UFC FIGHT NIGHT 92
AUGUST 6, 2016
AIRED ON FOX SPORTS 1
LIVE FROM SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
MAIN FIGHT CARD RESULTS & ANALYSIS
The main card opens with a video package focusing on Yair Rodriguez as the future of the sport and running down the other top fights. If you didn’t know already, this show is all about making Rodriguez a star. Caceres is as much of an afterthought as a UFC main eventer can be.
The arena looks small and sparsely populated in the opening establishing shot. Jon Anik and Brian Stann have the call tonight.
(1) Maryna Moroz vs. Danielle Taylor (Strawweight 115 lbs)
This is Taylor’s UFC debut. Moroz is best known for defeating Joanne Calderwood in Krakow last year. Taylor is wearing a tight fitting T-shirt that I haven’t seen yet. Could be a newly issued option for female fighters after Valerie Letourneau’s wardrobe issues in Ottawa and subsequent visit with Reebok.
Round 1: Moroz has a clear height and reach advantage as the meet in the middle. Taylor is moving in to get a shot in and gets out quickly. Moroz is controlling the center of the cage and is working on establishing her jab and keeping a distance. Crowd getting impatient two minutes in. Taylor with a leg kick but is having trouble finding opportunities. Moroz is throwing more strikes but not really connecting. Moroz landing more in the last minute but Taylor lands a big right hand as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Moroz. Very close round, but Moroz did just enough late in the round to take it.
Round 2: Lots of strikes being thrown but very few landing 90 seconds in. Very few as in possibly zero. Moroz throwing front kicks at the air but Taylor resepons with a big right hand, the biggest shot of the fight so far. Taylor going for big haymakers and mostly missing with the odd connection. Taylor throwig hard, but she might be too small for the division for it to do any real damage. 10-9 Taylor, 19-19.
Round 3 : Taylor lands a right hook early but doesn’t seem to faze Moroz who is walking her down and throwing a lot of kicks to keep Taylor at distance.Taylor is throwing her combos from way too far out now and is getting nothing but air. She’s missing a lot now which is giving Moroz room to counter effectively. Taylor looking tired as the fight draws to a close and Moroz is happy to keep at a distance. Taylor lands a takedown right at the horn. Another close but largely uneventful round. 10-9 Moroz. 29-28
Official decision: 28-29, 29-28, 30-27 – Moroz by split decision
Analysis & Star Rating: Boring fight that will do nothing to help Moroz get any closer to a title shot. Taylor looks like she has something to offer, but perhaps at atomweight so maybe Invicta is in her future. (*)
(2) Trevor Smith vs. Joe Gigliotti (Middleweight 185 lbs)
Smith is a win one-lose one UFC fighter with his most notable win coming in July 2015 over Dan Miller, this is the UFC debut for the undefeated Gigliotti.
Round 1: You can sense the power of these middleweight men immediately compared to the previous fight. Smith gets a clinch against the cage but Gigliotti is landing some knees and body punches with his back to the cage. Both guys fighting for the underhook and Smith gets a takedown but Gigliotti gets up without taking much damage. Smith giving him no space to catch his breath and is landing some low knees and elbows in the clinch. Crowd losing patience and they get a ref warning to keep working. Smith with more low knees and body shots but Miragliotta gives Smith a warning for grabbing the fence and breaks up the clinch. Giglittoi throwing hard and gets a takedown but finds himself in Smith’s guillotine. Gigliotti turns out of it and starts working a guillotine of his own to no avail. Looked like Smith landed a knee while Gigliotti was down but no stoppage or warning. Ref warned him after the round ends, which is odd. If he saw it, he should have stopped the fight and warned him if not deducted a point. 10-9 Smith
Round 2: Smith grabs a muay thai clinch and lands a huge knee that sends Gigliotti to the mat. Smith working submissions from back mount. Gigliotti is bleeding from the nose from that knee. He’s doing just enough to defend submissions but isn’t getting out of this bad position. Smith being patient, throwing punches underneath while waiting for the rear naked choke to present itself. Gigliotti manages to sit up and get his back to the cage but Smith still has him mounted. Gigliotti gets up and is immediately taken down with 90 seconds to go in the round. Gigliotti has two hand on Smith’s right arm to defend the submission. Smith is all over him on the ground though. He is waiting for Gigliotti to stand up to get a knee but it doesn’t come. Smith just holding him down and working on a D’arce choke as the clock expires. 10-8 Smith, 20-17.
