MMA Review: #447: UFC 169: Barao vs. Faber II

-This year’s Superbowl weekend show was the first one to not take place in Las Vegas, interestingly enough, as Zuffa decided to take it to New Jersey instead as that was where the Superbowl itself was being held. On tap for the show? Originally the long-awaited Bantamweight Title unification match between Dominick Cruz and Renan Barao, as well as a Featherweight Title match, a big Heavyweight showdown in Overeem vs. Mir and a Flyweight Title eliminator. Of course, injuries put paid to the main event, but Zuffa rescued the show by giving us Barao vs. Faber instead, a fair replacement given the late notice.

UFC 169: Barao vs. Faber II

Newark, New Jersey

-Your hosts are Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.

Welterweight Fight: Neil Magny vs Gasan Umalatov

Yet another Russian (sort-of) import to the Octagon, Umalatov was making his UFC debut here and was bringing in a solid 14-2 record. I honestly hadn’t heard of him prior to this but given his background, and given that Magny had come off the weakest TUF season (16) and hadn’t looked great since, I was taking the newcomer.

Round One and Magny immediately fires off some long punches from range. Good leg kick from Umalatov but Magny fires right back with a flurry that forces the newcomer to retreat. Clinch from Umalatov but Magny shrugs him off. Nice left hand into a knee from Magny. Wild overhand left misses for Umalatov but he manages to secure the clinch and gets Magny down into side mount. Magny works his way into half-guard and then avoids a guillotine attempt. Good upkick from Magny and he escapes to his feet. Nice combo from Magny and then he looks for a single leg of his own. Umalatov defends it and they wind up clinched on the fence. Quick break follows and Magny again fires punches from range, really looking to use his reach advantage. Leg kick connects for Umalatov. Right hand lands cleanly for Magny and pegs Umalatov back. Combo follows but Umalatov grabs a single leg. Magny defends it well and stays up, then looks for a takedown of his own. Trip from Umalatov but Magny uses a whizzer to pop up and he makes him pay with a hard knee. Trip from Magny and he takes Umalatov’s back with both hooks as they hit the ground. Nice! He can’t capitalise before the round ends, though. 10-9 Magny in an excellent round for him.

Round Two and Magny gets the better of an early striking exchange between the two. Umalatov looks like he just can’t deal with the reach of the TUF veteran. Good left hook lands for Umalatov but Magny clinches. They muscle for position and Magny adds in some sharp knee strikes for good measure. Magny breaks and follows with a combo. Umalatov is getting eaten up standing here. He tries to get into range by using a wild overhand right to set up a clinch, but Magny muscles him right off and dances out of range. Couple of lefts to the body change things up for the newcomer and he follows with a big overhand right, but he still can’t take Magny down and Neil secures a waistlock to drag Umalatov around. Umalatov defends the takedown but he’s also looking a little gassed. Good knee to the body from Umalatov, but he still can’t get Magny down. One minute to go and Magny nails him with a pair of hard knees to the body before breaking off. Magny really is using his reach and movement well here. Wild swings from Umalatov set up another takedown attempt but Magny defends it excellently again. He manages to drag Umalatov down once more and again takes the back, this time landing a ton of punches, but the buzzer likely saves the Russian. 10-9 Magny and he’s running away with this fight.

Round Three and again Magny uses his reach and footwork to strike at Umalatov from range. Umalatov is swinging but he can’t seem to land anything telling. Beautiful combo lands for Magny. Umalatov keeps trying to force him back against the fence but Magny’s movement looks excellent and he manages to circle free and continue to strike from range. Takedown finally lands for Umalatov, but Magny gets up to his knees quickly. The TUF winner manages to turn into Umalatov and then separates. Magny’s striking continues to look good and if he had more knockout power then the fight would likely be over with the shots he’s landing on the Russian. Takedown from Umalatov but he fails in an attempted guard pass and Magny escapes to his feet. Another takedown attempt follows, but again Umalatov can’t get the TUF veteran down and Magny lands a combo on him before muscling him into the fence. Round ends as Magny breaks the clinch. Got to be a 30-27 for Neil Magny.

Judges all score it for Neil Magny; 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27. This was a bit of an eye opener as Magny totally surprised me with his new-found ability to keep the fight at a distance and strike from range while defending Umalatov’s takedowns, and it allowed him to largely outclass the Russian newcomer. Didn’t see potential like that in him at all during TUF but it’s nice to be surprised sometimes and I thought he fought excellently here. Solid opener.

Lightweight Fight: Rashid Magomedov vs Tony Martin

Two debutants here with former M-1 Global (!) champ Magomedov – a highly touted prospect –taking on American Top Team’s Martin, a young guy unbeaten in his first eight fights. Despite Martin looking to have a massive size advantage – dude is HUGE for 155lbs – I was expecting the more experienced Magomedov to come out on top.

First round begins and they circle around early on with neither man looking like they want to make the first move. Couple of jabs land for Martin and it looks like he wants to close the distance. Sure enough he goes for a takedown and drives Rashid into the fence. Trip puts Magomedov down for a second but he pops right back up. Couple of knees from Martin and then he hits a slick lateral drop takedown into side mount. Rashid tries to avoid having his arm trapped in a mounted crucifix, but he can’t get back to half-guard or anything. Martin strangely almost puts himself in half-guard, looking to open up the mount, but it allows Magomedov to get to full guard. Pass into half-guard follows for Martin and he looks to work free of that into side mount again. Kimura attempt from Martin and he steps over the head in an attempt to finish. Martin hits a roll in order to look to lock the hold up properly and Magomedov is in deep trouble. He still looks calm, but Martin keeps working and then looks to switch it into a straight armbar. Left arm is extended and Rashid SCREAMS IN AGONY….but somehow guts it out and forces himself around, stepping over and PULLING THE ARM FREE! Wow. That might’ve been the best armbar escape in UFC history and now they’re back on their feet. Incredible stuff. Couple of low kicks from Magomedov and somehow his arm doesn’t seem jacked. Rashid continues to throw out kicks, and the round ends on the feet. Clear 10-9 for Tony Martin.

