It seemed as if the UFC hoped the winner of the main event of the UFC Long Island fight card would emerge as the next UFC featherweight title contender. That didn’t happen. Instead, Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega were left to apologize after the fight came to a close with Ortega unable to continue after he suffered a dislocated shoulder in the opening round of the contest.
“It’s unfortunate that he dislocated his shoulder or whatever,” Rodriguez said. “I already told him we can run it back any time. I’d rather do it for a championship instead of being in a situation like this. Whatever the UFC decides, I’m OK with whatever.
“It’s unfortunate. I prepared to win. Not the way I wanted. All my respect to him. I’m sorry this happened. It’s part of the game.”
As for Ortega, he added, “I’m so f****** sorry. I don’t know how this happened. I wanted to keep going, this thing came out. I’ve got two shoulder surgeries already. I might need a third one, who knows.
“We got stuck in a situation and his body was tight and I don’t know, it just yanked. I was not in submission danger. I tried to clear the leg and my arm just popped out. Yair, congratulations — if you don’t get the title fight, or whatever happens, let’s do this right. I want both of us to leave it all in here. Because I know that’s what we came to do.”
Despite the disappointing ending to the night, the UFC Long Island fight card had its fair share of amazing moments, including what might have been the comeback of the year/round of the year during the battle between Matt Schnell and Sumudaerji.
Read on for the winners and losers from UFC Long Island, which took place on Saturday at UBS Arena.
Yair Rodriguez: There will be arguments over this for a long while, but from where I sit, Rodriguez caused the injury that ended his fight against Brian Ortega. Had Rodriguez not applied the technique that caused Ortega to extract his arm, the injury would likely not have happened. Maybe there was some pre-existing damage that was exacerbated by the exchange, but there should be no question about Rodriguez’s victory at UFC Long Island, nor should there be an asterisk next to the win.
Amanda Lemos: Amanda Lemos bounced back from an April submission loss to Jessica Andrade with a dominant “Performance of the Night” bonus winning matchup against Michelle Waterson-Gomez. Lemos was patient in her offense, but when she attempted strikes, she threw with a great deal of power.
Where Lemos made her biggest statement was in the second round when she secured the guillotine choke that ended the fight. Lemos did an excellent job in not rushing the fight-ending technique when she was not in the correct position to secure the choke. The fight ending sequence was impressive for a fighter known mostly for her striking ability.
Michelle Waterson-Gomez: Michelle Waterson-Gomez tapped to the guillotine choke of Amanda Lemos in the second round of their strawweight contest. Lemos released the choke when she felt the tap. The issue with that was that referee Kevin MacDonald did not see or acknowledge the tap. Luckily for MacDonald and Lemos, Waterson-Gomez acknowledged that she had submitted and the fight came to an end. I’m fairly certain that not every fighter would have done the same thing that Waterson-Gomez did in that situation.
Jingliang Li: Jingliang Li and Muslim Salikhov did a lot of fighting at distance during the first nine minutes of their welterweight scrap. That paid off for Li in a few ways. First, it slowed Salikhov down. Second, it resulted in Salikhov dropping his guard. Third, it allowed Li to get progressively closer to his opponent. Last, it gave Li time to figure out everything he needed to know to land the right that stunned Salikhov and the subsequent strikes that brought the fight to an end.
Li moved to 5-2 in his past seven outings with his “Performance of the Night” bonus-winning finish. He has knockout win in his past four victories.
Matt Schnell vs. Sumudaerji: Matt Schnell vs. Su Mudaerji had themselves a crackerjack of a fight that was deserving of the “Fight of the Night” notice it received — and then some.
Thirty seconds into the second stanza, Sumudaerji staggered Schnell with a left that seemed to put Schnell on autopilot. Instead of backing up to reset himself and clear his head, Schnell continued to move forward. That was not the best idea, or at least while it was happening, it didn’t seem like a good game plan. While he walked down Sumudaerji, Schnell continued to get tagged with nasty shots that might have finished lesser men. However, with two minutes left in the round, Schnell secured a takedown that led to him getting mount on his opponent where he teed off with strikes that bloodied Sumudaerji before securing the triangle choke he used to earn the technical submission win over Sumudaerji.
Matt Schnell: Matt Schnell gets a second notice for the best post-fight quote, “I think he got tired from beating on me.”
