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Bellator 206 ‘Mousasi Vs MacDonald’ Recap & Highlights!

Bellator 205

Bellator 206 ‘Mousasi vs MacDonald’ aired Sat. night (Sept. 29, 2018) from SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. MMA Mania brings you a post-fight recap, results, .gifs and interview highlights from a card where Rory MacDonald went up to 185 lbs. to challenge Gegard Mousasi!

Bellator 206: “Mousasi vs. MacDonald” took place last night (Sat., Sept. 29, 2018) at SAP Center in San Jose, California. Gegard Mousasi (44-6-2) put his title on the line as Rory MacDonald (20-4) came up from Welterweight to Middleweight to seek a second belt to put around his waist.

The size difference was as apparent in Round 1 as was Mousasi’s power, as he repeatedly snapped MacDonald’s head back with his jab, and when MacDonald could land it didn’t seem to cause any damage in return. He forced MacDonald to fight off his back foot for nearly the entire round.

Things went from bad to worse for MacDonald in round two. He dove for a leg looking for a submission and Mousasi was not snake bit. In fact the opposite happened – he immediately busted MacDonald wide open, worked his way to the full mount near the three minute mark, then poured on the fists and elbows until Herb Dean stopped it at 3:23 by TKO.

Mousasi spoke to “Big” John McCarthy after his impressive Middleweight title defense.

“Much respect to Rory. I like him a lot. Phenomenal fighter, phenomenal guy. Thanks for taking the fight and making this a super-fight for Bellator. I knew I had better stand up and the reach advantage, I felt like I had the speed advantage, the plan was to make him panic and go for the takedown. I had hurt him a little bit already and it went perfect. It was just the fight I needed. Next is Lovato and then Machida if he wins. We need a lot of drug testing for Machida. I think (Lovato) deserves it. I want to fight him. April I will be ready for (Machida) if he wins but I’m not gonna wait six months for Machida.”

In the co-main event two legendary warriors meet for the fourth time as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (37-13) and Wanderlei Silva (35-13-1-1) met in a clash of Heavyweight titans.

DAZN made sure to bring MMA fans the pre-fight breakdown of their respective stats.

As Mauro Ranallo is fond of saying, “MOMMA MIA.” This fight was contested entirely on the feet, with Jackson working the left jab to set up the right hook, and Silva clinching when necessary and firing counter strikes when available. Silva got tired of the cautious forward movement of Jackson early and dared him to go for broke. When Jackson rocked him late in round one and Silva started backpedaling, Jackson returned the favor and goaded his foe.

Mike Beltran kept law and order between rounds until they could come out and restart the fireworks. Jackson’s timing was largely on point as he read Silva’s strikes and either ducked the windmilling blows or sidestepped the kicks. He’d rock Silva and Silva would hang on trying to clear his head, but four minutes in Jackson landed an emphatic right that Silva’s chin could no longer withstand, pouring it on until Beltran awarded a TKO at 4:32.

“Big” John McCarthy stepped in to talk to the victorious “Rampage” Jackson afterward.

“I watched Wanderlei fight before I was even a fighter. I saw Wanderlei destroy a guy with knees. I was instantly a fan. Much respect to Wanderlei. We’re never going to get another Wanderlei so let’s pay respect to him. He rocked me. My chin was tested tonight. When he rocked me this time I had a flashback to when he rocked me in Japan. I knew it was coming to an end. I’ve been training boxing for a long time in Manchester. I’ve been training muay thai with Tiki, sneaky, and Wanderlei is very crafty. I got great great sparring partners. This camp was like the best camp I ever had.”

Kicking off the Welterweight Grand Prix in Bellator was an opening round bout between two former champions — Douglas Lima (29-7) and Andrey Koreshkov (21-2).

The first round was almost a stalemate. The crowd grew frustrated with referee Josh Rosenthal’s lack of separation as Koreshkov tried and failed to get multiple takedowns, lifting Lima high in the air a couple of times, but Lima always landed on his feet.

