UFC FIGHT NIGHT: POIRIER VS. JOHNSON
SEPTEMBER 17, 2016
HIDALGO, TEXAS AT STATE FARM ARENA
LIVE ON UFC FIGHT PASS (7 PM EST)AND FS1 (8PM EST)
Tonight’s main event is a crossroads fight of sorts with the streaking Dustin Poirier taking on Michael Johnson who is looking to rebound from a close loss to Nate Diaz in December.
Be sure to check out Matt Ecohard’s preview and predictions before the fights tonight and follow me on Twitter @MikeHiscoe for more commentary tonight and throughout the week.
Fight Pass Prelims
(1) Alejandro Perez vs. Robert Morales (Bantamweight 135 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Perez worked low kicks while circling the outside of the cage. Morales had him cornered and got a good flurry in though. Morales got cut under his right eye. Morales started working leg kicks in the latter half of the round. Morales was advancing most of the round but neither landed very much at all. Probably more kicks thrown than punches. Perez tried to pick up the pace in the last 10 seconds but not enough. 10-9 Morales.
ROUND TWO: Much of the same in round two. Morales advanced most of the time while Perez tried to work leg kicks from the outside. Perez got some counter shots in midway through the round. Morales landed many leg kicks as well, mixing them up with punches. Perez danced away a lot, not to Overeem levels but he was getting there. Perez got a shot in right after the horn. 10-9 Morales, 20-18.
ROUND THREE: Perez was immediately docked a point for that shot after the bell. Very surprising as we see this happen often and it wasn’t egregious on first look. They both come out hot to use Mickey Gall’s phrasing. Perez got him down and is landing blows from top. Morales got up and got some jabs in. Morales started to show signs of fatigue with three minutes to go. Perez worked his jab. Morales got his jabs in while Perez went back to retreat mode. Perez got some uppercuts in late and went for a takedown but missed and the round ended. 10-9 Perez, -1 point so 9-9 but technically the point should have come from the second round. 29-27 Morales.
Result: 29-27 Morales, 28-28, 28-28 Majority Draw
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Morales won the fight in my eyes but the second round was close so it’s not a bad decision. Perez will be kicking himself for losing that point and Morales actually could have been docked a point for a flying knee as well which could have changed the outcome. Hate to see bad calls decide fights but that’s how it goes in MMA. Not much of a fight at all. (**)
(2) Erick Montano vs. Randy Brown (Welterweight 170 lbs.)
Montano is a TUF Latin America guy, his brother is fighting on the FS1 Prelims.
ROUND ONE: Brown missed a big punch and Mantano clinched him against the cage. They reversed a few times but no one really got the upper hand or any big shots in. Brown tried for a trip but it didn’t work and they broke. Montano with a nice left hand but Brown pushed him up against the cage. Brown threw some knees in the clinch and both went for takedowns but couldn’t get it. The lanky Brown landed a knee to the head to a practically fully upright Montano. Montano got some low knees and uppercuts in the clinch but nothing big and the ref broke them apart. Not much happened, Montano went for a late takedown but ran out of time. 10-9 Brown.
ROUND TWO: Brown with some punches that landed early and got a takedown. Montano got up and got a takedown of his own. Brown worked on an armbar but couldn’t get it. Montano got to side control and landed an elbow and Brown got back to full guard. Montano landed a big right hand from Brown’s guard. Montano stayed busy trying to pass. Brown got up and grabbed the fence to block a takedown. No point taken away though. Montano got the takedown eventually and went right to side control. Montano landed some elbows to the body and head. Brown was warned for grabbing the cage with his toes. It helped him get to full guard but Montano continued to pepper him with small shots to the body while keeping all of his weight on Brown. 10-9 Montano, 19-19.
ROUND THREE: Brown blocked a takedown early and cinched in a choke and Montano tapped as soon as they went to the ground. Submission completely out of nowhere.
Result: Brown by submission at :18 of the second round.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Brown called out Bryan Barberena since Mickey Gall called out Sage Northcutt. Nice submission by Brown who showed some potential here and good awareness by locking that in on the takedown attempt. (***)
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
(3) Jose Quinonez vs. Joey Gomez (Bantamweight 135 lbs.)
We’re starting out on FS2 due to baseball if you’re looking for the fights on TV.
ROUND ONE: Quinonez’s mustache game on fleek for his tale of the tape photo. Just kinda normal in the cage though. Too bad. Quinonez took him down immediately. Didn’t do much with it and Gomez got back up. Quinonez landed a big knee in a nice combo. He caught a Gomez body kick and threw him down. He landed a knee on the ground but Gomez technically wasn’t grounded. He didn’t quite hit the head though. No point, just a warning. Close call. We’re in Texas so weird stuff is going to happen but after last week I think Ohio is the new Texas. Quinonez hurt him with a body kick and then swarmed him. Quinonez with big shots from the top. Gomez got an upkick that may have landed. Gomez got up. Nice knee from Quinonez. Fairly dominant round, enough where I’m going 10-8 Quinonez.
