Fight Notes: UFC Fight Night 157
Even though it was headlined by a title fight, UFC Fight Night 157 aired at the ungodly hour of 3:00AM EST and was made largely inaccessible even if you subscribed to Fight Pass and / or ESPN+. The prelims were alright, albeit heavy on decisions that never threatened a finish; the main card wasn't half-bad either, despite a complete lack of star-power. The main event yielded a shocking finish, as Zhang Weili turns in a breakout performance on the most obscure UFC card of the modern era.
The main card kicked off with another closely contested fight. Mizuki Inoue was able to edge out Yu Yanan over the course of 3 rounds. Another fight that never threatened a finish; a decent fight, but hardly one for the history books. Mizuki was quicker and more technical, depsite giving up a significant size advantage. This was yet another kickboxing fight that happened to take place on a UFC card.
Derrick Krantz and Song Kenan waged a fun, 3-round fight. Kenan was able to dominate the stand-up game in the first round, got outwrestled by Krantz in the second and ultimately outgrappled his opponent in the third. A decent fight, but another one that won't make the history books.
Mark De La Rosa was outpointed by Kai Kara-France over the course of their 3 round battle. Kara-France had moments where he had De La Rosa in trouble, but was unable to make use of these momentary flashes of weakness. Nevertheless, the judges awarded him the fight in a unanimous decision, but De La Rosa acquitted himself very well and was competitive throughout the fight. it was yet another close stand-up battle on a fight card filled with similar style match-ups.
Serving as something of a People's Main Event, Li Jingliang and Zaleski Dos Santos went to war as expected. The first round was really close, with Jingliang pressuring a lot, and Dos Santos defending and trying in vain to counter. Jingliang's lead only grew as the fight progressed, as Dos Santos saw less and less success and got shut down in every aspect of the striking game. It looked like we were on our way to yet another decision, when Jingliang dropped Dos Santos twice in the span of about 20 seconds and scored a late TKO victory. Dos Santos sees an 11-fght win streak shattered and "The Leech" notches a win in his home country. This ended up netting Jingliang his 5th Performance Of The Night bonus.
The main event unfolded in truly shocking fashion: Jessica Andrade tried to walk Zhang Weili down, and ended up paying dearly for it. Zhang defended well, threw powerful counter punches and elbows, staggering Andrade in the process. Zhang then unloaded a series of knees which sent Andrade reeling and a follow-up series of punches brought an end to the whole affair. Zhang Weili becomes the fourth UFC strawweight champion in women's history and notches the 10th fastest KO in the organisation's history. It's too bad such a strong performance was hidden away on such an inaccessible fight card, but credit to Zhang nonetheless.
- Zhang Weili def. Jessica Andrade by KO (elbows and punches) @ 0:42 of Round 1
- Li Jingliang def. Zaleski Dos Santos by TKO (punches) @ 4:51 of Round 3
- Kai Kara-France def. Mark De La Rosa by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Song Kenan def. Derrick Krantz by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Muzuki Inoue def. Yu Yanna by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
The opener, a women's bantamweight fight between Rosa and Procopio, was decent. It was basically just a kickboxing match in MMA gloves, in a cage, as Rosa got the better of an Procopio, who was far more aggressive than she was successful in her continuous attempts at closing distance. The scores were weird, and the judges were split, but Rosa was correctly awarded the win, she had a way more effective striking game and punished Procopio for everything she tried to execute.
Alatengheili and Danaa Batgerel had a fun back-and-forth scrap, with Batgerel exploiting a speed advantage and repeatedly landing on his opponent. Alatengheili didn't try for takedowns until the third round, and needed about a half-dozen attempts before he got Batgerel to the mat. The first round was really close, the second was clearly won by Batgerel, and the third was Alatengheili's by virtue of positional control and takedowns. The judges gave the fight to Alatengheili, likely due to the fact he busted Batgerel's face up pretty badly. I was more than a little surprised to see scores of 29-27 across the board.
Thiago Moises and Damir Ismagulov gave us our third consecutive decision. Ismagulov dominated the bulk of the fight, smashing Moises' legs and body with kicks and landing jabs and hard right hands seemingly at will. Moises showed a good chin, but was ultimately blanked in all 3 rounds by my scoring. The judges agreed and we moved along to the next fight.
Light heavyweights Da Un Jung and Khadis Ibragimov pushed a much higher pace than is usually the case at 205 pounds. Ibragimov managed to punch himself into a state of utter exhaustion by the 7 minute mark of the fight; Jung weathered a heavy early storm and was able to crack Ibragimov with a jab and the odd combination pretty much at will. Ibragimov switched to a wrestling approach about midway through the fight and probably tied the fight up by winning the second round and could reasonably have been up 2-0. It looked like Ibragimov was going to wrestle his way to a decision win, but Jung was able to turn a clinch battle into a standing guillotine and force the Russian to tap. I complain about light heavyweight a lot, but this was a fun fight.
Su Mudaerji dominated Andrei Soukhamthath, styling on him with superior footwork and outstriking him for the first 2 rounds. In the third, Su Mudaerji dropped Soukhamthath and worked him over with ground-and-pound, making for a completely one-sided fight and the fourth decision thus far. A good rebound fight for Su Mudaerji following his loss to Louis Smolka on short notice at UFC Fight Night 141 (Fight Notes).
The final prelim bout, between middleweights Jun Yong Park and Anthony Hernandez was a medium-paced brawl. Hernandez attempted takedowns, but was largely unsuccessful with them; Park was landing most of his strikes, and Hernandez' defence was pretty bad. The first round was close, with Park likely taking it. In the second round, Hernandez was able to turn the momentum in his favour, spammed takedowns until he got Park down and then worked him over with ground-and-pound until he saw an opening for a anaconda choke and ended the fight shortly thereafter.
- Anthony Hernandez def. Jun Yong Park by Submission (anaconda choke) @ 4:39 of Round 2
- Su Mudaerji def. Andrei Soukhamthath by Unanimous Decision ((30–26, 30–26, 30–25)
- Da Un Jung def. Khadis Ibragimov by Submission (ninja choke) @ 2:00 of Round 3
- Damir Ismagulov def. Thaigo Moises by Unanimous Decision (30–26, 30–27, 30–27)
- Alatengheili def. Danaa Batgerel by Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
- Karoline Rosa def. Lara Procipio by Split Decision (28–29, 30–27, 29–28)
The word that keeps coming up, regarding this fight card, is "decent." And that's really all I can say about it; it was a decent fight card with an impressive, albeit brief main event. I ended up waking up just in time to see the post-fight interviews, and had to "figure it out" to see the event I had slept through. This was a C+ level card, and no worse than a lot of the other shows this year; far from the best, but hardly the worst — not that it matters since you won't be able to watch it for months anyway.
Published: August 31st, 2019.