FightWatch- UFC: Makhachev vs. Green
By Mick Robson
Picking back up on the MMA coverage here, as this weekend's UFC Fight Night comes to us under unique circumstances. We have essentially a last-minute switch, as lightweight fighter Bobby Green steps up on 10 days notice, replacing an injured Beneil Dariush. His opponent is the 4th ranked Islam Makhachev, an imposing presence in the division on a 9 fight win streak. Bobby Green is a veteran still going strong in the mixed martial arts game, making his debut back in 2008. Interesting backdrop to the 160lb catchweight main event, and a solid undercard for your Saturday night/Sunday morning!
Fight 1: (125) Carlos Hernandez def. Victor Altamirano via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Thoughts: Very competitve battle, as the scorecards show, and the speed and technique that we like to see from the flyweights was on display. Sharp striking on both sides. Altamarino almost put Hernandez down with a head kick in R1. We also had some skilled grappling that Hernandez did well with. Both fighters had their moments in a well-matched display of MMA skills. Good UFC debut for both.
Fight 2: (170) Ramiz Brahimaj def. Micheal Gillmore via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:02 of R1
Thoughts: Brahimaj stuck to his skill set. He's a tremendous grappler, and his first action of the round was getting a takedown and looking for a choke. Gillmore escaped it once, but he couldn't escape it twice. Almost shades of Mickey Gall vs. CM Punk, and Gillmore is a far better MMA fighter than Punk was.
Fight 3: (145) Jonathan Martinez def. Alejandro Perez via unanimous decision (29-28 X 2, 30-27)
Thoughts: Martinez had a very kick-heavy approach which served him well in this one, while Perez was the better boxer. Martinez was simply more active, changing levels between legs, body and head, while Perez often sat back. However, Perez did drop Martinez with a right hook at the end of R1, and had a nice flurry at the end of R2. Too little too late, and a more aggressing Perez looking for the finish wasn't enough either. Fun fight though.
Fight 4: (155) Terrance McKinney def. Fares Ziam via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:11 of R1
Thoughts: Well, damn. T-Wrecks has been known as this devastating striker with all those fast finishes, but he's got a ground game too! Ended up with an early takedown and smoothly worked through side control, half guard, mount and then finally got the back for the choke. The commentary team thought the angle wasn't quite right for the choke, but there was a hell of a squeeze, and Ziam tapped! Still a quick finish for the UFC newcomer.
Fight 5: (W-145) Josiane Nunes def. Ramona Pascual via UD (30-27 X 2, 30-26)
Thoughts: This was a war! Nunes is a bantamweight moving up, and Pascual took the fight on short notice. Real David vs. Goliath vibes here, these two ladies looked like they were separated by two weight classes. It was the speed and striking on Nunes that made the difference- Pascual was able to absorb the punches early on and fire back, but in the second round, she wilted and dropped. To her credit, she showed great toughness and survived until the final horn, but she seemed outmatched here.
Fight 6: (Catchweight-160) Ignacio Bahamondes def. Rong Zhu via submission (D"Arce choke) at 1:40 of R3
Thoughts: Bahamondes was well ahead throughout the entire fight, picking apart Zhu with striking and almost getting a guillotine choke in the first. He put an exclamation point on his performance by going back to the choke in the final frame when Zhu shot for a takedown. Zhu tried, but he looked lethargic and did miss weight on this occasion. Not a bad fight, but probably the least thrilling of the prelims to finish things off.
Fight 1: (185) Armen Petrosyan def. Gregory Rodrigues via SD (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Thoughts: These guys are in the lead for Fight of the Night to open the main card! Started a little slow, with Rodrigues advancing but Petrosyan chipping away, but in the second round, both guys decided to throw down and the heat was turned up. This continued into the third, where both men got bloodied up and Rodrigues almost finished it with the RNC. Great fight!
Fight 2: (155) Arman Tsarukyan def. Joel Alvarez via TKO (punches) at 1:57 of R2
Thoughts: This was pedestrian until the final seconds of the first round. Tsarukyan worked from top position, just doing enough to avoid a stand-up, as Alvarez occasionally looked for subs from the bottom. A vicious elbow split Alvarez open, and he absolutely drizzled blood from the head. He was somehow okayed to go out for R2, but soon fell victim to the strikes on the ground.
Fight 3: (W-125)- Priscilla Cachoeira def. Ji Yeon Kim via UD (29-28 X 3)
Thoughts: New FOTN! This was awesome! Started as power vs. precision, with Cachoeira throwing bombs and Kim being more technical, but by the end they were both bloody and slugging it out. Cachoeira got especially violent down the stretch, throwing nothing but knees and elbows for the last minute or so. The decision is a little surprising given that Kim outstruck Cachoeira and set a new personal best for strikes in the Octagon, but the judges don't have access to the stats, and Cachoeira's strikes did look more impactful, even though Kim was definitely landing some stunning shots in her own right. Phenomenal. Could be in the conversation for Fight of the Year when 2022 is all said and done.
Fight 4: (185) Wellington Turman def. Misha Cirkunov via submission (armbar) at 1:29 of R2
Thoughts: What a turnaround! It did look like Turman was going to get a RNC in R1, with Cirkunov eventually throwing him off his back and landing some impactful ground and pound. The fight looked to be completely in Cirkunov's favour, with a nice judo trip putting him in full guard, but Turman threw up the armbar and Cirkunov tapped within about 2 seconds! MMA is the most unpredictable sport on the planet. Very impressive work.
Main Event: (Catchweight- 160lbs) Islam Makhachev def. Bobby Green via TKO (ground and pound) at 3:23 of R1
Thoughts: There's levels to this game. It would have been a nice story if Bobby Green could have come in on short notice and got the win, but unfortunately, this is real sport and it doesn't give a shit about your stories. Pure dominance by Makhachev. The commentary team harped on a bit about hoping Green gets another main event shot under "ideal conditions", but that was a hot knife through butter. A training camp doesn't make this fight any different. Makhachev is ready for a title fight, but in the meantime, give him one of the top 3 guys maybe?
Very good Fight Night card, with one of the best women's fights I've ever seen in the UFC between Cachoeira and Kim. Everything else ranged from decent to great, capped off with Islam Makhachev handling a last minute fight the way a top contender should.
Highly recommend: Cachoeira vs. Kim, Petrosyan vs. Rodrigues, Turman vs. Cirkunov, Martinez vs. Perez.
Until next time, take care.