UFC FIGHT NIGHT: MELBOURNE
NOVEMBER 26, 2016
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA FROM ROD LAVER ARENA
LIVE ON UFC FIGHT PASS (6:30 PM ET) AND FOX SPORTS 1 (8:00 PM ET)
Good evening fight fans. We will have some quick hit results and analysis for the early fights tonight and round by round detailed coverage of the main card. The main event features a bout between rising middleweight contenders Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson. A big win for either should see him enter the conversation along with the other top level 185 pounders. Please read Matt Ecochard’s preview column to bone up on tonight’s fights.
Fight Pass Prelims
(1) Yao Zhikui vs. Jenel Lausa (Flyweight 125 lbs)
Result: Lausa by unanimous decision – 30-27 across the board
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I had it 30-26 for Lausa. Lausa won the first round 10-8 on my card after getting very close to finishing Zhikui off at the very end of the first round. Zhikui offered very little offense and Lausa was countering often. Lausa almost finished him again in the second after a big head kick and then tried to follow up with a guillotine but Zhikui got out and was on top for the rest of the round. Third round was more competitive but Lausa still took it but didn’t have the explosive energy from the first two rounds that nearly got him finishes. Fairly impressive debut for Lausa who has some power for flyweight. In this division, it only takes a couple wins to crack the top 10 and get in to title contention.
(2) Marlon Vera vs. Ning Guangyou (Bantamweight 135 lbs)
Result: Vera by unanimous decision – 29-28 across the board.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I had it 29-27 Vera. Vera had Guragyou’s back in the first and actually kicked off the cage to get to the mat and maintain back control. Guangyou took the second round, being on top most of the round landing punches but Vera was active on his back looking for submissions. Not quite 10-8 but a strong round for Guangyou. The third saw Vera stun Guangyou with a straight left followed by a right hand that almost knocked him out cold. Guangyou held on but Vera continued to control the round. Good fight.
(3) Dan Hooker vs. Jason Knight (Featherweight 145 lbs)
Result: 29-28, 30-29, and 30-26 for Jason Knight.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: They had a nice back and forth brawl. I had it 29-28 for Knight. Knight won the first as he was busier although Hooker landed slightly more. Knight took him down as well. Knight won the second round as well. He had a deep choke in at one point but Hooker didn’t tap. Knight held onto that position most of the round. Third round saw Hooker land more shots on the feet and reverse a late takedown by Knight. Hooker got close to winning in the third but not enough for the decision. I didn’t see a 10-8 round in there for Knight, especially after the first two fights didn’t get any 10-8’s from the judges. The right guy won though.
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
(4) Ben Nguyen vs. Geane Herrera (Flyweight 125 lbs)
Result: Nguyen by unanimous decision, 30-27, 30-26, and 30-27
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I had it 30-27 for Nguyen. The fight started off with a wild sequence with a flying kick by Herrera that was barely caught on camera. Nguyen came on with a couple good flurries that hurt Herrera, enough to take the first round. Nguyen won the second as well as he was just quicker to the punch as Herrera began to slow down. Solid performance for Nguyen who should be getting a ranked opponent his next fight out. He was very disciplined with his striking and didn’t get sucked into a brawl after the wild opening sequence.
(5) Rich Walsh vs. Jonathan Meunier (Welterweight 170 lbs)
Result: Meunier 29-28, 30-27 x2 for Meunier by unanimous decision
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I had it 29-28 for Meunier. Meunier won the first round by using his reach and landing a higher volume of strikes. He solidified the round with a late spinning backfist and a takedown. Meunier won the second as well, doing much of the same but mixing in a lot more kicks and spinning attacks. Third round was close, but I went with Walsh, who was a little more aggressive knowing he needed the finish. It was a good round that saw Walsh almost sink in a guillotine after a Meunier takedown. Good bounce back fight for Meunier, who will stick around. Walsh has underachieved since his stint on the TUF Nations series and may be on the chopping block.
(6) Damien Brown vs. Jon Tuck (Lightweight 155 lbs)
Result: Damien Brown by split decision – 29-28, 28-29, 29-28
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I had it for Tuck but it was close. Good back and forth round to start. Tuck took the round but Brown almost had him in a guillotine early. Tuck knocked him down and bloodied him up late in the first. Brown rebounded in a big was in the second round, landing some big shots and pushing the pace the whole round. Very close third round but I went with Tuck who pushed the pace just a little more. This fight really could have gone either way and Brown showed great resiliency coming back from some tough blows in the first round.
