By, Donny Rockett (@drockett6969)
We are now a few days removed from this past weekend’s UFC on ESPN 7. What an event it was. The fight card had everything from great performances, to controversy, to crazy finishes. We may have had to wait three weeks but saw everything from Overeem smiling like the Joker in Batman to Bryce “Thug Nasty” Mitchell making history as the second person ever to finish a fight via Twister.
There were several stand out performances so let’s take a look down the card and see if we can come up with some future fights for the winners in Washington DC this past weekend.
The Floyd Mayweather signed fighter, Makhmud Muradov entered UFC D.C on a twelve fight win streak to face the always tough Trevor Smith.
Muradov really developed his skills and paid his dues on the regional scene. In his debut he came in on short notice against a very tough Alessio Di Chirico and though he did slow down, he pulled off the unanimous decision victory. Trevor Smith entered this contest having not been real active over the last several years and with all due respect, this seemed to be a step back in competition for Muradov. Muradov proved this to be the case and treated Smith accordingly. Smith was battered to the body and head for almost the full 15 minutes and in the final seconds Muradov closed the show with a huge shot putting Smith out cold. This garnered Muradov his first Performance of the Night bonus and it was a tremendous performance. I know being promoted by Mayweather can definitely open doors for you, but as Floyd always said “Skills Pay the Bills” and Muradov probably has a bit of both so I’m sure he’s anxious to return. I look forward to it in the first quarter of 2020 and I think this fight could be a real banger.
▪️ Fight To Book:
• Makhmud Muradov (24-6)
– vs –
• Darren Stewart(11-4)
• Virna Jandiroba, the former Invicta Champion came into the UFC with a lot of hype. In her debut she lost a close decision to the inaugural SW Champ and #7 ranked Carla Esparza. Jandiroba who is a BJJ black belt, proved in that fight she could hang with the upper echelon of the division and was scheduled to fight Livia Souza here at UFC on ESPN 7. Unfortunately, Souza was forced to withdraw and Mallory Martin got the short notice call to the big show and the ultimate opportunity. Mallory Martin is an extremely tough girl but the Invicta veteran lacks experience and came into this bout as a sizable underdog. Jandiroba proved why and was a bit too much too soon for Martin and ultimately used her BJJ to get the 2nd round submission. I think it would be very easy to say let’s go back to the Brazilian on Brazilian crime and reschedule Jandiroba vs Souza. That very well could happen but I’d actually like to see Jandiroba fight someone inside the top 15 of the division. I think this would be a very interesting fight and an intriguing clash of styles.
• Virna Jandiroba (15-1)
– vs –
• Alexa Grasso(11-3)
• In the opening bout on the ESPN Prelim portion of the card we saw a fight between the debuting Joe Solecki and long time UFC veteran Matt Wiman. To say this fight wasn’t competitive would be a complete understatement. Solecki was able to secure several takedowns against Wiman and out struck him by well over 100 significant strikes. It was pure domination and we may have seen the end of Matt Wiman on the world’s biggest stage. However, Joe Solecki’s UFC career is just beginning and it was a great start. I really like Solecki’s skills and his future appears to be very bright. In his next contest I would like to see him take on a guy who also dominated Matt Wiman.
• Joe Solecki (9-2)
– vs –
• Luis Peña(7-2)
• As someone who respects and loves BJJ, this next fight was amazing to witness and honestly made my night. Bryce “Thug Nasty” Mitchell took on the very dangerous Matt Sayles. Matt Sayles is a great striker and actually closed as the favorite in this contest. Bryce Mitchell didn’t get the memo. He quickly took the dangerous striker down and wisely exploited his advantage on the mat from the beginning. After several minutes of control time, the young Bryce Mitchell pulled off a submission that has only been done once in the history of the UFC. Thug Nasty was able to catch Sayles in the very painful Twister and forced the quick tap. It was a beautiful performance, and earned the Arkansas native a well deserved Performance of the Night bonus. I see real star potential in the very likable and charismatic Mitchell and I look forward to seeing what the 12-0 fighter’s future holds. In his next bout, I think he should continue building on his UFC experience and resume while also taking a mild step up in competition and this could be fireworks especially on the mat.
• Bryce Mitchell (12-0)
– vs –
• Julio Arce (16-4)
• The next fight of the night pinned two debutantes across the cage from one another. Billy Quarantillo came in after a successful stint on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series back in July and was scheduled to take on Chris Fishgold. Sadly Chris Fishgold withdrew from the fight and on short notice, in came the hard hitting Jacob Kilburn. In assessing this matchup it really appeared as if cardio could play a big role, especially with Kilburn taking the fight on such short notice and I really felt like his best chance was to catch Billy Quarantillo with a big shot early. Quarantillo however had other plans as he wisely secured the early takedown and while Kilburn showed amazing resilience, Quarantillo was just so many steps ahead on the mat and just outmatched his opponent. Ultimately resilience wasn’t enough for Kilburn as Quarantillo wrapped up a triangle choke in the 2nd round and Kilburn was forced to tap. It was a flawless performance from Quarantillo and the way it played out, I hate to do this but I want to see the fight with Chris Fishgold rescheduled. Fishgold is a BJJ black belt and I would love to see the exchanges on the ground in that fight.
