UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs. Pettis
March 23, 2019
Nashville, TN from Bridgestone Arena
Live on ESPN+ (Prelims 5 PM ET, Main Card 8 PM ET)
Jordan Espinoza def. Eric Shelton via Unanimous Decision
Ryan McDonald vs. Chris Gutierrez (Bantamweight/135)
Round 1: Gutierrez is looking good on the feet early on. He lands a nice kick to the midsection. Gutierrez connects again with a kick to the body. Gutierrez is proving hard to hit so far. Nice low kick lands for Gutierrez. McDonald lands a combo, but Gutierrez returns a low kick. Gutierrez is pressuring forward and ends the round with a spinning back elbow. 10-9 Gutierrez
Round 2: McDonald is bleeding from his hairline, likely from that spinning back elbow. Gutierrez is continuing with the forward pressure, he’s starting to rip into McDonald with some vicious low kicks. Gutierrez connects with a low kick and follows it up with a left hook. McDonald is tough but you can’t say much else about him right now. He’s being forced backwards and none of his strikes have much power behind them. McDonald drops for a takedown, but Gutierrez catches his neck with a guillotine. McDonald pulls out and they are back on the feet. McDonald catches a kick and he’s looking for a takedown, but Gutierrez won’t allow it. 10-9 Gutierrez
Round 3: McDonald moves forward with a jab but Gutierrez counters with a leg kick that knocks his opponent off balance. Spinning back kick to the body lands for Gutierrez. He follows that up with a grazing head kick. McDonald is an absolute mess. The commentators keep driving home the toughness of Ryan McDonald… that should tell you a bit about how this fight is going. Gutierrez just went for something wild and ended up slipping on his back. McDonald is now in top position, but he only has 20 seconds left to work. 10-9 Gutierrez (30-27 Gutierrez)
Result: Chris Gutierrez def. Ryan McDonald via Unanimous Decision
Randa Markos vs. Angela Hill (Strawweight/125)
Round 1: Hill forces the fight against the fence early. Markos circles out though and rushes towards Hill with a flurry. Hill avoids most of the big shots but Markos scores with a hip toss takedown. Markos is in side control but Angela Hill is turning and giving up her back in the process. Markos moves into mount, but Hill is working to escape. She’s threatening with a rear naked choke, but Hill is defending. Markos transitions to the armbar and Hill could be in trouble here. And its all over. Markos was working from the mount, threatened for a choke when Hill rolled, and then transitioned to an armbar once she realized that Hill was properly defending the RNC. Nice work by the Canadian.
Result: Randa Markos def. Angela Hill via Submission (Armbar) Round 1, 4:37
Analysis: If you back and watch Angela Hill during her Invicta Run you will see that she was something special. Unfortunately that success hasn’t followed her into her UFC career.
(9) Alexis Davis vs. Jennifer Maia (Flyweight/125)
Round 1: Maia is landing some good shots early on. Davis lands a nice right hand, but Maia forces her against the fence with a pair of under hooks. Davis connects with an elbow just as they separate. Maia opens up with several good punches to Davis! She connects with a kick to the body and more punches! Davis could be hurt here! She moves in for a takedown but Maia sprawls! (10-9 Maia)
Round 2: Davis scores with a kick to the body. Maia is doing a good job of attacking both the body and the head. Davis catches a kick from Maia and takes her down to the mat. Davis moves right into mount, but Maia is able to recover a half guard. Davis is looking to isolate an arm, perhaps looking for an Americana but Maia is so far defending. Davis is starting to open up with punches and elbows forcing Maia to find a way to move. (10-9 Davis)
Round 3: Maia is looking to box, and Davis is looking to keep the distance and land kicks. Davis connects with a front kick and a couple of short left hands, but Maia is right back in her face. Maia connects with a right hand, but Davis lands a right hand of her own and lands a kick to the midsection as well. Davis secures a body lock and forces the fight against the fence, but Maia circles out and they are exchanging in the final moments of the round. (10-9 Maia) (29-28 Maia)
Result: Jennifer Maia def. Alexis Davis via Unanimous Decision
Analysis: Jennifer Maia was just a bit more on point tonight. It was likely tied going into the third round and Maia come out seemingly fresh and put a stamp on things. She should find herself in the rankings after this performance.
