JULY 11, 2015
LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
=====UFC Fight Pass Prelims Quick Results=====
-Cody Pfister def. Yosdenis Cedeno via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Note: Not much to the fight. Cedeno beat up Pfister’s legs with kicks in the first, but failed to do much in the second third as he got taken down and out-worked on the ground.
-Louis Smolka def. Neil Seery via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Note: Fun grappling battle. Tons of submission attempts from both fighters, with Smolka having the positional advantage more often than not. Seery had just enough defense to keep himself from getting stopped.
=====Fox Sports 1 Prelims=====
-The UFC’s got some slick new pieces to their production, but it appears that’s just for Fight Pass and likely pay-per-view later tonight, as the graphics go back to the Fox Sports theme for the prelims here. After a quick break down on the main event from Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan, it’s time for our first televised fight of the night.
PRELIM FIGHT ONE: CODY GARBRANDT VS. HENRY BRIONES (BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Briones circled around early on, but Garbrandt calmly held steady. He threw a high kick that was blocked. Briones connected on a left hand. Garbrandt got in a right hand in close. He popped Briones’ head back with a jab. Briones missed an overhand right and got countered. Briones landed another hard left as Garbrandt tried to step in. They traded kicks. Briones went for a spinning back fist but missed. Surprisingly tentative work from Garbrandt in this one. He got in a short combo but backed out. Briones missed a strike and got countered. He landed a couple of hard jabs. Garbrandt got a brief takedown but Briones scrambled out. Garbrandt missed a couple of punches. Garbrandt landed a hard two-punch combo. Garbrandt landed a couple of hard strikes and threw Briones down. He started landing some elbows from the top. He got to mount and got Briones’ back late.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Garbrandt. He stole it back with a couple of takedowns late and decent work on the ground, but he surprisingly got out-struck that round.
ROUND TWO: Garbrandt threw a unique jump up kick early but was blocked. He landed a hard kick to the body after some minor back and forth. Garbrandt got in a nice three punch combo. Garbrandt again got the better of an exchange. He’s gaining a bit more confidence here after getting cracked a few times in the first round. Briones got in a kick to the body. Garbrandt landed another right and avoided the counter. Garbrandt with a few more less effective strikes. He landed a hard left hand, then put his arms out to goad Briones. He rocked him with a combination and dropped him at the cage. Briones worked back up quickly, though. Solid recovery. Garbrandt landed a couple of strikes again. Briones tried to press ahead. Garbrandt went high with a kick that was partially blocked. They traded jabs. He landed another combo. Briones fired off a couple of hard jabs and jumped in with a knee. No quit in him here. Garbrandt got in a high kick and shot in but got stuffed. Garbrandt landed a short combo. He landed a nice left hook as Briones popped in. They traded punches but again Garbrandt got in a few more strikes. Garbrandt landed another short little hook. He missed on a few late strikes. Briones landed a right hand just before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Garbrandt. Stronger round for the Team Alpha Male competitor. Briones showing lots of heart, though.
ROUND THREE: Garbrandt landed a hard kick to the body. Briones got in a couple of counter-strikes. Tentative action again here in the third. The crowd got a little bit restless with some inactivity from both. Briones tried to back him up but missed a left hand. Briones landed a couple of jabs. Garbrandt landed a hard right hand. He got in a jab. Garbrandt connected on a jumping knee after missing a strike. He landed an overhand right and blocked a counter. They traded jabs. Garbrandt landed another short combo. Garbrandt landed a couple of jabs. Briones stuffed a shot and landed a couple hard strikes. Briones tried to make it a brawl. Garbrandt ducked under and scored an easy takedown into side control. Briones tried to scramble out. Garbrandt let him up and hit a flying knee as they separated. Briones came straight ahead. They traded big right hands. Briones kept pressing late. Garbrandt landed a huge flurry late and Briones stumbled backwards a bit just before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Garbrandt. Wasn’t pretty and wasn’t his strongest performance, but that should be plenty good for the win.
