Let’s establish one thing from the outset, and it’s something that bears repeating at every opportunity. This card was not designed to be pretty. FS1 cards are specifically made to move divisions along, and if the action is good, everyone wins. if it isn’t… well, we get something that looks more like this. It should be noted that Manny Gamburyan was supposed to fight Alejandro Perez on this card and withdrew due to injury, as did Abel Trujillo, who was slated to fight Evan Dunham. Perhaps those two bouts may have drummed a bit more interest from the more dedicated fans, but it is what it is.
A lot of lower-end and middle-of-the-pack fights took place here, and that’s fine. From a stylistic standpoint, a lot of these fights can’t be very fun on paper. Still, the card served its purpose and we did get to see some amazing MMA happenings. The co-main and main events delivered, and a lot of house cleaning could take place with some of the losses from this card as well.
Also, the obligatory disclaimer that complaints about the pacing for FS1 shows are null and void. This is what the era of non-PPV MMA gives us for a pit-stop event like this, so there’s no use complaining. We’ve lived with this for years, and it’s not going to get fixed. So you won’t be seeing any hand-wringing here about that.
Michael Johnson – It wasn’t until after TUF that Johnson really began to show true potential and strong improvement with each outing. After compiling a four-fight win streak and dropping two straight bouts to Beneil Dariush and Nate Diaz (and a fight with Tony Ferguson that ended up getting cancelled), this monster KO shows he still has a lot to offer in an ever-changing and unpredictable division. This win certainly doesn’t net him a title shot or anything, but it plants the seeds for things to come and can bring great opportunities in due time as long as he keeps evolving.
Derek Brunson – Aside from his time in the WEC and Strikeforce, Brunson has quietly amassed a nice set of wins in the UFC and has refined his arsenal to keep him rolling on a five-fight win streak over Lorenz Larkin, Ed Herman, Sam Alvey, Roan Carneiro, and now Uriah Hall. Only the win against Larkin went to a decision, as he continues to do amazing work in what has become something of a ho-hum division outside of the top 5. Don’t be surprised if Brunson ends up main eventing a card 2-3 fights from now. And no, I don’t disagree with that stoppage at all.
Evan Dunham – It’s easy to forget that Dunham has been fighting in the UFC since 2009, and has had 17 fights under the UFC banner with a 12-5 UFC record. He had a nice layoff in which his last fight was in December of last year, and was able to put on a tough and scrappy performance that showed him taking some licks but controlling the majority of the fight and performing well en route to a victory. This puts Dunham on a four-fight win streak and also shows him demonstrating how dangerous he could be with constant pressure and working his game on the ground.
Chas Skelly – It can safely be assumed that nobody saw that one coming. A pleasant WTF surprise opening sequence that led to the erratic Venezuelan fighter getting put to sleep. Skelly is now 5-2 in the UFC, with four of those wins being finishes. It’s time we show the man some more love for his performances, because he’s moving up among the lower-mid portion of the division but remaining consistent with exciting finales to his bouts.
Gabriel Benitez – Another amazing finish in which a fighter got put to sleep. Benitez was very cautious about establishing his range and keeping it, and ended up slapping on a very tight guillotine. Moggly now moves on to 3-1 in the UFC with very marked improvement since his time on TUF Latin America, showing that his time at AKA has paid off wonderfully.
Belal Muhammad – Regional wins over A.J. Matthews and Steve Carl punched his ticket to the UFC, and he did a great job here in putting a way a very durable opponent after taking a lot of punishment to his legs. It certainly does wonders to erase his UFC debut loss to Alan Jouban and putting him at 1-1 in the organization.
Antonio Carlos, Jr – Another under-the-radar TUF contestant that moved to the US, joined a major team, and now is doing tremendous work in filling in the gaps that they previously had. Shoeface now improves to 3-2-1 no contest in his six UFC bouts, and gets a rear naked choke finish, his second under the UFC banner. He had to fight hard to get it, though. Still, nice to see him get another opponent that’s on his level to test him, and he can be booked in a manner where he’s brought along slowly in competitive fights to see how well he does. Too bad his opponent didn’t seem to know the rules of MMA, and there’s more on him later on.
