MMA Review: #517: UFC Fight Night 73
-Not much fanfare around this one which was understandable given it was following two of the year’s biggest shows in UFC 189 and 190, but it was actually a solid free TV card, featuring two top ten Light-Heavyweights in the main event and then a bunch of fun sounding fights including important ones for both the Lightweight and Women’s Bantamweight divisions.
UFC Fight Night 73
-Your hosts are Jon Anik and Kenny Florian.
Surprising opener in a lot of ways as the UFC don’t tend to do much focus on the Flyweight division, but to be fair Borg is a massively hot prospect who was coming off two UFC wins going into this one, and it sounded like a bit of a showcase fight for him as the odds on him to win were huge and his opponent Herrera was a UFC newcomer with no real name wins on his record.
During the entrances Anik mentions Herrera took this fight on relatively late notice which is interesting, as no other opponent was initially announced for Borg which suggests that a few guys must’ve turned a fight with the Tazmexican Devil down. Would love to know who that was. Borg walks out to Motley Crue – Shout at the Devil which remains a badass entrance track.
Round One begins and Herrera sprints out of his corner but doesn’t actually attack. He swings a big left hand after a moment but Borg ducks under and slams him to the ground with a double leg, instantly passing into half-guard. Herrera regains full guard and looks for a triangle or an oma plata, but Borg postures out of that immediately and lands a big right hand while looking to pass. He does work into half-guard, but Herrera tries to elevate him off and almost manages it. Borg stays on top though and gets side mount for a moment before Herrera regains half-guard. Topside guillotine attempt from Borg and he uses that to work a guard pass. He decides to roll for the guillotine, but Herrera defends by rolling to his back again, and from there he goes for a heel hook. Borg drops a bit right hand to make him pay for that and then avoids the hold, before going for an inside heel hook of his own. He gives up on that to take top position in half-guard again with a right hand. Herrera looks like he might be going for a kimura, but Borg avoids and then rolls for an odd kimura/guard pass combination. Herrera actually defends well, but can’t shake Borg off top position and Borg lands a few elbows for good measure. Borg almost gets full mount, but Herrera does well to prevent it by getting his leg up. Eventually Borg moves into side mount though. One minute to go and Borg attempts the full mount and then goes for an arm triangle from there, but he can’t quite lock it up. He’s still on top though albeit in full guard now. Triangle attempt from Herrera but Borg postures free and works him over with some punches to end the round. 10-9 Borg, really good round.
Round Two and Borg misses a wild wheel kick to open the round. Herrera begins to push forward again as he did in the first, but Borg quickly shoots and hits another double leg to half-guard. Herrera turns for the kimura again, but Borg elbows the body and avoids it. Looks like Borg might be working for a possible guillotine again. He manages to work into mount and goes for the guillotine fully, really squeezing down on it, and Herrera looks like he’s in trouble. He somehow manages to avoid it though and frees his head to a big crowd pop. That was a close call. Borg continues to grind on him but Herrera hits a good hip escape to full guard. Borg goes for another try at the guillotine, but he gives it up to pepper him with some solid punches instead. Another triangle attempt from Herrera is shrugged off by Borg who moves into half-guard. Borg tries to set up an arm triangle again, but Herrera defends and now the crowd are booing which is shameful given how hard these guys are working. Granted Herrera is only defending really but still. Slick guard pass pus Borg in side mount for a second before Herrera gets his guard back, but takes some more punches in the process. Another pass to side mount follows. Herrera rolls and gives up his neck, and Borg attempts to go for a D’Arce and uses that to mount. Hip escape puts Herrera back into guard though. Herrera is a tough nut to crack for sure. Round ends with a few more punches for Borg. 10-9 Borg and Herrera’s going to need a miracle.
Round Three and Herrera again pushes forward, but an easy takedown for Borg plants him on the ground again. This time Herrera lands a couple of elbows from the bottom though and Borg is cut badly. Lot of blood in fact. Borg makes him pay with some punches of his own, but there’s blood POURING from the head, wow. Mario Yamasaki has to call time as Borg works Herrera over with some punches. Doctors check Borg over but the cut is to the left of the left eye, meaning he can still see and can continue. They restart from half-guard and Borg works for the guillotine again, but he can’t get it and Herrera works full guard back. Really good shots land for Borg from the top and he avoids a couple of armbar attempts as he postures up. Borg keeps a really torrid pace on the ground. He works into half-guard again and the crowd boo again which is ludicrous. Sweep from Herrera suddenly puts him in full mount (!), but it’s only for a second as Borg escapes and goes for a takedown. Herrera decides to go for a guillotine, but Borg frees his head and passes into side mount. Reverse triangle attempt from Herrera now but Borg escapes that and settles into side mount. Good punches land for Borg but Herrera regains full guard. Into half-guard for Borg and he begins to fish for the guillotine again with a minute to go. He uses it to pass into north/south and then goes for it again, but Herrera drops to his back to alleviate it. Borg keeps trying, but can’t get the finish before the round ends with him taking the back with some punches. 10-9 Borg for a 30-27 shutout.
