UFC 198, 199, and 200 saw a change in champion and 201 was no different. Including the preliminary matches, there were a high amount of KO’s and most of the fights were fast and active. UFC 201 in Atlanta did not disappoint.
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Lightweight – Damien Brown def. Cesar Arzamendia – KO Punches
Welterweight – Michael Graves vs. Bojan Velickovic – Draw Majority
Preliminary Card (FS2)
Flyweight – Wilson Reis def. Hector Sandoval – Submission Rear Naked Choke
There is not a lot to say about this fight other than it is the first Flyweight fight I have watched that ended in the first round. It took less than two minutes for Reis to get a submission on Sandoval. Sandoval was able to fight off Reis on the ground and get back up, but after the second take down Reis was able to get into position for a rear naked choke.
Heavyweight – Anthony Hamilton def. Damian Grabowski – KO Punches
The second fight of the FS2 preliminary card was even quicker than the first. It only took 14 seconds for Hamilton to finish Grabowski. As soon as the match started Hamilton attacked and knocked out Grabowski. Knock outs cannot get much faster than 14 seconds (the record is 7 seconds).
Welterweight – Jorge Masvidal def. Ross Pearson – Decision Unanimous
The Masvidal/Person fight started out slow as both fighters were looking for an opening to attack without taking damage themselves. In the first round Masvidal landed some knees to the body of Pearson while clinched up against the fence. In the second round Masvidal tagged Pearson who fell to the mat. Masvidal jumped on top of Pearson throwing strikes looking to finish him off but was unsuccessful in getting the TKO. Pearson was able to get to his feet but was slammed to the ground shortly after, it is amazing that he was able to stay conscious. After the second round, Pearson walked to the wrong corner of the mat and held his arms up like the fight was over. He clearly wasn’t with it and had to be walked to the correct corner and told that he had one round left. In the third round, the two fighters traded attacks. Pearson landed several thigh kicks on Masvidal throughout the fight and his thigh was already beginning to bruise. Pearson survived the fight but after the second round Masvidal was the clear winner.
Light Heavyweight – Nikita Krylov def. Ed Herman – KO Head Kick
There were a lot of kicks thrown in the Krylov/Herman’s fight. A series of punches and kicks stagger Herman’s in the first round, and Krylov carried the same strategy into the second round. After landing a spinning punch, Krylov and Herman’s clinch, separate and then Krylov lands a kick to the head of Herman’s immediately knocking him out. Most fights and highlights I have seen show fighters knock their opponent out and then fall on top of them to land strikes to make sure they are out. This time Krylov knew Herman’s was out for good and turned around and started celebrating. Head kicks are brutal and look severely dangerous.
Main Card (PPV)
Flyweight – Ryan Benoit def. Fredy Serrano – Decision Split
I had never seen a split decision live and I have never seen a successful body slammed performed live before watching the Benoit/Serrano fight. Serrano successfully performed 4 body slams on Benoit in this fight. He cut his forehead open which bled badly after slamming Benoit in the second round. Serrano also attempted several flip kicks as I call them where he does a front flip which adds more momentum to his heel that is used to attack. He also threw several axe kicks throughout the fight where he lifted his foot above his head and threw it down like a hammer. Despite being body slammed 4 times, Benoit was able to get up quickly each time and he played great take down defense throughout the fight stopping Serrano’s strange take down attempts. Serrano would get so low during his take down attempts it looked like he was crawling. In the second round Serrano was on top of Benoit and kept driving his hip into the head of Benoit. Rogan though this was illegal as you can’t Kick or knee opponents on the head while they are on the ground, but I guess you can drive your hip into them. The hip thrust didn’t look effective. This was a close fight but I though Benoit was the winner.
Bantamweight – Erik Perez def. Francisco Rivera – Decision Unanimous
This fight was so unpredictable. The first round was fairly calm as both trading attacks and Rivera got up after being brought to the ground by Perez. Rivera began bleeding badly from his right eye after absorbing a spinning elbow. At the end of the second round Rivera looked exhausted and the broadcast explained that is his weakness, he isn’t great at conserving energy. This point was proven at the beginning of the third round as he just started attacked wildly after the fighters touched gloves. He emptied his tank throwing many punches with full force looking to get that lucky knockout blow. Perez joined the attack but every time he backed off, Rivera egged him on by waving his hands telling him to come closer. Rivera threw so many punches he feel over with exhaustion and Perez jumped on top of him and wouldn’t let him get up. Rivera was too tired to gather enough energy to fight off Perez on top of him. Rivera looked to the ref to stand them up, but Perez was staying active enough landing body blows to prevent a stand up. Defeated with blood pouring down his face Rivera smiled. Rogan accurately called him a crazy person.
Perez celebrated his win by putting on his luchador mask her wore during his entrance.
Welterweight – Jake Ellenberger def. Matt Brown – TKO Kick to body
Ellenberger tagged Brown right away in the first round and close in on top of him to finish him off. He landed several hammer fists but Brown was able to survive and fight his way to his feet. Ellenberger used a lot of energy when he tried to finish Brown off, leaving him vulnerable to some heavy strikes from Brown. This fight looked like it could go either way as both guys were effected by blows to the head, then Ellenberger landed a liver kick knocking brown down. He finished Brown off with a flurry of punches and the ref pulled him away. The replay of the liver kick showed how powerful it was immediately knocking Brown down. Brutal.
Women’s Strawweight – Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Rose Namajunas – Decision Spilt
The second split decision of the night was a close fight but after the 3rd round I knew Kowalkiewicz was the winner. All three rounds she would get Namajunas in the clinch and land heavy knees to her body. These knees clearly started to affect Namajunas by the third round. Namajunas landed a couple of combos and tagged Kowalkiewicz that knocked her to the ground but she was never able to finish. In the third round Namajunas was trying to get several submissions but wasn’t successful. This was a close fight but Kowalkiewicz and her knees made her the victor in a split decision.
Welterweight – Tyron Woodley def. (C) Robbie Lawler – KO Punches
I liked the ads that were played in the weeks before this fight. They had black and white clips of both fighters brutalizing their opponents with a slow creepy song in the back ground. Both of these guys are ruthless. I stream these PPVs via the Sony Live Events Viewer App on my PlayStation 4. I haven’t had many issues with the app before this PPV but the app crashed 4 times during UFC 201. The fourth time was right as the Lawler/Woodley fight started. I frantically rebooted the app and pulled up the PPV only to see that the fight was over and that I missed the knock out. Now instead of criticizing this Sony app to my thousands of readers I am just going to say I was disappointed. I was able to see the knock out via a replay. Woodley landed a punch directly to Lawler’s jaw and after that, there was nothing Lawler could do. Woodley has been pursuing a belt for a long time and I was happy to see him get one.