Capital One Arena in Washington D.C. was home to a solid night of fights. The card saw four (T)KOs, four submissions and four decisions, including two majority draws.
Tonight’s card was a certified palate cleanser after last month’s disappointing Sao Paulo card. The preliminary bouts were loaded with finishes, five out of six, and the lone decision was a complete blowout. The main card kicked off with a bang when Rob Font and Ricky Simon put on an outstanding scrap and the remaining bouts were solid affairs with finishes peppered throughout. There were a few low points on the card, though. Ben Rothwell’s low blows on Stefan Struve, the extremely odd judge’s decision in the Stamann-Song fight (Majority Draw), and the overall length of the main card (almost four hours!) were the annoyances on an otherwise great show.
The main event wasn’t action-packed overall, but it had its moments. Overeem was effective with his wrestling and managed to land some hard shots on Rozenstruik, but “Bigi Boy” was largely unfazed. Rozenstruik landed some good combinations and even tried a couple flying knees, but Overeem gutted through. Neither man seemed to have any urgency nor did they “Fight Like Hell,” a stark contrast of the tag phrase for tonight’s event. And then, with just four seconds left on the clock, Rozenstruik plowed Overeem with a rocket right that exploded Alistair’s upper lip like a melon. Overeem was up on the scorecards and might’ve won if the fight had been allowed to play out, a point of contention among fans and pundits alike.
Performances of the Night: Makhmud Muradov, Bryce Mitchell
Makhmud Muradov (KO R3), Virna Jandiroba (RNC R2), Bryce Mitchell (Twister R1), Billy Quarantillo (Triangle R2), Tim Means (Triangle R1), Aspen Ladd (TKO R3), Ben Rothwell (TKO R2), and Jairzinho Rozenstruik (TKO R5) all scored finishes, but it was Muradov’s sensational (and terrifying) KO of Trevor Smith and Bryce Mitchell’s ultra rare twister over Matt Sayles that would take the two performance of the night bonuses.
Fight of the Night: Ricky Simon vs. Rob Font
There were four fights that went the distance, but none were as exciting as Ricky Simon and Rob Font’s wild slobberknocker. From the beginning, these two bantamweights exchanged haymakers, had some brief grappling exchanges, and kept swinging for the fences all the way to the end. Both men landed big and both men gutted through periods of adversity, but it was Rob Font that left the octagon with the win and both would take home an extra $50,000 for their massively entertaining efforts.