I’m glad I checked this was an ESPN show in America prior to writing it up. The card was a lot of fun, as it happened, but I can’t imagine anyone would have paid for it, had it been a pay per view. Given that it wasn’t a PPV, it was actually a really smartly put together show. Kudos to the UFC for that.
Cynthia Calvillo impressed, winning comfortably by decision over Jessica Eye in her flyweight debut. Nice skills and power on show. Not sure what it really says about Eye, mind you. But solid scrap to headline.
More impressive was Marvin Vettori taking out his frustrations against an outmatched Karl Roberson. There was some controversy heading into this one: they were supposed to fight a month before, but Roberson missed weight, then got sick, leading to Vettori losing his rag at him in a hotel foyer. Pretty embarrassing for both. Roberson spun it as Vettori being mentally weak for getting so angry in public and having to be physically restrained. Vettori vice versa at Roberson’s ignominious drop out.
As it happened, Roberson missed weight by even more for this fight but pressed on with it. Maybe he shouldn’t have! I don’t know if it was the yoyo-ing weight or whether Vettori was just too good for him, but it can’t have been a fun four minutes before Vettori choked him out from behind for an impressive stoppage win.
Also impressive was Mariya Agapova, who dismissed Hannah Cifers halfway through round one. Agapova was too *everything* for Cifers, who was having her worst night since getting blasted by Maycee Barber in late 2018… or maybe since Mackenzie Dern kneebarred her the other week. I guess she’s not top of the food chain, but Agapova still impressed, getting the tapout much like Vettori: with a sweet rear naked choke. Maybe you shouldn’t be asked to fight a few weeks after a loss…
Andre “Touchy” Fili beat Charles “Air” Jourdain by decision in the battle of the best ringnames. Sadly, the fight wasn’t as memorable as the names. Same for Jordan “Not Air” Espinosa judging the heck out of Mark De La Rosa. I wish I could remember something from that fight. Maybe these two were drowned out by the awesomeness of the…
Merab Dvalishvili vs. Gustavo Lopez
I like a nice scary fighter from the former Soviet Union, any day. Merab’s now based in Long Island, and he kind of looks like a Long Island guy. Lots of fence grabbing from Lopez, as Merab utterly owns him in the grappling. Slightly surprised this went the distance, though Merab rarely actually had Lopez close to a finish. I think that was good defence from Lopez, as Merab was trying a lot. He took Lopez down at will, really impressively, and had a decent side headlock/neck crank in the second. But he seemed to peter out in the third. Obviously he won, mind. Maybe all the grappling and sweet takedowns tired him out a bit. Very much one to watch, anyway.
Zaarrukh Adashev vs. Tyson Nam
Adashev comes in with everyone talking about how great he is at kickboxing, as we see a bunch of Glory Kickboxing highlights. Not many MMA fights, but lots of striking skill! Then unheralded Hawaiian Nam puts him to sleep with an overhand right after Nam eats a speculative leg kick. If this guy is such an amazing kickboxer, why were his hands flapping about after throwing a low kick? But yeah, never look past a Hawaiian in a fight. Sub-minute again.
Gina Mazany vs. Julia Avila
Avila big favourite here. We very clearly see why. Avila seemed to hit harder in the brief firefight, backed her up with a knee to the body, then just blasted on her while Mazany turtled. Impressive win.
Christian Aguilera vs. Anthony Ivy
Christian Aguilera should probably have the ring name “Genie in a Bottle”, but is instead “The Beast”. Not very original. Anthony Ivy is “Aquaman”. I mean, come on: “Poison” was right there! He could have walked out to an Alice Cooper power ballad and everything. I suppose he likes water, or mediocre superheroes. Both were making their UFC debuts, and Aguilera did the business against Ivy, making him flinch and throwing a solid right to Ivy’s temple. He followed it up with a cursory combo, but mainly clubbing blows with the right hand like he was the Warlord on a 1991 episode of WWF Wrestling Challenge. Good sub-minute (-mariner?) stoppage though.