Stoppages galore, a devastating knock out in Brazil and one of the worst decisions in a while. It’s all included in Pundit Arena’s staple MMA recap this week.
This week’s ‘Tuesday Takedown’ resides in a temporary slot today but the aftermath of the UFC’s double header this past weekend is still highly relevant.
With a recent title eliminator between Alexander Gustaffson (16-2) and Anthony Johnson (18-4) announced just this week, the UFC’s light heavyweight division has had a lot of buzz about it.
UFC Uberlandia took place in the wee hours of the morning both in Brazil and here at home. With local time creeping up to the 4am mark, an exhausted and expectant crowd were hoping that hometown hero Shogun Rua would send fans home happy.
#10 seed Ovince Saint Preux, a late replacement for Jimi Manuwa seized a golden opportunity on Saturday night by bumping up to the main event in the hopes of propelling his journey to the belt that bit quicker. 38 seconds is all it took to send a raucous Brazilian crowd into stunned silence as “Shogun” missed with a right punch and was stunned by a long counter left from Saint Preux.
The Brazilian was absolutely stunned and looked visibly out as Saint Preux displayed some vicious ground and pound to move up one place in the rankings to #9. A tad harsh you might think given the nature of how the fight was played out. Saint Preux’s victory could see him land the loser between Gustaffson and Johnson in a not too distant bout.
A division that is certainly grabbing the headlines at the moment.
Speaking of fights and fighters that are grabbing the headlines, the co-main event saw Brazilian Warlley Alves take on Alan Jouban in a very entertaining yet controversial contest.
Alves came out flying in the first round and looked to have Jouban in some serious trouble landing a couple of very heavy shots. Alves, a TUF Brazil winner, looked to empty his gas tank a bit too early and Jouban really took the fight to Alves landing precision and crisp shots to his opponent over the course of the next two rounds.
Alves looked to back away and back away without looking to get anything off first as Jouban took complete control of the fight.
3 judges scored the contest 30-27 in favour of Alves in a very blatant robbery in a contest that wasn’t even close. The scoring was certainly reminiscent of Diego Sanchez’s controversial win over Ross Pearson earlier on this year.
Speaking of Ross Pearson, the Sunderland born fighter took part in UFC Sydney’s co-main event against Al Iaquinta. Iaquinta looked more complete than I think I have ever seen him in the Octagon and he displayed his skills with a big TKO win over Pearson.
Two big shots sent the Brit crashing to the canvas only for the New Yorker to follow him there and land one extra punch for good measure before the referee called it off. This win certainly puts Iaquinta in the right direction but stalls Pearson’s progress to break into the top 10 of a division that is filled with talent and will punish you for missed opportunities.
As far as missed opportunities go, Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold’s main event lived up to the billing. A lot of thrash talking before the contest culminated in Sydney in front of a frenzied crowd.
It was Rockhold though who came out victorious as he withstood the early pressure from Bisping’s standing game. With round 2 barely 1 minute in, Rockhold was able to utilise his ground game and sunk in a guillotine choke. Interestingly, this is the first time Bisping has ever been beaten by submission in his professional career.
The two fighters exchanged kind words of respect to one another after all was said and done which was nice to see. While the thrash talk was a good way to build up the fight, it’s nice to see respect in supposed feuds come to the surface.
Rockhold remains at #5 in the rankings. Bisping, for now, stays the same at #9 but despite calls of him “not going anywhere”, you’d have to wonder how real a title challenge is for him now especially at 35 years old.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable and exciting weekend of fights. Special credit though to UFC Sydney’s event overall. There is so much to talk about that just can’t simply fit in here.
11 fights with 11 finishes on the card means that the UFC has broken a record for most finishes on a card. In the modern era at least. It is certainly up there with one of the cards of the year in terms of entertainment and brilliant fights alongside UFC Dublin.
It is available to watch again on UFC Fight Pass who do offer a 7 day free trial for new members.
Be sure to check back to Pundit Arena for a huge MMA preview of Bellator 131, UFC 180 and Cage Warriors 74 all happening this Saturday night.
Shane Saunders, Pundit Arena