Well, that was quite the main event. Robert Whittaker and Derek Brunson came to throw down, and they definitely did that over a wild and crazy four minutes of action that was literally all over the cage. Brunson wanted to wrestle, but Whittaker was able to fight him off of that. He got cracked a few times though, and was literally on the run for big portions of the round. Brunson was chasing after him - until Whittaker planted his feet and threw.
Then things went very badly for Brunson.
Whittaker cracked him with a left hook, then brought the pressure and absolutely wrecked him with a head kick, leading to the crowd going wild at the finish. That was one of my favorite rounds of the year, even if it was a bit sloppy at times. Unfortunately, it was by far the best thing on a mostly dull card that only saw three finishes in 13 fights.
- Jake Matthews and Andrew Holbrook put on an underwhelming performance for a co-main event. Holbrook clearly wanted to stand and trade, but that's not what happened. So he adjusted, going for leg locks and trying to beat up Matthews on the ground when he wanted to wrestle. It definitely won't win fight of the night, but it was a decent win for Holbrook on the road.
- It didn't look like Kyle Noke really showed up to fight. He showed no urgency to get up, and threw almost nothing but kicks on the feet. It was a dismal performance overall, and he basically handed Omari Akhmedov an easy win. I was an early Noke fan, really noticing him after a fun fight with Scott Smith in EliteXC. But it may be nearing the end of the road for the Australian pioneer now.
- Alex Volkanovski hits hard. Yusuke Kasuya played right into that. Going for leg locks when you can't protect your face against the clubbing fists of your opponent seems unwise. And it was.
- How in the hell did Tyson Pedro stay conscious when Khalil Rountree just destroyed him with that straight left? It reminded me of Anthony Johnson hitting Daniel Cormier. To Pedro's credit though, he got right up, got a takedown, and earned himself a very nice submission win. His post-fight interview was super goofy, but lighthearted and memorable.
- The bout between Danielle Taylor and Seo Hee Ham was just weird. Ham got poked in the eye twice, and the referee missed it both times. She was successfully able to call timeout the first time (which you obviously can't do), and the second time the ref wouldn't let her. So she got clubbed in the head a few times. Overall I had Taylor winning, but the two 30-27 scorecards were terrible. There's no case for her winning the first round at all.
- How does Dan Kelly keep doing what he's doing. You look at him, you look at his offense in the cage, and you think "Ehhh." Yet he goes out and pulls off win after win. Camozzi was on his bike, but he still kept getting caught by Kelly's wild right hooks. There was nothing pretty about them - but they worked. This was despite Kelly bleeding a gusher for two and a half rounds. The Octagon was pink by the time the fight was over. Yet he won every round in my eyes, and convincingly. You keep being you, Dan Kelly. It's working, it's entertaining, and you've made a fan out of me. Good on you, sir.
- Damien Brown is double tough. He got popped pretty good in the first round, opening a cut on his nose that bled a lot. Jon Tuck almost handed the fight away himself though - he took the whole second round off, getting pummeled a bit in the process, and only showed up in fits and spurts in the final round as well. Tuck may be disappointed at the split decision loss, but he should be more disappointed with his own performance. He could have easily won that, but he didn't.
- Jonathan Meunier looked pretty decent in a close win over Rich Walsh. His flashy offense and solid takedown defense earned him the first two rounds, and while he did get rocked in the third, he was able to hold on to get an important W.
- Ben Nguyen looked awesome against Geane Herrera, peppering him with strikes throughout the bout and keeping Herrera from mounting much offense at all. He just recently entered the rankings at flyweight, but you'd have to expect that he's going to be moving up in the near future.
- The Fight Pass card featured some decent action, but no finishes. Jenel Lausa looks like a pretty decent flyweight prospect with very fast hands. Our own Anton Tabuena will probably bring him up every day for the next four months. Marlon Vera pulled off one of the cooler moves of the year when he was on Ning Guangyou's back standing, and used his legs to push off the cage and knock Guangyou to the floor. Even Dan Hardy said he'd be practicing that in the gym on Monday. Finally, Jason Knight put a beating on Daniel Hooker, and gushed all over Dan Henderson in his post-fight interview.