The second round was dominantly for Lima. He landed multiple leg kicks to Koreshkov and John McCarthy raved on commentary about the power and technique. Koreshkov’s only response was to stall against the fence. He didn’t seem to land any effective strikes the entire five minutes. The third round was essentially “rinse lather repeat” of the second.

After a fourth round that looked a lot like the previous two until the clapper, Lima landed a hard right hand that momentarily made Koreshkov wobble on his feet, and he charged forward to pour it on against the fence until the bell. Lima had a big lead going into Round 5.

The exclamation point on the bout for Douglas Lima was a sprawl to block a takedown that gave him a dominant position on the ground, throwing multiple lefts and rights from Koreshkov’s back, then taking the back with both hooks in for a tight rear-naked choke. Koreshkov had never been submitted before in his career, and perhaps was unwilling to let this be the first time he tapped, so he simply went out cold and Rosenthal broke the hold.

The official time of the technical submission was 3:04. Lima spoke to McCarthy afterward.

“Just before anything I want to thank God for this victory, for bringing me here healthy. Koreshkov is a tough guy, I’m sorry if it wasn’t exciting, but you can’t blink against a guy like that. Man we got it done. I was breaking him, he was slowing down a little bit, and I was able to capitalize. Man you know that’s the type of guy he is. He’d rather go to sleep than tap. It was an honor for me to compete against him one more time.”

Featherweight young gun Aaron Pico (3-1) was put to work again versus the much more experienced Leandro Higo (18-4).

Aaron Pico once again showed his ability to outwork and out-strike vastly more experienced opponents. The scary thing is that Higo was clearly out on his feet after being rocked a second time halfway through the round, but referee Mark Smith didn’t step in until Higo stumbled and fell trying a back fist. Pico spoke to John McCarthy afterward.

“Well I’ve been saying before he never fought a guy on my level, who hits as hard as me, who pushes the pace like me. It feels good to go out there and do it to a tough guy like Leandro Higo. Brazilians come to fight. I respect that. I just had to regain focus, use my jab, because I knew he would start running. You gotta just roll with the punches like they say. My progression is going fantastic, working with the best coaches in the world. Three or four years from now nobody on the planet will touch me in this cage.”

Also on the main card was a Strawweight bout between Keri Taylor-Melendez (2-0) and the debuting Dakota Zimmerman.

Melendez was winning most of the first round after a takedown and a huge slam, but Zimmerman capitalized on a momentary positional mistake and trapped an arm, then wrapped her legs around Melendez’ head and made her stay on defense until the bell, giving Zimmerman a potential scorecard lead early in the fight.

Zimmerman tried multiple times to get a takedown in Round 2 to no avail, pulled guard a couple of times, and each time Melendez calmly walked her across the cage. The second time Melendez shook her off and landed almost a dozen unanswered knee strikes to the body to tie things up going into the third frame.

There was an urgency to Zimmerman’s forward aggression to open the last round as though she knew it was too close to call, but the one takedown she landed was almost instantly neutralized as Melendez pushed off the fence with her feet to get a sweep. She landed a couple of upkicks when Melendez escaped but not directly enough to rock her, and she pulled guard late and let Melendez finish the fight on top.

Two of the three judges scored it 29-28 for Melendez to earn the split decision, while one judge gave a 29-28 to Zimmerman. No post-fight interview followed.

Rounding out DAZN action was a Featherweight bout between Gaston Bolanos (3-1) and Ysidro Gutierrez (4-2).

Bolanos landed head kicks several times throughout the first round but missed with his signature spinning elbow. Due to his high rate of activity and a few takedowns he clearly took the the opening frame 10-9.

The second round saw the “Dream Killer” blow Gutierrez out of the water by landing a powerful left hand behind the ear and multiple right hands from behind on the ground, forcing referee Mike Beltran to save a defenseless man at 1:37.

