By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch Senior Columnist
UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Lewis was this past Saturday and it featured an upset in the main event.
UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Lewis
GOOD- Nassourdine Imavov vs. Phil Hawes
Hawes got some takedowns and had some nice grappling early. Imavov hurt Hawes with some big punches a couple of times, including near the end of the third round when Imavov blasted Hawes with a big elbow and knee and right hand but Hawes was able to fire back enough and got Imavov to the fence and secure himself the judges decision. Good win for Hawes.
GOOD- Tom Aspinall submits Andrei Arlovski
Arlovski came out aggressively but Aspinall was able to avoid taking any major damage and did some damage of his own. In the second round Aspinall was able to get the fight to the ground and locked in a rear-naked choke for the win a little over a minute into the second round. Good win for Aspinall.
GOOD- Chris Daukaus stops Aleksei Oleinik
Both guys came out firing heavy leather early and often, with Daukaus stunning Oleinik on the fence and then finishing him off with a flurry to force the stoppage. Good win for Daukaus.
GOOD- Darrick Minner vs. Charles Rosa
Lots of kicks early in the first round, then Minner got a takedown. They stayed active but each man was able to avoid danger. The second round saw Minner drop Rosa with some big shots and they spent the rest of the round grappling. The third round was more of the same, with Minner getting the edge in most of the exchanges and that got him the decision victory. Good win for Minner.
GOOD- Ketlen Vieira vs. Yana Kunitskaya
Vieira got a takedown in the first round, Kunitskaya with one in the second round (and some striking damage), so it seemed like we were tied heading into the third round. Kunitskaya landed some heavy shots in the third round and that was the difference as she got the judges decision. Good win for Kunitskaya.
GOOD- Derrick Lewis stops Curtis Blaydes
The first round saw both men throwing heavy leather fairly often but they didn’t connect with any of it. The second round saw Lewis defend a takedown, then Blaydes went for another takedown and Lewis caught him with a huge uppercut that basically ended the fight. He followed up on the ground and gets the upset win. Blaydes was in line for a possible title shot if he had won this fight but not anymore.
The other day Scott Coker of Bellator said they were going to start instituting a rankings system. It’ll be introduced sometime before April and there’s a 15 month inactivity limit, as well as a mandate that each fighter will have to have at least one fight under Bellator contract to be eligible. I think this is overall a good thing. Yes, it’s possible that the rankings won’t be strictly adhered to (likely, some would say) but anything that adds interest to these fights is a good thing. My biggest argument for why rankings is a good thing is that it increases the stakes, and thus the interest, for a lot more fights. Suddenly, a fight between the 7th ranked and 5th ranked fighters carries more weight than it would otherwise. Now, of course, Bellator could always pick and choose the matchups they want and disregard the rankings or only partially pay attention to them, and that blows that up. So this might not amount to much but it could be cool. If nothing else, it gives me something else to talk about with regards to Bellator.
Rafael Alves was slated to face Patrick Sabatini at featherweight on the UFC card Saturday but he missed weight by an astounding 11.5 pounds. If he had been fighting at lightweight, he still would have missed weight. He says he normally walks around at 195 pounds and this was his last fight at featherweight. That’s a good thing, as surely cutting that much weight was incredibly hard. For this failed cut, Alves blamed some bad salmon he had eaten the previous day that made him sick. It sucks for him, that’s for sure, but hopefully he’s able to enjoy future success making a higher weight class.
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