WINNER: Garbrandt via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) It had its moments, but they were separated by a lot of tentative action from the heavily favored Garbrandt.
PRELIM FIGHT TWO: JOHN HOWARD VS. CATHAL PENDRED (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: They traded leg kicks early on. Pendred plodded ahead with a few heavily telegraphed strikes. Howard connected on a solid punch. Howard caught a kick and drove Pendred to the cage, but got turned around immediately. They jockeyed for position, with Pendred getting in some knees before separating. Things slowed a bit and then they exchanged strikes in a quick flurry. Then both backed off and reset. Pendred landed a body kick that was caught. They clinched in the center, and it went to the cage again. Pendred landed some knees against the cage. Howard circled out and they reset. This is as dull as expected. They exchanged a short flurry of strikes in a brief clinch. Pendred tried for a jumping knee that got to Howard’s gut. They clinched again with Pendred getting in some knees. Each missed a few strikes. Howard landed a short combination again. Pendred took the shots and clinched, driving Howard to the cage again. Howard got separation again before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Howard. Maybe? He got the better of the striking exchanges, but got his back planted at the cage throughout the round where Pendred got in some knees and control.
ROUND TWO: After stuffing an early shot, Howard landed a nice combination. He’s scoring on the feet. Pendred clinched, but Howard punched his way out of it to reset. Pendred missed a few strikes and clinched. Howard lit him up with a huge series of strikes. Pendred finally got in a knee and let go of the clinch. Pendred landed a right hand. Pendred tried to grab another clinch and ate a big flurry. He slowed it down and tried to drive Pendred to the cage. Howard tried to get position, but Pendred got in a couple of strikes. Howard finally got himself free. Howard tried to walk him down, but things slowed. He got in a few strikes. He landed a hard leg kick as he advanced. Pendred got in a leg kick, but ate a couple of counter-strikes. Pendred circled a bit. Howard landed another big combination late.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Howard. Pendred’s just awful, but Howard’s offense is still only coming in spurts.
ROUND THREE: Slow start again. Howard landed a leg kick and a short combination. He kept pressing Pendred back. Pendred circled while doing almost nothing on the outside. Pendred got a clinch and landed a couple of knees to the body. He drove Howard to the cage, but couldn’t keep him there. They clinched again, with little happening. This is not a good fight. Howard got in some punches as Pendred just held onto him. The broadcast flashes that Pendred has 34 significant strikes, but it doesn’t seem he’s even thrown that many. Howard scored a takedown on the outside, but Pendred grabbed a guillotine. Howard popped his head out and got to his feet. Pendred tried to come forward, but Howard cracked him with several strikes. Howard kept advancing late. He landed a few more strikes. Pendred circled some more, but got cracked by another late flurry.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Howard. Pendred’s just bad. If there’s any justice, this will finally be his first UFC loss.
WINNER: Howard via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (*) Cathal Pendred is terrible, and the scorecard in his favor is among the worst of the year. Wow.
PRELIM FIGHT THREE: MIKE SWICK VS. ALEX GARCIA (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Garcia met Swick in the center and pressed him back. Swick popped out a jab. Garcia shot in and scored a quick takedown. Swick tried to hold him tight in his guard, avoiding some early attempts at ground and pound with strikes from the bottom. He kicked Garcia off and got to his feet, but Garcia got back in close on him and took him back down. Garcia tried to drag him down further while working in half guard. He wasn’t doing anything from the top, though. Swick exploded out nicely and got back to his feet. He landed a short combo, then pawed out another jab. He caught a kick and tossed one out to the back leg of Garcia. Garcia popped in with a jab. He landed a hard right hand and Swick smiled, acknowledging the blow. Swick pawed out a couple of jabs. Garcia kept pressing him back, but wasn’t throwing much. Both missed a couple of strikes. Swick landed a nice straight right and popped out, avoiding the counter. They slowed a bit more, and neither landed anything significant in the final 30 seconds.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Garcia. Swick didn’t have enough offense of his own to take that round.