Bolanos spoke to “Big” John McCarthy afterward about his impressive knockout win.

“First of all thank you mi gente. All my people thank you so much. I’ve been dreaming about this interview my whole life. Yes sir, Darren and I worked a lot, (he said) don’t just worry about getting back up, look for your shots and they’ll be there and that’s what we did tonight.”

He also had more to say backstage after the in cage interview.

For complete Bellator 206 results and coverage click here.

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TUF 28 Results, Recap For Ep. 5

If you missed episode four click here for a complete recap.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back on FOX Sports 1 later tonight (Sept. 26, 2018) with episode five of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 28, featuring a split cast of men’s heavyweights and women’s featherweights.

Tonight, Team Whittaker looks to capitalize on last week’s submission win by featherweight Julija Stoliarenko by sending Michel Batista into heavyweight battle against Team Gastelum’s Josh Parisian.

Here’s where we stand heading into episode five:

TEAM WHITTAKER:

Anderson Da Silva
Julija Stoliarenko
Juan Francisco Espino Diepa
Leah Letson
Michel Batista
Larissa Pacheco
Przemyslaw Mysiala
Katharina Lehner

TEAM GASTELUM:

Ben Sosoli
Macy Chiasson
Maurice Greene
Pannie Kianzad
Josh Parisian
Bea Malecki
Justin Frazier
Marciea Allen

Be sure to tune in TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and follow along with us in the comments section below. Then hit us up against just as soon as the credits roll for our complete results and recap.

See you tonight!

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RECAP! Kunchenko Brawls Past Alves!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight strikers Thiago Alves and Alexey Kunchenko dueled last night (Sept. 15, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 136 inside Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Moscow, Russia.

It’s been many years since Alves contended for the Welterweight title opposite Georges St. Pierre, but the Muay Thai wrecking machine remains an active fighter today. As of late, Alves has spent his time trying to kick his way past fellow veterans or up-and-comers. Filling the role of prospect opposite the Brazilian was Russia’s Kunchenko, a hard-hitting kickboxer who was looking to prove his talents on the big stage. Kunchenko didn’t begin his MMA career until later in life, which added a bit of pressure on “Wolverine” to impress last night.

The newcomer took the center of the cage early, but Alves answered with solid low kicks. Before long, Kunchenko began to establish the jab, and the Muay Thai vs. boxing match up materialized from paper to inside the Octagon.

At first, Alves was finding more consistent success, landing low kicks commonly and mixing in the occasional punches. However, Kunchenko did begin finding a home for his right hand, and the exchanges consistently heated up as the round wore on.

The opening five minutes were very closely contested.

Alves continued to work behind the jab and kicks into the second, though he mixed a more active body kick into his attack as well. Kunchenko responded with by kicking more himself, and his counter right hand was scoring too.

For the most part, the two exchanged hard blows rather evenly. Alves’ tight guard and defense were on display, but Kunchenko’s quickness and power still had noticeable effect. The most effective weapon continued to be Alves’ low kick, which was buckling the Russian’s lead leg and doing obvious damage.

It was a competitive but clear round for the UFC veteran.

Possibly down heading into the third, Kunchenko had to turn it up. At first, it didn’t seem likely, as the Brazilian continued to slam him with hard kicks and keep him on the outside. In fact, it was Alves pressuring now, keeping Kunchenko on his back foot as he continued to ram his legs and body with heavy kicks.

At about the halfway point in the round, something changed. Kunchenko seemed a bit more comfortable despite their mutual fatigue, and the momentum soon shifted as a result. Pushing forward, Kunchenko’s 1-2 snapped Alves head back repeatedly, and he closed distance further into clinch. From that range, Kunchenko landed hard knees and a brief takedown.

The Russian finished the fight very strong.

Ultimately, it was enough to see his hand raised. Some will argue home cooking — an argument I’m not completely against — but the decision did hinge on a very close first round.

