Fight Notes: UFC Fight Night 150
What appeared to be an intriguing fight card on paper mostly lived up to expectations. There were some emotional lows on the prelims, with a pair of veterans turning in disappointing performances in defeat, but overall the fights were very good. The heavyweight fights were indictments of the division itself, and the long-term future of light heavyweight is looking more and more concerning as prospects continue to underperform. Here are my notes from the show:
I have no idea why Roosevelt Roberts / Thomas Gifford was on the main card, except as an excuse to talk about Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender series. The fight was fairly unremarkable, as Roberts outgrappled Gifford for the better part of 3 rounds and was awarded an indisputable decision win.
John Lineker and Cory Sandhagen did well in delivering the level of violence fans expected from this pairing. Sandhagen landed a much higher volume of strikes, though none with the authority of Lineker's massive shots. Neither was able to stun their opponent and each round was very, very close. I gave to it Lineker, awarding him rounds 1 and 3, but the judges were split and Sandhagen got the 'W.' I don't feel this was a robbery, but I felt Lineker was more effective in what was otherwise a very evenly matched fight.
Glover Teixeira showed he still has some life left in him, as he weathered an early storm from Ion Cutelaba — including a near-TKO thanks to a spinning backfist in round 1 — and staged a comeback as the fight wore on. Cutelaba seemed to exhaust himself looking for a finish in the first round and Glover was able to wear him down in the second frame. Glover dropped Cutelaba with a hook, followed him to the mat, took his back and snatched another submission victory. So much for another light heavyweight prospect, as Cutelaba suffers another setback.
Mike Perry and Alex Oliveira turned in a potential Fight Of The Night contender, as the two welterweights went to war for a full 15 minutes. Oliveira took the first round, but likely spent way too much energy as he spammed spinning kicks throughout, while Perry had trouble closing distance. As the fight wore on, Perry was able to adjust as Oliveira began to slow. Perry almost finished Oliveira in the second, and the third round, but the Brazilian managed to keep his wits about him and make it to the scorecards. A really fun, violent fight that highlights how much of an enigma Mike Perry is — somehow better than you would think and worse than he ought to be.
Greg Hardy is now 1-1 in his UFC career, after demolishing a terrified and embarrassing Dmitry Smoliakov in a fight that I'd swear was fixed if I didn't know better. An utter waste of everyone's time as the UFC continues to try and strap a rocket to Greg Hardy and push him into the heavyweight rankings. Smoliakov set the floor level for heavyweight incompetence in the modern UFC era with that 'performance.' What an abysmal co-main event.
The main event was full of surprises, as Jack Hermansson nearly flash KO'ed "Jacare" in the first round. Hermansson then tried to submit Souza with a guillotine, and very nearly succeeded, but the Brazilian was able to gut it out and escape. It wasn't until the third that Ronaldo Souza was able to win a round, getting stunned multiple times by a significantly more active Hermansson. Souza rallied hard in the final minutes of the fight, but Hermansson's conditioning was exceptional and he was able to defend and secure a takedown in the closing seconds. I had it 4-1 for Hermansson on my scorecard, but there's an reasonable argument that Souza won the fifth.
I had concerns that "Jacare" might have conditioning issues, but they were overblown; it was an exhausting fight, but Sounza was competitive throughout the fight. Hermansson's performance was very impressive, maintaining a really high volume of strikes over 5 rounds and decisively beating a veteran like Ronaldo Souza. Unfortunately, this loss effectively knocks the 39 year-old Souza out of title contention forever.
- Jack Hermansson def. Ronaldo Souza by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
- Greg Hardy def. Dmitry Smoliakov by TKO (punches) @ 2:15 of Round 1
- Mike Perry def. Alex Oliveira by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Glover Teixeira def. Ion Cutelaba by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 3:37 of Round 2
- Cory Sandhagen def. John Lineker by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Roosevelt Roberts def. Thomas Gifford by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
I'm not going to lie, I spaced out during most of Gilbert Burns versus Mike Davis. I snapped out of my daze about a minute before Burns was able to take Davis down, transition to his back and lock up a very tight rear-naked choke.
Carla Esparza and the debuting Virna Jandiroba waged a fun back-and-forth, grappling-heavy battle. Both women were able to take each other down, although Jandiroba was busier regardless of whatever she was in the top or bottom position. Still, Esparza had more overall control time and handily won a unanimous decision. I complain about the quality of a lot of WMMA bouts these days, but this was a genuinely good fight.
Andrei Arlovski and Augusto Sakai put on a typically tedious heavyweight fight. Both exchanged 1-2 punch combinations and single leg-kicks when they weren't clinching against the cage. It was a woefully uneventful fight that I gave to Arlovski because he was marginally more effective in each round. 10 years ago, I figured the twilight of Arlovski's career would be difficult to watch but for entirely different reasons. The judges were split, and gave the nod to Sakai; I'd be upset about their choice but this fight is something I look forward to forgetting.
The featured prelim saw Ben Saunders look pretty good in the opening round against the debuting Takashi Sato, only to get dropped and brutally finished with ground-and-pound in the second. Another unfortunate loss for the veteran Saunders, who should give serious thought to retirement at this point in his career. Great debut for Sato, nonetheless.
- Takashi Sato def. Ben Saunders by TKO (punches) @ 1:18 of Round 2
- Augusto Sakai def. Andrei Arlovski by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Carla Esparza def. Virna Jadiroba by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Gilbert Burns def. Mike Davis by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 4:15 of Round 2
The early prelims kicked off with a pair of decisions. Court McGee had a typical fight, only he lost this one as his constant forward pressure didn't amount to much when Dhiego Lima stuffed 8 or 9 takedowns and countered him all night long. Somehow this ended up a split decision; I have no idea how a judge awarded McGee 2 rounds. Not the most eventful fight, but Lima fought very intelligently and clearly won.
Angela Hill had her best UFC showing to date as she expertly countered an extremely aggressive Jodie Esquibel. By the end of the fight, Esquibel's face was pretty busted up; Hill got more and more dominant from the midpoint of the fight onward. This was a fun scrap after a light-on-action opener.
Jim Miller needed a little more-than 2 minutes to take Jason Gonzales down and submit him with a rear-naked choke. Miller had his whole family at cageside, gifting them a vintage performance and earning the first finish of the night. Post-fight, Miller indicated that he only had a few fight left in him but didn't provide a hard number. That aside, he looked great in this fight; he may not be contending for a title any time soon but Jim Miller is still a serious test for anyone at lightweight.
- Jim Miller def. Jason Gonzales by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 2:12 of Round 1
- Angela Hill def. Jodie Esquibel by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
- Dhiego Lima def. Court McGee by Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
This was a strong B-grade show; I have minimal complaints and the main card — save for the terrible co-main event — had some really good fights and a star-making performance in the main event.
Published: April 28th, 2019.