Round 3: Gigliotti’s corner tells him it’s not over between rounds but he needs a finish and he has to be exhausted. Smith gets a takedown 10 seconds into round three. Smith in Gigliottti’s half guard, landing some elbows but nothing too big. Gets to side control and Gigliottie scrambles to his feet. Smith again gives him no breathing room and has him against the cage. They break and they trade some hard shots. Smith doesn’t like this so gets another takedown and the crowd hates it. More elbows from half guard and he’s looking to get mount and he gets it. Smith’s corner calling for a head and arm choke. He’s getting some elbows but if he postures up Gigliotti will likely be able to get to his feet. More elbows that wake the crowd up a bit. More elbows and the round ends. 10-9 Smith since Gigliotti got a couple decent shots in standing but close to another 10-8. 30-26
Official decision: 30-26 across the board for Trevor Smith.
Analysis & Star Rating: Smith showed that experience and wrestling will almost always win out at the UFC level. Gigliotti could have an entertaining brawl with someone who won’t try and wrestle him. Better than the last fight but almost anything would have been. (**)
(3) Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Zak Cummings (Welterweight 170 lbs)
Both guys are TUF vets and have been on good runs.
Round 1: Both guys sizing each other up early. Cummings with some leg kicks. Cummings backs him up with a flurry but doesn’t connect. Southpaw Cummings gets a straight left in and Ponzinibbio gets a combo of his own. Cummings working a takedown but doesn’t get it. Cummings with another left and is doing a better job striking so far. Ponzinibbio gets a big head kick just as I say that and Cummings is a little wobbly but chooses not to go for the takedown. Ponzinibbio starting to connect with the right but takes a kick to the cup so we have a break in the action. Herb Dean gives Cummings a “strong” warning. The crowd is booing Ponzinibbio for taking his time to come back. We’re back and Cummings gets a body kick in followed by a nice wheel kick and almost gets a takedown to boot. 10-9 Cummings
Round 2: Ponzinibbio is the first to land in round two and lands a nice left hand early. Cummings with more body kicks but Ponzinibbio is getting the right hand in much more this round. Ponzinibbio throwing a body kick that opened up a possible Cummings takedown but he didn’t go for it. Cummings missing a lot. Both guys stop after an eye poke but Herb Dean tells them to keep fighting. Cummings misses a takedown attempt. Cummings rushes in but Ponzinibbio counters and gets the better of the exchange. Ponzinibbio looking like the fresher fighter late in round two. Nice right hand by Ponzinibbio but Cummings answers with a left hand and a body kick. 10-9 Ponzinibbio, 19-19
Round 3: They high five to start the final round. Cummings goes for a double but Ponzinibbio dodges it easily while countering. Ponzinibbio getting right hands in almost at will. Cummings needs a takedown but can’t match Ponzinibbio’s speed and stamina at this point. Nice combo from Ponzinibbio starting with a head kick. Ponzinibbio backing Cummings up. Cummings throwing weak backfists and has nothing for him standing anymore. Cummings eats a body kick. Cummings gets a left hand in and is doing what he can but Ponzinibbio is too fast. Cummings tries a cartwheel kick out of desperation at the end of the round but isn’t even close. 10-9 Ponzinibbio, 29-28
Official decision: 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 Ponzinibbio by unanimous decision.
Analysis & Star Rating: Best fight of the main card so far. Both guys were not afraid to throw down. Ponzinibbio showed he has a good chin and good speed and should at the very least be competitive with anyone in the bottom half of the top 15 in the welterweight division. (**)
(4) Thales Leites vs. Chris Camozzi (Middleweight 185 lbs)
Former title challenger Leites has great ground work with underrated striking against Camozzi who is on a good run but tends to come up short against top competition. This fight could be really bad if Leites tries to keep it on the ground but can’t get a submission.
Round 1: Leites working a clinch but Camozzi doing a good job defending the takedown early. Leites gets him down but Camozzi gets right back up. Leites won’t give up this takedown and is riding Camozzi’s back now. Camozzi doesn’t panic and has Leites’ left arm. They get a warning to do something and they’re down and back up again. Leites working a choke on Camozzi who has been carrying him on his back most of this round. Leites landing some punches that Camozzi can’t defend from this position now Leites going for a choke and almost had it. Camozzi working on controlling Leites’ wrist but eats punches whenever he does. Camozzi tries to drop to escape as the round ends. 10-8 Leites
Round 2: Camozzi with a lazy leg kick to start the round. Leites goes for a single 30 seconds in and gets a takedown. Camozzi with a butterfly guard but Leites passes to half guard quickly and is going for mount without hesitation. He gets side control and is looking for a d’arce choke. Camozzi gets up but Leites has his back. Leites landing some punches from back mount and Camozzi is looking tired but is defending the choke well against the very skilled BJJ practitioner Leites. They cut to Camozzi’s corner telling him to “get his butt high” which is better than many corners whose best advice is usually “get up!” Leites landing punches from back mount to end the round. Another 10-8 for Leites, 20-16.
