A 12 fight card that starts at 10am and ends by 4pm is my type of card. My anticipation was more prevalent for UFC Fight Night 109 compared to other fight nights as Alexander Gustafsson was scheduled to headline, a top ranked fighter I had yet to watch. Gustafsson did not disappoint.

Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)

Lightweight – Damir Hadzovic def. Marcin Held – KO Knee – (RD 3 – 0:07)

Marcin Held was coming off a terrible decision loss to Joe Lauzon which even Lauzon believed Held should have won. He dominated Hadzovic for the first two rounds in the opening fight of the night. Held landed a variation of strikes in the first round and controlled the ground, where is his most dangerous, after scoring a takedown. Held took the fighter to the ground several times in the second round as well coming close to a d’arce choke while conducting highly technical ground scrambles.

Held was then KO’d 7 seconds into the third round. Held dove for the legs of Hadzovic attempting what Dan Hardy called a imanari roll, and Hadzovic kneed him in the head knocking him out cold. The knockout reminded me of how Romero knocked out Weidman at UFC 207. This was a brutal loss for Held as he dominated the fight up until the devastating blow.

Catchweight (176 LB) – Darren Till def. Jessin Ayari – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 29-27)

Darren Till looked impressive in his victory of Ayari but weighed in a wimping 5 pounds overweight. It didn’t take long for Till to clip Ayari in the first round with a left. Till scored two takedowns in the first round being the more aggressive fighter. The second round began with Ayari landing a left hook and then getting dropped by Till after eating two lefts. Till jumped on top of Ayari and connected with harsh ground and pound. From his back Ayari attempted an arm bar and avoid a sky drop hammer fist from Till. After getting back to their feet, Till landed a left, Ayari initiated a clinch after a level change where Till grabbed the fence to keep his balance, and Ayari scored a takedown. The fighters got back to their feet where Till dropped Ayari again with a left and landed elbow filled ground and pound.

Before the third round the two fighters embraced. The fighters traded strikes and Till tried to get the crowd amped again like they were in the first two rounds. Time was stopped for an eye poke of Ayari. The over aggressive ref who was in the octagon telling fighters to keep their fingers up called in the doc to check on the eye of Ayari. Till spent the rest of the fight dancing around taunting Ayari a bit.

Preliminary Card (FS1)

Welterweight – Bojan Velickovic def. Nico Musoke – KO punches – (RD 3 – 4:37)

Did you know Logan is out on Blu-Ray and streaming? The trademark FS1 intrusive ad space was all bought up by the superhero movie and one ad that was close to a ¼ of the screen made an appearance during the bout between Velickovic and Musoke.

Musoke scored a takedown in the first round and Velickovic scooted his way to the cage. Musoke landed ground and pound before Velickovic got back to his feet. The fighters traded strikes, a left and body kick from Musoke and a left jab from Velickovic. Musoke grabbed a single leg of Velickovic and drove him into the clinch. After breaking the clinch, Musoke landed a body kick.

Velickovic landed many leg kicks to start the second round. He scored a takedown but wasn’t able to keep Musoke there for long. Musoke caught a kick from Velickovic and drove him into the clinch. Musoke landed knees in the clinch and an elbow in the break.

The fighters traded kicks in the third round. Musoke level changed scoring a takedown and the fighters got back to their feet in the clinch. Musoke landed a body kick after the break. Velickovic looked to be the more aggressive fighter exerting more energy. In the final minute of the fight Velickovic rocked Musoke with a right which took his legs away from him. Musoke was wobbling around trying to recover and was finished off with another right and hammer fists on the ground. Musoke knew he was in trouble but couldn’t find his balance leading to the KO.

Lightweight – Joaquim Silva def. Reza Madadi – Decision split – (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Mad Dog Madadi is a crazy mother fucker. He took this fight with Silva on a short notice and gave it his all like he is known to do.

