UFC FIGHT NIGHT 89
JUNE 18, 2016
LIVE FROM OTTOWA, ONTARIO, CANADA
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=====UFC Fight Pass Prelims=====
Note: This was Bagautinov doing Bagautinov things. Herrera was as tough as they come, but Bagautinov caught him several times with hard shots, and was mostly able to grind him into a fine powder when the fight hit the ground, a few bright spots from Herrera notwithstanding.
Colby Covington def. Johathan Meunier via submission (RNC) at 0:54 of the third round
Note: Covington continues to be an interesting prospect. He was dominant in this fight, out-grappling Meunier and fending off a couple of solid submission attempts in the first couple of rounds, and then flooring his opponent with a spinning backfist and grabbing the choke not long thereafter.
Randa Markos def. Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger via Unanimous Decision
Note: The story here was simple: Jones-Lybarger was unable to hurt Markos, which allowed Markos to throw the harder strikes with no fear of being countered. Despite being outstruck, Markos landed the harder strikes and picked up the unanimous nod.
Elias Theodorou def. Sam Alvey via Unanimous Decision
Note: Similar story here with a different result. Theodorou outstruck Sam Alvey thoroughly, but was unable to hurt him. The difference here was that Alvey couldn’t hit Theodorou hard enough often enough to get anything going. Nothing to see here, folks.
=====Fox Sports 2 Prelims=====
Krzystztof Jotko def. Tamdan McCrory via KO at 0:59 of the first roundNote: Well that was not at all what I was expecting. Jotko is now 5-1 in the UFC, and if you’d told me that he already had five fights prior to this, I’d never have believed it. I have no memory of this man. He also has not knocked anyone out since 2011, and McCrory has never been knocked out. So it’s hard to know what exactly to make of this fight, but McCrory had looked fantastic since returning to the sport so I’m reluctant to say this affects him too much. Other than the part about being separated from consciousness, of course. As for Jotko, I’m not sold completely, but then again I’d have to rewatch some of his fights in order to see if I could jog any memory of him.
Joe Soto def. Chris Beal via submision (RNC) at 3:39 of the third round
Joe Soto pulled victory from the jaws of defeat here. Beal was the more effective striker for most of the fight, tagging Soto repeatedly throughout. Soto sniffed a finish toward the end of the second round, and was able to weather a second wind by Beal before dragging him to the ground and getting the tap.
Misha Cirkunov def. Ion Cutelaba via submission (Arm Triangle) at 1:22 of the third round
Note: I’m not sure how this one got out of the first round, given how it started out. Both men were throwing some serious leather, and a combination of good defense and good chins kept it from being a quick stoppage. All in all, Cutelaba proved a tough out, but Cirkunov won the first two rounds before landing a big Superman punch and immediately sinking in a perfect arm triangle to end the fight.
Jason Saggo def. Leandro Silva via split decision
Note: Close fight, but I’ve already pretty much forgotten it. I did give the fight to Saggo, for what it’s worth.
=====Fox Sports 1 Main Card=====
FIGHT ONE: JOANNE CALDERWOOD vs. VALERIE LETOURNEAU (W. FLYWEIGHT)
I’d like to point out that Joanne Calderwood entered the Octagon to James Brown, so I am now rooting for her. (Full disclosure: Letourneau’s entrance music was also dope – “Walk with Me” by Lecrae. But anyway…
ROUND ONE: Clinch work early as they work their way to the fence. Letourneau with strikes initially and Calderwood reverses and gets a trip, landing in Letourneau’s guard. Letourneau transitions to an armbar, but Calderwood escapes and looks to stack her up. Letourneau is able to push off and separate, and they get back to the feet. Pretty even on the feet for the next couple of minutes until Calderwood lands a huge spinning backfist and crumples Letourneau Calderwood pounces and throws flurries of punches, but somehow Letourneau recovers and ties Calderwood up inside her guard. Incredible recovery there by Letourneau. Letourneau is able to push off again, and they are back on the feet. Nice right hand and a body kick by Letourneau, and she continues to land some nice shots. They tie up and exchange some nice shots until the horn. Excellent first round.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 Calderwood. Letourneau probably won the round if she wasn’t knocked down by that backfist, but as we know, she was indeed knocked down by said backfist.
