UFC: Cannonier vs. Gastelum- Quick Results & Thoughts
Fight 1: (170) Ramiz Brahimaj def. Sasha Palatnikov via technical submission (rear naked choke) at 2:33 of R1
Thoughts: Brahimaj showed real skill with how quickly he was able to control things on the ground, but Palatnikov showed amazing heart, because the choke was locked in for a long time, and he did everything he could to fight out of it. He didn't tap, but the blood flow to his head was cut and he passed out. Crazy way to kick the action off!
Fight 2: (155) Ignacio Bahamondes def. Roosevelt Roberts via KO (spinning wheel kick) at 4:55 of R3
Thoughts: Who needs judges when you can casually bust out a KO of the year contender in the waning seconds of the fight? Edson Barboza would be proud of that flashy and devastating kick that immediately shut Roberts' lights off. Bahamondes was clearly ahead in a striking clinic, although Roberts had his moments, drawing blood with some nice jabs. Regardless, had the fight gone 5 seconds longer, it would have been a clear decision, but Bahamondes wasn't content with that. You love to see it.
Fight 3: (205) William Knight def. Fabio Cherant via KO (punches) at 3:58 of R1
Thoughts: William Knight is a brick shithouse. He blasted the hell out of Cherant's legs with kicks early, and when Cherant came forward to return fire, a perfectly timed counter left hook made him faceplant. Another one for the highlight reel on this little Fight Night card.
Fight 4: (W-135) Josiane Nunes def. Bea Malecki via KO (punch) at 4:54 of R1
Thoughts: What a fun round! Massive height/size difference, but the smaller Nunes just kept coming forward, getting inside and absolutely unleashing with flurries. Malecki had very little answer, and the answers she did have- spinning elbows, head kicks- didn't seem to phase Nunes. A huge overhand puts Malecki away for the walk away KO! DC calls Josiane Nunes his new favourite fighter, and I'm inclined to agree!
Fight 5: (135) Brian Kelleher def. Domingo Pilarte via unanimous decision (30-27 X 3)
Thoughts: I wrote that result before the scorecards were read, so evident was the result. Very dominant, one-sided victory, but not particularly exciting. Straight from the Jon Fitch playbook of holding an opponent down and scoring enough with ineffective ground and pound to prevent a stand-up. Would skip this one.
Post-fight, Kelleher calls out Suga Sean O'Malley with a promo that was more exciting than the fight. He even steals Slex's "business is booming" catchphrase!
Fight 6: (145) Austin Lingo def. Luis Saldana via UD (29-28 X 3)
Thoughts: Fun battle for 15 minutes here. Saldana looked great in the opening round, landing some crushing kicks, including a brutal shot to the body. Going into R2 though, it seems that he hurt his foot and slowed his output, leading to a dogged performance by Lingo where he kept plowing forward and attacking. Entertaining and gritty.
Fight 7: (125) Alexandre Pantoja def. Brandon Royval via submission (RNC) at 1:46 of R2
Thoughts: Crazy pace and movement in this one. Frantic yet technical scrambles on the ground and sharp striking on the feet. Pantoja established ground control early in the 2nd to score a finish that could have him looking at a flyweight title fight in the near future! Extremely impressive.
Fight 8: (155) Vinc Pichel def. Austin Hubbard via UD (30-27 X3)
Thoughts: Good scrap here with both men evenly matched throughout. Pichel appeared to be edging it based on his timing and footwork, and really came out more aggressive in the 3rd round to secure the win. The horn sounds with both fighters swinging on each other. Pichel and his Tom Selleck-esque moustache get the nod!
Fight 9: (138.5- Catchweight) Saidyokub Kakhramonov def. Trevin Jones via technical submission (guillotine) at 4:39 of R3
Thoughts: You would not have known it was Kakhramonov's UFC debut from the way he approached this fight. Confident and aggressive from the outset, he wore Jones down with devastating strikes and pressure. Not content with a decision victory, he locked up the guillotine- something he almost got early in R1- and kept squeezing until Jones went to sleep. Awesome performance!
Fight 10: (265) Parker Porter def. Chase Sherman via UD (30-27 X 2, 29-28)
Thoughts: Actually a pretty high pace for a 3 round heavyweight fight. After Sherman landed hard early and Porter got the round back with a takedown and submission attempts, I thought Porter would try and grind the remaining rounds out, but instead he slugged it out and wore Sherman down with constant pressure. Sherman had heart and tried to swing by, but it was slow motion as R3 went on. Decent battle.
Fight 11: (155) Mark Madsen def. Clay Guida via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Thoughts: A genuinely close fight with a lot of action. Madsen often led the dance by pressing forward, clinching and striking, but Clay Guida is Clay Guida. Guida would often punish Madsen with furious flurries every time he got close. Madsen stayed patient yet aggressive, and was able to remain undefeated against a legendary name in UFC history. Definitely worthy of the co-main slot.
Fight 12: (185) Jared Cannonier def. Kelvin Gastelum via UD (48-47 X3)
Thoughts: An extremely high level fight over 25 minutes. It was telling going into the 5th round, when each corner were adamant that their fighter was winning, and the commentary team disagreed, saying how close it was. Gastelum was more aggressive, but Cannonier had great footwork and movement, stopping the onslaught and picking his own moments to shine. Wasn't chock full of massive moments, but very interesting and technical to balance out some of the crazier finishes early in the card. Quality fight.