Another weekend, another double header of UFC events. UFC Fight Night 102 took place in Albany, NY and saw 12 fights in total. Josh Samman, who died in October to what is believed to be a drug overdose, was scheduled to fight on this card leaving a somber feeling on the night. There was a lot of changes in the match ups leading up to this card creating opportunities for UFC new comers JJ Aldrich, Ashley Yoder, Brain Camozzi, and Gerald Meerschaert. I like these Fight Pass exclusive cards as there are no commercials and show a lot of fights in a short amount of time. The early start time of 5:45 eastern was rad too, allowing me to go to bed at a normal hour.

Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)

Women’s Strawweight – Juliana Lima def. JJ Aldrich – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

I recognized Aldrich from her win at Invicta FC 20 just a few week ago. It was cool to see her finally get her shot in the UFC. She lost in a unanimous decision, but she will have the excuse of fighting on short notice and will be better in her next fight having more time to prepare and having already overcome the first fight jitters.

Aldrich’s opponent Lima is 10 years her elder and had her whole family cheering he on in the crowd. Lima is also shredded for a stawweight, she is in insane physical condition. In the first round, Lima got the better of Aldrich landing a body kick and knees in the clinch, and scoring a takedown with some ground and pound. Lima landed two more takedowns in the second round, and decent combo in the third. Aldrich was aggressive and stayed in the face of Lima all night, but she couldn’t keep up with the significant strikes and takedowns.

In the third round time was stopped for a, well genital shot on Aldrich. Lima, the crowd, and I were confused by this. I am sure it doesn’t feel good getting kicked in that region no matter the sex, but I did not know women received time stoppage for those blows.

Aldrich held her own in this matchup but Lima just out scored her landing more attacks and takedowns. After the fight Lima embraced Aldrich and thanked her for taking the fight on short notice. Always good to see good sportsmanship after fighters spent 15 minutes trying to knock each other unconscious.

Middleweight – Ryan Janes def. Keith Berish – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

I don’t know how this fight went to a decision as both fighters landed knock out worthy blows. Janes entered this fight with a 3 inch reach advantage which he did not use. He was the more aggressive fighter early eliminated that advantage as Berish was able to land counter attacks. Janes absorbed a heavy shot directly to his jaw but also landed many of his own, opening up a cut under the eye of Berish.

Janes continued with his aggressive style in the second round. He beat up the lead leg of Berish with leg kicks while landing jabs. Berish was still able to get some counters and blows of his own to land. Time was stopped in the third round for a nut shot on Berish. Once the fight stated back up, Berish landed attacks and Janes became the counter attacker. Janes landed a head kick and Berish scored a takedown. This was a fun slugfest of a fight.

Lightweight – Marc Diakiese def. Frankie Perez – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Diakiese brought his blonde Mohawk in the octagon to help him defeat the local fresh out of retirement fighter Perez. A lot happened in the first round of this fight. Perez landing a spinning back kick, Diakiese took Perez to the ground twice including a suplex, and lost his mouth piece in the process. As both fighters were on the ground in a steady position, Big John stopped the fight to put the mouth piece back in the mouth of Diakiese without disrupting the ground fighting. Good job Big John.

The second round was won by Perez and he did so much damage to Diakiese it looked like he set himself up to win the fight. After taking Diakiese to the ground, Perez opened up his face with sharp elbows. Blood poured from Diakiese and you could see him trying to wipe it from his eyes when they got back to their feet. In between rounds, the cut man worked his ass off closing up the wound and Diakiese could be heard saying “I can’t see.”

To start the third round Diakiese was in rough shape and need a lot of things to go his way to pull out a victory. There was a cool shot of Perez’s coaches yelling at him not to throw a low kick since it would create an opportunity for Diakiese to bring him down. Without hesitation, Perez did what his coaches asked him not too, threw a kick, Diakiese caught it and scored a takedown. The coaches got super bummed and one could be heard saying “he just lost the fight.” From here Diakiese controlled the fight. He bleed all over the place not letting Perez up to his feet, landing ground and pound and controlling his breathing. Once Perez finally got to his feet, Diakiese clinched up, not giving Perez any opportunity to land anything. Perez was clearly pissed off after the fight knowing he made a big mistake. It looked like he was showing a lot of restraint after the fight when Diakiese talked to him.

Diakiese showed great recovery skills and modifying his game plan when he suffered a brutal eye injury.

