UFC Fight Night 88
BAD: Josh Burkman vs. Paul Felder
I wasn’t into this fight at all. There just wasn’t enough going on. Felder won the decision, so it’s a nice win for him but this isn’t anywhere close to what he’s capable of. Things seemed to be moving slower for some reason and the fight never got going. It’s possible I’m being too harsh, though, but I just didn’t like this fight all that much.
GOOD: Jorge Masvidal vs. Lorenz Larkin
Larkin did some good damage throughout the fight and got the split decision win. It should have been ruled a draw, though, because Larkin got away with a blatant eyepoke in the first round. To his credit, he did apologize after the fight, but still, that was way too blatant to be an accident. He stuck his fingers right at Masvidal. That’s just a cheesy move and you can’t help but lose respect for fighters when they do that. Anyway, the fight itself was pretty good and Larkin did enough to get the win. Things were close, though. Masvidal came to fight and made Larkin work for the win.
BAD: Chris Camozzi vs. Vitor Miranda
This was another “meh” type fight. Again, it’s probably harsh to go straight BAD here, but this fight wasn’t good. Camozzi fought smartly, but it was also dull. I don’t blame him, he has to get the win above all else, he can’t concern himself with other matters. This was a close fight, and it’s a big win for Camozzi. He didn’t want to jeopardize it by getting reckless. It sucks, but it happens.
BAD: Tarec Saffiedine vs. Rick Story
Another fight that was just there. I was fairly pumped for this card, and so far it’s been disappointing. That’s my fault for expecting big time action, but I really thought that we’d get it with this lineup of fighters. They’re all bringing it, but it’s just not coming together. Story won the decision, which is good for him, but Saffiedine kept it very close. Both guys had their moments, but the judges thought Story had the better fight. I would agree, I think Story did what he had to and picked up a hard-fought win.
GOOD: Renan Barao vs. Jeremy Stephens
This was a couple of different fights wrapped up into one. In the first round, Barao came out and looked crisp and sharp. In the second round, though, Stephens rocked him and Barao couldn’t recover. Then, in the third round, Barao fired back and peppered Stephens and even got a takedown. However, Stephens fired back with some huge shots of his own and took the round back with some heavy damage. Stephens won the decision, but it was extremely close. I could easily have seen all three judges score it 29-28 for Barao instead of Stephens. Hell, you could argue for a draw if you gave Stephens a 10-8 in the second round and Barao the first and third rounds.
This is a tough loss for Barao. He looked good for most of the fight, but Stephens is extremely tough. He wasn’t going to go away easily. I’m sure Barao is highly discouraged, but I think he can come back from this. I’m sure he’s reassessing things and looking at how he can improve and I want to see how he responds to these setbacks. As for Stephens, this is a good win for him and something to build on. It just shows what he’s capable of.
GOOD: Cody Garbrandt stops Thomas Almeida
I was expecting fireworks here and that’s exactly what we got. Garbrandt rocked Almeida early, but Almeida was able to recover. However, Garbrandt rushed him and unleashed hell and got the TKO win. Huge win for Garbrandt to remain undefeated and to put the first loss of Almeida’s career on him. Devastating power shown from Garbrandt. I don’t know what’s next for him, but we’ll all be watching. Great performance and he’s building momentum. This was a great way to end the evening.
[Photo (c) Joshua Dahl via USA Today Sports]
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