UFC 216 LIVE REPORT
OCTOBER 7, 2017
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA AT THE T-MOBILE ARENA
ON FIGHT PASS, FX AND PPV
Keep it locked here all evening for live updates of UFC: Saint Preux vs.Okami. My name is Michael Grocke and I’ll have quick results and analysis of the preliminary card followed by live round by round coverage of the main card.
Be sure to check out the MMA Talk for Pro Wrestling Fans podcast where I host every Monday at 6PM CT at pwtorchlivecast.com. You can also read my columns right here at MMATorch and for you sports bettors check out my website thefightingchampion.com. Follow me on Twitter @FightChampBlog.
The main event is a UFC Interim Championship bout between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee. Ferguson is long overdue for this opportunity as he faces off against the brash, young Kevin Lee. The co-main event features pound for pound great Demetrious Johnson. Ray Borg stands in his way of breaking the record for most title defenses in UFC history.
The main card also includes, Fabricio Werdum vs. Derrick Lewis in a pivotal heavyweight clash, Mara Romero Borella taking on Kalindra Faira in the women’s flyweight division and Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham in a battle of lightweights.
(1) Thales Leites (27-7) vs. Brad Tavares (15-5) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Result: Brad Tavares over Thales Leites by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Grocke’s POV: Brad Tavares was on point tonight. Everything was working for him. He picked Leites apart on the feet and just destroyed his lead leg in the second and third rounds. It looked like Tavares could have gone for a finish but it looked like he didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks. Kudos to Leites for continuing to move forward and finishing the fight.
(2) John Moraga (17-6) vs. Magomed Bibulatov (14-0) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Result: John Moraga over Magomed Bibulatov by KO (1:38 of Round 1)
Grocke’s POV: Wow, I didn’t see that coming from Moraga. While I thought Bibulatov was going to win, I am happy for Moraga. He came out aggressively and took the fight to Bibulatov and landed a huge left hook that dropped him flat on his back. He was very emotional after the fight and didn’t give the best post-fight interview, but none the less, that was the performance Moraga needed and hopefully he can get himself back into the mix in the flyweight division.
(3) Matt Schnell (10-4) vs. Marco Beltran (8-6) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Schnell comes out and lands a leg kick. A head kick from Beltran is blocked. A bit of an extended feeling out process here as we are almost two minutes in and not much offense has been thrown or landed. Halfway through the round and the fight continues to be a kick boxing affair with neither fighter doing much. Schnell gets clipped with a right. Schnell applies pressure and gets inside and lands a quick combination and gets back out. Beltran lands a nice leg kick but Schnell counters with a straight right hand. Schnell misses with an uppercut but lands with a left hook. They clinch and Schnell lands a nice left hook on the break.
ROUND TWO: Schnell comes out bounncing on his toes as Beltran tries to close distance. Schnell lands a heavy inside leg kick a minute in. Schnell clearly has the speed advantage here as Beltran continues to try and close distance. Schnell lands a kick or a punch and is out of harms way continuously. Beltran lands a switch kick flush halfway through the round. The action slows considerably the second half of the round. Beltran is now staying on the outside and throwing a heavy arsenal of kicks. Most aren’t finding the mark. That was a tough round to score because neither fighter did much of anything.
ROUND THREE: Schnell comes out aggressively and runs Beltran to the fence where they clinch. Schnell can’t get the take down and they break. The fight resumes as a kick boxing affair. Big over hand right from Beltran. Schnell lands a left hook that just glances off of Schnell’s chin. Two minutes in and it looks like Beltran catches a kick to the groin. The resumes quickly. Beltran lands a overhand right and it looks like Beltran’s confidence is growing in the last round. Beltran is trying to apply more pressure but is getting caught with quick jabs on the way in. With under a minute to go Schnell lands a nice left hook. Beltran lands one of his own. Beltran shoots and takes Schnell down but he gets caught in a guillotine. There isn’t enough time for Schnell to get a better position as the round ends.
Result: Matt Schnell over Marco Beltran by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Grocke’s Point of View: That wasn’t the most exciting fight. It was primarily a kick boxing match with neither fighter landing big shots and doing a ton of damage. Schnell was the quicker and more technical striker which was the difference.
