Needless to say, the UFC Fight Night: Arlovski vs. Barnett preliminary card was largely forgettable. Lots of decisions, not a lot of entertainment, but we did get a rare draw outcome. Here's how the first seven fights in Hamburg, Germany played out.
Jessin Ayari def. Jim Wallhead via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27) - Welterweights
Two UFC debutants fought a relatively slow-paced 1st round. It was a fairly even first 5 minutes and there wasn't any real serious action to report. Ayari was light on his feet and bouncing around, with Wallhead struggling to find his range. Right hand and a left hook scored early in the 2nd for Wallhead. In the middle of the round they both exchanged heavy fire. Ayari landed well but Wallhead arguably had the better success. Ayari's leg kicks reddened Wallhead's lead leg. Ayari found success with his counterpunching in the 3rd round of a fight contested almost entirely on the feet. Wallhead struggled again to measure his punches. Ayari's combos were getting him the upper hand but a left hook by Wallhead decked Ayari. Wallhead didn't get the finish and Ayari pushed on to get the victory. Knee to the body and an elbow in the clinch by Ayari, who looked to be finishing very strongly even after nearly getting knocked out. Huge punches from Wallhead rocked Ayari badly and he was on unsteady legs. It was a slow grind for the first two rounds but the 3rd round was competitive and entertaining.
Peter Sobotta def. Nicolas Dalby via unanimous decision (30-26 x3) - Welterweights
Sobotta scored first with a teep kick to the face of the Dane. Big uppercut dropped Dalby and Sobotta pounced with hammerfists. Sobotta survived the onslaught but not before the punches cut up his face. Heavy top pressure from Sobotta, who advanced to side control. Dalby survived the round even after giving up his back and fending off a face crank.
Dalby poked Sobotta hard in the eye just 15 seconds into the 2nd, halting the action. When it resumed, Dalby upped the urgency but had a kick caught and Sobotta threw him down. Sobotta soundly outgrappled Dalby, who was just about helpless off of his back. No threat of a finish but another round in Sobotta's belt.
Nicolas absolutely needed a finish to win the fight. He went for it midway in the 3rd but Sobotta weathered the storm. Sobotta weathered the storm with a left hand, a body kick, and then a takedown. Dalby had nothing going for him and Sobotta scored an impressive victory.
OHHHHHHH huge shot from @PeterSobotta!! #UFCHamburg https://t.co/kFsxhLqX11— #UFCHamburg (@ufc) September 3, 2016
Ashlee Evans-Smith def. Veronica Macedo via TKO (elbows) at 2:46 of round 3 - Women's Bantamweights
A nifty spinning back kick caught Ashlee's attention, as the UFC newcomer sought an upset win in her debut. The taekwondo practitioner showed off her kicking skills in the first few minutes. Good takedown by Evans-Smith with 1:30 left in the 1st was soon followed by Ashlee taking Veronica's back and then flattening her out. Macedo tried to escape but Evans-Smith moved to full mount. Americana attempt by Evans-Smith failed and Macedo got back to her feet. Macedo tried turning the tables and had brief control of Evans-Smith's back. Big elbow and a left hand to end the round for Macedo.
The 2nd round started with some clinch striking from both women. Knees to the body by Evans-Smith, who had a considerable size advantage. Macedo rolled for a kneebar and Evans-Smith defended it successfully. Macedo's kicking game continued to trouble Evans-Smith, who resorted primarily to her physical advantage and clinch work to control the fight. Another failed kneebar roll by Macedo, who was kneed twice when she returned to her feet, and then thrown violently to close off the 2nd.
Macedo's gas tank was just about on empty. Evans-Smith was in full control on the ground after another failed kneebar roll. Evans-Smith trapped the right arm and drilled Macedo with heavy elbows until the referee stopped the fight.
BIG elbows by @AshleeMMA to finish the fight at #UFCHamburg!! pic.twitter.com/vmfFKsZ0u5— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) September 3, 2016
Taylor Lapilus def. Leandro Issa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) - Bantamweights
Takedown for the BJJ specialist in just 30 seconds took some work to get, but Issa got Lapilus to the ground. The Frenchman did well to get back to his feet. About 2 minutes worth of takedown defense by Lapilus set up his striking and stagger Issa with a series of fast punches, a knee, and an elbow. Issa was clearly in desperation mode but did see out the round, but not before having another takedown stuffed.
