Fight Notes: UFC Fight Night 151
In spite of the fact that UFC Fight Night 151 was taking place in my city, about 20 minutes away from my house, the lineup was very weak and I opted to stay home to watch the fights. This proved to be a wise decision, as this fight card disproved the bizarre MMA meme that bad-looking cards always over-deliver — that certainly was not the case tonight. If it weren't for the main event, this whole show would have been a write-off, but it's still in the running for the worst UFC card of the year.
After a fun featured prelim, things got tepid again as middleweights Andrew Sanchez and Marc-Andre Barriault had 1 exciting round out of 3. Sanchez kept Barriault pressed against the cage, working unsuccessfully for takedowns, but still managed to steal 2 rounds. Barriault managed to turn the fight into a messy stand-up brawl in the second, but was unable to do it again in the third.
Walt Harris walked right through Moldovan newcomer Serghei Spivac, swarming him against the cage and dropping him with a succession of hooks and knees. This was a welcome change of pace from the plodding, clinch-heavy fights up to this point. Spivac looked completely overmatched and was dispensed with in short order.
My attention really began to wane by the middle of Merab Dvalishvili versus Brad Katona, yet another wrestling-heavy fight that yielded a minimal amount of action. Katona simply had no answer for Merab's relentless takedowns and smothering top control.
Thankfully we got a very high-level striking battle next, as featherweights Shane Burgos and Cub Swanson staged a very competitive three-round fight. Every round was close, but Burgos did a great job of keeping Swanson at bay when a variety of leg-kicks and a solid counter jab. I gave Burgos each round, even though they were all very, very close. Swanson looked good despite his veteran status and Burgos is a gigantic 145'er who dwarfed his opponent. The judges were split but Burgos correctly got the nod.
My fears were realised as Elias Theodorou had one of his typical fights where moves around a lot, does effectively zero damage to his opponent, and manages to infuriate everyone unfortunate enough to be watching. Derek Brunson had some initial success with a takedown which allowed him to take Theodorou's back, but couldn't do much with the position. The rest of the fight was tedious and uneventful. Brunson looked sloppy and tired and Theodorou was his usual awkward self, and the former was able to secure a decision win. I have no opinion on the fight and never want to think about it again.
The main event, thankfully, delivered a really good fight. Donald Cerrone was in fine form — showcasing almost unbelievable career longevity — and soundly outstruck a very tough, very game Al Iaquinta through 5 rounds. Iaquinta had flashes of success, landing some hard right hands, but Cerrone battered his leg with kicks and pieced him up with jabs. Cerrone even managed to drop Iaquinta a few times but never got close to a finish. I gave Cerrone every round in what was a competitive fight, but one that "Cowboy" unquestionably won. It's too bad the rest of the card was so forgettable, but at least it ended on a high note.
- Donald Cerrone def. Al Iaquinta by Unanimous Decision (49-45, 49-45, 49-46)
- Derek Brunson def. Elias Theodorou by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Shane Burgos def. Cub Swanson by Split Decision (30-27, 27-30, 29-28)
- Merab Dvalishvili def. Brad Katona by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Walt Harris def. Serghei Spivac by TKO (punches) @ 0:50 of Round 1
- Andrew Sanchez def. Marc-Andre Barriault by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
The card kicked off with newcomer Cole Smith soundly out-grappling Mitch Gagnon. The first round was fairly low-action, the second frame saw Smith dominate Gagnon on the ground and the third was the most action-packed round of all, as both men traded submission attempts. Cole clearly won rounds 2 and 3, and the first was very difficult to score. A decent opening fight.
Next were a pair of unranked heavyweights in a fight that saw Arjan Bhullar spend most of the fight clinching with Adams or controlling — but not threatening to finish — him when he'd finally secure a takedown. Adams is a huge heavyweight, and Bhullar had a lot of trouble getting him down, but managed to get the job done. A very unremarkable fight from two prospects in MMA's weakest division.
Matt Sayles had a really strong first round, staggering Kyle Nelson and pummeling him with hammerfists as Nelson stubbornly held onto a leg. Nelson seemed committed to leg-locks, fishing for a toe hold and kneebar a few times, but was nowhere close to finishing them. Nelson was able to stage a comeback in the second, getting the fight to the ground, taking Sayles' back and fishing for chokes. Sayles was able to course-correct in the final round, took Nelson down and locked-up a tight arm-triangle choke, squelching what looked to be turning into an upset from Kyle Nelson.
A very game but also very outclassed Kyle Prepolec lost what was effectively a three-round kickboxing match in a cage. Taleb was able to pick Prepolec apart at range, and handily won every round, but never got remotely close to finishing the fight. The next bout was more of the same, only a little harder to score; Vince Morales was given the nod over Aiemann Zahabi in a fight that was difficult to score and really tedious to watch.
Things finally picked up with women's bantamweights Macy Chiasson and Sarah Moras. Moras was able to take Chiasson down early, but couldn't do much with top position and eventually got swept. Chiasson put a beating on Moras, but couldn't finish her before the round ended. Chiasson picked up where she left off in the second frame and was able to take Moras down, secure mount and ground-and-pound her way to the second finish of the night.
- Macy Chiasson def. Sarah Moras by TKO (punches) @ 2:22 of Round 2
- Vince Morales def. Aiemann Zahabi by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Nordine Taleb def. Kyle Prepolec by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Matt Sayles def. Kyle Nelson by Submission (arm-triangle choke) 3:16 @ of Round 3
- Arjan Bhullar def. Juan Adams by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Cole Smith def. Mitch Gagnon by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
The preliminary bouts were pretty rough to watch and the main card didn't fare much better. I give this event a solid D grade; this would have been a total failure of a card were it not for the main event and, to a lesser extent, Burgos / Swanson. I am very glad I saved the price of a ticket — and egregiously overpriced arena beer — and stayed home.
Published: May 4th, 2019.