By Josh Nason, WrestlingObserver.com
Mornin’ everyone! It’s the UFC’s 1st stateside morning card ever, kicking off at 11 AM EST from Fairfax, VA. If you’re late to the party, we’ve already had a preview, weigh-in results, betting picks, and staff picks.
Grab coffee, spike it, and watch some fights with us. Hit us up on Twitter with your thoughts as well. If they’re #hotsportztakes, you might even get retweeted.
– Middleweights: Ron Stallings def. Justin Jones by u/d (29-28 x 2, 30-27)
This is definitely one of those con-flip fights where the UFC figures out what they have with each guy. Stallings was a recent short notice injury fill-in against Uriah Hall, where the fight got stopped because you could see Stallings’ skull. I think Dana White said if the fight was in Vegas, it would have gone on. Violence!
R1: Stallings hurt Jones with a body kick that stunned. him. Jones covered up, but Stallings continued to land punches and body kicks. To his credit, Jones recovered and took it down to the mat. Who says people don’t like to fight in the morning? Lots of clinching throughout the fight’s last two minutes. Stallings 10-9.
R2: Much slower pace in the round and not the most entertaining round I’v ever seen. Stallings had success landing punches, so Jones got it to the ground where Stallings is a BJJ brown belt. Close round, but I give Stallings the nod 10-9.
R3: When Stallings gets space, he’s lethal with his body kicks. Jones is fading and Stallings is finding a home for his foot in his ribs and organs. Jones seems content to physically bully Stallings up against the cage, but he isn’t doing anything. More grinding to finish it out. It came down to Jones getting tired and Stallings being that much better standing. Stallings 10-9.
Should You Watch? Nah. The fight had its moments, but you can skip it.
– Heavyweights: Timothy Johnson def. Shamil Abdurahimov by 1st round TKO (4:57)
The Twitter chatter right now is about Johnson’s solid mustache game and Shamil’s incredible amount of body hair. Social media in 2015, everyone! Both guys are making their UFC debuts and this is either going to end quick or be a sluggish 15 minutes. Shamil looks to have normal black athletic shorts on with zero sponsors.
R1: Shamil opened a mouse under Johnson’s eye early, but lost a point for grabbing the fence. That was kinda surprising as he wasn’t warned immediately. It just happened. As Brian Stann pointed out, there’s a language barrier — another reason foreign fighters should learn some English to be safe. If more refs called point deductions for grabbing the fence, it would happen less, right?
Johnson got a takedown late and landed some punches as Shamil attempted to buck him off. The ref said, “Fight back” which Shamil may have not understood and called the fight with seconds remaining. Crowd chanted ‘USA’ after the finish, proving that John Cena’s recent U.S. title victory has really gotten over.
Should You Watch? Nah. Very sloppy heavyweights.
– Lightweights: Alexander Yakovlev def. Gray Maynard by u/d (30-27 x 2, 29-28)
Maynard is fighting at noon on the third bout of a UFC Fight Night card in 2015. What a fall from grace. He’s lost three in a row and four of his last five.
R1: Maynard looks slow with his punches early. Both guys exchange takedowns, but can’t do anything with ’em. There wasn’t much of note in the round as both guys were feeling each other out and didn’t put themselves at risk. I give it to Yakovlev, but it’s close.
R2: Maynard gets a double leg takedown early, but Yakovlev works his way back up. However, he can’t shake him as Maynard is wearing him as a backpack. Eventually, he works free. With 1:20 left in the round, Yakovlev cracks Maynard with a left and immediately attacks. Maynard is hurt and looks out of it. He gets a hold of Yakovlev and slows it down, but he’s right on Maynar’ds back and landing punches to the head. Remember that in his last fight, Maynard got taken out in the second. Maynard survives luckily, but this is clearly a guy who can’t take a punch. 10-9 Yakovlev
R3: Maynard again gets a takedown, but can’t do much with it. Yakovlev lits a left/right combo to Maynard’s chin and he doesn’t crumble, so that’s progress. Crowd began to boo late as nothing much was happening. Yakovlev got a nice sweep/trip takedown on Maynard and is content to ride out the round on the ground. Yakovlev is bloodied up, but I never got the sense he was in any danger the entire fight. Maynard didn’t get knocked out, but he’s got nothing left for the game. 10-9 Yakovlev.
That’s Maynard’s fourth straight loss.
Should You Watch? Nah.
– Bantamweight: Liz Carmouche def. Lauren Murphy by u/d (29-28 x 3)
If it seems like you haven’t seen Carmouche in a while, you’d be correct. She’s been out for a year and comes into today on a two-fight losing streak. Murphy is coming off her first career loss to Sara McMann in August.
R1: Lots of cage grappling in the opening salvo and not a lot of action as both ladies were doing a lot of feeling out. Murphy got a takedown in the round’s waning seconds to take it. 10-9 Murphy.
