Saturday, February 9, 2019
Melbourne, Australia from Rod Laver Arena
Live on UFC Fight Pass (6:30 PM ET), ESPN (8 PM ET), and Pay-Per-View (10 PM ET)
Fight Pass Prelims
(1) Wuliji Buren vs. Jonathan Martinez (Bantamweight)
ROUND ONE: They traded kicks to the legs and body early on. Buren mixed in some high kicks and went for a takedown against the cage and got it. Buren postured up and worked hard to pass Martinez’s guard. He passed briefly but lost position and Martinez ended up on top. Dominick Cruz recognized that Martinez just about had a Von Flue choke set up. He didn’t get it and moved to side guard and took Buren’s back. Martinez held on and landed a couple of big knees and then a big punch before Buren got up. Martinez went down from a Buren kick and Buren secured top position. Martinez worked for an armbar but Buren defended. 10-9 Martinez
ROUND TWO: Jumping knee attempt from Buren. Martinez retaliated with a sharp punching combo. Martinez with a body kick. Martinez countered a body kick with a left hand. Buren shot in for another takedown and landed in half guard. Martinez ended up sweeping and getting top position. Buren then reversed again and landed some punches to the body on top. He nearly had a choke but Martinez got up. With Buren crouching on the mat, Martinez landed some hammer fists and looked to find room for a choke. Buren was able to stand up but Martinez held on and landed some knees. 10-9 Martinez, 20-18.
ROUND THREE: Martinez escaped an early armbar attempt from Buren and took his back. Burn turned into Martinez’s guard and then gave his back up again. Martinez then had him flattened out briefly but couldn’t find a finish. Buren was able to turn out and was on top of Martinez. Buren jumped on a guillotine and transitioned to an anaconda but let it go. Martinez then took top position and landed lots of punches as the final seconds ran down. 10-9 Martinez, 30-27.
Result: 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 Martinez by unanimous decision
Analysis: This fight was probably closer than my scorecard indicated as Buren definitely had his moments and was in the fight most of the time. Martinez was always able to find his way out of tough spots and landed the bigger shots when striking. This was a fun fight to open the show with.
(2) Callan Potter vs. Jalin Turner (Lightweight)
ROUND ONE: Turner is a tall lightweight. He defended a takedown attempt and got out of an early armbar and leg lock attempt. Turner then landed a left and a right and then a low left that Potter leaned right into and it put him out. The left actually landed to the body but it still dropped him and Turner finished the fight on the ground.
Result: Turner by KO at :53 of the first round
Analysis: It was short so we didn’t get to see a lot of what Turner has but he looked great in finishing Callan Potter here.
(3) Teruto Ishihara vs. Kyung Ho Kang (Bantamweight)
ROUND ONE: Ishihara with lots of left kicks out of the gate. Ishihara landed a hard right and then a left. He then landed a desperation left at Kang rushed in. Kang dropped but seemed to gain back his composure. Kang landed a hard right, these guys are banging. Kang with a big knee that hurt him. He just started unloading against the fence followed by some clinch uppercuts. They must be in triple digits for attempted strikes. Each. Kang got a choke in on the ground and Ishihara passed out and that’s all she wrote. Crazy ass fight.
Result: Kang by submission at 3:59 of round one
Analysis: That might be an early contender for fight of the year. I loved everything about that.
(4) Kai Kara-France vs. Raulian Paiva (Flyweight)
ROUND ONE: Kara-France the local favorite here. Kara-France landed a big right in the first minute that dropped Paiva briefly. Paiva rushed in and grabbed a single-leg. He couldn’t finish the takedown. Kara-France circled the outside of the cage and threw some combos that mostly caught air. Paiva with jabs and leg kicks. Paiva landed a right that landed flush. 10-9 Kara-France
ROUND TWO: Kara-France missed a takedown early on but Paiva defended and took side control. There was a scramble and they ended up on their feet. Some nice upkicks from Kara-France while he was on the ground with Paiva standing over him. Nice left from Paiva as Kara-France threw big punches. Paiva’s striking was sharp this round, he landed several times. Kara-France was busy but Paiva seemed to land the better shots. Paiva had a late guillotine attempt but time ran out. 10-9 Paiva, 19-19
ROUND THREE: Paiva’s counter game continued to be strong in the third. Nice right from Kara-France. Paiva landed a hard kick right to Kara-France’s groin. No point taken but a stern warning from referee Marc Goddard. Paiva started opening up a bit and was connecting. Kara-France went for a takedown and got it. It didn’t last long and both were standing. Kara-France going to the body but Paiva continued to counter. Kara-France went for the takedown and got it very briefly at the end of the fight. Close round that I’ll give to Kara-France for pushing the pace 10-9 Kara-France, 29-28.