Marlon Vera def. Frankie Saenz (Bantamweight/135)
*Sorry for the lack of coverage. My ESPN app crashed just as the fight started, and I had to reboot. The fight was very quick and from what I saw it looked as if Saenz got caught and when he did, he dove for a single leg, and was finished as he fought for the takedown. I’m not sure if it’s my internet connection or a problem with the ESPN service but either way I apologize.
Result: Marlon Vera def. Frankie Saenz
Bobby Moffett vs. Bryce Mitchell (Featherweight/145)
Round 1: They are circling early on. Mitchell connects with a quick jab and Moffett is down! Moffett recovers quickly and he’s looking to take the fight to the ground, but Mitchell is scrambling. Mitchell recovers guard and slaps on a triangle! Moffett could be in trouble here! He escapes and we’re back on the feet. Mitchell is looking for a takedown with 90 seconds left in the round, but Moffett is defending with the aid of the fence. Moffett moves in for a takedown but eats an uppercut! He returns a right hand and Mitchell reacts by dropping for a single leg. Moffett hits the fence though and reverses the position in the final seconds of the round. (10-9 Mitchell)
Round 2: Moffett scores early with a spinning kick to the body. Mitchell is leading most of the exchanges here in the early part of the round. He’s pressuring forward and it seems to be working because Mitchell is showing signs of fatigue. He scores with a takedown and Mitchell is now looking to recover guard. Moffett attacks with a D’arce choke but Mitchell hops over his hips and breaks the hold. Mitchell is now in top position. He traps an arm and moves into a crucifix position and he’s looking to further isolate an arm from there. (10-9 Moffett)
Round 3: Moffett is pressuring early and scores with a takedown with over four minutes left in the round. Mitchell has a half guard, but he is crushed against the fence. Just as I say that he pulls an armbar out of nowhere, but Moffett escapes. Both guys seem to be tired but especially Mitchell. Moffett moves in with an overhand and uses it to secure another takedown. He is sitting in Mitchells half guard. Moffett is threatening with another D’arce choke but its hard to tell how deep it is. Mitchell pops out of it though and he is looking for a takedown. He instead takes the back standing, and Moffett drops down to one knee. Mitchell has a Rear Naked Choke and Moffett is in trouble here! Moffett is defending but Mitchell keeps readjusting. (10-9 Mitchell) (29-28 Mitchell)
Result: Bryce Mitchell def. Bobby Moffett via Unanimous Decision
Analysis: Very close fight. Moffett pressured and scored with lots of takedowns, but Mitchell landed the more notable strikes and also managed to control a lot of the grappling exchanges. They just announced the decision and I think they got it right… Bryce Mitchell is very exciting. His post-fight interview was hilarious, has yelled “Arkansas” a bunch of times and demanded camo shorts from Reebok.
Maycee Barber vs. JJ Aldrich (Flyweight/125)
Favorite: Maycee Barber
Aldrich scores early with a big left hand and Barber is down! Aldrich let her up though and we are back on the feet. Aldrich connects with another stiff jab. Barber does not look comfortable so far. They exchange right hands, and both find a home. Aldrich gets in again with a left and a right hook! Aldrich scores with a jab and follows it up with a quick straight right! Barber throws a leg kick, but Aldrich counters and knocks her down with a shove after landing a short right hand. Aldrich is looking several levels ahead of Barber so far. (10-9 Aldrich)
Round 2: Barber appears a bit more composed in this round. She is a lot more aggressive, and she’s forcing Aldrich backwards. She connects with a big right hand and Aldrich is in trouble! Aldrich ducks underneath a follow up shot and secures a clinch. Barber separates though and unleashes a flurry of strikes on her opponent! The ref steps in and this fight is over!
Result: Maycee Barber def. JJ Aldrich via TKO (Punches) Round 2, 3:01
Analysis: Maycee Barber looked rough in the first round, but she pulled it together in the second. We learned that she struggles moving backwards but when she is moving forward, she can deliver some devastating power.