ROUND TWO: Letourneau lands some stiff jabs to start the round and they continue to exchange on the feet. Nice right hand by Calderwood, but Letourneau eats it. Calderwood landing the harder shots here, both kicks and punches, but Letourneau is not selling them at all. Calderwood shoots for a takedown against the fence and gets it. She works from the half guard. They work back to the feet, and Calderwood gets another takedown. Letourneau is able to land some nice elbows from the bottom, and Calderwood stands back up. She lands a nice spinning back kick to the midsection right before the round ends.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 Calderwood. Letourneau continues to be durable, but Calderwood’s offense is just more effective.
ROUND THREE: The pace continues at a healthy clip here as Letourneau lands a nice head kick. Calderwood lands a combination and misses a spinning back kick. They clinch and Letourneau pushes Calderwood off to separate. Calderwood lands a shot to the body that hurts Letourneau badly, and she follows up with a flurry, but Letourneau endures. Caalderwood lands a kick to the chest, which weirdly was treated like a kick to the groin, and the ref restarts the fight in the middle of the cage. Calderwood then lands another kick to the body, and Letourneau turns her back and walks away, which should have prompted a stoppage, but instead prompted the ref to say, “Fight back, Valerie!” to a fighter who obviously was not going to fight back. Calderwood followed up at that point and chased Letourneau down, knocking her down and finally soliciting a finish from the ref.
WINNER: Calderwood via TKO at 2:51 of the third round
STAR RATING: (***) Solid fight – Letourneau continues to be tough as nails, which continues to be the worst compliment one can pay a fighter who takes a lot of punishment. It’s tough to say exactly what this fight means, since it appears to have been a one-off for the women’s flyweight division. And unless they’re adopting the division, I’m not sure why they did this. Either way, it’s a nice win for Calderwood, who looked spectacular.
-Calderwood did mention in the post-fight interview that she’s planning on going back down to 115, so again…why did we do this?
-UFC 200 promo. That card is seriously ridiculous. The prelims could easily be a PPV main card with the addition of a main event.
FIGHT TWO: OLIVIER AUBIN-MERCIER vs. THIBAULT GOUTI (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Gouti with some nice jabs to start things off, and Aubin-Mercier shoots almost immediately thereafter. Gouti thwarts his attempt and lands a nice right hand. Aubin-Mercier lands a good flying knee and shoots poorly for another takedown. Gouti lands a couple of good punches but eats a pair of head kicks. Big left hand by Gouti, and Aubin-Mercier lands a big leg kick and finally lands a takedown despite a pretty blatant fence grab by Gouti. Aubin-Mercier working from the half guard. He looks to advance but eventually settles for landing a nice one-two to the jaw of Gouti, which gives him an opening to advance position and he’s almost able to take the back. Gouti does a nice job in the scramble, though, and reverses position, landing some heavy ground and pound in the process. He works from the Z-guard momentarily before they both stand up. Body kick lands for Aubin-Mercier. Gouti stalking now and lands a clean uppercut. Nice chin shown by Aubin-Mercier tonight. Big right hand followed by a flurry that’s mostly blocked by Aubin-Mercier.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 Gouti. It’s close, but I think Gouti had the more effective offense in that round. I wouldn’t necessarily argue with that score in favor of the Canadian, though.
ROUND TWO: Aubin-Mercier shoots and misses early. He looks for a knee to initiate a clinch, and Gouti dodges, then misses an uppercut. They clinch and exchange knees to the body. Nice punching combo by Aubin-Mercier, and he shoots and misses again. Gouti blocks a head kick and eats a stiff jab. Nice right hand counter from OAM, and a big left hand. OAM lands a stepping knee, and he’s looking more confident. Gouti makes him pay briefly with a nice left hand, but OAM is able to get a double leg takedown shortly thereafter. OAM working from the Z guard again, and Gouti pulls him into full guard. OAM postures up and lands a short elbow, and then a couple more. Gouti stays active and throws more punches from the bottom. OAM continues to look for elbows from the top position, but isn’t landing with much damage, and the round ends in that fashion.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 Aubin-Mercier. Not a ton of offense on either side in that round, but OAM controlled the action.
ROUND THREE: OAM shoots a single immediately and Gouti fends him off briefly, but OAM persists and gets a throw, landing halfway on to Gouti’s back. OAM gets the body triangle and Gouti looks exhausted. OAM looks for the rear naked choke and Gouti defends with handfighting. He rolls a couple of times looking to escape, but it’s no use as OAM is clamped to his back. OAM continues to look for the choke, and Gouti seems to be wearing down. He goes belly down, OAM grabs the choke, and Gouti taps immediately.
