Fight Notes: UFC Fight Night 156
Taking place in Montevideo, Uruguay, UFC Fight Night 156 was lacking in name value, even in the context of the UFC's modern day schedule, but was still a fun show. The prelims were a little uneven, but we got some strong finishes. We also saw 2 of the more gruesome injuries in recent memory, so there's that... The co-main event was really fun, but the main was a waste of a half-hour. Here's how this regional MMA card disguised under the UFC banner played out.
The main card opened with Enrique Barzola narrowly snatching a decision win over Bobby Moffett. Moffett threw a bit more volume, but Barzola seemingly landed the more effective shots. Moffett also spent a lot of time backing away from an advancing Barzola and seemingly took the first 9 minutes of the fight off. A solid scrap, with the judges split but getting the winner right in my books. Barzola looked a whole weight class smaller than Moffett, who absolutely dwarfed him in the cage.
It took Rodolfo Vieira a round to get settled in and slowly begin taking over his fight with Oskar Piechota. In the latter half of the second round, Vieira Piechota to the mat and submitted him with disturbing ease via arm-triangle choke. Vieira's grappling has been incredibly effective throughout his short UFC tenure, with the only concern being some potential cardio issues. As long as he works on his gas tank, Vieira looks like a serious threat at 185 pounds.
Ilir Latifi ended up on the wrong end up a much improved Volkan Ozdemir's fists. The first round was fairly close, with Latifi taking down Oezdemir with ease but failing to do anything with it — or keep him down for very long. Volkan was very composed, landed a hard jumping knee that cut Latifi's right eye, and really started to take over the fight by the end of the first. In the second round, Latifi was fading fast as Oezdemir picked him apart. Finally, in the last minute-plus of the round, Oezemdir started pouring on the volume and left Latifi starched, face-down on the canvas with a brutal series of punches.
Up next was a decent scrap between Uruguyan fighter Eduardo Garagorri and Humberto Bandenay. It was a sloppy fight, with Garagorri winning the striking handily over the first 2 rounds; Bandenay's stand-up was terrible throughout the fight. The only success Bandenay had was landing about 3 takedowns, but Garagorri got back to his feet every time he'd try and pass to mount. Bandenay maybe won the third, as he upped his striking volume and won most of the clinch battles, but ultimately lost the fight on my card. This was an okay fight, but was a regional MMA bout that somehow ended up on a UFC card.
The co-main event, or People's Main Event, was a really tough, competitive battle between Vicente Luque and Mike Perry. This was basically a kickboxing match in 4-ounce gloves; Luque took the first round to get warmed up, but took control of the fight in the second and throughout the rest of the fight. Perry showed a lot of improvements in his stand-up, and kept the striking fairly even. The latter half of the third round was a bit crazy, as Luque shattered Perry's nose with a jumping knee, then guard and tried to finish with a guillotine and ended up juicing about a pint of Perry's blood all over the mat in this failed attempt. Perry was able to escape the choke and end the fight in mount, but had no time to work. I had it 29-28 for Luque, in what was a really entertaining fight and a strong performance from both men. Perry's nose looked worse than Rich Franklin's after his first meeting with Anderson Silva — it was the worst injury of that kind I've ever seen. I have no clue how the judges were split on this one, but they got the winner right regardless.
The main event was horrible. Liz Carmouche and Valentina Shevchenko had a 'fight' that never got more serious than a lazy sparring match. Carmouche stayed at range, swinging at air and doing nothing to press the fight. This left the ever conservative Shevchenko to do very little, waiting to counter someone who wouldn't leap. This was almost 25 minutes of tedium; the worst main event that comes to mind as of writing this. I'm baffled by Carmouche's gameplan, whatever it was... Shevchenko remains the flyweight champion, turning in another characteristically boring performance. The KO of Jessica Eye seemed to have wrongly convinced people that she's some kind of headhunter; this was exactly the kind of fight you're going to get when Shevchenko isn't pressed. I can't wait to forget this happened.
