By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
UFC FIGHT NIGHT 68
JUNE 6, 2015
LIVE FROM NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
=====UFC Fight Pass Prelims Quick Results=====
-Jose Quinones def. Leonardo Morales via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:34 of the first round
Note: Morales had no defense to speak of on the ground. Quinones worked to his back and it didn’t take much from there to get the tap.
-Jake Collier def. Ricardo Abreu via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Note: Violent, and sloppy as all hell for 15 minutes. Both guys were exhausted, and it was the furthest thing from a high level affair, but it was somewhat entertaining in a trainwreck kind of way.
=====Fox Sports 1 Prelims=====
-After a brief intro, Joe Proctor and Justin Edwards are in the cage to kick things off. Jon Anik and Brian Stann on the call tonight.
PRELIM FIGHT ONE: JOE PROCTOR VS. JUSTIN EDWARDS (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE:Edwards got in a solid right hand counter early on as Proctor hesitated on a strike. Edwards countered an inside leg kick with a rush and Proctor tried to tie him up in the clinch. Edwards backed off with a few elbow strikes. Proctor stepped in with a solid right hand. Edwards rushed him with a combination, but Proctor covered up and fired back. Edwards scored a brief takedown, but Proctor got back to his feet. The clinch battle continued briefly, then Edwards backed out with an elbow. Edwards landed a solid overhand right. Proctor tossed out a leg kick. They exchanged strikes with both connecting. Proctor missed a winding right hand. He covered up as Edwards came in, and landed a nice combination. Proctor went high with a head kick that was partially blocked. Edwards continued moving forward. They traded shots. Edwards got in a nice spinning back kick to the body and Proctor smiled and nodded. He threw out a hard body kick. They traded some kicks and punches late.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Edwards. He started fast and slowed significantly late, but he did a bit more in that frame. Proctor got in some solid strikes himself, though.
ROUND TWO: Proctor moved in and scored a jab. He circled around as Edwards tried to walk him down. Edwards landed a couple of hard body kicks. Edwards closed distance and landed a few strikes in combination. Both missed some wild strikes. Edwards grabbed a headlock and got in some hard knees before Proctor broke free. Edwards kept the pressure on, and connected with a nice straight right. Proctor landed a few jabs. Proctor jumped in with a kick but it was blocked. Edwards got in a few strikes after missing with an axe kick. Proctor landed a solid left hook. Edwards rushed him and landed a combination, shot in, and scored a takedown. Proctor got back up, eating a knee as he did so. Proctor landed a few strikes. Stann is talking up Proctor quite a bit this round, but seems he’s either missing or ignoring a lot of what Edwards has done. Proctor connected on a few in combination. Edwards fired back. Proctor landed a nice straight right. Proctor threw a spinning kick that was blocked and Edwards came back ahead. They traded punches again. Proctor landed a counter right hand late. Edwards landed a nice two punch counter before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Edwards. It’s been a fairly close fight, but I think Edwards is still getting in more offensively in this one.
ROUND THREE: Edwards immediately came ahead and they traded big strikes, including a couple of hard knees to the body by the cage. Edwards tried to play the aggressor as Proctor continued looking to counter. Proctor got in a solid body kick. Edwards got in close, but missed several strikes as Proctor countered. He shot in, but Proctor stuffed it. Proctor kept landing counters as Edwards got in close. Edwards finally got through with a few. Proctor landed a left. Edwards shot in again. Proctor went for a guillotine and used it to separate. Edwards landed a knee as they got up. They separated. Proctor threw a high kick that was blocked. Both missed a couple strikes. Edwards missed a spinning kick but landed a body strike. Proctor landed a nice knee to the body and then went for a guillotine as Edwards was hurt. Edwards fought and scrambled, but Proctor held on and tightened the grip. Proctor tightened it desperately even more with seconds ticking off and Edwards went out cold! Beautiful finish to a fight I think he was losing.