Kunchenko definitely showed both his skill and position on the roster in this match up. His hands were fast and dangerous, piercing the generally solid defense of Alves many times. In addition, Kunchenko showed off both his toughness and aggression, pushing through difficult moments and a battered leg to win a competitive fight.

At 34 years old, this is likely the best Kunchenko is going to be. As is, he doesn’t look the part of title contender, but there are plenty of exciting match ups for Kunchenko at 170 lbs. Perhaps Max Griffin could be next for “Wolverine?”

As for Alves, the longtime veteran has nothing to be ashamed of. He fought well against a game opponent, and more than anything else proved that there’s plenty left in the tank for Alves. No matter how many times we get to see it, it’s a joy to watch Alves destroy legs and buckle knees.

“Pitbull” is still very worth-watching.

Last night, Alexey Kunchenko battled his way to a hard-fought victory. Who should the Russian face next?

For complete UFC Fight Night 136 “Hunt vs. Oleinik” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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RECAP! ‘Judo Thunder’ Strikes In Texas!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight knockout artists Abdul Razak Alhassan and Niko Price battled last night (Sept. 8, 2018) at UFC 228 inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

A battle between wild men took place last night in Dallas. Price is an oddball of a fighter; he moves in different rhythms, strikes with shifting punches often, and last time out managed to knock an opponent out with a hammer fist from his back. Alhassan is a more straight forward ball of violence: a heavily muscled Judoka who largely abandoned hip tosses in favor of bludgeoning hapless fools with his right hand. Which man would win was anyone’s guess leading into the fight last night, but violence was damn near a guarantee.

This one didn’t last long at all.

Price struck early with a nice counter right hand, but Alhassan was the man moving forward and backing Price into the fence. The second Price hit the fence, Alhassan unleashed a flurry of overhands. Price was aware of this strategy, keeping his left hand high and trying to counter back by blocking and firing back with a right hand.

At first, both men got their licks in. However, Price began attempting to throw left kicks while Alhassan was mid-punch — not a bad strategy on paper, but Alhassan was far too close already. The result was Price getting knocked off-balance. Once Price’s feet were no longer beneath him, Alhassan’s advantage of hand speed and punching power amplified in a big way.

Another overhand was partially blocked, but the follow up left hook landed flush and sent Price crumpling to the mat. There was really no follow up needed.

What’s there to say for Alhassan? The man destroys people with his fists; he’s an immensely powerful athlete with ferocious punching power. Now on a three-fight win streak with a trio of knockout wins — in which he fought about the same way all three times — Alhassan has earned another step up in competition.

If he truly has solved his takedown defense issues (something we didn’t really learn about in this fight), Alhassan could just be a contender.

As for Price, this is a great example of terrible decision making. Where did Price hold an advantage on paper? Plenty of places, like distance striking, transitions between strikes and grappling, and on the mat. Instead, he found himself placed on the fence almost immediately and tried to trade right hands with the man known for murdering people with right hands.

Predictably, it did not work.

Just about every other possible game plan was better, and Price decreased his odds of winning exponentially by choosing to trade with Alhassan on the fence. The fact that he did a nice job of mostly blocking the right hands from Alhassan is really evidence of that fact: a well-executed game plan won’t work if the initial plan is awful.

Last night, Abdul Razak Alhassan flattened another opponent. Who should Alhassan face next?

For complete UFC 228: “Woodley vs. Till” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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TUF Is Back! Results, Recap For Ep. 1 Of ‘Heavy Hitters’

The drought is over!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) back to FOX Sports 1 for the final time, as the promotion will transition to ESPN at the start of 2019 but don’t worry, there are no plans to cancel TUF.

Woo hoo!

For this latest round of the combat sports reality show, eight female featherweights and eight male heavyweights will bang it out for the coveted “six-figure contract” in two divisions that sorely need the additional help.

