Ryan Bader got dusted in the main event of UFC on Fox 18. When you make a mistake against Anthony Johnson, you might find yourself unconscious and that's exactly what happened. Coming out to grapple with him is fine - it's the book on Rumble. But trying way too hard for that kimura cost him the fight. Johnson has terrifying power on the feet, so can you imagine how hard he hits when he has mount? When Bader wakes up, he might be able to tell you. He also might not remember, because those were devastating shots.
Onto the rest of the card!
- I'm simply dumbstruck by the fact that Ben Rothwell submitted Josh Barnett. That shouldn't have been possible. Anyone who suggested that seriously before the fight would have been laughed at and mocked. By me, and by everyone else. Yet that's exactly what happened. No controversy, no issues - he just straight up submitted him. It's baffling, ridiculous, and actually pretty cool. Mad props to Rothwell.
- Jimmie Rivera vs. Iuri Alcantara was a decent fight - not super exciting, and probably not worthy of a main card spot, but not terrible. Rivera looks to be a top contender in the division, so giving him some shine makes sense. It was a good win for him.
- Sage Northcutt lost. There's a little bit to unpack with this. First off, I don't like the "he's 19" excuse - he's in the UFC. It shouldn't matter how old he is. With that being said, that arm triangle should not have had him in great danger, yet he tapped. That is not good. I'm not really sure how I feel about it yet, but I'm willing to bet the UFC will have his back and say he took the fight at welterweight, so it doesn't really count. Either way, his lack of relatively basic submission defense is a little disconcerting.
- Tarec Saffiedine put on a workmanlike performance and beat Jake Ellenberger by decision. Ellenberger landed the hardest shots in the fight, but seemed pretty gunshy overall and didn't have nearly the output needed to beat a good kickboxer like Saffiedine. The fight itself was okay, but not amazing.
- Diego Ferreira showed that he's still a guy that people should be worried about in the lightweight division. Losing to Dustin Poirier and Beneil Dariush just makes him similar to 95% of the division - those are tough guys. He definitely has the skills to someday be a contender in the division, and his win over Olivier Aubin-Mercier proved that.
- Speaking of Aubin-Mercier, he had my favorite quote of the fight by far - "He was a tank and I was hitting him and he didn't give a shit."
- Rafael Natal vs. Kevin Casey was everything I expected, and less. Natal had Casey hurt with a shot right at the end of the first round. So he comes straight out in the second and...knees Casey in the bad place so he gets an extended break to clear his head. Then when they finally get back to it, he...takes him down. I mean, he did end up winning and he does have a nice win streak going. I'm just not sure how. It certainly seems like Rafael Natal's worst enemy is Rafael Natal a lot of the time.
- Wilson Reis' grappling was the difference maker against Dustin Ortiz. Ortiz has shown that he's a fun scrambler over his UFC career, but Reis was on another level and it definitely showed. I really like Ortiz and I hope this isn't a major setback for him.
- I can't believe Joe Rogan called 31-year-old Reis a "prospect" though. He was a prospect when he fought Abel Cullum in EliteXC in 2008. That was TWENTY FIGHTS AGO for him. Good god, man.
- Alexander Yakovlev offered up the only real highlight-reel footage from the entire prelims, knocking out George Sullivan with a beautiful straight right. He went in to finish him off and landed another punch, but it wasn't necessary as Sullivan was already done. Pretty impressive from a guy not known for his hands.
- Alex Caceres looked good in his return to 145, engaging in a fun striking match with Masio Fullen and getting the decision win. His fro was on point as well.
- The UFC Fight Pass prelims were definitely lacking in action. Tony Martin had a tough first round against Felipe Oliveiri but rebounded in the second and took advantage of a Oliveiri mistake to get a submission finish in the third. Levan Makashvili and Damon Johnson engaged in a sloppy, foul-filled bout that was handled very strangely by the referee, leading to a draw. And Lookin For A Fight's Randy Brown didn't really live up to the hype, but got a decision win over Matt Dwyer.