The UFC was in Adelaide, Australia on Saturday at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre for a Fight Night special.
John Gooden and Dan Hardy called the event.
*Damir Ismagulov def. Alex Gorgees by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-26)
*Christos Giagos def. Mizuto Hirota by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-28)
*Kai Kara-France def. Elias Garcia by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
*Keita Nakamura def. Salim Touahri by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
*Wilson Reis def. Ben Nguyen by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Aleksey Kunchenko def. Yushin Okami by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
*Jimmy Crute def. Paul Craig by kimura at 4:51 of Round 3
*Sodiq Yusuff def. Suman Mokhtarian by TKO at 2:14 of Round 1
*Anthony Rocco Martin def. Jake Matthews by Anaconda choke at 1:19 of Round 3
*Justin Willis def. Mark Hunt by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Mauricio “Shogun” Rua def. Tyson Pedro by TKO at 0:43 of Round 3
*Junior dos Santos def. Tai Tuivasa by TKO at 2:30 of Round 2
ALEX GORGEES (7-0) VS DAMIR ISMAGULOV (16-2) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Ismagulov came in as a minus 500-favorite. Gorgees is from Sydney and replaced Joseph Duffy on short notice for this fight.
In the first round, Ismagulov hit a solid overhand right and used a trip to get the takedown by the cage. Ismagulov won the first round through his striking along with several takedowns.
Ismagulov started the second round with a body kick and takedown. Ismagulov controlled him in half-guard for the rest of the round and was up 20-18 after two.
In the third round, Ismagulov was a bit looser with his striking and clowning around for Gorgees before taking him down and went back to half-guard. It was another round for Ismagulov and I had him winning the fight 30-27.
WINNER: DAMIR ISMAGULOV BY UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-25, 30-26, 30-26)
Ismagulov said he is going to cut down to featherweight moving forward. It was his twelfth victory in a row dating back to 2015.
Even under the new rules, I didn’t feel the rounds were 10-8 but Ismagulov did control Gorgees for the whole fight.
MIZUTO HIROTA (19-9-2) VS CHRISTOS GIAGOS (15-7) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Giagos stunned Hirota early on with a right hand and connected with a follow-up knee. Giagos took Hirota down and won the first round.
Giagos got a takedown to start the second round and was happy attacking Hirota in his closed guard. Nothing of note happened into the round until the final minute when Hirota got up and they traded several strikes. Giagos was ahead after two rounds.
Hirota reversed a takedown and briefly had side control before Giagos reversed and got on top. Both men were tired as the fight wore on. Giagos held on and was still able to get takedowns. Hirota mounted Giagos in the final seconds but could not do much with the position as time expired. The third round may have gone to Hirota and I would score it 29-28 Giagos.
WINNER: CHRISTOS GIAGOS BY UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28, 29-27, 30-28)
This was not a great fight, neither of the two Fight Pass fights was very entertaining.
Giagos left the UFC in 2015 and returned in September this year where he was submitted by Charles Oliveira.
He was exhausted in the post-fight interview.
ELIAS GARCIA (6-1) VS KAI-KARA FRANCE (17-7, 1 NC) – FLYWEIGHT
Garcia dropped Kara-France with a right hand, but he was up quick. Kara-France got top position and started landing clean shots and got Garcia’s back. Kara-France was vicious with his ground and pound with lots of pressure to end the round and won it 10-9.
The second round saw both trade big shots and then Garcia went for a triangle and shifted to an armbar attempt, which Kara-France scrambled out from as the audience cheered. Kara-France landed with elbows and punches by the cage on top. Kara-France began to dominate with his ground and pound as Garcia’s corner told him to move. Garcia had no defense except grabbing for the single leg. Garcia survived the round, but barely and Kara-France was up 20-17 after two rounds.
Kara-France dropped Garcia with a right hand in the third round. Garcia was barely in the fight with Kara-France overwhelming him with more than 100 significant strikes landed. Kara-France landed lots of shots to end the fight and it was another 10-8 round and 30-25 for Kara-France overall on my card.
WINNER: KAI-KARA FRANCE BY UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
This was an entertaining performance from Kara France with a solid performance. He was dropped in the first round as Garcia displayed glimpse of hope, but it was the Kai-Kara France show.
Kara-France has been fighting since 2010 and this was his sixth win in a row in his UFC debut.
KEITA NAKAMURA (33-9-2, 1 NC) VS SALIM TOUAHRI (10-2) – WELTERWEIGHT
The first round didn’t feature a lot of action. Touahri appeared to throw more but it was a toss-up round.
Nakamura landed a counter right within the first minute of the second round. Nakamura landed a solid elbow on the break from the clinch. Nakamura connected with a combination while Touahri pressed forward in the last minute. I had it even at 19-19 after two. Both rounds have been close.
