The UFC and Bellator were both back this past weekend putting on shows that “on paper” were set to be highlighted by heavyweight contests. This didn’t end up being the case for Bellator as they lost their headline fight of Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione had to be scrapped just hours before the event was set to start. This moved the co-headliner of Josh Thomas vs. Patricky Freire in the light weight division up to the headliner. Over with the UFC, Derrick Lewis took on Travis Browne with Johny Hendricks vs. Hector Lombard as the co-headliner. 11 fights in total so lets get into it.
UFC Fight Night Halifax
Paul Felder (12-3) vs. Alessandro Ricci (10-4)
The lightweights started out the main card for us, and as predicted this one was a straight up stand and trade affair. Felder came into the night as a 4:1 favorite and he was perhaps not dominant, but definitely the aggressor. He stuck to his strategy and responded quickly when his corner was shouting instructions at him. The end came with only about 20 seconds left in the first round. Felder caught Ricci with a lead elbow that destroyed his nose, literally and figuratively, followed by about 5 unprotected shots as Ricci crumpled against the cage. Quick fight, but a good showing for Felder. I’ll be interested to see how he matches up against opponents who have the ability to mix up styles more than Ricci did.
#7 Sara McMann (10-3) vs Gina Mazany (4-0)
I mentioned in my preview article that I was surprised that this fight was on the main card given that the #3 ranked strawweight contender was on the undercard. My skepticism was compounded when Mazany came in over weight by more than 3 pounds. I understand that Mazany took this fight less than 3 weeks-notice, which to me is all the more reason that it should have been on the undercard. Not a great way for Mazany to make her UFC debut. Her performance in the cage didn’t do much to help her case either, as she got taken down quickly and McMann quickly made her tap out to a head and arm choke just 1:14 into the first round. McMann smartly called out the bantamweight champ, whoever that ends up being, during her post fight interview. I think she’ll probably have to beat someone in the top 5 before she gets a shot, but she was dominant in this fight and is now on a 3-fight winning streak.
Elias Theodorou (12-1) vs Cezar Ferreira (12-5)
Are these two fighters the elite in the middleweight division? No, they certainly aren’t despite what their records might lead you to believe. Slow and steady won the race in this fight, and it was slow. There weren’t any huge shots and Theodorou, who picked up the unanimous decision victory, was content to basically stay outside, throw kicks and every once in a while to charge in with a combination. He showed good ground defense, especially considering that Ferreira is a jiu-jitsu black belt. This fight could have just as easily been decided for Ferreira as neither fighter put on anything resembling a dominant performance.
Sam Sicilia (15-7) vs. Gavin Tucker (9-0)
Welcome to the UFC Gavin Tucker. For as bad as Gina Mazany’s debut match was, that was how good things went for Tucker. He controlled the pace for the first two rounds and just out classed Sicilia. Sicilia only landed like 4 strikes in total in the first two rounds. He came out stronger in the 3rd round, but it was clear that Tucker was the better conditioned fighter. I said in my preview article that the UFC put this fight on the main card because either they thought Tucker was legit, or they wanted to highlight Canadian fighters. Well they got both with Tucker as he easily won with all three judges scoring it 30-27. If a fight is going to go to the judge’s scorecards, let it be one like this.
Johny Hendricks (17-5) vs. Hector Lombard (36-6-1)
The move up to 185 for Hendricks had been a long time coming, as his problems with making 170 in recent fights had been well documented. The question coming into the fight was how Hendricks would do stepping up to a larger weight class. Methodical would be the term I’d use to describe this fight. It wasn’t the best performance from either fighter, but they just kept coming at each other. Hendricks looked much better than he had in his last two fights, as far as conditioning is concerned and he was able to time a lot of Lombard’s strikes in order to counter effectively. Both these fighters have one-punch knock out power so it was a bit surprising that this one ended up going to the scorecards. Hendricks was the aggressor and was landing the better, more impactful strikes so it didn’t come as any surprise that he won via unanimous decision. Now we have to wait and see what he’ll do in the middleweight division.
#8 Derrick Lewis (17-4) vs. #9 Travis Browne (18-5)
We had to wait an extra week for this fight as it was originally scheduled to be on the main card at UFC 208. You want to talk about how quickly the tides can turn in a fight in the UFC, this was a textbook example. Browne dominated the first round he was landing kicks to the body that had Lewis doubled over in pain. Lewis was able to recover and in the second round he finally got the fight into his range. He rocked Browne with a bunch of heavy shots and was even able to take him down twice. The punch that signaled the end didn’t look all that powerful, but it caught Browne on the crown of his head and send him sprawling to the mat. From there, Lewis pounced and rained down unanswered shots until the referee had no choice but to step in and call off the fight at 3:12 of the second round. Lewis after the fight was hilarious, but probably not exactly what the UFC was looking for in terms of a post-fight interview. He said he wants to take at least 3 months off, which probably means that his ranking won’t have changed next time he steps in the octagon. He really needs to work on his cardio, I don’t think he could go more than 3 rounds, but I guess with his knock out power he most likely won’t need to.
That’s it for part one, in part two we’ll have a look at Bellator 172.
Did you watch? What did you think was the fight of the night? Let us know in the comments.
Image from www.ufc.com