R2: Carmouche landed a knee to the top o’the dome off a front facelock, but Murphy had her up against the cage within seconds. Stann got it right: Carmouche has to let her hands go. Murphy is stalking, but isn’t connecting with clean shots and seems content to corral and grind. Carmouche tried a sweep takedown with a minute to go, but Murphy fell on top of her. 10-9 Murphy.
R3: Carmouche hits a takedown a minute into the round, but is doing the Hendricks and just standing up and doing nothing to advance. Murphy worked her way back up and Carmouche got her down again, but it didn’t take long for Murphy to resume her cage grind control game. This fight is super dull. Carmouche got another nice takedown at the end of the round. Overall, Carmouche looked very rusty and Murphy was able to take advantage. 10-9 Carmouche
Carmouche won? What the what?
Should You Watch? Nah. Boring fight.
– Lightweights: Dustin Poirier def. Diego Ferreira by first round KO (3:45)
This is Poirier’s first lightweight fight since his last WEC fight back in 2010. Ferreira has dropped the Carlos from his name and is coming off the first loss of his career.
R1: Action jumps off quick as both are slugging and Diego rolls looking for an arm or leg. Diego throws a kick and Poirier gives him the Dikembe Mutombo finger wag. Diego is just swinging his way into the danger zone and will eat a punch to throw two or three. Poirier cracks Diego with a left hand and drops on his ass. Back on the feet and Diego is clearly dazed and botched a takedown.
The end came quick as Poirier nails him again with the left hand and hurts him. Diego attempted to defend from his back, but Poirier turned out the lights with a left hand. Fun fight! After the fight, Poirier said that Joe Silva asked him to fight on the upcoming June New Orleans card and he’s in for it.
Should You Watch? Yes!
– Featherweights: Clay Guida def. Robbie Peralta by u/d (30-27 x 3)
This is Guida’s first fight since leaving Jackson’s MMA for Team Alpha Male. He also has a beard, so that’s a point in his favor already.
R1: Guida with two takedowns early, including a big one halfway throught the round right on Peralta’s face. Guida is on Peralta like a backpack and is completely controlling his body. So far, I don’t see any real difference now that he’s changed camps. 10-9 Guida.
R2: Guida just working for a takedown. The ref called for a break and Guida didn’t hear him and almost got another takedown which got the crowd booing. Guida is bleeding from the left eye. Peralta is starting to figure it out as Guida doesn’t want to exchange punches. Tough round to score, but I’d edge toward Peralta as he actually landed something. 10-9 Peralta
I think we have to come to grips that regardless of camp, the old Clay Guida isn’t coming back.
R3: Guida hit a nice head kick early in the third and even attempted another one to the other side. He then two back-to-back takedowns to the crowd’s delight. Halfway through the round, Guida worked for a head and arm choke but was up against the cage so he couldn’t get the leverage he needed right away. Peralta worked his way out of it and Guida started landing some ground and pound. He finished the round with another takedown, sealing it. He won, but this wasn’t must see. 10-9 Guida
Post-fight, Guida said he’s ready to take “super fights” at 155 or 145 if there’s interest. He’s ready for anything. Good promo!
Should You Watch? Unless you like takedowns, you can skip this one.
They did an interview via satellite with Rampage Jackson, but they didn’t turn down the arena music so it was tough to hear. Nothing regarding Bellator’s injunction was discussed, nor was anything of note. Honestly, Jackson was pretty blah here especially when asked about the reality of getting back to the light heavyweight title. I still don’t think this fight is going to happen.
– Bantamweights: Julianna Pena def. Milana Dudieva by 1st round TKO (3:59)
I was the only person in our pool to pick Dudieva, mainly because of Pena’s inactivity and the pressure on her to return to the form that impressed so many people when she won TUF.
R1: Pena came out swinging early and Dudieva ducked under and went for a takedown, but Pena blocked. Pena is significantly bigger than Lady Dude, who hits a great judo takedown as I type this. The fans are really into Pena, especially as she works off her back. Pena got on top and started dropping fists on Dudieva’s face who is also attempting to hit her while this is happening. Odd defense.
Pena is sitting on her opponent’s chest and applying the pressure but Dudieva is blocking a lot of the shots. Eventually, a few crushing elbows snuck through and the ref stopped this one. Yep, dumb pick by me! Pena’s going to give lots of ladies trouble at 135. Let’s leave the Rousey conversation alone for a year though, ok?
Should You Watch? Yep!
Jon Anik interviewed Michael Johnson between fights to help hype the upcoming TUF: Blackzilians vs. ATT season. I think that’s going to be a lot of fun and a needed change-up for the format. (Seems like we say that every season, right?)
Lightweights: Michael Chiesa def. Mitch Clarke by u/d (29-26, 29-26, 29-28)
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Clarke has fought a whopping three times in the last three years. In his last fight, he did beat Surgin’ Ragin’ Al Iaquinta, so that’s something. Chiesa last was seen losing to Joe Lauzon in an awesome fight I was luckly enough to watch live at cageside. Also, both men are sporting great beards.
