Main Card (Tim)
Anthony Smith and Glover Teixeira was a tale of two fights, and part two was rather grisly. Smith largely controlled the first seven minutes of the fight, battering Glover with endless jabs, hard rights, and body work. Glover couldn’t find his range for the most part.
Then Glover landed a punch right to Smith’s eye.
Smith thought it was a poke, but it wasn’t. And it was all downhill from there. Teixeira put a sustained, ugly beating on Smith for the next 13 minutes, but wasn’t able to put Smith away. Anthony really lived up to his Lionheart nickname, but he was getting absolutely savaged on the feet and the ground. Rounds three and four were both 10-8s for Glover.
Should Smith have come out for round five? His face was a mess. He said his teeth were falling out. He was absolutely done. His corner maybe should have protected their fighter. But they didn’t. Teixeira landed two big shots and Smith was barely conscious. Finally, mercifully, the fight was called off 62 seconds into round five, with Teixeira taking the victory.
- I would absolutely love to see these two rematch. Before the eye punch, Smith was in complete control. And he showed a ton of balls by lasting as long as he did. Once Smith heals up (and it could be a while), I don’t see anything wrong with running it back. Neither man is getting a title shot any time soon anyway.
- Ben Rothwell and Ovince Saint Preux put on the plodding fight that many expected. There were bursts of action, but not a lot overall. A lot of the fight was spent with OSP circling or pinned against the cage, and that probably cost him the split decision in the end despite dropping Rothwell late in the second.
- Drew Dober and Alexander Hernandez put on a fun show. Hernandez showed off a varied game in the first, landing some good shots on Dober and mixing in some takedowns. Dober made great adjustments though, and he just kept pressing forward with hard punches and not letting Hernandez off the hook. Eventually he dropped Hernandez a couple of times, and ended up getting the stoppage with Hernandez back on the feet. Awesome win by a great guy, and calling out Paul Felder is smart.
- Ricky Simon and Ray Borg put on a pretty good fight with a lot of action. Borg got taken down a lot, but managed to get up pretty quickly. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to take over the striking until the third round and it was a bit too late. Simon’s size and strength earned him a split decision win.
- Andrei Arlovski picked up a humdrum win over Philipe Lins in a fight that I actually thought he lost. The bout wasn’t very good, but I thought Lins caught him with way harder shots in the first and third, especially the first. Two 30-27 scores is awful. With that being said, Lins didn’t put the stamp on it by any means and I’m not bothered that AA got the nod.
- That nut shot Arlovski took was ridiculous though. The empty arena adds a lot, but hearing a man get booted in the cup and then scream in agony is not one of the things I want to have to endure ever again, thanks.
- Michael Johnson gonna Michael Johnson. He completely dominated Thiago Moises in the first round, stuffing his takedowns and lighting him up with head and body work. He seemed to be in the drivers seat. Unfortunately, something that has happened to him many times happened again - his opponent adjusted, pulled guard, and found a submission. A nasty heel hook, in this case.
- Moises called out Anthony Pettis after the fight. He was respectful, but I don’t see that happening. At all.
Preliminary Card (Mookie)
- Sijara Eubanks got a much-needed shutout win over Sarah Moras to end a two-fight losing skid. She didn’t show any signs of fatigue and was in control for much of the contest, showing her dominance in round three. I don’t know why she shoved Moras after it was over, but what’s done is done and Eubanks badly needed a strong performance.
- In a lightweight scrap, Gabriel Benitez and Omar Morales had a grueling 15-minute bout that was contested almost entirely on the feet. They traded hard shots at one another from start to finish — those kicks to the body are really amplified without fans in attendance — and it was hard to pick a winner. Morales won by unanimous decision, and while I scored it 29-28 Benitez, it really could’ve gone either way despite those unanimous cards (and that questionable 30-27).
- We did not need that close-up of Gabriel Benitez’s shin. And no, I’m not sharing it here.
- Brian Kelleher lived up to that “boom” nickname. After a shaky round one against Dana White’s Contender Series signing Hunter Azure, Kelleher found his rhythm in round two and blasted Azure with a wicked left hook. The hammerfists only made Azure extra knocked out, as that should’ve been stopped immediately after the knockdown. Short notice, out of his usual weight class, none of it mattered because Brian Kelleher is a badass. He also called out Sean O’Malley, and why the hell not? He’s be an underdog but he relishes that role and is fun to watch.
- Chase Sherman returned to the UFC and looked great. Ike Villanueva admittedly looked mostly out of his depth, but Sherman put on a steady attack of leg kicks, combination striking, and capped things off with a vicious elbow that put the tough Villanueva down for good. Nice way to start the card and a great showing for the entertaining heavyweight.