The SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland,was the home to a day of back-and-forth bouts. With reigning two-weight champion Conor McGregor in attendance, we saw 4 (T)KOs, 3 submissions and 6 decisions. The UFC chose not to give a fight of the night bonus. No fight of the night doesn’t mean no bonuses, though; here’s the four athletes walking away $50,000 richer
Performances of the Night: Abdul Razak Alhassan, Justin Ledet, Kevin Lee and Jack Marshman
Abdul Razak Alhassan blitzed Conor McGregor protege Charlie Ward within a minute in the opening bout of the card. The commentators spoke about how hard it was for Alhassan to find willing opponents, and he wasted no time in showing why that reticence is prudent. Ward is as tough and game as they come, and wobbled back to his feet every time Alhassan dropped him, until the referee finally stepped in to save Ward from his own toughness after the third knockdown in a the first minute.
Justin Ledet spent the week walking around Belfast with a T-shirt that read “I’d rather be boxing” making it somewhat surprising that he ended his fight with an S-grip rear naked choke in the first round. Godbeer had racked up three TKO victories in his last three fights, so it’s understandable that Ledet decided discretion was the better part of valor and took this one to the ground.
Kevin Lee has a lot to say about the lightweight division this week, going as far as calling former Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez an ‘embarrassment to the division.’ If you’re going to talk that much trash, you better be able to back it up, and Lee proved he was more than capable of walking the walk tonight.
Lee put the 155 pound division on notice with a blazing performance, capped by a rear naked choke that put Mustafaev to sleep despite seemingly to be just barely under the chin. Then he showed his competition how to take advantage of mic time, by cutting a profanity-laden promo on the division and UFC lightweight & featherweight champion Conor McGregor. That’s how you make a statement.
Wales’ Jack Marshman made his UFC debut in Belfast as a +200 underdog to gatekeeper Magnus Cedenblad, and immediately made a mockery of those odds by dropping Cedenblad with a swift left hook. Then Cedenblad showed why he’s a four-year UFC veteran by recovering and controlling the Welshman on the mat for the majority of the round.
Every round starts on the feet, though, and from the start of the second stanza, Marshman was going all out to demonstrate why he deserves the moniker of “Hammer.” This time Cedenblad survived the early left hook, and seemed to gain confidence about his ability to stand and trade with Marshman. That was a mistake. It was clear to everyone except Cedenblad that it was only a matter of time until he got caught, and finally he did. Rocked and wobbled he got a takedown, but it was Hammer time. Marshman gets back to his feet and drops Cedenblad with a three punch combo, and this time he wasn’t getting up. Marshman considers ending it with a front headlock, before changing his mind and putting his stamp on the fight with some ground and pound that had the referee stepping in.
Fight of the Night: Nobody. The UFC awards you no points and everyone in the room is dumber for having watched these fights.