After 3 plus years away from the UFC, the Korean Zombie made his return to the octagon. Jung missed all of that time serving his mandatory military service in South Korea but he stated he still practiced and kept in shape. This card was a struggle to get through as the main card was bloated from the normal 4 fights to 6, giving FS1 the opportunity to drag it out over 3 plus hours. Commercial after commercial carried the event into the early hours of the morning which left me grumpy and impatient and the stream crashed like always solidifying my disdain for the “fastest growing sports network.” The Houston crowd was small compared to other fight nights but they were very vocal in their boredom with several of the fights that went to decision. Read about the card that piggy backed on the attention of the Super Bowl below.

Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)

Light Heavyweight – Khalil Rountree def. Daniel Jolly – KO knee – (RD 1 – 0:52)

Rountree started the fight off showing good takedown defense. Jolly couldn’t bring him to the ground  and found himself in a vulnerable position in the clinch. Rountree knee’d Jolly in the head while up against the cage knocking Jolly out. Rountree followed the knockout blow with another knee to the chest of Jolly.

Welterweight – Niko Price def. Alex Moreno – KO punches – (RD 2 – 5:00)

Moreno started out strong out striking the top knot sporting Price. Being from the area, the Houston crowd cheered Moreno on during his impressive first round. Moreno landed multiple counter rights in the first round along with a heavy left hand to cap off a good combination. To end the round Moreno landed a spinning back fist and a right to drop Price to the mat. He jumped on top of price throwing hammer fists looking for the TKO.

The second round started out similar to the first. Price looked slower and less active and his coaches kept shouting at him to keep moving and to stay light on his feet. Moreno landed a combo featuring a jab and kick and then a body shot on Price. At the very end of the second round, Price dropped and finished Moreno with one punch. The knockout blow and the bell rung simultaneously ending the fight is a peculiar manner. Moreno sat on the ground breathing heavily clearly not with it. He sat there for a long time as the doctors looked at him confirming he was knocked out and couldn’t  continue. Price won the fight with a finish but up to that point he wasn’t having a good performance. His coaches were riding him hard and he looked stiff. He also threw several punches after the bell but they whiffed preventing a controversy.

Preliminary Card (FS1)

Catchweight (117.5 LB) – Tecia Torres def. Bec Rawlings – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Rawlings missed weight by a pound and a half and publicly criticized the UFC for not having a Flyweight division for women. Rawlings has a 5 inch height and a 3.5 inch reach advantage over Torres, but was dominated in all three rounds by her much smaller opponent. The first round saw Torres throw and land many quick strikes. She kept her distance and when she found an opening she charged forward and threw a flurry of short attacks, most of which landed.

Rawlings came out fast in the second round scoring a takedown early. Torres got back to her feet with Rawlings latched onto her. The fighters go back to the ground and Torres took the back of Rawlings. The rest of the round saw Rawlings scrambling around playing defense and she survived an arm bar submission in the final seconds of the round.

In the third round Torres landed a quick flurry of jabs. Rawlings must of heard something she didn’t like from the crowd as the broadcast cut away for about 2 seconds when she gave the arena the bird. Torres landed several leg kicks weakening Rawlings in the final round. Torres scored a takedown with the help of Rawlings losing her footing. The fighters got back to their feet in the clinch, went back to the ground, and then got back to their feet to exchange in a slug fest to end the round. This was an impressive performance for Torres who hadn’t fought in a long time. I didn’t know she was dating Raquel Pennington.

Later in the night Rawlings posted a picture of her flipping off the crowd with a blurb about how she is leaving the strawweight division.

Bantamweight  – Ricardo Ramos def. Michinori Tanaka – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)

Did you know Dana White has a youtube show? I assume that you do as it is constantly being promoted during these fight cards and several fighters who White “found” on the show have fought in the UFC. Ricardo Ramos is one of those fighters who is a vehicle to advertise White’s show.

