The UFC on FOX 31 preliminary card in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has wrapped up. Action began with heavyweight prospect Juan Adams winning his UFC debut against Chris de la Rocha, followed by light heavyweight Mike Rodriguez crushing Adam Milstead’s liver with a brutal knee. On FS1, featherweight Dan Ige won an entertaining grappling match with Wisconsin’s own Jordan Griffin, while Zak Cummings gutted out a somewhat ugly win over Trevor Smith at middleweight.
In the second-half of the prelims, Jack Hermansson turned in a superb showing against middleweight veteran Gerald Meerschaert, winning by submission in his opponent’s backyard. Joaquim Silva rallied from a slow start to knock out lightweight Jared Gordon in an absolute thriller. In another lightweight bout, Drakkar Klose won a controversial unanimous decision over Bobby Green. Capping off the prelims was short-notice replacement Zak Ottow getting the better of Dwight Grant in an ugly welterweight bout.
Here’s how the fights played out.
Zak Ottow def. Dwight Grant by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) – Welterweights
Round one was slow-paced, with Ottow taking a more methodical approach to his striking, while Grant was just winging wild single shots in search of a spectacular knockout. That said, Grant likely edged out the round by having the more effective offense. Round two looked a hell of a lot like round one, and it certainly wasn’t exciting.
Grant found himself on the bottom after being taken down by Ottow. Not much happened there — a common theme for this fight — and Ottow did spend a good portion of the ground with grappling control. Grant fended off a late takedown after a brief flurry with Orrow in the final minute. One more Ottow takedown was sprawled aside to finish off a turgid bout. Milwaukee’s Ottow is victorious on short notice, as Grant disappoints in his UFC debut.
Drakkar Klose def. Bobby Green by unanimous decision (29-28 x3) – Lightweights
Klose was visibly frustrated at the movement and effective footwork of Green, who outstruck him most of the round. Drakkar’s best offense was his leg kicks, which Green seldom checked. The referee also admonished Klose for blatant glove grabbing.
In round two, Green scored the fight’s first takedown as he slammed Klose right into side control. Bobby threw some shoulder strikes and kept heavy top pressure before moving into mount.Klose did well to cage walk and escape to his feet. When they did get up, Green was cut by something on his right eye. Klose drilled Green with a knee to the gut and a standing elbow, in what of his more effective moments. Unfortunately for him, his slam attempt on Green turned into an instant reversal, so he spent the final minute of round two on his back.
Both men landed heavy right hands on each other early in the final round as Green appeared to be stunned against the fence, and he searched for a takedown that he could not get. Klose was finding Green more frequently but was also still getting cracked with gorgeous counters from Green. It looked as if Green was fading in the final minute and Klose made a late charge, including a leg kick that buckled Green momentarily. A great end to an intriguing fight, but a debatable decision as Klose got the unanimous nod for his second straight win. Green drops to 1-4-1 in his last six.
Joaquim Silva def. Jared Gordon by KO (punches) at 2:39 of round 3 – Lightweights
Gordon drew first blood with a big right hand that had Silva hurt, and Gordon instantly turned that into an arm-triangle choke opportunity. He couldn’t complete it, but he did land some ground strikes before they returned to their feet. “Flash” Gordon seemed unfazed when Silva landed shots, but the New Yorker rocked the Brazilian with another powerful right hand, and somehow Silva stayed upright. Gordon eventually took him down again for some more top control time and shorter strikes. “Netto BJJ” turned the tables dramatically to end the round, as his own right hand behind Gordon’s ear wobbled him. A flying knee by Silva cracked Gordon and forced him into a desperation shot. Silva went for a ten-finger guillotine but Gordon survived to the horn.
Gordon and Silva came out firing early in round two. Silva stuffed one takedown but failed on the next one. Gordon was able to get into Silva’s guard and have some top control time. Little damage occurred there and Silva returned to his feet, digging to the body before they went back to the center of the cage. Both men had their moments in the stand-up, then Silva completed a takedown late in the frame and took the back. He went for a Suloev stretch in the final seconds but did not get it.
Round three became a stand-and-trade war for about two minutes, with Gordon getting the better of his man upstairs, while Silva attacked the body heavily. Gordon shot for a takedown as advised but was thwarted, which mean more great striking exchanges. Silva rocked Gordon with a huge right hand, and a combination of unanswered head shots put Gordon out on his feet. A tremendous win for Silva after suffering his first loss in January, while Gordon has been stopped twice in a row.
the man has a family, Joaquim Silva… pic.twitter.com/DDo0TIAfAX
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) December 16, 2018
Jack Hermansson def. Gerald Meerschaert by submission (guillotine choke) at 4:25 of round 1 – Middleweights
Hermansson was the one who surprisingly took the fight to the ground first and instantly into full mount, but Meerschaert scrambled back to full guard. He was able to get back to his feet, only for Hermansson to get him back down and into mount, uncorking his ground-and-pound. Meerschaert gave up his back and was taking a beating to the head. Hermansson dished out a knee to the body, kept top position in a scramble, and sliced through the guard again for back mount. Meerschaert reversed position, got to his feet, and ridiculously dropped for a guillotine and right back into Hermansson’s wheelhouse. Hermansson’s complete domination on the ground was capped off with a guillotine choke that made Meerschaert tap. An impressive win for Hermansson to improve to 4-1 in his last five. Meerschaert falls to 4-2 in the UFC and comes up short in front of his home fans.