ROUND TWO: Quinonez got an early takedown and landed some shots. Gomez scrambled but Quinonez was all over him. Gomez careful to keep a hand on the ground to avoid the knee. Quinonez kept on him with no room to breath. Gomez got up. Quinonez went for a jumping knee to the body and a body kick. Gomez hurt him though and he turned it up. Quinonez looked to have recovered with two minutes to go. Gomez landed some shots and gathered some confidence. Both guys landed counter shots. Quinonez looked to be bleeding from the left eye. Tough round as both guys landed big shots but I’ll go 10-9 Gomez as he was closer to finishing. 19-18.
ROUND THREE: Huge knee from Quinonez put Gomez down but not out. That looked like a KO but he recovered. Quinonez passed to mount fairly easily but Gomez held him close. Got some elbows and then Gomez gave up his back. Quinonez back to top mount. He worked on a RNC but Gomez showed good defence and got back to his feet. He pressed once back up but mad to be exhausted after that. A minute to go and Quinonez bounced on his feet, looking for the knockout blow. Couldn’t get it and the round ended. 10-8 Quinonez, 29-26 Quinonez.
Result: Quinonez by decision 29-28, 30-27, 30-27.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Good fight. Quinonez looked very well rounded and had a good gas tank and recovered well from being rocked in the second round. (***)
(4) Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Leonardo Augusto Leleco (Middleweight 185 lbs.)
I’m 0-3 (I guess 0-2-1) for my picks tonight so it’s not looking good for Shoeface. What’s the over/under on how many times they call him Shoeface tonight?
ROUND ONE: I’m wondering if 185 is too big a cut for Carlos Junior. Crowd hated this round because nothing happened. Pretty sure a fly landed on Shoeface’s back, that’s how slow they moved. Not even joking. Carlos was the one pressuring most of the round. He landed a knee that was close but Leleco was probably down. He lost a point for that. I think you have to warn when it’s that close and it’s just one hand. That should change next year hopefully. Carlos got a takedown but Leleco was back up quickly. He got him down again and got some punches in to end the round. 10-9 Carlos Junior. 9-9 with the point.
ROUND TWO: Carlos took his back and worked some punches waiting to flatten Leleco out. He got some big knees to the body but still can’t find a submission midway through the round. Leleco worked his way back to his feet but Junior stayed on and got him back down. Leleco went for a desperation guillotine late but wasn’t going to get it. 10-9 Carlos Junior 19-18.
ROUND THREE: Carlos with some good shots early then went for a takedown. Another guillotine attempt from Leleco but not a dangerous one. Carlos Junior got out and landed some punches from the top. Leleco went to grab the fence to stop a takedown but it didn’t matter. He kept trying to grab the cage right in front of the ref, but no point. Yet another takedown from Carlos Junior. He just kept taking him down over and over but didn’t inflict a lot of damage once down. He worked for a choke with a minute left. He got it in and Leleco had to tap.
Result: Antonio Carlos Junior by submission at 4:46 of the third round.
Hiscoe’s Analysis:Solid but uninspiring performance by Carlos Junior. He was dominant on the ground, a skill that will see him do well in the middleweight division. Not the most exciting fight but a much needed win for the former TUF Brazil winner. (**)
(5) Augusto Montano vs. Belel Muhammad (Welterweight 170 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Herb Dean’s in for this one so hopefully that means nothing weird is going to happen. Nut shot from Montano early pauses the fight. Herb issues a “hard warning” which is fair. Muhammad backed him up with a punch but couldn’t close the deal. Montano with a nice combo finishing with an inside leg kick. Montano landed more inside leg kicks but Muhammad would come back with flurries. Muhammad got poked in the eye and there was another awkward non-stoppage similar to the Werdum-Browne fight last week. Just a warning. Muhammad landed a solid head kick and Montano came back with hard leg kicks in response. Muhammad went for a takedown late but didn’t get it but he landed a head kick afterwards. 10-9 Muhammad.
ROUND TWO: Nice head kick from Muhammad again. Montano worked more leg kicks mixed with punches but started looking tired. Muhammad picked him up and took him down and passed to half guard. He took his back and went for the rear naked choke. Montano defended with two hands to keep him off his neck. Muhammad turned into guard and took his back again but Montano got up. Muhammad just missed a big head kick. He landed a nice left hook and another elbow just before the horn. 10-9 Muhammad 20-18.
