Fight Notes: UFC On ESPN 10
The UFC returns to the Apex Facility, for more pandemic-era MMA. Boasting a fight card that was very lean on name value, UFC On ESPN 10 was an obvious effort to fulfill the promotions contractual obligations to ESPN and collect guaranteed money. Some slack can be extended, given the difficulties presented by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Still, this was easily the UFC's worst offering in the modern era. Under normal circumstances, this would have been a good RFA show.
There were a number of weight misses, and Darrick Minner withdrew from his bout with Jordan Griffin on weigh-in day. Jessica Eye (who could barely stand), Karl Roberson, and Zarrukh Adashev all came in overweight. I would suspect most — if not all — of the weight misses would not have happened under normal conditions. Roberson had already missed weight a few weeks ago, which got his fight with Marvin Vettori rescheduled to this event, and restarting a weight cut doesn't really work like that. Eye looked as bad as one can look without being sent to the hospital.
The main card resumed trend of brutal, one-sided squash matches as Mariya Agapova demolished Hannah Cifers, who took her second loss in as many weeks. Agapova walked Cifers down immediately and mauled her punches, sat her down with a headkick and then took her back and locked up a quick rear-naked choke. This fight was nearly 3 minutes, but no more competitive than the first 3 fights of the card.
The mismatches continued, although Mark De La Rosa proved to be incredibly tough in spite of being completely outmatched by Jordan Espinosa. The first round was clinch-heavy, but Espinosa started connecting with standing elbows near the end of the round. The second saw Espinosa piece De La Rosa up at range. The last round saw De La Rosa taken down, briefly threatened with a D'Arce, and just completely neutralised. Total dominance from Espinosa, who probably handed Mark De La Rosa his pink slip.
We finally got another competitive scrap, as Andre Fili and Charles Jourdain went toe-to-toe for all 3 rounds. Jourdain was able to hold his own in a very high-level stand-up right, and there was some debate as to how to score the fight. Jourdain rocked Fili with an overhand left in the first round, but nothing really came of it. Fili secured takedowns in ever round, and was able to disrupt any momentum Jourdain tried to gather. I really wasn't sure how to score the fight, there was a decent argument for any scorecard that wasn't a 30-27 for Fili. It was Fili who took the win, and even Jourdain was surprise that it was a split. Fili now has 15 UFC fight, which makes me feel really old.
Charles Rosa and Kevin Aguilar had an awkward, unremarkable fight that went to the scorecards and somehow ended up being a split decision. This was a typical Rosa fight, where he didn't move his head whatsoever but his chin held up as he won competitive rounds. Not a great fight, I'm already beginning to forget it. This is the extreme opposite of the squash matches that otherwise littered this card.
Marvin Vettori and Karl Roberson finally settled their grievances, and thankfully it only took a single round. Roberson acquitted himself well in the stand-up, but had no answer for Vettori's takedown game. After a miraculous escape from a guillotine choke attempt, Vettori flurried Roberson with ground-and-pound before locking up another attempt that was inescapable. Vettori dwarfed Roberson, it was hard to believe the latter was the one who came in 5 pounds over the 185-pound limit.
The first round of the main event, between Jessica Eye and Cynthia Calvillo, was a boxing match — which is the last thing anyone wanted. Calvillo managed to outland Eye through the first, continued to do so in the second before she took Eye's back and spent 3 minutes fishing for rear-naked chokes. The third round was more of the same. Up 3-0, Calvillo shot for a takedown early in the 4th and kept looking for chokes. Eye was able to get back to her feet, though, and Calvillo looked visble exhausted, fading as the round closed out. The final round reverted to the middling striking battle we saw in the first, only they were more tired. A good win for Calvillo, but not a great fight at all.
- Cynthia Calvillo def. Jessica Eye by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)
- Marvin Vettori def. Karl Roberson by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 4:17 of Round 1
- Charles Rosa def. Kevin Aguilar by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Andre Fili def. Charles Jourdain by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
- Jordan Espinosa def. Mark De La Rosa by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Maria Agapova def. Hannah Cifers by Submission (rear-naked choke) @ 2:52 of Round 1
Christian Aguilera made a successful UFC debut in less-than a minute, TKO'ing Anthony Ivy in at the 59-second mark with an overhand right and, a follow-up uppercut and a standing elbow. Not much else to say here, a good showing but not very informative. We'll see how Aguilera progresses, but this is as good a debut as anyone can ask for. Apparently someone made a $10,000 bet on Ivy — who was a 2:1 favourite — which is baffling, and shows that odds on a last-minute, regional-level MMA fights are questionable.
Tyson Nam gave us a sanctioned homicide as he checked a leg kick and then laid out the debuting Zarruk Adashev. The Uzbek collapsed in the classic fencing posture, and we're on to the next fight. Turns out being 4-0 in MMA, regarding of your kickboxing bonafides,
Somehow, the next fight was even quicker! Julia Avila rushed Gina Mazany immediately, flurried her with punches and wilted her against the cage — boom, fight's over. There's even less to say about this fight, which brought the total in-cage time for the event to 1 minute and 53 seconds. Geology appears to be a better base for MMA than ... whatever Gina Mazany brought to the table. I dunno, I've got nothing — 22 seconds was the official time.
The featured prelim not only went over a minute, but used all 3 rounds as Merab Dvalishvili mauled last-minute replacement Gustavo Lopez en route to a lopsided decision win. The only debate was whether or not Dvalishvili won 30-26 or 30-25. Lopez had no answer for the relentless takedowns of Dvalisvili, and the only reason he got back to his feet at any point seemed to be due to his opponent getting bored of certain positions and changing spots for no reason. Dvalishvili is still a wild, unrefined fighter, but his wrestling is incredible, as is his conditioning.
- Merab Dvalishvili def. Gustavo Lopez by Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
- Julia Avila def. Gina Mazany by TKO (punches) @ 0:22 of Round 1
- Tyson Nam def. Zarrukh Adashev by KO (punch) @ 0:32 of Round 1
- Christian Aguilera def. Anthony Ivy by TKO (punches) @ 0:59 of Round 1
All things considered, not a great show. Andre Fili and Charles Jourdain was a good fight, the rest was a bunch of mismatches and last-minute booking to cash a cheque from ESPN. The main event was lukewarm, at best. Expectations were low and summarily met, I give this a strong "D."
Published: June 14th, 2020.