The UFC returned Saturday with another action packed card, that didn’t disappoint.
Demetrious Johnson vs Tim Elliott:
The Ultimate Fighter season 24 winner, Tim Elliott was up against impossible odds, against the pound for pound greatest fighter in the world, and long time, UFC flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson. Elliott was unable to beat the champion, and cap a 1980’s USA Olympic hockey team type upset, but he at least proved that he was a game opponent, and deserved the title shot.
The fight started with Johnson shooting a takedown, on Elliott and almost scrambling into an armbar, but during the transition, it was Elliott, who found himself applying a deep submission. Elliott had “Mighty Mouse” in a deep guillotine choke, which seemed very close to getting the champion to tap out. Johnson stayed calm, and escaped the submission, only for Elliot to adjust and place Johnson in an even deeper D’Arce choke. While in the submission, Fox Sports 1 cameras showed Johnson with a grimace on his face. Johnson was able to escape the near historic upset to get back to his feet. However, shortly after, Elliott dropped Johnson briefly with a punch, and secured the first round.
However, Johnson showed why he is the long reigning champion, by outwrestling and outgrappling Elliott for rounds two through five. The game Elliott had some reversals and moments of offense but Johnson was too much for the challenger, easily winning the final four rounds.
Demetrious Johnson wins by unanimous decision, and defended his title for the 10th time in a row.
Joseph Benavidez vs Henry Cejudo:
In the co-main event, the two Ultimate Fighter coaches, Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo fought in a crazy close and crazy entertaining grudge match. The fight was fast, action packed, and one of the best fights of the year. All three rounds can be summed up the same way. Henry Cejudo took the center of the octagon, while Benavidez worked on the outside. Benavidez constantly moved in and out, landing a volley of combinations when he engaged. The Olympic champion, Cejudo sat on his punches, and landed the better power shots, mixing in right hands, left hooks, and hard body kicks.
The most controversial part of the fight was when referee, Yves Lavigne took a point away from Cejudo in the first round, after Cejudo hit Benavidez with a second strike to the ground. Both commentators Jon Anik and Brian Stann disagreed with the point deduction.
The point didn’t factor in the decision. Joseph Benavidez won by split decision.
Jake Ellenberger vs Jorge Masvidal:
Jorge Masvidal picked up a 1st round TKO win over Jake Ellenberger but it was extremely controversial. In the beginning of the round, Masvidal hurt Ellenberger on the feet, with several shots to the body. Ellenberger was able to survive the barrage from Masvidal. But later in the round, things got really weird. Ellenberger threw a lunging shot at Masvidal, who moved away, causing Ellenberger to lose his footing next to the cage. However, he didn’t just fall, the toes of his left foot got stuck in the fence. While he was attempting to pull the toes from the cage, Masvidal rained shots down on a helpless Ellenberger. Referee, Herb Dean noticed that Ellenberger’s toes were stuck, and ordered Masvidal to stop. Dean spoke with the athletic commission, who stated that there isn’t a rule against toes getting stuck in the fence, and ruled that the fight must be decided as a first round TKO for Masvidal.
Jorge Masvidal won by 1st round TKO.
Ion Cutelaba and Jared Cannonier:
Jared Cannonier made his debut in the light heavyweight division, and it was an impressive one. Both fighters exchanged huge punches, with Cutelaba landing nice takedowns. In the first, Cutelaba was able to land some heavy ground strikes, but was unable to hold down the “Killa Gorilla”. Cannonier kept getting to his feet, and landing several strikes.
In the second and third round, Cutelaba seemed to be slowing while Cannonier began to press the pace. Cutelaba continued to land takedowns, but he kept holding Cannonier down for less time, each time. Cannonier continued to stalk Cutelaba and land several big shots. In the third round, Cannonier was feeling so good, that he held his hands by his side and let Cutelaba hit him. However, when Cannonier threw back, he landed heavy shots, which had the crowd roaring. Both fighters showed guts, heart and iron chins in a great fight.
Jared Cannonier wins a split decision
Sara McMann and Alexis Davis:
Sara McMann and Alexis Davis appeared to be an equal fight on paper, and it appeared that way to start. McMann started the first round, landed several combinations and shot in with a beautiful takedown. Davis answered by throwing up a triangle choke, which McMann struggled but eventually got out of. McMann started to fire down short elbows, but Davis was able to tie up McMann’s arms and ended the round hitting numerous elbows from on bottom.
McMann landed a perfect hip toss on Davis to start the second round, and surprised everyone by sinking in a head and arm choke, causing Davis to tap out.
McMann had the best win of her career.
McMann wins by 2nd round submission.
Brandon Moreno vs Ryan Benoit:
After following an extremely dull fight between Ryan Hall and Gray Maynard, Brandon Moreno and Ryan Benoit was the complete opposite. In the first round, Moreno and Benoit exchanged very fast exchanges. Benoit initiating the exchanges with straight punches down the pipe, while Moreno counter struck with power punches. Moreno was able to mix in some takedowns, to win the close round.
In the second round, Moreno was dropped by a huge left hand, but was able to win another close round with takedowns. In the third, Benoit started to slow down, while Moreno picked up the pace. He started to land the better exchanges, while constantly landing takedowns. The fight was close, but Moreno earned the split decision win.
- Ryan Hall over Gray Maynard by unanimous decision
- Rob Font over Matt Schnell by 1st round TKO
- Dong Hyun Kim over Brendan O’Reilly by unanimous decision
- Jamie Moyle over Kailin Curren by unanimous decision
- Anthony Smith over Elvis Mutapcic by 2rd TKO
- Devin Clark over Josh Stansbury by unanimous decision