Fight Notes: UFC Fight Night 158
Taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the UFC delivered another solid Fight Night card. There were a lot of split decisions — because MMA judging is still a crapshoot even in 2019 — and a pair of entertaining light heavyweight fights. The main event was a violent, albeit brief affair, capping off a fun night of fights. No extreme highs and no abysmal lows; a good fight card, just not an exceptional one.
The main card opener between Misha Cirkunov and Jimmy Crute was a wild and entertaining 3-and-a-half minutes. Cirkunov took Crute down and spent a lot of time trying to pass guard. Crute was able to reverse sweep after being put in a crucifix from side control, but Cirkunov forced a scramble and managed to lock Crute in a Peruvian necktie and force the tap. A crazy fight, and a good win for Cirkunov — although he did look vulnerable at times.
Uriah Hall and Antonio Carlos Junior had a really close fight. Hall, looking better than he has in a long time, dominated the striking exchanges and broke Carlos' nose in the first round. "Shoeface" was content to just shoot takedowns and try for submissions, with the third round being his best as he had Hall's back for about 4 minutes. The scoring for the first 2 rounds was really hard call, but the third was obvious — although I don't think it was a 10-8 like many others have argued. Hall looked surprised to win the split decision, which is understandable given he was 0-3 in his previous fight that were split on the scorecards.
Michel Pereira lived up to his billing as a complete madman. Unfortunately for the Brazilian, he was completely gassed after an absurd first round that featured multiple offensive backflips. Tristan Connelly was able to weather the early storm, avoid being clipped with flying knees and wild punches, and took Pereira down. The next 2 rounds were solidly Connelly's, with the first being debatable. Connelly was able to take Pereira down and threaten several submissions, although none looked threatening. Connelly snagged a unanimous decision win in his UFC debut with only 5 days notice, fighting at welterweight — as a natural lightweight — and handily beating an opponent who came in overweight. Conversely, Pereira looked terrible and ever bit the overhyped sideshow I had him pegged as.
Todd Duffee and Jeff Hughes went to war for a solid 4 minutes, until an accidental eye-poke during a break brought a halt to the fight. It was a strange sequence, as Duffee's eye didn't look injured, he wasn't blinking excessively, but he kept telling the referee, and the ringside doctor, that he was seeing double. This lead to the fight being waved off, an anticlimactic ending to what was looking to be a really fun fight. Instead, we get a no contest result and Todd Duffee's MMA career continues to fizzle. I'm not going to speculate on the severity of Duffee's injury, but the whole thing looked very strange — any other fighter would be doing their best to avoid saying they had double vision in that situation.
I had really low expectations for a fight between Glover Texeira and Nikita Krylov, but the 2 light heavyweights managed to put on a show. Glover looked good, taking Krylov down, attempting submissions and doing more damage on the feet. Krylov was, at one point, leading in total strikes but Glover's shots did a lot more visible damage and the Ukranian spent a lot of the second round circling and running away. The third was the closest round, but I had Glover clearly winning the first 2 rounds. The judges were split, which shocked me — I don't think there's an argument for giving Krylov any round except the third — but they got the winner right. I thought Texeira would look more shot, but I am glad to be wrong.
The main event was short and sweet, as Justin Gaethje needed a little less-than a round to finish Donald Cerrone with punches. Cerrone got the worst of every striking exchange, ate a lot of hard leg kicks and got dropped twice before being swarmed in the final minute. The referee was a bit reluctant to stop the fight, but it wasn't the egregious stoppage a lot of people made it out to be. Gaethje adds another quality win to his resumé and Cerrone suffers another setback. Still, it was a fun fight while it lasted; I personally expected Gaethje to win even quicker — this was a terrible match-up for Cerrone.
- Justin Gaethje def. Donald Cerrone by TKO (punches) @ 4:18 of Round 1
- Glover Teixeira def. Nikita Krylov by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Todd Duffee vs. Jeff Hughes by No Contest (unintentional foul) @
- Tristan Connelly def. Michel Pereira by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
- Uriah Hall def. Antonio Carlos Junior by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Misha Cirkunov def. Jimmy Crute by Submission (Peruvian necktie) @ 3:38 of Round 1
Kyle Prpolec and Austin Hubbard opened the show with a decent fight. Prepolec won the first round, which was purely standing, while Hubbard took the second by way of takedowns and control time. Hubbard repeated his second round performance and Prepolec picks up his second UFC loss, dropping a unanimous decision in his home country of Canada.
Louis Smolka went right after Ryan MacDonald, peppering him with punches and kids to the body and head. MacDonald was put on the back foot for most of the round, and Smolka swarmed him in the final 30 seconds, dropping him twice and earning a TKO before the round ended. A very impressive performance from Smolka, putting his second UFC stint back on track.
Chas Skelly had a few scary moments but was nevertheless able to dominate Jordan Griffin with his superior wrestling and grappling. Griffin had a fair amount of success on the feet, but couldn't keep Skelly from taking him down. Griffin also made the questionable decision to take Skelly down in the second round, which lead to Skelly using a front flip to get Griffin off of his back. Griffin's submission defence was adequate, but he should have avoided the ground at all costs.
Brad Katona had a typically grindy (read: frustrating) fight, though he was unable to do much more than clinch his opponent, Hunter Azure, against the cage. Azure was more effective with strikes and defended the takedowns well and even took Katona down. It was a close fight but not all that entertaining. with Azure taking the decision win.
Miles Johns and Cole Smith gave us another close scrap, with the Canadian eschewing striking for the most part and attempting to take Johns down. Smith had a lot of time stalling against the cage and had Johns' back for a significant part of the second round. It was a very close fight, with Johns defending well, handily outstriking Smith when they were on the feet. The judges were split; I thought Smith might have done enough to win, but it was really close to call.
The featured prelim was a very brief heavyweight encounter, as Augusto Sakai demolished Marcin Tybura in just under 1 minute. The Brazilian walked Tybura down, cracked him with a right hand and flurried him until he collapsed to the canvas. Sakai remains undefeated in his UFC run and offsets the dud that was his split decision win over Andrei Arlovski in his last fight.
- Augusto Sakai def. Marcin Tybra by KO (punches) @ 0:59 of Round 1
- Miles John def. Cole Smith by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Hunter Azure def. Brad Katona by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
- Chas Skelly def. Jordan Griffin by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Louis Smolka def. Ryan MacDonald by TKO (punches) @ 4:43 of Round 1
- Austin Hubbard def. Kyle Prepolec by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Good prelims and a very respectable main card. The main event was one-sided but capped the event off nicely. I give this a strong "B." No big complaints, but the main event needed to be more competitive to bring the show up to the next level.
Published: September 15th, 2019.