. It was a nice touch that even I, an exceedingly jaded MMA fan at this stage, appreciated. The fact the card didn't feature fights in weight classes above welterweight was a nice bonus as well, given the venue's high altitude I'm glad the UFC matchmakers learned to leave the fat guys at home for these shows. The fights were fairly good and the main event yielded a moment that may go down forever in UFC history as the most improbable, unexpected finish ever. Here are my notes:
Yair Rodriguez def. Chan Sung Jung by KO (elbow) @ 4:59 of Round 5
The opening round was somewhat tentative, though Korean Zombie easily won it by dictating the pace of the fight and coming out ahead in any striking exchanges. Rodriguez did well to remain composed and began to assert himself as the fight progressed into the later rounds, splitting Jung open with an elbow in the second and piling up damage afterward. Chan Sung Jung was his usual self, walking through most of the shots he took, and exerting a lot of pressure. Rodriguez' cardio held up pretty well, considering the fight was at high altitude and that he was getting hit a lot. TKZ seemed to be on his way to a 48-47 decision as as absolute worst case scenario. And then it happened. The ending of the fight was absurd, giving us the most insane KO in the history of the UFC. At quite literally the last second, Yair Rodriguez leaned over and threw an upward elbow that somehow managed to land and starch Jung completely. A last-second KO win for a guy who was on his way to what seemed like a clear decision victory. An unbelievable ending to what was already shaping up to be a very entertaining main event scrap.
Donald Cerrone def. Mike Perry by Submission (armbar) @ 4:46 of Round 1
Cerrone seemed like he was on a mission tonight, shooting for takedowns and exchanging clinch knees with Perry until he was finally able to get him to the mat. Cerrone was patient, and able to sweep and take Perry's back. After a rear-naked choke attempt lead to Perry reversing the position, Cerrone threatened with a triangle choke before locking in an armbar and forcing the tap. A mature, composed showing from Cerrone who now holds the record for the most wins in UFC history (21) and the most finishes in UFC history (15).
Women's Catchweight Fight
Germaine De Randamie def. Raquel Pennington by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
This wasn't a very high action fight, but De Randamie controlled the majority of it by winning clinch battles and landing punches at range. Pennington never did more than throw the odd 2-punch combo, mostly missing. When Pennington would rush forward and clinch with De Randamie against the cage, she was unable to translate that into any sort of effective offence. GDR won a decisive, albeit lackluster decision. Considering it ended after midnight, EST, I really could have done without this one...
Beneil Dariush def. Thiago Moises by Unanimous Decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
This was all one-way traffic from Dariush, who implemented a grappling-heavy gameplan for which Moises had no answer. Dariush spent the vast majority of every round controlling Moises, whether it was from top-position or the long stretches of time where Dariush had his back and was threatening rear-naked chokes. Dariush dominated the entirety of the fight, and Moises looked completely overwhelmed by his pressure. While it lacked a finish, multiple 10-8 rounds tells you all you need to know about how competitive this bout was. Dariush finally gets back on the winning tracks after a pair of losses separated by a draw in his previous 3 fights.
Women's Strawweight Fight
Maycee Barber def. Hannah Cifers by Technical Knock Out (punches) @ 2:01 of Round 2
Barber started bullying Cifers right away, backing her against the cage and landing knees and elbows. Cifers was game, however, and valiantly fought back even though she seemed out-sized and over-matched. Barber pressed her advantage in the second round, landed some hard shots and finished Cifers with some vicious ground-and-pound. Barber made a great UFC debut, racking up an uncommong finish in the strawweight ranks.
Mike Trizano def. Luis Pena by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27))
Another peculiar decision rendered by the judges here, as I thought Pena lost the fight 29-28 quite convincingly. I have no idea how you give Pena anything more than the 2nd round. Mike Trizano outstruck Pena through all 3 rounds, threatened a guillotine choke in the first, and looked very good overall. Pena didn't look terrible but he definitely lost as far as I'm concerned, he never got any offence going, lost the striking battles and ate over a dozen leg-kicks. I do not know Trizano was awarded a 30-27 score, even if the judge in question got the winner right.
Women's Strawweight Fight
Ashley Yoder def. Amanda Bobby Cooper by Split Decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
Yet another very close fight, although Amanda Cooper controlled the majority of each round by securing takedowns and maintaining top control — even if she was ultimately unable to do much with it. Yoder landed a few good counters during the stand-up exchanges, and threw up some inverted triangle choke attempts at the end of the first two rounds — even if they weren't very threatening. The third round was the closest of them all, with Yoder briefly threatening a knee-bar, and ending the round with top position. I personally scored it 2-1 for Cooper due to grappling dominance, but the judges have been weird all night and gave it to Yoder, including an utterly baffling 30-27 scorecard in her favour.
Bobby Moffet def. Chas Skelly by Technical Knock Out (D'Arce choke) @ 2:43 of Round 2
The first round was almost all Skelly, who was able to close the distance and spend the second half of the round on Moffet's back, fishing for a rear-naked choke that never came. The second round saw the two engage in more grappling, only with Moffet managing to make an attempt at a D'Arce choke after a reversal. Moffet was working hard for the D'Arce, and Skelly was defending it well by rolling to his back and circling with Moffet. The end came somewhat abruptly, as the referee seemed to think Skelly was unconscious. After using instant replay to try and determine if the finish was correct, the referee somehow decided it was a TKO — rather than the expected technical submission, provided the stoppage was deemed correct. Both Moffet and Skelly were amazingly professional in their reactions to the decision, which I do think was a very close call rather than any sort of outright incompetence or mistake. I would have ruled it a no contest upon review, and hopefully the UFC can rematch these two in the near future as the fight itself looked very competitive and entertaining before the debatable stoppage.
Davi Ramos def. John Gunther by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 1:57 of Round 1
The biggest betting favourite on the whole fight card, Davi Ramos, spared no time in taking John Gunther down, securing his back and working for a rear-naked choke that eventually came just before the 2-minute mark. Gunther was simply out-classed by a superior talent and a phenomenal grappler. Not much else to say about this one — except perhaps that Gunther lasted longer than most would have predicted.
Devonte Smith def. Julian Erosa by Knock Out (punches) @ 0:46 of Round 1
There's not much to say about this one: about half-a-minute into this fight, Devonte Smith connected with a perfect two-piece combo that dropped Erosa to the canvas. Smith swarmed his fallen opponent with a flurry of ground-and-pound shots and earned an impressive, quick stoppage in his UFC debut. Erosa protested the stoppage but also had problems standing, so it's safe to assume he wasn't thinking clearly at the moment.
Fight Pass Prelims
Eric Shelton def. Joseph Morales by Split Decision (29-28, 27-30, 30-27)
Another very close fight, only this one ended up being largely a grappling contest. Eric Shelton was able to repeatedly take Joseph Morales down, while the latter attempted a number of submissions — including guillotines and a triangle at the end of the second round — it wasn't enough to offset Shelton's dominance of the fight. Morales' lack of takedown defence cost him the fight. I have no idea how a judge gave Moralez a 30-27 score, even if you were being very generous about weighting the submission attempts I think 29-28 is the best you could do, and I'd still argue that is wrong.
Mark De La Rosa def. Joby Sanchez by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
A spirited, closely fought bantamweight that saw Mark De La Rosa win the first two rounds due to pressure and landing more shots. Sanchez took the final round in my estimation, countering with some very hard shots and winning the majority of the exchanges. I don't have much else to say; this was one of those competent fights that doesn't leave a lasting impression and fades from memory pretty quickly.
Published: November 11th, 2018.