(4) Pearl Gonzalez (6-2) vs. Poliana Botelho (5-1) – Strawweight 115 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Both women come out swinging. Gonzalez lands three heavy leg kicks that look to hurt Botelho. Gonzalez runs Botelho to the fence and works for a take down. Botelho lands a few big elbows with her back to the cage. They continue in the clinch with three minutes to go. Referee Herzog finally breaks them up with just over two minutes to go. Botelho has double under hooks as she works in the clinch trying to get Pearl to the mat. Gonzalez turns Botelho and is now applying her weight against Botelho on the cage. Botelho lands more elbows with her back to the fence. Gonzalez is really working hard for the take down inn he clinch as the round ends.
ROUND TWO: Botelho takes center of the octagon to start the round. Gonzalez shoots in and runs Botelho across the cage as she looks for a take down. Botelho has been doing an excellent job of defending these take down attempts. She also is doing work and keeping busy with her back to the fence. Botelho is landing some serious elbows with her back to the fence as Gonzalez continues to try for the take down. At 1:27 Herzog finally breaks them up. They reset back at center. Front kick lands for Botelho. Gonzalez snaps a solid jab but takes a heavy leg kick in the process. Gonzalez again runs Botelho to the fence. They exchange knees as the round ends.
ROUND THREE: Gonzalez comes out and starts attacking Botelho’s lead leg. Gonzalez catches a kick but gets hit with big right hands as Botelho bounces on one leg. Gonzalez releases the leg and runs Botelho to the fence. Pearl looks for a single leg with three minutes left. The crowd begins to get restless as Gonzalez takes a knee from Botelho. Botelho goes back to landing a few elbows with her back to the cage. Herzog separates them with 1:44 to go. Pearl once again runs Botelho to the fence and works for a take down. Gonzalez has to be exhausted at this point. He breaks them up again with thirty seconds to go. Botelho lands a head kick and Gonzalez runs her to the fence again. Botelho gets a take down and has top position as the round ends.
Result: Poliana Botelho over Pearl Gonzalez by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Grocke’s Point of View: Sweet Jesus that fight sucked. It was Gonzalez running Botelho to the fence looking for a take down while Botelho landed elbows and knees withh her back to the fence. Rinse and repeat for three rounds and you have a one-sided decision for Poliana Botelho.
(5) Lando Vannata (9-2) vs. Bobby Green (23-8) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Green takes center and lands a jab. Front kick for Green. Vannata lands an overhand right flush. They mix it up center octagon both landing strikes. Green runs Vannata to the cage where they trade knees and elbows. Vannata lands a big elbow as they break. with 3:20 to go. A big head kick lands for Vannata. Vannata lands to the body and puts Green to the canvass with a big elbow. Vannata pounces looking for the finish with just under three minutes to go. As Green is working back to his feet Vannata lands a knee illegally and Green goes back down. Herb Dean jumps in instantly and calls for time with 2:46 to go. Dean takes a point away from Vannata as the fight resumes. Vannata sinks in a guillotine as Green shoots in. Green gets to his feet but the choke is still locked on. Green slips out they clinch against the fence. Vannata is applying heavy pressure landing punches and kicks. Green misses with a left hand and Vannata capitalizes with a take down as the round ends.
ROUND TWO: Stiff jab from Green to start. He follows with a nice combo. Vannata comes back with one of his own. They trade kicks. Stiff right lands for Vannata with just under four minutes to go. Vannata is mixing up his offense well. Green comes back with a nice jab followed by a left hook. Green lands again. They clinch against the cage with 2:30 to go in the round. Vannata spins out and gets Green to the mat, but Green pops up quickly. Vannata gets another take down and takes the back. Green slips away and they clinch against the fence. Vannnta lands a big right hand on the break that hurts Green with 1:10 left. Vannata goes head hunting and lands more strikes. Green clinches and lands a kick followed by a punch. Both guys are just standing across from each other throwing hands as the round ends.
ROUND THREE: They trade kicks to start the third round. Nice leg kick from Vannata. They stand and trade a minute in. Vannata goes for a take down but Green stuffs it. Vannata lands a stiff right and Green comes back with one of own. They clinch against the cage and Green lands some knees. Green switches to southpaw and lands a few crisp jabs. Vannata lands two front kicks. With two minutes to go they are standing and trading huge strikes. Both guys are exhausted as they scramble. The fight continues on the feet as this is rock ’em sock ’em robots. Green lights up Vannata with a huge combo that rocks Vannata. Green tries to move in but the round ends.