(7) Daniel Kelly vs. Chris Camozzi (Middleweight 185 lbs)
Result: Kelly by unanimous decision – 29-28, 29-27, and 30-27
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I had it 29-28 for Kelly. Close first round but I gave it to Camozzi who landed more. Kelly kept his head down and got some shots in but he got caught late with an elbow that cut him open. He did get Camozzi to the mat but didn’t have enough time to get the sub in. Kelly controlled the fight on the ground nearly the whole second round, he did some ground and pound but Camozzi defended submissions well, so it was even going into the third. Kelly kept pressure on in the third but Camozzi got some good shots in too on the retreat. Kelly got a takedown late that likely won him the round and the fight. He went crazy with punches on the ground and it looked like Herb Dean was waving it off at the end but it was actually the horn to end the fight. Good performance in front of a hometown crowd for Kelly.
Fox Sports 1 Main Card
We’ve had seven straight decisions which normally would make for a treacherous night of viewing but each fight has provided good drama and most have been pretty competitive. Let’s hope we get some finishes and more good fights for the main card.
(8) Seohee Ham vs. Danielle Taylor (Strawweight 115 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Taylor spent the early part of the round circling the perimeter of the cage looking to counter Ham. Ham tried to stay just outside her reach and get some straight shots in on Taylor who was moving lots but not throwing much. Ham kept pressure on Taylor who couldn’t get the big right hand off she was waiting for. 10-9 Ham
ROUND TWO: Taylor came out with immediate pressure. Taylor landed a clean right hand a minute in but Ham continued to keep pressure on her while countering. Taylor threw more this round than last but got countered by Ham on nearly every exchange. Taylor got another right hand and a body kick later in the round but Ham showed no signs of slowing down. Ham reversed a Taylor takedown and ended up in mount to end the round. 10-9 Ham, 20-18.
ROUND THREE: Taylor’s corner told her she won the round, which I disagree with. Taylor came out busy but staying away from the outside of the cage, which seemed to help her. She started landed cleanly and with more frequency. Taylor doubled up on a lot of punches which helped her land more and threw off Ham’s timing for counters. Ham still moved forward but ate punches in the process. Taylor got a piece of a headkick on Ham but it didn’t phase her much. Ham stopped for an eye poke and actually did the “time out” gesture with her hands. The ref didn’t stop it and Taylor capitalized. The fight really should have been stopped when Ham asked for the time out if the ref didn’t think there was a valid infraction. Taylor took Ham down to end the fight. 10-9 Taylor, 29-28 Ham on my card but could go the other way. A replay showed there was a legitimate eye poke there.
Result: Taylor by split decision – 28-29, 30-27, 30-27
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Just an OK fight to open the main card and the eighth straight decision on this show. Ham showed some promise but may be too short to compete with the top level of the division. If she can make 105, Invicta atomweight may be the best place for her. I’m not sure how she won the first round but it was a close enough fight where I’m not appalled by the decision. Ham is still a quality strawweight and should stick around.
They officially announced that Daniel Cormier is out of UFC 206 and that Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis is the new main event for the interim featherweight championship. This means that Conor McGregor has relinquished his 145 title and Jose Aldo has been acclaimed as the new champion. That’s going to be a tough sell for casual fans and you’d hope for a little more fanfare for McGregor giving up the title but he may not have had any say in the matter. They also announced Tim Kennedy vs. Kelvin Gastelum for the show IF the Ontario commission approves Gastelum, who is suspended by New York for not weighing in last month at UFC 205.
(9) Khalil Rountree vs. Tyson Pedro (Light Heavyweight 205 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Rountree decked him in the first minute and Pedro went down but bounced up and took Rountree down to recover. It was a huge shot and it looked like Pedro was out for a moment. Pedro held him against the cage for a while but did nothing. Pedro took him down again. He took his back and sunk in a choke. He was able to flatten Rountree out and got the comeback win.
Result: Pedro by submission at 4:07 of round one
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Finally a finish on this show. It must be dejecting for Rountree who was so close to winning himself early on. It just goes to show that you need to be competent on the ground to make it in UFC. Good debut for Pedro who bounced back from a near knockout to come from behind (literally) and get the win.
(10) Yusuke Kasuya vs. Alexander Volkanovski (Lightweight 155 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Kasuya got a quick takedown and went for Volkanovski’s back but couldn’t get it and both stood up. Volkanovski clinched him against the cage and delivered some knees. Every time Kasuya would break free, Volkanovski would get him back against the cage. He took him down and worked to half guard. He threw some elbows down followed by some big punches. He lost position and ended up on bottom with about a minute to go. Kasuya tried to pass but Volkanovski defended well and avoided taking any real damage on the ground. Volkanovski took top position back as the round ended. 10-9 Volkanovski
ROUND TWO: Volkanovski took him down early against the cage. He postured up and delivered some huge shots from the top. Big punches with elbows mixed in. The ref let it go on though. Kasuya went for a leg lock but Volkanovski turned over in a manner that trapped Kasuya’s hands which allowed him to deliver undefended punches to Kasuya’s prone face and the ref had no choice but to end the fight.
