UFC FIGHT NIGHT 80
DECEMBER 10, 2015
LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
The UFC is back tonight with their first of four events over the next nine days, and we’ve got a pair of young and extremely talented women headlining a card for UFC Fight Pass from The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan. We’ll have quick results and commentary on tonight’s prelims before a full round by round report of the main card. Make sure to stick with us tonight for full coverage of the event into the Paige VanZant vs. Rose Namajunas main event.
=====UFC Fight Pass Prelims Quick Results=====
-Kailin Curran def. Emily Peters Kagan via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:13 of the second round
NOTE: Curran scrambled to Kagan’s back late in the second, and found the choke despite not fully having position for it. Kagan was still on her feet trying to shuck Curran off, but she couldn’t get separation and had to tap. Curran was understandably emotional given it was not only her first UFC win, but first finish in her MMA career overall.
-Zubaira Tukhugov def. Philippe Nover via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-27)
NOTE: Sloppy fight. Tukhugov is wild and all over the place with his strikes, but he connected more often than Nover, and scored several takedowns off kicks and strikes as well. He faded a bit in the third, but seemed to be clearly ahead into that round. Regardless, not a very good fight, and Nover’s likely on his way out of the organization.
-Danny Roberts def. Nate Coy via technical submission (triangle choke) at 2:46 of the first round
NOTE: Coy was trying to work his top game, and in a short notice fight that’s the best he could have done. Roberts set up a nice triangle/armbar off his back, and Coy seemed to tap to the hold just before going out cold. When Roberts released it, Coy’s head was purple and his eyes glazed over. Nice finish.
-Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Andreas Stahl via TKO at 4:25 of the first round
NOTE: Completely one-sided fight on the feet, though Stahl tried to work in some ground work in the round. He just wasn’t able to keep Ponzinibbio down, and he got picked apart on the feet throughout the round before finally getting stopped up against the cage. Really great work in the striking department from Ponzinibbio, especially in the finishing sequence with a pinpoint overhand right to drop Stahl. Good win.
-Aljamain Sterling def. Johnny Eduardo via submission (guillotine choke) at 4:18 of the second round
NOTE: Jesus that was beautiful. Sterling had a strong first round feeling out Eduardo, and in the second – after a series of back and forth kicks – Sterling got Eduardo down. He landed a ton of strikes, then stepped over and scored a sick standing guillotine choke to force a quick tap. Just fantastic work from Sterling, and hopefully the UFC rewards him with the level of new contract he deserves.
-Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Kevin Casey ends in No Contest at :11 (eye poke)
NOTE: ACJ had his fingers extended after missing a kick and poked Casey hard. Of course, it was deemed “accidental,” so it was a no contest. Nothing’s going to change on eye pokes until they’re no longer treated as “accidental.”
-Sergio Moraes def. Omari Akhmedov via TKO at 2:18 of the third round
NOTE: Crazy come from behind win by Moraes. He was down two rounds to none, and nearly got stopped in the first himself, but he clipped Akhmedov in the third, then dropped him with a few more. He landed a couple more on the ground and the ref stepped in. Huge cause he was just about done in that first round.
-Tim Means def. John Howard via KO at :21 of the second round
NOTE: The first round was entertaining and competitive. Means was picking Howard apart on the feet, but Howard worked in some takedowns and had some success in the grappling department. Then he got slept in the second. Absolutely picture perfect left hook from Means put Howard out, and he went down like a log in a sick finish. Really great work from Means.
=====UFC Fight Pass Main Card=====
-Jon Anik and Brian Stann on the call tonight, probably my favorite current commentary pair. Four fights on this main card, and we’ll kick off in the middleweight division.
MAIN CARD FIGHT ONE: ELIAS THEODOROU VS. THIAGO SANTOS (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Theodorou threw out a few high kicks right off the bat. Santos went inside with a leg kick. Theodorou landed a right. Back up high with a kick that was blocked. Things slowed down a little bit. They traded leg kicks. Another tentative break as both fighters were still trying to judge the range. Theodorou got in with a nice jump kick. He feinted a superman punch with a push off from the cage. He landed a nice right hand with a leg kick behind it. Lots of things getting thrown out but not landing by Theodorou. He landed a couple hard body kicks from range as Santos continued to sit back. Santos missed a kick and then ate two quick kicks to the body in return. Theodorou landed a nice jump kick to the body. Theodorou barely missed a head kick. Santos landed a nice spin kick. He connected on another kick. Theodorou pressed him back. Theodorou landed a nice push kick that briefly put Santos on his butt. Santos tried to hold Theodorou at the cage, but several strikes backed him up. Theodoru clinched up late. He landed a couple strikes before backing out. Neither landed before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Theodorou. Competitive, but Theodorou much more active that frame.