WINNER: Olivier Aubin-Mercier via submission (RNC) at 2:28 of the third round
STAR RATING: (**+) Solid outing here from OAM as he rebounds from a unanimous decision loss in his last outing. Gouti seemed to have the better striking, but was never really able to get off, and OAM had the better gas tank at the end of the day, which allowed him to impose his will.
-More UFC 200 hype, specifically surrounding “WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar.” Co-promoting, right?
-Florian and Anik have a discussion about Kimbo Slice, leading into a tribute video. If you didn’t believe it before, Kimbo Slice had a big impact on the people who knew him. Obviously his personality and presence far outweighed his skill and prowess as a professional fighter.
FIGHT THREE: STEVE BOSSE vs. SEAN O’CONNELL (LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT)
-Doesn’t this feel like one of those fights where everyone says, “There’s no way this goes the distance!” and then it totally goes the distance?
ROUND ONE: Bosse gets after it early, throwing haymakers at a calm O’Connell. The calmness doesn’t last as they trade big shots in the center of the Octagon. Big right hand from Bosse, and O’Connell throws a leg kick. Two big rights land for Bosse, and O’Connell answers back with a flurry of hard punches, one of which puts Bosse on his back. Bosse went stiff as he fell, but he’s recovered and works his way back to the feet. Big power on both sides right now. O’Connell clinches against the fence, and Bosse lands a huge left hand. The chins on these two. Good grief. Body kick by O’Connell. Big left by O’Connell, and another. Bosse tries to circle away and O’Connell Randy Coutures him along the fence. Bosse reverses, and O’Connell reverses back. Bosse circles out and lands a left hand to the body. They exchange haymakers again in the middle with a minute left. O’Connell misses a right hand, and they get back to business throwing big shots. O’Connell seems like he might be wobbled a bit, but he clinches and shoves Bosse against the fence. Bosse reverses and looks for a single leg but misses as the round ends. Whew.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 O’Connell. That was some brutish action, man. O’Connell gets the nod due to the knockdown and generally being more active, but Bosse may have more gas in the tank somehow at this point.
ROUND TWO: Leg kick by Bosse, and they get right down to business with Bosse throwing some big right hands and landing. O’Connell looks for a takedown against the fence, but settles for a clinch. He looks for underhooks and lands a couple of body shots. O’Connell looking to slow things down and grind a bit. He looks for the single lega nd misses. Bosse separates and O’Connell really looks tired. The pace slows for a bit, and Bosse lands a left hook that’s countered by O’Connell. Bosse lands a big shot and gets O’Connell off balance. O’Connell lands a kick on the way down, but Bosse follows him and lands ground and pound. O’Connell lands an upkick, but Bosse walks through it and looks for more ground and pound. O’Connell defends a bit and pulls Bosse into half guard. He is really looking exhausted here, but is weathering against a clearly fresher Bosse. Bosse moves to side control and lands some hammerfists. O’Connell looking for more upkicks, but Bosse evades and moves back into side control. Bosse looks to maybe go for a kimura (?) and O’Connell scrambles, which eventually gets them back to the feet. Bosse lands some shots in the clinch and then looks for a knee. Right hand by Bosse is countered with a knee by O’Connell as the round ends.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 Bosse. Bosse is clearly fresher here and is landing the better offense.
ROUND THREE: Bosse looks for some spinning stuff, and O’Connel tags him with a jab. Not a lot of action starting out the final frame here as it looks like both men are picking their shots. Of course that doesn’t last as they start throwing hay again. Bosse gets the better of the exchange at first, but O’Connell lands another big right hand that gets Bosse’s attention. Another right from O’Connell and Bosse circles away. Bosse moves forward with strikes and O’Connell stops him with a big left hand. Bosse lands a spinning backfist and O’Connell zombies through it. Bosse circling away from O’Connell. Bosse with a right hand, and O’Connell counters. Bosse with another spinning backfist and O’Connell lands a nice left hook. Big left hook from O’Connell lands, and Bosse lands yet another spinning backfist. O’Connell doesn’t flinch and throws more punches in return. Bosse lands a combination and O’Connell clinches. This last round is gonna be tough to score. O’Connell looking for the single leg and Bosse says, “No.” Another spinning backfist and counter from O’Connell. Right hand from Bosse. Big right-left from O’Connell, and they throw some huge punches to end the fight. What a crazy fight.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 O’Connell. I wouldn’t argue vehemently for this score, but I do feel like he had the harder, cleaner shots in the round.