Second round and Rashid opens with a sharp leg kick. Martin flashes out a few jabs but it does look like Magomedov is the more comfortable striker. Takedown attempt from Martin and he drives Magomedov into the fence, but this time the Dagestani blocks the takedown and remains on his feet. Really good takedown defense actually as Martin looks like he’s got a full bodylock. Good knee to the body from Rashid. Martin tries the lateral drop again but this time he botches it and winds up on his back in guard. Couple of punches get through for Magomedov as Martin tries to kick him away. Really heavy shots connect for Rashid and Martin’s face is suddenly marked up. Into half-guard for Magomedov and he’s grinding his forearm into Martin’s face. Reversal from Martin and he gets to his feet, but eats a head kick on the way out. His left eye is badly swollen. Head kick glances for Martin. Nice body kick from Rashid sets up a hard knee. Couple more leg kicks land for Rashid and he puts together a decent combo too. Martin’s left eye does not look good at all. Sharp counter combo connects for Magomedov. Seconds to go in this round and Martin is beginning to back up as Rashid pushes forward. Round ends with Martin on the run, and goes to Rashid Magomedov, 10-9.

Third round and they trade leg kicks to begin before Rashid begins to back the younger man up with his strikes again. Big right hand connects for Magomedov and Martin decides to shoot. Magomedov stuffs it and they remain clinched, with Martin forcing the Dagestani into the fence. He really works hard to attempt the takedown, but Rashid once again shows excellent defense and stays vertical. Looks like Magomedov might be working on a guillotine too. He gives it up as Martin comes back up to standing, but then locks it up again as Martin drops and it looks TIGHT. Magomedov works into top position with the choke still locked, but he can’t get to full mount and Martin uses butterfly guard to elevate him and escape. This is a great fight. Magomedov ends up on top and he drops a big right hand that causes Martin to roll, evidently in pain. He’s covering up now and as he gets to his feet Magomedov NAILS him with a head kick and a vicious right hand. Nasty short uppercuts follow from close range and Martin again tries for the takedown. Magomedov defends and looks for the guillotine again, and Martin’s face looks quite messy. He still can’t get Rashid off his feet either. There’s a lot of blood coming from Martin’s face now, dripping onto Rashid in a pretty sick visual. Referee Gaspar Oliver calls a clean break and they restart standing, and again Magomedov stuffs a takedown attempt. Oliver decides to get Martin checked over as his face is in awful shape. Doctor surprisingly decides to let it go despite the left eye being almost swollen shut and his nose looking likely broken too. They restart with thirty seconds to go, and Rashid lands another head kick that Martin catches in an attempt to get the takedown. Magomedov defends it again and then breaks off. Fight ends with a combo from Magomedov. I’ve got this 29-28 for the Dagestani.

Official scores are 29-28 all round for Rashid Magomedov. This was a really good fight that I’d largely forgotten about, as Martin came roaring out the gate and almost broke Magomedov’s arm in the first round, but the veteran was able to gut it out and pull out a stirring comeback, really beating Martin up in the second and third rounds to take the win. Reminded me a lot actually of Carlos Condit vs. Rory MacDonald with the young gun taking an early lead and the veteran coming from behind to win. Both guys should have a bright UFC future ahead of them judging on this one.

Middleweight Fight: Clint Hester vs Andy Enz

These two had come off TUF 17, with Hester being Jon Jones’ top pick before being eliminated in a surprising loss to grappler Jimmy Quinlan, while Enz hadn’t made it into the house after being beaten up by Uriah Hall in the opening round. As Hester had actually looked decent in his post-TUF UFC fights I was siding with him in this one.

Round One and Hester throws some strikes from distance early on. Dude is a massive 185lber. Good leg kick lands for Hester. Enz looks really tentative. Body kick lands for Hester. BRUTAL left hook drops Enz HARD but he pops up right away. Hester smells blood and follows up swinging, landing punches that have Enz diving for a single leg. He looks just about out and Gaspar Oliver almost jumps in to stop things but reconsiders at the last second. Hester avoids the takedown and lands a right hand from the top that has Enz hurt again, but somehow he uses an ankle pick to get Hester down. Hester pops right back up and Enz is still on rubber legs. More crazy haymakers land for Hester but Enz hangs tough and fires back with a body kick. Couple more counters from Enz and Hester has to slow down his offense a bit. Hard overhand right lands for him but Enz takes it. Beautiful left to the body lands for Hester too. Action slows down a bit as Hester avoids some strikes from Enz but it seems clear that he’s conserving energy now. Right hand from Enz surprisingly hurts Hester for a second but he recovers fast. Big left hook from Hester. Good body kick from Enz. Striking exchange continues and they’re basically going blow-for-blow as the round finishes. 10-9 Hester.

Round Two and they exchange some feeler strikes before Hester gets hold of Enz and forces him to the ground in half-guard. Basically just a pure power takedown there. Hester passes into side mount, but Enz escapes to his feet only to take some hard shots and a head kick on his way up. Enz has a crazy chin as he seems fine and comes back with some jabs. Striking exchange continues with both men landing jabs. Nice exchange sees Enz land a pair of stiff jabs and push forward, but Hester tackles him into half-guard. Enz manages to scramble into full guard, and then he kicks Hester away, but can’t escape to his feet. A second attempt allows him up, but Hester lands on him with a head kick and a nasty right hook. Again though Enz takes both and pushes forward. Nice right hand connects for Hester. Enz answers with one of his own. Both men look a lot slower as the round winds down, and the buzzer sounds with no more action really. 10-9 Hester but a closer round.

Round Three begins and it’s basically a repeat of the previous round to begin with. Looks like Enz is landing on Hester but doesn’t have the power to bother him. He’s also looking a bit busted up with a bloody nose. Couple of good body kicks land for Enz. Heavy right cross lands for Hester to counter Enz’s jab. This is becoming a real yawner if I’m frank. Enz seems to be landing more; Hester’s landing the heavier shots but neither man is really in danger of being finished. Takedown from Hester comes with seconds to go but Enz reverses right back to his feet and it’s wash, rinse and repeat for the remainder of the fight. I’ve got this 30-27 for Clint Hester.

Judges have it 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 for Clint Hester. Post-fight Joe Rogan calls it an “excellent fight” but I’ve got to disagree – First round was cool largely because Hester almost had Enz out of there early, but once it became clear that Enz was tough enough to survive Hester’s onslaught but couldn’t put together much significant offense himself, it became really tiresome to watch. Nothing technically wrong with it per say, just completely uninspiring.

Lightweight Fight: Al Iaquinta vs Kevin Lee

After a pair of impressive wins in 2013 – over Ryan Couture and Piotr Hallmann, two tough fighters – I expected Joe Silva to match Iaquinta a little higher, but instead he was faced here with yet another debutant on this card in the unbeaten Lee. With no real hype around Lee and no name wins on his resume I figured he’d be an easy out for Ragin’ Al.

