After feeling under the weather during the past few days because of a “nasty” (my dentist’s quote, not mine) gum infection what better medicine is there than seeing some good old fashioned fightin’, which is why we’re stepping into the Octagon once again as Carlos Condit and Martin Kampmann do battle for the second time on the UFC’s latest Fight Night, shown live in the early hours of this past Thursday morning on BT Sports here in Britain.
We start we the prelims, beginning with the welterweight clash between James Head and Jason High.
This was a nice way to start the broadcast. There was a brief feeling out period before High scored with the first minute takedown. He looked good as he transitioned to half guard, and after a quick scramble of sorts he managed to lock in a guillotine from the mount. Head tried to escape using the fence, but this came to nothing as High re-took the mount and Head quickly tapped out to give High the impressive submission win.
It was down to featherweight for the next fight as Darren Elkins faced Hatsu Hioki.
I really liked this one. The first two rounds were packed with a ton of back and forth action. Elkins got off a few good blows early on which drew first blood, but as the first round progressed Hioki saw some success with his kicks to the body. At one point he had Elkins doubled over, but despite his good work he couldn’t get the finish.
It wasn’t all about the striking though. Both guys put in a good performance on the ground as well, with Elkins scoring with his ground and pound and Hioki going for a few submissions, although like his first round onslaught these ultimately led nowhere.
The nature of the fight changed completely in the third round when Elkins scored with the early takedown. Once again Hioki tried for a couple of submissions, but Elkins’ work, and in particular his ground and pound, was enough to keep the Japanese fighter on his back throughout.
But with no finish from either side the judges were called upon for the first time, and they were in complete agreement as Elkins took the unanimous decision.
Then it was back to welterweight as Justin Edwards faced Brandon Thatch.
The quickest fight of the night began with a somewhat frantic exchange which saw Edwards coming forward with a flurry of blows. Some brief clinching followed until Thatch put Edwards on the canvas with a right kick to the head.
Edwards managed to survive this particular storm, but it wasn’t long before Thatch was all over him like a cheap suit with his dirty boxing and several knees to the body, and as Edwards went to the canvas again and turtled up, offering nothing in reply to Thatch’s repeated blows, the referee stepped in to give Thatch the 81 second TKO win.
With some time to spare it was on to filler material and the Facebook welterweight encounter between Zak Cummings and Benny Alloway.
This was another fight that featured plenty of back and forth action. They began with their water testing period before Cummings scored with a takedown, and after Alloway got back to his feet and we saw a few more striking exchanges and clinches Cummings took the fight down to the mat again as the opening round neared it’s final minute.
From there he quickly went to work, and a few seconds later he locked in a d’arce choke, with Alloway tapping out a few seconds later to give Cummings the submission win.
The final preliminary fight featured middleweight action as Dylan Andrews went up against Papy Abedi.
This was a fine example of how a fight can turn in an instant, on just one shot. For the first two rounds Abedi put in a great performance. His striking looked crisp, his ground work looked good, and his takedowns often looked quite spectacular. There were a few chinks in his armour, but for the most part he was dominating the action, especially when it appeared that Andrews had injured his left hand sometime during the first round.
But at the end of the second Abedi complained of a low blow which the referee hadn’t seen, and it looked like he was thrown off his game a little, because despite his injury Andrews began to finally have some success with his striking, and in particular his right hand. After a brief clinch against the cage that went nowhere Andrews began to connect with his right, and after rocking his man Abedi looked to counter with a takedown, but as he came in Andrews connected with an uppercut that sent him in pixie land. A few more blows followed before the referee stepped in to give Andrews the TKO win.
The middleweight action continued with the first fight of the main show as Brad Tavares faced Bubba McDaniel.
The second three rounder of the broadcast proved to be a very interesting affair. Tavares put on a good display in the first two rounds, and he began his night’s work with some hard kicks that coloured up McDaniel’s lead leg which he allied with some nice combinations.
McDaniel had his moments when he took the fight to the ground a couple of times, but when one of these takedowns saw him ending up in top position after an accidental clash of heads it kind of summed up his work during the first ten minutes.
However, he seemed like a completely different fighter when the third round began. He quickly scored with his best takedown of the fight, and although Tavares put on a sound defensive display McDaniel kept busy, always trying to look to improve his position so he could go for a finish.
Unfortunately that finish wasn’t forth coming, which meant more work for the judges. and once again they were in agreement as Tavares took the unanimous decision.
Bantamweight action followed as Takeya Mizugaki took on Erik Perez.
When these two began trading as soon as the fight began I thought that it wouldn’t last that long, but after the initial exchanges it soon settled down to become a nice back and forth affair.
As is the saying both fighters put in good performances, particularly in the striking department. Mizugaki managed to bloody his man’s nose early in the first, but it wasn’t long before Perez was taking it to his man, with the Japanese star often responding in kind.