• Billy Quarantillo (13-2)
– vs –
• Chris Fishgold (18-3-1)
Veterans Thiago Alves and Tim Means closed out the preliminary portion of the card on ESPN. Tim Means was coming back from a nasty knockout loss and even nastier ankle injury suffered in the process. It was the first time in his long career that Means had ever been finished due to strikes and I was very curious to see how he would look coming back from the injury and his first KO loss and whether he would be at all tentative. Thiago Alves, a former title challenger was coming in having had some very tough results in his last several contests overall. Interesting enough both fighters were coming in on the last fight of their respective contracts and it very much felt like it could be a loser leave town type of fight. Early on Means came out aggressive and Alves landed some vicious body kicks that forced Tim Means to uncharacteristically shoot in for takedowns. All of a sudden the fight changed with a huge left hand from Means that dropped Alves. Means swarmed looking for the finish however Thiago Alves did a decent job keeping himself safe from strikes but left his neck exposed and Means jumped on a guillotine forcing the tap and getting the big first round finish. Tim Means has been a staple in the UFC’s WW division for a long time now and I honestly expect him to re-sign. I think Means still has several exciting fights left in him and the following match up would be very interesting.
• Tim Means (29-11)
– vs –
• Alex Morono (18-5)
Next we move on to the six fight main card which also aired on ESPN. In the opening match up we were given Rob Font vs Ricky Simon and what a treat it was. It was a heavily anticipated fight and it did not disappoint. The #10 ranked BW Rob Font was looking to string together his second consecutive win while Ricky Simon was looking to bounce back from a very disappointing outing vs legend Urijah Faber in his previous bout. Both guys hit each other with some vicious shots and both showed toughness and heart. It’s a shame that someone had to lose this contest but in the end the jab and boxing of Rob Font was just a little bit too much and he pulled off the close unanimous decision victory. Rightfully so the fight earned Fight of the Night honors and I believe both men’s stock rose in this contest. Ricky Simon is so young and talented and he will no doubt bounce back but the night belonged to Font. In his next fight, I would like to see Rob Font take on a guy who he believes is really ducking him.(I think he has a point) Font has been scheduled to fight this gentleman who has pulled out of a previously scheduled fight and oddly enough they both fought in DC, just not against each other.
• Cody Stamann (18-2-1)
– vs –
• Rob Font(17-4)
Speaking of Cody Stamann, he was up next against the surging slugger Song Yadong. This fight had a highly controversial decision. In the first round Stamann was caught in a front choke and had one knee on the mat and Song landed an illegal knee to the head of Stamann. It appeared to be unintentional and I thought warranted a hard warning. However the referee took a point from Song Yadong and the fight continued with Song in an early deficit. Regardless of my feelings towards Cody, I do feel like he won the fight 29-27 but it ended in a majority draw. Personally I’m not interested in seeing this fight again in the near future, so we will look at a potential upcoming fight for each guy. We already talked about who I would like to see Cody Stamann fight next. As for Song Yadong, he trains under Urijah Faber at Team Alpha Male and I know a guy who fought in DC who would like to get a little revenge against Faber, so why not go after his pupil. After all it would be a very intriguing fight.
Cody Stamann vs Rob Font/
• Ricky Simon (15-3)
– vs –
• Song Yadong (14-3-1)
Aspen Ladd returned in DC after suffering the first loss of her career earlier this year and was taking on a former FW title challenger in Yana Kunitskaya. I felt in previewing this match up that it was a very pivotal bout given the landscape of the division and in the career’s of both women. In the open rounds both ladies had success and the fight was looking as if it could very well come down to the third and final round. Aspen Ladd on the other hand had no intentions of letting the judges decide this one. After getting an ear full from her very animated corner in between rounds, Ladd came out in the third round and immediately caught Kunitskaya with a bomb that sat her right on her ass. Ladd jumped on Yana and started to pound away and the referee decided he had seen enough and waved off the fight giving Ladd the decisive KO/TKO finish. It was a huge result for Ladd and great bounce back performance which puts her in a much better position heading into 2020. Next up I would like to see her face the winner of a pivotal match up taking place this weekend in which is sure to be a big fight next year.
