March 4, 2017
Las Vegas, Nevada from T-Mobile Arena
Live on UFC Fight Pass (7:00 PM ET), Fox Sports 1 (8:00 PM ET), and pay-per-view (10:00 PM ET)
Thank you for pulling yourselves out of your depressive states after the loss of tonight’s Nurmagomedov-Ferguson fight to check out our live coverage of UFC 209. Despite losing its most anticipated fight, this card still has a lot to offer, including the main event rematch between Tyron Woodley and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. Other main card highlights include a heavyweight throwdown between Alistair Overeem and Mark Hunt as well as Rashad Evans’ debut at middleweight. Fighters’ MMATorch.com rankings are included in parenthesis. Stay with us all night for updated results and be sure to follow me on Twitter for more analysis tonight and throughout the week. Check out Matt Ecochard’s primer article to get caught up on all of tonight’s fights. Enjoy the show!
Fight Pass Prelims
Anik, Rogan, and Cruz have the call tonight. Brittany, Vanessa, and Chrissy are your Octagon Girls for those keeping score.
(1) Albert Morales vs. Andre Soukhamthath (Bantamweight 135 lbs)
Result: Morales by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Hiscoe’s Analysis: A close fight that could have gone either way. I had it 29-28 for Morales. Soukhamthath won a close first round by playing a very tentative but effective counter punching. Morales stayed busy but did not connect on much outside of leg kicks. Morales took over in the second, landing more shots and wearing down Soukhamthath against the cage in the clinch. Soukhamthath turned it around later in the round, getting top position on the ground. Morales came out tired for the third and left himself open for body shots and was slow to defend himself. Morales took his back on the ground mid-round and worked for a rear-naked choke. He worked for it for the final three minutes of the fight but couldn’t get it and was just holding on at the end.
(2) Tyson Pedro vs. Paul Craig (Light Heavyweight 205 lbs)
Result: Pedro by TKO at 4:10 of the first round
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Pedro got a TKO after knocking him down with a straight right and landing some nice knees and elbows. He got him in a crucifix position before the fight was stopped. It may have been a tad early but the ending was inevitable.
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
(3) Mark Godbeer vs. Daniel Spitz (Heavyweight 265 lbs)
Result: Godbeer by unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I had it 30-26 for Godbeer. It was a rough fight with both guys tired early. Godbeer landed some big shots in both the first two rounds. Spitz got a takedown in the second but did nothing with it and ate some more big shots and was clearly exhausted and barely with it. Godbeer was only slightly less tired, which spared Spitz from immense punishment. Spitz collected himself for the third round but was not able to mount any effective offense. Godbeer hurt him late in the round but couldn’t get the finish.
(4) Iuri Alcantara vs. Luke Sanders (Bantamweight 135 lbs)
Result: Alcantara by submission at 3:13 of the second round
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Alcantara won with a desperation kneebar out of nowhere. They showed Sanders’ girlfriend, Becky Lynch, in the crowd before the fight. Alcantara came out like a cannon and almost got a quick armbar. Sanders got him down and almost got the finish with punches on the ground. He then landed a blatantly illegal knee on the ground. The ref stopped it immediately and said: “What are you doing?” He deducted a point, which I think was a good call so a near finish turns into a 9-8 round. The second round saw Sanders hurt him with a knee and then piled on with punches on the ground. Alcantara was able to turn over and put in a leg lock that saw Sanders tap quickly.
(5) Mirsad Bektic vs. Darren Elkins (Featherweight 145 lbs)
Result: Elkins by TKO at 3:19 of the third round
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Elkins won in another completely shocking come from behind win. He knocked him out with a punch followed by a head kick. The MMA gods are repaying us for taking away Ferguson-Khabib. Elkins was cut badly early on near his right eye. Bektic took him down easily and worked towards crucifix position briefly but Elkins was able to get out but took some damage in the process. Bektic just worked away and battered Elkins in what was a dominating round, a textbook 10-8. Elkins’ corner told him in between rounds that “this is the fight we expected,” in what must be the most demoralizing advice possible. The second was more of the some but not quite as devastating. Elkins had a couple of submission attempts but was on his back most of the round.
(6) Marcin Tybura vs. Luis Henrique (Heavyweight 265 lbs)
Result: Tybura by TKO at 3:46 of the third round
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Another slow heavyweight fight. Henrique would push Tybura against the cage often and hold him until Herb Dean would restart the fight. They probably split the first two rounds but very little of consequence happened. Henrique got a guillotine choke in in the third round but he couldn’t complete it. Tybura took his back from there and then took mount. He pounded on him while Henrique tried to defend. He stopped defending and Herb Dean stopped it.
Pay-per-view Main Card
They announced a show for June10/11 in Auckland, New Zealand before the Hunt fight.