Fight begins and the first noticeable thing is Lee’s ridiculous back. Holy shit the dude looks like a pro bodybuilder or something. Anyway he presses forward and they trade with some early feeler strikes, neither man really gaining an advantage. Decent body kick lands for Iaquinta. Short left hand drops Lee and a BIG RIGHT HAND sends him crashing down face-first! Iaquinta keeps on swinging, looking for the finish, and Lee is up but he’s all over the place. Single leg attempt from him but Iaquinta easily blocks it and keeps on landing bombs. Good knee from Lee to answer and he seems to be recovered. Incredible chin. Stiff left hand connects for Iaquinta as he’s settled down a bit with his pace. Takedown attempt from Lee but Iaquinta counters with the DIVING HEEL HOOK! Holy shit. Lee looks in trouble but somehow he manages to gut it out and finally works his leg free. Iaquinta keeps trying for the leg, but gives his back in the process and Lee gets one hook in as they stand. Good knee from Lee as Iaquinta turns into him and then they break. Jabs connect for both men and Iaquinta lands a particularly stiff one that backs Lee up. Combo answers for Lee and they exchange punches until the round ends. 10-9 Iaquinta.

Into the 2nd and they exchange some more strikes with Iaquinta blocking a big head kick from Lee. Nice left-right combo connects for Iaquinta. Sweet takedown answers for Lee and he takes the back in a scramble and slaps both hooks in. Looks like he’s got the choke sunk in too, and he pulls Al back in an attempt to finish! Crowd are in shock. Iaquinta manages to peel the hands off though to defend, but he remains in deep, deep trouble. Lee’s left arm is completely under the chin. Iaquinta does a good job of removing the arm, but Lee still has a body triangle locked up. Lee continues to look for the choke, but Iaquinta continues to defend well. He’s completely defensive here though. Lee keeps the body triangle tightly secured and keeps looking for the choke. Seconds to go and Lee is still in control, but Iaquinta manages to survive the round. Got to go 10-8 for Lee there because Iaquinta literally had no offense in the entire round and was almost finished.

Third and final round and this could still go either way. Iaquinta opens with a vicious right hook and then backs Lee up with some further strikes. Lee’s in trouble here but he again shows a good chin and fires back with a stiff jab. Iaquinta is landing on him nicely early on here though. Takedown attempt from Lee and he gets on top as Al attempts to drop for a heel hook again. Iaquinta tries to use it as a sweep, but he eats some punches before they come back to their feet in a scramble. Quick combo lands for Iaquinta but Lee comes back with a right. Left from Iaquinta drops Lee but it looked more like a slip and he pops back up. Takedown attempt from Iaquinta but Lee actually tries an enziguiri of all things. It misses, but fair play for the attempt! Iaquinta’s sporting a bloody nose. Good combo from Iaquinta as he catches Lee leaning in for a possible takedown. Another takedown attempt is stuffed by Iaquinta and he’s beginning to slightly outland Lee standing now. Another takedown is shrugged off. Stiff jabs connect for Iaquinta. Lee puts together a couple of good shots of his own. Crisp combination lands for Iaquinta. Seconds to go and they continue to exchange with Iaquinta still getting the better of it slightly. 10-9 Iaquinta and I’d call this a 28-28 draw, although I’d suspect the judges would give it to Iaquinta.

Indeed, the judges have it 29-28, 29-28 and 28-27 for Al Iaquinta. Ugh. Not that Iaquinta didn’t deserve the win because I mean, under PRIDE rules he would win anyway, but for two judges to not give Lee a 10-8 in the second round is ridiculous. What more do you need to do for a 10-8, for god’s sake? 28-27 on the other hand is a far more believable score as it means Iaquinta was given a 10-8 for his first round too. 10-8’s being given more liberally is far better for MMA. Oh, the fight? Pretty good stuff actually – Lee acquitted himself well for a newcomer and I could see him developing into something special in the future, while Iaquinta continues to be a solid mid-level guy himself. No complaints here.

Middleweight Fight: Nick Catone vs Tom Watson

This one looked like a classic striker vs. grappler match, with Britain’s Watson wanting to keep it standing while Jersey native Catone would want it on the ground. Despite this being Catone’s first fight since a disastrous failed weight cut to 170lbs, I was picking him to win as Watson’s takedown defense and ground game had looked pretty porous against Thales Leites, although to be fair Leites is a phenomenal grappler so I was potentially being harsh to the Brit by judging him on that fight.

Round One begins and Watson circles around as Catone stalks forward early on. Nice leg kick opens proceedings for Watson. Quick rush misses for Catone. Small portion of the crowd are chanting for Catone (“Jersey Devil!”) but it’s a really small chant. Another leg kick glances for the Brit. Right hand connects for Catone in his first significant shot of the bout. Couple more kicks land for Kong. Big takedown attempt from Catone and he drives Watson into the cage. The Brit works to defend and lands a knee inside, before managing to muscle Catone off. Good job from Watson there. Head kick is blocked by the Jersey Devil. Couple more leg kicks land for Kong and Catone’s left leg looks marked up. Body kick does land for Catone and he follows with a heavy double leg, planting Watson on his back. Immediately the Brit scoots back and looks to get to his feet using the fence, turning his back in the process. Catone drags him back down and prevents him from getting up, but he’s not going for the hooks or anything yet. Nice short knees land for Catone and he drags Watson back down and lands in half-guard. Round ends with a couple of clubbing punches from Catone before Watson escapes to his feet. 10-10 round; Watson got the better of the striking but didn’t do enough damage in my eyes to off-set Catone’s late takedown and ground control.

Round Two and this time it’s Watson stalking forward as Catone lands with a couple of glancing jabs and a right hand. Head kick glances for Watson. Good leg kick from the Brit. Nice right hand lands for Catone as he catches Watson stepping in a little too much. Body kick into a jab answers for Kong. This is such a difficult fight to score. Exchange continues with Kong landing the leg kick a couple more times to really mark up Catone’s leg. Looks like a beaten slab of meat. Crowd begin to boo with two minutes to go as they’re not really doing much. Takedown finally comes for Catone and he puts Watson on his back in side mount, but the Brit immediately reverses to his feet. Catone stays on him and keeps him pushed into the cage, but Watson lands a knee and manages to break. Really nice double leg from Catone and he puts Watson down again. Watson tries to scoot back again, but this time Catone grabs the legs in order to keep him down. The Brit almost gets up, but gives his back and Catone gets his hooks in. Watson spins over and manages to get up before Catone can do anything with the position. Knee breaks and ends the round for Watson and it looks like Catone’s cut on the bridge of the nose. 10-10 round again I’d say as Catone got takedowns but did nothing with them while Watson just didn’t press the action enough standing for a real advantage.

