A takedown attempt Ryan Bader will never forget (or never remember), a hype train derailed, and one of the most unlikely submissions.
By James Stride @James_A_Stride
Main Event – Anthony Johnson vs. Ryan Bader
The main event was a quick affair, with Ryan Bader’s eagerness seeming to get the better of him. You’d think his years of hard work and dedication to the sport would have taught him not to shoot for an unlikely takedown against one of the heavyset hitters of the division. Anyway, he did, from the other side of the octagon too, probably from the force of Anthony Johnson’s early strikes.
Immediately, Johnson pressed the sprawl on Bader and worked him up to the fence where there was no room for his opponent to go, leading to the prompt pummelling of strikes from Johnson until the ref’s eventual stoppage. It was hard to tell if Bader was out, or just unable to move under the sheer weight and size of the now 21-5 fighter from Florida. Either way, he’ll be rewinding that takedown attempt in his head, just as much as Weidman and the fated spinning kick… We all know how that ended.
Result | Anthony Johnson def. Ryan Bader via KO (punches) at 3:32 of round one
Co-main Event – Ben Rothwell vs. Josh Barnett
In the second-to-last fight of the night, we got arguably the most memorable finish, or what should have been at least. Josh Barnett tapping to Ben Rothwell is big news on two accounts: it’s Rothwell’s second submission victory in his last two fights, over two decent opponents. It was also against a man who has an impressive grappling game himself. Both fighters looked to enjoy the first round, with Barnett maintaining the pace with a speedy right hook he looked to land throughout.
Result | Ben Rothwell def. Josh Barnett via submission (guillotine choke) at 3:48 of round two
Jimmie Rivera vs. Iuri Alcantara
This ended up being fight of the night bonus winner due to the constant back-and-forth between the two game opponents, Jimmie Riviera aimed to light up his hometown of New Jersey. Taking the fight to Iuri Alcantara throughout the majority of the three rounds, attempting to bang his way through his opponents guard, but Alcantara’s ability to slug out the rounds meant this one went the distance.
Rivera made sure he put in a good showing in his own back garden and it won’t go unnoticed, in a division that now has Dominic Cruz at the helm, it’s good to have yet another hungry young fighter looking for a title run.
Result | Jimmie Rivera def. Luri Alcantara, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Bryan Barberena vs. Sage Northcutt
Sage Northcutt’s third outing into the UFC cage did not go to plan, for anyone… Apart from Bryan Barberena (?). Whether you were Northcutt, betting on him, or just hoping to see him land one of those crazy spinning take-your-fucking face off kicks, we all missed out. Barberena demonstrated simply how to put the brakes on a hype train that looked to ab-crunch its way into a title shot. Northcutt once again started with his usual karate repertoire, but it was short-lived with Barberena tapping the 19-year-old out with what looked more like an abrasive hug than a side choke.
Result | Bryan Barberena def. Sage Northcutt via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 3:06 of round two
UFC Fight Pass Prelims
Randy Brown vs. Matt Dwyer
Randy Brown’s UFC debut went as his camp would have wished, unless they were looking for the finish of course. A good fight that let both fighters showcase their talents throughout. Brown looked calm as he commanded the centre of the ring, avoiding strikes left right and centre, but landing little of his own. Both fighters showed their respect for one another throughout the first round, neither taking the lead, but landing strikes.
The Second round started with both fighters, once again, throwing high kicks for the cameras, but soon enough Brown began to dominate in the exchanges, gaining the first takedown of the fight along the way with an impromptu judo throw – to the delight of Joe Rogan. The third round was more of the same, with Brown continuing to catch Matt Dwyer with the cleaner shots, even attempting a couple of d’arce chokes that he eventually gave up on. An impressive debut from a fighter who’s never gone the distance, and who’s promised more in his next fights.
Result | Randy Brown def. Matt Dwyer via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Damon Jackson vs. Levan Makashvili
Damon Jackson started this one the stronger of the two men, forcing Levan Makashvili against the cage with his striking, but the two took it back into the centre quickly where they traded hands. Although Jackson seemed to enjoy his time on the cage, continuing to take the fight to the fence where Makashvili demonstrated an effective (albeit unorthodox) defence.
The second started with both fighters demonstrating some committed striking, but neither landed anything of any note at first, Makashvili trying a Silva-esque teep kick to the face which almost caught Jackson out. Damon continued to use his weight to lean on Levan against the cage trying to apply pressure, but to little avail, with his opponent tying him up nicely.
Notably, neither fighter choosing to take a seat during the break.
It was apparent neither man wanted the fight on the ground at this point, at most a tough fought out clinch was as much grappling as this fight saw. Both fighters threw strong knees in the opening of the third, but no showstoppers in sight. Makashvili demonstrated his range of kicks in the final round; although Damon’s defence saw many hit the gloves, to Levan’s frustration. Finally the fight saw the fighters ground game in the closing minutes of the third, the highlight being an illegal knee from Makashvili that stood the fighters up.
A tough fought out 15-minute fight that even included an accidental eye poke and a point deduction for Makashvili. A fight that had everything but a finish, majority draw splits the two evenly in this one.
Result | Damon Jackson vs. Levan Makashvili is declared a majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
Tony Martin vs. Felipe Olivieri
Both fighters came out strong in the opening round, with Felipe Olivieri landing an array of outside leg strikes that buckled Tony Martin on several occasions, forcing him to go for the takedown. Martin worked well against the cage to try and grind Felipe Olivieri down, and it seemed to work.
With both the second and third rounds going the same way, Tony Martin absorbed a handful of decent leg kicks, which Olivieri threw at will, before he himself began landing strong right hands to pick off his opponent. Martin worked well between the cage wall and the centre of the octagon to wear Olivieri down, winning with an impressive rear naked choke, after taking Olivieri down again.
Result | Tony Martin def. Felipe Olivieri via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:02 of round three