Shane Burgos vs. Charles Jourdain: Shane Burgos was aggressive in the early going of his fight against Charles Jourdain. His striking was aggressive and his underrated grappling allowed him to secure a body lock and work toward a choke. However, Jourdain took over in the second half of the first stanza, getting the better of Burgos in the striking department.
Burgos dominated the second round via ground control, submission attempts and ground strikes.
As for the third stanza, I don’t know what Jourdain’s team told their fighter between the second and third round, but Jourdain came out and took it to Burgos for the first four minutes of the round. Burgos did his best to hang with Jourdain, but he had little to offer as far as effective offense until he brought things in close in the final minute of the fight.
This featherweight contest was highly competitive and entertaining and I understand the division on the scoring front, but in the end, it was Burgos who took home the majority decision win. However, Jourdain’s stock should not fall with the performance and effort he put forth in this matchup.
Lauren Murphy: Lauren Murphy seemed to want to prove a point in this matchup and I can understand why. Tate was getting most of the press and most of the hype ahead of this contest. In some circles it seemed as Tate had already been crowned the next flyweight title contender. Murphy was the underdog in this contest, but she was an overwhelming force in this matchup, bloodying and bruising Tate on her way to a dominant decision win.
Murphy gets bonus points for not wasting her time on the mic after the win.
Punahele Soriano: Punahele Soriano ended a two-fight losing skid with a powerful knockout win over Dalcha Lungiambula. The fight ending blow was perfectly timed and placed.
Ricky Simon: Ricky Simon made a statement in a fight that could have easily served as the co-main event of this card.
Two rising bantamweight prospects met when Simon faced Jack Shore and Simon walked away with the win and the momentum with an incredible finish in the second round of the matchup.
Simon’s finish was impressive. The 29-year-old tagged Shore with a shot to the temple. He then swarmed Shore on the ground, throwing strikes while taking mount. Simon’s top pressure forced Shore to make a decision and once he made the call to what position he would surrender, Simon was quick to lock up an arm-triangle choke for his fifth straight win. Simon earned an A for his situational awareness and execution.
Bill Algeo: Bill Algeo had some rough moments in the opening round of his bout opposite Herbert Burns. Burns caught him in a tight triangle choke and Algeo also ate some elbows while defending that submission attempt. However, Algeo did not panic and when he removed himself from the clutches of Burns, he put himself in a favorable position that allowed him time to recover and then land ground strikes.
Algeo won the fight via stoppage in the second stanza.
Dustin Jacoby: Dustin Jacoby is underappreciated as a UFC light heavyweight. He was on an 8-fight winning streak (six in the UFC) heading into the UFC Long Island card. Despite that run, Jacoby has not faced a ranked opponent in the division. That should change after he blasted Da Ung with strikes and ended the 15-fight unbeaten streak of the rising fighter.
Dustin Stoltzfus: Dustin Stoltzfus ended a three-fight losing skid on Saturday with a decision win over Dwight Grant. The difference in this fight was the wrestling and ground work of Stoltzfus. Stoltzfus did a nice job of fighting to his strengths while exploiting a weakness in his opponent.
Emily Ducote: The former Invicta FC strawweight champion, Emily Ducote had a great UFC debut. Her low kicks chewed up the lead leg of Jessica Penne and her punching combinations were fast, heavy and effective.
In her post-fight interview, Ducote noted she had some nerves to deal with in her first UFC outing, so I expect a better performance from the 28-year-old in her next appearance inside the octagon.
Ducote had a lot of success with her combinations, but a lot of those combos were only two punch efforts. If there was a takeaway to grow on from this contest, it was to change the number of strikes she throws in the future so opponents don’t pick up on patterns.
Overall, a great UFC debut from Ducote and I expect she will face stiffer competition in her next bout with the promotion.
Daniel Cormier: Watch — but more importantly — listen to the Matt Schnell vs. Sumudaerji fight from the point where 3:00 has ticked off the clock in the second stanza. During that time, the pure pleasure exuded by UFC commentator Daniel Cormier for what he is witnessing in the cage is palpable. The former two-division champion’s voice raises to a near shriek as he tries — and largely fails — to call what is happening inside the octagon.
The UFC commentary team watches hundreds of fights live every year. With that, it’s a rare occurrence when they see something like the performance Schnell delivered in the final moments of that fight and it’s refreshing to know that even someone who has accomplished what Cormier has can be reduced to flabbergasted fandom while watching a fight.