Luis Pena vs. Steven Peterson (Featherweight/145)
Round 1: Peterson moves in for a takedown right out of the gate, but Pena is defending. Pena is threatening with a kimura, he’s circling into it and drops to his back, but Peterson rolls with him and nearly pulls off an armbar! Both guys are up, and Pena lands a flying knee! Peterson wears it well, but it certainly landed. Peterson is pressuring and trying to control Pena against the fence, but he escapes and connects with a right hand just as the round ends. (10-9 Pena)
Round 2: Pena keeps his chin straight up in the air. He’s just moving backwards to avoid shots and Peterson just used that momentum to take Pena down. Peterson takes the back, but Pena stands and shakes him. Pena lands several strikes against the fence, but Peterson circles out and way from The Violent Bob Ross! Peterson is now in control, he forces Pena against the fence and takes him right down. Pena is up but Peterson takes him right back down, and scrambles to take his back! Pena explodes out of the bad position and tags Peterson with several strikes as he attempts to create some distance. Pena lands a jumping knee to the face, but Peterson is still standing! Both guys are starting to look a bit tired, but Pena is very relaxed and seemingly in control at this point. Peterson is looking for a takedown, but Pena is using a kimura, or really its wrist control, to keep himself standing. They briefly separate in the final seconds of the round and exchange one final time. (10-9 Peterson)
Round 3: Pena is controlling the distance early with his jab. Pena lands a high kick! Peterson can take a shot though, no doubt about that. Peterson is working for a takedown, but Pena just grabbed the fence. Peterson lost position and now they’re back clinched against the fence. Peterson connects with a slick inside leg kick that appeared to affect the balance of Luis Pena. Peterson completes a takedown with half a round left. Pena sweeps though and takes top position, he’s sitting in Peterson’s guard and looking to control him from there. Peterson has an active guard though, and he’s looking for an armbar. Peterson climbs to his feet and eats a Headkick for his efforts! But he eats it and moves right in for a takedown! Pena is defending though, and they are fighting for control against the fence. (10-9 Pena) (29-28 Pena)
Result: Luis Pena def. Steven Peterson via Unanimous Decision
Analysis: Luis Pena looked very good, but Peterson is a relentless sort of guy. He just kept moving forward and the shots that he took were serious. Pena is a fun fighter though himself and its good to see him pick up a win here.
Jussier Formiga vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (Flyweight/125)
Round 1: Formiga has dreams of a title shot if he can get a win here. Let’s see what he can do against his undefeated opponent. Figueiredo scores with a spinning back kick to the body. Formiga seems very hesitant to throw many shots. He changes levels and takes Figueiredo down. He’s looking to pass into half guard and does so. (10-9 Formiga)
Round 2: Formiga seems more willing to trade in this round. Figueiredo connects with a jab. Formiga trips him down though, and he’s now in his opponent’s guard. He has four minutes to make something happen. Brendan Fitzgerald just referred to that as a dominant position for Formiga… I don’t really think of being in somebodies guard as dominant. Do you? Figueiredo seems to just be waiting for something to happen, meanwhile Formiga is controlling him from the top position. Figueiredo just landed a shot from the bottom and Formiga is busted open very badly! He’s still in top position, in half guard now, but that was quite a shot from the bottom by Figueiredo. (10-9 Formiga)
ESPN+ is giving me fits but it only seems to happen during commercials aside from the occasional in fight glitch. I guess it could be worse.
Round 3: Figueredo connects with a short hook to start the round. Formiga is ahead and Figueredo is starting to take some desperate shots but he isn’t connecting. Formiga secures a body lock and takes his opponent right down to the mat. It really isn’t very competitive down on the mat… Formiga is just controlling every aspect of the fight as long as its on the ground. Figueredo is up with the aid of the fence and he is stalking Formiga now, he has twenty seconds to work. And that’s it… Both guys are raising their arms in victory, but I don’t think we will have a controversy here. Formiga deserves a shot at Henry Cejudo.
Result: Jussier Formiga def. Deiveson Figueredo via Unanimous Decision
Analysis: Jussier Formiga called for a title shot post fight and I would say that he deserves it. He defeated a fighter that has never lost before and outside of Joe Benavidez I can’t think of anybody else that has an argument. Of course, it all depends on what Henry Cejudo chooses to do next.