ROUND TWO: Garcia quickly initiated a shot, and he easily took Swick to the ground. Swick tried to kick him off but got stuck in butterfly guard. He got his foot back in there, succeeding this time in kicking Garcia off to get back to his feet. Both missed some strikes, but the pace was still very slow. Garcia threw a few strikes but wasn’t finding a home with them. Swick backed him off with a knee. Swick landed a decent combination midway through the round. He got in a jab as Garcia tried to walk him down. Garcia threw out some hard strikes that were mostly blocked. Swick landed a hard kick to the body, but barely missed a knee behind it. He got in a hard jab. This fight following the last one has made for a rough combination. Garcia shot in late and scored another takedown, but Swick held him in half guard. Garcia finished out another fairly dull round on top.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Garcia. Swick’s had a little success on the feet, but neither is doing much offensively here. Garcia’s takedowns are winning out in an unfortunately dull fight.
ROUND THREE: They exchanged a couple of early strikes. Swick was bleeding a little from around his left ear. He threw a kick. Swick landed a solid counter right. Both tossed out strikes that missed their marks considerably. Garcia rushed in and landed a left, but didn’t follow up. Swick continued to back up and circle around, but wasn’t throwing much. This is barely a sparring session, let alone a fight. Garcia picked Swick up and took him down again despite Swick grabbing the cage. Swick tried to attack from the bottom, but Garcia avoided the triangle attempt and got into half guard. Garcia passed over to mount. Swick tried to lock him down. Garcia tried to posture up, but couldn’t get much done from that position. Swick got it back to half guard, then got his back to the cage. Garcia regained mount, though. He continued to hold position without doing a ton with it. He postured up. Garcia went for an armbar late but lost it, and Swick got to his feet before the horn. Not a good fight.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Garcia. Mainly because, once again, Swick failed to do much of anything at all.
WINNER: Garcia via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (*) Very little to say on that one. Both guys came back after extended layoffs, and neither did a whole lot in the cage.
PRELIM FIGHT FOUR: MATT BROWN VS. TIM MEANS (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Brown tossed out a jab and a body kick early. Means hit him with a back fist moving ahead. He cracked Brown with a big strike. Brown is definitely rocked. Means tried to capitalize, but Brown clinched. Means got out and came back forward. He landed another combination and then got poked in the eye. No! That was a bad one. He starts up quick though and fires out a combination. Means landed a nice body punch. Brown landed a huge right hand and nearly dropped Means. Means came right back ahead with a strike and landed a knee to the body. Brown drove him back to the cage, but Means stuffed him in the clinch. Brown grabbed a body lock but Means continued to stay on his feet. Means landed a few hard strikes and turned Brown around. He landed a short combo. Brown fired back. Means backed away from a rush. Means got in a short combo. Brown went high with a kick. They traded strikes. Means went for a takedown and Brown grabbed for a guillotine to stuff it. Brown then scored a takedown, but Means got to his feet on the cage. Brown tried to take his back, but Means turned back into him. Brown got in a hard knee to the body. Brown backed off with an elbow. He landed a right hand as he stepped back in. They traded strikes. Means had him hurt and pressed in. He cracked Brown with a hard elbow. Brown smiled but was bloodied up by that elbow. Means landed another hard elbow. Brown cracked Means with a hard elbow. Means shot in and Brown caught him with a guillotine! It was on tight and Means tapped! Holy hell that fight.
WINNER: Brown via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:44 of the first round
STAR RATING: (***+) Awesome one round fight. Some great exchanges between them both, and Means was doing real well before getting cracked by that final elbow. He had to shoot in hoping to avoid a follow up strike and it gave Brown his opening. Great way to push us into the pay-per-view portion of tonight’s card.
-Final video preview for McGregor-Mendes, and then it’s to the desk with ten minutes to the top of the hour.