Coaching this offering will be middleweight rivals Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum. As with most seasons, they’ll throw down for “The Reaper’s” 185-pound strap at the conclusion of the show, at an upcoming pay-per-view (PPV) event to be named.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Be sure to tune in TONIGHT (Weds., Aug. 29, 2018) at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and follow along with us in the comments section below. Then stick around after the credits roll for our complete TUF 28 results and recap.

Enjoy the show!

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RECAP! Aldrich Out-Works Viana

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strawweight prospects JJ Aldrich and Polyana Viana battled last night (Aug. 4, 2018) at UFC 227 inside Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Aldrich first made her name known as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). Though she didn’t win the show and even lost her first bout inside the Octagon, Aldrich received another chance, which paid off to the tune of a pair of quality wins. On the other hand, Viana has utterly dominated nearly every foe she’s faced. The only issue is that none of them have been very good.

This matchup may have been an incredibly random fight for the main card of a UFC pay-per-view (PPV), but both women looked to deliver a big win nevertheless.

Viana, the longer woman, made good use of her range, sticking her advancing foe with long straight shots and solid kicks. Before long though, the fight moved into the clinch. At first, the bigger Brazilian controlled her opponent there, but before long both women got their licks in. Back at range, Viana continued to land hard kicks as Aldrich advanced. Aldrich landed too though, and she finished the round with a takedown near the end of the round.

It was a very tight opening five minutes.

Viana looked a bit wild to start the second, still throwing heat but looking a bit fatigued. Aldrich ate some shots but also landed a pair of big hooks, capitalizing on her opponent’s raised chin. Aldrich found her range a couple minutes into the round, landing crisp counters as Viana burst forward.

Undeterred, Viana continued to land hard crosses and right kicks as well. Aldrich got a bit too comfortable striking though, allowing Viana to duck under a cross and land a brief takedown. Aldrich was able to reverse though, finishing the round on top.

After a back-and-forth 10 minutes, the fight was still up in the air with a round remaining.

Aldrich’s counters were on point to start the third, snapping Viana’s head back more consistently. As a result, Viana pulled guard moments later, which was a desperate act to change the fight. Oddly, Viana didn’t do all that much from her back, mostly holding onto Aldrich and throwing little punches from her back.

Viana returned to her feet with 90 seconds remaining, and it took about five seconds for Aldrich to land another huge left hand. Viana was majorly tired, which enabled Aldrich to pick her apart for the rest of the round.

It was precisely the strong finish Aldrich needed.

Aldrich is not the most athletic talent at 115 lbs., but she definitely makes the most of her gifts. Faced with a bigger, stronger opponent who also held an advantage on the mat, Aldrich was forced to balance a game plan of high-volume kickboxing, counter shots, and well-rounded wrestling.

Once Aldrich found her range and Viana slowed, Aldrich’s counter left hand landed repeatedly. It landed with remarkably consistency, and it really showed how important punching fundamentals are. Viana’s strikes were sloppy and came up short despite her length, whereas Aldrich’s snapped directly down the center and landed clean.

Good, technical work from Aldrich, who has now won three straight.

As for Viana, this was a major step up in competition, and the holes in her game arose as a result. Viana’s conditioning has never been tested — almost all of her wins came in the first round. Faced with relatively unknown territory, Viana slowed considerably and grew far less effective.

In addition, Viana’s offensive wrestling needs work. Her jiu-jitsu is clearly very good, but that doesn’t matter if she cannot land a takedown. Luckily, there’s still plenty of time to improve, and at least Viana now should have a clear idea of what to work on.

Last night, JJ Aldrich pulled through as a slight upset. Who should Aldrich face next?