Featherweight – Shane Burgos def. Tiago Trator – Decision unanimous – (30-26, 29-28, 29-27)

This was a fun fight as Burgos was making his UFC debut in front of his hometown crowd. He fought well but also in an entertaining style trying to put on a show for the crowd. This fight ended in a decision, but Burgos did everything he could to score a finish, including putting himself in vulnerable positions.

Both fighters traded blows in the first round but the real action started in the second. Burgos started the second round with a right hand that clipped Trator. The fighters clinched up and then Burgos landed a combo that including body and head shots. He followed that up with two left hooks and an intimidating walk down. Burgos then crushed Trator that dropped him. Burgos jumped on top of him throwing hammer fists looking for the kill, but Trator survived. Burgos allowed Trator to get to his feet, and Trator squeezed out every second of rest as he slowly stood up. Burgos continued to score attacks on Trator which lead to Trator flopping to the ground looking to bring the fight to the mat. Burgos didn’t take the bait and allowed Trator to stand up every time. Trator took more and more time standing up trying to recover some energy.

In between the second and third round, Burgos was having issues with his top knot man bun hair. His pony tail was coming lose and instead of trying to fix it, they asked the cut man to cut it off. A hair cut happened in between rounds.

As the third round stated, the crowd was going ape for Burgos. Trator continued his annoying flopping to the mat style and Burgos continued to let him stand up. Burgos was able to land some upper cuts keeping his hand at his waist hoping to draw Trator in close to him. He received his wish as Trator landed big shots which induced a slug fest from both fighters. They began taunting each other and both swung for the fences teeing off on each other’s heads. This was a dope fight.

Middleweight – Andrew Sanchez def. Trevor Smith – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Sanchez brutalized Smith in this fight, leaving Smith’s face looking like raw hamburger. Early in the fight Smith dropped Sanchez with a right, but Sanchez returned fire landing an uppercut and a left hook that clipped Smith. When it looked like Smith was fully recovered, Sanchez clipped him again with a right. Smith then stood on wobbly legs the rest of the first round.

In the second round, Sanchez escaped out of the clinch by landing an upper cut that split the guard of Smith. After landing some body shots, Smith then ate another upper cut, body kick and right hand. I have no idea how Smith was able to stay conscious, the dude has a chin. But as they say, if everyone is talking about the strength of your chin, the fight isn’t going your way.

By the third round, Smith’s left eye was swollen shut. Sanchez took advantage of the lacking vision of Smith by clipping him with an over hand right. Smith attempted a takedown and hung tough, but Sanchez kept abusing his left eye. Several times it looked like Smith was done, but knowing he wasn’t going to win, he did everything he could to not get finished. This was an impressive win for Sanchez and an impressive ability to survive from Smith.

Middleweight – Gerald Meerschaert def. Joe Gigliotti – Submission anaconda choke – (RD 1 – 4:12)

Even though they were all fun, this card started off with 5 straight unanimous decisions so the first round submission from Meerschaert was a welcome change of pace. Meerschaert used his huge 8.5 inch reach advantage to score two takedowns, open up the face of Gigliotti, and get an anaconda choke. During his second trip to the mat, Meerschaert took the back of Gigliotti, got in position for the anaconda, and turned his hips tightening the choke until Gigliotti tapped.

Welterweight – Randy Brown def. Brian Camozzi – TKO knee and punches – (RD 2 – 1:25)

Brian Camozzi, the brother of Chris Camozzi made his UFC debut against Randy Brown. The fight began with Brown landing blows and scoring a takedown. While on the ground Camozzi attempted an armbar which was defended with a  body spike from Brown. Camozzi abandoned the armbar and went for a triangle choke that Brown was also successful in escaping. Brown got into top position and landed ground and pound that opened up a wound on the nose of Camozzi. In between rounds Camozzi could be heard complaining about blurry vision from the blood.

In the second round Camozzi landed a right and went into the clinch. In the clinch Brown landed knee to the temple of Camozzi which ultimately ended the fight. Camozzi collapsed and Brown landed a flurry of attacks getting the TKO.

Catchweight (116.4 LB) – Justine Kish def. Ashley Yoder – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

The last fight of the preliminary card featured another Invicta FC 20 fighter in Ashley Yoder. This fight ended in a unanimous victory for Kish, but after watching it I thought Yoder was going to be awarded the victory.