Round Three and once again it’s a relatively slow exchange to open things with Watson landing a few more leg kicks. Watson’s beginning to put together some steady combos actually set up by the leg kicks. Takedown attempt is stuffed by Kong who answers with a knee from the plum clinch. More combos land for Watson and Catone is being eaten up in this round on the feet although Watson’s hardly doing that much damage. Crowd are really pissed off with this one. Good uppercut from Catone catches Watson coming forward. Takedown follows and Watson looks a bit stuck this time as the Jersey Devil laces the legs up. Nice reversal from the Brit puts him back on his feet though. One minute to go and Catone manages to get Watson down again, taking his back as the Brit tries to scramble. This time he manages to get a hook in as Watson attempts to roll, and adds the second a moment after. Not much time to work though as there’s seconds left on the clock. He tries to switch to full mount and then flattens Watson out for a second, but Kong manages to scramble and almost gets back up. Catone manages to keep back control though and then ends the fight on top. I think Catone levelled things up at the end with the takedown and back control so I’d call this firmly a draw. Could go either way.

And it’s a split decision; 29-28 Watson, 29-28 Catone and 30-27 for Nick Catone to pick up the win. Guess the judges just went for the takedowns over the cleaner striking of Watson but shit, this was basically a terrible showing for both men as Catone couldn’t do much when he did get the takedowns and didn’t do much outside of that, while Watson only ever landed the minimum strikes, probably due to fear of the takedown. I don’t like to knock fighters as they obviously do their best (most of the time) and I mean, I’ve never fought myself, but this was just a horrible styles clash and it made for a bad fight to watch.

Flyweight Fight: Chris Cariaso vs Danny Martinez

Originally this would’ve seen Cariaso taking on hot Japanese prospect Kyoji Horiguchi, but when the Shooto veteran got injured he was replaced by WEC veteran Martinez – dude took on Joseph Benavidez in the latter’s WEC debut in fact back in 2008. I apologise for any bias here also by the way as I can’t stand Cariaso’s fighting style and don’t get why Zuffa seem to want to push the guy.

Fight begins and Cariaso glances on a head kick, but Martinez charges right through it and looks for the takedown. Cariaso blocks it and they wind up clinched on the fence for a few moments before breaking off. Trio of high kicks again glance for Cariaso. More kicks follow and he seems to be telegraphing it a little now. Counter combo lands for Martinez. He comes in swinging in an attempt to get a takedown again, but once again Cariaso blocks. Quick exchange breaks and then Cariaso snipes at him a bit from the outside. Another takedown attempt follows for Martinez but Cariaso still manages to stay vertical. Martinez keeps working and manages to get him down, but Cariaso has his back to the fence and looks calm. Martinez is just holding on. Cariaso works to his feet and they remain clinched, and with seconds to go Martinez hits a slam to guard. Round ends shortly after. Crap round, sorry. Probably 10-9 Cariaso as Martinez did nothing with the takedowns.

Into the 2nd and Martinez lands a left hook and comes out really swinging. Couple of counters and kicks answer for Cariaso. Martinez is swinging but Cariaso’s landing the cleaner shots here. More harder counters land for Cariaso and Martinez appears to be slowing down. He connects with a wild hook though and then dives for the takedown. Cariaso works to defend and almost hits a full split in doing so. Crowd are booing now as this isn’t good at all. Knee break for Cariaso and he lands a jab. Martinez is still swinging wild punches at him but isn’t landing much significant. Body kick lands for Cariaso. Martinez attempts another takedown and finally gets it, planting Cariaso on his back by the fence. Cariaso immediately works back to his feet though and lands some elbows as Martinez tries to get him down again. He finally manages it, but Cariaso pops right up to end the round. Yawn. 10-9 Cariaso.

Third and final round and Cariaso tags Martinez early with a combination, pegging him back and hurting him. Some good jabs follow for Cariaso and Martinez looks exhausted to me. Pair of left hands answer for Martinez though and suddenly he turns it into a brawl and tags Cariaso a couple of times. Clinch follows and he goes for the takedown again, but again he can’t get him down. It just dawned on me that Martinez is fighting like a really poor man’s Diego Sanchez which might be why I’m not enjoying seeing him get picked off. Takedown finally follows for him though and he pins Cariaso down in guard. Quick reversal from Cariaso and he’s back on his feet where he lands a stiff jab. More winging shots from Martinez pin Cariaso into the cage and allow him to go for the takedown, but Cariaso blocks and breaks off. More jabs from Cariaso and he throws in some more kicks too. Big right hook lands for Martinez as he pushes forward but Cariaso takes it well. Martinez’s corner are screaming at him to go for it but Cariaso’s still countering him well. Round ends with another takedown attempt being stuffed by Cariaso. 10-9 Martinez; 29-28 Cariaso overall in my eyes.

All three judges have it 29-28 for Chris Cariaso. This wasn’t a good fight at all though – Martinez showed aggression but couldn’t get much done with it, while Cariaso seemed content to do just about enough to eke out the win. Parts were good – mainly the wild portions with Martinez on offense – but the majority of it was just dull, sorry.

Lightweight Fight: Alan Patrick vs John Makdessi

Like Watson vs. Catone this was another likely striker vs. grappler match, as despite winning by KO in his UFC debut, Patrick is more of a BJJ guy who just happens to hit very hard. Side note but has there ever been a less Brazilian-sounding guy than ‘Alan Patrick’ in the UFC? Seriously now! Nothing else to say here, sorry.

Round One and Patrick opens with a kick and then goes for the takedown. He gets Makdessi down for a second but the Canadian pops up into the clinch where they exchange knees. Makdessi breaks and looks like he’s in counter mode as Patrick pushes forward. Another takedown attempt follows but Makdessi stuffs it and lands a right. Good right hand from Patrick and he glances on a spinning backfist. Rushing punches from Patrick. He’s winging his shots pretty wildly. Low kick lands for Patrick. Body kick follows. Another spinning backfist misses and Makdessi clips him with a short right. Flurry glances for Patrick but a wheel kick misses by a mile. Couple of nice counters land for the Canadian as Patrick tries to clinch. Side kick to the body from Makdessi. Patrick comes back with a left hand. Low kick from Makdessi but he slips and Patrick comes in with a hard knee to the body in response. Stiff right hand from Makdessi counters an elbow attempt. Makdessi needs to do more here from counter mode I think. Takedown from Patrick and he really drives Makdessi into the fence. That was almost a spear even. Makdessi does well to pop back up though but the Brazilian stays on him and almost trips him back down. Seconds to go and they remain clinched, and Patrick keeps him against the fence until the buzzer. Really tight round to score but I’d go Patrick for the aggressiveness and the fact that he pushed the action.