- Valentina Shevchenko def. Liz Carmouche by Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- Vicente Luque def. Mike Perry by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Eduardo Garagorri def. Humberto Bandenay by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Volkan Oezdemir def. Ilir Latifi by KO (punches) @ 4:31 of Round 2
- Rodolfo Vieira def. Oskar Piechota by Submission (arm-triangle choke) @ 4:26 of Round 2
- Enrique Barzola def. Bobby Moffett by Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
The formal prelims kicked off with a sloppy, back-and-forth bantamweight fight between Chris Guttierez and Geraldo De Freitas. It was a bit of frustrating fight to watch, as Guttierez spent a lot of time just staring down at De Freitas, instead of either engaging on the mat with him or backing off to force a stand-up from the referee. The judges ended up split, but Guttierez rightfully got the nod. It was a sloppy showing from both fighters, that's about all there is to say about the fight. Also, the 30-27 score for De Freitas was a work of pure fantasy — there is no explanation for that.
Rogerio Bontorin and Raulian Paiva were just getting settled into what looked to be a competitive brawl, when a hard knee opened a horrifying cut on Paiva's right eyebrow. It honestly looked like Paiva had been hit in the face with hatchet, and the fight was immediately called off. This came shortly after a brief stoppage to examine a cut on Bontorin's face. We got another finish, but a lamentable one as the fight was looking pretty fun and both men were still quite fresh.
Tecia Torres continued her descent in the rankings, getting swept by Mariana Rodruigez for the entirety of their 3 rounds. Torres was unable to secure takedowns, got beat up in the clinch and had no success in the striking battles. Both an impressive performance for Rodriguez and a difficult loss for Torres, who was at one point the top strawweight prospect in the UFC.
Heavyweights Raphael Pessoa and Cyril Gane put on a typically heavyweight performance. Pessoa tried to keep Gane at bay with some wild striking, including some spinning kicks that left him reeling off balance. An odd strategy for a fighter with a distinct jiu-jitsu advantage. Meanwhile, Gane, the striker, was able to reverse a clinch into a takedown and immediately secure a head-and-arm triangle choke. A baffling finish — with odds of Gane by submission being roughly 22:1 — but also a mercifully quick end to what could have easily been a tedious slog. Gane does look like a legit heavyweight prospect, however.
The fetaured prelim saw lightweight Gilbert Burns moving up to 170 pounds to face Alexey Kunchenko. Much to my — and everyone else's — surprise, Burns was able to shutdown Kunchenko completely for 2 rounds, repeatedly taking down the Russian and and smothering him from top position. Burns was very tired going into the third, but managed to avoid being finished even if he did give up the round. The fight was notable for Burns' beating a solid opponent in a weight class above where he normally competes, but it wasn't a barn burner by any stretch of the imagination.
- Gilbert Burns def. Alexey Kunchenko by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Cyril Gane def. Raphael Pessoa by Submission (arm-triangle choke) @ 4:12 of Round 1
- Mariana Rodriguez def. Tecia Torres by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Rogerio Bontorin def. Raulian Paiva by TKO (doctor stoppage) @ 2:56 of Round 1
- Chris Guttierez def. Geraldo De Freitas by Split Decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)
Fight Pass Prelims
The first fight of the evening was over almost as quickly as it started. Polyana Viana clinched and took Veronica Macedo down in the opening seconds of the fight, but ended up fighting off an armbar attempt almost immediately. The first attempt failed, but Macedo went for the armbar again and Viana was unable to roll out successfully and was forced to verbally submit at the 69 second mark (nice). A shocking upset, given Viana is a credentialed Brazilian jiu-jitsu player, and an end to a 3-fight losing streak for Macedo.
In the second early prelim, Rodrigo Vargas got blanked for 3 rounds by fellow debuting lightweight Alex Da Silva. Vargas was taken down quickly in the first 2 rounds and was never able to get back to his feet and mount any offence. Vargas got outstruck whenever the fight was on the feet, and was taken down and smothered again in the third round — after getting wobbled in a stand-up exchange. Not a memorable fight, but a decisive win for Da Silva.
- Alex Da Silva def. Rodridgo Vargas by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Veronica Macedo def. Polyana Viana by Submission (armbar) @ 1:09 of Round 1
Although the line-up was very weak, even by modern UFC standards, this show was still pretty good as a whole. The main event left a sour taste in my mouth, however — it was excruciatingly dull. This was a "C" level show, and yet another piece of evidence against the notion that the 'weak' looking cards always punch above their weight.
Published: August 10th, 2019.