Fight Notes: UFC Fight Night 146
After a string of mostly strong events, the UFC's return to Kanasas ended up being a bit of a dud. Lacking any truly abysmal fights, UFC Fight Night 146 was largely underwhelming but was somewhat rescued by the final 3 fights on the card. Luckily the event was briskly paced, if this had been an FS1 event it would have been excruciating instead of merely mediocre.
The main event went exactly as anyone would have predicted, we didn't get any zany Derrick Lewis shenanigans this time out. JDS was able to keep Lewis backing up, peppering him with jabs to the face and body. Near the end of the first round, Lewis took a spinning back-kick to the body and was in visible pain for the rest of the round. I was a little surprised that Herb Dean let it continue, as Lewis seemed borderline helpless save for a few wide, winging shots Lewis threw when JDS closed in on him. JDS ended things quickly in the second, dropping Lewis and TKO'ing. JDS may not be in his prime, but he's still a force in the heavyweight division; I don't think it would be out of line to give JDS the next title shot. Lewis was his usual self, demonstrating a primitive MMA game and looking genuinely uncomfortable at several points in the fight.
Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos just wrecked Curtis Millender in a fight that wasn't even close. "Capoeira" took Millender down easily and mauled him, eventually taking his back and submitting him with ease. Niko Price and Tim Means had a crazy, violent fight for the whole round it nearly lasted. After blasting Price with a lot of punches, Means got completely starched by a right-hook; Price ate a huge combo before landing the fight-ending shot. It also looked like Means injured his ankle as he fell, hopefully not too severely but it didn't look good at all. There was more excitement in that fight than the majority of the card up to that point.
Blagoy Ivanov and Ben Rothwell had a sloppy, three-round heavyweight fight. Rothwell ate a lot of punches in order to land his own, while Ivanov did his best impression of Junior Dos Santos when he beat Rothwell. Ivanov struggled with the range, but still managed to land a lot of punches. Still, it was yet another unremarkable fight on a card packed full of them. Not a good comeback fight for Rothwell, but he's a heavyweight so it'll probably hurt him a lot less than it would a fighter in a lighter weight class.
Beneil Dariush really surprised me with his durability in his fight, as Dober blasted him with some really powerful shots that, somehow, did not separate him from consciousness. Dariush weathered the storm, got Dober to the mat and capitalised on some questionable strategic decisions to secure a slick triangle-armbar finsh. Dober was looking very good before he got tapped — better than any of his previous fights. Kind of bittersweet here; it was nice to see Dariush doesn't have a glass jaw, but Dober's performance was really good until Dariush got him to the ground.
Tim Boestch got battered by Omari Akhmedov for 3 rounds, incurring the second horrendous broken nose of the night. While Boestch didn't make any announcement immediately after the fight, the commentary team noted several times that Boestch had said this might be his final fight. A rough way to go out, but that's generally how it goes in MMA — at least he didn't get violently finished. I think retirement would be a wise idea, as Boestch has been on a skid 2016, with his only win coming in the form of a TKO over Johny Hendricks — a welterweight he destroyed his body and forced himself into middleweight. Regardless, the David Heath and Yushin Okami fights are some all-time legendary violence.
- Junior Dos Santos def. Derrick Lewis by Technical Knock Out (punches) @ 1:58 of Round 2
- Elizeu Zaleski Dos Santos def. Curtis Millender by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 2:35 of Round 1
- Niko Price def. Tim Means by Knock Out (punch) @ 4:50 of Round 1
- Blagoy Ivanov def. Ben Rothwell by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Beneil Dariush def. Drew Dober by Submission (triangle armbar) @ 4:41 of Round 2
- Omari Akhmedov def. Tim Boestch by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
The prelims were okay, although they certainly had moments where my interest began to wane. Grant Dawson and Julian Erosa put on a great scrap that looked to have Fight Of The Night honours locked up early. Dawson made a strong UFC debut, and should be someone to keep an eye on as their career progresses — his pressure and tenacity are exceptional. Kunitskaya and Reneau wasn't much to write home about, except for the fact that Kunitskaya incurred an incredibly nasty-looking broken nose. The featured prelim was fairly underhwhelming, as Anthony Rocco Martin blanked Sergio Moraes in a fight that he fought very intelligently, even if it wasn't the most enthralling 3 rounds of MMA to watch. Luckily the undercard was paced very well, which helped make the lulls easier to deal with.
Zak Ottow had a terrible night; he got steamrolled in the last bout of his contract, against a guy he apparently called out several times. Alex White's forehead got busted open very badly in the first round of his fight, leaving a wound you could have stashed $12 on small change inside of, but he rallied to win the remaining rounds. Matt Schnell put a damper on Louis Smolka's UFC comeback, but looked very good in the process. Maurice Green and Jeff Hughes had a decent heavyweight fight, which is a bad fight by any other metric.
- Anthony Rocco Martin def. Sergio Moraes by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Yana Kunitskaya def. Marion Reneau by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Grant Dawson def. Julian Erosa by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
- Maruice Green def. Jeff Hughes by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Matt Schnell def. Louis Smolka by Submission (triangle choke) @ 3:18 of Round 1
- Alex Morono def. Zak Ottow by Verbal Submission (strikes) @ 3:34 of Round 1
- Alex White def. Dan Moret by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Overall, I'd give the show a strong C. I've seen better and I've endured far, far worse.
Published: March 9th, 2019.