=====Pay-Per-View Main Card=====
-The UFC’s got some new tweaks to the opening here. That includes no more “Face the Pain”! Just kidding. It’s now a dubstep remix of “Face the Pain.” I don’t know if that’s better or worse…
MAIN CARD FIGHT ONE: BRAD PICKETT VS. THOMAS ALMEIDA (BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Pickett tried to be the aggressor early on. Almeida countered a punch with a couple. He landed a nice inside leg kick. He checked a kick and landed a hard jab. Pickett connected on a short combo. They traded punches and Pickett got the better of that exchange. Almeida landed an elbow to the head. He landed another hard elbow, but Pickett hit him with a left hook. Pickett dropped Almeida with a left hook! Almeida tried to recover on the ground and as he got up he ate a knee and went down! This is nuts! Almeida recovered and got to his feet but he was bloodied up badly. Almeida landed a short combo. They traded punches. Almeida dropped Pickett! Pickett recovered and got to his feet in a scramble. This fight is ridiculous! Almeida barely missed a spinning elbow. He connected on another one he tried. Almeida landed a right hand. He got in a hard jab. Both missed some strikes. Almedia landed a nice combination. He got in another as Pickett landed one strike. Almeida landed a kick. They traded strikes at the cage again. Almeida landed a big combo at the horn. What a freaking round!
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Pickett. Almeida came on strong late, but the two knockdowns and early damage still won the round for Pickett. Great round.
ROUND TWO: Pickett missed a couple of strikes early. He through a jumping knee but it was blocked. Almeida then returned the favor and knocked him out cold! WHAT?! That was amazing.
WINNER: Almeida via KO (flying knee) :29 of the second round
STAR RATING: (****) For as good as Brown-Means was, this just took the bar up another notch on tonight’s card. Pickett looked as good as he’s looked in ages in the early portions of that first round, and the young rising star in Almeida took his early beating, gave it back in return, and just smashed Pickett with that finish in the second. That’s a new leading contender for “KO of the Year,” and it’s up there for “Fight of the Year” as well. Incredible.
-The UFC airs an excellent promo for UFC 190, intercutting Ronda Rousey hitting mitts with shots of her UFC wins, along with comments from each of the challengers she’s felled leading into those fights. Liked that one quite a bit.
MAIN CARD FIGHT TWO: BRANDON THATCH VS. GUNNAR NELSON (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Thatch switched stances up a bit early on, trying to gauge what Nelson was bring him. He landed two hard kicks to Nelson’s lead leg. He landed a couple more, but Nelson countered with a couple of hard kicks. Thatch got a clinch and they traded hard knees in the center. Thatch went back to the low kick. He missed a strike, but circled out of a clinch attempt from Nelson. Nelson floored Thatch with a two punch combo! He followed him to the ground and got right into full mount. Thatch tried to escape but Nelson passed to side control and landed a couple of hard strikes before passing back to mount. Nelson went for the Americana but lost it. Thatch gave up his back and Nelson started raining down strikes from behind him with the body triangle on. He locked on the rear naked choke and forced the tap. Wow. Big time performance from Nelson to bounce back from his first career loss. That was awesome.
WINNER: Nelson via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:54 of the first round
STAR RATING: (***+) So good. Just absolutely fantastic. Nelson beat Thatch to the punch, then dominated on the ground before finding his opening for the submission. Superb performance, and one hell of a response in his first fight back from the loss to Rick Story last fall. Great work.