Round Two and it looks like Patrick’s right eye is swelling quite badly. Couple of kicks and a rush open things for Patrick but Makdessi avoids. Combo misses for the Brazilian too and Makdessi also fends off a takedown, but he does eat a body kick. Side kick to the body from Makdessi. Solid right hand counter lands too. Couple of crisp punches connect for Makdessi but Patrick backs him up with a wild flurry. Charging takedown from Patrick but again Makdessi pops up. Patrick stays on him and pins him into the fence, managing to muscle him down again for a second, but once more the Canadian pops up. Knee lands for Patrick but Makdessi breaks off. Right to the body from Makdessi. Couple of lefts glance for Patrick. Beautiful low kick from Makdessi. Nice left hand counter lands too and Patrick looks slightly hurt for a second. Makdessi is doing a better job in this round of avoiding Patrick’s wilder shots before countering. Wheel kick misses by a mile for Patrick. Stiff jab answers for Makdessi. One minute to go and they continue sniping at each other from the outside. Makdessi avoids a clinch but takes a short left hand. Jab to the body from Makdessi. Crowd begin to boo again towards the end of the round as Makdessi chases forward with a weak spin kick to the body. Makdessi’s nose looks busted up but I’d give the round to him to even things up.

Round Three and Makdessi tags the Brazilian early with a left hand. Makdessi seems to be pushing forward more now, but it allows Patrick to land with a combo. Makdessi answers with a couple of shots of his own as he shrugs off a clinch attempt. Front kick to the body from Makdessi. Inside leg kick follows. Decent counter left connects for Patrick as Makdessi comes forward. Head kick lands for the Brazilian too. Makdessi tries to clinch for a second but they break quickly. Left counter from Makdessi. He’s landing the left right on the injured right eye too. Left hand lands hard for Patrick but a takedown attempt is stuffed by Makdessi, who makes the Brazilian pay with a jab. Halfway through the round though and I’d still say it’s anyone’s. Both men try low kicks and Makdessi lands better, sending Patrick down for a second although he pops right back up. Wild left misses for Patrick and Makdessi catches him with a counter. Pair of really hard lefts land for Patrick and he forces Makdessi into the fence, managing a takedown, but the Canadian pops back up. One minute to go and Makdessi remains forced against the cage. Ref Dan Miragliotta calls a break as Joe Rogan says Makdessi’s gym – Tri-Star – is one of the few elite ones in MMA. Well dude, I’d argue so is Team Nogueira where Patrick trains. Anyway. Seconds to go on the clock and Makdessi pushes forward with a couple of jabs to the body. Body kick glances for Patrick. Makdessi chases him a bit to end the round. 10-9 Makdessi for a 29-28 but the third round was razor close.

Official scores are 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27….for Alan Patrick. Joe Rogan is literally just like, erm, WHAT? Well, that was a surprising decision. Fight wasn’t great if we’re honest but let’s talk the decision – on first viewing I thought this was a highway robbery, but on a rewatch I don’t know. The 30-27 score was definitely bullshit as I don’t see how Patrick won the second round, but while Makdessi clearly landed the cleaner strikes and may have landed slightly more too, Patrick did land some takedowns and was the aggressor and actually, I think he landed the hardest shots of the fight too. I’d still have gone for Makdessi but I mean, I can sort of see why the judges went for Patrick. As I said though the fight was unfortunately another largely uneventful one as neither man came close to a finish. And that’s SEVEN DECISIONS IN A ROW for this card. Boo!

Lightweight Fight: Abel Trujillo vs Jamie Varner

This was one of those fights that the UFC were clearly hoping would lead to fireworks, as from the fights I can remember neither guy tends to put on a dull one. Varner was coming off a semi-controversial loss to Gleison Tibau while Trujillo had last brutally TKOd Roger Bowling. I was taking the tighter boxing and sharper wrestling game of Varner to overcome the explosive power of Trujillo in a hopefully exciting fight.

Fight begins and Varner opens with a stiff left jab. Trujillo pushes forward but Varner is showing some good early movement to avoid the rush. Front kick glances for Varner and he follows with a jab and a nice right hand follow-up. Varner is catching Trujillo coming forward every time here with counters. Trujillo wades right through though and keeps on swinging, tagging Varner with a right hand of his own. Nice counters land again for Varner as Trujillo looks for some haymakers. Clinch from Trujillo but Varner muscles him down and takes the back with an over/under. Roll-through allows him to get the hooks in but Trujillo shakes them off. Instead Varner pins Abel to the ground and looks to sink in Jeff Monson’s north/south choke. It looks pretty tight and Varner really squeezes on it, but there’s just enough room for the blood to get to Trujillo’s head and he manages to last it out. Finally Varner gives it up and tries to transition to a mount, but Trujillo manages to escape and gets back to his feet. Trujillo seems fresher suddenly and now he wades in with BOMBS and they TRADE WILD PUNCHES with both men swinging everything they have! Holy shit. Crowd are going crazy now and rightfully so. Somehow neither man lands cleanly though and they circle back out. Trujillo is still swinging ludicrous haymakers. Round ends with another crazy slugfest that sets up a hard knee to the body from Trujillo. 10-9 Varner.

Into the 2nd and Trujillo again comes out swinging, but Varner avoids obliging him in a brawl early on and circles out of the way. Good knee lands for Varner as he catches Trujillo stepping in. Trujillo comes forward swinging again, but this time he walks into a HARD LEFT HOOK from Varner that stuns him badly! Abel stumbles back and Varner senses blood and closes in, but even on rubber legs Trujillo swings back and catches Varner with a hard right! Varner now looks wobbled and lunges for a takedown, but Abel shrugs it off. Now Varner pushes forward and suddenly Trujillo looks in trouble, taking heavy shots with his back to the fence. This is a CRAZY fight. Trujillo goes down and has to grab a leg to survive, but he manages to last it out despite taking hammer fists from Varner. Trujillo gives his back and takes some more shots as he gets to his feet. Abel shoves him off and they TRADE WILDLY again, and holy shit Trujillo looks out on his feet. Big knees land for Varner now but Abel refuses to give up and keeps on swinging. And sure enough Varner gets sloppy for a second and Trujillo WAYLAYS HIM WITH A CRUSHING RIGHT HOOK! Varner goes down and looks DEAD and that’s that. Good lord.