ROUND THREE: Muhammad took him down 90 seconds into the round and took his back and again went for the choke. Montano was still able to defend well. They rolled over and Muhammad kept him down. Montano found his way up and put pressure on but ate some punches from the more fresh Muhammad. Nice leg kicks from Montano but he ate a body kick and more punches from Muhammad. Muhammad took him down again and started raining down punches. From back mount. Montano wasn’t defending much, just scrambling. Herb Dean was about to stop it but didn’t then stepped in a few seconds later to officially end the fight.
Result: Muhammad by TKO at 4:19 of round three.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Muhammad looked good here. He showed good stand up and also a very good takedown and ground and pound game. He wasn’t able to get the submission but he adapted well to get the TKO finish in the third. (***).
(6) Gabriel Benitez vs. Sam Sicilia (Featherweight 145 lbs.)
Sicilia is scary when he’s on his game. Let’s see if tonight is one of those nights.
ROUND ONE: Benitez came out with hard leg kicks to start. Benitez has the reach advantage so will likely try and keep his distance. Sicilia came inside with a flurry. He landed a hard body punch. Big leg kick by Benitez almost put Sicilia on the mat. Sicilia got some hard shots in but kept eating leg kicks. Sicilia got him against the cage and go a couple big punches in. Everything from Sicilia was thrown full force. Close round, leg kicks vs. punches. 10-9 Sicilia.
ROUND TWO: Benitez rocked him with a left and landed big elbows on the ground. Sicilia got back up and seemed OK but almost got dropped by a leg kick. Sicilia went for a takedown and got caught in a guillotine that put him out cold. Sicilia didn’t appear to tap.
Result: Benitez by submission at 1:20 of round two.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Good win for Benitez as Sicilia is always a threat standing. He ate some big shots and stuck to his gameplan. That punch early in the second rocked Sicilia which caused him to go for a reckless takedown and he paid for it. (***)
FS1 Main Card
(7) Chas Skelly vs. Maximo Blanco (Featherweight 145 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Skelly came out blazing fast with a flying kick, was all over him with an anaconda choke and Blanco passed out quick. It was over in mere seconds.
Result: Skelly by submission at :19 of round one.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: CM Punk doesn’t have to feel so bad anymore as that was as one sided as a win can be. Of course if you do this fight 100 times, that probably would never happen again, but Skelly capitalized and wasted no time getting the choke in to close the fight. He’s one to watch coming up in the featherweight division. He asked for a rematch with Darren Elkins in this post-fight interview. (***)
(8) Chris Wade vs. Islam Makhachev (Lightweight 155 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Both men came out tentatively, no Hulk Hogan dropkicks this fight. Makhachev went for a deep single and Wade held on to a front headlock to keep from getting taken down but Makhachev persisted and got him down and moved to mount easily. Wade spun out and got on top. Makhachev worked on a triangle from the bottom and had it in tight but Wade wasn’t in the right position. Wade with punches from the top while in the choike but Makhachev didn’t let go. Wade struggled to get free and eventually got out. Wade landed small shots from the top and some bigger elbows at the end of the round. Weird round because Wade was defending a choke for much of it but was also on top for much of it. Have to say 10-9 Wade.
ROUND TWO: Wade with a good guillotine this time but Makhachev scrambled out but Wade was still cranking on his head and neck. Makhachev was able to get top position and took Wade’s back. Wade got out of that but ended up back on bottom. This is like one of those old women’s WWE matches where they take turns pinning each other 4-5 times in a row. Lots more reversing with Makhachev always on top at the end. This might be the least amount of punches I’ve seen thrown in a UFC round. 10-9 Makhachev. 19-19.
ROUND THREE: Makhachev’s corner – “He’s dead.” More scrambling on the ground saw Wade briefly take mount and he went for another guillotine. He didn’t have it and Makhachev was on top looking to get to mount. He threw some body punches and got the mount and took Wade’s back. He got a strong body lock on and worked for the rear naked choke. Wade had a hard time getting free from the body lock but was defending the choke well. Makhachev landed small punches from behind as the crowd started to boo. Round ended with Makhachev unable to secure a submission. 10-9 Makhachev. 29-28 Makhachev.
Result: 29-28 across the board for Makhachev. Crowd hates it so much.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Not a very good fight unless you really like grappling with no striking. Makhachev was very proficient on the ground but it made for a pretty boring fight. (*)
(9) Roan Carneiro vs. Kenny Robertson (Welterweight 170 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: They clinched against the cage and Carneiro pulled him down. Robertson scrambled to his feet. Robertson walked him down throwing the odd punch and Carneiro would push him up against the cage. Carneiro was able to stay out of Robertson’s range. Robertson with some shots against the cage but Carneiro was able to move out of harm’s way. 10-9 Carneiro.