WINNER: Steve Bosse by unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 29-27). I’m not sure how you can score one of those rounds 10-8, but the result is acceptable.
STAR RATING: (****-) That’s a crowd pleaser for sure. These two threw for some crazy power throughout the fight, and both of them continued to press on. Not a technical masterpiece, but this is unquestionably a huge part of what makes MMA great.
FIGHT FOUR: DONALD CERRONE vs. PATRICK COTE (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Cote lands a straight right hand as the round starts, and Cerrone lands a nice double leg takedown. Cote ties him up as Cerrone looks to advance. Cote looks for an omoplata, but it ends up being a transition back to the feet. Body kick by Cote. Cerrone answers with a leg kick, and Cote throws one as well. Another kick by Cerrone to counter a Cote punch. Cerrone ducks a punch and grabs another takedown. He works from the half guard. Cerrone transitions to mount, then to back mount. He gets the hooks in and just about sinks in a rear naked choke. Cote looking to fight the hands of Cerrone. Cerrone has the body triangle and looks for the choke again. Cote defends and tries to sit up. Cerrone transitions back to side control and quickly to the feet. Cote butt scooting to end the round.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 Cerrone. Open and shut round there. Cerrone used his wrestling flawlessly in that round to neutralize Cote and almost choke him.
ROUND TWO: Body shot by Cerrone from the counter. Nice body kick by Cote, and Cerrone counters with a big leg kick. Body kick by Cerrone. Cerrone counters a leg kick with a nice punching combination. Cote covers up. Left hook from Cote lands, and Cerrone buckles Cote’s knee with a leg kick. Body kick by Cote, and Cerrone thuds another leg kick. Front kick by Cerrone, and another leg kick. He’s not enjoying those. Right hand by Cote. Cerrone lands a couple of nice left hands, and follows up with ahead kick. Nice uppercut by Cote, and Cerrone lands a straight right hand. Cote is very wary of the leg kicks now as Cerrone approaches. Body kick by Cote, and Cerrone counters with a leg kick. Jab by Cerrone. Cote with a flurry and Cerrone ducks under. Left hook and a body shot by Cerrone knocks Cote back. Nice upward elbow by Cerrone, and he drops Cote. Cerrone closes and lands some ground and pound briefly before motioning Cote back to his feet. Cote rushes back in with punches and eats a leg kick. Cerrone is working Cote in every aspect right now. Leg kick by Cote, and Cerrone answers with a flurry. He lands body shots as Cote covers up. Big right hand by Cote, and Cerrone comes forward with kicks and punches as the round ends.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 Cerrone. Cerrone is dominant here. Cote is not wilting, but Cerrone is doing whatever he wants and taking minimal punishment in return.
ROUND THREE: Cerrone with a big leg kick, and Cote answers with a punch. Cerrone lands a big left hook and drops Cote again. Cote recovers and is in the butt scoot, and the ref stands him up. Big leg kick from Cerrone. Left hand from Cerrone counters a flurry by Cote, and Cerrone lands a nice head kick. Cote swinging at air, and Cerrone with another high kick. Uppercut by Cerrone. Right hook from Cote, and Cerrone is walking through it. Cerrone with another head kick. Uppercut by Cote and Cerrone backs off. Huge left hook by Cerrone and he follows it up with two right hands that drop Cote. Cerrone follows him down and lands some superfluous ground and pound, because this one was over when Cote went down. Donald Cerrone, folks. Good gravy.
WINNER: Donald Cerrone by TKO at 2:35 of round three
STAR RATING: (***+) What a performance by Donald Cerrone. Cote is certainly not in his prime, but his chin is still extremely durable. Cerrone obliterated that chin over the course of three rounds, and didn’t blink an eye. That was incredible. I’ve seen Cote walk through punches from light heavyweights who hit like a Mac truck. It basically doesn’t matter whom Cerrone fights or in what weight class. He’s got a shot against anyone, and it’s going to be worth watching.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FIVE: RORY MACDONALD vs. STEPHEN THOMPSON (WELTERWEIGHT)
-I’ve liked some entrance music tonight, but “Wonderboy” might be my favorite ever. Also, this is such a great matchup.
