The jury remains out on just how high Jailton Almeida and Ian Garry can climb in their respective weight divisions. Still, both fighters picked up statement wins, and “Performance of the Night” bonus awards, during Saturday’s UFC on ABC fight card in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Almeida moved to 5-0 in the UFC with five stoppage wins when he submitted his heavyweight opponent Jairzinho Rozenstruik at the 3:43 mark of the first round of their heavyweight scrap. Making the win more impressive was the fact that Almeida walked out of the octagon on Saturday without absorbing a single significant strike from Rozenstruik, who entered the contest with 12 career knockout wins.
As for Garry, the former Cage Warriors welterweight champ moved his career record to 12-0, elevating his UFC mark to 5-0 with his second straight knockout win. Garry put Daniel Rodriguez away 2:57 into the first stanza. Rodriguez was the first UFC-ranked opponent Garry faced under the promotion’s banner. He will not be the last ranked foe for the rising Irish welterweight.
Read on for the winners and losers from the UFC on ABC: Rozenstruik vs. Almeida fight card.
Jailton Almeida: Jailton Almeida is likely to jump into the top 10 of the official UFC heavyweight rankings following his first-round submission win over Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the main event of Saturday’s UFC on ABC fight card.
Almeida, who has only been with the UFC for five fights, has only been hit with two significant strikes in those contests while racking up 10 takedowns. In three of those outings, including his bout opposite Rozenstruik, he hasn’t allowed his foe to land a single significant strike.
In a division currently dominated by strikers, Almeida will be a dangerous threat to those ranked above him in the division’s pecking order. Even more worrying for the UFC’s heavyweight division is Almeida is relatively young for the weight class, and he had 15 pro fights before he earned his way into the UFC via Dana White’s Contender Series. In other words, he has experience, youth, skills, and athleticism. Things that are sorely lacking in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
UFC: Jailton Almeida is on a Dana White Contender Series contract.
Ian Garry: Ian Garry took a big step on Saturday when he knocked out Daniel Rodriguez in the first round of their welterweight contest.
Rodriguez entered the contest as the No. 15 ranked fighter in the official UFC welterweight rankings, and Garry will likely take that spot when those rankings are updated next week. Garry moved to 11-0 with the win. At just 25, Garry is still a work in progress, but he is showing growth, and his skills seem to be catching up with his confidence.
Garry’s call out of No. 11 ranked UFC welterweight Neil Magny after his win was a smart move, as Magny is a well-rounded fighter who is good at every aspect of MMA. At worst, that fight will give Garry an idea of what he needs to work on. At the same time, the best-case scenario is that the Irish fighter walks away from that contest with a win and a spot in the UFC welterweight top 10.
Carlos Ulberg: If you’re not monitoring the progress of Carlos Ulberg, it’s time to put him on your “fighters to watch list.” On Saturday, the 32-year-old racked up his fourth straight UFC win, third via knockout, with a first-round stoppage of Ihor Potieria.
A fighter out of Auckland, New Zealand, Ulberg reps City Kickboxing, and while he does not have a lot of experience, Ulberg looks like he could make some noise in the UFC’s light heavyweight division.
Alex Morono: Situational awareness is something that often gets overlooked in MMA. Alex Morono’s recognition of his position after he missed a spinning back fist allowed him to jump into a guillotine choke and submit his veteran opponent, Tim Means.
Morono’s stoppage victory got him back in the win column following a December knockout loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio that ended Morono’s four-fight winning streak.
Matt Brown: In his first fight since dropping a split decision, that he still seemed salty about while speaking to Daniel Cormier on Saturday, to Bryan Barberena in a Fight of the Night bonus-winning contest in March 2022, 42-year-old Matt Brown put Court McGee down and out with a perfectly timed right hand. The second-round KO win put Brown in a tie for first place for the most knockouts in UFC history with 13.
Brown’s first knockout win came in his UFC debut in June 2008, when he put Matt Arroyo away in the second stanza.
UFC matchmaking: I wouldn’t mind more matchmaking like the welterweight contest between Matt Brown and Court McGee. In booking two vets with name recognition against each other, the Brown vs. McGee fight gave fans something to look forward to, other than the usual matchmaking where the UFC pits a veteran against a younger fighter the promotion wants to boost.
Bryan Battle: If you want everyone to forget you missed weight, go out and finish your fight in seconds. Bryan Battle did that in front of an appreciative hometown crowd in Charlotte.
Gabe Green took the fight to Battle from the first second of this (scheduled) welterweight contest, and when he found his opening, he landed, knocking out Green in 14 seconds.
Tainara Lisboa: The UFC gave Tainara Lisboa a favorable matchup with Jessica-Rose Clark in Lisboa’s UFC debut. She did not let that opportunity go to waste.
Lisboa’s striking was quicker, more powerful, and varied than Clark’s, and when the fight was in the open, Lisboa dominated. However, Lisboa struggled with getting herself off the cage and she needed to employ more head movement during the striking exchanges.
Lisboa’s team should leave Charlotte with some points to work on ahead of her next outing, but the 32-year-old showed some promise in getting a submission win over an experienced MMA foe in her UFC debut.
