Fight Notes: UFC Fight Night 160
Airing from Copenhagen, Denmark, we were once again treated to an early start time for a UFC event, and not the absurd 3:00AM EST timeslot like their recent visit to China (Fight Notes). Furthermore, this fight card featured really good match-ups throughout, instead of the usual half-assed effort that features a bunch of local nobodies either getting squashed or fighting each other in irrelevant bouts. Solid prelims and a quality main card provided a good 6 hours of entertainment.
The crowd was incredibly loud for the opening main card fight, featuring hometown fighter Nicolas Dalby returning to the UFC and facing Alex Oliveira. "Cowboy" took the first round with superior clinch-work and grappling, but Dalby rallied back in the second and began to bully Oliveira against the cage and control him on the ground. The end of the second and later in the third, we saw the referee issue 2 shocking stand-ups: in the former case, not giving Dalby his top position back on the ground after checking on an illegal upkick, and in the latter he just stood the fighters up despite Oliveira raining down punches on the ground. The last stand-up likely altered the outcome of the fight, as Dalby was able to take Oliveira down and bludgeon him for the remainder of the third — ending the round with a gift-wrap hold and punches — and steal the win.
Ovince Saint-Preux gifted us with more of the usual madness that comes with his fights. After getting pieced up for the opening round, taking hard shots to the head and body from Michal Oleksiejczuk and doing little more than survive, I had it a 10-8 first round. But it ended up not mattering; Oleksiejczuk was visibly tired early into the second round, and OSP was able to take the fight back. After taking Oleksiejczuk down, and baiting him to go for a guillotine choke, OSP sneakily locked up yet another Von Flue choke and forced the Polish fighter to tap. This marks OSP's fourth Von Flue choke, 4/6 in UFC history, and stakes a claim to renaming it. (I don't personally agree, I think the name should reflect the first person to execute it in competition but that's just a matter of opinion.)
Ion Cutelaba just swarmed Khalil Rountree immediately. Cutelaba shot for a takedown, but didn't quite secure it. He still held on to Rountree's leg, however, and was able to drag him down to the mat eventually. From there, Cutelaba unleashed some savage ground-and-pound and that was the end of the fight. Rountree seemingly had no conception of defending the takedown, trying to throw punches with one foot lifted higher than his shoulders, and Cutelaba destroyed him for it.
Gunnar Nelson was effectively stifled for 3 rounds by Gilbert Burns. Each round was close, but Burns was far more active; Nelson's lead leg was a bruised mess from Burn's kicks, and Nelson had very little urgency. There were a lot of clinches, but Nelson seemed content to just hold on while Burns continued trying to strike. Nelson just could not string together any offence, and was unable to wear out Burns — who has a history of gassing out in longer fights — and I had him losing all 3 rounds. Burns goes 2-0 in conescutive short-notice fights since moving up welterweight.
Debuting hometown fighter, and former Olympic medalist in wrestling, Mark Madsen made short work of his opponent. I'm not going to say Danilo Belluardo was a can, but putting an Italian striker against a Danish Olympic wrestler is some ... convenient matchmaking. Madsen did exactly what he was supposed to do: he got ahold of a bodylock very quickly, took Belluardo down with ease and waylaid him with ground-and-pound to earn a stoppage in just over 1 minute.
The main event was fun, for as long as it lasted. Jack Hermansson came out aggressive, trying to take Jared Cannonier down but failing to secure any good positions. Hermansson took the first round with his activity and the brief time he had Canonier down and almost took his back — with hooks in — before things got back to the feet. Round 2 was a completely different story, as Canonier adjusted, perfectly timed a counter punch that crumpled Hermansson to the canvas and finished him with vicious ground-and-pound. Canonier is an undeniable talent at middleweight, after dropping from heavyweight and improving his whole MMA skillset — he is absolutely someone to keep an eye on. A tough loss for Hermansson, who loses a lot of momentum here, but he should be able to bounce back.
- Jared Cannonier def. Jack Hermansson by TKO (punches) @ 0:27 of Round 2
- Mark O. Madsen def. Danilo Belluardo by TKO (punches) @ 1:12 of Round 1
- Gilbert Burns def. Gunnar Nelson by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ion Cutelaba def. Khalil Rountree by TKO (punches) @ 2:35 of Round 1
- Ovince Saint-Preux def. Michal Oleksiejczuk by Submission (Von Flue choke) @ 2:14 of Round 2
- Nicolas Dalby def. Alex Oliveira by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Cage Warriors alumni Jack Shore made a strong UFC debut, putting a grappling clinic on Nohelin Hernandez. In both the first and third rounds, Shore was able to take Hernandez down and take his back — as well as locking in a body triangle — and managed to successfully choke him out in the final frame. It looks like there might be some legit prospects coming out of the Welsh MMA scene.