• Irene Aldana (11-5) / Ketlen Vieira (10-0)– vs –
• Aspen Ladd (9-1)
The next fight was a shit show of epic proportions and took place in the HW division between Stefan Struve and Ben Rothwell. Struve came out and for once utilized his range effectively and landed some very nice kicks on Rothwell and seemed to easily win the first round. The second round is when the controversy emerged. Rothwell was obviously facing a 7 foot tall man in Struve and apparently tried to throw a body kick, however it hit Struve squarely in the groin. Struve went down in agony and it appeared as if the fight was in jeopardy of being called off. After gathering himself and utilizing the full five minutes allotted,Struve indeed continued. However shortly after Rothwell again threw another kick that connected to the crown jewels of Struve and he again went down in pain. The smart move may have been to call it a day but after some urging from the crowd and in my opinion the referee, Struve tried to battle through it. Rothwell was docked a point and immediately rushed Stefan Struve pinning him against the cage and landed a ferocious body shot and a shot upstairs that folded Struve against the cage. After a few unanswered strikes the bout was waved off and Rothwell scored the second round KO/TKO. It was pretty evident that the result for Rothwell was overshadowed by the fouls and Stefan Struve had every right to be very upset. It was an unfortunate situation that happens in this sport but still a huge result for Rothwell that he desperately needed. Ben Rothwell has been fighting for a very long time and he has pretty much fought every big name out there. This matchup may throw a lot of people off but I know a guy who is no stranger to fouls and controversy and it’s actually a fight I really want to see.
• Greg Hardy (5-2)
– vs –
• Ben Rothwell (37-12)
Now we have reached the co-main event of the evening which showcased the womens SW division. Undefeated prospect Marina Rodriguez faced off against the very talented but troubled Cynthia Calvillo. As you all know, Calvillo came into this fight over 4 pounds heavy and as a grappler it was a big advantage. I give Rodriguez a lot of credit for still taking the fight against what I like to call, a cheater. Early on Rodriguez used her length and her striking to keep Calvillo on the outside and I thought despite a late takedown from Calvillo, Rodriguez won the first round. The second round was a very clear round for Rodriguez as she heavily out struck Calvillo and hurt her to the body. Now in the third and final round the tide began to turn. Calvillo was able to get Rodriguez down and honestly put a beating on her and the fight was looking like it was close to being stopped. Rodriguez showed a lot of toughness and heart and survived to see the final bell. The judges scored the fight a majority draw and I think that was a very fair decision. Rodriguez clearly won the first two rounds and the 3rd round appeared to definitely be a 10-8 round for Calvillo. I am excited to see both of these fighters return but Calvillo can’t be trusted to make the SW limit. In my mind she must move up to 125 and my future match up for her will reflect that. These are match ups for these two ladies that I think makes a lot of sense.
• Cynthia Calvillo (8-1)
– vs –
• Gillian Robertson (7-4)
(Rematch from outside the UFC)
👇🏽 ➕ 👇🏽
• Marina Rodriguez (12-0-2)
– vs –
• Nina Ansaroff (10-6)
We are finally at the Main Event of the evening! What a crazy fight this turned out to be. Alistair Overeem taking on the late replacement Jairzinho Rozenstruik in a five round main event. Rozenstruik obviously has an extensive kickboxing background and is a powerful striker but has no ground game, so I was so eager to see what gameplan Overeem would come out with and sure enough Overeem came out with the grappling heavy style. He fought an extremely smart fight and hit Rozenstruik with some huge shots on the feet but Rozenstruik just ate them like they were nothing. Going into the 5th round it was pretty clear that Overeem was well ahead and that Jairzinho needed a finish and with about 10 seconds left on the clock shit hit the fan. For whatever reason, Overeem was right in range with his hands down and Rozenstruik landed a bomb that sent Alistair crashing down to the canvas. The referee slightly hesitated and then called the bout off. It was an amazing last second win from Rozenstruik that sent Overeem’s lip flying somewhere into the DC sky. I’m not here to dispute or argue the stoppage but nevertheless it was a shocking ending and Jairzinho Rozenstruik deserves credit for fighting until the very end. Rozenstruik has already mentioned who he wants and with the title picture clogged up at HW for the foreseeable future, I say give it to him. Both guys hit like trucks and both guys depend on the fight to stay standing. It is guaranteed violence. So shoot that shit into my veins and take my money!
• Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0)
– vs –
• Francis Ngannou (14-3)
UFC on ESPN 7 is in the books and these were just my thoughts on some of the potential matchups that could lie ahead for those who emerged victorious this past Saturday. We now move on to UFC 245 in Las Vegas,Nevada where a stacked card including three title fights await us!!! I can’t wait. Keep it locked to PureEVilMMA.com for all your latest fight news.
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