Touahri defended the takedown attempts by Nakamura in the third round. Nakamura appeared to land the more significant shots, but all these rounds are subject to interpretation and could be all over the place. I scored the fight 29-28 for Nakamura.
WINNER: KEITA NAKAMURA BY SPLIT DECISION (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
This was hardly a great fight, but I felt the right fighter earned the decision. There was no interview with Nakamura after his win.
This was Nakamura’s fourth fight in the UFC.
WILSON REIS (22-9) VS BEN NGUYEN (17-7) – FLYWEIGHT
Between Joseph Benavidez fighting Friday and then Kai Kara-France and these two tonight, it’s pretty depressing watching these great flyweights knowing the probable fate of this weight class.
Reis worked hard for a single leg takedown by the fence. Nguyen got to his feet and landed with a combination before Reis got another takedown. Reis kept Nguyen down against the fence for the remainder and won the first round 10-9.
Reis stormed towards Nguyen with strikes and got an easy takedown and back take. When Nguyen got free, he briefly got to throw his hands, but Reis was like Velcro on Nguyen and eliminated distance, maintained wrist control and then would score the takedown. Reis was up 20-18 after two rounds.
Nguyen connected with a counter right at the start of the third round. Reis maintained the same pace and scored a takedown off the fence. Nguyen had his best round in the third because they stood at distance more and he landed at a higher rate, but not enough to take the round. I scored it 30-27 for Reis.
WINNER: WILSON REIS BY UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27 ALL)
Ben Nguyen had a stunned look on his face when they read the decision, it was not a stunning decision.
Reis scored a much-needed win after three consecutive losses since April 2017 to Demetrious Johnson, Henry Cejudo, and John Moraga.
YUSHIN OKAMI (35-11) VS ALEKSEI KUNCHENKO (19-0) – WELTERWEIGHT
Kunchenko is an undefeated fighter from Russia and entered the fight as the betting favorite.
It was a stalemate in the first round, with the referee separating them off the cage in the final seconds of the round. I edged the round to Kunchenko 10-9.
Kunchenko blocked two takedowns at the beginning of the second round. Kunchenko started throwing more frequently with his right hand and found his rhythm. Okami was too reliant on the takedown and Kunchenko defended them. Okami just went to his back and was stood up. The second was easily Kunchenko’s round and was up 20-18.
Kunchenko connected with a hard shot in the first minute of round three. Okami ate numerous elbows to the side of the head as he shot in against the cage and Kunchenko landed an elbow on the break. Okami stayed on his back and absorbed kicks. Kunchenko was connecting with significant shots and starting to outclass Okami. I thought the final round was enough for a 10-8 and 30-26 for Kunchenko overall.
WINNER: ALEKSEI KUNCHENKO BY UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Kunchenko looked very good and Okami is a solid opponent. Kunchenko debuted for the UFC in September with a unanimous win over Thiago Alves so he has two notable victories since coming over from M-1. He is a welterweight to watch and should get a step up in name value with his next fight.
The preliminary card was not noteworthy and other than Kai Kara-France, I wouldn`t say anyone had a performance that was demanding your attention to check out. There were a lot of dull fights on the prelims.
PAUL CRAIG (10-2) VS JIMMY CRUTE (8-0) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Crute fights out of Victoria and received a big ovation when he was introduced.
Crute reversed on top after Craig scored an early takedown. Crute fended off a triangle and mounted Craig and applied a head and arm choke but gave up on it and went back to the mount position. Crute continued with a strong opening round and took it 10-9.
In the second round, Craig was able to score several takedowns and it negated the strikes from Crute. Crute scrambled in the final minute and stood up. I had it even 19-19 going into the final round.
Crute got on top at the start of the final round after reversing a takedown by Craig. Crute mounted him again and applied a head and arm choke and kicked away from the fence to create distance next to Craig. Crute could not get the submission and went back to the mount. Crute tried for a kimura late in the round and got the tap.
WINNER: JIMMY CRUTE BY KIMURA AT 4:51 OF ROUND 3
Crute showed great grappling and top control over Craig. He was not shy about giving up on the head and arm chokes in order to maintain a strong position and go another direction.
Crute is only 22-years old and won on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series in July to get into the UFC.
SUMAN MOKHTARIAN (8-0) VS SODIQ YUSUFF (7-1) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Yusuff was a minus-600 favorite going into the fight.
Yusuff was throwing everything at Mokhtarian, who tried to close the distance and they stayed in the clinch for a minute. Yusuff broke free and began throwing. He started landing massive strikes on Mokhtarian, who was not defending as he backed against the fence. Mokhtarian had his hands up as Yusuff attacked the body and head and referee Greg Kleynjans stopped the fight.
Mokhtarian was furious with the stoppage.
WINNER: SODIQ YUSUFF BY TKO AT 2:14 OF ROUND 1
Yusuff dedicated this fight to his older brother who died last week.
