Prelim of the Night:
Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk
Kevin Holland vs. Joaquin Buckley
This was definitely the type of fight we come to expect from Kevin Holland. Lots of talking that is inevitably backed up. Buckley didn’t seem to have a full grasp on the type of power Holland was bringing. This was a good look for the Middleweights overall, unlike the Bantamweights this isn’t as stacked of a weight class. Quantity over quality has been the credo of the Middleweights, maybe Holland’s personality can bring them out of it.
Result: Holland Wins by KO in 3rd Round
Spinning into History
Beneil Dariush vs. Scott Holtzman
The story here is the knockout. Only the 8th KO via spinning back fist in UFC history. The other story is that this fight is absolutely nothing like what we normally see from Dariush. This would normally be a ground technician type fight, but Beneil went the other way. He even seemed somewhat surprised at himself with his result in his post fight interview. Dariush has been on the edge of the radar for a long time, and a finish like this should shove him into view.
Result: Dariush Wins by KO in 1st Round (Spinning Back Fist)
The Russian Grim Reaper is Here
Yana Kunitskaya vs. Julija Stoliarenko
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Yana Kunitskaya. What a fight, this might have been the definition of dominance. I can’t confirm that, I normally don’t bring my dictionary to fights, but Yana’s picture might be in there. She implemented a simple strategy; stick her to the fence, and throw knees. This fight wasn’t without its scare for Kunitskaya. Towards the end of the second round Stoliarenko almost pulled a miracle armbar. The horn sounded before she could lock it all the way in. I’ve personally been waiting for a new face to rise through the ranks of the Women’s bantamweight division, and Yana Kunitskaya just might be that face.
Result: Kunitskaya Wins by Unanimous Decision
For The Bruv
Maki Pitolo vs. Darren Stewart
Darren Stewart was fighting for his friend who recently passed away, Jahreau Shepherd. It didn’t take him long to get a finish. Stewart led with powerful hands and seemingly no fear of getting tagged. The fight went to the ground rather quickly, and instead of getting back to his feet Stewart simply adapted; he sunk in a guillotine choke and Pitolo had no choice but to tap out. Darren donned a shirt featuring Jahreau Shepherd after his win. Stewart did himself a big favor last night on a Middleweight heavy card to stand out with a 1st round submission win. It might be a little while before we see Darren again, as he hinted to wanting to go home to the UK and see his family for a bit. Whenever he decides to come back to the octagon it will be the only time we’re all looking forward to seeing “The Dentist”.
Result: Stewart Wins by Submission in 1st Round (Guillotine Choke)
Slow and Steady
Omari Akhmedov vs. Chris Weidman
I’ll be honest, this wasn’t the most entertaining fight. No one even got the upper hand until the 3rd round. That was the story, Weidman got a full mount in the 3rd and kept himself there. Chris went for a triangle choke, but couldn’t lock it all the way in, so he fought for his position and took the points. Despite the lack of outward excitement, this was a very impressive performance from Wiedman if you really look at Akhmedov’s ability to control the octagon over the course of his career. Weidman may have had it in his head to throw off Akhmedov by having an answer for everything he threw at him. That’s uncharted territory for Akhmedov, and he couldn’t find his way out. This wasn’t a pretty win, but the All-American is back, and he put the entire Middleweight division on notice with an impressive win.
Result: Chris Weidman Wins by Unanimous Decision
The Black Beast Eats
Derrick Lewis vs. Aleksei Oleinik
Lewis got the jump in this fight, coming out swinging like we would expect him to. What we didn’t expect was him willingly taking this fight to the ground. It wasn’t to get a submission or to earn that many points, it was simply following up knockdowns to keep hammering Oleinik. Oleinik did turn the tide on the ground and go for a submission, but he just couldn’t figure it out, and the first round ended. The second round started just like the first, but Lewis caught Oleinik better than he did with his first round knockdown. Oleinik did everything he could to avoid getting hit, but Lewis just had too much power. This was in no way the result I expected personally, but I guess I underestimated The Black Beast’s power, and for that I am sorry, please don’t hurt me Mr. Lewis.
Result: Derrick Lewis Wins by KO in the 2nd Round