John Makdessi vs. Jesus Pinedo (Lightweight/155)
Round 1: Very slow start to the round. Makdessi is throwing lots of kicks but Pinedo has been out of range for most of them. Pinedo slips and Makdessi hits him a time or two before he can stand back up. Well… I’ll be kind and say that was a slow round. (10-9 Makdessi)
Round 2: Makdessi catches a kick early and trips Pinedo down. Still not much happening though. Makdessi throws a kick to the midsection but it doesn’t connect. Pinedo is landing the occasional jab but that’s about it. Makdessi connects with a kick to the thigh. Pinedo’s leg is starting to show some signs of damage. Pinedo is starting to open up a bit. He lands a winding right hand and a head kick just as the round ends. We are seeing signs of life. (10-9 Makdessi) Could go either way as not much happened at all.
Round 3: Makdessi is fighting with a bit more of a sense of urgency. He connects with a low kick and then just misses with another. Pinedo returns with a flurry but nothing of note lands. Makdessi connects with a kick to the midsection… The crowd is now happy, and DC is agreeing with them. Very slow fight. Makdessi lands several shots towards the end of the round. (10-9 Makdessi)
Result: John Makdessi def. Jesus Pinedo via Unanimous Decision
Analysis: Not a very fun fight. Makdessi did just enough and I can’t say much else about it.
Justin Willis vs. Curtis Blaydes (Heavyweight/265)
Round 1: Blaydes opens up with a low kick. Blaydes changes levels early, but Willis drops backwards towards the cage to keep himself up. Blaydes trips him and Willis is down. Blaydes is moving into mount and Willis is in trouble here. Willis is nearly up but Blaydes lifts him and slams him back to the mat. Blaydes is controlling Willis’ left arm and it is allowing him to control his opponent with ease. (10-9 Blaydes) Total control by Blaydes. He scored 5 takedowns.
Round 2: Blaydes lands a big right hand and Willis is hurt! Blaydes takes him right down and moves into mount. Willis is out of his league here… Unless you can catch Blaydes with a big shot he is a serious problem. Blaydes is in total control here. He isn’t landing many shots, but he is in total control. He moves to Willis’ back with just over a minute left in the round. Willis trying to get up but Blaydes just won’t allow it. (10-9 Blaydes) These could be 10-8 rounds but Blaydes isn’t doing a ton of damage. Hard to say.
Round 3: Blaydes is choosing to stay on the feet so far but Willis seems hesitant to really do much of anything. Willis throws a short right hook but Blaydes ducks, changes levels and now he’s working for a takedown. They briefly separate but Blaydes takes Willis right back down after a brief pause and that’s how the round will end. Domination for Blaydes, tough break for Willis. (10-9 Blaydes) (30-27 Blaydes)
Result: Curtis Blaydes def. Justin Willis via Unanimous Decision
Analysis: Not even close… Blaydes is fired up post fight. He’s talking shit about Willis and his wrestling… Then post fight, when DC asked him who he wanted next, he called out a bunch of guys that weren’t DC. Feels like a missed opportunity…
NEXT: THE RISE AND STUMBLE OF DARREN TILL
Stephen Thompson vs. Anthony Pettis (Welterweight/170)
Round 1: They’re trading body kicks early in the round. Pettis scores with a low kick, but Thompson returns a kick to the body that stops him in his tracks. Thompson strikes with a flurry and lands several hard shots. So far, this fight is going exactly like you would expect. Pettis hasn’t figured out the puzzle quite yet. Thompson scores with a jab and a spinning kick to the body! Then he rushes back in with several straight punches! Pettis tagged him on his way out though. Thompson gets through one more time with a jab and a straight right hand. (10-9 Thompson)
Round 2: Thompson is moving in and out and he’s landing every time he does so. Thompson lands a jab and then a right hand as Pettis attempts to move inside. Thompson is just peppering him with jabs and straights, mixed in with kicks. Fantastic performance so far by Wonderboy. Pettis is starting to look a bit gun shy here in front of Thompson. He is landing the occasional leg kick though and Thompson needs to start paying attention to those. And Pettis connects with a huge superman punch! Wow I spoke to soon! Wonderboy is out! WOW! Anthony Pettis almost looked to be out of that fight and then BOOM!
Result: Anthony Pettis def. Stephen Thompson via KO (Superman Punch) Round 2, 4:55
Analysis: Wonderboy looked great up until he got hit, but wow that was a hell of a punch by Pettis. All I can say is that is why we watch this sport… fights like this. Just wow. This is the biggest win for Pettis in years.
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