Sanabul Fight News: Week 7
With 7 underdogs winning out of 12 fights, UFC Columbus was not only an extremely surprising event in many ways, but the crowd helped to make it exciting, and very entertaining for a non-PPV event. With fans back in the arena for UFC Fight Nights, it seemed as though the past two cards were PPV events, and the build-up and excitement throughout the cards were sights to behold. From beginning to end, UFC Columbus did not disappoint, especially if you bet on some underdogs.
The prelims were relatively exciting for UFC Columbus, and there were a couple standout prospects that we will be looking forward to seeing in the future. Luis Saldana and Bruno Souza was a relatively fun matchup, with Bruno seemingly winning when it came to damage, Luis stood out more to the judges by landing more strikes and won the decision to move his record to 16-7. This win might not mean too much for his spot in the division, and he will likely need to have a more impressive win or two in the near future to start moving up the ladder.
David Dvorak and Matheus Nicolau was a very exciting and meaningful fight in the Flyweight division, the first round likely was scored for Dvorak, with the second and third going to Matheus as the faster and more skilled striker. Dvorak wanted nothing to do with Matheus on the ground, and he seemed to be too slow to catch Matheus on the feet. Nicolau ended up taking the decision and could be looking at a top 5 Flyweight in his next fight.
Manon Fiorot is a sweet brawler to watch, and definitely someone to look out for in the Women's Flyweight division. Her octagon awareness and striking speed/technique is incredible to watch, and to have a performance like she did against a seasoned vet like Jennifer Maia (even on the ground) is a real testament to her skills. I definitely look forward to seeing what she can do against some of the top five in the division, and won’t be surprised if we see her fighting for a belt in the next two years.
Aliaskhab Khizriev, Chris Gutierrez, and Sara McMann all had statement performances on the rest of the prelims, with each of them having standout wins that really proved they deserve their spot on the UFC roster. With Sara and Chris being underdogs, these fights meant a lot to them to advance in the rankings and continue to face better competition.
To everyone's surprise, Marc Diakiese came into the fight against Slava Borshchev with a completely different gameplan from one we’ve ever seen from Marc, a wrestling style. Executed perfectly, we got to see Marc expose Slava’s weaknesses, and grind him all the way to a decision win, without seeming to give up damage along the way. During his post-fight interview, Marc called out fellow lightweight Drew Dober, which might make sense for Marc, but not as much for Drew moving up the rankings. Slava posted on his Instagram later Saturday night that he will not be taking a fight until he becomes a much better wrestler, which is fair after a fight like that.
Neil Magny and Max Griffin had an absolute banger of a striking battle, with each of the two men being rocked a solid number of times, it was looking like it could've gone either way on the judges scorecards. With Max Griffin stuffing 8/9 of Neil Magny’s takedown attempts, and landing 13 more Significant strikes, you could definitely make a case for him winning the fight. Neil eventually pulled through with the judges split decision, and tied Georges St-Pierre for most wins in the history of the UFC Welterweight division! Congratulations to Neil for such an amazing accomplishment.
Kai Kara-France solidified his position in the Flyweight division and likely secured his spot in the rankings as the next man up to fight for the belt after Figgy/Moreno 4. This win over Askar was impressive, and some may have seen it as a robbery for Askar, but I thought Kai did enough to secure a decision win in this one. Askar was sticking to his guns the whole fight, attempting 14 takedowns and only completing two, Kai did extremely well at shutting down Askars gameplan, and landing almost double as many strikes as Askar to pull through for the win.
Matt Brown and Bryan Barbarena secured Fight of the Night with an insane brawl that went to a decision, with a total of 444 strikes being thrown between the two welterweights. With Matt Brown landing 5 of 7 takedowns, the 41 year old veteran could have had a case for him to take the decision, but it ended up being Bryan’s 30 more significant strikes that took the decision home for him. Matt Brown is and always will be a legend of the sport, and no matter what fans are always excited to see him throw down!
The Co-Main event was a little odd, it seemed a bit weird that Neil Magny and Max Griffin were on the prelims, and Kai/Askar was at the bottom of the main event, while this fight was Co-Main, but I digress. Alexa Grasso was extremely impressive, and definitely someone to keep an eye out for in the division. Her striking was on point, she was extremely quick, and her grappling skills proved themselves with a Rear Naked Choke over veteran Joanna Calderwood. I would be on the lookout for Alexa to sign a contract against a top-5 opponent in the division next fight for sure.
Chris Daukaus and Curtis Blaydes was extremely underrated as an important fight in the heavyweight division, with Stipe octagon-side, and Jon Jones waiting for an opponent, this was sure to change some things up. As a huge favorite, many seemed to be expecting Curtis Blaydes to win this fight using his wrestling, but it seemed like Curtis had a different idea on how he wanted this matchup to play out. In a competitive first round, it looked as though the two men were looking to create some fireworks on the feet, and Curtis came out fast in the second round with an amazing knockout, solidifying himself not only as a Top 3 grappler in the division, but a Top 5 striker as well. Next up for Curtis could be a matchup against Ciryl Gane or Stipe Miocic, and a future title shot at Francis if he were to win that next fight.