I thought this has been the best UFC show all year so far. The main event did deliver with UFC creating now another player in Gustafson who looked good on his feet. Pickett & Page put on a great show and I debated what was the better fight, that one or the McGuire vs Johnson. I went with Pickett & Page.
Didn't watch. Don't care.
Thumbs mostly up. Amazing how much better the whole card is when Boring Ben Askren isn't on it.
Best fight: Dantas vs, Makovsky
Worst fight: Vila vs. L. Nogueira
On the internet undercard, Kris McCray holds off Ailton Barbosa's harder hitting and multiple sub attempts and takes a 29-28 SD in a very good fight.
Scott Heckman shows the rare combo of a dominant wrestler who can finish with subs, tapping Lester Caslow with the RNC after controlling the entire round on the ground.
On the main card, Marcos Galvao outclasses Ed West in the first of two BW tourney quarterfinals and since the fight is in AC essentially hometown for the NYC-based Brazilian, he actually gets the 30-27 X 3 decision. Entertaining, fast paced fight with high tech grappling.
In the other BW fight, Luis Nogueira takes a desultory 29-28 UD over Alexis Vila in a slow paced, conservative fight. Vila. the KO of Warren aside, is just too small even for bantam, and his age is showing.
In a FW tourney semifinal matchup of big, strong grinders, Daniel Straus' better standup proves the difference as he busts up and takes a UD over Mike Corey in an active, competitive fight. Straus faces Marlon Sandro in the finals.
In a breakout performance, Nova Uniao phenom Eduardo Dantas destroys and takes the BW title from Zack Makovsky, dropping him with body kicks from the opening bell, constantly attacking with subs on the ground, and finishing with the arm tri in the 2nd. Makovsky is no joke but Dantas blew him away. Tremendous. Dantas is only 23 and you can't help thinking if he went to UFC in a year or so what he might do to Dominic Cruz and how good it would be for the division.
UFC GUSTAFSSON VS. T. SILVA
Thumbs WAY up. Entertaining card mostly due to unexpectedly good performances by the Swedish fighters. Unusual % of good to great fights.
Best fight: Pickett vs. Page but Johnson-McGuire, and Thoreson vs. Yousep, Madadi vs. Izquierdo, and Carmont vs. Cedenblad on the undercard were all on that same level.
Worst fight: Diabate vs. DeBlass
KO: Bahadurzada by default but would have been KO of the night almost ANY night
Sub: Great subs all night but I'll say McGuire
On the undercard, Jason Young takes a UD over Eric Wisely in a decent scrap marred by neither guy being able to adjust past the immediate pattern of the fight.
Swedish based Syrian Yousep, looking a bit overweight, outboxes Norwegian from Norwegia Thoreson until Thoreson drops him in the second and hits a brilliant series of transitions culminating with the RNC for the tap. Great fight.
Madadi, Irani-born Swedish Greco & Freestyle national champ, is battered by skilled Miami Cuban kickboxer Yoslandy Izquierdo until hitting his own series of transitions on the ground and finishing him with a rolling guillotine in the 2nd. Another great fight.
GSP sparring partner Francis Carmont, who looks exactly like Anderson Silva with twice as many muscles, and Swede Magnus Cedenblod stage another terrific scrap in a matchup of GIANT middleweights. Both guys are 6'3". Carmont gets a little cocky stepping out of a ground situation in the first and Cedenblod alertly pounces on him and dominates the round. Carmont takes no chances in the 2nd and takes him down and keeps him there, pounding him into opening himself up for the RNC which brings an immediate tap. Florian comments that Carmont's G&P shakes the whole octagon. This is a middleweight here.
Tom DeBlass, NJ grappler, comes in as a late sub not really in ring shape vs. Cyrille Diabate but makes a good showing, exposing again Diabate's vulnerability on the ground. Diabate does show some improvement there and takes the UD, but can't help thinking if DeBlass was in shape, might have gone the other way.
Swedish based African Papy Abedi tops the undercard vs. American James Head. Abedi carrying way too much muscle and Head, much more fluid and quicker, able to drop him with strikes and finish with the RNC. He pushes Abedi off to stand up and gets roundly booed and responds with the Hulk Hogan Ear Cup. Outstanding undercard. Goldy in plugging the main card actually says something about Alessio Sakara having the fastest hands in the MW division. Uh, I think that would be that Anderson guy.
Brad Pickett and Damacio Page kick off the top card in style. Figures for an action fight and immediately more than lives up to expectations. Breakneck pace, back and forth action both standing and on the ground with Pickett dominating with a little more skill and better conditioning and finishing with the Gable Grip Choke in the 2nd.
Damarques Johnson and John McGuire keep the level up with an entertaining grappling showcase that sees McGuire apply a textbook stepover arm bar counter to Johnson's bottom Kimura for the tap in the 2nd.
Dennis Siver drops to FW and goes a tense, competitive standing 3 with Diego Nunez that sees neither really able to establish anything consistent. Siver takes a 29-28 UD that could just as easily have gone the other way.
Dutrch based Afghani kickboxer Sayir Bahadurzada stuns by catching Paulo Thiago coming in with a double right hook to the chin and temple and knocking him totally cold in under a minute. Sayir might be just what the WW division needs right now.
Brian Stann overwhelms Alessio Sakara, dropping him with a knee from clinch and G&Ping till he sees Sakara go out. Stann backs off and cues the ref, who steps in. Sakara recovers immediately and covers up, but correct call. Stann is a very hard guy to dislike. Wish he was a little better fighter.
In the main Alexander Gustafsson just too quick and busy for Thiago Silva, dropping him in the opening seconds and holding him off for the rest of the fight. Silva keeps coming but can never land more than one shot at a a time and that rarely. One judge gives a round to Silva, I'm not sure what round it could have been.
Thumbs, as usual, down. Crap fights, manufactured 'stars', guys who can't make weight, dubious decisions. ONE good fight.
Best fight: Alvarado-Herrera
Worst fight: Rios-Abril and Gesta-Cuero both sucked
KO: Gesta by default
Latest manufactured star Gesta is fed aging journeyman Cuero in the usual squash. Goes TKO 8, if he was any good he should have been able to finish it in half the time.
Alvarado and Herrera put on a thriller. 10 rounds of inside, toe to toe, constant punching. Alvarado dominates for the UD.
Established manufactured 'star' Rios and Abril stage a sloppy, ineffective, foul filled brawl for 12. Was supposed to be some kind of LW title fight but Rios couldn't make weight. Rios takes an SD everybody is whining about, but frankly he did all the punching I could see. Shit fight regardless so who cares.
Juan Manuel Marquez looks overmuscled and slow and has a tough time getting to slick Ukranian Fedchenko, but doesn't rattle and has him hanging on by the end of the fight and takes a UD that was actually a lot closer than the judges had it, but ya know, not like they're gonna take any chances. If Fedchenko could break an egg might have been a very different fight. JMM wins whatever vacant quasi-title was at stake. Boxing continues to die in front of our eyes.