While the UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Khabilov preliminary card offered very little in terms of excitement or quality MMA, the main card has gotten off to a much better start. The first three fights all ended in a finish after just two finishes out of six prelims.
In the opening bout, Bryan Caraway submitted Erik Perez early in the 2nd round (at 1:52), much to the disappointment of the partisan crowd. Perez fended off Caraway’s submissions and takedown attempts in the 1st while winning the striking battles, but for some reason he went for a takedown on the submission specialist, found himself swept and on the bottom. Caraway went to work from there and positioned himself to set up back mount and then a gable grip to force Perez to tap out.
A lightweight fight between veteran Yves Edwards and Poland’s Piotr Hallmann was marred by multiple eye pokes within the first two rounds. Hallmann poked Edwards’ left eye twice without a point deduction, while Edwards returned with his own poke in the 2nd. The bout itself was surprisingly fast-paced and competitive in the opening round, as both men threw with good volume, particularly with body kicks. Hallmann pushed the pace and looked for takedowns and broke through in the 2nd round with a takedown and an elbow that cut Edwards open. Edwards’ pace had slowed considerably and Hallmann took advantage by continuing to pour on the pressure and dominate a tired Edwards on the ground. He advanced to back mount against the cage and sunk in a rear-naked choke that forced Edwards to tap swiftly at 2:31 of round 3.
Rafael dos Anjos welcomed Jason High to the lightweight division with a fun back-and-forth encounter that ended with the Brazilian getting a 2nd round TKO at 3:36. High’s wrestling was really on-point as he took dos Anjos down multiple times, and the two really had a bevy of exciting scrambles and grappling exchanges. However, the deciding factor in this one was dos Anjos’ striking, as he showed himself to be the superior, powerful boxer. Dos Anjos landed a crisp 1-2 combo with the left hand cracking High on the jaw and sending him to the mat. The timing of the stpopage by Kevin Mulhall was a bit questionable, as High didn’t seem “out of it” after dos Anjos poured on the hammerfists and punches from the top. Some of those hammerfists may have landed on the back of the head. High pushed the referee after the fight was called.
More coverage of the main card can be viewed here.
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