WINNER: Proctor via technical submission (guillotine choke) 4:58 of the third round
STAR RATING: (***) It was a competitive and entertaining fight ended in spectacular fashion. Proctor landed that brutal knee to the body, and then got that guillotine choke in tight to put him out. Very good start to the FS1 broadcast.
PRELIM FIGHT TWO: CHRIS WADE VS. CHRISTOS GIAGOS (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Giagos immediately closed in and shot for a takedown, but Wade kept himself up and separated. Giagos landed a left hand. Wade tossed out a high kick that was blocked. Wade got through with a left. Giagos tried to close distance. He clinched but Wade turned him around. Giagos turned around and got to his feet. Wade scored his own takedown, but Giagos got to his feet in a scramble. Wade landed a hard knee in the clinch before they separated. Giagos landed a body kick, then shot in for a takedown. Wade looked for a guillotine choke, so Giagos fought that off. The clinch battle continued, with Giagos getting a right hand as they separated. Giagos landed a big straight right that dropped Wade to a knee. Giagos went for a flying knee. Wade clinched, then scored a fantastic throw and quickly moved to mount. Giagos bucked out and scrambled. Wade went for a choke but Giagos got free. Giagos popped Wade’s head back with another right hand. Wade landed a hard step in elbow. He nearly tripped Giagos up with a leg kick. He got in close and put Giagos’ back on the cage. Giagos was cut open. Wade backed off. He landed a couple of push kicks. Giagos got in a body shot and Wade clinched. That’s where the round ended.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Wade. He did get buckled briefly by that one straight right, but he recovered greatly and did some nice damage late, along with that great throw and the brief time in mount. Close round though.
ROUND TWO: Wade threw out a high kick, but it was blocked and countered. Giagos rushed but didn’t connect. Giagos landed a hard body kick, then got in a left hand. He shot in and Wade stuffed him in the clinch. He separated. Giagos landed a nice right hand. He got in a left hook and shrugged off a clinch. Wade landed a short uppercut out of a clinch. Wade shot in but Giagos sprawled nicely. He tried to transition to take Wade’s back. Wade then pulled off a nice transition to get on top into half guard. Giagos wound up scrambling out and trying to again complete a takedown of his own. Wade tried to attack for a guillotine, but Giagos popped out and got on top in side control. It went to north-south, but Wade again scrambled out and got on top himself. Bit of a back and forth wrestling battle here, neither completely getting an edge. Wade got in a knee as Giagos got to his feet. Giagos tried for a single leg, gave it up, and then Wade transitioned for his own takedown attempt, ending the round in the clinch.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Wade. Close and competitive round, but I think Wade’s scrambles and reversals gave him a slight edge. That said, this could be a tied fight or 2-0 Giagos at this point into the third.
ROUND THREE: Giagos opened with a hard left hook. Wade landed a solid body kick. Giagos again landed the left hand. He connected again. He landed a hard step in knee to the body as Wade shot in. Wade kept on the takedown attempt, but Giagos tried to get loose. Wade stayed on him and completed it to half guard. Giagos held on to try to get a stand up, but ate some strikes. He scrambled out, and wound up getting to his feet. He was bleeding badly. Giagos landed another left hand. Giagos tried to rush in with a few strikes, but didn’t connect on a ton in that flurry. He missed a few more and Wade clinched up. Wade dropped for a double leg attempt and completed it. Giagos worked to his feet. He almost scored a trip, but then they separated. Wade clinched again. Giagos turned him around. He backed out and landed a few strikes. Wade went for a high kick. Both guys just exhausted at this point. Giagos landed a couple of knees. He landed a few strikes in a flurry, but Wade clinched to the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Giagos. Wade did have some time in top position, but Giagos had all the legitimate offense that round.
WINNER: Wade via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) Decent fight. Both faded late, but it was a competitive battle between two evenly matched guys.
