UFC 206 lost a lot of its hype in the days leading up to the card with several fighters missing weight, including Anthony Pettis in the main event. This card saw a little bit of everything in its 12 fights including brutal KO’s, submissions, questionable decisions, and a slug fest that will probably receive fight of the year honors.
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Flyweight – Dustin Ortiz def. Zach Makovsky – Decision split – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
UFC 206 started off with a clinch filled flyweight bout between Dustin Ortiz and Zach Makovsky. This fight went to the ground and back up to standing in all three rounds with a little ground and pound mixed in. Makovsky threw a spinning back kick in the second round which lead to a takedown. He attempted an arm lock that Ortiz was able to escape from. In the third round Ortiz attempted a guillotine choke that Makovsky had no issue in getting out of. This was a typical boring flyweight fight. I couldn’t tell who won but they judges gave the win to Ortiz as he landed more ground and pound.
Catchweight (158 LB) Rustam Khabilov def. Jason Saggo – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Unlike the first fight, it was clear who won this match between Khabilov and Saggo. Khabilov controlled all three rounds and was able to defend against the desperate third round surge from Saggo. In the first round Khabilov slammed Saggo to the mat and stayed in the power position until the round ended. In the second round, Khabilov scored another takedown and landed a flurry of attacks once the fight got back to standing position. More of the same happened in the third with Khabilov bringing Saggo to the mat multiple times. He escaped an armbar submission from Saggo and controlled the whole round. Easy victory for Khabilov.
Lightweight – Landon Vannata def. John Makdessi – KO spinning wheel kick – (RD 1 – 1:40)
The last I saw Vannata fight was when he took a Tony Ferguson superman punch right to the face and didn’t flinch back in July. He lost that fight but it was clear this guy was going to be lighting rod in the octagon. He was equally as entertaining in his match against Makdessi knocking him out with a spinning wheel kick. Less than two minutes into the fight Vannata landed kick directly to the jaw of Makdessi knocking him out cold. Vannata did pull a Henderson and land more blows on Makdessi, instead he just took a step forward and stared him down. Bad ass KO.
Preliminary Card (FS1)
Bantamweight – Matthew Lopez def. Mitch Gagnon – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
The first fight on the fired ESPN analysts network saw a fighter almost get knocked out in the first round and recover to earn a unanimous decision. Gagnon dropped Lopez with a heavy left and went in for the kill landing elbows and punches on the ground. Lopez defended himself enough to delay the TKO and survived the round.
The second round is when Lopez started to take control. He scored two takedowns and while on the ground landed big shots and attempted a rear-naked choke. The third round began with Lopez taking one of the hardest nut shots I have ever seen. Time was stopped as Lopez fell to the ground in pain. Lopez took Gagnon to the ground a couple more times in the third and both fighters threw a lot of misses while they were on their feet.
Being able to recover the way Lopez did earning a unanimous decision was impressive.
Catchweight (117.5 LB) – Viviane Pereira def. Valerie Letourneau – Decision split – (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
This fight between Pereira and Letourneau had a curious outcome. Letourneau is a tall strawweight and missed weight by a pound and a half. She used her massive height and reach advantage to dominate the first round. She caught a kick and brought Pereira to the mat where she controlled the fight and landed some ground and pound.
Other than Pereira scoring a takedown in the second round there isn’t a lot to say about the last two rounds of this fight. Letourneau appeared to be in control, not doing much other than using her reach advantage while the fighters were on their feet. I understand that Letourneau coasted and didn’t take a lot of risks in the last round, but that was smart in my opinion, playing it safe. The judges didn’t think so, they awarded the win to Pereira which even Pereira appeared to be shocked by. Strange decision, I thought it was obvious that Letourneau won.
Lightweight – Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Drew Dober – Submission rear-naked choke – (RD 2 – 2:57)
Both Aubin-Mercier and Dober were clipped in this fight. Aubin-Mercier came out strong in the first round clipping Dober with a left and opening up a cut on his face. He further brutalized Dober with another left, a body shot, and some leg kicks.
In the second round Dober dropped Aubin-Mercier with a jab and jumped on top of him. On the ground Aubin-Mercier maneuvered into position for a leg lock which Dober escaped and then took the back of Dober looking for the rear-naked choke. He latched onto Dober’s body making it impossible for him to escaped and choked him for the tap.
Light Heavyweight – Misha Cirkunov def. Nikita Krylov – Submission guillotine choke – (RD 1 – 4:38)
The headlining prelim fight was the battle of the OV’s. Cirkunov vs. Krylov was a quick match, something I always appreciate in a headlining prelim fight, allowing me to regroup and boot up the PPV stream. Both fighters scored takedowns in the fight and were actively looking for an opportunity. Cirkunov found his opportunity after stunning Krylov with a left jab and getting him into a tight guillotine choke.
Main Card (PPV)
Welterweight – Emil Meek def. Jordan Mein – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Meek’s chances of winning this fight with Mein after the first round weren’t high. He suffered a body injury which looked like a broken rib, and Mein laughed in his face when Meek charged after him throwing a flying knee. But Meek recovered and controlled the last two rounds of the fight pulling out the decision. He brought the fight to the ground in the second escaping an arm triangle from Mein and landed some significant strikes. Similar events happened in the third when Meek scored a takedown, escaped an armbar from Mein, and remained in the power position the rest of the round. Pretty good UFC debut performance for Meek.
