UFC Fight for the Troops 3 was an extremely fun card, full of excellent action fights and some fights with larger implications. On the whole this card lacked the big picture implications most UFC cards carry, but that is okay because for the most part this card was about being entertaining for the troops on hand.
The Fight for the Troops events are always fun cards and always enjoyable, and really that is all one can ask of this kind of event. Not every night needs to have huge title implications and if it raised some money to support treatment of veterans then it was an all-around win.
Thoughts on the evening's fights:
- Tim Kennedy continues to show that he is more than a novelty fighter for the UFC. Kennedy can contend with all but the Top 5 Middleweights in MMA. He is well rounded and is always in excellent shape, and is not afraid to engage.
- Alexis Davis is my pick to fight for the Women's title next. Cat Zingano is recovering from her double knee surgery, and it would likely be better for her to get a tune up fight on her way back before getting tossed into a title fight. Davis isn't a wizard on the feet, but she is reasonably well-rounded and could present real problems for either Miesha Tate or current champion Ronda Rousey.
- Liz Carmouche is still a tough fighter and deserves to be part of the women's division the UFC is currently building, but she is not going to be able to beat elite fighters in her division with her current skill set. She relies a bit too much on her size and strength, and when faced with more skilled fighters she can't get it done.
- Yoel Romero was very, very impressive in his win over Ronny Markes. He looked very light on his feet, very fast, and his striking has improved by huge strides. He still isn't a great striker and got a tagged a few times, but he looked far more competent on the feet than he has in his past fights.
- Rustam Khabilov took a close fight over Jorge Masvidal. The first two rounds could have gone either way but the third was clearly Khabilov, and it is never fun to see a fighter win a fight like based off two tepid rounds. It was a very fun fight and Khabilov landed an awesome spinning kick that likely won him the fight. But I'll say pump the breaks a little on Khabilov because his ground game looked like it had some very big holes in it as he basically had no control of Masvidal on the floor.
- Colton Smith and Michael Chiesa put on a hell of fight, mostly because they threw caution to the wind and fought to see who was the better grappler. They traded deep rear naked choke attempts in the first round. Chiesa then hit an awesome Harai Goshi throw that landed Smith on his head, stunning him. Chiesa took full advantage and sunk in a deep rear naked choke. A fun fight and a great example of the diversifying clinch offense of grapplers in MMA as more and more dynamic judo and wrestling takedowns are making their way into the tool-belts of MMA fighters.
- The James Krause and Bobby Green fights ending caused quite a bit of controversy. It was a tough spot for referee John McCarthy as Green clearly kicked Krause in the groin twice, not intentionally, but on the second kick McCarthy correctly took a point from Green. Then seconds later Green landed a kick in a legal region that appeared to catch the top of Krause's cup. Krause crumpled to the mat and laid inert, and McCarthy called the fight, declaring Green the winner by (T)KO. At how quickly Krause popped up after the decision was announced it seems like he might have been hoping to milk a DQ win, but it is also hard to argue that kick would have dropped Krause under normal circumstances. A No Contest or DQ of Green likely would have been a better outcome, but it's a hard situation for a referee.
- Credit to George Roop. Coming off the eighth season of the Ultimate Fighter nobody tabbed him to have a solid, thirteen-fight Zuffa career between the UFC and WEC. At one point he even looked he might sneak his way into contendership. But Francisco Rivera might very well have put an end to Roop's surprising run. Now this isn't to say Roop is getting cut, but he took a lot of punishment in this fight from Rivera's heavy hands and looked slower than he had in previous fights.
- Steven Siler and Dennis Bermudez put on a very fun fight, full of excellent scrambles and just about every type of headlock they could muster. Both appeared to come very close to finishing the fight as they treated the 101st Airborne to an array of mounted guillotines, arm-in chokes, and neck cranks. The neck crank attempt by Bermudez was a crafty piece of offense straight out of catch wrestling and is something hopefully MMA fans will start to see more of.
- Amanda Nunes looked very good in her win over Germaine de Randamie. She showed off a great deal of offensive skills: quick and strong kicks, good takedowns, and offensive grappling. She has a strong skill set for the division and could very quickly develop into a serious player at Women's Bantamweight. The stoppage might have been a little early, but referee Herb Dean gave clear direction for Randamie to move or make some attempt to escape and when none came, so it wasn't unreasonable to stop the match.
- Yancy Medeiros landed a nice inside uppercut on Yves Edwards, a nice bit of technical striking on the undercard. Medeiros might be one to watch with those kind of offensive skills.