Result: Volkanovski by TKO at 2:06 of round two
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Good showing by Volkanovski who demonstrated some good takedowns and control in the clinch. His ground and pound was very effective and devastating. He got the crowd to sing “Whoomp, there it is” after the fight so that was something.
(11) Kyle Noke vs. Omari Akhmedov (Welterweight 170 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Noke with a leg kick early and kept his distance. Akhmedov landed a big right hand and got a takedown shortly after. Noke tried to hold him close but Akhmedov broke free and got some elbows in while in Noke’s guard. Noke started bleeding from his right eye as Akhmedov worked on him on the ground. 10-9 Akhmedov
ROUND TWO: Akhmedov looked for big punches early on and got the takedown about two minutes in. He had trouble getting much offense in on the ground so the ref stood them up. Big right hand by Akhmedov after the stand up hurt Noke. They traded leg kicks as the round ended. 10-9 Akhmedov, 20-18.
ROUND THREE: Noke needs a finish here badly. So he went straight to leg kicks. Akhmedov played it safe as they traded shots the first half of the round but nothing big. Neither guy really tried to do much here this round. Noke went for a takedown but no luck and Akhmedov got a takedown shortly after. He got some punches in until Noke kicked him off and the round ended. 10-9 Akhmedov, 30-27
Result: Akhmedov by unanimous decision – 29-28, 29-28, 30-27
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Very dominant showing for Akhmedov here. Noke never really got anything going, and at 36 you have to wonder if he has anything left. He should have been motivated to fight here in front of his home country, but he just had nothing to offer here. Akhmedov looked good on the ground, and OK standing up.
(12) Jake Matthews vs. Andrew Holbrook (Lightweight 155 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Matthews got a nice leg kick in early. Holbrook initiated a clinch and went for some uppercuts. Matthews defended a takedown and almost took Holbrook’s back. Matthew’s landed a left hook and began circling the outside of the cage. Holbrook went for another takedown and landed it. He went for a choke but it was an odd position to he gave it up. Matthews stood back up but Holbrook held on to him. They went back down and Holbrook got some shots in to close the round. 10-9 Holbrook.
ROUND TWO: Holbrook held him against the cage and got some knees and short punches in. Matthews landed a nice right hand and followed up right away with a takedown. Matthews took his back but Holbrook stood up. Matthews tried to get him back down and eventually did. Holbrook kept looking for leg locks on the ground. Holbrook then grabbed an arm but Matthews got it out while Holbrook went for a leg lock again. Another strange round, but I’ll go 10-9 Matthews. 19-19.
ROUND THREE: Holbrook accused Matthews of not engaging, gesturing for him to come at him. Matthews landed a left that cut him and some leg kicks. Matthews started to open up standing so Holbrook went for a clinch and got some knees in. Matthews shot for a takedown and got it. Holbrook went for the legs again but Matthews got his back. He couldn’t do much from the position he was in though. Matthews just put his weight on Holbrook looking to get him on his back. Holbrook was busy from the bottom, throwing punches and looking for submissions. 10-9 Matthews so 29-28 but I have no idea how the judges cards will look.
Result: Holbrook by split decision – 29-28, 28-29, 29-28
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Not a great fight. Matthews is still young but he hasn’t lived up to his hype quite yet. He shows flashes of brilliance but has yet to put together that name making performance that we’re all looking for. Tonight obviously wasn’t it. Holbrook gave him a good fight and was able to neutralize Matthew’s offense and keep busy even when on the bottom.
(13) Robert Whittaker (#9) vs. Derek Brunson (#7) (Middleweight 185 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Brunson rushed in right away. He went for a takedown and backed and Whittaker caught hi with a punch on the way out. Brunson landed a big shot and then went for another takedown. Brunson not giving him any room to breathe, just unleashing punches against the cage. Brunson slipped while trying to knock him out. Brunson clinched with him against the cage. Brunson went for another takedown but Whittaker got up and landed a punch on the way out. Whittaker caught Brunson rushing in and hurt him bad. Brunson still throwing like crazy. Whittaker landed a straight left hand followed by a headkick. He delivered a bevy of uppercuts and Brusnson went down and Whittaker followed up with punches on the ground and that’s it and the crowd went absolutely crazy. Awesome fight.
Result: Whittaker by TKO at 4:07 of round one
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Absolutely crazy fight and finish. Brunson was fighting like he was double parked outside and he payed the price for it. He rushed in recklessly multiple times and kept getting caught. Whittaker has real power in his hands and needs to be taken seriously at middleweight by anyone he faces. Whitaker vs. Mousasi might be the fight to make now. Great finish to an entertaining show. There were a lot of decisions tonight, 10 in all and some weird scorecards from the Australian judges, but overall a really fun show.