UFC Fight Night 98 was a marathon of a card featuring 13 fights that started at 6:30 pm eastern and didn’t end until after 1 am. This card took place in Mexico City and the Goldberg/Rogan fill ins made sure to let the audience know that Mexico City is 7,000 feet above sea level every couple of minutes. The match between Martin Bravo and Claudio Puelles was the finale of the TUF Latin America TV season, a reminder that reality TV is still a thing. This wasn’t the most enjoyable card and had a few duds but I persevered and watched all of them and regurgitated my poorly written thoughts below.
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Featherweight – Enrique Barzola def. Chris Avila – Decision unanimous – (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Barzola controlled this fight as soon as it started. He scored many take downs on Avila and when the fighters were standing, he was active connecting with a high number of punches. By the third round Barzola had worn Avila down to the point where Avila didn’t even want to fight anymore. His body language revealed that he lost his desire to attack and to try to get a late round KO or submission. Barzola exhausted his opponent and Avila was doing just enough to not get finished.
Lightweight – Marco Polo Reyes def. Jason Novelli – Decision split – (29-28, 30-26, 30-26)
There were two time stoppages during this 3 round fight. The first happened in the first round when Reyes was hit in the groin and the second happened in the third round when Novelli lost his mouth piece. The second round saw the most brutal action when Novelli successfully took Reyes to the mat, but Reyes was able to get into dominant position and land short elbows to the head of Novelli. With less than a minute left in the fight Novelli scored a take down, but it was not enough to help win the round.
Middleweight – Sam Alvey def. Alex Nicholson – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
After two straight boring decisions, the last thing that I wanted to see was Smiling fucking Sam Alvey. He took forever to get to the ring, walking slow, high fiving people, enjoying the attention. God I hate this guy.
Even though he clearly won the fight, the only thing I want to talk about are the two nut shots on Alvey. Watching his squirm around in pain was the only enjoyable part of this fight. In the second round during the time stoppage for the second nut shot, Nicholson was angry and felt that Alvey was just milking time and wasn’t really in pain. Despite landing some punches, Nicholson didn’t win one round. Alvey was successful at landing counter attacks in all three rounds. Nicholson did land a brutal body kick, but besides that and the two nut shots, Alvey was the better fighter.
Preliminary Card (FS1)
Bantamweight – Douglas Silva de Andrade def. Henry Briones – KO elbow and spinning back fist – (RD 3 – 2:33)
Both of these fighters were able to land blows in their own method of attack. Andrade landed leg kicks and jabs while Briones focused on punching the body of Andrade. In the second round Andrade landed a tough right jab that clipped Briones and forced him to take a knee to recover. Briones was able to fight out of the haze and attempted a flying switch kick that was stopped in mid-air by Andrade and sent Briones to the matt directly on his tail bone. In the third round Andrade softened Briones with an elbow and finished him off with a spinning back fist.
Welterweight – Max Griffin def. Erick Montano – TKO punches – (RD 1 – 0:54)
The events that led to the early TKO of Montano were strange. Griffin landed a right jab that stunned Montano and before he could recover, Griffin charged forward and kind of pushed Montano to the ground. While on the ground Griffin unloaded punches using up a lot of energy looking for the TKO. I stated to get uneasy for Griffin as he continued to empty his gas tank and he wasn’t getting the TKO. Eventually his strategy was awarded and the ref stopped the fight.
Catchweight 140 lbs – Joe Soto def. Marco Beltran – Submission heel hook – (RD 1 – 1:37)
The events that led to the early submission of Beltran were also strange. Almost immediately the two fighters go to the ground and clinch up in a tight ball on the ground. After some maneuvering and fighting for an advantageous position, Soto gets the leg of Beltran in a lock and Beltran is forced to tap. The reaction from the ref was quick, as soon as he saw the tap, he jumped in to separate the fighters to avoid damage to the hell of Beltran. After the submission, Soto gave Beltran a kiss out of respect.
Catchweight 138 lbs – Erik Perez def. Felipe Arantes – Decision split – (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
In this catchweight bought between Perez and Arantes, a lot of ground fighting took place. Perez scored a takedown on Arantes in the first round and almost got a leg lock submission. He landed a lot of punches right before the round ended. In the second round Arantes landed a mid-air kick (I don’t know what all of the flying kicks are called) and then most of the round was spent on the ground. Both fighters keep fighting for the best position while on the mat. More ground fighting took place in the third with Perez staying in control wearing Arantes down with several blows to the head and body. Both fighters eventually got to their feet and Arantes scored a late take down at the end of the fight.