Result: Lando Vannata-Bobby Green ends in a draw 29-27, 27-29, 28-28
Grocke’s Point of View: That fight was ridiculous! If you missed this one, go back and check it out. Just an incredible fight. Both guys left it all in the cage and I agree with the draw. I had it scored the exact same way.
(6) Tom Duquesnoy (15-1, 1 NC) vs. Cody Stamann (15-1) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Duqquesnoy takes center as they start. They trade kicks and Stamann gets a take down. Duqquesnoy is up quickly and they are are back to center. They trade more kicks. Duqquesnoy is the aggressor but takes a heavy kick in the ribs. Duquesnoy lands a big right hand and goes for a take down but Stamann defends it. Duquesnoy lands a nice straight left and follows with a kick but Stamann catches it and gets a take down with 2:10 to go. Duquesnoy works back to his feet and surprisingly Stamann lets him up with little resistance. They trade punches at center octagon with just a minute left in the round. Duquesnoy lands a heavy leg kick and Stamann comes back with a left hand. They circle each other as the round ends.
ROUND TWO: Duquesnoy takes center to start the round. Duquesnoy lands a head kick that Stamann shakes off. Duqquesnoy continues to be the aggressor as he follows Stamann around the cage. They trade punches and Stamann lands an elbow to the face on the break. Stamann switches stances and lands a big shot. Big take down for Stamann at the 2:32 mark. Stamann works from top position. Duquesnoy pushes him off with his legs and Stamann seemed content to let Duquesnoy back up. They circle and trade shots. Stamann shoots in and lands another take down. Stamann works from top position. Stamann postures up and lands two heavy right hands as the round ends.
ROUND THREE: Stamann lands with strikes on the feet. Stamann lands a big head kick and follows with a nice right hand. The fight has been on the feet for the first three minutes with not much happpening. Duquesnoy is slowing here. Stamann is winning the stand up exchanges which doesn’t bode well for Duquesnoy. Stamann is following Duquesnoy around until Duquesnoy gets a take down. Stamann is bacj to his feet as the round ends.
Result: Cody Stamann over Tom Duquesnoy by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Grocke’s Point of View: That was not a good performance from Tom Duquesnoy and certainly not what I expected. Stamann completely out worked him and beat him to the punch for most of the fight. Stamann even got the better of Duquesnoy in the take down department. Excellent win for Cody Stamann.
(7) Beneil Dariush (14-3) vs. Evan Dunham (17-6) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
ROUND ONE: The fight starts on the feet with Dunham circling around Dariush. They clinch briefly and break. Dariush is the aggressor waking Dunham down looking to trade. Dariush lands a looping left hook and he followd with two crushing elbows. Dunham goes down and starts landing heavy ground and pound. Dunham is taking a beating but he’s fighting back from underneath. With two minutes to go it looks as though Dunham is getting his senses about him. Dariush lands two big knees. Dariush has top position again and adminsters more ground and pound. Dunham explodes up and is back to his feet with thirty seconds left. They circle as the round ends.
ROUND TWO: Dunham comes out and lands a big combo. Dariush goes to the body with a knee but Dunhham wrapd him up with a double and gets the take down. A minute in Dunham has Dariush on the mat pinned against the fence. Dariush works back to his feet but Dunham keeps the pressure on him by putting his weight on Dariiush against the cage. They break with 2:28 left in the round. Dariush lands a combo and follows with a heavy leg kick that buckles Dunham’s leg. Dariush with another leg kick. Dunham catches a kick and lands a short left hands as he backs Dariush to the fence. They break with just under a minute to go and both miss with wild punches. Dariush with another heavy leg kick. Dunham clinches and gets in some dirty boxing against the cage as the round ends.