PRELIM FIGHT THREE: BRIAN EBERSOLE VS. OMARI AKHMEDOV (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Akhmedov opened with a hard kick to the body. Ebersole again sporting the hairrow on his torso. Akhmedov scored a solid kick. Ebersole tried to clinch and Akhmedov swung wildly. He didn’t really land much there. Ebersole tried to circle around and keep out of range. Akhmedov slowed a little, then connected on a hard body kick. He countered a rush but Ebersole covered up. Akhmedov landed a hard outside leg kick. He grazed him with a right hand, then landed a better one shortly thereafter. Ebersole shot in but was stuffed. Akhmedov landed a hard right hand as he separated. Ebersole got in a nice shot. He psyched Akhmedov out a bit with a feigned shot. Akhmedov landed an inside leg kick. Ebersole saw the next one coming and swung his leg out of the way. Akhmedov tried to rush in. He landed a hard body shot but Ebersole circled out of danger. Akhmedov threw another combination as Ebersole covered up. Ebersole landed a couple of right hands and covered up from the return. Ebersole landed a body kick. Akhmedov got in a late right hand and blocked a kick at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Akhmedov. Ebersole seemed content to cover up and let Akhmedov use up some energy, but he’s going to need to start getting active himself if the strategy was to let Akhmedov wear himself out.
-Nope, the fight’s over. Ebersole’s left knee popped out when he tried to check one of those inside leg kicks in the round and he had to give up on his stool. Ouch.
WINNER: Akhmedov via TKO (injury) at 5:00 of the first round
STAR RATING: (n/a) Didn’t really get a chance to get going because of that injury. Good job by Akhmedov to keep that pressure up and cause the injury, but was kind of a freak occurrence there. Similar to Carlos Condit’s loss to Tyron Woodley, but not quite that bad of an injury.
PRELIM FIGHT FOUR: SHAWN JORDAN VS. DERRICK LEWIS (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Jordan moved forward early. Lewis tossed a couple of head kicks, then landed a couple of hard strikes before clinching. Jordan grabbed a body lock and scored an easy trip takedown. He landed a few elbows and Lewis worked to his feet. Lewis turned Jordan around. Lewis backed off and they traded strikes, but missed a few each. Lewis missed a few kicks. Jordan tried to back him up. Lewis got in a body kick. Lewis missed a right hand. Jordan shot in and scored a takedown, eating a couple of elbows as he did so. Jordan this time tried to pass to mount, but Lewis held him in half guard. Jordan got in a few hard elbows. Lewis got to his knees and stood. Jordan stayed on him in the clinch. Jordan went for a trip but Lewis stayed up. Jordan got in some knees to the thighs. Lewis shoved Jordan off and came at him with a heavy combination. They traded strikes in the wild exchange most were expecting to see. Lewis slowed down with his own clinch, but Jordan came up with a bad cut. Jordan used the clinch to score a trip though, getting into side control. He landed some big elbows late and ended the round on top.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Jordan. He got cracked late there, but Lewis really doesn’t have much to offer outside of the wild brawl.
ROUND TWO: Lewis landed a jump kick to the body. Jordan landed a freaking hook kick to the jaw and dropped Lewis! He got into the mount and started tossing out big strikes. Lewis rolled and gave up his back. Jordan kept throwing strikes and Lewis stopped fighting back, bringing the stoppage from the ref. Crazy strike thrown from Jordan for that knockdown.
WINNER: Jordan via TKO at :48 of the second round
STAR RATING: (**+) That’s one hell of a highlight reel kick. That was fantastic.
-Short break until the main card at the top of the hour.
=====Fox Sports 1 Main Card=====
-After another intro for the main card, it’s time to get back to fight action.
MAIN CARD FIGHT ONE: FRANCISCO RIVERA VS. ALEX CACERES (BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Caceres immediately rushed ahead and tossed out a high kick. Rivera landed an overhand left. He dropped Caceres with a big combination ending in a left hook. He landed a few strikes on the ground that put Caceres out and brought him back conscious again. The ref stepped in and Caceres wanted to complain, but he was out there.
