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This past weekend was one of the busiest in combat sports history with two Ultimate Fighting Championship events, a pair of Bellator MMA cards, a slew of other regional events and of course the biggest heavyweight boxing match in a decade. If you happened to miss any of the Octagon action, we got you covered with the best performances in this week’s “Geek for Technique.”
The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale
The stacked weekend started off with Raoni Barcelos submitting Chris Gutierrez with a rear-naked choke to bring his UFC record to 2-0. Barcelos controlled most of the fight before the finish, but seemed to have more urgency when he was sliced open with an elbow. Notice how quickly he bumps his hips over from half guard to take the back and immediately locks up the choke.
Tim Means earned his fifth Octagon knockout with vicious ground-and-pound to veteran Ricky Rainey. Means is not known for his ground game, but he landed this beautiful outside trip to get it to the ground and set up the TKO finish for his first win in the UFC since summer of 2017.
The UFC Fight Pass prelims headliner saw former Contender Series alum Roosevelt Roberts submit Darrell Horcher with a guillotine in the first round. Horcher was finding success on the feet early in the round, pressuring through the reach of Roosevelt and landing combos in the pocket. Horcher eventually clinched against the cage and Roosevelt was able to use his long arms to lock up one of the craziest guillotines you will ever see; Horcher was practically horizontal with the cage.
Maurice Greene defeated Michel Batista with a triangle choke in the first round. Green was looking to take center control and strike from range, but Batista immediately shot and eventually used the cage to drag Green to the mat. Once the fight hit the ground, Green wasted no time locking up a triangle from his back and got the tap a little over 2:00 into the fight.
Joseph Benavidez got back in the win column with a TKO of Alex Perez for his first knockout since 2013. Midway through the first round, Benavidez shot for a takedown, which Perez sprawled and defended. Benavidez used this opportunity to fire off ground-and-pound, causing the referee to stop the fight. However, Yves Lavigne seemed to change his mind and let the fight continue, allowing Perez to take a beating for another minute before the action was stopped for a second and final time.
Pedro Munhoz earned just his second TKO victory in the UFC over Bryan Caraway, bringing his UFC record to 7-3-1. Munhoz controlled the fight from start to finish, outstriking Caraway in the pocket and defending oncoming takedowns. Midway through the opening frame, Munhoz landed a perfect front kick to the liver wthat had Caraway covering up.
Macy Chiasson took on Pannie Kianzad in a fight to crown the next winner of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Chiasson was the aggressor from the start and made it clear she wanted to clinch with Kianzad and use grappling to overwhelm her. After nearly finishing a rear-naked choke in the first round, Chiasson again looked for the clinch in the 2nd round and eventually took Kianzad’s back and locked up the rear-naked choke again, this time for the finish.
The co-main event saw Juan Francisco Espino Dieppa submit Justin Frazier with a straight armlock to win “The Ultimate Fighter” 28 heavyweight tournament. Dieppa wasted no time getting the fight to the ground as he ducked under the first combo thrown by Frazier and slammed him to the floor. Frazier was able to get back to his feet, but was quickly dragged down and submitted from side control.
After a crazy night of quick finishes, Kamaru Usman changed the tune of the event by dominating Rafael dos Anjos for five straight rounds and took home an easy unanimous decision victory, including a rare 50-43 score. This was supposed to be a showcase fight for Usman, who is looking to make a case for a title shot. But instead, he showed us what we already know. He is one of the best wrestlers in the division and can take anyone down. Once the fight hits the ground he loses urgency and ends up winning a boring decision. Usman has dominated every one of his opponents in the UFC and will most likely end up getting the title shot, but his striking is lacking for the highest levels of MMA and his inability to finish opponents will not win over many fans or the UFC brass.
UFC Fight Night 142
After being treated with eight finishes in 13 fights the night before, UFC Fight Night 142 in Australia was a step back in excitement, but the main card was still one of the best of the year. The opening bout of the main card saw Contender Series alum Jimmy Crute submit Paul Craig with a kimura with just 9 seconds left in the contest. Many thought Craig would have the advantage on the ground, but Crute wanted to prove a point by grappling and outclassing him on the ground. Crute is only 22 year-old and already 9-0 in MMA.
Sodiq Yusuff defeated Suman Mokhtarian via TKO in the first round with early pressure. Suman backed himself to the cage, allowing Yusuff to fire off a wild combo to the head and body. After the fight, Yusuff credited the win to his “blacksplosivness” and promised the fans that he will be a serious contender sooner than later.
Anthony Rocco Martin defeated Jake Matthews with an anaconda choke in the third round, bringing his winning streak to three. Matthews was getting the better of Martin on the feet for much of the first two rounds and every judge had him winning going into the final frame. Martin knew he needed a finish and immediately looked for the anaconda when Matthews shot for a takedown and ended up putting his foe to sleep.
The co-main event saw MMA pioneer Mauricio Rua take on young prospect Tyson Pedro. In the first round Pedro had “Shogun” hurt with a series of right straights, uppercuts and knees, but he somehow survived and spent most of the second round on top while slowly breaking him down. Shogun opened the final stanza with a simple 1-2 that landed on Pedro’s shoulder, but he tweaked his ankle and was sent to the floor. Shogun knew he had to take advantage of the position and unloaded until the ref had seen enough. After going 3-6 in the UFC from 2011 -2014, Shogun has now won 4 of his last 5 since 2014, his best run since his stellar Pride Fighting Championships tenure. At 37 years-old with 16 years of professional experience, it’s surreal to see Shogun still finishing prospects and it seems he’s not retiring anytime soon.
To top off the crazy weekend, Junior dos Santos took on Tai Tuivasa in the final Fox Sports 1 event and “Cigano” continued the trend of old vets taking out the prospects. Tuivasa easily won the first round by using his pressure and clinch work to force exchanges in the pocket against the cage, where Dos Santos has historically struggled. But Tuivasa’s aggression ended up being his undoing in the second frame as Dos Santos stepped back and dropped Tuivasa with a counter lead hook. At first glance it may seem like a lucky counter shot, but this is a very similar counter Junior used to drop Stipe Miocic in their first meeting.
Notice as Stipe moves forward, Cigano steps back and switches his stance to southpaw and comes back up with a left hook from an unexpected angle. He used the exact same counter to drop Tuivasa, but this time with a lead hook from a southpaw stance. Clearly, dos Santos is still one of the best boxers in the division.