For complete UFC 227 “Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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RECAP! Hernandez Relentlessly Pressures Aubin-Mercier!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight scrappers Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Alexander Hernandez battled last night (July 28, 2018) at UFC on FOX 30 inside Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Aubin-Mercier’s recent performances — which includes his first knockout stoppage inside the Octagon — have been the best of his young career, and his current win streak earned him a shot at a ranked fighter. He just happened to draw Hernandez, who may be ranked but is still something of an unknown due to just a single win inside the Octagon. Aubin-Mercier was more proven and Hernandez higher ranked — both men had something big to gain by taking out the other.

Hernandez opened the fight with aggression, showing off his speed early with fast hands. Aubin-Mercier remained calm, moving away from his strikes and looking to clinch. Hernandez defended the initial attempt, but Aubin-Mercier landed some good shots before a second attempt to gain the clinch.

This time, it was Hernandez who landed some big shots off the break, and he transitioned into his own failed takedown. Despite some strong counter left hands from his Canadian foe, Hernandez kept the pressure on his opponent, throwing in combinations before ducking into the takedown.

Hernandez won the round through effort and activity — including a nice late takedown — but he definitely spent a lot of energy in the process.

Nevertheless, Hernandez did not let his foot off the gas in the second, landing a brief early takedown. Not long after, however, Hernandez took a sloppy shot, which saw Aubin-Mercier take top position. Hernandez tried to counter by transitioning into an immediate single leg, but Aubin-Mercier used a crucifix and kimura to maintain top position brilliantly.

After about a minute of control from the Canadian, Hernandez was able to return the favor and reverse him. A very fast referee stand up brought the fight into the clinch, where neither man took advantage until Hernandez released a flurry of shots.

Hernandez finished the round after scoring half a takedown, landing light shots and arguably stealing back the round.

“The Great” may have been fatigued in the third, but he did not let that affect his pace in any way, driving forward with more combinations and dumping Aubin-Mercier with a takedown. His top control was uneventful, but Aubin-Mercier had just two and half minutes to work following the referee stand up.

Instead, Hernandez countered a takedown and regained top position right away. Finally, Aubin-Mercier was able to stand and land his own takedown along the fence but he seemed to be looking for a leg lock, which allowed Hernandez to spin around and take his back.

Hernandez finished the fight in that position, making it clear he was the better man after 15 minutes of action.

A 42-second knockout is great and all, but it doesn’t tell us a lot about a fighter. Hernandez’s complete, three-round decision win over Aubin-Mercier may not have been as flashy, but it really proved that Hernandez is a contender and prospect to take seriously. The 25-year-old has a lot of technical skill, but it’s amplified by his ability to push a brutal pace.

Part of the reason it was impressive is that Aubin-Mercier fought well. He tried to pick counter shots and slow Hernandez in the clinch — smart work. Despite that, Hernandez was able to largely maintain his pressure and slowly break Aubin-Mercier, who could not outlast his young foe even while conserving energy.

Fast punches, pressure, and quality wrestling are a dangerous combination in any division.

As for the Canadian, he was never able to get going. There was nearly a tipping point in the second when Aubin-Mercier reversed a sloppy takedown attempt, but he was too tired to do much with his top position. That was his chance, and when Aubin-Mercier failed to do any damage or take a dominant position, Hernandez managed to recover and work back into top position.

Otherwise, Hernandez just out-hustled him.

Last night, Alexander Hernandez proved himself a very real contender. What’s next for ‘The Great?’

For complete UFC on FOX 30 “Alvarez vs. Poirier 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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RECAP! Hernandez Relentlessly Pressures Aubin-Mercier!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight scrappers Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Alexander Hernandez battled last night (July 28, 2018) at UFC on FOX 30 inside Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Aubin-Mercier’s recent performances — which includes his first knockout stoppage inside the Octagon — have been the best of his young career, and his current win streak earned him a shot at a ranked fighter. He just happened to draw Hernandez, who may be ranked but is still something of an unknown due to just a single win inside the Octagon. Aubin-Mercier was more proven and Hernandez higher ranked — both men had something big to gain by taking out the other.

