The UFC made its stop in St. Louis, Missouri. Unfortunately for the fans excited about this, two of its more appealing fights got taken off the card for health reasons. Both Vitor Belfort vs Uriah Hall, as well as Thiago Alves vs Zak Cummings were removed prior to Sunday’s start time. This left for largely depleted lineup of fights. It was not all bad though, a couple of the affairs delivered some satisfactory excitement worthy of attention. Let us begin.
Jeremy Stephens vs Dooho Choi
– Choi leaves his head stationary, and backs up in a straight line; in essence, he’s not difficult to hit.
– Stephens was the perfect amount of aggressive, composed. He has had difficulty with the balance of the two before.
– Stephens vs Ortega? Not feeling it, though I don’t have a good enough reason at the moment to oppose it.
Fight Grade: A-
Paige VanZant vs Jessica Rose Clark
– VanZant has not improved, surprising since she is quite athletic, usually the learning curve is swift.
– Clark got it done tonight dispite some very unfortunate occurrences outside the Octagon. Good for her.
– Still remains to be seen how the women’s flyweight division shakes out. Clark is in good standing.
Fight Grade: C-
Kamaru Usman vs Emil Meek
– This fight was about as predictable as any fight has ever been. Usman did Usman.
– Usman is a legit contender, if you are upset he ground out a decision, try watching most of his other fights in the UFC.
– I still don’t know where Meek stands. Haven’t seen enough to judge his abilities.
Fight Grade: C-
Darren Elkins vs Michael Johnson
– The common narrative countered yet again: dropping weight classes doesn’t reinvent your career. The skill set is still the same.
– “The Damage” lives up to his nickname, gets picked apart in the first, pours it on in the second.
– Elkins is such a difficult fight for anyone at featherweight.
Fight Grade: A
James Krause vs Alex White
– Krause was far too willing to trade with White who had a decided advantage on the feet.
– Once Krause got it to the floor, he enjoyed his own advantages.
– Good fight. White attempted to capitalize on his opportunities, Krause got the fight to the ground when necessary.
Fight Grade: B
Matt Frevola vs Marco Polo Reyes
– Defense? Head movement? Nonsense, let’s trade.
– This minute of fighting is up there with some of the most frenetic. Pure carnage from the opening bell.
– Does Marco Polo Reyes ever have an unexciting fight?
Fight Grade: A+
Talita Bernardo vs Irene Aldana
– Tale of two fights between round one and two. Aldana the much better striker in round one, looked to finish early.
– Bernardo the more talented grappler imposed her ability by getting the fight to the ground.
– Aldana with the edge in the third, Aldana gets the win. Neither fighter with a particularly high ceiling in the UFC.
Fight Grade: B-
Kyung Ho Kang vs Guido Cannetti
– Cannetti rocked Kang early seemed to have a ton of momentum early.
– Such a beautiful double underhook belly to belly throw to mount by Kang, and it was all Kang from there.
– Fantastic triangle choke finish by Kang.
Fight Grade: B+
Jessica Eye vs Kalindra Faria
– Faria had a ton of momentum early, landing the big head kick, and won the grappling exchanges.
– Eye is down at Flyweight, her desired weight class, she still doesn’t show much upside.
– solid fight, good comeback by Eye after dropping the first.
Fight Grade: B-
JJ Aldrich vs Danielle Taylor
– Taylor had a lot of trouble closing distance, as she ate the straight left every entry attempt.
– Aldrich was just the better overall fighter. Did well to mix up her approach.
Fight Grade: C
Overall Event Grade: C-
There were not an abundance of awe-inspiring moments in St. Louis. But without a doubt the best was the tribute to UFC legend Matt Hughes who had since made a recovery from a devastating accident in which his truck was hit by a train back in June of 2017. It was a wonderful gesture by the UFC to have him walk out of the tunnel, allowing for a fitting ovation from the crowd. It was brightest star in the sky on this night of fights by a country mile.