Issa had no answer for Lapilus' hands and the takedowns weren't coming. Excellent sprawls and balance by the young prospect. Stinging left after a body kick backed Issa up. The speed difference betwene Lapilus and Issa was noticeable. Issa dropped down for a guillotine towards the end of the 2nd but couldn't get it, and wound up eating a few ground strikes before the round ended.
Lapilus once again outstruck Issa in the 3rd, drilling him with left hands on multiple occasions and repeatedly stuffing Issa's shots. Leandro needed a finish to win and he wasn't even close to getting one. Dominant performance by Lapilus to get the win. The judge who gave Issa a round ... is incorrect.
Christian Colombo vs. Jarjis Danho ends in a majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28) - Heavyweights
Colombo stopped Danho's takedown in the first minute and caught Danho with a knee in the clinch. Hard overhand right slapped across Colombo's face but Colombo held steady in the resulting bodylock. Danho forced the action for much of the 1st. Colombo pushed forward with punches but didn't land anything convincing. Four-punch combo by Danho but Colombo recovered nicely. Illegal knee by Colombo cost him a point, as Danho's fingertips were on the canvas when he was hit in the head. Danho was bleeding pretty heavily from the knee.
In round 2, Colombo fell after hitting Danho with a knee. Danho was all over Colombo on the ground for a few seconds but the Dane got back to his feet. More heavy knees from Colombo caught a noticeably slowed Danho. Jarjis repeatedly "played the game" to try and get Colombo to hit him while he was considered downed. Honestly speaking, this was horrible MMA. Danho was able to score with a few lumbering power shots but he was absolutely winded.
The knees and front headlock of Colombo were the theme of round 3. Danho looked utterly spent but Colombo slipped in a s clinch and Danho was able to briefly get on top. When they returned to striking, Danho pushed forward with combination punching, then Colombo retaliated with knees. The horn sounded to end a fight that definitely happened. The point deduction meant a draw outcome.
Jack Hermansson def. Scott Askham via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) - Middleweights
Round 1 was a tight, well contested matchup between the two tall, rangy fighters. Both men trading solid kicks, particularly Hermansson's oblique kicks, while Askham attacked the leg. Takedown attempts from the two were unsuccessful and there wasn't a whole lot to separate them on the cards.
Hermansson adjusted by coming out more aggressively in the 2nd round, landing on Askham at a consistent clip in the opening minute. Askham answered back with a knee on the break after a failed takedown. Hermansson scored with a nice right hand. Askham found a home for his uppercut but Hermansson replied with a combination against the fence. Hermansson slowly took over over the latter part of the 2nd round with an array of punches and kicks. Askham attacked with a heel hook to end the round.
Hermansson's pressure-based offense continued to trouble Askham, who again went for leg locks but to no avail. Big elbow in the clinch by Hermansson hurt Askham, as did an uppercut. Askham continued to get drilled with huge punches in the clinch, but he hung tough as ever and refused to go down. Askham had a front headlock on Hermansson but was unable to turn it into a threatening guillotine. The two went bombs away to end an entertaining fight. Hermansson is victorious in his UFC debut.
Rustam Khabilov def. Leandro Silva via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27) - Lightweights
The first few minutes of round 1 didn't feature much in the way of offense. Silva was countering and throwing heavy kicks. Khabilov's two takedown attempts were stuffed. A strong left backed Khabilov up and hurt him, and Silva was able to get on top. He moved into mount in hopes of getting a triangle but lost position and Khabilov reversed him.
Round 2 was more waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Khabilov may have held a slight edge on the feet before finally getting a takedown. Silva kept an active guard and sought opportunities to get a submission, but Khabilov was privy to it.
Silva showed exemplary takedown defense in the 3rd round, stifling Khabilov's single leg attempts and bodylock throws. Persistence finally paid off with about 80 seconds left and Khabilov got in some ground-and-pound before Silva returned to his feet. Silva jabbed a couple of times. Khabilov caught Silva with an uppercut and Silva went in for a takedown. Rustam stuffed it and arguably by being the more active fighter, Khabilov got the win. Not a good fight by any means.