WINNER: Rivera via KO at :21 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) That was a great return to action for Rivera after the drama of the Faber eye poke. He needed this win big time, and got rid of Caceres quick. Great performance.
MAIN CARD FIGHT TWO: JOE SOTO VS. ANTHONY BIRCHAK (BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Birchak tossed out some early kicks as Soto stayed mostly in the center. Birchak landed a solid body strike. Soto landed a good counter right hand. Birchak tried to keep the pressure on. Soto landed another left. Birchak dropped Soto with a right hand. Soto went for a leg lock. Birchak stood and made him stand. Birchak continued throwing strikes and Soto went out cold and face planted. Woooooow.
WINNER: Birchak via KO at 1:37 of the first round
STAR RATING: (***) Shocking finish, and just an unexpectedly excellent performance from Birchak. Not sure too many saw that coming whatsoever. Crushing follow up for Soto, who has now been knocked out in both of his two UFC appearances.
Birchak: “I know the Champ didn’t do that. He did it in five rounds, I did it in one.”
MAIN CARD FIGHT THREE: THIAGO TAVARES VS. BRIAN ORTEGA (FEATHERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Tavares walked Ortega down and landed a couple of strikes. He quickly shot in and took Ortega down. He postured up in the guard and Ortega attacked with an armbar. Tavares got out and postured up. He dropped down a few strikes. Ortega again looked for an armbar but Tavares got out. He continued to stay busy in the guard while Ortega tried to work from the bottom. Very active on both ends thus far. Tavares continued working from the guard, avoiding Ortega’s attacks. Ortega landed a strike that cut Tavares open. He went for an armbar and this time used it to sweep into mount. That was impressive. He landed some strikes as Tavares tried to fight out. Tavares got out and took Ortega back down after a brief scramble. Ortega tried to scramble out this time, but Tavares stayed on him. Ortega worked to his feet and separated with a knee. He landed a solid jab. Tavares tried to press forward. Ortega came back with a body punch. Tavares rocked Ortega with a right hand. Ortega clinched and went for a body lock takedown but Tavares pulled off a nice throw into half guard. He ended the round on top. Very close round, lots to score.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Tavares. Close round, but despite the damage done and the big sweep from Ortega, I think Tavares edged it.
ROUND TWO: Tavares moved forward and missed an early strike. Ortega caught him with a slick spinning back elbow. Tavares recovered and shot in, defending a choke attempt and scoring the takedown. Tavares looked to drag him all the way down and finally did into half guard. Tavares postured up and ate an upkick. Ortega tried to scramble out, but Tavares held position. Ortega worked to his feet, but got quickly taken down again. Ortega landed a big elbow from the bottom and Tavares started leaking. Tavares got Ortega’s back and then Ortega turned into his mount. Tavares did a bunch of damage, but Ortega escaped and went for a leg lock. Tavares got out and got back on top in half guard. Tavares stood and ate a few upkicks. Tavares still leaking like a faucet. Blood just pooling on Ortega’s chest. Tavares held position to the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Tavares. Ortega’s doing some damage, but despite re-opening the cut he’s spending too much time on his back without enough offense.
-The badly bleeding cut is a new one opened up. The doctor checked it, but lets him continue.
ROUND THREE: Tavares moved forward and connected on some big shots early. Ortega got staggered a bit and they were firing back and forth. Tavares landed a brutal groin strike that brought things to a halt. They restarted and went back to trading. Tavares landed a head kick. Ortega landed a combination. Ortega got in a hard jab. He missed a spinning attempt, but came back with a hard combination. Tavares shot in and took him down. Ortega got to his feet, but Tavares took his back standing and looked to drag him down. Dan Miragliotta separated them as Tavares looked to be taking him down. Ortega knocked Tavares’ mouth piece out and the action was halted oddly. They traded strikes on the restart. Ortega hurt Tavares. He dropped Tavares with another shot and tried to finish. He got into mount and dropped a bunch of strikes to take the win. Well then. Nicely done.