MAIN CARD FIGHT THREE: DENNIS BERMUDEZ VS. JEREMY STEPHENS (149.5 LB. CATCHWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: They clinched early on. Stephens caught Bermudez with a shot as he almost headbutted him. Bermudez was rocked and that may have definitely been a headbutt as Stephens was cut badly. Bermudez got up and tagged Stephens, then slowed things down in the clinch. He got Stephens to the ground and tried to sneak behind him. He landed some strikes as he tried to set up a choke. Stephens continued to bleed as he was getting cracked by a bunch of punches. They showed a closeup of Stephens’ face and his cut was just gushing blood. Bermudez went for a choke but lost position and Stephens got to his feet. Bermudez landed a solid combination before backing off. He landed a hard jab. Stephens landed a right hand. Bermudez got in a combo and avoided a winging strike from Stephens. Bermudez shot in but Stephens stuffed the shot. They clinched again. They traded some shots, with Bermudez eventually backing off. They traded a few more strikes at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Bermudez. Stephens did land a big shot early, but that was about it for him that round.
ROUND TWO: Stephens landed a hard kick to Bermudez’s lead leg to kick things off. He went back to that leg, but Bermudez backed him off. Bermudez landed a nice two punch combo. Stephens dropped him as he came in! Bermudez grabbed a leg and recovered. Stephens tried to drop him with some more strikes but missed, and Bermudez clinched up. Stephens backed up and Bermudez was still a little wobbled. Stephens landed another hard punch. Bermudez landed a nice left hook. Stephens kicked out the lead leg and Bermudez was hurting. However, he still fired back with a nice right hand. Stephens dropped Bermudez again with a left hook. Bermudez sent him stumbling with a push kick. Bermudez backed Stephens up with a combination and clinched. Stephens circled out and landed a few more hard strikes. Bermudez dropped Stephens with a superman punch! Stephens got back up to his feet. This card is just bonkers right now. Bermudez fired off a couple strikes. Stephens threw a kick high. Bermudez shot in and looked for a takedown, but got stuffed on the cage. Bermudez landed some knees to the legs. Stephens pushed him off and they reset. Bermudez landed a leg kick. They traded big punches in the center. Both guys are beat up here. Stephens almost got Bermudez down with a shot. Bermudez got in close and they traded bombs late.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Stephens. Bermudez recovered late in the round, but didn’t do enough to steal that round.
ROUND THREE: Stephens tossed out an early high kick to the body. Bermudez landed a hard one to the leg. Bermudez missed a strike. Stephens floored him with a flying knee! Are you kidding me?!?!?! He started dropping bombs on the ground and the referee stepped in! Come on now. That was just… what?!
WINNER: Stephens via TKO at : 32 of the third round
STAR RATING: (****-) Are you kidding me? This card just keeps delivering fight after fight. That was a great back and forth fight, with another absolutely incredible finish. Tonight’s been worth every penny and we still have two title fights left.
Stephens: “If you lean forward [for the right hand], I’m gonna head kick you, I’m gonna knee you, I’m gonna knock you the f*** out”
MAIN CARD FIGHT FOUR: ROBBIE LAWLER VS. RORY MACDONALD (WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: Rory landed a couple of early body kicks, then popped in with a straight right. Lawler landed a nice inside leg kick. Things slowed a bit as both were trying to figure out the range. MacDonald landed a nice right hand. He got in a hard kick to the body. He got warned as it looked almost low, but Lawler didn’t react as if it was. The crowd booed the inactivity a little bit. MacDonald connected on some body kicks. He landed a kick and shot in, but he got sprawled and Lawler landed a knee on the way up. Lawler got in a shot to the body. MacDonald got in to the body again. Lawler landed a hard right hand to the face. MacDonald went back to the body with a couple more kicks. Lawler landed a good left hand late in the round.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-10. Extremely methodical from both. Each got in a minimal amount of meaningful offense. Tentative, feeling out round, but things should pick up here.
ROUND TWO: MacDonald landed the body kick again. Lawler got in a jab. Lawler landed a hard jab. He got in another. They traded jabs. After the earlier action on the card, the crowd was extremely restless with the methodical pace in this one. Lawler tried to close distance and landed a few, but MacDonald fired back several in response. MacDonald tossed out a front kick to the face that grazed Lawler. MacDonald landed the body kick again. Lawler connected on a big strike in the center. They traded strikes again. Neither really getting an edge in this one. MacDonald got back in with the kick. Lawler landed a hard two-punch combo. Lawler busted MacDonald open with a combination. MacDonald popped back in with a combo. They traded big shots. Lawler landed again. MacDonald was bleeding pretty badly and he got cracked by another combination. They traded strikes. MacDonald landed a hard forearm, but Lawler landed a hard left in the exchange just before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Lawler. MacDonald needs to be more active if he wants to find success here, because he’s sitting back and getting beat to the punch.
