Solid card to have follow up UFC 220. I’m sure it’ll catch a couple eyes before UFC 3 drops on the 2nd. Some entertaining fights that really lived up to the challenge of being on FOX Saturday night. Below I break down the main card and highlights I took from the fights
Frank Camacho vs Drew Dober
Entertaining and close! Camacho came out on top of the first in my mind. Landed that nice takedown after trading strikes most of the first. Seemed to control the pace leading up to that and took the 1st round in my eyes. The second is where I think Dober won the fight. Takedown defense, attempted multiple times but landed 3 or 4 times as many significant strikes. Clearly these two men where strong on their feet but carried a lot of muscle. Once they got tired it opened right up. The were jawing each other throughout the third until the final whistle. Camacho came on strong the final minute thirty and almost cemented a comeback. The scorecard clearly thought Dober did enough with his clinch and defense to take the decision. I’d agree. Dober’s right hand was dangerous and tagged Camacho enough to swell his eye and start a bloody nose. Dober also was cut up but significantly less damaged received in his face. He mentioned at the end of the fight he didn’t know what the scorecard would read but he yelled to the crowd that he put on a show and them seemed to agree when he yelled “fight of the night!” With a lot of activity and high paced striking, this fight was a great tone setting opening for the card.
Gregor Gillespie vs Jordan Rinaldi
Wrestling dominated all. Gregor has been systematic with his professional fight career. Building up the rankings and taking out contenders whenever he wants. After such a dominate performance, it’s time to get higher. Being a huge who knows him and his brother (and rolled with him at Edinboro) his wrestling is the strongest point in his game. His last two fights he’s dropped with boxing but his wrestling dominated Jordan and took away his weapons. Rinaldi is a good striker and Gregor showed how he could get passed his reach and land that over right hand. Silky smooth single leg takedown (which he got into twice) before running him to the ground. Realizing Jordan had a Jiu Jitsu background, he slid passed the full guard to side guard. Limiting the leg control and leaving it to his elbows and ground and pound. Eventually he slide to full mount and dropped enough to leave Jordan helpless. Got his back and always seemed dangerous for the submission until Gregor landed significant strikes to the back of his head with no answer. Easy win for Gregor and was in complete control. I’m expecting Rinaldi to come back strong and learn from his ground weaknesses, with Gillespie looking to truly challenge the standings. Tough for Rinaldi to get stopped by TKO in his home town.
Dennis Bermudez vs Andre Fili
Another very entertaining fight that went the distance. I honestly had no idea who would get this call. Bermudez was the ranked man who had pressured the whole time and landed the bigger punches. But Fili had great kicks and landed some great jabs when slipping from Dennis’ uppercut. Fili won the fight through his takedowns though. His movement kept him from damage but limited the power he could produce. Bermudez is clearly a strong brute but couldn’t catch him and transition fast enough. I believe Fili landed tow takedowns (one very quickly) but they still got him some significant points from the situation. Fili’s movement and leg kicks will continue to be dangerous as he moves up the ranking. Clearly his biggest UFC win yet, and his corner made it feel like such. They were as entertaining as the fight! Hahaha. A lot of pro fighters didn’t agree with the slit decision going to Fili, but I think he did enough to out strike Bermudez and hurt him more while using his wrestling to control big parts of this fight. Bermudez, I believe, is on a serious losing slide. I don’t know much about Fili other than what I saw. He does some weird shit and is entertaining. Going to be good for the division as he continues to improve and challenge higher up.
Ronaldo Souza vs Derek Brunson 2
We know the story by now. That head kick was delicious. Brunson really didn’t seem ready for the fight. I’m not sure if its his face or the way he naturally looks but he seemed concerned when preparing for the fight. Jacare landed that beautiful kick after some serious reading of Brunson’s pattern. It was incredibly quick… and he walked him down, knowing the fight was over after he clocked him. He seems like the predator that is promised and looks to make some waves after this awesome comeback from injuries. Those surgeries didn’t seem to be there tonight. Brunson still needs his big break out fight but Ronaldo wasn’t having it. Out struck him up to that point and landed a massive right kick to the back/top of his head past his guard hand. Brunson flung to the cage and received a couple more hands before a lasting overhand right and stoppage from the referee. It was great to see the 38 year old come back out and win this fight. He’ll make things interesting by the end of 2018. He was on the edge of retirement, but that knockout should get him another huge fight in the near future and fuel him to get back into the octagon soon!
Overall an awesome card to have for free. Saw some familiar faces and some completely new fighters I didn’t know about. Interesting styles all around. I think all the winners from the main cards will provide great depth and competition for the standings into the next couple years. Jacare and Gillespie really stood out to me as dominating opponents they clearly think they’re better than. They need to start working towards gold and challenging for the big fights. I know that’s Jacare’s goal, but Gregor seems less rushed to get to the top. It was great to get such great commentating as well. Woodley and Michael B. were great additions to the FOX team for the night. Dom Cruz also was a good person to have calling the fight. Very entertaining all around and made for a worthy card to catch attention of new MMA fans!