Fight Notes: UFC Fight Night 142
Go figure; I was all worried that last night's event was going to be decision-heavy, and then we got this fight card right after it. There wasn't a single finish until the main card, though we did get to see a really awesome scrap on the Fight Pass Prelims. We got a mixture of performances, nothing truly horrible but the undercard featured a number of less-than memorable bouts. Here are my thoughts on the whole fight card:
Junior Dos Santos def. Tai Tuivasa by Technical Knock Out (punches) @ 2:30 of Round 2
Initially it looked like Tuivasa was going to keep JDS backed against the cage and hand him a violent loss. A leg-kick clearly hurt the former heavyweight champ, and Tuivasa landed some vicious shots but JDS managed to stay standing and in the fight. In the second, JDS took more hard shots but then dropped Tuivasa with a counter, went to the mat with him, eventually secured full mount and punched his way to a TKO win. I was concerned this was going to be a night of old vets being fed to the young lions, but things turned out for the better. JDS took some damage but didn't look too shopworn and pounced on Tuivasa the moment he looked hurt.
Light Heavyweight Fight
Mauricio Rua def. Tyson Pedro by Technical Knock Out (punches) @ 0:43 of Round 3
Shogun nearly got finished in the first round, after a clash of heads, but somehow managed to survive and end the round on top of Pedro. Surprisingly, Shogun was able to rally back in the second, and dominated the round by taking Tyson Pedro down and completely controlling him — arguably winning the round 10-8. Wasting little time in the third, Shogun blasted Pedro with a right-hand, and swarmed him on the ground. It looked like Pedro incurred some sort of ankle injury. Either way, I was very happy to not have to see Shogun bludgeoned unconscious like in his last fight, against Anthony Smith.
Justin Willis def. Mark Hunt by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
For it being purportedly Mark Hunt's final fight, this was a slog. Justin Willis was able to effectively circle away and counter Hunt for the whole fight. Hunt seemed content to just lumber after Willis, but couldn't catch him. This was a very low action fight; Willis won, and did so intelligently, but it was a chore to watch. He didn't get KO'ed, but it was still disappointing to watch Hunt go out like this. I gave Willis the final 2 rounds, and narrowly gave Hunt the first.
Tony Martin def. Jake Matthews by Technical Submission (D'Arce choke) @ 1:18 of Round 3
A very fun, back-and-forth fight to watch. Matthews controlled most of the first round, even coming close to submitting Martin with a guillotine at one point. The second frame was a lot closer, and Martin seemed to be figuring Matthews out. In the third, Martin landed a perfect counter shot that dropped Matthews, he then took his back and transitioned to a D'Arce choke, hooked the leg, and put Matthews to sleep before the referee called a stop to the fight. Tony Martin is really coming into his own, notching another impressive stoppage in just a few months' time.
Sodiq Yussuf def. Suman Mokhtarian by Technical Knock Out (punches) @ 2:14 of Round 1
These guys wasted little time, after a brief clinch battle against the cage Yussuf started tagging Mokhtarian with punches. After Yussuf backed his opponent against the cage, he unloaded a flurry of punches to the body and head. Mokhtarian was doing well in covering up, but wasn't firing back or moving away. The referee waved the fight off, much to the dismay of pretty much everyone. While there is an argument that turtling with your back against the cage isn't great defence, Mokhtarian wasn't rocked or on wobbly legs, even if he looked to be in the midst of being overwhelmed. Better too early than late, though; tough call, but I think the stoppage was a tad premature.
Light Heavyweight Fight
Jimmy Crute def. Paul Craig by Submission (kimura) @ 4:51 of Round 3
This looked like it was going to be yet another lukewarm fight that goes to a decision. Craig took Crute down a few times, but also got reversed and nearly finished with an arm triangle in the first. Crute kept composed, even when taken down in the later rounds. Crute eventually overwhelmed Craig and secured a kimura in the final 10 seconds of the fight. Light heavyweight is terrible, but at least we got a finish.
Aleksei Kuchenko def. Yushin Okami by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Okami tried to implement his typical smothering gameplan, but Kuchenko stuffed every single one of his takedowns and began to pepper him with punches as the fight progressed. This ended up being pretty much the whole story of the fight, Okami was wobbled and hurt with a number of shots, but dove for single-leg takedowns and recovered every time. Kuchenko won a clear decision, though the fight wasn't terribly exciting. Still, a solid win for Kuchenko over an MMA veteran.
Wilson Reis def. Ben Nguyen by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Not much to say about this one; Wilson Reis kept Nguyen either pressed against the cage, defending takedowns, or circling away as he advanced with strikes. Nguyen never settled in to the fight, and spent the vast majority of it on the defensive. Reis was able to take Nguyen down 7 times, but wasn't able to do anything — and Nguyen got back to his feet almost immediately each time. I gave Reis every round as he was the one dictating the pace and position of the fight the whole time.
Keita Nakamura def. Salim Touahri by Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Not nearly as engaging as the fight before it, Japanese MMA veteran Keita Nakamura was able to outpoint Salim Touahri over the course of 3 rounds. Neither fighter seemed to move into a gear higher than second, as Touahri spent a lot of time circling on the outside while Nakamura picked his shots and feinted a lot. Not a terrible fight, just largely unremarkable. I have no idea how it was scored a split decision — you could make an argument for Touahri winning the first round but that's it.
Kai Kara-France def. Elias Garcia by Unanimous Decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
This fight was nuts; there was way too much going on in this fight for me to remember everything. Right away, Garcia shot for a takedown, transitioned to a leg-lock attempt and Kara-France was able to counter and reverse his way out. Garcia dropped Kara-France with a solid right-hand, but he recovered very well. From there, Kara-France began to figure his opponent out and by the second round was solidly dominating him. Garcia's defence consisted of throwing up triangle attempts and diving for leg-locks, but Kara-France defended very well — including a very close moment in the second round where a triangle was transitioned to an armbar that looked tight enough to coax a tap. In the end, Kara-France put a beating on Garcia, whose corner seemed to think their fighter losing was a matter of choice... A very fun fight and an impressive showing from Kai Kara-France.
Fight Pass Prelims
Christos Giagos def. Mizuto Hirota by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-28)
After cracking Hirota early with a couple of really good punches, Giagos switched gears and implemented a smothering, relentless wrestling-based assault. Over the next 2.5 rounds, Giagos was able to take Hirota down every time he managed to get back to his feet. Giagos' unrelenting style left him exhausted at the end of the second round and by the end of the third he was fully mounted and holding on for dear life as the round ended. I was impressed with Giagos tenacity and the success he had in landing takedowns even when he looked so tired that he could barely stand.
Damir Ismagulov def. Alex Georges by Unanimous Decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-26)
Although Ismagulov looked like he was a weight class smaller than Georges, the Kazakh was able to dominate his hometown opponent for the entirety of the fight. Georges was lively and psyched up but lost all of the striking exchanges — although he did show an impressive chin — and had no answer for Ismagulov's clinch, takedowns and especially his top-control. A clean sweep for Ismagulov, although not the most exciting fight to kick the evening off with.
Published: Decenmber 2nd, 2018.