Sanabul Fight News: UFC 279
UFC 279 may have been one of the most hectic cards in the history of the sport, with the most important three fights of the card being completely changed around at the last minute, the UFC and the fighters involved saved what could have been an absolute disaster.
Yohan Lainesse and Dorian Weeks kickstarted the card off with a fun Welterweight matchup, with both men coming off a loss in their last fight. Yohan utilized his rangy and technical striking to keep Dorian at the end of his punches, other than a couple grappling exchanges, and ended up winning the split decision pushing Dorian weeks to 5-3 and Yohan to 9-1.
Chris Barnett got the prelims started with an incredible change of events against fellow heavyweight Jake Collier. Jake started off the fight immediately knocking down Barnett multiple times and coming extremely close to a couple finishes in the first round, almost submitting him as well. At the start of the second Chris came out hot and heavy, putting Jake down and mounting him, ending with the ground and pound finish to move himself to 23-8, and Jake down to 13-8. Chris Barnett is an extremely fun heavyweight to watch, and it will be fun to continue to see him improve, hopefully making weight next time out.
Jailton Almeida proved how scary of a threat he is in the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight divisions once again with a first round submission over 8-1 Anton Turkalj. Almeida has finished all three of his UFC fights so far in the first round, and has been completely dominant over every opponent he has faced. Almeida is one of the most athletic heavyweights in the division, and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon, he is definitely one to watch.
Julian “Juicy J” Erosa and Hakeem Dawodu had an extremely exciting fight as the feature prelim at Featherweight, with both men being extremely fun and exciting strikers to watch in the division. Erosa dominated all three rounds, making it his third win in a row for the UFC vet who is still relatively young at only 33 years old. This fight moved his record to 28-10, with Dawodu falling to 13-3.
Fan favorites Johnny Walker and Ion Cutelaba got to start off the main event with an absolute banger fight at light heavyweight, with both men being on a cold streak recently. Johnny got knocked down early with a head kick and taken to the mat, eventually making his way back to his feet and taking Ion down in turn. Johnny took Ion’s back (likely due to early exhaustion from Ion) and submitted him with a rear-naked choke making his way back into the win column finally. This will likely set Johnny up for a higher ranked opponent as a last chance at a potential title run, and Ion will potentially be a gatekeeper for the new prospects coming up.
Irene Aldana and Macy Chiasson followed up on the main card with a fun women’s catchweight fight with some potential rankings implications on the line. Aldana being 5-4 in the UFC but coming off a win against Yana Kuyitskaya, and Chiasson coming off a win against Norma Dumont, both women were starting to work their way up the ladder again at featherweight. Going into the third round the women were split 1-1, with Macy taking Irene down in the third, when Macy got up Irene threw an upkick to the liver of Macy, finishing her from the mat with a kick to the body. This was an extremely odd but cool finish for Aldana, and a new technique that nobody had really seen before, sending Irene to 14-6 and Macy to 9-3.
Next up was the first of the three last minute matchups on the main card, between Li Jingliang and Daniel Rodriguez. The fight was booked at a catchweight of 180lbs, with Li supposed to have been fighting Tony Ferguson, and Daniel being booked against Kevin Holland. The fight ended up going the distance, with it being a relatively evenly matched fight. Rodriguez ended up taking the fight on the judges scorecards in a split decision victory, with many fans having some words for the judges afterwards via social media, thinking that Li deserved to win the fight. Li Jingliang moves to 19-8, and D-Rod gets his 4th consecutive win to move up to 17-2 as a professional.
With Khamzhat coming in eight pounds heavy for his matchup against Nate Diaz, the UFC had to think fast with only a days notice to save the card and get “Borz” a fight. Khamzhat was matched up against middleweight striker Kevin Holland, and made easy work of him in the first round, finishing him with a D’arce choke that moved him up to 12-0 as a professional, and 5-0 in the UFC.
With the absolute madness that went on all week, UFC fans were extremely grateful with the outcome of UFC 279, especially a main event as awesome as Tony Ferguson and Nate Diaz. The two had a super fun matchup, with the pair each landing over 80 significant strikes, over the span of four rounds. In the fourth round Nate seemed to have been up on the scorecards, but that wasn’t enough for the Stockton native. Even with a hurt leg due to some leg kicks throughout the first rounds, Nate locked in a guillotine after getting taken down by Tony, and finished the fight via submission in the fourth round, an incredible storybook ending to one of the most fun careers the UFC has ever seen.