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FightWatch- UFC 266 Results & Thoughts

Fight Pass Prelims

Fight 1: (145) Jonathan Pearce def. Omar Morales via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:31 of R2

Thoughts: Pearce was like a pitbull with his tenacity and pressure, dragging Morales into deep waters with ground control in both rounds. He remained patient, breaking Morales down, and finally got the choke. Solid start to our prelims on Fight Pass.

Fight 2: (170) Matthew Semelsbberger def. Martin Sano via KO (punch) at 0:15 of R1

Thoughts: Third punch of the fight. A jab to find range, a jab to the body, then the knockout shot. Beautiful! Performance of the Night award sown up without question. On a personal note, annoyed because I accidentally had the wrong guy, the massive underdog Sano, selected as my winner in the prediction league on Tapology. Meant to select Semelsberger, and Sano looked like a random guy off the street in there.

Nick Diaz interview with Megan Olivi. Diaz seems incredibly aloof. He calmly talks about how accurate and dangerous he is as a fighter, and how he's changed as a fighter over the years. He doesn't like fighting, but he plans to get in and get out quickly. He legitimately sounds like he doesn't give a shit about this. Guess we'll see in a couple of hours.

More Diaz/Lawler hype to kill time after the 15 second finish in the last fight.

Fight 3: (185) Nick Maximov def. Cody Brundage via unanimous decision (29-28 X 3)

Thoughts: Not as dynamic as the first couple of fights, but still a great showcase for the debuting Maximov. Similar to the Pearce fight, Maximov came in with a high pace and focus on the grappling, but Brundage was savvy/tough enough to survive the positions and the ground and pound. Maximov is part of the Diaz camp, and we see Nate Diaz at cage-side- and find out he wants to be known as "Nathan Diaz" going forward.

Bit of Volkanovski/Ortega hype. Volko's a local boy, so I'm Team Volk all the way!

Fight 4: (155) Jalin Turner def. Uroš Medić via submission (RNC) at 4:01 of R1

Thoughts: Turner is known as a striker, but he's showing an evolving MMA game, turning a high kick attempt into a takedown to score some points. Back to the feet and Turner goes back to his bread and butter with some fast and accurate combinations that makes Medić crumple. Instead of continuing with the ground and pound, he took the back and locked in the choke in short order! Extremely impressive performance.

ESPN Prelims

FIght 1: (W-125) Talia Santos def. Roxanne Modaferri via UD (30-27 X 3)

Thoughts: Like Jalin Turner in the last fight, Talia Santos is a decorated striker who opted to try her hand at the ground game in this fight. She seemed to land with relative ease in the striking department, but still opted to take things to the canvas almost at will. Roxy was tough, but as the commentators said, had little to threaten Santos with.

Fight 2: (265) Chris Daukaus def. Shamil Abdurakhimov via TKO at 1:23 of R2

Thoughts: Bit of a plodding start, but with about 30 seconds left in the first, Daukaus dropped Abdurakhimov with a massive left hook and went into mount, but somehow we got to the end of the round. Abdurakhimov was clearly still shaky to start R2, and Daukaus was able to land again and force the finish. Slow to start, but once it got going... DAMN!

Fight 3: (155) Dan Hooker def. Nasrat Haqparast via UD (30-27 X2, 30-26)

Thoughts: Absolutely outstanding performance by Dan Hooker. R1 was predominantly pressure striking, R2 incorporated clinch work, and R3 saw Hooker use wrestling extremely well to mitigate the threat of Haqparast, who knew he was down 2 rounds and needed a finish. Hooker's been a top 10 lightweight for a while, and showing him improve his MMA game is a scary prospect for the division. Great to see after the troubles Hooker had simply getting out of New Zealand for this fight.

