The only fight I was excited to see at UFC Fight Night 110 was the headliner between Derrick Lewis and Mark Hunt. The crowd in Auckland, New Zealand was treated to 11 fights including 5 straight finishes on the main card.
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
Catchweight (118 LB) JJ Aldrich def. Chan-Mi Jeon – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
The 19 year old Chan-Mi Jeon made her UFC debut against the Invicta veteran JJ Aldrich. She missed weight by 2 pounds and brought that young lack of discipline into the octagon.
The fight was never in doubt, Aldrich stayed in control in all three rounds. Aldrich fell in the first and dodged a hammer fist from Jeon. She landed a counter right off from a Jeon body kick and connected with a high kick in the opening round.
Aldrich landed consisted strikes in the second round. She ate a jab in a close exchange and several shots in a late round slug fest initiated by Jeon, but she clearly won the round. Jeon tried to make the fight ugly in the final minutes of the second and the entire third round trying to find an opening. Her face opened up and was bleeding badly from all of the damage Aldrich dealt.
At the beginning of the third round Jeon let out a loud war cry telling Aldrich she wasn’t scared. Aldrich continued to landed strikes, tagging her with a right hook and landing a wheel kick. Jeon hung tough and taunted Aldrich leaving her young and sturdy chin exposed to get rocked. Aldrich looked impressive in her first UFC fight which she had a full fight camp for and Jeon has a lot to learn but has the skills to be a professional fighters in the most prestigious organization as a teenager.
Preliminary Card (FS1)
Welterweight – Zak Ottow def. Kiichi Kunimoto – Decision split – 29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
What better way to start off the FS1 prelims than with a forgettable split decision? I can’t think of one. I barely remember this fight so let’s get to my crudely documented notes.
The first round was mostly spent in the clinch. Both fighters connected with leg kicks and Ottow landed a jab. In the second round Kunimoto landed a leg kick before scoring a takedown. Ottow maneuvered to top position and then to the back of Kunimoto. Ottow got both hooks in but Kunimoto defended the rear-naked and got back into top position. Ottow escaped a guillotine choke and ended the round on top of Kunimoto on the ground.
Kunimoto tackled Ottow to the ground in the third where he kept Ottow contained for quite some time. He bled all over Ottow before maneuvering to his back. The fighters got back to their feet and Ottow was able to connect with some strikes. Kunimoto looked for a guillotine submission at the end of the round but didn’t have enough time.
Flyweight – John Moraga def. Ashkan Mokhtarian – Decision unanimous – (30-25, 30-27, 30-27)
The first of the two flyweight fights of the night featured Moraga and Mokhtarian. Moraga won in dominate fashion.
Mokhtarian scored a takedown in the first round and attempted a guillotine choke. Moraga slipped out of the tight choke and got back to his feet in the clinch. Moraga landed some knees in the clinch before breaking and going back to the ground. Moraga took the back of Mokhtarian who was able to break free. Moraga wiggled his leg free from the grasp of Mokhtarian and landed elbow filled ground and pound before taking his back again.
The fight went back to the ground in the third where Moraga controlled the fight. He attempted a d’arce choke and used technical ground movements to remain in the power position.
The third round saw more domination from Moraga. He scored multiple takedowns and was close to submitting Mokhtarian several times. Moraga landed consistent ground and pound throughout the round adding to his score, but Mokhtarian showed a lot of pride in not getting finished and defending various submission attempts.
Welterweight – Luke Jumeau def. Dominique Steele – Decision unanimous – (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Worst fight of the night honors goes to Jumeau and Steele.
Steele is the first fighter I have seen sport the pigtail dread lock look. The first minute or so of the fight was spent by both fighters keeping their distance in search of an opening and figuring out the timing of their opponent. The fighters went in and out of the clinch, Steele landed a left, a leg kick, and scored a takedown.
In the second round Steele landed a knee and the fighters went in and out of the clinch. Jumeau rocked Steele with a shot behind his ear. Steele was woozy but was able to drag Jumeau into the clinch and recover. Jumeau landed foot stomps and knees in the clinch and after breaking free, Steele missed on a spinning back fist. The fighters went back into the clinch where they traded painful foot stomps.
Steele connected with a body kick in the third and attempted a takedown attempt. The fighters had a long battle in the clinch before the ref separated them. Jumeau landed a combo and drops Steele with a hook. He unloaded on the weakened Steele but he wasn’t able to finish him. Steele initiated another clinch and couldn’t find the leverage to get a takedown. Jumeau broke free and sprawled out to defend a takedown from Steele and connects with a hard right to end the fight.
Lightweight – Vinc Pichel def. Damien Brown – KO punches – (RD 1 – 3:37)
Vinc “leave off the E’ Pichel entered the octagon for the first time in years to fight Damien Brown.
From Hell Pichel poked the eye of Brown but the ref didn’t grant a time stoppage. Pichel gave Brown a second to recover and the fighters touched gloves before fighting again. Pichel dropped Brown with a right upper cut while on his heels against the cage. He finished Brown off with hammer fists.
Main Card (FS1)
Featherweight – Alexander Volkanovski def. Mizuto Hirota – Decision unanimous – (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Two dudes who dehydrated their bodies enough to get down to 145 LBS faced off in a cage in the shape of an octagon. Volkanovski had a 4 inch reach advantage over Hirota.
