In the main event of UFC Fort Lauderdale, Jack Hermansson announced his presence on the middleweight stage. Despite a pretty good resume, most people thought that Ronaldo Souza would take him out and earn a title shot.
That was not the case.
Hermansson got off to a great start in round one, hurting Jacare and snatching up a guillotine. Jacare is Jacare though, so he couldn’t finish. Hermansson ended up on top in round two and rode out almost the entire round there.
Jacare came back in the third though, largely dominating the striking and finally getting his timing down. The body work was the key there. Yet he abandoned it in the fourth after getting clubbed by Hermansson early. The Joker was just throwing an insane amount of strikes to keep Jacare at bay. He had his moments, Souza likely needed a finish going in to the final round.
Both men showed up in the final round. Hermansson kept up the volume, but Jacare went back to the body and landed some big shots.
I had it 49-46 Hermansson. The judges had it 49-46, 48-47, 48-47. Hermansson landed something like 400 punches. That’s absolutely insane. Great work, sir.
- I refuse to say anything about Greg Hardy.
- Mike Perry looked pretty damn good against Alex Oliveira. The fight was fun, wild, and sloppy at times - but it was never boring. Perry had Cowboy hurt multiple times. Cowboy dislocated a toe at the end of the second round, and it was grossly cracked back in so he could go out for the third. He gamely continued, but Perry took over and won a wide final round to take the decision.
- Glover Teixeira and Ion Cutelaba was waaay better than I expected it to be. Cutelaba dropped Glover with a perfect spinning backfist, but couldn’t finish him off. Glover has a lot of heart, and he came out in the second and proved it by standing right in there with Ion and trading. Eventually he got a somewhat-tired Cutelaba to the mat, and choked him out in short order.
- John Lineker and Cory Sandhagen was expected to impress, and that they did. Both men showed off their slick, powerful striking and granite chins, and even mixed a little grappling in there for good measure. Sandhagen landed more, but Lineker landed harder. With under 30 seconds left, Lineker hurt Sandhagen and had him in a tight guillotine, but Sandhagen survived to the horn - and eked out a split decision win.
- Roosevelt Roberts came in as a vaunted prospect, but didn’t look all that great against fellow debutant Thomas Giffford. It wasn’t a bad fight, and Roberts took a clear decision - it just felt more like a regional fight or a TNCS bout than something that should be on the main card of a UFC event.
- Ben Saunders started well. He had Takashi Sato confused timing-wise in the first round. But Sato quickly fought his range with his left early in round two, and made Saunders pay. He dropped Killa B, then beat the hell out of him with elbows until the ref mercifully stepped in.
- Andrei Arlovski and Augusto Sakai fought the fight that has become the expected output from Arlovski - slow pace, not much happening, goes to decision. I thought Arlovski easily won two rounds, but the judges awarded Sakai a split decision win. The judging was a bit sketchy all night, and this was just another example.
- Carla Esparza and newcomer Virna Jandiroba put on a fun grappling battle. I found Jandiroba’s use of judo quite refreshing and fun, but Esparza was able to deal with it well. It was a back-and-forth fight that the scorecards don’t really reflect, but Esparza took home a unanimous decision win.
- Why does Jon Anik always call Keith Peterson “No Nonsense”, but doesn’t have nicknames for any other refs?
- Gilbert Burns had lost his way for a little while. The guy has won like 19 BJJ world titles, but like most grapplers that get a couple KOs, he started to fall in love with his hands a bit. The first part of his bout with Mike Davis was some good action on the feet, but Durinho was smart enough to know where he had the biggest advantage - on the ground - and picked up a RNC win in the second round.
- Angela Hill handled a game Jodie Esquibel in one of the more aggressive battles of the night. Hill was just too technical, and landed some beautiful knees. This was likely a loser-leaves-town fight, and Hill will definitely be sticking around.
- Court McGee’s pressure and chin bring him to the dance every time, but he just couldn’t adjust to Dhiego Lima’s counter left. Add in the fact that he couldn’t get Lima to the ground (outside of a super fun judo throw), and it led to a Lima win. McGee did drop him late, but it was too late.