Hernandez opened the fight with aggression, showing off his speed early with fast hands. Aubin-Mercier remained calm, moving away from his strikes and looking to clinch. Hernandez defended the initial attempt, but Aubin-Mercier landed some good shots before a second attempt to gain the clinch.

This time, it was Hernandez who landed some big shots off the break, and he transitioned into his own failed takedown. Despite some strong counter left hands from his Canadian foe, Hernandez kept the pressure on his opponent, throwing in combinations before ducking into the takedown.

Hernandez won the round through effort and activity — including a nice late takedown — but he definitely spent a lot of energy in the process.

Nevertheless, Hernandez did not let his foot off the gas in the second, landing a brief early takedown. Not long after, however, Hernandez took a sloppy shot, which saw Aubin-Mercier take top position. Hernandez tried to counter by transitioning into an immediate single leg, but Aubin-Mercier used a crucifix and kimura to maintain top position brilliantly.

After about a minute of control from the Canadian, Hernandez was able to return the favor and reverse him. A very fast referee stand up brought the fight into the clinch, where neither man took advantage until Hernandez released a flurry of shots.

Hernandez finished the round after scoring half a takedown, landing light shots and arguably stealing back the round.

“The Great” may have been fatigued in the third, but he did not let that affect his pace in any way, driving forward with more combinations and dumping Aubin-Mercier with a takedown. His top control was uneventful, but Aubin-Mercier had just two and half minutes to work following the referee stand up.

Instead, Hernandez countered a takedown and regained top position right away. Finally, Aubin-Mercier was able to stand and land his own takedown along the fence but he seemed to be looking for a leg lock, which allowed Hernandez to spin around and take his back.

Hernandez finished the fight in that position, making it clear he was the better man after 15 minutes of action.

A 42-second knockout is great and all, but it doesn’t tell us a lot about a fighter. Hernandez’s complete, three-round decision win over Aubin-Mercier may not have been as flashy, but it really proved that Hernandez is a contender and prospect to take seriously. The 25-year-old has a lot of technical skill, but it’s amplified by his ability to push a brutal pace.

Part of the reason it was impressive is that Aubin-Mercier fought well. He tried to pick counter shots and slow Hernandez in the clinch — smart work. Despite that, Hernandez was able to largely maintain his pressure and slowly break Aubin-Mercier, who could not outlast his young foe even while conserving energy.

Fast punches, pressure, and quality wrestling are a dangerous combination in any division.

As for the Canadian, he was never able to get going. There was nearly a tipping point in the second when Aubin-Mercier reversed a sloppy takedown attempt, but he was too tired to do much with his top position. That was his chance, and when Aubin-Mercier failed to do any damage or take a dominant position, Hernandez managed to recover and work back into top position.

Otherwise, Hernandez just out-hustled him.

Last night, Alexander Hernandez proved himself a very real contender. What’s next for ‘The Great?’

For complete UFC on FOX 30 “Alvarez vs. Poirier 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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RECAP! Rountree Stops Saki Quickly!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight knockout artists Gokhan Saki and Khalil Rountree collided last night (July 7, 2018) at UFC 226 from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Saki may just be 1-1 as a professional fighter, but there’s a reason fans are so excited. “The Turkish Tyson” is an insanely decorated kickboxer, and his UFC debut was a spectacular knockout win. There were things to improved from that fight, sure, but as Israel Adesanya showed just 24 hours prior, amazing things happen when those adjustments are made.

As for Rountree, the American had plenty of potential as well. Though still early in his career, Rountree’s knockout power was already fearsome, and he came out looking to show Saki to downside of 4 oz. gloves.

Shockingly, he succeeded.

Saki stalked his opponent methodically, blasting at his opponent with right kicks. To his credit, Rountree blocked well and didn’t absorb anything too cleanly. Rountree also made his speed advantage clear, bouncing forward with fast combinations of dangerous punches.