Middleweight – Kelvin Gastelum def. Tim Kennedy – TKO punches – (RD 3 – 2:45)
The welterweight match everyone wanted to see at UFC 205 was Cerrone vs. Gastelum. But like many times before, Gastelum was hugely overweight and the bout was cancelled. Dana White was pissed and stated Gastelum can no longer fight below 185 due to consistently missing weight.
That set up this middleweight bout between Gastelum and veteran Kennedy. Gastelum looked good in all three rounds of this fight, beating up on Kennedy consistently. In the first round Kennedy scored a takedown and got some knees to land in the clinch, but Gastelum rocked Kennedy with a heavy left shortly after. The shiner under Kennedy’s eye was already visible in between the first and second round.
The second round saw Kennedy get another takedown, but Gastelum was able to get up and land a left hook and upper cut. In the third Gastelum unloaded everything he had landing jabs and combos. Kennedy looked finished and went into survival mode. He eventually fell after eating so many shots and Gastelum threw a flurry of attacks on the ground getting the TKO.
Featherweight – Cub Swanson def. Doo Ho Choi – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
This fight was fucking bananas. Most of the time when I recap fights, there are a few significant fight altering blows that stand out and can be the focus of discussion. This fight had so many. Swanson landed every kind of strike you could imagine, a spinning back fist, cartwheel kick, and countless combos.
Swanson clearly won this fight but I think Choi won everyone’s respect. I have no Idea how Choi survived, he ate so many knock out shots. He held his own too clipping Swanson a couple of times and landing many strikes of his own. Again there isn’t anything that I can say about this fight that would do it justice, try to find it online and watch it. I haven’t been watching MMA for long, but this was hands down the best slug fest I have ever seen. The goose bump moment for this fight took place afterwards when the crowd went crazy for Choi when Rogan interviewed him. My notes are below and you can see why I didn’t waste my time attempting to write them out in a logical manner.
RD 1 – clinch up, swanson landed jabs, throwing kicks, swanson lands right, clinch, swanson landed right then kick, choi lands body shot,
RD 2 – swanson landing blows, clinch up, swanson landing blows in clinch, swanson landing huge blows clipping choi, choi responds clips swanson landing loads of shots, both fighters look exhausted, goes to ground swanson on top, lands elbow, gets up, swanson lands jabs, cartwheel kick, swanson landing more jabs, swanson lands spinning back fist, choi still alive, clinch up, fucking great fight
RD 3 – trading blows again, choi clips swanson, scores takedown, lands elbows on swanson, gets to feet, swanson lighting choi up, swanson bleeding from head, clinch up, more blows. tees off on choi and he somehow survived, brought choi down with combo to end fight looking for tko but survived
fucking crazy slug fest, flurry to end fight was nuts
Welterweight – Donald Cerrone def. Matt Brown – KO head kick – (RD 3 – 0:34)
Cerrone represents everything I hate, country boy, wears cowboy hats, is friends with bro country bands, and thinks he is better than he really is. Despite all of that, I love this guy. He is a great fighter and has been tearing guys up in the welterweight division. Going into this fight, he and his former teammate Matt Brown had some beef adding more hype to the match.
Brown looked good early in this fight. He almost got a triangle submission in the first round, and he brought Cerrone to his knees in the second after stunning him. He landed several blows and had Cerrone reeling. Before the third round Cerrone put his hands up in the air with a goofy smile on his face to test the waters on if Brown wanted to touch gloves before the third round. The two touched gloves and then Brown pulled Cerrone in for a hug. Cerrone was stoked and seemed happy that Brown squashed the beef.
Brown took Cerrone to the ground but couldn’t keep him there early in the third. Then Cerrone crushed Brown with a high kick that knocked him out before he hit the ground. Such a brutal KO. Cerrone did the same thing Vannata did in the prelims, just took a step forward and stared at the concussed Brown like a boss.
Catchweight (148 LB) – Max Holloway def. Anthony Pettis – TKO body kick and punches – (RD 3 – 4:50)
This was a dud of a fake interim championship headlining fight. Pettis missed weight and confirmed what many people thought about his cut down to 145 to fight at featherweight, he couldn’t do it. Those last couple of pounds are just too hard to cut and frankly is extremely unhealthy. So this interim featherweight belt would only be given to Holloway if he won dampening the hype.
To make things worse, Pettis broke his right hand in the first round eliminating his best attack. Once it was revealed by the broadcast that his hand was broken you could see that he was only throwing left jabs. By the time the fight reached the third round, Holloway was having his way with Pettis. Holloway forced Pettis up against the fence with a body kick and finished Pettis off with a flurry of attacks getting the TKO.
Unfounded speculation time.
To me it looked like Pettis just gave up in this fight. When he saw an opportunity to give up without appearing to give up, he took it. He didn’t fight back when his back was against the fence and just wanted the weird meaningless fight to be over with. I can’t really blame him either as his hand was broken and even if he did pull a miracle to win, the interim belt wouldn’t be his due to missing weight.
Also, he revealed in the post-fight interview that he was done with 145 and is moving back up to 155. He already knew this was his last fight at 145 so even if he did win, he wouldn’t get the title fight against Aldo because he couldn’t make weight. What a waste of fucking time. Pettis wasted a year of his career dicking around in a weight class that he couldn’t make weight in.
I was bummed after this fight. I was happy that Holloway won his 10th fight in a row and will get a real title shot against Aldo, but this match that I was looking forward too was diminished. Let’s move on and pretend it didn’t happen.
UFC on Fox 22 is Saturday, December 17th which features the popular Paige VanZant. Then two weeks after that it is the return of Rousey at UFC 207 finishing off the year 2016 for the UFC.