Charlotte fans: It was refreshing to see an arena that actually had people in it for the first fight of the prelims. Charlotte showed up.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik: Jairzinho Rozenstruik stopped the first takedown attempt of Jailton Almeida. He did not stop Almeida’s second takedown attempt, and that failure led to Rozenstruik losing via first-round submission.
Dominick Cruz: Dominick Cruz is still salty, and unprofessional in his duties as a UFC commentator.
Cruz had many options after Carlos Ulberg knocked out Ihor Potieria on Saturday, the ex-UFC champ picked the most petty one when he vented his anger about a loss he suffered to Henry Cejudo three years ago.
Tim Means: A pro fighter since 2004, and a member of the UFC roster since 2012, Tim Means fell to 0-3 with the promotion since June 2022. Before Alex Morono submitted Means on Saturday, the 39-year-old had never lost more than two fights in a row.
Chase Sherman: Chase Sherman dropped to 1-6 in the UFC since 2021 with his decision loss to Karl Williams.
Referee Wayne Spinola: During the Cody Stamann vs.Douglas Silva de Andrade bout, Silva de Andrade landed an illegal upkick while the fighters were on the ground during the first round. Referee Wayne Spinola stopped the bout at that point. Unfortunately, that was the only thing Spinola got correct regarding the foul.
Spinola quickly told Stamann he would not take a point from Silva de Andrade as he felt the kick was accidental, which was up to his discretion. Still, he rushed Stamann back to action and then restarted the bout in the standing position, much to the chagrin of the UFC commentary team and a nonplussed Stamann.
During the broadcast, it was announced that Stamann and his team would contest the outcome of the fight, a decision win for Silva de Andrade, since according to the Unified Rules of MMA, the fight should have been restarted on the ground with Stamann in the position he held before the illegal kick landed.
The rule in question: “If a bottom contestant commits a foul, unless the top contestant is injured, the fight shall continue, so as not to jeopardize the top contestant’s superior positioning at the time.”
Cody Stamann: Cody Stamann made a mistake in the third round, likely costing him the decision against Douglas Silva de Andrade. Stamann hurt his opponent in the third round, but after he scored the knockdown, Stamann followed Silva de Andrade to the mat, where the Brazilian had time to recover and keep himself in the fight.
Had Stamann kept Silva de Andrade on the feet, he would have increased his chances for the finish and the win. However, he didn’t do that and lost the fight via decision, with all three judges scoring it 29-28.
Daniel Cormier: As the second round of the Ji Yeon Kim vs. Mandy Bohm fight came to an end, UFC commentator, and former two-division UFC champion, Daniel Cormier posed the following question, “But then here’s the question, this (the choke Kim had applied and was holding) is obviously a submission attempt, but you know, Bohm got the takedown, who gets more value?”
The question was silly because the answer was Kim since she had a submission attempt and Bohm had zero significant ground strikes from top position. That was not a challenging round to score, as evidenced by all three judges giving the round to Kim.
I know the UFC had its commentary team go over the scoring criteria at some point, perhaps it’s time for a refresher. Or better yet, maybe it’s time to get commentators on the desk who can do the job correctly and effectively.
Ji Yeon Kim: Kicking her opponent after the horn and then landing an illegal knee while on a four-fight losing skid. That was not the ideal way to win a fight, or keep her spot on the UFC roster.
Gabe Green: If you’re going to throw caution to the wind, sometimes you’ll get knocked out. That’s what happened to Gabe Green.
Jessica-Rose Clark: Saturday might be the last time we see Jessica-Rose Clark under the UFC banner. Following her loss to Tainara Lisboa, Clark is on an 0-3 run and doesn’t have a win since October 2021.
After nearly a year away from the octagon, Clark did not show much progress in her game since her last defeat, and she struggled in almost every aspect of her fight, except in holding Lisboa against the fence.
UFC fans: One of the first things UFC commentator Jon Anik said at the start of the prelims was, “We never take your viewership for granted.” While I believe this, what I don’t believe, judging from the poor quality of UFC cards, is that the promotion does not take its fans’ subscriptions to ESPN+ for granted.
In short, as long as the number of subscriptions sold outpaces the number of subscriptions canceled, the UFC has no reason to adjust its “content is king” approach to how it books fight cards.
North Carolina commission: The scoring criteria listed in the North Carolina rules look like they need to be updated.
Johnny Walker: Johnny Walker had a mixed-bag performance against Anthony Smith. Early in the fight, it looked like Walker had finally found a style to serve him well in the light heavyweight division. Walker fought well from distance, using his kicks and jab to score while being selectively aggressive.
That approach was all well and good through the first two rounds. However, Walker had the opportunity to go for the finish late in the third round when Smith seemed incredibly compromised. Unfortunately, Walker seemed unwilling to go for that finish, which will not endear him to UFC matchmakers or the fans who remember Walker’s ultra-aggressive style of the past.
Karl Williams: A pro since 2021, Karl Williams is doing on-the-job training with the UFC. He showed good striking skills, especially when he fought behind his jab against the much more experienced Chase Sherman. However, he struggled with his cardio and the low kicks of Sherman.
Williams is a work in progress, but he is 2-0 in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
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