FightWatch- UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Yan
By Mick Robson
Fight 1: (135) Guido Cannetti def. Randy Costa via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:04 of R1
Thoughts: Wow! What a way to start this card! The 42 year old Cannetti came out blazing with aggressive kicks, and then capitalised on a slip by Costa to lock in the choke (without hooks!) in very short order. Exciting, quick fight to kick off proceedings at the Apex.
Fight 2: (Catchweight-140) Chelsea Chandler def. Julija Stoliarenko via TKO (ground and pound) at 4:15 of R1
Thoughts: Chandler is from Stockton, and lived up to the 209 rep by mean mugging before the fight and fighting with constant striking pressure. Stoliarenko was coming in after a 42 second win via armbar over Jessy-Rose Clark, and had the same gameplan here with an early takedown, but Chandler was able to reverse position and land some nasty ground and pound. Stoliarenko was able to escape initially but was compromised, and her subsequent takedown attempts had little on them, allowing Chandler to get to the mount and unleash hell.
A light heavyweight bout was scheduled between Maxim Grishin and Philipe Lins, but it was canceled while this event was in progress due to an undisclosed medical issue.
Fight 3: (185) Brendan Allen def. Krzysztof Jotko via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:17 of R1
Thoughts: Beautiful work by Allen, who seemed on the wrong end of the grappling exchanges early when Jotko got him down and blanketed him, but he utilised a leg lockdown to eventually explode into top position and ultimately escape. One big throw later saw him seize the opportunity for our second sudden choke of the night, locked in super quick and super tight. Very impressive.
Fight 4: (155) Joaquim Silva def. Jesse Ronson via TKO (knee and punches) at 3:08 of R2
Thoughts: More measured start to this one than the previous fights, but once both men found their range and got going, it was a firecracker! Ronson looked to be winning the first round until the final few seconds, where Silva switched stances and landed some nice jabs and a high knee that rocked Ronson from the southpaw position. Ronson didn't know how to deal with it, and a second knee from that stance spelled the end for him. Great adjustment and result for Silva.
Fight 5: (265) Ilir Latifi def. Aleksei Oleinik via unanimous decision (30-27 X 3)
Thoughts: Not the most exciting fight in the world. They can't all be bangers. Oleinik has always been a fascinating fighter to watch- in that he often looks old, slow, outmatched... and then somehow pulls out a crazy submission. No crazy submission tonight. Latifi was too good at his top control in R1 & 2, and wise with his head positioning in R3 to avoid any Hail Mary chokes. A few bursts of aggression saw Latifi bloody up Oleinik a bit, but nothing to write home about.
Fight 6: (Catchweight- 140) Daniel Santos def. John Castanada via KO (punches and knee) at 4:28 of R2
Thoughts: This was a crazy fight! Round 1 saw Castanada hurt Santos with a head kick, then rock him several more times with heavy hooks and ground and pound, but Santos somehow survived and fought back. Going into R2, Castanada was gassed, and Santos put the pressure on his tired opponent- but even fatigued, Castanada was still swinging in return. It took changing levels- strikes to the body as well as the head- before a crushing knee upstairs finally put him out. Fight of the Night to this point, a fantastic way to cap off the prelims!
Fight 1: (155) Mike Davis def. Vlacheslav Borschchev via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26 X 2)
Thoughts: Action-packed fight, both men matched well on the striking, but Davis had a clear wrestling advantage, and largely utilised that to win the fight. Borschchev looked completely lost on the mat, with Felder calling out the basic adjustments that he needed to make on commentary. So hopefully Borschchev studies tape and learn from this. He showed heart though, and landed a big left hand that seemed to mess up Davis' orbital in the 3rd, adding some late drama. Fun start to the main card.
Interesting post-fight interview from Mike Davis, where he says he doesn't fight often because he doesn't have the following, and puts out a plea to get him to 100K followers. If he fought more often and had impressive performances, wouldn't that cause his social media following to grow organically? UFC is a big platform, great way to get eyes on him and increase his fame through his fights.
Fight 2: (145) Sodiq Yusuff def. Don Shainis via submission (guillotine choke) at 0:30 of R1
Thoughts: This was the MMA equivalent of a squash match. Muay Thai clinch. Knees to the body that doubled Shainis over. Choke. The end. The fight was so quick that they replayed the entire thing as the commentary team narrated over it one more time. Outstanding, dominant performance. Surely a shoe-in for a Performance of the Night bonus? Yusuff literally could not have fought any better. It was his first submission win and the second fastest submission in UFC featherweight history.
Fight 3: (135) Raoni Barcelos def. Trevin Jones via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-27 X 2)
Thoughts: Tentative start to this one, but once Barcelos turned on the heat, he kept it up for 15 minutes, mixing vicious striking with a controlling ground game. Jones did enough to survive but not much else, no real answer for Barcelos' attacks. Great win for Barcelos, demoralising loss for Jones, who can take little positives from the experiences besides the fact that he wasn't finished- but not from lack of effort by Barcelos.
Fight 4: (170) Randy Brown def. Franscisco Trinaldo via unanimous decision (29-28 X 3)
Thoughts: Trinaldo is a marvel at his age. The second oldest fighter on the UFC roster, but still fighting at an elite level. Brown, being a lankier fighter, had some physical advantages, but it appeared to have little to do with age. He scored a knockdown and a late submission attempt in R1. Brown was effective in establishing a lead with front kicks and jabs and was able to make a clear cut case to continue his ascent in the welterweight division with his performanc in the first two frames, although Trinaldo was still game. Trinaldo rallied with a big takedown and ground control in the 3rd but it wasn't enough. High level fight.
Main Event: (115) Yan Xiaonan def. Mackenzie Dern via majority decision (48-47 X 2, 47-47)
Thoughts: Razor close battle which saw Dern show improved striking, but Yan was still the superior fighter in that area. Yan was also impressive in her defense against Dern's vaunted ground game, preventing takedowns and surviving submission attempts. Yan used her speed and balance to launch strikes at will and get the advantage in R3 and 4, and a dominant 5th round saw Dern land over 90 strikes in looking for the submission from the back. Another high level battle which showed why both ladies are in the top 10 of the division.