ROUND THREE: Dariush looks like he might have tired himself out trying to finish Dunham in the first round. Dunham comes out and lands a high kick as the round starts. Dariush lands a nice combo. Dunham circles Dariush and lands a big left hand flush. Dunham is starting to beat Dariush to the punch here. Dariush comes back with a combo. Dunham shoots in and runs Dariush to the cage. Dunham is staying busy enough in the clinch to not get separated. They break with a little over two minutes to go. Nice leg kick from Dariush and he follows with a crisp jab. Dunham goes for a weak take down that Dariush defends easily. Dunham lands a right and Dariush counters with a left. Dariush comes back with a big right. Dunham lands again as Dariush hits him with a leg kick. They mix it up with punches and kicks inside the final ten seconds. And the round ends.
Result: Beneil Dariush and Evan Dunham fight to a Majority Draw (29-28 Dariush, 28-28, 28-28)
Grocke’s Point of View: That was a hell of a fight. I thought Dariush was going to get the finish in the first round but Dunham is a tough SOB. I had the fight scored 28-28 so I agree with the decision. Dariush definitely tired himself out going for the finish in the first round. He wasn’t the same fighter in rounds two and three. If it wasn’t for the Vannata-Green fight this one may have had a chance for fight of the night.
(8) Mara Romero Borella (11-4, 1 NC) vs. Kalindra Faria (18-5-1) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Borella takes center and takes Faria down ten seconds in. Borella works from top position. Borella transitions to full mount but Faria is defending well. Borella slides Faria back towards the center of the cage. Borella starts to land her ground and pound by pinning Faria’s arm with her knee. Borella takes Faria’s back and looks for a rear naked choke. Faria fights it briefly but she is forced to tap.
Result: Mara Romero Borella over Kalindra Faria by Submission – Rear-Naked Choke ( of Round 1)
Grocke’s Point of View: That was a spectacular debut for Borella. She displayed excellent Jiu-Jitsu and dominated the fight from the opening horn. She’s definitely someone to watch in the flyweight division.
(9) Fabricio Werdum (21-7-1) vs. Walt Harris (10-5) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Werdum misses with a head kick but he follows up with an easy take down. He transitions to mount and as Harris scrambles he takes the back a minute in. Werdum easily gets both hooks in and has a rear-naked choke locked on. Harris tries to scramble out and as he does Werdum transitions to an arm bar and Harris taps instantly.
Result: Fabricio Werdum over Walt Harris by Submission – Arm Bar (1:05 of Round 1)
Grocke’s Point of View: Not much to say here. I give Harris credit for taking the fight and credit to Werdum for doing what he had to get out of there as quickly as possible.
(10) Demetrious Johnson (26-2-1) vs. Ray Borg (11-2) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
ROUND ONE: DJ comes out and lands a leg kick. Borg stands at center cage as DJ circles him. A heavy dose of leg kicks from DJ to start. Dj is switching stances a minute in. Borg catches a kick but DJ is able to get him down and takes the back. Borg is able to scramble and he’s up quickly. DJ lands a heavy kick to the body of Borg. Borg shoots in but DJ defends the take down. They clinch against the cage and DJ is able to get Borg down. DJ has top position with just just under two minutes to go in the round. DJ starts landing ground and pound. DJ keeps going after Borg’s arm but Borg is defending well. DJ transitions to side control but Borg is doing a great job defending from underneath as the round ends.
ROUND TWO: Borg pressures and closes distance and gets DJ against the cage. DJ reverses and now has Borg’s back to the fence a minute in. Borg reverses and changes levels and gets a take down. DJ works back to his feet and Borg takes his back standing. DJ bucks him off and as Borg falls DJ follows him to the mat and gets top control. DJ has Borg in a crucifix and lands punches until Borg scrambles and works back to his feet. Borg is up but takes big knees to the body. DJ with a take down into side control with just over a minute left in the round. DJ takes the back but Borg gets back up only to be taken back down. More knees from DJ as the round ends.
ROUND THREE: Borg takes center cage as DJ circles him. Borg shoots but DJ stuffs it. They clinch against the cage but DJ ends up taking Borg down and is now working from side control. DJ lands a few heavy elbows and he transitions to half guard. DJ lands knees and elbows from on top. Borg tries to get DJ off of him by using his legs but he is unsuccessful and continue to fight from underneath. DJ is in full mount, Borg tries to scramble but gets caught by DJ before he can get out. Borg scrambles again and this time he is able to get back to his feet with fifteen seconds to go. DJ lands to the body on the feet and goes for a take down. Borg catches him in a guillotine in the process and takes him to the canvas. The round ends with DJ fighting off the guillotine.