ROUND THREE: They traded punches early. Lawler continued to press in. They traded strikes wildly, and Lawler again got the better of that. MacDonald landed a hard elbow. Lawler got in to the body and added a few more strikes behind it. Lawler landed the jab again. MacDonald shot in, but Lawler stuffed the takedown in excellent fashion. Lawler landed a strike as they came up and MacDonald was a bloody mess. MacDonald’s nose looks like it disappeared behind the crimson mask covering his face. Things slowed a bit though as Lawler stalked. MacDonald went high with a kick. He got in a body kick. He went high again but it was blocked. He landed a body punch. Lawler tossed out a couple strikes. Lawler went back to the jab. Lawler kept up the methodical attack and didn’t overextend himself. MacDonald hurt Lawler with a head kick! He backed him to the cage and unleashed strikes. He went for the head kick. He got in a flying knee. He started unleashing elbows on the cage! He landed a big flurry. Lawler covered up and survived the round!
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Lawler. Barely. MacDonald may have stolen that round back in the last 30 seconds, but Lawler had tons of offense in the other four and a half minutes. We’ve got a damned fight on our hands, though!
ROUND FOUR: MacDonald went back to the head kick and backed Lawler up on the cage. He landed a bunch of elbows and punches. He got in a knee to the head! He landed several in combination. He got in more head kicks and backed Lawler up. More elbows from the challenger! Lawler tossed out a few jabs, but MacDonald remained on the attack and hit him with the head kick. Lawler landed a jab. MacDonald shot in but gave it up quick. Things slowed a bit. Lawler started advancing again. MacDonald landed a punch with a head kick behind it. Superman punch! They traded punches. Lawler got in a short combo. They clinched and traded shots. MacDonald landed a kick to the body with a couple jabs behind it. Both were bloodied up. MacDonald went to the head kick but got cracked by a right hand. MacDonald got in a couple of strikes. MacDonald shot but got sprawled again. Lawler landed a straight left. Anyone’s round here. MacDonald fired out a few jabs. Lawler landed a jab. They traded punches. Lawler continued to stalk. Lawler landed a straight left. They traded and Lawler got the better of the exchange. MacDonald went to the high kick late and they stared at each other before getting sent to their corners.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Lawler. He took it back after a strong brief start from MacDonald. The challenger needs to finish this in my opinion.
ROUND FIVE: MacDonald landed a couple of jabs. He got in a solid superman punch and blocked some attacks from Lawler. Lawler got through with several. They traded strikes. Lawler hurt MacDonald. Rory fired back with an elbow. Lawler dropped MacDonald! MacDonald just crumpled! Lawler landed another strike on the ground and that’s the fight. What a title bout.
WINNER: Lawler via TKO at 1:00 of the fifth round
STAR RATING: (****+) It really doesn’t get much better than that. After a slow opening round, everything else after that was riveting and as good as it gets in this sport. MacDonald, despite getting beat up in that second round, came on strong in the third and did the same. They beat each other up in that fourth, and then Lawler held onto his title by force in the fifth. That’s easily the best fight of the year so far, and it’s going to be hard to beat it. This has been an absolutely incredible night of fights.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FIVE: CHAD MENDES VS. CONOR MCGREGOR (INTERIM FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
-Sinead O’Connor is in the arena to perform McGregor’s walkout, and they elevate a platform for her with green lighting under which McGregor walks out. That was excellent. If he wins this fight, man… This could be something special here. Mendes coming out to play spoiler.
