All the fireworks in Australia was on display in the first and only round of Saturday Night’s UFC main event, in Melbourne. Robert Whittaker, who was looking for his fifth win in a row in the middleweight division, took on Derek Brunson, who was looking for his sixth win in a row. Both guys came out swinging for the fences, until only Whittaker was left standing.
The fight got off to an insanely fast pace, with both guys landing huge shots. Brunson was able to take control of the fight, when he continued to land flurries on a hurt Whittaker. Everytime Whittaker attempting to get away from Brunson, he would get charged at by Brunson, who was throwing so hard, he was knocking himself over. Brunson continually chased after Whittaker, leading face first, until Whittaker, who was attempting to retreat away from the American, landed a huge left hand that dropped Brunson.
Just as Brunson appeared to have recovered by the left hand, Whittaker landed an insane combination of a left jab, followed by a right high kick, that landed flush on the side of Brunson’s jaw. Somehow Brunson remained on his feet, until Whittaker landed several uppercuts to a stunned Brunson, sending him to the canvas. Whittaker finished him off with several strikes to a downed Brunson, until referee Herb Dean stopped the contest.
Whittaker, who was ranked #10 by our ranking heading into the contest, is surely gonna get an even more marquee matchup in the near future, and could be one big win away from a title shot.
In the co-main event, Australia’s top prospect, Jake Mathews made his return to the octagon to face Andrew Holbrook. Mathews had the crowd backing him, and was the biggest favorite on the card, but he was stunned by Andrew Holbrook. The fight was extremely close, and Holbrook was given a split decision win.
Holbrook brought the pressure to Mathews, and got into several scrambles, where Holbrook was able to put Mathews in tough positions. In the first round, Holbrook was able to scramble and take Mathews back and look for a rear naked choke. In the second, during scrambles, Holbrook was able to almost secure both a toe hold, and a kimura. In the third round, Mathews, who was winning most of the striking exchanges from the outside, appeared to be running out of gas. Though Mathews was able to take Holbrook down, Holbrook almost secured a submission win with another combination of toe holds and kimura attempts.
The decision win sets another roadblock in the young Mathews journey in the UFC.
After dropping two fights in a row, Omari Alhmedov was able to rebound by beating long time, Australian fighter, and former training partner Kyle Noke. Alhmedov was declared the victor over Noke on all three of the judges score cards in route to a unanimous decision victory. Akhmedov was able to land the cleaner shots on the feet, and landed several takedowns throughout the fight. A lot of the fight occurred with Akhmedov in Noke’s guard, where he landed some punishment.
New UFC fighter, Alex Volkanovski introduced himself to the rest of the world, with an absolute thrashing of Yusuke Kasuya, in Volkanovski’s home country. Volkanovski displayed a very well rounded game, by tagging Kasuya several times on the feet in the first two rounds. However the biggest difference in the fight, was Volkanovski’s relentless ground and pound. He landed several punches to the head of Kasuya, and finished him off with big shots in the second round, while Kasuya attempted to secure a knee bar.
Volkanovski’s, who was making his UFC debut at lightweight (155 lbs), stated in the post fight interview with Jon Anik, that he would like to move down in weight to featherweight (145 lbs), or even perhaps move to bantamweight (135 lbs).
Another hometown kid, Tyson Pedro lived up to the hype, but not without a scare. His opponent Khalil Rountree dropped him with a big left hand early in the first round, but Pedro was able to recover by landing two takedowns. While on top, Pedro sunk in a rear naked choke, giving him a first round submission, and the first stoppage of the night.
Pedro is a big prospect from Australia, and a much needed talent to be added to the depleted light heavyweight division.
In the most controversial fight of the night, Danielle Taylor got her first win in the octagon with a split decision over Seo Hee Ham. Ham pressured Taylor the entire fights, while Taylor attempted to fire back hard overhand rights. Ham landed a straight left hand several times in the first round. The second round was more competitive, and it seemed that Taylor was starting to land more than she did in the first round. The round was extremely close, but Ham reversed a takedown attempt by Taylor, and closed the round in full mount. In the third round, it was Taylor who appeared to land the better shots, especially near the end of the round, when Taylor poked Ham in the eye. Ham attempted step back and ask for a time out in the action, but when the referee didn’t step in, Taylor landed several unblocked shots.
In a close fight, that 14 out of 17 media members on MMAdecisions.com scored for Ham, was given to Taylor. Nobody can explain how two of the ringside judges scored the fight 30-27 for Ham.
- Daniel Kelly over Chris Camozzi by unanimous decision
- Demain Brown over Jon Tuck by split decision
- Jonathan Meunier over Richard Walsh by unanimous decision
- Ben Nguyen over Geane Herrera by unanimous decision
- Jason Knight over Daniel Hooker by unanimous decision
- Marlon Vera over Guangyou Ning by unanimous decision
- Jenel Lausa over Zhikui Yao by unanimous decision