The APEX Center in Las Vegas, Nevada was home to a great evening of fights at UFC Vegas 44: Font vs. Aldo. The card saw six (T)KOs, two submissions and five decisions.
FOTN: Vlismas vs. Martin
POTN: Guida, Curtis, Hill, Fiziev
Vince Morales kicked off the undercard when he uncorked a right hand that dropped Louis Smolka like a sack of bricks just two minutes in to the fight. The referee intervened quickly when Morales followed him down, saving Smolka from further damage. That was followed by a sensational kneebar from Claudio Puelles after he pretty much dominated Chris Gruetzmacher for the majority of the fight. William Knight snagged a unanimous decision over Alonzo Menifield and Cheyanne Vlismas outclassed Mallory Martin to take the unanimous decision, as well. Bryan Barberena took the unanimous decision in a very fun scrap with short notice replacement Darian Weeks, but the newcomer looked really good in there and looks like he’ll create some buzz in future fights. Manel Kape scored a flurry TKO finish of Zhalgas Zhumagulov in the first round, demonstrating that finishing ability fans became accustomed to before his arrival in the UFC. Dusko Todorovic finished Maki Pitolo in the first round via TKO to round out the prelims.
Dusko Todorovic def. Maki Pitolo by TKO (punches) at 4:34 of round 1
Manel Kape def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov by TKO (punches) at 4:02 of round 1
Bryan Barberena def. Darian Weeks by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Cheyanne Vlismas def. Mallory Martin by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
William Knight def. Alonzo Menifield by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Claudio Puelles def. Chris Gruetzemacher by submission (kneebar) at 3:26 of round 3
Vince Morales def. Louis Smolka by KO (punches) at 2:02 of round 1
The main card started with a dominant unanimous decision victory for Alex Morono over Mickey Gall. That was followed by Chris Curtis turning up with another big finish inside a month, this time over Brendan Allen in the second round via TKO. After one way traffic in the first round for Leonardo Santos, Clay Guida managed to turn his fortunes around in the second stanza when he pulled off the upset win, via rear-naked choke of the BJJ world champion. Jimmy Crute didn’t know what hit him when he was felled just a few seconds into his fight with Jamahal Hill. Crute managed to get back to his feet again when he was dropped almost immediately with another bomb and a follow-up hammerfist sealed the deal. Jimmy Crute will go home without a win bonus. Rafael Fiziev and Brad Riddell put on a close, back-and-forth battle that saw both men land thudding, gruesome-sounding shots. Round three would be the pivotal round, though, as Fiziev would launch a wheel kick that was the fight ender. Riddell was clearly on another plane of existence, so Herb Dean waved it off. Good stoppage. Great fight.
The main event saw Rob Font control the distance and pace early on but in the last few seconds of the first round, he got dropped by a massive right. Font was definitely saved by the bell. Round two saw a similar set of circumstances, with Font controlling, but the difference in power between the two men is abundantly clear—Jose has the edge. Round three was contested more on the ground, with Font working to get Aldo down but Aldo stuffing the takedown, then reversing and controlling from top after briefly securing full mount. Halfway in, the action gets back to the feet and Font continues popping that hard jab. Aldo is starting to show the damage of this war with right eye swelling. Aldo also started landing those hard leg kicks, chopping at Font’s foundation. Round four saw Aldo come out like a house afire, dropping Font in the early goings. Now Rob’s left eye is closing. The two battled on the ground with Aldo controlling position for nearly the entire round. Round five opened with the men trading but midway through the round, Aldo dropped Font again, jumping on top of him and controlling the fight from the ground for the last 90 seconds, almost securing a submission. I have it 50-45 Aldo. Two of the judges saw it the same. Viva King of Rio!
Jose Aldo def. Rob Font via UD (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)
Rafael Fiziev defeated Brad Riddell via KO (spinning wheel kick), 2:20 of round 3
Jamahal Hill defeated Jimmy Crute via KO (punches), :48 of round 1
Clay Guida defeated Leonardo Santos via submission (rear naked choke), 1:21 of round 2
Chris Curtis defeated Brendan Allen via TKO (knee), 1:58 of round 2
Alex Morono defeated Mickey Gall via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)