(7) Alistair Overeem (#4) vs. Mark Hunt (Heavyweight 265 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Overeem looked a little sleeker than he has in recent fights. That said, he’s still 256 pounds. Hunt came out with a big leg kick to start. Overeem tried to time his punches to counter the kicks. Hunt started bleeding from the right shin after checking an Overeem kick. Overeem mixed up punches and kicks. Hunt was mostly throwing leg kicks but got a right hand in that stunned Overeem. Hunt threw a big body kick. Overeem responded with some oblique kicks and more kicks to Hunt’s lead leg. Overeem mixed up his stance during the round. Hunt landed a few big shots as Overeem covered up at the very end of the round. He might have stolen that round there. 10-9 Hunt.
ROUND TWO: Overeem landed a spinning kick to the body early on. Overeem landed a spinning back elbow as well. Hunt started bleeding from the nose. Overeem landed knees from the clinch and then pressed him up against the cage. Overeem kept going to the body with knees and kicks. Hunt landed a nice short elbow that staggered Overeem. He stayed on him with punches but Overeem recovered and pushed Hunt against the cage. Overeem landed a nice left elbow. Hunt landed an elbow of his own while Overeem tried to keep him on the cage and delivered knees to Hunt’s body. 10-9 Overeem, 19-19.
ROUND THREE: Overeem landed a flush right hand. Overeem ran from Hunt one time and the crowd turned on him immediately. Overeem clinched him against the cage and landed a huge left elbow followed by a pair of knees that put Hunt out cold and the fight was stopped.
Result: Overeem by KO at 1:44 of the third round
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Big win for Overeem who will remain near the top of the heavyweight division. Hunt doesn’t go out easily, so for Overeem to withstand Hunt’s offense and then knock him out in the third round is very impressive. That was a disciplined and well-earned win for Overeem.
(8) Amanda Cooper vs. Cynthia Calvillo (Strawweight 115 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Both women very busy in the early minutes. They go to the ground but neither could gain position. Calvillo looked to be allowing Cooper to stand up but then she rushed her and took her back down. She took her back and began working for a choke. Cooper was calm and defended for a while but then Calvillo got it in deep and tight and Cooper had no choice but to tap.
Result: Calvillo by submission at 3:19 of the first round
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Good win for a young and developing fighter in Calvillo. Joe Rogan talked about how dominant Joanna is at strawweight and how the person to challenge her will likely come out of the independent scene. It’s too early to say if Calvillo can be that person but this was a good start and an impressive win.
(9) Rashad Evans vs. Daniel Kelly (Middleweight 185 lbs)
ROUND ONE: There are a lot of questions surrounding Rashad Evans going into this fight. It looked early on like he still had his speed and reflexes. Kelly landed a flush left hand but it didn’t phase Rashad. He landed it one more time a minute later. Rashad shot for a single leg, Kelly scrambled free and got up. Kelly landed a couple of light punches in close range. Rashad landed a late leg kick. 10-9 Kelly.
ROUND TWO: Kelly tried for a takedown but didn’t get it. Kelly was the busier fighter. He was able to get that left hand in again. The fight started to resemble Rashad’s fight against Nogueira where he couldn’t pull the trigger. Kelly took a bad thumb to the eye. Evans delivered a big body kick. Rashad took him down but Kelly got right back up. Kelly caught a high kick from Evans and they traded punches. Close round, 10-9 Evans, 19-19.
ROUND THREE: Evans landed a nice uppercut but Kelly kept the pressure on. He took another finger to the eye but McCarthy didn’t stop it. Kelly tripped Rashad and he got up. Both guys worked jabs. Kelly landed a big left that snapped Evans’ head back. Kelly landed more lefts and uppercuts. Rashad went for a late takedown and tried to grab the shorts. McCarthy stopped the fight to reprimand Evans. Kelly’s shorts were actually torn up the side. They traded in the pocket for the final seconds of the fight. Charlize Theron gave them a standing ovation. 10-9 Kelly, 29-28.
Result: 29-28 Kelly, 29-28 Evans, 29-28 Kelly by split decision
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Not the performance we need to see from Rashad Evans in this fight. He had his speed but seems to be lacking the killer instinct he used to have. I’m not sure if this is it for Rashad but Kelly is a mid-tier middleweight and someone he likely would have made easy work of in the past. Kelly deserves to be commended for this win as he’s shown to be very resilient and able to hold his own on his feet and has proven to be more than a grappler. He’s becoming a fan favorite and should get another name fight going forward.