ROUND ONE: McGregor came straight ahead and threw a spinning kick! Mendes took him down, but McGregor got to his feet and smiled at Mendes. Mendes landed a right. McGregor walked him back. Mendes threw an inside leg kick. Mendes landed a right. McGregor threw a spinning kick. McGregor connected with a hard left. They were jawing at each other and smiling. McGregor landed a combination. He landed a hard spinning kick to the body. Mendes landed a right hand. Mendes smiled at a kick. McGregor landed a couple of punches. Mendes landed a big two punch combo and McGregor put his hands out. McGregor landed a left. He kept Mendes backed up. Mendes landed a right hand. He shot in and got McGregor to the ground. McGregor threw a few punches off his back. The crowd booed. Mendes landed a hard elbow. McGregor got to his feet but ate two hard strikes and came up bleeding. Mendes landed a big overhand right and smiled. He landed another. McGregor backed him up and landed a nice punch and a body shot behind it. McGregor landed a hard left. Mendes popped back in. Mendes landed to the body. McGregor landed another body kick. He landed a nice left. Mendes took him down again. He passed to half guard, then side control, but McGregor got him back to half guard. Mendes landed an elbow. Mendes tried to set up a guillotine from the top. He lost it but stayed on top. He landed a few strikes to end the round. He was getting chastised over some finger play to the face on the ground.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Mendes. Close round, lots of offense from both, but Mendes’ takedowns and ground work, along with some standing offense, give him the opening frame.
ROUND TWO: McGregor again closed the distance and tossed out kicks. McGregor landed a nice kick to the body. He sprawled on a shot and stayed standing. They traded right hands. McGregor landed a nice combination. He backed Mendes up to the cage again. Mendes shot in and planted McGregor. The crowd booed. Mendes landed an elbow. He got in another forearm strike, but McGregor held tight in his guard. McGregor tossed out some elbows from the bottom. Mendes fired back from his guard. Mendes kept trying to disrupt McGregor’s breathing. The action slowed in the guard and the crowd didn’t like it. McGregor landed some hard elbows from the bottom. Mendes thought they were illegal but Herb Dean let it slide. They traded elbows in McGregor’s guard. Mendes got in a right hand. Mendes landed a few more hard strikes. Mendes stayed busy enough to keep the fight in that position. The crowd booed as it remained there. Mendes landed another elbow. Mendes passed and looked for the guillotine. He lost it and McGregor got up. McGregor landed a combination. Mendes fired back. McGregor stuffed a shot and got in a few strikes. Mendes landed a big strike. McGregor dropped him! He fired off a few more strikes on the ground and Dean stepped in! Yeah, that’s just. Man. So damned good.
WINNER: McGregor via TKO at 4:57 of the second round
STAR RATING: (****+) Breathtaking. Seriously. McGregor had a sneaky fantastic gameplan to attack the body early and often, and he wore Mendes down, dealt with Mendes’ wrestling, and took him out. That was incredible.
McGregor: “Just to come in here and hear all the support yesterday and today, it’s f***ing, I’m just shaking here… I’m hearing all the time that I’ve been protected from this style of opponent, that I’ve been gifted a title shot, so when my title shot went running, and they gave me the challenge I was supposed to be protected from, I knew I was gonna prove to people that I’m a true fighter. It doesn’t matter who it is; I show up. I’m a professional. I come in here and I fight, I’m confident in my abilities.”
McGregor on Aldo: “I had bigger injuries in the lead up to this fight than that bruised rib, and I still showed up to fight.”
-Wow. Well, we’ve just witnessed one of the single best events in UFC history, and we’re going to have a ton to say about it around MMATorch in the coming days. Thanks for following along with us here tonight; we’ll have much, much more as the week goes on, and three more UFC events in the next week to cover as well!
Tune in to MMATorchLivecast.com tomorrow at 12:30PM ET as Todd Martin joins me to break down all of tonight’s action in a new UFC 189 review Livecast!