A much more composed and tactical Marc Diakiese was able to stifle Lando Vannata's stand-up with the addition of some basic kickboxing fundamentals. The Englishman outstruck and outwrestled Vannata throughout the whole fight, in addition to battering his legs and body. Diakiese took a clear unanimous decision win, and Vannata remains a shadow of what he showed in his debut against Tony Ferguson. Diakiese seems to be maturing as a fighter, making him even more dangerous than just a wild, talented striker. Vannata arguably should have been allowed to develop outside the UFC; Lando's struggled since garnering a lot of attention from the success he had despite losing the Ferguson bout.
Lina Lansberg proved to be a lot better than she's been given credit for — even in light of demonstrable improvements being made from fight-to-fight. Conversely, Macy Chiasson's hype-train definitely lost some steam tonight. Chiasson was able to bully Lansberg against the cage for the first round, but her severe lack of takedown defence left her largely helpless against Lansberg's wrestling over the next 2 rounds. Lansberg also managed to take control of the clinch and soundly won the remaining 2 rounds of the fight with better striking and grappling control. MMA should not have a lot of 5:1 favourites, nevermind a relatively green WMMA prospect; Chiasson was correctly favoured but by far too wide of a margin.
Brandon Davis, making his 6th UFC appearance in less-than 2 years, had his hands full with ex-GLORY kickboxer Giga Chikadze. Davis was moving back up to feathweight, after an unsuccessful campaign at bantamweight; things didn't go very well this time out either. Davis was very game, though, and pressed forward for most of the fight, even though he lost the majority of the striking exchanges. Chikdaze's takedown defence was excellent and his superior striking acumen allowed him to rack up significant volume over the fight. Chikadze even reversed a high full-mount and laid down some heavy ground-and-pound of his own. Davis' durability was impressive, but Chikadze clearly won the fight 29-28 at worst. Initially the judges had scored the fight a draw — which was absurd — but it was later revealed to be a math error, and Chikadze was decalred the winner. MMA judges continue to astound me, with their inability to add up scores for 3 and 5-round fights...
Ismail Narudiev took it to Siyar Bahadurzada for 3 tough rounds. Siyar was taken down repeatedly and simply couldn't get to his feet, and had no answer for Narudiev's gameplan. There was really no point in the fight where it looked like a finish was imminent, but Bahadurzada's brawling style was basically checkmated. Not a terrible fight, but not very remarkable either. Narudiev did what he needed to do, to get the win; Bahadurzada remains a known quantity with obvious limitations.
Alessio Di Chirico and Makhmud Muradov gave us yet another well matched fight, although hardly a barnburner. Muradov was able to outstrike Di Chirico for the majority of the fight, which was a conservative battle. Muradov started to fade in the final 2 minutes, but Di Chirico was sufficiently tired that he was unable to capitalise on this reality. Muradov correctly took the decision, making a successful UFC debut and likely handing Di Chirico his walking papers.
The final prelim was ridiculously short, as John Phillips and Alen Amendovski traded shots and Amendovski ended up on the losing end of that exchange. Amendovski collapsed to the mat, and that should have been it, but Phillips had to crack him again before the referee intervened. Finally, some violence to wake up the crowd; the Welsh MMA scene turned in strong showings from Jack Shore and Phillips.
- John Phillips def. Alen Amendovski by KO (punch) @ 0:17 of Round 1
- Makhmud Marudov def. Alessio Di Chirico by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ismail Narudiev def. Siyar Bahadurzada by Unanimous Decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
- Giga Chikadze def. Brandon Davis by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
- Marc Diakiese def. Lando Vannata by Unanimous Decision (3-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Jack Shore def. Nohelin Hernandez by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 2:51 of Round 3
A strong B+ show, with the only thing keeping from the A-level is a lack of a serious Fight Of The Night contender. All the bouts were good, and we got some violent finishes but there were no epic wars. I honestly don't even know what fight would get Fight Of The Night, I think 4 Performance Of The Night bonuses make more sense on this card. Still, a huge improvement over the UFC's prior European offerings.
Published: September 28th, 2019.