ROUND FOUR: Borg comes out with more aggression and takes DJ down as the round starts. DJ works back to his feet but Borg holds onto a single leg but ends up getting taken down. DJ lands a big elbow from on top. Borg taking sustained damage over the course of four rounds here. Borg scrambles and takes a knee to the body as he stands. DJ applies pressure to Borg on the cage. They reverse positions along the fence. DJ with another take down with 1:40 to go. DJ works from top control and just continues to smother Borg. Borg scrambles back to his feet and they clinch against the cage. DJ takes Borg down again. DJ works from top control as the round ends.
ROUND FIVE: DJ shoots in and takes Borg to the mat ten seconds in. More top control and ground and pound from DJ. Borg scrambles up but is taken right back down with 3:30 left in the fight. DJ has full mount and now looks to take Borg’s back. Borg scrambles but DJ maintains control. Borg scrambles again and this time he gets back to his feet. DJ Still has Borg and lifts him up for a slam as he does he grabs Borg’s arm and has an arm bar in as they go to the ground. Borg tries to fight it but is forced to tap.
Result: Demetrious Johnson over Ray Borg by Submission – Arm Bar (3:15 of Round 5)
Grocke’s Point of View: That finish was absolutely insane. It looked a WWE wrestler’s finishing move. Demetrious Johnson is so far ahead of everyone in the division that it’s not even fair. I have to hand it to Ray Borg though, he is tough as nails. This will be a learning experience for Borg and he will be a better fighter due to this fight. Congrats to DJ for a record breaking performance.
(11) Tony Ferguson (23-3) vs. Kevin Lee (16-2) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
ROUND ONE: Lee lands a high kick to open the fight. Ferguson blocks another attempt but he takes a right hand from Lee. A jab lands for Lee. Lee is much more aggressive than Ferguson here to start. A left hand drops Lee but Ferguson appeared to get poked in the eye so he wasn’t able to follow up on the knockdown. Lee goes for a take down and in the scramble Lee ends up in top position. Ferguson looks for an arm bar but Lee transitions and is out. Lee works from on top with just over a minute to go. Lee working towards North-South position. He moves to side control. Lee transitions to full mount and he’s landing big elbows and punches as the round ends.
ROUND TWO: Ferguson lands with a right hand from over the top to start the round. Lee blocks a head kick. Ferguson snaps a sharp jab and Lee returns the favor. They trade punches on the feet and Lee scores with a kick to the body. Lee shoots and Ferguson sprawls to defend. The fight continues on the feet halfway through the round. A straight right lands for Ferguson. Lee steps right into a big elbow and Lee acknowledges it. Lee lands a right hand and follows with a head kick that Ferguson blocks. They trade kicks to the body with forty seconds left. They scramble with neither fightere gaining an advantage and they continue on the feet until the round ends.
ROUND THREE: Lee goes for a double and gets a take down as the round starts. Lee has Ferguson on his back pinned against the cage. Lee tries to land ground and pound but Ferguson pushes him off. They are back on their feet at center. Ferguson looks to be more aggressive and starts to pressure Lee. A head kick is blocked by Ferguson and Lee follows up with a take down. Ferguson locks on an arm bar but Lee steps over and gets out. Lee is back in top control. Ferguson has a triangle. It’s tight. Lee taps!
Result: Tony Ferguson over Kevin Lee by Submission – Triangle Choke (4:02 of Round 3)
Grocke’s Point of View: Let me start by saying I’ve been a fan of Tony Ferguson since he was in the Ultimate Fighter so I’m happy that he got the win. Lee was having success with take downs and brought the fight to Ferguson. The fight went exactly as Ferguson planned. His game plan was to tire Lee out and finish the fight in the later rounds.
Lee said he was dealing with Staff during the weight cut and admitted he should be on antibiotics, but he wanted the fight. He didn’t use it as an excuse. He said he underestimated Tony’s bottom game and said he’s the man and he hopes he gets the job done. My guess is he means he hopes he beats Conor McGregor.
Ferguson called out McGregor in between expletives. I really hope Conor’s next fight is against Ferguson. Thanks for following along with me tonight. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @FightChampBlog