Result: Kai Kara-France by split decision 29-28, 28-29, 29-28
Analysis: Paiva had the right game plan, he just may have needed to be a little more aggressive to get the win. It was a close fight and in those cases, the busier fighter will likely get the nod.
(5) Shane Young vs. Austin Arnett (Featherweight)
ROUND ONE: Young landed a couple of shots early on and kept the pressure on. Young mixed in some low kicks and ate a big left from Arnett. Arnett with a lot of jabs and a few are connecting. Young stayed busy with combinations. Arnett switched up his stance often throwing jabs and then switching to throw power combos. Late in the round, Young landed a series of big shots that hurt Arnett. 10-9 Young
ROUND TWO: A big right over top from Young early on. Arnett landed a straight left that connected a few times. A hard right from Young landed. Young went to the body afterward. Young kept the pressure up while Arnett danced away. Young really turned it up the last minute and landed some big shots. Arnett was tough and ate most of them but it took a toll. 10-8 Young, 20-17
ROUND THREE: Arnett caught a kick and landed a big right hand on Young. Young kept the pressure up, throwing punches and body kicks. Young landed some big shots and Arnett just covered up and moved away. Arnett landed a right. Arnett landed a jab and Young rushed in with a combo to counter. Big right from Young. Young turned it up in the last minute again. Arnett threw some big punches to try and keep up but Young’s pace was tough. Both men landed some big shots late and Young dropped him right at the horn. 10-9 Young, 30-26.
Result: 30-27 x 3 for Young by unanimous decision
Analysis: Fun fight. This was another case of a guy not doing enough and relying too much on a counter game to get a decision. Young kept up a good pace and was popular with the live crowd so it’s a good showing for him. He fought a very fan friendly style, so he’s someone that can be used on shows outside of his home country.
(6) Devonte Smith vs. Dong Hyun Ma (Lightweight)
ROUND ONE: Hard leg kick from Smith to open. Not a lot happening. Smith was in and out with kicks. Ma threw a kick and Smith just rushed in and rocked Ma with a right hand. Ma dropped and Smith followed up on the ground and finished the fight. A couple of those late hammer fists might have landed to the back of the head but it was by no means a bad stoppage.
Result: Smith by TKO at 3:53 of round one
Analysis: Smith showed some good explosive potential there. He waited for the opportunity where Ma would commit himself to a strike and then he could follow up and capitalize on the opening. Lightweight is a tough division but he could be someone to watch.
They aired an interview with Kelvin Gastelum holding a UFC title belt. He said he considers himself the new champion as Robert Whittaker made the weight and couldn’t make the fight and in the (amateur) wrestling world, that would be considered a forfeit. He did his best but you can tell even he didn’t take that seriously.
PPV Main Card
(7) Jim Crute vs. Sam Alvey (Light Heavyweight)
ROUND ONE: High kick from Crute but Sam got a hand up. Alvey missed a big right hand and flashed a smile. Alvey slipped a jab in. Alvey landed a big left. It looked like the fight was over briefly after Crute landed a right and Crute walked off. It was a weird series of events. The fight continued and Crute landed punches on the ground until Goddard stopped the fight. Alvey shot up immediately and protested the stoppage. It looked like a fine stoppage, event the false finish a few seconds earlier would have been fine.
Result: Crute by TKO at 2:49 of round one
Analysis: The way Goddard ran in originally made it seem like he was about to stop the fight so I get why Crute walked away. Alvey was pissed after they read the decision. He yelled a profanity and stormed out of the cage. He definitely wasn’t smil’n tonight.
(8) Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem (Flyweight)
ROUND ONE: De La Rosa rushed her right away and got the fight to the mat early. De La Rosa was in half guard and worked to pass while landing some elbows. Kassem made a triangle attempt from the bottom. She had a good grip on De La Rosa but no submission. De La Rosa landed some body shots and tried to get out of Kassem’s guard. She landed some shots from the top but nothing big. She went for an armbar but ran out of time. 10-9 De La Rosa
ROUND TWO: De La Rosa took her down immediately and took side control. She trapped an arm and tried to get to mount. She had a knee on her belly and then stepped over. De La Rosa had a triangle on from the mount. She transitioned to an armbar and Kassem tried to find a way out. De La Rosa wasn’t letting go though. She landed some elbows with a triangle locked in. She got back to a mounted triangle and landed more elbows. She went back to an armbar and finally got the tap.
Result: De La Rosa at 2:27 of the second round
Analysis: Strong performance from Montana De La Rosa. She took her down immediately in both rounds and pretty much had her way with Kassem on the ground. Flyweight is a new and developing division so she could find herself in a key fight very soon.