R1: Great double underhook trip takedown by Chiesa, but Clarke is back up quick. Chiesa with another judo-esque takedown and Clark back up. Chiesta jacked Clarke’s head back like a Pez dispenser opening up and swarms in. Clarke fends him off, but Cheisa gets another takedown, lays in some punches and gets his back for a rear naked choke/face crank. Chiesa’s got the full figure four on the body and has Clarke in all kinds of problems, transitioning into an armbar setup. Great round for Chiesa, 10-9.
R2: Clarke with some footstomps early in the round. Chiesa landed some unique elbows while laying down and having Clarke’s back. He’s a really fun fighter to watch. Can you remember a boring fight he’s been in? There’s big talent, but is he getting the most out of it? I have questions. Chiesa was Clarke’s backpack for most of the round, working for a rear naked choke and landing some nasty elbows to the dome. 10-9 Chiesa.
R3: Clarke had Chiesa in trouble early, connecting on some punch combos that had his opponent reeling. Chiesa also shook out his left hand, so I think he may have broke it. Both guys were landing plenty of punches and Chiesa even tossed in a few knees and standing elbows too. Sloppy at times, but also really fun to watch. Great third round! Close, but I’ll give the nod to Chiesa.
Some 10-8s there which many on the Twitter machine were calling for. I’d agree with that, but I clearly wasn’t eagle eyin’ this one.
Should You Watch? Yep!
– Lightweights: Al Iaquinta def. Jorge Masvidal by split decision (29-28, 30-27, 28-29)
Iaquinta is on a three-fight win streak, all coming within five months. He’s a replacement for Benson Henderson who was a replacement for Bobby Green. Masvidal has won three straight and five of his last six. He also hasn’t been finished in 15 straight fights.
R1: Good opening round where both guys got their shots in. Iaquinta is really quick and touched Masvidal’s face with snapping punches several times. Masvidal hit a nice spinning back kick to the head and follosed that with a combo that had Iaquinta stunned. Iaquinta went for a leg lock, but Masvidal Mutumbo’d it to let us know. Great flurry of punches from Masvidal hurt Iaquinta again and on the mat, Masvidal opened up a nasty cut under Iaquinta’s right eye that is going to bleed like crazy. 10-9 Masvidal. Fun round!
R2: Competitive second round. Masvidal was patient, waiting for his shot instead of getting reckless. He even attempted a crescent kick. What! Iaquinta got a few licks in, but Masvidal controlled the round 10-9. He didn’t put himself in harm’s way, but I wonder if that is why people aren’t completely behind him.
R3: Masvidal’s leg is bruised up from Iaquinta’s leg kicks. Masvidal is outclassing Iaquinta and is content to do so. This is what he does though: win decisions. With 90 seconds to go, Iaquinta just put his hands down and said, “Let’s go.” Masvidal was game and action picked up a bit. Iaquinta started landing a few more shots and increased the aggression. Should he have been more aggressive? Probably. Ray Longo and Matt Serra were yelling at him to leave it all in the cage. 10-9 Masvidal
They read the decision and people start booing like crazy. They should have! Masvidal freaked out and left the cage. Anik attempted to get Iaquinta to talk and he says to the crowd, “You booin’ me? You booin’ me?” as if he was Robert DeNiro. He then unleashed the definition of a profanity-laced tirade to the crowd which was completely bleeped out. Anik attempted to get another question in, Iaquinta said, “I’m done” and then started swearing at people as he left the cage. Unbelievable!
Since 2010, Masvidal has fought 14 times and has gone the distance in 13 of them. He got jobbed here though. As Dann Stupp of MMA Junkie pointed out on Twitter, you can now completely justify a rematch and we’ll all watch.
Should You Watch? Just for the post-fight promo alone, hell yes!
– Featherweight Main Event: Chad Mendes def. Ricardo Lamas by 1st round TKO (2:45)
Years ago, Lamas lost to Mendes teammate Danny Castillo by TKO. Just wanted to share that. This should be good!
R1: Lamas connects with a nice uppercut as Mendes drops down. He got hit and he knows it. All of a sudden, business picked up and picked up quick. With three minutes to go, Mendes cracked Lamas with an overhand right to the top of Lamas’ head and hurt Lamas BAD. Mendes is swarming on him, landing a knee. Lamas looks out of it, but is handing in there. He’s standing up and falling backward but the ref is letting it go. He is in another universe right now. Mendes is smart: slowing up and picking his shots.
The end comes quick as he gets Lamas’ back and lands one of those Dan Henderson-style under the armpit punches to Lamas’ face, crumples him, looks at the ref, and this one is done. Wow, that came out of nowhere. Mendes was just laying in power shots and Lamas’ conscience was in another world. Lamas is good, Mendes is money.
What happens next for Mendes? He waits to see what happens with Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor and Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber.
Should You Watch? Yes!
Overall, the main card was really fun and the prelims were completely skippable. Total TV time: five hours.
Thanks for joining us!