Jack Hermansson night just opened up … pic.twitter.com/xbZneg0luI
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) December 15, 2018
Zak Cummings def. Trevor Smith by unanimous decision (29-28 x3) – Middleweights
Round one was a pretty unremarkable kickboxing match. Cummings did get busted up on his nose eating the counters of Smith, and his left eye started swelling up after getting caught with a hard knee coming in. Cummings had some more success in round two throwing his power strikes, but Smith remained dangerous off the counter. There wasn’t a ton to separate them entering round three, and it was hardly an action fight filled with big moments.
A two-punch combo by Cummings floored Smith, but Cummings ended up on his back somehow in a scramble. It took Cummings awhile to get back to his feet, taking some shots in the process, but then Smith made a curious decision to jump for a guillotine choke. It wasn’t even close and he was on his back. Another grappling error led to Cummings being reversed again. It was clear though that Smith was fatiguing, and Cummings got to his feet again. Cummings attacked with knees to the body on an exhausted Smith. They traded sloppy shots as the seconds ticked away. Cummings gets his hand raised in his return to middleweight, while Smith has lost three of four.
Dan Ige def. Jordan Griffin by unanimous decision (29-28 x3) – Featherweights
Griffin scored the fight’s first takedown, but Ige used a whizzer to scramble and was able to sweep Griffin to his back. Ige looked to take Griffin’s back against the fence, and he had both hooks in for back mount, then full mount. Ige uncorked some brutal ground-and-pound in search of a finish. He took the back again, but Griffin escaped out the back door and Griffin was the one searching for a standing guillotine. Ige tripped him back down and almost into an arm-triangle choke, only to return to mount. Griffin did well to escape and land some good shots before the first round ended.
Ige began round two with a powerful takedown into side control, but again Griffin was able to escape from a bad spot and reverse position. Griffin was quite active, posturing up with big punches to the body and head, although Ige landed a couple of upkicks. An ill-fated leglock attempt put Ige in a worse spot to close out a round largely dominated Griffin, who was the fresher of the two fighters.
Not much happened in the first half of the final round — Griffin perhaps got the better of the striking — but Ige was able to secure a crucial takedown. Ige landed some short punches and maintained control for about a minute before Griffin stood back up and was free of Ige’s grasp. Ige went for an ankle pick takedown and Griffin nearly scrambled to top position, then they became entangled near the fence and Ige wound up on top again. Ige found a second wind to outgrapple Griffin, although Griffin reversed him one last time in the closing seconds. Ige wins his second UFC fight in a row, spoiling Griffin’s Octagon debut in the process.
Mike Rodriguez def. Adam Milstead by TKO (knee and punches) at 2:59 of round 1 – Light Heavyweights
Almost no time was wasted before they started slugging. A left hand dropped Milstead and Rodriguez went into his guard after the knockdown. Milstead looked to sweep but the cage got in the way and Rodriguez remained on top. After a bit of top control time conceded, Milstead was able to get to his feet. Rodriguez proved to be the more powerful striker, and a left knee to the liver folded up Milstead, with several punches signaling the end of the fight. Very impressive stuff by the Dana White’s Contender Series signing, who picks up his first UFC win on his second attempt. Milstead has now lost three in a row, and he left his gloves in the Octagon, perhaps indicating retirement.
— UFC (@ufc) December 15, 2018
Juan Adams def. Chris de la Rocha by TKO (strikes) at :58 of round 3 – Heavyweights
The striking of Adams led to de la Rocha bleeding from his face, as well as swelling around his left eye not even a minute into the fight. A hard right hand by de la Rocha forced Adams to close the distance and hit a takedown. Adams dropped down several elbows and punches, bouncing his head off the canvas. De la Rocha hit a sweep and looked for a heel hook, but it failed and led to him eating several undefended shots. De la Rocha was able to survive the round and get back to his feet, albeit having taken quite the early punishment.
Both men traded heavy shots to start round two, and then Adams nearly found himself on his back in a wrestling scramble. Adams defended de la Rocha’s takedown attempt and also drilled his opponent with some hard knees and punches. A questionable clinch separation meant they returned to striking at a distance, and it was obvious that they were both exhausted. When de la Rocha found success on the feet, Adams fired back. A late takedown created more ground-and-pound opportunities for Adams, who nearly finished de la Rocha before time expired.
Adams bombarded de la Rocha early in round three, as a combination of punches and a knee had Chris hurting badly and turning away. A series of unanswered right hands while standing led to the referee’s stoppage. Adams remains undefeated while de la Rocha is now 1-3 in the UFC.
Release ‘The Kraken’
— UFC (@ufc) December 15, 2018
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