Awesome fight. Probably a low-end FOTYC in fact as Trujillo basically came from behind to win the fight by drawing Varner into a wild brawl rather than let him dictate the pace and distance of the fight, and Varner made the mistake of obliging in a shootout with a guy who hits harder and can evidently take a hard shot too. Biggest win of Trujillo’s MMA career by far and it probably guarantees him a long stay in the UFC too although I doubt he ever bothers the title picture anytime soon. He’s converted me into a fan for one.

Flyweight Fight: Ali Bagautinov vs John Lineker

Word going in was that this was likely a #1 Contender’s bout for the next shot at Demetrious Johnson’s Flyweight Title, as both men had looked impressive in their last few fights – Bagautinov taking out Marcos Vinicius and Tim Elliott and Lineker stopping Azamat Gashimov, Jose Maria and Phil Harris with strikes. The elephant in the room? Lineker had missed weight in all of those afore-mentioned fights. This time he managed to make it – but only on his second attempt. With that in mind, I had a feeling Ali would pull the win out here.

Round One and Lineker presses forward and throws a hard right hand, but Ali avoids it and instantly hits a takedown to guard. Lineker works some elbows from his back as Ali seems content just to keep him grounded. He finally postures up to drop some shots, and then avoids a scramble attempt from Lineker and keeps him on his back. Good left hands from Bagautinov from the guard and Lineker isn’t doing much from his back really. Surprising leglock attempt from Lineker but Joe Rogan immediately points out that it’s probably a futile move against a sick sambo guy like Ali. Sure enough Bagautinov goes for a heel hook of his own and drops right into it, but he can’t quite lock it up and Lineker pulls the leg free and stands, where he tells Ali to bring it. Good leg kick from the Brazilian. Ali circles around on the outside and then catches a body kick and dumps Lineker to the ground again. This time he passes into half-guard and controls Lineker’s posture by pinning the left arm. Short, chopping punches connect for the Dagestani, but Lineker rolls for a kimura. Bagautinov avoids that quite easily and the round ends with him landing some thudding elbows to the body and punches to the head. 10-9 Bagautinov.

Round Two and Lineker stalks forward, missing on a lunging knee early on. Couple of kicks glance for Ali but Lineker looks like the predator here. Takedown attempt from Ali but Lineker does a tremendous job of staying on his feet. Big combination lands for Bagautinov and forces Lineker to clinch. They exchange knees inside and then Lineker breaks off. Wild left hand glances for Bagautinov. Lineker continues to stalk him though. Heavy right to the body connects for Lineker. He tries to draw Ali into a trade and lands another hard body shot. Takedown attempt from Ali is avoided. Wild left hand misses for the Dagestani. One-two connects for Bagautinov but Lineker stuns him with a combo and sends him on the retreat. Beautiful left hand answers for Ali but Lineker hurts him with a right to the body. Bagautinov dives for a takedown, but Lineker sprawls and lands some solid elbows to the body. Ali gets him against the fence though and lands a knee. Lineker breaks and continues to stalk forward, landing a hard counter right to answer a one-two from Ali. Body kick lands for Bagautinov and he shoots again, but Lineker sprawls nicely once more. Ali is taking some deep breaths. Combo from Bagautinov but Lineker meets him with another hard body punch. Wild trade sees both men land but Lineker’s shot seems to land harder. Bagautinov shoots again but Lineker blocks, and they trade to the buzzer. 10-9 Lineker to even things up.

Round Three and Lineker again comes out stalking, swinging towards the body once again. Ali manages to walk through the shots and secures a clinch though, and from there he manages to trip Lineker down. Good job from Lineker to work back to his feet, but Ali slams him right back down to a nice crowd pop. Full mount for Bagautinov too. Lineker uses a kimura attempt to regain half-guard, but he takes some nasty elbows to the body in the process. Ali frees himself from the half-guard and looks to secure a guillotine, but Lineker uses the fence to stand. He can’t separate though and Bagautinov tackles him right back down into half-guard again. Short elbows land for the Dagestani from there and then he switches to some heavy punches, landing shots with Lineker’s head wedged into the fence. Good job from Lineker to work to his feet but Ali stays on him with the clinch and lands some knees. One minute to go and they break off, and Lineker stalks forward but he looks spent now. Bagautinov shoots again and manages to get him down despite Lineker sprawling. Big punches land for Ali and out of desperation Lineker rolls for a kneebar, and so Bagautinov makes him pay with some heavy punches before standing to wave to the crowd, wave his finger at Lineker, flex the double-biceps and finally give Lineker the thumbs down. Ha! Awesome ending and it’s got to be 29-28 Bagautinov.

Judges have it 29-28 all round for Ali Bagautinov, and as expected he’s getting his title shot next weekend. This was a really good fight actually as Bagautinov used his ground game to take the first round in strong fashion, Lineker came back in the second with his stand-up but then Bagautinov basically outworked him in the third for the win. I didn’t see anything from Ali here that would suggest to me that he can beat Mighty Mouse but I think he’s as good a title challenger as any at the minute. Fun fight at any rate, the best moment obviously being Ali’s whole comedy act while Lineker tried to kneebar him in the third. Amazing that a guy could keep so calm during that but hey, I guess it’s second nature to a sambo guy like that.

Heavyweight Fight: Alistair Overeem vs Frank Mir

Many people were viewing this one as a Loser Leaves Town match, and while I can see why – handful of losses in a row for both men, big contracts – I was hoping it wasn’t so as I’m a big fan of both men, particularly UBEREEM of course. And he was my pick here, naturally, as I figured he had more left in the tank than Mir and seemed to match well with him too. Of course I’d said the same for Reem’s fight with Bigfoot Silva and look what happened there! But the word coming in was that he’d worked a ton on his cardio – the thing that cost him in the Travis Browne fight along with a bit of bad refereeing – and so he seemed like the smart choice anyway.