(9) Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon (Bantamweight)
ROUND ONE: Flurries of punches from both guys right away. Simon landed a big leg kick and Yahya countered with a right hand. Simon threw a big uppercut. Yahya didn’t seem fazed and pushed forward landing some combos. Another uppercut from Simon connected. Yahya missed a takedown attempt badly. Simon dropped him with a right hand and pounced on him on the ground. He then decided to let him up. Yahya whiffed on a right-hand attempt. Simon kept pressure high without burning himself out. Yahya missed another takedown attempt. Simon ducked under a punch and took Yahya down. He got up and Simon landed a head kick. 10-9 Simon
ROUND TWO: Simon took him down again but then didn’t engage on the ground. Simon was bleeding from his right eye. Yahya missed a takedown again. Simon kept the pressure on and landed some punches. Yahya landed a right-hand counter that hurt Simon. Simon then dropped Yahya with a shoulder block. Simon took him down and tried to do something on the ground, but time ran out. 10-9 Simon, 20-18
ROUND THREE: High kick from Yahya. Simon blocked another takedown attempt. Simon having no problem ducking Yahya’s punches. Body shots from Simon. Simon took him down and chose to enter Yahya’s guard this time with less than a minute to go. He didn’t do too much. 10-9 Simon, 30-27
Result: 30-27, 30-27, 30-25 Simon by unanimous decision.
Analysis: 30-25 is going really aggressive with the 10-8’s but I can see it. Simon showed very good takedown defense and offensive wrestling as well. His ability to slip under Yahya’s punches was impressive. He landed some good shots but Yahya is a tough guy to put away.
(10) Lando Vannata vs. Marcos Mariano (Lightweight)
ROUND ONE: Mariano with a high kick early. He had a significant height and reach advantage. Vannata came in with a big left. Hard leg kick from Mariano. Vannata closed the distance and took him down. He worked for position but couldn’t get much done. He postured up and started landing some punches from Mariano’s guard. Lando landed a couple of big elbows. With just a few seconds left in the round, Vannata was able to lock in a kimura and Mariano tapped.
Result: Vannata by submission at 4:55 of round one
Analysis: A much-needed win for Vannata who usually finds himself in fun fights. He’s not a top-level guy by any means but he’s good to have for entertaining fights on the undercard. He called out Jim Miller for his next fight, which would be a fun fight.
(11) Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya (Middleweight)
ROUND ONE: This fight feels really cool and main event worthy now that it’s here. Silva ate a leg kick early on. Silva has his hands up and is circling slowly around Adesanya. Adesanya with a couple of leg kicks. Silva replied with one of his own. Silva started rushing in out of nowhere. He ate a couple of punches from Adesanya and then a knee. Silva dropped his hands to kind of take it in for a moment. Silva missed on a punch attempt then rushed some more and landed. Adesanya landed a right and a left. Silva switching stances and Adesanya just missed on a high kick and he let Silva know that. This crowd badly wants the old Silva to come out here. Adesanya just missed another high kick. This is a fun fight. 10-9 Adesanya.
ROUND TWO: Silva landed a counter right. Adesanya landed a big combo while Silva had his hands down. Silva seemed OK but those were big punches. Big left from Adesanya landed. He missed another high kick. Silva landed a counter right. Silva rushed in and landed a few shots. He grabbed a clinch and snuck a couple more in. Leg kick and a left hand from Adesanya. Silva landed two rights and he started having some fun, doing some old Anderson hand dancing. Adesanya landed more leg kicks. The fight has become a bit of a chess match. 10-9 Adesanya, 20-18.
ROUND THREE: More leg kicks from Adesanya. Silva caught a kick, followed up with a punch and then missed a flying knee that sent him flying into the cage. Silva has some swelling under the right eye. Silva had his back to the cage and was goading Adesanya to come engage with him, this went on for a bit until Adesanya back off and they met in the center. More leg kicks by Adesanya and he tried to mix in a high kick. Silva slipped a right hand in but Adesanya is avoiding most of his striking attempts and landing leg kicks. Adesanya landed four or five clean shots that Silva laughed off. Body kick from Silva. Silva missed a huge spinning back kick. 10-9 Adesanya, 30-27.
Result: 29-28, 30-27, 30-27, Adesanya by unanimous decision.
Analysis: There will only ever be one Anderson Silva. This fight was a lot like the Cormier fight where there were flashes of brilliance and of the old Anderson Silva, but he was just overmatched by a better fighter. Adesanya didn’t allow himself to get overly sucked into Silva’s games. The leg kicks were a difference maker. I don’t know that they did a lot of damage but it scored points in otherwise close rounds. If you skipped this show, I don’t blame you, but this is a fight to go out of your way to see, especially if you are a longtime fan.