WINNER: Ortega via TKO at 4:10 of the third round
STAR RATING: (***+) Fun, violent, bloody fight with a great come from behind finish for Ortega.
-In what’s been a theme on this card tonight, Ortega’s seeking bonus money because it’s desperately needed.
MAIN CARD FIGHT FOUR: DUSTIN POIRIER VS. YANCY MEDEIROS (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Medeiros circled around early and tried to toss out some jabs. Poirier landed a nice right hand. Poirier backed Medeiros up and floored him with a left. Medeiros somehow got up and Poirier dropped him again! Poirier just threw him to the ground and tried to get in a couple of strikes but Medeiros somehow popped up. Poirier brought him to the ground and took his back, locking on a body triangle. Medeiros seemed to get his wits back as he held onto Poirier’s wrist. Poirier tried to transition to mount but Medeiros got to his feet and separated. Poirier rocked him with another left. He hurt him badly with a body kick and started lighting him up on the cage. Medeiros just way too tough for his own good, and he wouldn’t go down as he kept getting tagged. John McCarthy finally stepped in to call it. That was brutality from Poirier.
WINNER: Poirier via TKO at 2:38 of the first round
STAR RATING: (***) Absolute craziness, and another impressive performance from Poirier in the lightweight division. This is where he belongs. His striking game was on point, and he just demolished Medeiros there. Great work.
-Poirier’s looking to take a little time off, but wants a top ten opponent his next time out.
-This show has been playing out at a nice pace, but now they slow things down and it grinds the momentum to a halt.
MAIN CARD FIGHT FIVE: BEN ROTHWELL VS. MATT MITRIONE (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: No glove touch. Rothwell parried the first strike thrown his way. Both fighters blocking early and not getting much through. Rothwell tried to sneak in with a right. Mitrione popped in with a straight right. He blocked another, then jumped in with a right hand. Rothwell landed a hard inside leg kick and ended a combo with a right hand. He tried to get in close with a brief clinch but didn’t have a big opening. Mitrione landed a hard body kick. He grazed Rothwell with a right. Mitrione went for a takedown but got thrown aside. Rothwell locked on a tight front choke and Mitrione had to tap. That was… not a smart move from Mitrione.
WINNER: Rothwell via submission (announced as “gogo choke”) at 1:54 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**) Mitrione’s his own worst enemy. That was the most nonsensical move. There was absolutely no way that would have ever been a good idea, and he knew it as soon as he tapped when he got up and mouthed “stupid.”
After the bout, Rothwell gave an… odd in-cage promo: “That choke, let me tell you what that is, that’s actions that speak louder than words… I am something completely different. The only thing fight that matters to me now is the number one contender’s spot. I will have the UFC Title. *awkward pause* I know right now there’s not a man on this planet that can stop me in this Octagon, and only politics can slow me. I don’t have much left to say except you have seen nothing yet (cue evil laugh).”
MAIN EVENT FIGHT SIX: TIM BOETSCH VS. DAN HENDERSON (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Boetsch popped in with the first strike. He pressed Henderson back, but got tagged. Henderson landed a big knee! Boetsch was hurt and Henderson pounced with a bunch of strikes and forced the ref to step in. Alright. That kinda night. Good for Hendo, and we didn’t see him get hit by anything. Perfect result.
WINNER: Henderson via KO at :28 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**) Henderson landed a perfect counter-strike, and didn’t let Boetsch off the hook. Happy he didn’t take any damage and it wasn’t another firefight where he got dropped first before getting that win. Feel good finish to a wild and crazy night.
-That’s the card for tonight! Thanks for joining us here throughout the night; make sure to stick with us throughout the week for further analysis on this card, and the move ahead to next week’s UFC 188 card from Mexico City!