The UFC Manila preliminary card is all wrapped up, and frankly it was a mixed bag. There were a couple of slow-paced, action-starved fights, but also some exciting finishes along the way. Here’s a quick rundown of the results from Saturday’s opening six bouts:
Yao Zhikui (2-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) def. Nolan Ticman (4-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) – Flyweights
This was a really poor fight almost from start to finish, and the crowd wasted no time bringing out the boo birds. Zhikui was moving forward more often and the fight was mostly contested on the feet, but the lack of output or landed strikes from both men made his ugly to watch. Ticman probably should’ve gotten the decision but his single strike selection probably didn’t look good in the eyes of the judges.
Jon Delos Reyes (8-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) def. Roldan Sangcha-an (4-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:13 of round 2 – Flyweights
If the UFC awards a Fight of the Night bonus it might very well go to these two, who put on a high-paced, entertaining show to cancel out the boredom suffered in the opening fight. Reyes badly hurt Sangcha-an midway through the 2nd round and even knocked his mouthpiece out. A big right hand sent Sancha-an down but the referee stopped the fight momentarily to get a doctor to look at a nasty cut on Reyes, caused by a prior headbutt. The fight was restarted on the ground, and Reyes went to work, got the body triangle, and secured the RNC to get his first win inside the Octagon.
Ning Guangyou (5-2-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) def. Royston Wee (4-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) via TKO (strikes) at 4:59 of round 2 – 137 lbs catchweight
Not much happened in this fight, particularly the 2nd round, but the best burst of action secured Guangyou his 2nd win in the UFC. Guangyou attacked with a high kick, which Wee partially blocked, but then a big flurry of punches sent Wee to the canvas. With the seconds ticking away, Guangyou landed a series of punches and elbows to get the TKO stoppage with literally just 1 second left in the round.
Li Jingliang (10-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) def. Dhiego Lima (10-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) via TKO (punches) at 1:25 of round 1 – Welterweights
Lima’s historical problem with dealing with pressure and aggressive strikers reared its ugly head again. A left hook followed up with a right hand both landed cleanly on Lima, backed against the fence, and knocked him down. Jingliang pounced and started wailing away and then finished the fight by sneaking in punches underneath the right armpit of Lima to force the stoppage by referee Terry Hill. A first TKO win inside the Octagon for “The Leech” probably will send the disappointing TUF 19 finalist out of the UFC.
Kajan Johnson (20-11-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) def. Zhang Lipeng (9-9-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) – Lightweights
Johnson fought a very measured, smart fight and was able to outwrestle and outgrapple the TUF China winner en route to a unanimous decision. The TUF Nations semifinalist was able to take Lipeng multiple times, avoid getting into striking exchanges, and early in the 1st round he threatened with a couple of leglock attempts, which Lipeng defended well. Lipeng had fleeting success with a few shots in the 3rd but he was just overwhelmed. Johnson tried to get a late finish with a kimura and then another leglock but neither was particularly threatening.
Jon Tuck (9-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) def. Tae Hyun Bang (17-9 MMA, 1-2 UFC) via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:53 of round 1 – Lightweights
Guam’s Jon Tuck turned in the best performance of his career with a first round submission win over South Korea’s Bang. Tuck looked very comfortable on the feet against the powerful Bang, showing good boxing and tight combinations. The fight’s climax came when Bang avoided Tuck’s axe kick attempt, threw a right hand, but Tuck countered with a thudding one of his own to get the knockdown. Tuck took Bang’s back, had the forearm underneath the chin, and the fight-ending rear-naked choke.
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