Roan Carneiro – His fight with Kenny Robertson wasn’t great, but he moves on to 2-1 in the UFC, bouncing back from his last fight – a TKO loss to Derek Brunson. It’s more a case of “well, that happened” than anything else.
Jose Alberto Quiñones – Yet another win that puts a fighter just above water. Teco now stands at 2-1 since his stint on TUF Latin America.
Randy Brown – I’ll say it again – don’t sleep on Ring of Combat fighters. The 26-year old Jamaican notched a slick submission win, moving him to 2-1 in the UFC. His spot is safe, and he looked good finishing the fight.
Dustin Poirier – Oof. Hard way to go out on this one. A four-fight win streak broken in dramatic fashion. Dustin had a great run since coming back to 155, but this knocks him out of contention unless he rebounds big in his next bout.
Uriah Hall – It has been very frustrating to follow Hall’s progression in the UFC, considering the fact that his best performances have been stellar yet his losses have largely been due to erratic behavior or an inability to put his whole game together. Now, his defensive lapses were exploited and he gets finished for the second time in his career (the only other man to stop Hall was former champion Chris Weidman), dropping him on a two-fight losing skid. The man that blazed a path to being legendary on TUF is now 5-5, and continues to raise questions and with deficiencies that at this point might not have any chance of being fixed.
Kenny Robertson – Currently at 4-4 in the UFC, Robertson has had some fun performances, but this wasn’t one of them. He may still get another shot, but that’s two straight losses and not much in the way of showing versatility or improvement. A lot of fans have a soft spot for the guy, and it would be great to see him do a little better.
Maximo Blanco – One of the more confusing fighters in our sport, Blanco is now 4-5 in the UFC and will almost definitely get his walking papers here. Even the fights where he looks great have some degree of oddity to them, but he’s not panning out the way the UFC might have thought he would upon being signed after departing Strikeforce. Shame, too – Maxi is a lot of fun. Problem is that he’s reckless and prone to ridiculous mistakes. Even though in this case there was little he could do to foresee what was going to happen, he got beat pretty badly here.
Sam Sicilia – Now standing at 5-6 in the UFC, Sicilia could also be cut after this performance. Another fighter with a lot of promise upon arriving in the organization, but he got finished in four out of those five losses, and some were him on the wrong end of a highlight reel or two. Sicilia’s still a very good fighter and could do well enough in another organization to earn his way back to the UFC, but given past behavior and the usual way of doing business, he may be fighting elsewhere for a while.
Augusto Montaño – Dodger now ends up 1-2 in the UFC with a brutal TKO loss here and a previous loss to Cathal Pendred in a horrid match, plus the suspension for testosterone metabolites on his record. He’s apparently very popular on the Mexican local scene, but he hasn’t impressed in the UFC and might be sent home.
Joey Gomez – Despite beating some pretty good fighters on the regional circuit, Gomez hasn’t been able to make things click in the UFC, going 0-2 so far. His style has led to some good performances outside of the big show, so he maaaaaaybe gets another fight. Safe bet is that he gets cut as well.
Leonardo Guimarães – That performance was absolutely dreadful. Grabbing the cage, putting his arm over the fence, then turtling up and offering absolutely nothing for the longest period of time. It’s one thing to go 0-2 in the UFC, it’s another to put forth such a lackluster effort to lose a fight. Another fighter that will likely be getting an unfortunate phone call very soon from UFC management.
Rick Glenn – Sure, he lost his UFC debut – yet he held his own against a solid UFC veteran and gave him a run for his money in the last portion of the final round. It didn’t improve his chances of winning, but he kept firing back and was able to partially acquit himself. The former WSOF champion will definitely get another fight after a performance like that.
Islam Makhachev and Chris Wade put forth a strong effort, but neither ended up being as impressive as the fight might have looked on paper. This fight does virtually nothing for either fighter unless Wade loses his next fight, in which case it may be used against him and lead to getting cut.
Erick Montaño is now 1-1, not much damage there despite the loss being a submission. He gets another fight or two.
Albert Morales made his UFC debut against Alejandro Perez in a bout that ended in a draw, and will probably not affect either fighter. Perez is still 3-1 in the UFC, and Morales put forth a decent enough effort to get another opportunity.
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