James Lowson of MMA Mount reviews the action-packed extravaganza that was UFC 164.
The former WEC champion looks primed to become a breakout UFC star after his first round submission victory over Benson Henderson. Pettis moved to 2-0 against the former lightweight strap holder with an arm bar late in the first round. Ironically “Bendo” was sporting his new gi en route to the octagon, showcasing his recently acquired status as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Whilst most observers felt “Showtime” had more chance of finishing the fight, most expected Pettis to get it done with his dynamic striking arsenal. However it was the 26 year old’s sniper like kicking attack which shifted the momentum in this championship contest, four stiff kicks to the body clearly hurt Henderson. Invigorated Pettis then pushed the boat out too far with an ill-timed cartwheel kick which allowed Henderson to get the fight to the ground; however he was given no reprieve and was soon tapping after excellent guard work from the new champ.
After the fight Pettis targeted a Champion vs. Champion showdown with Jose Aldo who he was scheduled to meet at UFC 163 on August 3. Two of the best fighters in the sport, the striking exchanges between the two could prove potentially breathtaking regardless of weight class.
Josh Barnett made a thrilling return to the UFC’s heavyweight division. The controversial former champion quickly dispatched of another ex champ in Frank Mir. Returning after a decade to UFC competition the Strikeforce Grand Prix finalist forced Mir backwards and pressured the submission artist up against the cage. A flurry of punches and knees was crowned by one knee to the jaw which flawed Mir. Clearly hurt Mir curled up only for referee Robert Hinds to stop the action. Unfortunately for Barnett his performance has been largely overlooked in favour of discussion surrounding the timing of the stoppage. Barnett moves towards the top five of the heavyweight division and a potential title shot. Mir has now lost three straight, having failed to win since his memorable submission of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Chad Mendes maintained his perfect record outside of his infamous loss to Jose Aldo. The Team Alpha Male product has four straight knockout victories and became the first man to knockout Clay Guida. Comfortable through the first two rounds of this featherweight contenders booking Mendes unloaded a huge right hand in the pocket in round three after initially dropping Guida the series of strikes which followed were just academic as Guida never recovered. Mendes was comfortably the biggest favourite on the card, and justifiably. Taking on a more experienced opponent and perennial contender across two weight classes in Guida, the former featherweight title challenger made him look ordinary. The Jackson-Winkeljohn fighter couldn’t hit Mendes on the feet, was taken down and failed in all his attempts to take the fight to the ground.
Ben Rothwell made use of his therapeutic use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy against Brandon Vera. On the controversial treatment he showed improved cardio to bully Vera earning a third round stoppage. Vera has won one of six in the octagon and could be released from the promotion, after largely failing to match early expectations regarding his potential.
Dustin Poirier won the battle between the two must see featherweight prospects against Erik Koch. Both fighters impressed especially in a frenetic first round which was arguably the round of the year. Firstly “Diamond” dropped Koch who then recovered catching Porier in a triangle choke which was incredibly close to putting the American Top Team fighter to sleep. Visibly gasping Poirier recovered nearly finishing after more ferocious punching. Poirier won the second round too, but Koch came on strong and had Poirier’s back in the third but ultimately couldn’t finish. Given their age and current ability these two 24 year old’s could easily meet again, possibly for a UFC title.
Gleison Tibau became the youngest fighter to compete 20 times in the UFC, halting Jamie Varner’s rise through the 155 pound division. The gigantic lightweight used his suffocating grappling to edge the first round and win the second taking home a split verdict. At 30 the Brazilian remains the perfect litmus test for assessing the ceiling of any 155 pound fighter.
Tim Elliott entered the title conversation at flyweight in one of the most lopsided contests of the evening. He outwrestled and out-struck Louis Gaudinot for a comfortable decision win. Elliott’s unorthodox striking and significant size advantage was too much for the Ultimate Fighter veteran to adapt to.
Hyun Gyu Lim blasted Pascal Krauss in round one with a well-timed knee followed by ferocious winging punches for his second UFC win. The rising Korean star is potentially the biggest welterweight since Anthony Johnson, he has won both octagon appearances by KO.
Chico Camus picked up his second UFC win in a back fourth bout with Kyung Ho Kang. The fight hinged on the third round with the Roufus Sport rep’s late front kick in the final round catching the judge’s eyes.
Heavyweights Soa Palelei and Nikita Krylov produced a memorable bout for all the wrong reasons. Both fighters ran out of gas in the opening round, with Palelei claiming to also be slowed from a rib injury. In a fight which at times looked more suitable for a bar than the octagon, Palelei ultimately lasted longer winning by third round technical knockout.
Anthony Pettis defeated Benson Henderson via submission (arm bar) first round, 4: 31 for the UFC lightweight championship
Josh Barnett defeated Frank Mir via technical knockout (knee) first round, 1: 56
Chad Mendes defeated Clay Guida via technical knockout (punches) third round, 0:30
Ben Rothwell defeated Brandon Vera via technical knockout (punches), third round, 1:54
Dustin Poirier defeated Erik Koch via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
Gleison Tibau defeated Jamie Varner via split decision (29-28, 27-29, 29-28)
Tim Elliott defeated Louis Gaudinot via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-36)
Hyun Gyu Lim defeated Pascal Krauss via knockout (knees and punches) first round, 3: 58
Chico Camus defeated Kyung Ho Kang via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Soa Palelei defeated Nikita Krylov via technical knockout (punches) third round, 1: 34
Al Iaqunita defeated Ryan Couture via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Magnus Cedenblad defeated Jared Hamman via submission (guillotine choke) first round, 0:57
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