ROUND TWO: Leg kicks started things off from both. They were throwing wildly. Theodorou avoided a spin kick and nearly got a takedown, but Santos stayed up by holding the fence. Santos wound up on his back anyway, but worked to the cage and got to his feet. The clinch battle continued. Santos landed some hard elbows, but Theodorou kept him pressed on the cage. Santos landed a big knee as Theodorou dropped for a takedown. Theodorou grabbed a leg, but ate several hard elbows. They were finally separated. Santos came in aggressively. Theodorou clinched and they traded knees. Santos went back to elbows as he got pressed on the cage. Santos finally got loose but came in for his own clinch. He scored a takedown with 30 seconds left and took Theodorou’s back. He landed a knee to the body, but Theodorou turned around into him and scored his own takedown. Santos got up and Theodorou dragged him back down at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Santos. Very close round, but Santos’ damage in the clinch and some ineffective stuff from Theodorou gave him a slight edge.
ROUND THREE: Theodorou went right for the takedown attempt, but got held in the clinch. Santos landed some elbows and stuffed the attempt. That clinch battle continued with no improvement and they were separated. Theodorou shot again then ate a knee. He went right back to the shot and again got held up at the cage. Santos cut Theodorou up with elbows. The ref called for a doctor to check the cut. Nasty, nasty cut over Theodorou’s eyebrow, but they let him continue and reset them in the clinch. Santos landed a big knee. Santos got some separation and landed some big strikes. He landed a huge flurry against the cage. He rocked Theodorou with a head kick. Santos landed a few more before Theodorou could clinch up and slow things down. After a bit, they separated, and Theodorou got poked in the eye for a brief break. They reset and Santos unloaded another big combination. He hurt Theodorou with a couple body strikes. They clinched again to the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-8 Santos. Dominant, and he nearly finished things there. Very strong finish.
WINNER: Santos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
STAR RATING: (**+) Solid fight. The second dragged, but the third had some great, brutal work from Santos. He had Theodorou hurt badly on several occasions in that frame.
MAIN CARD FIGHT TWO: SAGE NORTHCUTT VS. CODY PFISTER (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Pfister rushed and immediately shot in, taking Northcutt to the mat. Northcutt locked him down well in the guard. Pfister eventually passed to half guard and landed a few strikes. Northcutt got him back to guard briefly, but Pfister passed again. He landed a few strikes from the top. Northcutt regained guard once more. Pfister wasn’t getting a ton of effective offense in, and they were finally stood up. The crowd booed the stand up. Northcutt then shot in on the reset and scored his own takedown into half guard. He tried to pass out but Pfister locked him up. Northcutt got in some shoulder strikes. He landed some short forearms and elbows. Pfister left an arm up and Northcutt went for an triangle. He wasn’t in position to finish it, so he transitioned to take Pfister’s back. He landed some strikes as the round came to a close.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Northcutt. Pfister started strong, but Northcutt was more effective when he had top position.
ROUND TWO: Northcutt scored a quick takedown and nearly landed in mount. Pfister scrambled out. Northcutt locked up a guillotine choke as Pfister turned back into him. He locked up tight, lifted his hips in full guard and forced the tap. Another nice performance from the 19-year-old.
WINNER: Northcutt via submission (guillotine choke) at :41 of the second round
STAR RATING: (**+) Nice finish once again from Northcutt. It’s still far too early to tell what his ceiling is, and he obviously has holes in his game, but he dealt with Pfister’s top game well, locked it down, and controlled things from there. Good continuation of his run and the hype train will keep rolling on.
MAIN CARD FIGHT THREE: JIM MILLER VS. MICHAEL CHIESA (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Miller landed a jab. Chiesa countered nicely. Miller landed a counter left as Chiesa stepped in. Chiesa scored a takedown off a clinch and began working from half guard. Miller tried to lock him up, but Chiesa worked well to get some space in order to land some strikes. Miller kicked him off and Chiesa stood briefly before dropping back into a weird position. Miller rolled for a knee bar, and used it to get on top himself. Nice transition. Chiesa got his leg up over a shoulder, but couldn’t get the triangle. Miller scrambled and took Chiesa’s back. He locked on a body triangle and tried to attack. Chiesa defended well. The hand battle commenced, and Chiesa didn’t give Miller much of anything. Miller still held position with that body triangle. He rolled him over and tried to flatten him out. He ended the round in that position.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Miller. Chiesa started well, but Miller took over with better positions late.
ROUND TWO: Chiesa came ahead and they traded punches. Chiesa connected on a nice right hand. He ducked for a single leg and tripped Miller up for a nice takedown. Miller defended pretty well and pulled Chiesa to guard. He went with a high rubber guard and landed some elbows. Chiesa passed to half guard and landed a few elbows. Miller was bloodied up a little bit. Chiesa tried to lock up an arm. Miller rolled for the kneebar. Chiesa rolled with him, defended well, and got on top. He mounted and landed some big strikes. Chiesa got Miller’s back and locked on a rear naked choke. It was on tight and Miller tapped.
