Main Card (Tim)
- What a main event. T.J. Dillashaw showed that he’s every bit as good as he was before, drugs or not, by going a solid five rounds with Cory Sandhagen and pulling out a split decision. I personally had Dilly winning 3, if not 4, of the rounds and don’t see how Sandhagen got three. His striking and grappling skills were on point, he never slowed down, and while Sandhagen looked great, it just wasn’t enough. I still don’t think Dilly deserves a title shot off of that though.
- Kyler Phillips deserved that decision. The fight with Raulian Paiva was amazing, but I thought he did more in the first two rounds to take it. Alas, the judges saw it differently. But if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth a watch.
- Another Darren Elkins fight, another Darren Elkins victory. He got touched up by Darrick Minner for the first round and was...well, damaged. But in the second round he came back and put a hurting on Minner, eventually earning the TKO victory. Elkins is the gift that keeps on giving.
- I thought Miranda Maverick beat Maycee Barber. Maycee was relentless with her takedowns but she got beat up. I gave her the first two. I guess it doesn’t really matter in the long run, but Barber’s fight skill is just so overrated to me.
- Adrian Yanez and Randy Costa was awesome! Costa beat the dog shit out of Yanez in the first round, but Yanez weathered the storm and came back with some devastation and got the finish. Great start to a great main card.
- Punahele Soriano and Brendan Allen beat the hell out of each other for three rounds and it was (obviously) super entertaining to watch. Ultimately it was Allen who came out of that war with his hand raised, and it may have been a surprise to some given what we know of his abilities on the ground. Brutal body shots in the second round slowed Soriano down and sapped some of his big power, and I think that was the turning point. Really good showing from Allen in particular, and just generally speaking a good night for the unranked middleweights.
- French middleweight Nassourdine Imavov was magnificent against Ian Heinisch. It’s one thing to beat him but it’s another altogether to become the first to stop him with strikes. Heinisch had his moments with punishing leg kicks but his wrestling never factored into this fight and Imavov’s technical and very accurate striking was too much for Ian to handle. His jab was on point and mixing up his targets kept Heinisch off balance, and in the end a 1-2 and a knee spelled the end of the fight.
- Wow. That’s probably the best Mickey Gall’s striking has ever looked. Hell I think it’s his best performance to date. Jordan Williams’ move down to 170 didn’t go as planned, as he was clattered in the opening 30 seconds and really just never got going offensively. Gall used his striking to set up his grappling, which Williams couldn’t cope with and got rear-naked choked in three minutes. Gall has been inconsistent throughout his UFC career but there were legitimate signs of progress with how he beat Williams. The next question becomes can he sustain that success?
- As if bantamweight needed more talent, Julio Arce’s return to the division for the first time since 2016 went superbly. He rocked Andre Ewell in the first round, then really put Ewell out of it in the second round with a huge left hand and just a series of punishing power shots. Ewell didn’t go down but he wasn’t returning fire or defending well, so a standing TKO and a great one by referee Chris Tognoni.
- Sijara Eubanks just wrecked Elise Reed, who came in on short notice and normally fights at strawweight. Eubanks wasted no time getting a takedown and from there she busted up Reed with ground-and-pound, closed her right eye completely and the ref justifiably stepped in to stop this beatdown. Eubanks had no issues making the flyweight limit and she took care of business against the UFC newcomer.
- Diana Belbita picked up her first UFC win on her third attempt, winning a shutout decision over Hannah Goldy. Belbita dealt with Goldy’s high kicks early on and just couldn’t miss with her right hand, dropping Goldy once and hurting her again later in the fight. Goldy had a late rally with a takedown and punches from mount in the waning seconds, but despite what Dominick Cruz speculated, it wasn’t enough to win the round or (ludicrously) win the fight. Fun scrap, though!