The first round saw both fighters throwing lots of attacks and great ground fighting. Yoder brought the fight to the ground and the two partook in technical movements looking for an advantageous position. The two got back to their feet and clinched up. In the clinch Kish landed elbows which opened up the face of Yoder.

In the second round Kish scored the first takedown and attempted a guillotine and anaconda choke, both of which Yoder wiggled out of. More technical ground maneuvering took place and ended with Yoder on top landing ground and pound and staying in the power position until the round ended.

Kish landed a spinning back fist and right jab in the third round. The fight went back to the ground where Kish attempted more submissions that Yoder was able to scramble and get out of. The ground fighting was fun to watch as both fighters quick and determined with their movements. The fight ended with both fighters on their feet trading blows. Again, I thought Yoder was the better fighter and should have won this fight. Kish probably landed more blows to jump up her score, but from the ignorant fan perspective, I thought Yoder won.

Main Card (UFC Fight Pass)

Light Heavyweight – Gian Villante def. Saparbek Safarov – TKO punches and elbows – (RD 2 – 2:54)

After watching Trevor Smith take a beating from Andrew Sanchez, I didn’t think a dude could be tougher. I was wrong. Safarov damaged several parts of his body trying to win and not get finished in his fight against Villante.

Both fighters rocked each other in the first round. Both were clipped and dropped after absorbing heavy blows. Safarov looked done several times but recovered enough almost score a knock out of his own. Safarov injured his knee on his lead leg after throwing a couple of leg kicks. His knee was clearly compromised and in between rounds, the doctors made him do knee exercises to prove he could still fight.

Safarov entered the second round with a bum knee and a wrecked left eye. Villante made it a point to attack the hurt knee of Safarov landing leg kicks in the second round. Clearly in severe pain, Safarov fought back landed a combo. Villante’ s power became too much as he landed more and more attacks with leg kicks mixed in. He clipped Safarov and finished him with close range blows in the clinch against the cage. This may be the most brutal fight I have ever watched.

Light Heavyweight – Corey Anderson def. Sean O’Connell – TKO punches – (RD 2 – 2:36)

Anderson dominated this fight against O’Connell. He scored three takedowns in the first round along with some elbow filled ground and pound. He scored another takedown in the first 15 seconds of the second round. From there he didn’t let up, controlling O’Connell’s movements and landing heavy shots. He kept landing blows until he got the TKO halfway through the second round.

Heavyweight – Francis Ngannou def. Anthony Hamilton – Submission kimura – (RD 1 – 1:57)

Francis Ngannou is going to be the UFC Heavyweight champion by the end of 2017. This dude is huge and has insane skills. He has only being fighting professionally for 4 years and has the skill set of a 15 year vet. Hamilton took him to the ground in the first round, but Ngannou got up right away, went into the clinch, took Hamilton to the ground and scored a technical kimura submission. Fucking impressive.

Heavyweight – Derrick Lewis def. Shamil Abdurakhimov – TKO punches – (RD 4 – 3:42)

The headlining fight between Lewis and Abdurakhimov was a dud. Lewis had to cut weight to get down to the 265 pound weight limit and had a 3 inch reach advantage.

The first 3 and a half rounds were boring. The fight was slow as Abdurakhimov kept his distance from the knock out power of Lewis. This was frustrating Lewis as he couldn’t get close enough to land any attacks. Lewis had issues with his eye after it was irritated in the second round. Abdurakhimov scored a few takedowns but couldn’t accomplish much as Lewis was able use his strength and size to stand up whenever he wanted.

In the third round Abdurakhimov was winning the fight but the ref separated the fighters and stopped the clock to talk to the coaches of Abdurakhimov. The ref told the coaches to tell their fighter that he needs to fight and be more aggressive or a point will be deducted. In between the third and fourth round the coaches told Abdurakhimov to ignore the ref and continue with his strategy as he was winning.

In the fourth round Lewis was finally able to get on top of Abdurakhimov on the ground. He put all 265 pounds on the torso of Abdurakhimov and landed powerful shots. He kept unloading on the trapped Abdurakhimov until he received the TKO. Overall this was a disappointing fight.

Lewis said “that was some bullshit” in his post-fight interview being critical of his performance. He refused to call any fighter out as he was bummed about the fight. Lewis was far from perfect in this win, but he still won the fight.

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