Fight begins and the crowd sound AMPED. Mir pushes forward to begin but looks quite tentative and the Reem glances on a right to the body. Big right hand almost lands for Mir but Reem just about dodges it. Clinch attempt from Mir but Reem lands a knee to the body and muscles him into the fence. Quick break follows. Left hook lands for Overeem and wobbles Mir slightly but he seems recovered quickly. Clinch follows and a big knee to the body lands for the Reem followed by a BRUTAL KNEE TO THE FACE. Mir is in deep trouble and he tumbles to the ground, and Overeem quickly pounces to look for the finish. Big shots land for the Reem as Mir tries to get to full guard. Overeem ties his left arm behind his back and begins to land some VICIOUS ELBOWS, landing to the body and head and making a mess of Mir’s face. Hard knee to the body follows once Mir frees his arm. Another couple of knees land but Mir gets to his feet. That doesn’t stop the Reem’s knee onslaught, but Mir manages to push him away and separate. Overeem is clearly conserving his energy here rather than blowing his tank like in the Browne fight. Big swings miss for Mir. Clinch from Overeem and Mir drops for a leglock attempt, but Reem postures out well and ends up in half-guard. Some nasty hammer fists land for Overeem from the top and Mir looks like he’s just hanging on. Seconds remaining and Overeem continues to land with some short strikes, ending the round on top. 10-8 Overeem in a horribly one-sided round.

Into the 2nd and Reem opens with a stiff jab that snaps Mir’s head back. Mir is still pushing forward to his credit. Into the clinch and Overeem trips Mir down easily before letting him back up. Mir bulls forward into the clinch again, but Overeem lands with the knee to the body and forces him into the fence. Quick break from referee Dan Miragliotta follows. Big three-punch combo lands for Overeem but Mir takes it well. Takedown attempt from Mir and he gets Reem down! Crowd pop big for that as Overeem tries to push him away in order to stand. Guillotine attempt from Mir but he can’t lock it in properly and Overeem frees his head and works up to his knees. Another guillotine attempt follows and Mir pulls guard, but Reem pops his head free again and makes Mir pay with some elbows from the top, getting into half-guard too. Nice short ground-and-pound from the Reem and some really good elbows get through even as Mir works into full guard. Thirty seconds to go and Overeem decides to stand over him, with Mir choosing to stay down on his back. Big Dan forces him up with seconds to go and the round ends with both men missing kicks. 10-9 Overeem and Mir clearly needs a finish. Reem doesn’t even look tired.

Third and final round and Mir’s face is cut to ribbons. Mir opens with some flashy kicks that miss by a mile. He continues to stalk as the Reem seems to be in counter mode. Takedown attempt is stuffed and so Mir decides to pull guard. Short elbows land for Overeem again and then he decides to bring the fight back up. Another takedown attempt from Mir fails and once again Overeem ends up on top in half-guard this time where he lands a thudding right hand. Nasty punches and elbows land too as Mir doesn’t seem to have much of an answer. He does manage to get full guard but he’s still taking some heavy, heavy shots and he’s doing nothing offensive from his back. Overeem’s doing a great job with elbows to the body, too. One minute to go and Overeem stands and waves Mir up, and now he’s stalking to look for the finish. BIG RIGHT HAND lands and staggers Mir but somehow he stays standing. Overeem still doesn’t get crazy though, circling before landing a glancing one-two to end the fight. 10-9 Overeem and 30-26 on my scorecard.

Official scores are 30-27, 30-27 and 30-27 for The Reem, picking up his first UFC win since the 2011 one over Brock Lesnar. A lot of people dogged on Overeem’s performance here – including Dana White – but post-fight he outright admits he played it safe to pace himself in order to guarantee a win, and as a fan of his I’d call that smart given his job was likely on the line here and he may have been cut with a loss. But even playing it safe, to dominate Frank Mir like that is still impressive, particularly in the way that he had zero problems with Mir on the ground, which was where he did his most damage in fact. Fighting smartly with a full gas tank makes Reem to me still a genuine title contender – particularly when you consider he’s beaten the current top contender (Fabricio Werdum) before and probably should’ve beaten Travis Browne, too. Give him that JDS fight next – or Josh Barnett in fact – and I’ll be a happy man. As for Mir, I don’t think UFC should cut him, but I do think he ought to retire after these last four brutal losses in a row. I mean, the guy is one of the best Heavyweights of all time and should go straight into the UFC Hall of Fame. He’s literally got nothing more to prove. Fight was entertaining to me as an Overeem fan but I can also understand why some people disliked it.

UFC World Featherweight Title: Jose Aldo vs Ricardo Lamas

This to me felt like an odd fight to make as Lamas hadn’t actually fought in over a year, and it seemed like he was only getting a title shot due to the only other potential contenders (Chad Mendes and Cub Swanson) already having losses to Aldo on their ledgers. I mean Lamas’ last fight was super-impressive – a brutal TKO of Erik Koch – but Koch had lost since then too and to come into a title fight off a year on the shelf usually tends to be bad news unless you’re Chris Weidman, which Lamas isn’t, no offense intended. I saw this as a routine title defense for Aldo and was hoping for an impressive finish from him.

Round One and a leg kick opens for Lamas. Lamas has this horrendous mullet going on here by the way and it’s distracting. Crowd seem to be chanting for the challenger. Left-right glances for Aldo. Lot of feints from Aldo as he backs Lamas up. Head kick misses for Lamas. This is a dull round so far. Two minutes left and we’ve basically had no significant strikes. Finally a good combo lands for Aldo ending with a leg kick. Spinning back kick connects to the body for the champion. Body kick from Lamas is caught and Aldo throws him down and then closes in with a flurry, but Lamas manages to back out without taking too much damage. Nice counter right lands for Aldo as Lamas gets lazy with a right hand. Left to the body follows. Spin kick misses for the challenger. Round ends with a jumping knee missing for Aldo. 10-9 Aldo but a largely uneventful round.

Round Two and both men come out with a lot of feints with Aldo also avoiding some kicks from the challenger. Jab to the body from Aldo. Front kick to the body follows. Brutal combo from Aldo; left hand into an absolutely vicious leg kick. Another nice combo lands to the body for Aldo. When he’s landing he looks devastating but for some reason he’s in full counter mode. Big counter knee connects to the body of Lamas. Another leg kick almost takes Lamas off his feet. Left hand lands for Aldo as Lamas looks painfully out of his depth standing. Another leg kick connects for the champ. And another. Another two almost drop Lamas and he’s clearly limping now. Wheel kick misses for the challenger. Combo lands for Aldo. He’s landing the leg kicks largely at will now. High kick from Lamas but Aldo counters with a right uppercut that wobbles the challenger. Couple more thudding leg kicks connect. Lamas manages to get out of the round but he’s being outclassed. 10-9 Aldo.