(10) Lando Vannata vs. David Teymur (Lightweight 155 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Vannata very light on his feet, bouncing up and down and keeping Teymur on the perimeter of the cage. Vannata went for a cartwheel kick and then followed up with a flurry that hurt Teymur. He recovered and came back and tagged Vannata a couple of times. Vannata landed some kicks. They traded leg kicks. Vannata landed an elbow but Teymur came back and stunned Vannata with a punch. Good back and forth round. 10-9 Vannata.
ROUND TWO: Vannata stayed with his kicks, trying to keep himself at range to land the big spin kick. Teymur landed some knees to the body. Vannata landed the spin kick. Teymur landed a couple big punches. Teymur landed a clean Superman punch. Teymur took him down but Vannata got right up. Vannata landed a straight right and a high kick. Teymur landed some knees to the body followed by a left hand. 10-9 Teymur, 19-19.
ROUND THREE: Both guys came out aggressive for the third round. Teymur with a leg kick that was countered by Vannata. Teymur went for the high kick but didn’t connect. Leg kick and a nice two punch combo from Teymur connected. Teymur with another combo followed by a high kick. He got more knees to the body in. Teymur went for a takedown but missed. He landed a flurry of punches cleanly to Vannata. Teymur landed a big left hand. Teymur with a body kick late and missed a takedown attempt as the horn went. 10-9 Teymur, 29-28.
Result: 30-27 across the board for Teymur by unanimous decision.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Good showing by Teymur, who brought the fight after a bit of a slow start. Vannata is still a good prospect but we probably need to pump the brakes a bit on him for now. It was a closer fight than the judges’ 30-27 cards would indicate but Teymur definitely earned the victory. Good fight. Teymur asked Dana White for “50 G’s baby.”
(11) Tyron Woodley (#1) vs. Stephen Thompson (#2) (Welterweight Championship Fight 170 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Woodley worked the perimeter of the cage must like in the first fight. Woodley rushed in out of nowhere and blitzed Thompson but didn’t do much damage. Very little action early in the fight and the crowd got restless. Thompson rushed in for a combo that partially connected. Thompson threw a leg kick that Woodley countered. Nothing round but 10-9 Thompson.
ROUND TWO: Thompson with two kicks to start. He started working his jab with Woodley circling the outside of the cage. They showed Woodley’s corner asking him to go for a takedown. The crowd was really not enjoying the lack of action. Woodley landed a clean right hand when he rushed in. Thompson with a side kick to the body followed by a high kick that missed. Another side kick to the body from Thompson. So far, this fight is really bad. 10-9 Thompson, 20-18.
ROUND THREE: Woodley went for a takedown early but couldn’t complete it. He eventually got him down and worked to get Thompson flat on his back. He landed some hard left hands on the ground. Woodley trapped Thompson’s right hand so that he couldn’t defend against his lefts. They stood up and Woodley threw some knees in the clinch. Thompson had him pressed against the cage and they broke apart. With his back to the cage again, Woodley watched as Thompson threw occasional punches. Thompson landed some shots to the body. Woodley landed a good right hand. Thompson landed a left hook at the end of the round. 10-9 Woodley due to the punches on the ground. 29-28 Thompson.
ROUND FOUR: Woodley met him in the middle of the cage. Thompson worked him to the outside with a side kick. Thompson closed the distance and worked jabs and switched up his stances. Woodley went for a spin kick that didn’t connect fully. Thompson landed another high kick. Woodley whiffed on a big right hand. Crowd started booing again. Woodley landed a straight right. Thompson threw another high kick. 10-9 Thompson, 39-37.
ROUND FIVE: Woodley came out very aggressive and now has Thompson backed against the cage. Woodley snuck a right hand in. Thompson fought very defensively this round. Thompson worked a jab which backed Woodley off a bit. Woodley went for a takedown that wasn’t even close. Tyron with a straight left jab. Thompson came back with a high kick. Right hand to the body from Woodley connected. Thompson being very careful and kept his distance but then Woodley caught him and unloaded shot after shot and almost had him out with mere seconds left in the fight. Thompson was out on his feet and held on till the horn. Wow. 10-8 Woodley. 47-47, another draw.
Result: 48-47 Woodley, 47-47, 48-47 Woodley by majority decision.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I’m not sure how Woodley won that fight, I suppose the first round was close enough where you could give it to Woodley but I see this fight as a draw or a win for Thompson. That said, Woodley nearly finished the fight at the end there so maybe he deserves the belt in the end.
That was a really bad fight until the last 30 seconds. It was one of those fights that neither fighter really deserved to win. I had it a draw, but I don’t think there’s any need to do this fight again right now. Woodley should fight Demian Maia next assuming he beats Jorge Masvidal next month.
It was an up and down show and the prelims probably outdid the main card for action tonight. If the main event was better it would have been a stronger show but it’s probably an overall thumbs down from me. Thanks for reading along with us tonight.
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