Round 3: Camozzi going for it immediately as he know he needs a KO if he wants any chance of winning. That kind of reckless abandon is hopefully what we see in later rounds as 10-8 scores become more common. Leites gets him down though and again has Camozzi’s back which has to be so dejecting for Camozzi. Leites working for a rear naked choke and has his legs well locked around Camozzi’s body. He’s going to have a hard time breaking free this time. Camozzi defending but only one on one when he needs both his hands on one of Leites’. Leites slips in the choke and Camozzi finally taps.
Winner: Thales Leites by Submission-Rear Naked Choke
Analysis & Star Rating: Textbook performance from Leites who executed his gameplan perfectly. Not particularly entertaining but he showed that if he gets you down he can dominate. His biggest problem is there are a lot of good wrestlers at the top of this division. Leites is as boring in the post fight interview as he was in his fight. (*)
(5) Dennis Bermudez vs. Rony Jason (Featherweight 145 lbs)
Bermudez usually has good fights and Jason is the original TUF Brazil winner so this should hopefully be a good one. This card needs it bad.
Round 1: Bermudez with some fancy footwork right out of the gate and is clearly the quicker fighter. Jason throwing kicks early but Bermudez is busy mixing up feints with kicks and punches well. Bermudez with a nice combo that finishes with a leg kick and then gets a takedown. Bermudez stands up but doesn’t let Jason up. He goes back into Jason’s guard up against the cage. Jason looking for a sub from the bottom but can’t get it. Bermudez looking to land as he postures up but Jason almost gets an armbar. Big elbow from Bermudez cuts Jason open on his forehead. Bermudez keeping busy with punches on the ground and Jason is really bloody . Round ends and the doctor comes in to look at this cut. It’s a nice gash but the fight will continue. 10-9 Bermudez
Round 2: Jason catches Bermudez trying to come in with a kick. Doesn’t faze him much as Bermudez gets the takedown. Jason gets up after taking some shots on the ground and he’s free. Bermudez with a big leg kick that he put his whole body into. Jason with some body kicks and Bermudez with more combos that finish with a leg kick. Bermudez gets him back down in the centre of the cage. Jason scrambles to his feet. Bermudez gets him down again but Jason right back up. Leg kick from Bermudez. He eat a shot going for a takedown but doesn’t give it up. Jason defends the takedown but Bermudez keeps the pressure on. Big takedown from Bermudez to close the round. 10-9 Bermudez, 20-18.
Round 3: Jason trying to hype up the crowd at the start of the round. If you’re going to lose you might as well try and get that Fight of the Night bonus. Jason counters a leg kick with a right hand. Bermudez stays busy with the leg kicks which have been working well for him all fight. Good sprawl from Jason at the takedown attempt. Jason lands a left hook. Bremudez slowing down a bit and has a takedown reversed by Jason who gets a back mount. Jason looking for a huge comeback win here. He’s working on a choke but Bermudez spins out and is on top now with a minute to go. Bermudez getting some elbows in while looking to pass. Jason gets to his feet just as the round ends. Close round, Jason almost pulled off the comeback but not enough. 10-9 Bermudez, 30-27
Official decision: 30-27, 30-26, 30-27 for Bermudez by unanimous decision.
Analysis & Star Rating: Good showing by Bermudez who immediately calls out Frankie Edgar for the MSG card in November. That’d be a great fight so why not? (**)
(6) Yair Rodriquez vs. Alex Caceres (Featherweight 145 lbs)
As stated before, this is set-up to be a showcase for Rodriguez. Caceres is a beatable opponent but is no slouch and has been in there with name fighters before like Cole Miller and Urijah Faber so he won’t be intimidated by the spotlight.
Bruce Buffer reminds us that “It’s Time!” It’s nearly 1 AM eastern to be exact. These Fight Night shows are getting longer and longer it seems.
