Fight Notes: UFC Fight Night 159
On paper, this was one of those fights cards that any UFC fan could easily justify skipping. The preliminary bouts ended up being pretty decent, though nothing overly remarkable — I don't have any complaints but I am going to forget all of them in a day or two. The main card had some very fun fights but culminated in a main event that promised fireworks and ended up being a 15-second dud thanks to an eye poke. This was a decent fight card with a very sour ending.
The main card opener was quite fun, as Martin Bravo handily took the first round in his fight against Steven Peterson. Things started to unravel in the second round, however, and come to a violent end as the two men exchanged spinning backfists — but Peterson's was the one that hit its mark. Bravo was knocked out cold, fell to the mat stiff and and took a while to wake up. Peterson offsets some really questionable tattoos and broken post-fight Spanish with a devastating KO victory. Bravo racks up his second nasty KO loss in his UFC tenure.
Irene Aldana spent 15 minutes just beating the crap out of Vanessa Melo. Aldana's striking was sharp all night, piecing up her heavily overmatched opponent in a fight that was never close whatsoever. Melo showed a sturdy chin and a lot of heart, as she walked Aldana down for most of the fight even though she just kept eating punches for her efforts. A good showing for Aldana, even though she didn't get a finish. Melo didn't look horrible, but was way out of her league in this fight.
Brandon Moreno and Askar Askarov had a crazy, back-and-forth fight. There were too many exchanges to detail, with the Dagestani, Askarov, tossing Moreno around as he landed multiple takedowns and slams. Moreno was busy on defence, did well to get back to his feet and even reversed positions on the ground. The judges ended up scoring the fight a split draw, which was a bit weird, but honestly both guys fought hard and were incredibly evenly matched. Askarov is someone worth keeping an eye on going forward and Moreno seems to be maturing well in his UFC career.
Carla Esparza outwrestled Alexa Grasso for 2 rounds, but seemed to run out of gas around the end of the second frame. Grasso didn't give up, and turned in a really strong performance in the third, nearly submitting Esparza with an armbar. I honestly don't know how Esparza escaped the armbar without dislocating her arm, but she reversed position, and avoided dropping a 10-8 round and drawing the fight. It was a good scrap and a close fight between a pair of legit strawweights.
The main event ended up being a complete clusterfuck, as Yair Rodriguez poked Jeremy Stephens in the eye at the 15 second mark, and that was the end of the fight. Stephens was given a full 5 minutes by Herb Dean and was still unable to open his eye. The doctor had no choice but to stop the fight, which incited the crowd to collectively lose their shit and throw bottles and all manner of debris into the cage. To a point, I can understand the crowd's frustation but their reaction was deplorable. Yair should earn a disqualification for ending the fight with what could be described as nothing but a flagrantly illegal strike. I'm guessing the UFC won't be going back to Mexico any time in the near future.
- Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens by No Contest (accidental eye poke) @ 0:15 of Round 1
- Carla Esparza def. Alexa Grasso by Majority Decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Brandon Moreno vs. Askar Askarov by Split Draw (28-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Irene Aldana def. Vanessa Melo by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Steven Peterson def. Martin Bravo by KO (spinning backfist) @ 1:31 of Round 2
Sergio Pettis put in a great showing against Tyson Nam, picking him apart over the course of 3 full rounds. Pettis' jab stifled Nam's offence throughout the fight, and Pettis' footwork and control of distance lead to a clear 30-27 unanimous decision. Not a very tense fight, but a very technical performance from Pettis.
Angela Hill and Ariane Carnelossi had a good back-and-forth fight that ended abruptly in the third when Hill slashed Carnelossi's left eyelid open with a nasty elbow strike. The ringside doctor took almost no time to end the fight, the damage from the elbow was severe and obvious.
Kyle Nelson needed a little over a minute-and-a-half to demolish Polo Reyes. The Mexican's utter lack of defence cost him dearly, as Nelson blasted him with an elbow, a huge overhand right and a series of undefended follow-up punches. The referee jumped in and waved the fight off; it was a good stoppage, Reyes was out on his feet and didn't even know where he was. A great showing for Nelson, which silenced the Mexican crowd.
Jose Quinonez got one back for the hometown fighters, dominating Carlos Huachin for the entirety of their fight. Huachin got dropped in the first, managed to survive, but was never able to get any significant offence going. Quinonez put in a well-rounded performance, using superior footwork and boxing to coast to an easy 30-27 unanimous decision.
- Jose Quinonez def. Huachin by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Kyle Nelson def. Polo Reyes by KO (elbow and punches) @ 1:36 of Round 1
- Angela Hill def. Ariane Carnelossi by TKO (doctor stoppage) @ 1:56 of Round 2
- Sergio Pettis def. Tyson Nam by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
The opening bout was a one-sided trucking as Claudio Puelles dominated Marcos Mariano with takedowns, ground strikes and submission attempts. Mariano did nothing more than defend himself from being finished, including (legally) holding his own shorts to stave off multiple kimura attempts in the third round. Two 10-8 rounds were awarded, with Puelles earning scores of 30-25 across the board.
Bethe Correia and Sijara Eubanks had a decent fight, with Correia getting dropped and nearly finished in the first round, only to rally back and outwork Eubanks over the next 2. It was a close fight, but Correia fended off takedowns, won the clinch battles and did better than expected with her boxing.
Paul Craig looked to be having difficulties with the wrestling of Vinicius Moreira, until he stuffed a single-leg attempt and followed up with a pair of knees to Moreira's face. The Brazilian crumbled against the cage and Craig followed up with punches that could have easily warranted a stoppage. Craig then took Moreira's back and quickly locked up a tight rear-naked choke, coaxing a very quick tap. A very impressive showing for Craig, whose prior claim to fame is taking beatings and then making miraculous comebacks.
- Paul Craig def. Vinicius Moreira by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 3:19 of Round 1
- Bethe Correia def. Sijara Eubanks by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Claudio Puelles def. Marcos Mariano by Unanimous Decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-25)
This was on track to being a strong C-level card, and possibly even B-level if the main event came remotely close to delivering the striking war it promised. Instead, a night of fun fights was spoiled with a main event that was over before it even started. Yair Rodriguez flailing his open fingers at Jeremy Stephens' eye soured an otherwise decent event. This is a C- at best now.
Published: September 21st, 2019.