UFC: I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, if a fighter gets a finish, they should get a $50,000 bonus. The UFC awarded all finishes on this card — outside the main event — with a $50,000 post-fight award. It’s the right thing to do and it’s the simple thing to do. The UFC needs to make a finish bonus a permanent part of the post-fight experience.
Brian Ortega: The end of his fight against Yair Rodriguez had to be heartbreaking for Ortega. He was competing for just the third time since his loss to Max Holloway in 2018 and to have things end the way they did had to be a bummer.
One thing we heard multiple times from Ortega during the event was the audio clip of him saying, “We’re not defined by how we lose, but by how we get up and overcome that sh-t.” I expect Ortega, who is still just 31, to look at this as just another obstacle for him to overcome in his pursuit of greatness.
Miesha Tate: Miesha Tate’s second act in the UFC took another hit at UFC Long Island. Tate returned to action in July 2021 after nearly five years out of action to score a TKO win over Marion Reneau. She then dropped a decision to Ketlen Vieira in November. Tate then dropped to flyweight for her next outing - a bout against Lauren Murphy on Saturday.
Tate was outclassed and outworked. It’ll be interesting to see what the 35-year-old former UFC champ does next.
Jack Shore: Jack Shore’s unbeaten streak came to an end in Long Island in emphatic fashion as the 27-year-old submitted to Ricky Simon in the second round of their bantamweight contest. By no means is Shore done, but he needs to look at his first career loss as a learning lesson. I’ll be very interested to see what changes and adjustments Shore makes after the defeat and what he looks like when he returns to the octagon.
Dwight Grant: Dwight Grant went 2-1 in his first three fights with the UFC. Since then, he is 1-4, His loss to Dustin Stoltzfus put him on a three-fight losing skid. Grant struggled mightily on the ground on Long Island.
Jessica Penne: Jessica Penne went 2-0 in 2021, but Emily Ducote overwhelmed her at UFC Long Island. Penne had no answer or defense for the low kicks of her opponent throughout the 15-minute bout. Those kicks and Penne’s inability to deal with them went a long way toward costing the 39-year-old her third straight victory.
Daniel Cormier and Jon Anik: After Emily Ducote’s win, UFC commentator Daniel Cormier said, “The UFC strawweight division is the best that we have.”
Later in the broadcast, Cormier’s partner, Jon Anik, during a spot on the co-main event, said the “top-25 of the UFC’s strawweight division is incredible...”
According to Bloody Elbow’s latest roster update, there are 42 women in the UFC’s strawweight division. Six of those fighters have zero wins in the UFC and 11 of them have a single victory.
I understand the hard sell will always be a part of the UFC’s broadcasts, but this sell felt like it was harder and less believable than usual.
UFC: The UFC used footage of Kevin Holland to promote the Dana White Contender Series. That’s all well and good, but Holland didn’t get a contract for his effort on the DWCS. He got his chance in the UFC when the UFC needed a replacement opponent for Thiago Santos after UFC president Dana White told the matchmakers to offer than unfavorable matchup to “big mouth.”
Keith Peterson: Referee Keith Peterson called the doctor in to look at Herbert Burns between the first and second round of Burns’ fight opposite Bill Algeo. From all appearances, the pause in the action was to give Burns more time to recover between rounds, something the UFC commentary team noted with derision during the broadcast. I know that UFC commentator Jon Anik added that Burns complained of a knee injury between rounds, but the doctor did not look at Burns’ knee at all.
Peterson calling the doctor in to give Burns additional recovery time was a whole lot of nonsense.
Daniel Cormier: During the third round of the Lauren Murphy vs. Miesha Tate bout, former two-division UFC champion turned UFC broadcaster Daniel Cormier seemed proud that — in 2022 — he finally has a grasp on how to score MMA fights.
“I have it 20-18 (for) Lauren Murphy,” said Cormier. “And I can say that with confidence because we just went to a judge’s seminar. We know now. We understand.”
That it took Cormier, who has been fighting as a pro since 2009 this long to learn and understand the scoring criteria is not an achievement to be bragged about. Instead, it should be looked at for what it is, years of failing to take the time and make the effort to understand what it takes to do his job correctly. I’m pointing out Cormier right now only because he seemed, I guess, proud of learning something media, fans and pundits have been calling for him to do for years.
That the UFC allowed Cormier and some other commentators to do their job without understanding the basic tenants of that job is also a bad reflection on the promotion.