Round 1: Rodriguez gets a nice reaction so the promo videos worked on the live crowd at the very least. Caceres takes the centre of the cage to start and throws some kicks and comes in with a superman punch. Rodriguez answers with some kicks of his own. Crazy spin kick that missed but was scary fast. This will be a tough fight to keep up with at this pace. Yair whiffing on kicks all over the place but if one lands that could be it. Rodriguez slips on a head kick attempt. They go to the ground and they scramble to their feet quickly. Rodriguez with a leg kick and misses a couple front kicks. He’s fast as hell. Lands a spin kick to Caceres’ face. Crazy combo leading to a takedown by Rodriguez but he doesn’t finish it. Nice right hand by Rodriguez. Crazy busy round, I can’t imagine how much ground they covered. Have you ever seen in tennis when they draw a line everywhere they ran for a crazy long rally and it’s like half a mile? I’d love to see that for that round. 10-9 Rodriguez.
Round 2: Caceres keeping his distance but can’t match the speed of Rodriguez. Nice backfist from Rodriguez that catches Caceres off guard. Rodriguez doesn’t know how not to spin every time he throws a combo. Rodriguez almost gets him with a flying knee. Rodriguez goes for a takedown but they break. Rodriguez lands a left and almost gets taken down but doesn’t. Body kick after body kick from Rodriguez and they’re connecting. Not quite as busy as round one but the pace is still very busy. 10-9 Rodriguez, 20-18.
Round 3: Caceres coming out strong with some kicks but Rodriguez with two big flurries to back him up. Big left from Rodriguez connects. Rodriguez is keeping the pace so fast that Caceres can’t get anything in until Yair takes a break. Rodriguez with a body kick and Caceres might be feeling it as he’s slowing down and not throwing as many strikes. Nice combo from Caceres and now he’s getting busy and follows up with a knee to the body. He’s getting his confidence back and the crowd is behind him. They go to the ground and Caceres scrambles to get on top. Caceres landing while Rodriguez looks for an arm. Both guys staying very busy on the ground. Caceres getting some elbows in there and he lets him up and the round ends. 10-9 Caceres but he’s tired as he goes to his corner. The elevation should be a factor in these last two rounds. 29-28 Rodriguez after 3.
Round 4: Rodriguez still pushing the pace to start the round because apparently he is never tired. Caceres gets a kick in as Rodriguez goes for a spinning attack. Rodriguez ducks down and lands a right hand. He’s slowed down a bit but still very busy. Nice spinning backfist from Rodriguez. Leg kicks from Rodriguez trying to set up some punches but doesn’t pull the trigger. Caceres catches him with a punch to counter a leg kick. Rodriguez slipping in some jabs. Rodriguez winning most exchanges. 10-9 Rodriguez, 39-37.
Round 5: Crowd amped up for the last round. Bro-hug as they meet in the centre. Rodriguez tries to take his head off immediately after the hug. Rodriguez lands a knee and is landing lots of jabs and Caceres is not defending very much. Caceres gets a takedown but Rodriguez scrambles and gets a takedown of his own! Caceres gets up but they have to stop the fight to cut some tape on Rodriguez’s glove. Back at it and both guys connecting. Caceres picking up the pace a bit, likely knowing he needs this round to have a shot at winning a decision. Rodriguez with a relentless combo that Caceres tries to run from but runs out of room. Last minute and the crowd wakes up. Rodriguez throwing crazy kicks but not landing flush. Nice exchange as the round ends. 10-9 Rodriguez, 49-46.
Official decision: 49-46 Caceres, 48-47 Rodriguez, 48-47 Rodriguez by split decision.
Analysis & Star Rating: I’m trying to wrap my head around the 49-46 for Caceres and I can’t. Rodriguez was busier in every round, including the third which I thought he lost because of the takedown.In his post-fight interview when asked who he wants next, Yair says “I don’t know.” He clearly didn’t get the memo that this show was built around him. This was a good fight and the first 2-3 rounds were crazy and worth checking out (***)
FINAL THOUGHTS: As for the overall show, I would not recommend the main card if you missed it. Lots of decisions and largely boring ones to boot. In terms of making a star out of Yair Rodriguez, he gets a slight boost from winning a main event but he really needed a flashy highlight reel knockout here and we didn’t get it. He’ll get another name fighter, probably on a pay per view main card but he’ll have to start fighting top 10 guys after that provided he wins.
(Michael Hiscoe is a new MMATorch live events reporter. He has written reviews for movie websites such as DVDTown.com and MovieMet.com in the past. He has been an avid follower of MMA for over 10 years and now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)