by Gil Kuta Jr.
Before we get into fists flying and mastery of the mat, I need to let you know how this is going to go down. Every fight will be rated from 1-10 on how good of a fight I believe it was on a basis of entertainment and quality in my personal opinion.
This card did not go on as intended, Covid-19 certainly did its damage to the lineup. 3 fights were cancelled outright, and 2 preliminary fights had different participants than originally booked. Jamall Emmers was scheduled to fight Timur Valiev from Russia, but he wound up facing Vince Cachero, and Nate Maness was set to fight Ray Borg, but Borg was replaced with Johnny Munoz. The main card had its issue as well, but it didn’t happen until last night. Kevin Holland was ready to fight Tevin Giles in the opening fight of the night, but Giles fainted in the hallway. The athletic commission cancelled the fight out of caution, Giles was conscious and being looked after by medical personnel at the Apex and was taken to a local hospital to get checked out. Giles got the all clear from the hospital. An anonymous source said that it may have been anxiety about the fight that caused Giles to faint. UFC’s Dana White said: “He’s all right. We can’t have him fight when that happens.”
Keep Em’ Up Fellas
Chris Gutierrez vs. Cody Durden
This was a pretty solid opening contest. Both fighters had a plan, but Gutierrez seemed to have a better grip on the fight overall. Durden seemed to be on spaghetti legs for decent portions of this fight. Durden completely dominated the first round, keeping Chris under wraps against the cage.Gutierrez seemed to be totally fine with that however, and happily waited him out until the next round. This was a tough fight to call, both brought great power, and Durden’s wrestling matched up with Gutierrez’s power nicely. The oddity in this fight was the unusually high number of low blows, the fight was stopped 3 times because of hits below the belt. It also seemed to come back to fighting after the Covid-19 shutdown means some fighters are still finding their feet. I would love to see the rematch, and the result would certainly leave the door open for one.
Nice One Pretty Boy
Jamall Emmers vs. Vince Cachero
There is a rising star in UFC’s featherweight division. Jamall Emmers or “Pretty Boy” as he’s called; has all the tools to be a big draw for Dana White. He’s a lengthy, smooth fighting striker with a lot of personality. Vince Cachero showed off his cast iron chin. Emmers even caved to it in the 3rd round, where he seemed to give in to the fact that Cachero just wouldn’t go down. Emmers showed off his ground ability in the 3rd, going for his share of submissions, mostly from Cachero’s back. Emmers solidly won this fight, and this could be a great sign of things to come. Connor McGregor has retired, and the featherweight division needs a fighter with personality. Emmers could definitely be that guy, and he would be a much more endearing confidence instead of McGregor’s outright arrogance. This was a great fight, Emmers put on a show.
Result: Emmers Wins, Unanimous Decision
What were they watching?
Nate Maness vs. Johnny Munoz
This fight got weirder as it went on. Munoz had a very persistent aggressive approach, some might say too aggressive, and Munoz lost a point after 3 low blows. None of them were on purpose, but referee Mark Smith had to make a call. Maness seemed to always be a step behind, but there was the occasional flurry of solid strikes. Munoz also has good control of Maness on the ground or against the cage for a good amount of time. Maness didn’t go easy, he stuffed just as many takedowns as Munoz landed. The result was the confusion in this fight, despite losing a point, Munoz seemed to be in control for the majority of the fight, but the decision went the other way. I believe the judges missed one here.
Result: Maness Wins Unanimous Decision
Frankie Saenz vs. Jonathan Martinez
We all got to see why they call Jonathan Martinez “The Dragon”. He was downright smooth in this fight. It truly was a clash between age and experience vs. youth and ability. This time, youth and ability won, in fine style. Martinez had an answer for everything Saenz threw at him, and his attack was just as devastating. The 2nd round was simply a bloodbath, and Saenz looked as if he was out, but the ref let him continue to fight. Martinez finally put Saenz down early in the 3rd round. Social Media was pleading with Saenz’s corner not to let him fight the 3rd round, and in hindsight maybe he wishes they would have listened. Martinez should climb the ranks
fast; he seems like a different kind of fighter. The true test for “Dragon” Martinez is being in an absolutely stacked division that’s very difficult to stand out in.
Result: Martinez KOs Sanez in the 3rd
Tag, You’re It
Lando Vannata vs. Bobby Green
This was the fight of the night. These two faced off once before and we hoped the rematch would live up to its predecessor, and it certainly did. Bobby Green’s swag was on 250 for this fight, he often kept his hands down and talked trash to Vannata throughout the fight. Vannata certainly gave as good as he got though and caught Green with quite a few heavy hands. These two wanted to show the little guys can hit just as hard. Bobby Green was the better fighter, he certainly worked the ground when it was necessary, but his willingness to stand and trade with Vannata earned him a lot of toughness points. They call Bobby Green “King”, maybe its time he got a shot at the crown.
Result: Green Wins, Unanimous Decision
From Brasilia with Love
Vicente Luque vs. Randy Brown
The Silent Assassin indeed. Luque brought that classic Brazilian calm and focus to the octagon like he always does. Randy Brown seemed a little over his head, he continued to try to overpower Luque instead of outsmart him, and that was poor strategy. Luque seemed unphased by some of Brown’s best shots and simply walked through them. Brown started to throw out his playbook, but once he strayed too far Luque put him down. Luque will be in the big fights before too long, a welterweight with this kind of power is too big to ignore.
Result: Luque Wins, 2nd Round TKO
Came Back to Bite Her
Joanne Calderwood vs. Jennifer Maia
Let me open with this, Joanne Calderwood did NOT need this fight, but she didn’t want to sit still before he title match with Valentina Shevchenko. That’s an admirable thing to do, until you get submitted by a badass Brazilian chick in the first round. This fight seemed to be up in the air for the first couple of minutes while they stood toe to toe and traded, then we went to the ground.Maia immediately caught Calderwood off guard and took some absurd chances to set up an armbar. Those chances paid off and JoJo got herself cornered. Maia had something to prove
here, she didn’t want to be Calderwood’s tune up. JoJo seemed to think this was in the bag from the start, she didn’t look to be aggressive enough, and she might have lost a title shot because of it. Jennifer Maia made it clear post-fight that she wants a shot at the champ, and the champ herself tweeted at Maia: “See you soon.” I think we’re all looking forward to that one. The real question here is, why wouldn’t JoJo just wait for her shot?
Result: Maia Wins, Submission (Armbar) 1st Round
Until You’re Not…
Derek Brunson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan
A Main event fight worthy of being called a main event fight. Much like earlier between Saenz and Martinez this was a clash of age and experience vs. youth and ability, but slightly different. This fight put a 36-year-old Brunson, who looks 28 and fights like he’s 24; against a 22-year-old Shahbazyan, who looks 27 and fights like he’s 33. I will give Edmen credit, he didn’t rush in against Brunson, but maybe he should’ve been more aggressive. Brunson realized that Shahbazyan was trying to let him walk into a trap, so Brunson sprung the trap and turned it on Edmen. Brunson’s heavy hands proved to be too much, and perhaps proved what he said in the fight promo, that Shahbazyan hasn’t faced tough enough competition yet to be at the top level. Brunson caught Shahbazyan with a serious crack in the 2nd round, and probably should’ve ended it there, but referee Herb Dean let the round come to an end. Shahbazyan was checked out by the doctor and said he wanted to continue; his corner did not protest him staying in the fight. Brunson made short work of Shahbazyan in the 3rd round and proved the saying: “You’re always the next big thing, until you’re not.”
Result: Brunson Wins, 3rd Round KO