Fight 4: (135) Merab Dvalishvili def. Marlon Moraes via TKO at 4:25 of R2

Thoughts: One of the best fights of the year, possibly even THE best! They threw like crazy in the first, and Moraes pinballed Dvalishvili, dropping him maybe 4 times, but he somehow survived. Dvalishvili then turned it around and landed some heavy ground and pound that appeared to put Marlon out for a split second, but they both survive R1. Then R2, Merab lands a big strike and lands relentless ground and pound. Marlon again survived for a while, with Merab landed over 100 unanswered strikes, and eventually the ref called it off. Insanity.

Main Card

Fight 1: (W-125) Jessica Andrade def. Cynthia Cavillo via TKO at 4:54 of R1

Thoughts: This was the Jessica Andrade Show. Non-stop aggression for 5 minutes, and Cavillo just wilted almost in the foetal position before the horn. Good mixing of punches, leg kicks and great movement and Octagon control. Andrade maintains her #1 ranking with a near-flawless performance.

Fight 2: (265) Curtis Blaydes def. Jairzinho Rosenstruik via UD (30-27 X 3)

Thoughts: It was the most predictable way a Curtis Blaydes fight could go. The stats shown after the final horn were quite misleading- technically Blaydes outstruck Rosenstruik by a considerable margin, but really most of it was ineffective ground and pound to prevent a stand-up. 3 takedowns and over 6 minutes of ground control was the real story. But Blaydes had his eye messed up by a flying knee, so there's that. Definitely the most dull fight on the card so far- a credit to the card with only 3 more fights left.

Fight 3: (185) Robbie Lawler def. Nick Diaz via TKO at 0:44 of R3

Thoughts: I've never quite been able to figure out the legend of the Diaz brothers. They're insanely popular and touted as these mega exciting fighters, but... maybe I started watching MMA regularly at the wrong time. It was 2009 when I really started watching with consistency, so I missed Nick's first UFC run and Nate was a bit of a journeyman at the time. Then Nick came back, beat an undersized BJ Penn and then lost 3 big fights in pretty pedestrian fashion to Condit, GSP and Silva. In this fight, I saw a bit of why Nick is loved. Kept a high volume of activity for 2 rounds, but then in R3, he got dropped and although he didn't seem overly hurt, he refused to stand up when Lawler invited him to. Then when the fight was called, he jumped right up and seemed fine. That goes with Nick's understated pre-fight talk of not loving fighting. Very odd, but fun while it lasted.

Fight 4: (W-125) UFC Women's Flyweight Championship- Valentina Shevchenko def. Lauren Murphy via TKO at 4:00 of R4

Thoughts: Valentina was so dominant it almost got boring. Shevchenko picked Murphy apart for 4 rounds, beating her in grappling exchanges as well, and Murphy offered nothing in return. Finally, in the 4th round, the excitement level spiked dramatically when Shevchenko landed a punch that hurt Murphy, and proceeded to follow up with a 110 punch combo en route to the finish. There is literally no one on Shevchenko's level at 125.

Fight 5: (145) UFC Featherweight Championship- Alexander Volkanovski def. Brian Ortega via UD (49-46, 50-45, 50-44)

Thoughts: The first couple of rounds were evenly matched and competitive. Then the 3rd round- my god. Ortega jumped on a mounted guillotine that 99% of fighters would have tapped to, but Volkanovski stayed calm and found an escape. Moments later, Ortega goes for the triangle and Volko guts it out again. The champ then proceeds to land some vicious ground and pound that almost ended the fight. Doctor almost stops it. Round 4, more beating for Ortega. Doctor almost stops it between rounds again. Ortega then comes back and actually causes some damage on Volkanovski! High drama down the stretch. An instant classic, amazing heart shown by both champ and challenger. Would be happy to see them run that one back one day!


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Image of Mick Robson, founder of The Arena Media

Mick Robson is a freelance writer from Australia. A lifelong fan of pro wrestling and MMA, he endeavours to bring that passion through his coverage in news, reviews and opinion pieces.

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