Hidalgo, Texas was home to a fun night of fights, with three (T)KOs, four submissions and five decisions. We saw some odd refereeing decisions early in the night, and a remarkable four submission finishes, all via choke. For an event which looked underwhelming on paper, the fights outperformed expectations. Here’s a breakdown of who won the night’s bonuses, and why.
Performances of the Night: Chas Skelly and Michael Johnson Usually, when you have seven finishes, it’s going to be difficult to choose just two fighters to win bonuses. Tonight, two finishes stood head and shoulders above the rest. On any other night, Derek Brunson’s KO of Uriah Hall - the first time Hall has ever been knocked out in the Octagon - would have been a contender for performance of the night, but in Hidalgo, Texas, it was a distant third to these two bouts.
Chas Skelly straight up murder-death-killed Maximo Blanco to kick off the main card on FS1. Like a bat out of hell, he was gone before a minute passed. Skelly landed a vicious cocktail of violence on Blanco in a blistering 19 second stanza; a Bruce Lee style flying kick lead into a d’arce/anaconda choke that put Blanco out before he even realized what was going on.
Take a second to think about the speed of this fight. Skelly kicked a man out of the air and then choked him unconscious in less time than it takes many fighters to throw their first punch. Even the unflappable Herb Dean was caught off guard by the speed of the finish, and took a second to register that Blanco was unconscious. What a performance.
In the main event of the evening, Michael Johnson showed why you can never count him out. While Poirier landed cleanly several times, it only took one big shot from “The Menace” to put him down. Diamond’s solid chin held up; even after taking Johnson’s best shot, he wasn’t out cold, but Johnson fixed that in short order, pouncing on the stunned Poirier and pounding the consciousness from his body.
The Michael Johnson we saw tonight did not look like the same man who lost a split decision to Beneil Dariush last year. If he can maintain a level of consistency equal to his performance tonight, we could see him fighting for the 155 lbs title in 2017.
Fight of the Night: Evan Dunham vs. Rick Glenn Evan Dunham fights can be a bit of a mixed bag. When he feels he’s at a disadvantage on the feet, he’ll happily smother an opponent a la the Ross Pearson fight. Other times, he will stand and trade punches until you start wondering what’s holding both guys up. We got one of those fights tonight.
While the bout wasn’t exactly close, it was exciting. Rick Glenn is extra tough, and Evan Dunham is happy to punch extra tough guys in the face a hundred times. So he did. When Glenn fell down, Dunham punched him in the face. When he stood up, Dunham punched him in the face. When he threw a kick, Dunham punched him in the face. When he clinched, Dunham punched him...You get the idea. This was 15 minutes of face punching and really, Glenn deserves his $50,000 for taking those punches for our entertainment.