ROUND ONE: Feeling out period for the first minute or so, and Thompson misses a side kick. More feeling out by both fighters. MacDonald rolls into a heel hook, which was awesome, and Thompson pulls out of it. MacDonald whiffs a right hand. High kick misses for MacDonald and Thompson counters with a right cross. Right hand by Thompson, and Mac rolls for the heel hook again, missing this time. One-two followed by a head kick by Thompson, but nothing really lands. Leg kick by Thompson. Body kick lands for Rory. Lightning quick roundhouse by Thompson slaps off of MacDonald. Both fighters looking tentative, and Thompson throws a side kick. MacDonald advances and they clinch. Short punches land by Thompson. They clinch against the fence. Inside knee by Thompson. They separate and exchange punches. Rory advances with punches and a head kick, and the round ends.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-10. No meaningful offense from either fighter in that round. Mostly just feeling each other out.
ROUND TWO: Leg kick by Thompson, and a switch kick. Right hand by Rory. Thompson continues with the quick leg kicks. Left hand by Rory. Thompson with a right hand. Head kick by Thompson. Nothing significant landing for either fighter yet. Right hand by Thompson, and they clinch briefly. Knee to the body by Rory. Thompson looks for a one-two. Jab by Thompson and Rory rolls again. Hook kick misses from Thompson. Rory shoots a single and Thompson refuses. Rory lands an elbow out of the clinch. Left hand by Thompson, and a leg kick. Head kick blocked by Thompson. Hook kick lands, and MacDonald comes back with a left hand. Jab by Thompson. Side kick by Thompson, and the round ends.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 Thompson. Not a lot going on here, but Thompson is doing more at this point.
ROUND THREE: First meaningful punch landed by Rory with a right hand. Both fighters starting to put a little more steam on their punches, but not really landing. Left hook by Rory. Rory looking for the takedown, and he looks for the heel hook again, but Thompson avoids it and they’re back on the feet. Right hand by Thompson, and he evades a counter. Jab by Thompson. MacDonald landing a couple more shots here, and Thompson charges back in with a left hand. Body kick by MacDonald. Thompson with an uppercut, and a leg kick. More happens, but not much.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 MacDonald, I guess? But there’s really just not much going on here.
ROUND FOUR: Business is beginning to pick up here with the punching exchanges, but that tails off and we get back to the fighters measuring distance. Neither fighter is really pulling the trigger here as they continue to generally be around each other, but not much more. Right hand lands for Rory, but Thompson counters. Uppercut by Thompson. Rory looks sluggish coming off of the counters, like he’s not sure what to do. Left hand by Thompson. He’s landing pretty regularly, but not with much power. Rory seems content to be confused by everything. This all continues through the end of the round.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 Thompson. He seems to have the only definitive rounds in his favor, not that it’s saying much.
ROUND FIVE: Rory charges in immediately, but misses what he throws and decides to not throw anymore. Thompson is content to bounce and throw quick leg kicks. Thompson now lands more shots and seems to have hurt Rory, but MacDonald continues to come forward. Big right hand by Rory and Thompson felt that one. Now it’s starting to get real, and Thompson lands a big shot to answer. Jab by Thompson. Straight right hand for Thompson, and a wheel kick glances but busts MacDonald open. Rory goes for a takedown but Thompson ends up in side control. Short elbows by Thompson. Thompson gets into full guard and stands back up. MacDonald is hurt quickly on the feet by a kick, and his nose is a blood faucet. Rory looks to counter a kick with a big right hand but misses. Left and a right by Thompson. Knee lands to the chin of Thompson, and MacDonald lands a body kick. Wheel kick glances off the head of MacDonald as the round ends.
Ennis’s Scorecard: 10-9 Thompson. More happened in that round, but MacDonald was not able to get off against Thompson, who proved too evasive and active.
WINNER: Stephen Thompson by unanimous decision (50-45 x2, 48-47)
STAR RATING: (**-) Friends fighting each other didn’t work out for an entertaining fight by any means. It looked as if MacDonald just didn’t know what to do against the unorthodox style of Thompson.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Well the last fight was kind of a bummer, seeing as how it was a tremendous fight on paper, but the rest of the card far surpassed the expectations I had for it. Lots of third round finishes, lots of drama, lots of great action. Bosse-O’Connell was a brawl for the ages, Cerrone was extremely impressive at welterweight, and the first two fights on the main card were also a lot of fun, despite the weirdness of the refereeing in the UFC’s first women’s flyweight fight. It’s late now, and I’m out of here. Till next time.