Volkanovski’s victory was never in doubt. In the first round Volkanovski dropped Hirota with a right hook and landed rough ground pound looking for the TKO. I am surprised the TKO wasn’t called but Hirota survived and got back to his feet. Volkanovski scored a takedown before the first round ended.
The fighters went into the clinch in the second round after Volkanovski landed an overhand strike. Volkanovski landed a spinning elbow in the break which causes Hirota to stumble. He then scored a takedown, got back to his feet, landed an overhand right, and stumbled when he whiffed on another spinning back elbow attempt. Hirota landed a right and a left before eating more jabs and getting dropped again. Volkanovski connected with more ground and pound to end the second.
Volkanovski was conservative in the third round trying to protect his two round lead. He scored a takedown and the fighters spent most of the round going in and out of the clinch. This was an impressive performance for Volkanovski and Hirota proves he has a sturdy chin.
Flyweight – Ben Nguyen def. Tim Elliot – Submission rear-naked choke – (RD 1 – 0:49)
There have been a lot of flyweight talk in the MMA world in the past week due to the conflict between Demetrious Johnson and Dana White. It’s a source of shame for me to say that I don’t enjoy watching flyweight fights, they are boring and often end in a decision.
That unfair criticism has been thrown back into my face a lot recently as there have been some gnarly flyweight fights. Tim Elliot has been the making the most of his return to the UFC and has been given a lot of fights in a short amount of time. Nguyen submitted Elliot in under a minute with a rear-naked choke. A sub minute submission in a flyweight bout is the equivalent of a 5 second heavyweight knockout.
Light Heavyweight – Ion Cutelaba def. Henrique da Silva – KO punches – (RD 1 – 0:22)
Cutelaba finished Silva in under 30 seconds. Two straight sub minutes finishes finally brought some excitement to this fight night.
As Cutelaba was being announced by JC Penny suit wearing not Bruce Buffer Joe Martinez, he walked right up to Silva staring him down, appearing to be extremely confident. Just seconds into the fight Cutelaba dropped Silva with two right hooks and several hammer fists to get the insanely quick stoppage.
Lightweight – Dan Hooker def. Ross Pearson – KO knee – (RD 2 – 3:02)
Hooker entered his fight against Pearson with a 6 inch height and a 4 inch reach advantage having a big frame for a lightweight fighter.
The first round was fairly uneventful as both fighters traded strikes. Pearson landed an upper cut and Hooker whiffed on a takedown attempt.
In the second round Pearson connected with a hard jab that caused Hooker’s head to snap back. Hooker responded with flat lining Pearson with a knee to the head which shot his mouth piece out of his mouth. Brutal. Hooker then pandered to the home crowd in his post-fight interview.
Middleweight – Derek Brunson def. Dan Kelly – KO punches – (RD 1 – 1:16)
Fresh off his controversial defeat to Anderson Silva, Brunson didn’t fuck around in his fight with old man Dan Kelly. The 38 year old Kelly looks like Vikings era Brett Favre and has a bum knee but the dude wins fights. Brunson put an end to his winning streak.
Brunson had a huge 6.5 inch reach advantage over Kelly. After just a minute of looking for an opening, Brunson dropped Kelly with a left hook and landed hammer fists on the ground to get the KO.
The main card had 4 straight finishes and 3 straight KO’s heading into the final fight featuring Lewis and Hunt.
Heavyweight – Mark Hunt def. Derrick Lewis – TKO punches – (RD 4 – 3:51)
Derrick Lewis was disappointing in his 4th round TKO loss to Mark Hunt. I was under the impression that he was going to make a run at the belt based on his impressive performances of the past year.
Both fighters traded blows but Hunt was the more aggressive fighter and appeared to have more energy. Lewis revealed after the fight that his back was injured and prevented him from fighting at his max ability. Hunt was bleeding from his shin (the blood poured out of the mouth of the tattoo on his shin) after checking a kick, the same injury he suffered in the Overeem fight.
During the entire fight I was on edge waiting for one of the power knock out shots. Both fighters just missed on a couple fight enders. After winning the first 3 rounds, Hunt still looked fresh in the 4th while Lewis looked exhausted. Lewis was back up against the cage (where he spent most of the fight) and hand his hands on his hips leaving himself exposed while he tried to catch his breath. When hunt began to unloaded on him up against the cage, Lewis just bent over with his hands up waiting for the TKO. He was still defending his self, the stoppage was a good stoppage as it was clear Lewis was out of gas and was giving himself up, there was no need for Hunt to KO him.
After the fight I expected Hunt to retire (he is 43 years old) as it was the last fight on his contract and there isn’t a much better way to end a career than with a win over a highly ranked heavyweight in front of his home town. Instead Hunt stated that if this was his last fight he would be content, but he feels like he has a few fights left in him. He also gave some great sound bites about respecting Lewis as “he doesn’t use steroids” taking a shot at Lesnar and Overeem.
On the other side, Lewis explained his back injury that he has been dealing with since 2011 and that this was probably his last fight. He wasn’t 100% definitive but he appeared to be content with retiring. I expected a fighter to retire after the fight, but not Lewis. If it is his last fight I will be sad as his bout with Travis Browne was the most fun I have had watching UFC. His jovial style making fun of his opponents (weigh ins grabbing towel, post-fight speech after Browne fight) and keeping a light attitude is such a serious sport will be missed.
UFC Fight Night 111 is Saturday, June 17th 2017 in Singapore (early prelims start at 4:30 am EST)