The O2 Arena in London, England was home to a satisfying day of fights, with three (T)KOs, four submissions and three decisions, including a split-decision. Two fights were scratched from this card at short notice. One apparently due to a weight-cutting issue, and one due to an eye infection. Fortunately, the remaining ten bouts delivered.
Fabricio Werdum came into today’s main event as the favorite, but he’s leaving without his win bonus after Alexander Volkov beat him up and knocked him out. Don’t worry, Werdum still has that dirty dictator/warlord money to fall back on.
Volkov not only got his win bonus, he also earned an extra $50,000 for knocking Werdum out. The fight was quite competitive, but Werdum started to slow and fall back on bad habits as the rounds wore on, despite his “28-year-old body.” Fabricio’s striking defense became more static and he gave everyone Strikeforce-nam flashbacks with his flopping in the last couple of rounds. It seemed inevitable that Volkov would land a clean shot sooner or later. He did in the fourth, and that was all she wrote.
Paul Craig pulled out a last-second Hail Mary submission to win a fight where he was almost certain to lose the decision. He got the tap with a ridiculous one second left in the final round. Ankalaev literally tapped out at 4:59 of the third round. He was milliseconds away from winning his UFC debut and he’ll be kicking himself for his mistake, but Paul Craig will be celebrating with the extra 50 Gs he earned with that “Venus flytrap” triangle choke.
Fight of the Night: Jan Blachowicz vs. Jimi Manuwa
This fight shouldn’t have been any good. We saw it once before and it was awful. The first fight was like watching two turtles fornicate while receiving extensive dental work. It was painfully bad and most people expected more of the same tonight. Most people were wrong, because this fight was bananas.
Jimi Manuwa came into tonight’s fight determined to get a head kick knockout and he landed a good half dozen of them on Blachowicz’s dome. Jan didn’t care. He didn’t give a f*$%. HoneyBlachowicz was not in the mood. The first round saw him blast Jimi, dropping him and splattering his nose all over his face, but the Englishman survived and recovered to come out swinging in the second round, landing some huge shots of his own, but not quite managing to drop the Pole.
Everything hinged on the third round and both men went balls-to-the-wall to try to secure the win. Manuwa threw some huge shots, including yet another headkick, but for every shot he landed, Blachowicz would land three solid jabs, and the sheer volume of accurate punches stopped Manuwa from being able to build any real momentum. The fight, somehow, made it to the scorecards where Blachowicz earned a deserved judges decision. The UFC promptly rewarded both men with an extra $50,000 for their gutsy performances.