WINNER: Chiesa via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:57 of the second round
STAR RATING: (**+) Fun and competitive fight. Entertaining transitions, and another nice submission finish on this card. Good win for Chiesa.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FOUR: PAIGE VANZANT VS. ROSE NAMAJUNAS (WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: VanZant landed a leg kick but Namajunas landed a nice short combination. Namajunas got in with another right hand. Namajunas again connected with a nice combination. VanZant clinched up, but it was Namajunas scoring the takedown into half guard. Vanzant gained guard, but Namajunas easily passed. She got to north-south, then side control, and she landed some huge elbows from the top that opened a big cut. VanZant scrambled out and got to her feet from there. Namajunas landed a side kick to the body. Namajunas cracked VanZant with a huge right hand. She ate a kick and landed another right hand. Namajunas landed a nice left. VanZant clinched. She went for a throw, but Namajunas took her back. VanZant had the headlock, but lost it. Namajunas mounted, then took VanZant’s back when it was given up. She defended well as Namajunas went for a choke. VanZant escaped and got to her feet, her face a bloody mess. Namajunas scored a nice trip takedown to bring her back down. She stood and tried to pass, but VanZant kept her at bay. Namajunas dropped briefly to guard, then stood back up and this time passed to half guard. She rode out the round on top with a few more strikes.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-8 Namajunas. Dominant round. VanZant’s a mess right now.
ROUND TWO: Namajunas landed some early combinations. VanZant went for the head and arm throw, but got stuffed on the cage. Namajunas then scored a takedown of her own while countering another throw attempt. She got to side control, then passed to mount, and VanZant gave up her back. She escaped but Namajunas got back to side control. VanZant locked up a leg for half guard. VanZant escaped again and this time got to her feet. She went for another takedown attempt out of the clinch, but failed. Once more she went for the throw, and got Namajunas down, but immediately got reversed and wound up on her back. Namajunas got her back in a scramble, but VanZant again escaped and got to her feet. This time she got separation with a minute and a half left. Namajunas missed a strike. VanZant went for a rolling sweep but wound up on her back again. She tried to lock Namajunas up in half guard. Namajunas didn’t do much late, standing up just before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Namajunas. Not as much offense that round to warrant a 10-8.
ROUND THREE: VanZant ran forward and threw a jumping kick. Then she got taken down out of the resulting clinch. Namajunas worked patiently from half guard. She landed a couple knees to the gut. VanZant scrambled, and eventually got to her feet. VanZant got in with a knee. Namajunas landed a few punches. VanZant went for a spinning back fist but ate a right hand for her troubles. Namajunas threw out a push kick that was blocked. They traded leg kicks. Namajunas landed a nice overhand right and circled out. Namajunas landed another short combination. VanZant grabbed a clinch and landed a knee, but Namajunas dragged her down. VanZant turned into half guard. Namajunas landed a couple of big elbows. VanZant turtled up and worked back to her feet. Namajunas literally jumped up on VanZant’s back and locked on a rear naked choke. VanZant dove back to try to buck her off but Namajunas had the choke on. VanZant fought it, and somehow escaped the hold. Wow. She ate a few hard strikes, but got back to her feet just before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-8 Namajunas. I don’t know how VanZant is still in this fight. Great work from Namajunas again, but VanZant’s tough as all hell.
ROUND FOUR: Once again they locked up in an early clinch, and Namajunas scored the takedown. VanZant tried to scramble, but Namajunas again wound up on top in her guard. VanZant landed a couple strikes from the bottom, but Namajunas got up and scrambled. Namajunas scrambled and went for an armbar, but VanZant again escaped. Namajunas sprawled as VanZant grabbed her leg, and she landed some elbows before spinning around to try to take her back again. Namajunas landed a couple knees to the body. VanZant worked back to her feet. Namajunas held her back standing, and tried to roll through. Namajunas again went for an armbar and had it tight, twisting it Rousey-Tate I style, but VanZant again somehow escaped! This is ridiculous. She turtled up and Namajunas took her back again. VanZant escaped but Namajunas stayed on her. VanZant once more got to her feet. She turned into Namajunas. They finally separated. Namajunas landed a push kick, then a short combo, and got in a trip off a clinch at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-8 Namajunas. This is one of the more entertaining one-sided fights I can remember. VanZant’s got nothing but heart right now, but she’s getting demolished by the better fighter overall. Namajunas just struggling to put it away.
ROUND FIVE: They traded punches, clinched, and Namajunas scored another body lock takedown. Namajunas drove her forearm into VanZant’s throat from half guard. She passed to side control. VanZant escaped to half guard, but Namajunas continued to work from the top. VanZant scrambled but Namajunas continued to find controlling positions. VanZant tried to get to her feet, but Namajunas pulled her back down with a rear naked choke. This time she had it locked on tight and VanZant finally had to tap. Just a great performance from Namajunas start to finish, and she was never in any trouble. The story here was VanZant just unwilling to quit through four rounds, and Namajunas just staying patient and looking for her openings until she finally got it done.
WINNER: Namajunas via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:25 of the fifth round
STAR RATING: (***+) For a fight as one-sided as that one was, that’s about as good as it gets. Really great work from Namajunas, who never let herself get frustrated by not putting it away, and kept looking for submissions and better positions until she finally finished off a ridiculously tough competitor in VanZant.
-That’s event number one in the books for the week! We’ll be back tomorrow night for The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale on Fox Sports 1!