The 21 year old Ramos has a 4.5 inch reach advantage over Tanaka. The first round saw Tanaka score a takedown but was unable to keep Ramos on the ground for long. Ramos got to his feet and landed a knee in the clinch. Tanaka slipped and fell to the mat and Ramos threw an illegal kick to the downed opponent which luckily didn’t land. Once Tanaka got back to his feet, Ramos dropped him with a counter right jab. Ramos jumped on top of the tagged Tanaka landing hammer fists and elbows. Tanaka survived and got back to his feet but wobbled around looking for his balance until the round ended.

In the second round the two fighters clinched up where Ramos landed an elbow. Tanaka level changed trying to avoid the elbows and the fight went to the ground. Ramos got into side control and escaped an arm bar from Tanaka. The fight then went back to standing, back to the ground, and back to the standing leaving Ramos looking exhausted.

Ramos hung back in the third round looking only to strike on counter attacks. Tanaka stayed active running around eliminating opportunities of attack for Ramos. Herb stopped the fight and told Tanaka to engage or he would deduct a point. The fighters clinches up and Tanaka scored a takedown after they separated. On the ground Ramos attempted a guillotine which Tanaka escaped. The fight slowed down a lot at the end.

Featherweight – Chas Skelly def. Chris Gruetzemacher – Submission rear-naked choke – (RD 2 – 2:01)

I am thankful that Skelly won this match in the second round and did most of the striking as I do not want to type out the name Greutzemacher dozens of times. Skelly is super lanky and used his 4.5 inch reach advantage to defeat Macher. The fighters clinched up in the first round and Skelly landed some elbows in the hugging. He then scored a takedown and took the back of Macher. The fighters got back to their feet and Skelly snuck in a knee and an elbow in the final seconds of the first round.

In the second round the two fighters traded strikes before Skelly brought the fight back to the ground. Skelly took Macher’s back and ate some defensive elbows from Macher. Skelly couldn’t get under Macher’s chin but pulled a Tito Ortiz using his strength to get the over the chin rear-naked choke.

Heavyweight – Curtis Blaydes def. Adam Milstead – TKO knee injury – (RD 2 – 0:59)

This fight was hard to watch. Blaydes had 30 pounds on Milstead and threw Milstead around like a rag doll in the first round. Blaydes then forced Milstead to carry his weight and Blaydes weight as he attempted to stand up. In the first round Milstead hurt his right knee as he tried to stand up under the unrelenting pressure of Blaydes. His knee gave out and Milstead could be seen grabbing at it and screaming in pain.

Milstead survived the first round and went back into the ring for a second round. Blaydes threw him to the ground, and he attempted to get back to his feet putting a lot of pressure on his right knee, exactly like the first round. But this time his knee exploded and collapsed under all of the weight. Milstead gave himself and up and screamed in agony ending the fight. The replay was hard to watch and in hind sight Milstead shouldn’t have gone back for a second round. That knee injury is going to take a long time to come back from.

Main Card (FS1)

Women’s Strawweight – Jessica Andrade def. Angela Hill – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

The first fight on the main card was the fight of the night. Strawweight Invicta Champion Angela Hill made her return to the UFC against one of the top UFC Strawweight contenders in Jessica Andrade. This is a rough first fight back for Hill and she was defeated in a unanimous decision, but showed the national audience that she is worthy of being in the UFC.

All three rounds were the same. Andrade stalked Hill down and unloaded powerful shots that landed directly to her face and body. Hill did her best to keep her distance and away from the knock out power of Andrade but landed some powerful strikes of her own when the two met up close. Andrade just tee’ d off on Hill all 15 minutes but wasn’t able to knock her out. Hill ate everything taking it all in stride and never gave up. The fight did go to the ground but almost all of the damage was done while standing. This fight was great and is hard to recap as so much happened. Andrade is a monster (I mean that in a good way) with powerful attacks while Hill has the chin of a truck. Hill never backed down and partook in the slugfest that Andrade is built for.

After the fight Andrade picked up Hill so the crowd could cheer her on. Hill never touched gloves with Andrade before the rounds as she wanted to do everything she could to keep her distance. The fighters embraced and the crowd was very appreciative of the great show they put on.