Both fighters scored takedown in the first round. Madadi landed body shots while on the ground and escaped a triangle submission from Silva. In the second round Silva rocked Madadi with a high kick. Madadi responded by landing two hard rights which stunned Silva. The rest of the round was chaotic. Madadi scored a takedown, Silva clipped Madadi with a head kick, Silva connected with a body kick. Madadi landed a spinning back elbow, whiffed on two other spinning elbows. Silva landed a flurry of strikes, and despite being gassed, Madadi landed a right and a left with level changes mixed in.

Madadi had little energy left by the third round which was probably a result of his frantic fighting style combined with the short training camp. Madadi scored a takedown in the third and looked for a guillotine but Silva was able to slip out of it. Madadi slammed Silva to the ground and got poked in the eye but didn’t receive a time stoppage. Silva then took over the round, dodging a takedown attempt and taking Madadi to the ground who fell after whiffing on a spinning back fist. Silva took the back of Madadi but wasn’t able to submit him. The fighters got back to their feet and the crowd began chanting Reza, in an attempt to fire him up. The fight went to the ground a couple more times with the more composed Silva controlling the ground game. This was a fun fight to watch.

Middleweight – Trevor Smith def. Chris Camozzi – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)

The match between Trevor Smith and Chris Camozzi was the worst fight of the night. All three rounds where the same. Smith brought Camozzi to the ground where he landed ground and pound and controlling the ground scrambles. Camozzi’s face was wrecked by the end of the fight while Smith still looked clean and fresh. This fight was boring but it was a dominant win for Smith who attacked the weakness of his opponent and never let up landing consistent strikes.

Bantamweight – Pedro Munhoz def. Damian Stasiak – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Munhoz landed kicks earl in the first round before being brought to the ground by Stasiak. Munhoz slipped out of the guillotine attempt from Stasiak and got back to his feet. Stasiak landed an upper cut and immediately ate a strike from Munhoz. Stasiak scored his second takedown at the end of the first round.

In the second round Munhoz landed a hard left jab and a knee. Both fighters were using the whole octagon being very active and connecting on strikes. The fight went to the ground and Munhoz took the back of Stasiak but he was able to escape and get back to his feet. Stasiak landed an over hand right after breaking out of a clinch. Munhoz responded with some leg kicks which took their toll on Stasiak.

Munhoz continued to attack the hurt legs of Stasiak but was unable to bypass his takedown defense. Munhoz landed a knee in the clinch and the fight went to the ground. The ref stood them up for being inactive and Stasiak landed a hard left and right jab. Munhoz scored a takedown and maneuvered to the back of Stasiak. Munhoz prevented Stasiak from getting to his feet by slamming him hard to the mat. In the final seconds of the fight the fighters got to their feet and traded heavy blows.

Main Card (FS1)

Middleweight – Jack Hermansson def. Alex Nicholson – TKO punches – (RD 1 – 2:00)

The main card started off with an early TKO finish. Hermansson brought Nicholson to the ground, controlled the ground movements and landed ferocious ground and pound with sharp elbows earning the finish.

Welterweight – Nordine Taleb def. Oliver Enkamp – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Nordine Taleb is near the top of list of best looking fighters in the UFC. The dude has a perfect body and is surprisingly old (a week away from turning 36). He used his chiseled body and old age to defeat Enkamp in a unanimous decision.

Taleb landed several leg kicks early and dodged a takedown attempt from Enkamp but was forced into the clinch. Enkamp tripped Taleb to the ground and moved into side control before Talen got back to his feet. The fighters went back into the clinch where they traded knees. Taleb scored a takedown of his own and Enkamp attempted an arm bar before the round ended.

Taleb clipped Enkamp with a left hook in the second round. Taleb landed a knee and easily dodged the choreographed wheel kicks from Enkamp. The fighters went to the ground from the clinch and after a ground scramble, Taleb found himself on top in side control. He wanted to take the back of Enkamp but was unsuccessful and ended the round in full guard.