Unbothered, Saki continued to move forward switching stances and looking to land kicks. Suddenly, Rountree responded to a low kick with a cross down the center. It connected directly on the chin, and Saki went down hard. Saki seemed more surprised than anyone, simply covering up underneath a barrage of hammer fists.

The referee called the contest about 90 seconds in.

There isn’t much to analyze here. Rountree stayed tight defensively and let Saki come forward, looking for his moment to land with giant power. Last time out, his desire to wait for the perfect shot cost him rounds, but it worked out pretty perfectly this time. It helps Rountree that Saki didn’t really hide his intentions. The kickboxer clearly wanted to stalk and kick, but he did not set up his kicks with punches at all. As a result, Rountree was able to read the naked low kick, and he was definitely fast enough to capitalize.

One punch was all it took.

As for Saki, it’s easier to throw naked kicks when you have large gloves to cover your face. With those little MMA gloves, he was much closer to a sitting duck. Naked low kicks are seriously dangerous to throw in MMA and better be well-timed or at least hidden by feints. It’s likely that Saki has been working on his defensive grappling, but there are important striking adjustments to make as well, and Saki is learning that the hard way.

Last night, Khalil Rountree flattened his foe quickly. Just how high is the power puncher’s ceiling?

For complete UFC 226: “Miocic Vs. Cormier” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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RECAP! Nothing Significant Happened?!?

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight sluggers Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis battled last night (July 7, 2018) at UFC 226 from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Bad blood and massive power? Sounds like a recipe for a fun fight. Some fans may decry Ngannou as exposed after his difficult loss to Miocic, but a young fighter getting soundly beaten by the champion of the division is hardly career-ending. To get back into the title mix, Ngannou just had to land another knockout. Of course, Lewis was coming for the Cameroonian’s chin as well. The bruiser may not be the most technical athlete, but none could doubt his brawling prowess.

After a long feeling out process, Lewis scored first with a nice body kick and right hand. Lewis continued to work with kicks, while Ngannou stalked and waited for his opening. There were 90 seconds remaining in the round when Ngannou finally threw his first strike, a jab which came up short. Not that Lewis did much more, but he did land some decent kicks and threaten with power punches.

Realistically, the first round was a giant feint contest, but Lewis definitely won it with his slightly elevated rate of activity.

Ngannou was a bit more active with his jab to start the second, but it was still a literal staring contest for large portions of time. Ngannou attempted his first real takedown of the fight nearly two minutes in with no success. Otherwise, it was the battle of the occasional jab vs. the occasional kick. The world kept hoping it would improve, but Ngannou did almost nothing for the entire five minutes.

Lewis did slight — SLIGHTLY — more, so I guess he was up two rounds to none.

Neither man made any adjustments to begin the third round. Actually, Ngannou threw a few more kicks, none of which did anything significant. I’m really struggling to write anything more about the action because almost nothing happened. Lewis mixed in a couple flurries that sort of saw some body punches land.

Lewis scored with a decent flurry near the end of the round, which pretty much sealed the deal for “The Black Beast.”

Is there anything to talk about in a fight where only 30 something strikes were landed in 15 minutes? That’s an abysmal rate. It was a terrible, miserable fight where almost nothing happened.

If there’s anyone to defend, it has to be Lewis. Lewis has long suffered back spasms — it once cost him a fight the day of the bout — and it seems that Lewis was dealing with that injury during the fight. Even with that issue, Lewis forced the issue a bit more, throwing and landing double the strikes of his opponent.

A miserable win is a miserable win.

There’s no defense for Ngannou. “The Predator” may have lost last time out, but at least he was swinging for the finish until the final bell. This was far more devastating to his reputation, and the UFC needs to throw him a softball next time out so that he can hopefully rebound.

Last night, Derrick Lewis somehow won a slow-paced decision. What do you make of this bizarre fight?

For complete UFC 226: “Miocic Vs. Cormier” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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