Round Three and Lamas lands a decent body kick to begin. Aldo pegs him back with the jab to the body. Right hand-leg kick combo lands for Aldo and he follows up with another kick. Left hand into a leg kick combo follows and Lamas is in trouble. He finally shoots for the takedown but Aldo easily shrugs it off. Lamas to his credit is still swinging. He isn’t landing though and Aldo turns him around with another leg kick. More of the same follows as Aldo blocks or avoids the majority of Lamas’s strikes while landing nastier shots of his own. Stiff jab from Aldo. Again the left to the body and right leg kick connect. Lamas is being owned but I’d like to see Aldo go for the kill more as at the minute he’s allowing Lamas to hang in there. Left jab wobbles Lamas slightly but he circles out to recover. Decent right hand lands for Lamas but a jumping kick misses. Round ends on the feet. 10-9 Aldo.

Round Four and Aldo slams the leg kick into Lamas’s thigh within seconds of the round starting. Lamas goes for a takedown and manages to drive Aldo into the fence, but even after lifting him right into the air, he still can’t get him down. Ridiculous takedown defense. Lamas keeps trying but still can’t get the guy down. They wind up clinched on the fence with little action going on, and then Aldo trips Lamas down and takes top position. Lamas gets full butterfly guard and tries to reverse, but Aldo settles down into half-guard. Two minutes to go and the crowd are now dead as Aldo works for position. Beautiful pass to full mount from Aldo and Lamas gives his back. Aldo gets both hooks in and it looks like he might be able to sink the choke. Good defense by Lamas allows him to avoid and then he manages to slide out the back door and get to his feet. He tries another takedown of his own, but Aldo defends and meets him with the Travis Browne special elbows. Round comes to an end in the clinch. 10-9 Aldo. Lamas is just out of his depth.

Round Five and Lamas pushes forward and opens with a left body kick. Clinch from Aldo and he muscles Lamas into the cage. Trip from Aldo plants Lamas on his back in guard again. Action slows down from there as Lamas traps Aldo’s right arm to prevent him from advancing position. Aldo manages to pass to mount though as Lamas looks to elevate him using butterfly guard. Excellent job from the champion. He smothers Lamas and lands some short punches, but Lamas uses the fence to reverse and manages to explode to his feet. From there a scramble follows and Lamas finally manages to put Aldo on his back with about half the round remaining. Some decent shots get through for Lamas as Aldo looks to tie him up from full guard. Really nice ground-and-pound from Lamas but he needs a finish and this likely isn’t going to get it for him. Round ends with Lamas working on top and goes 10-9 to him, but that’s still a lopsided 49-46 for Jose Aldo I’d say.

All three judges have it 49-46 for Jose Aldo. That’s his sixth title defense in the UFC and his eighth overall if you count his WEC run which is incredible, but if we’re honest it wasn’t the most inspiring performance as it felt to me like he decided to coast to a decision rather than really look for the finish. Lamas seemed outclassed from the first round and yet Aldo never really opened up on him, even when he had him in deep trouble with the leg kicks. GSP got so much criticism for similar tactics and yet I’d argue Aldo here was worse than GSP ever was in his career for doing just about enough to retain. I mean you can’t really knock the guy – he’s still the best 145lber in the world and he’s still one of the best fighters on the planet – but I dunno, after he was so devastating in the WEC he just hasn’t delivered to the same standard in the UFC for some reason. A disappointing fight overall even if there was nothing technically wrong with it.

UFC World Bantamweight Title: Renan Barao vs Urijah Faber

As I mentioned in the introduction, this would’ve seen Dominick Cruz vs. Barao to finally unify the Bantamweight title, but Cruz – in a stroke of terrible luck – badly tore his groin in training and was forced to pull out again. Might be time to say enough is enough but that’s another article. Anyway Zuffa managed to get Faber to take the fight on late notice and while some idiots would argue that it was another “gifted” title shot, Urijah had looked unbelievable in 2013 – beating Ivan Menjivar, Scott Jorgensen, Iuri Alcantara and Michael McDonald – and so he’d more than done enough to warrant another crack at the belt. Still, Barao had looked unbelievable himself; tapping out McDonald and knocking out Eddie Wineland in his two title defences. As much as I was hoping Urijah could pull it out of the bag, I still suspected Barao would prove to be too much for the California Kid.

Fight begins and Faber pushes forward with a quick flurry that Barao easily avoids. Couple of kicks from Barao back Faber up but don’t land. Single leg attempt from Faber is shrugged off by Barao. Glancing left hand from Faber and the crowd chant for him loudly. Both men miss with shots and then Faber slips down on a kick attempt but pops back up before Barao can capitalise. Good right hand lands for Faber and backs the champ up a little. Faber circles out but Barao almost catches him with a right hand. Good leg kick lands for Barao. BIG RIGHT HAND drops Faber hard and he’s in trouble! That literally came from NOWHERE. Barao pounces and looks to finish, but somehow Faber gets to his feet. He takes a couple of knees though and then gets rocked badly again as Barao breaks off. Big left hand sends him stumbling but he’s hanging in there. Urijah tries to grab him to slow him down and manages to land a knee, but Barao separates. Another combo lands for Barao and then a CRUSHING OVERHAND RIGHT drops Urijah face-first! Barao follows him down and lands some punches to the side of the head, then looks at Herb Dean….who steps in and stops the fight.

Post-fight Faber is in disbelief, saying he gave Herb the thumbs up, and the replay does seem to show that he was covering up to avoid a lot of the shots getting through cleanly. Personally though I think Herb did the right thing – sure, Urijah was covering up, but he didn’t look like he was getting out of the situation and so I think it’s a justified stoppage as you never want to see a guy knocked stiff like often happens in other fights – usually ones refereed by The Mazz. Devastating performance from Renan Barao at any rate as he put Faber away before he really had a chance to get into the fight. Massive disappointment for Urijah and you’ve got to wonder, unfortunately, if that’s his final crack at a UFC title. If it is then I’d say he goes down as one of the best ever not to hold a UFC title. And watching this it’s hard to believe that just four months later it’d be one of Faber’s protégés – TJ Dillashaw – that would be the man to dethrone the Brazilian champ. Hot main event to end the show thankfully.

-Highlight reel ends the night’s action.

Final Thoughts….

I thought this was one of the most disappointing big shows the UFC have done in recent memory, unfortunately. The main event delivered but the co-main was sorely lacking in action and drama, and only two finishes on a twelve-fight card is an alarming statistic. Sure, decisions aren’t always bad, but in this case it was a lot of dull-ish fights or fights like Magny/Umalatov which while technically fine, just didn’t inspire at all. Trujillo/Varner was great and I really liked Magomedov/Martin and Bagautinov/Lineker, but then outside of the main event the rest was forgettable. Thumbs down for UFC 169.

Best Fight: Trujillo vs. Varner
Worst Fight: Catone vs. Watson

Overall Rating: **

Until next time,

Scott Newman: