The UFC held their latest Fox event on Saturday night from the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday night. The card was highlighted by a spectacular main event between lightweights Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, the latter of who has become MMA’s version of the “best bout machine”. The two produced what many will say is the frontrunner for fight-of-the-year.
The announced attendance was 11,382 and below are the results from the card.
Dustin Poirier def. Justin Gaethje by TKO at 0:33 of Round 4
The expectations were enormous for this fight and they still surpassed them. This was a war for three rounds, highlighted by Poirier’s precision striking and offset by Gaethje’s leg kicks, which presented lots of problems for Poirier late in the fight.
Poirier won the first two rounds but the leg kicks by Gaethje were adding up. During the middle of the third round, a statistic was read that Gaethje had connected with 37 of 51 leg kick attempts. Gaethje had his best round in the third, but it was negated after his second eye poke delivered to Poirier led to a point deduction. It was disappointing to the audience but was completely justified as it was an obvious eye poke and he had been warned earlier in the fight about keeping his fingers away from the eyes.
Poirier started the fourth round by landing a counter left hand when Gaethje threw a leg kick and the shot rocked Gaethje. Poirier capitalized and swarmed Gaethje, who was wobbled and eventually went down and Herb Dean stopped the fight.
This is my leader for fight-of-the-year so far in 2018.
Alex Oliveira def. Carlos Condit by guillotine at 3:17 of Round 2
Condit looked much better than his fight with Neil Magny in December at UFC 219.
In the first round, Condit got the back of Oliveira but time expired before he could submit him.
Oliveira rebounded in the second round and cut Condit with a series of elbows to the side of the head. Oliveira connected with an up kick to stun Condit and locked on a guillotine choke and took Condit down to the canvas, where he eventually tapped out.
Condit has not won a fight since May 2015 and this was his fourth consecutive loss.
Israel Adesanya def. Marvin Vettori by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Adesanya received enormous hype following his UFC debut victory in February over Rob Wilkinson.
This was a much closer fight and showed some weaknesses of Adesanya’s game. Adesanya won the first round two rounds on my card but was taken down in the third round and was controlled in half-guard. He did make it back to his feet, but it ended up being a close fight.
Michelle Waterson def. Cortney Casey by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Casey appeared significantly larger than Waterson, who previously fought at 105 pounds in Invicta FC.
This was a really good fight, although I scored the fight for Casey.
Casey was attacking her with right hands early in the fight and doing a lot of damage, so Waterson implemented her wrestling and continually took Casey down. Casey was very active off her back with submissions and attempting several armbars and triangles after being put on the mat. Casey was going for an armbar as time expired in the fight.
Antonio Carlos Junior def. Tim Boetsch by rear-naked choke at 4:28 of Round 1
Once Carlos Junior took Boetsch down to the mat, he was very aggressive with strikes, took Boetsch’s back and then applied the fight-ending rear-naked choke for his fifth straight win.
Muslim Salikhov def. Ricky Rainey by KO at 4:12 of Round 2
Jon Anik noted that Rainey had “17 fights on the regional circuit”, which was right up there with Kurt Angle’s comment about TNA this week as Rainey’s last seven fights were for Bellator.
Salikhov won the first round. In the second, Salikhov dropped Rainey with a right counter and then dropped three consecutive strikes down on top of Rainey for the vicious knockout.
John Moraga def. Wilson Reis by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This was a great flyweight fight with nonstop action throughout the fight.
Moraga was the longer fighter and used those tool at distance early in the fight. In the second round, Moraga connected with a flying knee to the head and then attempted a guillotine that Reis survived and then took Moraga’s back.
Moraga won the first two rounds and then Reis controlled him on top for the duration of the third round.
I scored it 29-28 for Moraga as well.
Brad Tavares def. Krzysztof Jotko by TKO at 2:16 of Round 3
Tavares is one of the more unassuming middleweights in the division as he is now 12-4 since entering the UFC in 2010 and he isn’t someone thought of as one of the top middleweights.
Tavares was controlling the pace in the first two rounds, but this was hardly an exciting fight. The closing sequence was the highlight with Tavares dropping Jotko with a right hand and finishing him with hammer fists in a finish that came out of nowhere and woke people up.
Tavares challenged Michael Bisping to fight at UFC 226 on July 7th afterward.
Gilbert Burns def. Dan Moret by KO at 0:59 of Round 2
Burns stunned him with a right uppercut and swarmed Moret with strikes and dropped him with another right uppercut for the stoppage.
Burns said he wants to fight Olivier Aubin-Mercier on July 7th.
Lauren Mueller def. Shana Dobson by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
I enjoyed this fight a lot and you had the added expertise of Mueller’s teammate Dominick Cruz calling the fight.
Dobson worked behind her jab very effectively, especially in the second round. Mueller would land with power shots and was the difference in the first and third rounds for the decision.
Yushin Okami def. Dhiego Lima by unanimous decision (30-26 all)
This was complete domination by Okami and wasn’t an entertaining fight to watch. Okami took him down in every round and in the third round, he reduced Lima to nothing to earn the 10-8. This was probably the worst fight on the card.
Adam Wieczorek def. Arjan Bhullar by omoplata at 1:59 of Round 2
Bhullar came in with a lot of attention as an undefeated heavyweight. He won the first round by taking Wieczorek down. In the second, Bhullar took him down again and from half-guard, Wieczorek transitioned and applied the omoplata and had it tight on the shoulder for the tap.
This is only the second time an omoplata has finished a fight in the UFC with Ben Saunders being the previous one to do it in 2014.
Alejandro Perez def. Matthew Lopez by TKO at 3:42 of Round 2
Lopez has exceptional power for a bantamweight and landed some big shots in the first round. Perez was the better boxer in the second round, then landed a high knee and drilled Lopez with follow up strikes. Lopez was dazed on his feet and took one final right hand and the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
One consistent in Arizona on Saturday was the exceptional officiating throughout the card and some very good stoppages.
Luke Sanders def. Patrick Williams by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Sanders’ girlfriend, Becky Lynch, was shown cage side sitting with Dolph Ziggler and they cut to the two throughout the fight.
Sanders connected with his left hand a lot in the early portion of the fight. The second round was very close with Sanders connecting with an elbow and pressing Williams against the fence, however, Williams landed a clean counter right and got a takedown at the end. Sanders stunned him with a big overhand left in the third round.
I had it 30-27 for Sanders, but you could give the second round to Williams.
This was the last fight on Sanders’ current UFC deal and snapped a two-fight losing streak.