UFC Vegas was so much fun until the main event. I wasn’t expecting a lot of fireworks out of two grinding wrestlers, but it was even more dull that I figured it would be. Covington largely dominated a gunshy Woodley, getting an early takedown that seemed to make Woodley pause a lot more when it came to throwing his hands. Covington landed with a ton of volume over the whole bout, and Woodley did not.
Covington eventually got a fifth-round stoppage when Woodley suffered an injury, but the winner of the bout was a foregone conclusion by that point. Colby got a 10-8 fourth round on my card, grounding Woodley and busting him open with an elbow. Covington might not be very popular with his antics outside of the cage, but he is a hell of a fighter and undoubtedly one of the best welterweights in the world.
As for Woodley, it might be time to think about hanging them up. He’s basically lost 15 rounds in a row now.
- Donald Cerrone vs. Niko Price was a fun scrap, that was marred by eye pokes to a degree. Price poked Cerrone twice in the first round and lost a point, then they amusingly poked each other in the eye at the same time later in the fight. Price had more volume overall, especially early, but Cerrone came on late. It went to a majority draw, with two 28-28 cards and an odd 29-27 card for Cerrone. I didn’t think Cerrone won the second round at all, but it doesn’t matter in the end.
- Price reacting like he won the lottery when the draw was announced was hilarious. Cowboy was so confused.
- What can you say about Khamzat Chimaev? He just dusted Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds with the perfect right hook. I’m not sure anyone really expected that, but it was amazing. The sky is the limit for a man who is probably the best prospect in MMA right now.
- Johnny Walker and Ryan Spann was just bonkers. Walker got dropped twice and looked dead to rights, but he was apparently just biding his time. Spann got caught, and then ate a ton of shots against the fence until he was unable to continue. Walker might not win ‘em all, but it’s usually pretty entertaining and this was no different. If there’s one fight you should watch from this card (besides the one above this), it’s Walker vs. Spann.
- Randa Markos, what the hell? Why would you jump into the guard of a BJJ world champ? Mackenzie Dern is not to be messed with on the ground, and Markos fell right into her world. A few minutes later, she was tapping to a nasty armbar.
- I loved Dern’s post-fight interview. She was actually thinking about WHAT submission she wanted to use, because she wanted to finish the fight with something that has never happened in women’s MMA before. She didn’t, and took the armbar, but how high-level are you when you’re thinking like that in a fist fight? That’s incredible to me.
- Kevin Holland and Darren Stewart was...unique. There were foot stomps, shoulder checks, elbows to the bottom of the foot, and all sorts of amusing chatter. I actually had Stewart winning the decision, but it seems that I am in the minority on that. Holland got the W, but I am looking forward to seeing them both fight again.
- I really like David Dvorak’s game. Not a lot of flash, but technically great and brutal leg kicks. Jordan Espinosa did what he could, but his leg was damaged early and there was no coming back from that. Good win for Dvorak.
- Props to Damon Jackson. He took everything Mirsad Bektic had for two rounds, which was a lot. And then submitted him with a pretty mounted guillotine in the third. Bektic is such a frustrating fighter. He has all the talent in the world, but he just can’t put it together for some reason.
- I’m not sure what Mara Romero Borella was thinking in her fight with Mayra Bueno Silva. She got an early takedown, then just sat in Bueno Silva’s guard while the latter tried a bunch of submissions. She defended, but did nothing offensive. So eventually she got caught. Not that surprising.
- The fight between Jessica-Rose Clark and Sarah Alpar was just a mess. Jessy Jess landed a brutal knee to Alpar as she was going down from the knee before it, and it was quite close to being an illegal blow. It wasn’t though. The ref paused the fight, then somehow allowed it to start again once the shot was deemed legal, despite Alpar leaking blood from her nose and still being clearly dazed. She took a ton more punishment from Clark, who eventually got the finish in the third. Clark just did her job, but I am not a fan of that refereeing at all.
- T.J. Laramie came into the UFC with a bit of hype and was a big favorite in his bout with Darrick Minner. But in under a minute, he was tapping out to a guillotine. Beautiful finish by Minner, and he’s definitely on fan’s radar now.
- Randy Costa smoked Journey Newson in 41 seconds with a killer head kick. It was nasty. He nailed the post-fight interview too, being just as entertaining on the mic (well, headset) as he was in the cage. I’m a big fan now.
- Andre Ewell and Irwin Rivera put on an entertaining back-and-forth scrap, and the right guy won in Ewell. I didn’t think it was anything close to a split decision, but it wasn’t boring at least.
- Tyson Nam only really showed off one weapon in his fight with Gerald Rivera - a powerful right hand - but that was all it took. Nam waded through the first round taking shots and trying to turn Rivera’s lights out with one shot. It didn’t work then. But early in the second, it did. A devastating right hook put Rivera down, and he didn’t get up. On any other card, that would have been a candidate for a performance bonus. Too bad for Nam that he did it on the most entertaining card of the year so far.