This was more or less how the fight played out for the first two rounds, and if you add in Mizugaki’s lightning-quick double leg takedown in the second it certainly had the makings of a great encounter.
Things changed a little in the final round when Perez took the fight to the ground, and although his ground work looked okay Mizugaki was able to escape and score with a takedown of his own as he quickly took his man’s back and locked in a rear naked choke. But just when it looked all over Perez broke free. It was the last memorable moment of a very interesting encounter.
All of this and no finish meant more work for the judges, and for the first time they couldn’t agree as Mizugaki took the split decision.
Yet more welterweight action followed as Court McGee faced Robert Whittaker.
This battle of Ultimate Fighter winners was another of those fights where the feeling out period wasn’t needed. McGee came forward as soon as the fight started, and from there we were treated to three rounds of great striking.
I would go as far as saying that McGee’s performance was almost perfect. It certainly was the best I’ve ever seen from him. His combinations put the transplanted Kiwi on the back foot almost immediately, and although Whittaker managed to open up a couple of cuts, one on the side of the head and one under the right eye, these didn’t bother McGee at all as he kept up his high work rate throughout the fight.
As for Whittaker he also put in a good stint in the cage. The only problem was that he was up against a guy who was in top form, and although he got in some good shots of his own they just weren’t enough against McGee in this mood, and he ended the fight with a bloodied nose.
As for the judges once again they couldn’t agree as McGee took the split decision.
Even more welterweight action followed as Kelvin Gastelum went up against Brian Melancon.
After three successive decision it was nice to get back to finishing ways. After the initial exchanges Gastelum took the fight to the ground, only for Melancon to get back to his feet almost immediately. It was the same story a few moments later when Gastelum took the fight down again.
But just when it looked like we were going to get another striking battle a Gastelum combination sent Melancon crashing. Gastelum seized his chance and quickly took his man’s back for the rear naked choke, and with nowhere to go Melancon tapped out to give Gastelum the submission win.
The penultimate fight featured lightweight action between Donald Cerrone and Rafael Dos Anjos.
The final three rounder of the evening saw Dos Anjos putting in a very good performance. His striking was top notch throughout as he basically shut the Cowboy down, stopping him from imposing his will on the fight.
In fact RDA succeeded in doing what many others have failed to do in recent times when a big right put Cerrone on his back. Dos Anjos followed him down, but Cerrone was right back into it when he went for a triangle within seconds before they got back to their feet.
As the fight went on it became apparent that this was going to be Dos Anjos’ night. Cerrone got in a few good blows, and his takedown defence was sound, but he only really got going with his striking in the last couple of minutes, and by then it was too little far too late.
As for the judges they were back to their agreeing ways as Dos Anjos took the unanimous decision.
The main event saw another return to the welterweight division as Carlos Condit went up against Martin Kampmann.
Now this was good, a fight definitely worthy of it’s main event spot. It began with Kampmann scoring with the takedown, and he made Condit look a little ordinary as he put in a good stint down there. The former interim champ seemed to have trouble getting out of the blocks as Kampmann dominated all aspects of the game.
It wasn’t really until about halfway through the second round that Condit really got going. It was as if he’d suddenly seen the light. The combinations were suddenly a lot better as Kampmann was given his first real test of the night, and as the fight progressed Condit bloodied his nose and opened up a cut between his eyes as he stamped his mark on the proceedings, and the perfect sign of this was when Condit took Kampmann’s back a couple of times towards the end of the third as he went looking for a rear naked choke.
Kampmann came out all guns blazing at the beginning of the fourth when he scored with another takedown, but Condit quickly got back to his feet as he began unloading with the heavy leather. A big right hand rocked Kampmann and signalled the beginning of the end. Kampmann looked on rubber legs as Condit grabbed him in a Thai clinch and delivered a couple of knees to the head. That was it as far as the referee was concerned as he stepped in to give Condit the TKO win.
In conclusion – this is certainly what the doctor ordered as far as I’m concerned. Having felt like I’ve got a golf ball wedged between my jaw and my teeth and with a temperature that’s been going up and down like a yo-yo the UFC’s latest show certainly made me feel a lot better.
I really enjoyed each and every fight here. There were some nice performances throughout as we got to see some nice tactical battles allied to some exciting finishes.
One thing I forgot to mention in my last UFC review was my liking for their new ground level camera angle. It may sound a bit odd but for me it just adds a little bit more to the overall coverage. I must also mention that it was good to see Kenny Florian and Jon Anik back together again. I don’t know why but the Jon Anik/Joe Rogan combination just didn’t do it for me last time out, and at times it seemed as if Anik was a little overawed by Rogan.
As for my fight of the night no-prize I’m going to go with the popular opinion and plump for the Condit/Kampmann main event. Definitely the best of the bunch in my humble opinion.
So with all of that out of the way let’s wrap this thing up by giving the UFC’s latest outing the big thumbs up.