UFC on FOX 19 lost several of its original fights due to injuries and drug testing issues, but we did still have a full fight card at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, and it was a damn good one. The main event lasted under 2 minutes, as Glover Teixeira had Rashad Evans face down on the canvas after leveling him with a left hook, then putting him to sleep with a right hand. Teixeira pressured Rashad from the get-go, and while 2008-2011 Rashad may have handled it differently, 2016 Rashad was on borrowed time when faced with someone as powerful and as accurate as Glover.
This fight essentially confirms that Evans isn't anywhere near title contention anymore. He and Teixeira are the same age, but Evans just looked old while Glover looked as sharp as ever. Evans has had a great career, but between the injuries and his last two performances (honestly, the majority of his post-Jones outings), one has to wonder how many more times we'll see the former LHW champ inside the Octagon.
More thoughts on tonight's card:
FOX main card
- Teixeira called out Anthony Johnson in the post-fight interview, which I can firmly get behind. Will the UFC book it, knowing full well that could potentially lead to Jones vs. Teixeira 2 down the line? I don't know, but this is an excellent and highly intriguing fight, of which there are very few to speak of at light heavyweight. UFC on FOX in Chicago needs a main event and I think this is a perfect fit.
- Rose Namajunas vs. Tecia Torres was an awesome fight and much like Correia vs. Pennington, you could definitely make an argument for either fighter to get the decision win. I had it for Namajunas, and so did all 3 judges, which puts "Thug" Rose in essentially a default position as the #1 contender at women's 115 lbs. She's come a long way since Carla Esparza beat her in the inaugural women's strawweight title/TUF 20 Finale main event.
- Round 3 of Namajunas/Torres is essentially what decided the fight, and how you scored it depends on who you thought was clearly winning the striking exchanges prior to the last-minute takedown by Namajunas. From there, how much do you weigh the actual takedown, which didn't have much in the way of follow-up offense, along with the striking from the preceding 4 minutes? This bout probably could've used 2 more rounds, but you all know how I am with my overwhelming support of more 5 round fights.
- Khabib Nurmagomedov went from fighting Tony Ferguson to getting a tune-up vs. Darrell Horcher. He shook the rust off, slammed and ragdolled Horcher, and the referee took an eternity to stop the fight. Props to Horcher for accepting on short notice, but he took a prolonged beating. Khabib will probably get a #1 contender's bout or skip straight to a title shot, which I wouldn't be against. I'm just glad Khabib is back, because he's an absolute phenom.
- Cub Swanson scored a pair of knockdowns, including this sweet head kick, to get a unanimous decision win over Hacran Dias. I don't really think Swanson is in peak physical shape anymore -- his punches and general movement look slower -- but he is still a clear top 10 fighter who can beat most featherweights in the world.
- It wasn't looking good for Michael Chiesa when Beneil Dariush just picked him apart on the feet in round 1, but he turned the fight around in the 2nd round. Once he had Dariush's back, he was in firm control and pulled off the upset win via rear-naked choke. It's the biggest win of Chiesa's career, and I love the post-fight callout of Tony Ferguson. I'm all for booking that fight, and as a five-rounder.
- Raquel Pennington and Bethe Correia put on a hell of a fight, and I think you could've made an argument for either woman getting the nod on the scorecards. I thought Pennington took rounds 1 and 3, with Correia doing enough in round 2, and two judges saw it for "Rocky." The in-fighting and clinch striking was really fascinating to watch, and I think this win cements Pennington as a contender at women's 135.
- Santiago Ponzinibbio became the first man to ever finish the notoriously tough Court McGee, and he did so in some style. It was a very entertaining round with plenty of offense from both men, but Ponzinibbio's leg kicks, takedown defense, and more powerful striking made the difference. The right hand that dropped McGee off the stuffed takedown was gorgeous, as was the combination to finish him against the fence. It's happy days for "The Ponz."
- Michael Graves had a tough time getting Randy Brown to the ground early, but once his takedowns were clicking it was all about the performance of the ATT product. He dominated Brown in the 2nd before flattening him out and getting the RNC.
- It's early, but "Lookin' For a Fight" has netted us Sage Northcutt and Randy Brown, and for all of their regional flash, we've seen their shortcomings on the ground when pitted against better competition. I suspect this will be the consistent level of fighter we see Dana White sign, and the results are going to probably be the same.
Fight Pass prelims
- John Dodson destroyed Manny Gamburyan in under 40 seconds (they said 47, it's 37, Florida can't count.) It's more than reasonable to assume that Dodson is going to be a contender in his return to 135 lbs. Maybe we'll see a rematch with T.J. Dillashaw down the line, but I'm probably getting ahead of myself. Always good to see "The Magician" perform impressively, and he did so tonight.
- Oluwale Bamgbose was either going to KO Cezar Ferreira or get dominated on the ground. He almost KO'd Cezar in round 1 and then lost the rest of the fight on the ground. As TP Grant notes, Bamgbose has had 3 fights in the UFC, all of which were taken on short notice. He needs a full camp for his next few fights and a serious focus on shoring up his takedown defense, improving his work from the bottom, and not being completely gassed within the first few minutes.
- Joe Rogan wondered aloud whether or not kicks to the knee were illegal, after Bamgbose threw one early in the round vs. Ferreira. They're not, so let's all move along. Goldberg and Rogan did their Goldberg and Rogan things tonight, and you can interpret that however you want.
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos probably ended Omari Akhmedov's UFC career by beating the hell out of him in round 3 of a fun fight. Akhmedov has now lost twice in a row in round 3, and he just hasn't got the defense, cardio, or energy-management to win consistently at a UFC level.