The UFC 269 prelims have just wrapped up after opening with a pair of knockouts, and ending with a set of gritty decisions. The UFC’s #7 rated featherweight, Josh Emmett, just out-struck the #9 rated, Dan Ige, to secure a unanimous decision. Emmett came up with a big knockdown in the opening round, and although Ige recovered and fought his way back into the fight, the night belonged to the heavy handed Emmett. Josh has won four-straight, and should really be talked about in the title picture moving forward.
Before that, former UFC bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz, overcame being badly hurt in the opening round by the #8 rated 135-pounder, Pedro Munhoz, to earn a unanimous nod. Cruz had to show off his heart of a champion when he was nearly knocked out in the first-round. Pedro hit Dom so hard that it must have knocked him back into 2011, because vintage Cruz came out after that. From there, it was elusive footwork and crafty angles spliced with slick punching combinations and even more footwork. Dom has now won two fights in a row.
We got an epic heavyweight knockout courtesy of Tai Tuivasa, who savagely ended Augusto Sakai’s night in the second round. It was the left hand that hurt Sakai, and then a right hand on the button at the end of a flurry put Augusto out cold. Tai went from a three-fight losing skid to now riding a four-fight winning wave... and he did a shoey from atop the UFC Octagon.
Opening up the prelims, Bruno Silva stopped Jordan Wright in the first-round with punches. It was a combo off of the clinch break that dazed Wright, and then a blitz of straights sent Jordan to the floor. Silva stayed all over his hurt opponent, dropping hammers until the referee said to stop. It’s clear that Bruno packs a hefty wallop, as he has finished all-three of his UFC fights with strikes.
**See complete results below
Josh Emmett def. Dan Ige by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Featherweight
Emmett opens the bout with a major right hand that floored Ige. Josh jumped on top of him, but Ige was able to start grappling to buy him some time. Back on the feet, things chilled out a bit. Emmett didn’t try to force anything, and Ige settled back into the fight.
The second stanza saw Ige briefly rocked Emmett with a left hook early in the round. Josh got behind his jab, while Dan was opening up with more variety. It was a much better round for Ige. After he stung Emmett and got some respect, he was able to start commanding the fight.
Ige was pumping his jab in the third round, while trying to avoid the big right hand of his opponent. Emmett was able to get through with some power, but Ige was able to skirt out of harms way. Ige shot in for a takedown, but Emmett was hip to it and the fight remained on its feet. The fight got a little bit sticky down the stretch, with neither man really taking over.
Dominick Cruz def. Pedro Munhoz by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Bantamweight
The fighters went right at it, trading strikes and moving aprons a bunch. Then, Munhoz rocked Cruz with a bomb, and then dropped him again with a followup flurry. Cruz somehow went to his wrestling and survived, but he was still in a bad way. The former champion gritty through being dazed and started to return fire. Not only did he return fire, but he was getting the better of the exchanges just before the bell.
Cruz was doing a lot of sticking and moving in the second stanza, preventing Munhoz from finding a rhythm. The former champ was landing his punches, and then getting out of the way before Munhoz could hit him back. A cut had opened up around the scalp line of Munhoz at this point. Cruz then threw an extended flurry, connecting on a lot of his punches.
Cruz continued to fight hard into the final round. He was attacking from his classic unorthodox angles, scoring and getting out of the way. Munhoz did get through with a clean shot here and there, Dom was just being too slick. Cruz kept peppering Munhoz, while Pedro kept mostly swinging at air.
Tai Tuivasa def. Augusto Sakai by KO at :26 of round 2: Heavyweight
This one started out with a slow tempo. Sakai was throwing leg kicks here and there, while Tuivasa was zeroing in on his left hook. On the inside, Tuivasa was scoring with some dirty boxing as he pressed Sakai’s back to the fence. Sakai reversed the position and delivered some nice knees to the midsection. Tuivasa responded with a sneaky elbow and a reversal before the bell. Tuivasa opened the second round with big left hook that staggered Sakai. Tai then swarmed with a flurry, connecting with some full-force right hands that slept Sakai... leg folded back and all. Yikes!
Bruno Silva def. Jordan Wright by TKO at 1:28 of round 1: Middleweight
Silva pressed after his opponent, but Wright was meeting him with hard combos. They clinched up and Wright connected with some hard knees to the body. Then, Silva blasted Wright with a right left combo that stunned him. A 1-2 dropped Wright, and Silva did not let him off the hook. He chased him down with a couple of hefty punches that prompted the ref to stop the fight.