UFC: Barboza vs. Chikadze Quick Results & Thoughts
Fight 1: (140- Catchweight) Mana Martinez def. Guido Cannetti via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Thoughts: Lot of emotions and high stakes going into this one, as Martinez's coach passed away last Tuesday. Martinez is a young prospect at 25, while Cannetti has more miles on the clock at 41. Cannetti was more competitive than the age stats might have suggested, and we had a great back and forth for 15 minutes. Martinez edged it with some excellent flurries when he was able to back Cannetti against the fence.
Fight 2: (145) Pat Sabatini def. Jamall Emmers via submission (heel hook) at 1:53 of R1
Thoughts: Emmers looked to have this one in the bag after an early knockdown and then going into mount on Sabatini, but some scrambling led to both men going for leg submissions- Emmers applying a toehold, and Sabatini with the heel hook. The heel hook was cranked, and Emmers was forced to tap. It looks like Emmers' knee may be torn up. What a crazy turn of events!
Fight 3: (W-125) JJ Aldrich def.Vanessa Demopoulos via unanimous decision
Thoughts: Aldrich was in control throughout this fight with superior striking, movement and timing. Demopoulos was game but ultimately out-matched by the UFC veteran. Aldrich showed herself to be a level above as the UFC veteran, but former LFA champion Demopoulos will get another opportunity in the Octagon off her efforts.
Fight 4: (205) Dustin Jacoby def. Darren Stewart via TKO at 3:04 of R1
Thoughts: Two big boys swinging bombs, and Jacoby just landed bigger. After a short feeling out process with some leg kicks, the fists started flying, and Stewart started taking some crazy shots while still somehow staying on his feet. Referee Jason Herzog waved it off after Stewart started curling up and losing stability in his legs. Fun stuff as long as it went.
Fight 5: (185) Wellington Turman def. Sam Alvey via SD (28-27, 27-28, 28-27)
Thoughts: A wild fight in a number of ways. Firstly, Wellington looks like Dominik Mysterio, so that made for a weird watch. Then he busted Alvey open BAD with a spinning back elbow at the end of R1. Then in R3- in a fight he seemed well in control of- he was deducted two points for eye pokes. Alvey was furious at the scorecards, but eye pokes aside, this was definitely Turman's fight in my book.
Fight 6: (185) Abdul Razak Alhassan def Alessio Di Chirico via KO (head kick) at 0:17 of R1
Thoughts: Commentary talk up the size of Alhassan's legs and how he never skips leg day. The first strike he throws, a devastating kick to the chin. Man goes out cold. Incredible!
Fight 7: (185) Gerald Meerschart def. Makhmud Muradov via submission (rear naked choke) 1:49 of R2
Thoughts: It looked like Meerschart was no match for Muradov in R1. GM3 was rocked and stunned on multiple occasions, but managed to land some strong strikes of his own towards the end of the round, weathering the storm. In R2, Muradov was visibly fatigued, and Meerschart kept landing heavy punches, ultimately getting it to the ground and sinking in the choke! Amazing comeback and amazing way to open the main card.
Fight 8: (185) Andre Petroski def. Michael Gillmore via TKO (ground elbows) at 3:12 of R3
Thoughts: This was all about ground control by Petroski for the majority of 3 rounds. Gillmore had a slightly better 2nd round, but the difference in skill on the ground was massive, and Petroski capitalised with some vicious ground and pound to put an exclamation point on things. Good shit, pal.
Fight 9: (170) Daniel Rodriguez def. Kevin Lee via UD (29-28 X 3)
Thoughts: Damn, somewhat of an upset here! Kevin Lee was ranked at lightweight and made the move up to welterweight here after some inactivity. I've seen Rodriguez fight a few times but he wasn't on my radar as someone who could beat a name like Lee. Lee looked good in the first round, sharp with his striking and got a takedown, but after that he seemed to slow down and his takedown were shaken off by Rodriguez, who appeared to be the bigger man in the cage. Rodriguez landed some heavy strikes down the stretch that sent Lee's legs all wobbly. Great performance, and it was on short notice as well.
Fight 10- TUF Bantamweight Finals- (135) Ricky Turcios def. Brady Hiestand via SD (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Thoughts: The boys on the headsets compared this to Griffin-Bonnar in the first TUF Finale, and while I wouldn't go THAT far, it was a wild, all-action fight. Hiestand had early control with the wrestling, but Turcios actually bloodied him up with strikes from the bottom. Never a dull moment, as even when it was on the ground, Turcios kept scrambling and transitioning to fight back. On the feet, they traded strikes like mad men, and it was perhaps an intense flurry by Turcios in the last 20 seconds that narrowly cinched the victory. Awesome fight.
Fight 11- TUF Middleweight Finals- (185) Bryan Batlle def. Hector Urbina via submission (rear naked choke) at 2;15 of R2
Thoughts: This was a slightly less dramatic version of the earlier Meerschart fight with the comeback sub by Battle. Urbina came out like a man possessed, but Battle battled back and turned it around on a tired Urbina in the second frame. Also, a major credit to Battle for fighting a good 2/3 of the first round with no mouthguard after it got knocked out and ref Herb Dean didn't notice.
Fight 12: (145) Giga Chikadze def. Edson Barboza via TKO at 1:44 of R3
Thoughts: A striking clinic in this one! Over the first two rounds it was mostly kicks, but in the 3rd, Chikadze just started firing off huge right hands that staggered and dropped Barboza. Pressure applied and the finish came soon after. Chikadze looked faster and sharper with his techniques all fight, and cemented it with the stoppage. Chikadze's place in the top 10 is also solidified, and he'll probably go up a notch or two with the strength of this win. Excellent performance.