The rainy night outside the Tachi Palace Resort & Casino in Leemore, California on Friday evening seems fitting in retrospect. Perhaps it was a premonition of things to come or simply coincidence, but it served as the perfect background to a night filled with the failures of two of the best flyweight fighters in the mixed martial arts world. While their opponents raised their stock considerably within the weight class, these perceived future kings of the cage fell to the wayside, confirming that MMA's flyweight division is still a spin of the roulette wheel.
Former WEC bantamweight Ian McCall shocked fans as he implemented quick in-and-out footwork with speedy combinations to frustrate consensus #1 flyweight Jussier da Silva in a three-round affair last night. Silva dominated the first round of action on the mat as he brilliantly transitioned to the back and locked in a body triangle in one seamless movement in the early moments, threatening with a rear naked choke for the remainder of the round.
McCall survived and reemerged in the second round with pinpoint accuracy and simple one-two combinations on the feet. Silva's lack of diversity was apparent as the fight dragged on. Unable to produce any meaningful offense standing toe-to-toe with McCall, Silva resorted to desperate takedown attempts that McCall shrugged off with ease. As the third round came to a close, the body of work that McCall had produced over the final two rounds made it a no-brainer for the judges. McCall defeated Silva across the board, 29-28, and upset the #1 flyweight in the world.
McCall will have his work cut out for him in his next fight as Darrell Montague laid down a beatdown of epic proportions in a five-round title showdown with champion Ulysses Gomez. Gomez never threatened over the twenty-five minutes of action as Montague defended all takedown attempts with ease and bombed Gomez with a mix of heavy kicks and strikes. Gomez's eye was cut open badly by the third round, and his legs were beginning to wobble at the force of Montague's kicks. Despite the heavy damage sustained, Gomez survived to the judges' decision, but it didn't change the fact that Montague crushed him in impressive fashion. Montague took home the belt with 50-45 scores from all three judges, and an anticipated title defense against Ian McCall is likely in the making.
In the evening's main event, UFC veteran David Loiseau and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Leopoldo Serao went to battle for the Tachi Palace middleweight championship belt. After three rounds of dull action, it was hard to believe the winning fighter would garner any interest at all as a champion. Loiseau's predisposition to throw low percentage head kicks and spinning back fists created a rather stale fight on the feet, and Serao was ineffective on the ground after the second round. Eventually, Loiseau cut open Serao with brutal elbows from top control, stopping the fight in the fifth and final round. It was far from an exciting match-up, but Loiseau was able to get the job done.
- UFC veteran Edgar Garcia submitted Mike Moreno at 1:47 on the first round in middleweight action. He improves to 2-0 outside of the UFC since losing to Brad Blackburn and DaMarques Johnson.
- Perhaps the biggest upset of the evening belongs to Dominique Robinson. After a heated scuffle at the weigh-ins and months of back-and-forth between the two fighters, Robinson delivered on his promise that he would beat the UFC veteran. Exceptional takedown defense and balance allowed Robinson to conserve his energy while Gunderson worked relentlessly to gain control from the top. Robinson defended impressively, and a tired Gunderson succumbed to a full mount in the early moments of the third round that allowed Robinson to pound him out.
- Former UFC fighters Fabricio Camoes and Steve Lopez met in lightweight action, and the fight lasted all of 0:23 seconds. After a short feeling out period, Camoes threw a heavy head kick that dropped Lopez like a ton of bricks. Camoes followed up with a few shots to the dome before the referee pulled him off. There was some slight controversy as Lopez felt he was okay and actively trying to get back to his feet. The victory earned Camoes a match-up with The Ultimate Fighter alum Efrain Escudero at Tachi Palace Fights 9 in May.
- The "little man" Tyler Freeland defeated Diego Melendez in a very strange, almost circus act showdown of unevenly sized men. Freeland impressed by tossing Melendez over his hip early into top control, but Melendez busted open Freeland by the end of the first with a solid knee. Unfortunately for Melendez, Freeland's takedown ability was far too strong for him as he found himself on his back quite often in the final two frames. Freeland took home the decision.
- Tyson Griffin's younger brother, Kyle Griffin, was brutally knocked out by a flying knee in only 15 seconds by Alan Jouban.
Andy Miranda def. Ryan Burton via submission (triangle choke) in Round 1 (1:06)
Collin Hart def. Mike Arellano via submission (rear naked choke), Round 2