Heavyweight – Marcel Fortuna def. Anthony Hamilton – KO punch – (RD 1 – 3:10)

Blaydes weighing 30 pounds more than Milstead was hard enough to comprehend, but Fortuna entered his match with Hamilton weighing 48 pounds less. I guess Fortuna took the fight on short notice and lied about his weight (he normally fights at light heavyweight) wanting the opportunity to fight Hamilton.

The fighters collided heads early in the fight leaving Fortuna with a huge gash over his eye. Herb stopped the fight to have the doctor take a look at Fortuna’s eye. It was bleeding badly but the blood flow wasn’t pooling up so the doctor cleared him to continue. Not long after the fight started back up, Fortuna destroyed Hamilton with a right. Hamilton was in mid punch when he ate the shot and was knocked out immediately. He fell head first to the mat with his extremities reacting to gravity like a rag doll. Hamilton was as knocked out as a fighter can ever be.

Light Heavyweight – Volkan Oezdemir def. Ovince Saint Preux – Decision split – (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

The worst fight of the night was between OSP and UFC newcomer (Titan FC veteran) Oezdemir. After watching the fight I had no idea who won. I assumed OSP would sneak out the decision but he definitely did not fight well and looked gassed in the final round. After the final bell he immediately leaned up against the cage exhausted and barely could greet Oezdemir who wanted to embrace him in gratitude.

There isn’t a lot to break down in this fight. OSP was the taller and longer fighter who had to fend off the aggressive Oezdemir early in the fight. Ozedemir tried to take the fight to the ground but OSP used his long legs to defend the takedown attempts. But the end of the second round, both fighters looked done. OSP scored a takedown and when he got back to his feet he wasn’t moving fast. Ozedemir was struggling through an adrenaline dump in the third round which saw both fighters do their best Dada 5000 and Kimbo Slice impersonation. OSP threw and connected with some attacks to end the fight but it wasn’t enough to win. Ozedemir won his first UFC fight on short notice against veteran OSP in a ugly 3 rounds.

Lightweight – James Vick def. Abel Trujillo – Submission D’Arce choke – (RD 3 – 0:49)

How is James Vick a light weight? The dude has the height and size of a light heavyweight but can somehow complete the cut to 155. This fight started out slow as both fighters danced around each other trying to get a feel of each other. They didn’t touch each other for the first minute plus in the first round. Trujillo slammed Vick to the ground where Vick attempted a guillotine choke. The two fighters got back to their feet in the clinch and separated by exchanging kicks. The round ended with Vick clipping Trujillo with a right.

The second round started off with Trujillo landing a diverse selection of strikes. Vick brought the fight to the ground and attempted a D’Arce choke. Trujillo escaped but slid back into position for another D’Arce attempt from Vick. The round ended with both fighters on their feet in the clinch.

The third round is where Vick finally submitted Trujillo. Vick tagged Trujillo with a knee who brought the fight to the ground in an effort to buy time to recover. On the ground Vick put Trujillo into another D’Arce choke which he wasn’t able to escape.

Women’s Strawweight – Felice Herrig def. Alexa Grasso – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Strawweight Phenom Alexa Grasso took a step back in her fight with Felice Herrig. In the first round Grasso slipped while throwing a high kick. Both fighters fell and Grasso smoothly transitioned into a heel hook that Herrig was able to escape.  Both fighters landed strikes in the first round. Herrig scored two takedowns in the second round and was the much more aggressive fighter. She landed more strikes and initiated all of the exchanges. More of the same happened in the third round with Grasso being more aggressive in the final minutes. It was too little too late for Grasso as Herrig won the earlier rounds. Grasso looked surprised that she lost the decision which was surprising to me.

Herrig took advantage of the mic time and explained how rough her life has been since her long layoff. She appears to enjoy the pity and attention citing her two most recent victory speeches after beating Curran and Grasso.

Featherweight – Chan Sung Jung def. Dennis Bermudez – KO punch – (RD 1 – 2:49)

Jung is a fairly large Featherweight having a 6 inch reach advantage over Bermudez. The fighters moved around trading blows for the first few minutes of the fight. Jung found an opening and landed a right uppercut with dropped and finished Bermudez. Welcome back zombie.

UFC 208 is this Saturday, February 11th 2017.