Main Card (FS1)
Women’s Strawweight – Alexa Grasso def. Heather Jo Clark – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Grasso is only 23 years old and appears to have the MMA skill set of a veteran. Clark is 13 years older than Grasso and was completely destroyed by Grasso. In the first round Grasso displayed her skill set on Grasso and almost got a TKO. In the clinch Grasso landed knees and then some blows to the head of Clark which opened up a wound on her nose. In between the first and second round the doctors and refs took a look at Clark and gave her the option to keep fighting or to stop due to her wound bleeding too much. Clark didn’t take the opportunity to stop and kept fighting. In the second round Grasso went for an arm bar and an arm lock submission but Clark was able to fight out of them. In the third round Clark’s face opened up again and was bleeding all over the place. Grasso controlled the round and picked up Clark and slammed her to the ground. At the end of the third both fighters embraced out of respect.
Lightweight – Beneil Dariush def. Rashid Magomedov – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Dariush had an emotionless look on his face as Buffer introduced him before the fight. It wasn’t a game face or an act to look tough, it was a genuine stare void of any emotion and was legitimately creepy. He took that stare and used it beat Magomedov in a unanimous decision. There was a nut shot in the first round and Magomedov scored a take down before the bell. In the second round Dariush did something that I do not remember seeing before, he caught a kick from Magomedov and while holding onto his leg, he kicked out the other leg forcing Magomedov to fall. Lots of time was spent in the clinch during this fight and Herb Dean separated them in the third for being inactive. Shortly after they clinch up again and separate from each other with less than 40 seconds left and both threw many blows in the last 10 seconds.
Dariush used his post-fight interview to thank god and to not call out any fighter.
Lightweight – Martin Bravo def. Claudio Puelles – TKO punches – (RD 2 – 1:55)
I would never become a MMA fighter due to my fear of pain. But sometimes my fear of pain is overpowered by my fear of curiosity. After watching MMA cards for a while now, there is one method of attack that I want to know what it feels like. A liver shot.
Bravo defeated Puelles with a liver shot that shut Puelles down. In the second round Puelles just collapsed to the mat in pain after absorbing a blow to his liver. It’s fascinating that a hard enough blow to one specific spot in the body and pretty much take some down in severe pain. I know it would suck but watching liver shots live don’t really tell the whole story. You can see bruising from leg kicks and blood and scars from elbows, but you can’t see the feeling of your organs shutting down.
Catchweight 155 lbs – Ricardo Lamas def. Charles Oliveira – Submission guillotine – (RD 2 – 2:13)
There was drama surrounding the Lamas/Oliveira fight when Oliveira missed weight by 9 pounds. That is almost another weight class in the world of MMA and Oliveira was given extra time to make weight and lost 30 percent of his earnings due to his error.
The last time I remember watching Lamas fight was when he and Max Holloway had an insane swing fest at UFC 199. Lamas came out the as the victor after submitting Oliveira with a guillotine in the second round. He survived a few choke attempts from Oliveira in the first round which I thought were too deep and tight to get out of.
I glad that this Oliveira was humble in defeat and didn’t crotch chop his opponent after missing weight like Cowboy Oliveira did in his last fight.
Lightweight – Diego Sanchez def. Marcin Held – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
In the first round of this fight, Sanchez appeared to be in a helpless position. Held had Sanchez in a choke up against the fence and before he lost consciousness, Sanchez ran up alongside the fence while his neck was still in the grasp of Held. This wall run allowed him to get enough leverage to fight out of the submission. He then ended the round by clipping Held with a blow to his head. In the second round Held attempted several leg locks that Sanchez was able to wiggle out of. Sanchez took control of the ground and landed blows to Held in the second and third round. Held tried an arm bar submission in the third, but Sanchez was able to break free and control the ground and pound until the last bell rung. Sanchez has impressive submission defense.
Lightweight – Tony Ferguson def. Rafael dos Anjos – Decision unanimous – (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
These 5 round fights that aren’t for a belt are strange to me. I probably felt that way because this fight didn’t start until after 1 am eastern time and I was ready for night to be over after 3 rounds. Ferguson used his 7 inch reach advantage to defeat Dos Anjos in a unanimous decision. The action picked up in the second round when Ferguson clipped Dos Anjos and went in for a TKO but Dos Anjos was able to survive and recover. Time was also stopped in the second round after Dos Anjos was poked in the eye. In the fourth round, Ferguson used his weird slid takedown technique to take Dos Anjos to the mat. I don’t think I have seen that takedown style before and I noticed Ferguson doing the takedown slid as Buffer introduced him before the fight. By the fifth round Dos Anjos was bloodied up and both fighters look exhausted. Ferguson deserved the unanimous decision and appears to be on a path for a title shot in the near future.
I am beyond excited for UFC 205 next week. Miesha Tate, Cowboy Cerrone and 3 championship fights. That is an insane card that is going to take place in New York and most people are calling it the greatest card in UFC history. I don’t think that is hyperbole.