ROUND TWO: Big right hand from Carneiro early. He got a nice double leg takedown shortly after. He tried to pass but Robertson blocked up and got on top. Robertson landed some small shots from half guard but was effective in keeping Carneiro down. Carneiro reversed and ended up in mount . He landed some shots but nothing big. Didn’t do enough with the dominant position to take the round. 10-9 Robertson, 19-19.
ROUND THREE: Robertson ate a jab and got taken down but got right up. Carneiro threw a wild left hand that missed. Carneiro landed a huge left and Robertson held him against the cage to get his wits back. Carneiro swung wild again but kept missing. He did better with jabs. Robertson landed a right hand. Both guys were patient seemingly waiting to counter. Nice uppercut from Carneiro followed by a jab. Late takedown attempt by Carneiro missed. 10-9 Carneiro, 29-28 Carneiro.
Result: 29-28 Robertson 30-27 Carneiro 29-28 Carneiro by split decision.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Not much to say about this fight other than neither fighter looked all that good. Carneiro looked to be the more well rounded fighter and Robertson was never able to pull the trigger. This card needs something hot real soon. (*)
(10) Evan Dunham vs. Rick Glenn (Lightweight 155 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Dunham clipped him early and you can see a size advantage. Dunham changed levels and took Glenn down with ease. He looked for a guillotine from top but it didn’t take. Dunham stood up and rained down punches. Dunham landed two good elbows. Dunham took his back and worked on a choke. He got some punches in underneath Glenn’s arms and slipped the choke in. Glenn held on a long time and somehow turned out. He looked ready to tap. Dunham stayed on his back most of the rest of the round. 10-8 Dunham.
ROUND TWO: Glenn caught him early but Dunham took him down. Dunham passed to side control and got another choke in but he lost it. Back on the feet, Dunham kept the pressure on with some kees against the cage and takedown attempts. Glenn stopped some takedown attempts. Dunham got him down with two minutes left in the round but let him back up. Both guys landed some shots standing but Dunham got the better of most exchanges. Dunham got a cut on the top of his head. Glenn had to take a break after a groin shot. Dunham landed more to close the round. 10-9 Dunham. 20-17
ROUND THREE: Glenn’s corner told him he needs to finish and they’re probably right. Dunham landed some short punches against the cage. Both guys started landing and Glenn started showboating trying to get the crowd into it or the judges on his side. Dunham landed more but looked tired. He got a big head kick and a nice combo on Glenn who started looking wobbly and barely with it. Another huge head kick landed and both guys unloaded on each other but Glenn didn’t have much left in him. Dunham rock him late and Glenn looked out on his feet but the round ended. 10-9 Dunham, 30-26.
Result: 30-27 across the board for Dunham
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Dunham is one of those old-school UFC guys and almost always delivers. Glenn came in on short notice at a weight class up and brought it to a veteran guy who is tough to beat. Glenn earned a spot for another fight, likely at 145 and both fighters put on a good show here. (****)
(11) Uriah Hall vs. Derek Brunson (Middleweight 185 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Hall looked ready to kill waiting for this fight to start. They clinch immediately. Brunson nailed him with a left that sent Hall down and he followed up on the ground and they stopped it. Hall seemed mad at the stoppage but that was a hell of a shot that put him down. Looking at the replay, the punches on the ground didn’t really connect so that’s probably why Hall didn’t like the stoppage. It could’ve gone on a bit longer.
Result: Derek Brunson by TKO at 1:41 of round one.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I think the stoppage was a little early as Hall was not getting hit hard on the ground there. It was a hell of a punch that put him down though so you have to give Brunson credit and he deserves the win. He’s got four first round KOs in a row and should be matched up with a top 5 fighter next. Middleweight is crowded at top but also could be wide open if Henderson wins and retires. Lots of fun fights to make with the top 6 guys or so. (***)
(12) Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Johnson (Lightweight 155 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Johnson seems nervous and Poirier looks ready to throw down. They didn’t touch gloves. Johnson caught him in an exchange and Poirier went down hard. He followed up Dan Henderson style and dropped a big bomb on the ground and it was over. Johnson stood in front of him and did a kiss and crucifix type gesture to gloat followed by some expletives. Poirier could be seen swearing back at Johnson once he came to.
Result: Johnson by KO at 1:35 of round one
Hiscoe’s Analysis: There’s no doubt about that one. That’s a huge win for Johnson who seemed to be on the decline. Poirier has been tearing through guys and Johnson kept up with him throughout the fight and then knocked him out clean. Brian Stann tweeted that Johnson apologized for gloating during the break. It was a right hand counter with a left immediately that put him out. Johnson wants to fight at MSG. Take a number. They need to announce a main event for that soon, tickets go on sale in two weeks. (***)
Final Thoughts: Overall this was a good show for a card that lacked star power. The middle part of the main card really dragged but the last three fights were all great to watch and some of the prelims were solid as well. Not to mention the show wrapped at 12:45 which is always a bonus.
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