Enkamp went for a takedown in the third round but Taleb sprawled out and defended it perfectly. Taleb took the fight to the ground where he dominated until the final bell.

Welterweight – Omari Akhmedov def. Abdul Razak Alhassan – Decision split – (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)

Two dudes with just stupidly complicated last names partook in a close split decision.

In the first round Akhmedov scored a takedown and the fighters got back to their feet in the clinch. Alhassan was brought to the ground again but got back to his feet shortly thereafter. Akhmedov landed a jab to end the first round.

The two fighters traded strikes in the second round before Akhmedov scored his third takedown. They got back to their feet and Akhmedov scored his fourth takedown. A mouse began to form under the eye of Akhmedov as he got back to his feet trading strikes with Alhassan. Akhmedov scored his fifth takedown before the second round ended.

The two fighters traded more blows in the third round, both landing consistent shots. Akhmedov scored his sixth and seventh takedown in the last round. He eventually got into full mount where he landed some short elbows and ground and pound. This fight was close but all of the takedowns became the deciding factor in the score cards awarding the victory to Akhmedov.

Welterweight – Peter Sobotta def. Ben Saunders – TKO knees – (RD 2 – 2:29)

Ben Saunders has a tough chin but as the old saying goes, “if we are talking about the strength of his chin, he isn’t having a good night.” Saunders showed off that toughness in his fight with Sobotta. Early in the first round Sobotta dropped Saunders with an overhand left. Saunders got back to his feet and ate a leg kick from Sobotta and landed a jab of his own after trading strikes for a bit. Sobotta dropped Saunders again with a right and went in for the TKO. Saunders survived the ground and pound and attempted a weird submission of his own before the round ended.

Sobotta started the second round off with landing a body kick. Sobotta then rocked Saunders with two rights. Saunders was clearly weakened and was finished off with a  knee to the head. The double right, knee combo was a brutal KO that will forever be in the pre-fight highlights of Sobotta.

Light Heavyweight – Volkan Oezdemir def. Misha Cirkunov – KO punch – (RD 1 – 0:28)

I watched the Joe Rogan fight companion during the main card and they discussed the #5 ranking of Oezdemir who only has one UFC victory on his record and it was a close decision over an out of shape OSP. How is he already ranked number 5? Is the light heavyweight division really that weak?

After Oezdemir knocked out Cirkunov with a weird punch, Brendan Shaub on the fight companion shouted “move him up to one!” sarcastically. The knockout looked super strange as Cirkunov had Oezdemir on his heels landing several shots and then Oezdemir clipped him with a shot behind the ear. The KO looked weak but that is a vulnerable location on the head. Oezdemir is scheduled to fight at UFC 214 against top light heavyweight contender Jimi Manuwa.

Light Heavyweight – Alexander Gustafsson def. Glover Teixeira – KO punches – (RD 5 – 1:07)

Gustafsson was more than impressive in his KO victory over the veteran and number 2 ranked contender Teixeira. Gustafsson dominated the fight connecting with his right upper cut consistently. Other than being awkwardly thrown upside down in the first round Gustafsson looked incredibly poised fighting such a talented opponent in his hometown. He ate several shots but was able to do the Overeem jog away to keep his distance and to avoid eating a knockout blow. Despite being 6’5” and very long, his performance and fighting style reminded me a lot of Joanna in her most recent title defense against Andrade. He was accurate with his attacks and only entered harm’s way long enough to land an upper cut before retreating back to a safe distance.

This was a great fight and rewriting 5 rounds worth of a blow by blow breakdown wouldn’t do it justice. The head movement and accuracy of Gustafsson and the chin and will power of Teixeira made this a fun fight. In the 5th round Gustafsson landed three straight right upper cuts stunning Teixeira. Gustafsson then crushed him with a right hook finishing him off.

To make the night even better (or worse) for Gustafsson, he proposed to his impossibly hot girlfriend in the center of the octagon.

UFC 212 is Saturday, June 3rd 2017.

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