Yusuff is another fighter that won on DWTNCS and fought for Victory FC, Titan FC, and CFFC in the past. He stated that if you knew what those shots sounded like you would understand why the referee stopped the fight.
JAKE MATTHEWS (14-3) VS ANTHONY ROCCO MARTIN (14-4) – WELTERWEIGHT
Tony Martin is now going by the name Anthony Rocco Martin. His corner included his partner Kayla Harrison.
Matthews got his timing down and started connecting with Martin, he dropped him and immediately went for a guillotine. Martin scrambled and escaped the choke. Matthews reversed from underneath to close the round and Matthews took it 10-9.
Matthews relied on his power shots in the second round but wasn’t putting big combinations together. Martin focused on Matthews’ lead leg with kicks.
Matthews went for a takedown in the third, was unsuccessful and Martin took his back and applied an Anaconda choke and Matthews went out.
WINNER: ANTHONY ROCCO MARTIN BY ANACONDA CHOKE 1:19 OF ROUND 3
I had Martin down on the scorecard card going into the third round and he capitalized.
Martin advocated for a 165-pound weight class and said he is going to prove he is a contender.
This was Martin’s third win in a row and they have all been this year and quietly won six of his last seven fights since January 2016.
MARK HUNT (13-13-1, 1 NC) VS JUSTIN WILLIS (7-1) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Mark Hunt is 44-years old and Willis is 31. Hunt received a huge reaction.
Hunt attacked with kicks to the body, although he cut open his right shin right away. Hunt pressed forward, and it wasn’t until the end of the round when Willis began to connect with his jab. I had Hunt winning the first round.
Hunt stopped throwing kicks in the second round and it allowed Willis to circle and land his jab along with a straight left that he would mix into his output. Willis won this round.
Willis had his formula down and continued with it into the third round using jabs and left hands, which Hunt had no answer for. Hunt just seemed dejected by the end and knew he had lost the fight. I scored it 29-28 for Willis.
WINNER: JUSTIN WILLIS BY UNANIMOUS DECISION (29-28 ALL)
Willis is 4-0 in the UFC and declined to be interviewed by Dan Hardy and opted to hand it over to Mark Hunt to speak. Hunt apologized for the performance, which was his third consecutive loss this year.
John Gooden and Dan Hardy interviewed Israel Adesanya about his fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 234 in February. Adesanya said he never wanted to fight Silva because he was his hero but knows he must do this and beat the master. He said he knows Silva inside and out and every one of his movements. He said this fight means more than a world title to him.
MAURICIO “SHOGUN” RUA (25-11) VS TYSON PEDRO (7-2) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Pedro was a big betting favorite.
Pedro clipped him early and Shogun clinched before throwing his own shots at Pedro.
Pedro and Shogun cracked head and it hurt Shogun, Pedro attacked with strikes, including a big uppercut. Shogun was able to withstand the damage and continue. Shogun absorbed a lot of big shots and it remarkable he was still in the fight and took Pedro down at the end of the round. Pedro won the round 10-8.
The second round started with Shogun landing a big shot and then took Pedro down and into side control. Shogun dominated this round and didn’t absorb a single strike and I had it 10-8 for Rua and tied after two rounds.
Pedro’s knee buckled at the start of the third round and Rua dropped him with a right hand. Rua got on top and attacked with strikes until Steve Perceval stopped the fight.
WINNER: MAURICIO “SHOGUN” RUA BY TKO AT 0:43 OF ROUND 3
It was a big comeback by Shogun after being rocked in the first round and nearly stopped. There was a replay showing Shogun kicking at the knee earlier in the fight and may have led to the third-round issues for Pedro.
It was Shogun’s tenth UFC victory and is 4-1 since August 2015. Rua said he needs to win one more fight and then he will fight for the light heavyweight title, which sounds insane but is not impossible either.
JUNIOR DOS SANTOS (19-5) VS TAI TUIVASA (10-0) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Tuivasa was just charging forward without success, he ate a big shot from Dos Santos and an elbow on the break. Tuivasa leaned in and took a big uppercut. Tuivasa came back and landed a big leg kick, followed by shots inside and another right hand at the end to steal the round 10-9.
Tuivasa had a lot of confidence entering the second round, loading up and connecting with his right hand. They each landed right hands with Tuivasa going down and JDS attacked from side control. JDS mounted Tuivasa and overwhelmed Tuivasa with ground and pound to end the fight.
This was a very entertaining fight. Tuivasa was fighting the toughest opponent of his career and proved he belonged in the cage with a former heavyweight champion. Tuivasa arguably won the first round and landed some huge strikes. I came away from this fight very impressed with Tuivasa.
WINNER: JUNIOR DOS SANTOS BY TKO AT 2:30 OF ROUND 2
JDS said he would like to have a rematch with Alistair Overeem next. This was his second straight win in 2018.
Tuivasa was interviewed and made the most it by challenging Justin Willis and calling him “a little bitch”.