The Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was home to an exciting night of fights, and that was fitting, since this was the last ever Fox event. The card saw four (T)KOs, two submissions, and six decisions, including one split-decision.
Performances of the Night: Al Iaquinta, Charles Oliveira
Al Iaquinta fought a very technical fight against Kevin Lee that showcased his excellent fight IQ and underrated takedown defense. The contest was a back-and-forth affair that saw Iaquinta take the first round with good striking that frequently found a home on Lee’s chin.
The next several minutes saw Lee get Iaquinta in body locks and body triangles, but again, “Raging Al” was able to defend himself, get back to his feet and press the action. Iaquinta’s hard jabs were accumulating and the results were clear on Lee’s face, which was becoming bloodied and battered.
Rounds two and three belonged to Lee, who used his wrestling effectively, and also did well in the striking exchanges. Iaquinta stayed calm and collected, though, and fought his way out of some bad situations.
Before long, Iaquinta’s forward pressure was really paying dividends, with him landing high kicks, front kicks, and plenty of punches that were doing more damage to the “Motown Phenom.” Once again, the jab constantly found its home, and by the time the fight was reaching its close, Iaquinta was landing at will, dropping his hands and inviting Lee to try to touch him. It was Iaquinta’s finest performance, and by the time the final horn sounded, Lee looked like he’d tangled with a grizzly.
Al Iaquinta gets the W and 50 large for his bank account
Charles Oliveira needed just 75 seconds to stop Jim Miller’s efforts for an upset, beginning with a body lock slam of the New Jersey veteran. “Do Bronx” took Miller’s back, sunk in the hooks and got his right arm under the chin. The squeeze was on, and Miller, defending for as long as he could, was forced to tap.
Charles Oliveira gets the victory and $50Gs for his lightning quick work
Fight of the Night: Jared Gordon vs. Joaquim Silva
Jared Gordon and Joaquim Silva put on one hell of an entertaining scrap that saw plenty of action. Gordon landed several punches and knees that hurt Silva, then the tables were turned, and it was Silva landing on “Flash.” The Brazilian, with a rapidly swelling eye and an exploded ear, threw a big overhand right followed by a flying knee that stunned Gordon. Silva has Gordon in a tight guillotine just as the horn sounds.
The action continued on in the second round, with more of the same high intensity action the first round saw. The men fought for control, with Gordon landing punches, kicks and knees, and constantly looking to better his position, and Silva defending well and constantly looking for submissions.
The final round saw the men engage each other in the center of the cage, trading big shots, and looking for level changes. These men are going hell for leather when Silva lands a thunderous right followed by a combination that basically had Gordon out on his feet. The ref has seen enough and calls a halt to the action.
Joaquim Silva gets the W and both men get 50,000 smackers for their efforts
Honorable Mention: Edson Barboza vs. Dan Hooker (My personal FOTN)
Edson Barboza and Dan Hooker had an exciting, fan-pleasing fight that displayed Barboza’s incredible standup and Hooker’s unbelievable fortitude.
The fight was a tale of kicks, coming from both men in the beginning, but soon it would be Barboza’s game, with him chopping Hooker’s legs every chance he got, and the chances were plentiful. They stood toe-to-toe for the most part, trading big shots, and mixing things up with some knees in the clinch.
Hooker’s ability to absorb punishment is unreal, and watching him get stunned with huge bombs made me think he may have summoned some dark magic, because mortal men would have been out long before this fight was stopped.
It should be noted there was a brief period of ground action that was initiated off a big punch from Barboza which resulted with Hooker on top, but the exchange was fleeting, and Edson was soon back on his feet, destroying Hooker’s legs and mollywhopping him with everything in his impressive arsenal. When the horn sounded after the second round, Hooker collapsed in a heap on the canvas. The fight should’ve been stopped at this point, but the ringside physician and Hooker’s corner sent him out for the third round anyway, much to the chagrin of myself and many others.
The third round was all Barboza, and he went straight to work again, tearing up Hooker’s legs and blasting him up top with everything but the kitchen sink. By this point, Daniel Cormier is calling for a stoppage, a towel to be thrown in or an angel to come down and take Hooker from the cage. Somehow, through all this accumulated punishment, Hooker was still standing. Heavy knees in the clinch finally started wearing “The Hangman” down, and finally, a left uppercut to his already over-tenderized midsection put him down, doubled over in agony. Thankfully, that was the end.
Edson Barboza gets the win and both men get nothing for their outstanding slobberknocker