Judges all agree and it’s a unanimous decision for Ray Borg. This was a great fight actually – one of the best ground fights of 2015 I’d say – and while Herrera acquitted himself well defensively, he was always on his back foot as he couldn’t stop the takedown and on the ground, Borg was putting an insane amount of pressure on the guy at a really heavy pace. I think he needs a step up in competition ASAP – at the minute Herrera is probably his best win and he was a newcomer – so I’d match him with Chris Cariaso or Chico Camus next to test him a bit more. Judging on this though he could well be a top ten contender at 125lbs and could develop even further. His grappling and takedowns are fantastic by anyone’s standards.
Inexplicably, this was initially listed as a prelim with Tom Watson vs. Chris Camozzi (!) on the main card ahead of it, but thankfully someone at Zuffa HQ woke up and realised they were wasting a clash between two top ten fighters and moved it up to the main show. McMann was coming off a loss in a great fight with Miesha Tate while Nunes was coming off a win over Shayna Baszler, but the betting favourite was the Olympic wrestler McMann. I was going the other way personally – I’ve always thought McMann was slightly overrated and while Nunes has holes in her game she’s absolutely ferocious when she’s on offense.
First round begins and they circle before Nunes clips McMann with a quick combo. McMann seems fine and tries to wade back in with punches, but Nunes avoids and nails her with a leg kick. Clinch from McMann and she tries to trip the Brazilian down, but Nunes defends excellently and separates with a right hand. Wild punches miss for McMann and Nunes glances on a wheel kick. McMann grabs a rear waistlock off it and gets her down for a second, but Nunes pops up and spins around before separating with a combo. Nice left hook connects for Nunes. Kick misses for McMann and Nunes makes her pay with a BIG COMBO that drops her! McMann’s in deep trouble here and Nunes pounces and takes the back! She slaps one hook in and then drops some huge elbows from half-guard, before getting the second hook in. Full back mount for Nunes and she drops some more shots before SINKING THE CHOKE! McMann defends for a second and then has to tap out.
Tremendous win for Amanda Nunes and definitely the biggest win of her career. As I expected she came out very aggressively, taking the fight to McMann and easily the most impressive part of what she did was the way she was able to defend against McMann’s grappling game, amazing when you consider McMann’s an Olympic-level wrestler. McMann was always outgunned standing and once Nunes landed and dropped her the fight was all but over. A lot of people were calling for a title shot for Nunes after this and while I don’t agree – the image of Cat Zingano smashing her to pieces with elbows is still a bit too fresh for me – I could see her getting there with one more big win. And with Ronda Rousey now being dethroned the title race is suddenly even more wide open. Fantastic showing for the Brazilian in an exciting fight.
I felt this was a bit of an odd match to make as after his win over Josh Copeland I figured Zuffa would give Rosholt a step up in competition as he’s a new face at Heavyweight even if his style isn’t that exciting to watch. Instead he was faced with relative newcomer Johnson, who had won his UFC debut with a semi-upset of Dagestan’s Shamil Abdurakhimov in April. While Rosholt’s style isn’t pretty it is effective and I think he’s probably capable of grinding out anyone in the division save for the very top fighters, and so I figured he was an easy pick against the largely unproven Johnson. And for the record, Johnson’s stache is ludicrous. Makes him look like an 1800’s circus strongman.
First round begins and they circle with Rosholt glancing on a right hand. Johnson looks massively out of shape. They clinch up and Jared muscles him into the fence, and they exchange some knees before Rosholt tries a trip and lands a solid right hand when Johnson blocks. Surprising takedown from Johnson follows but Rosholt pops right back up. He grabs a front headlock from the clinch and the action slows to an absolute crawl. Crowd boo loudly until Herb Dean calls a clean break. Right hand counter lands for Johnson but Rosholt changes levels and hits a nice takedown. He lands in side mount and then steps right into full mount. Johnson holds on, but Rosholt looks to lock up an arm triangle and tries to pass out to the side to finish it. He tries a Von Flue choke instead but Johnson gives up the headlock to avoid it. Couple of short punches land for Rosholt from the top and he ends the round in control. 10-9 Rosholt in a dull round.
Second round and they press the action before Johnson lands with a decent combination. Rosholt takes it well though and returns fire and it leads to the clinch, where Rosholt looks for a single leg. Johnson breaks and clocks him with a right hand, but he decides to re-clinch where, despite being the heavier guy, he’s being outmuscled by Rosholt. Nice elbow from the clinch lands for Rosholt and he follows with a right hook. Johnson fires back but he can’t get Rosholt off him. Another good elbow from Rosholt but Johnson answers with a right uppercut. Crowd are dead at this point. Looks like Johnson’s cut over his left eye. Takedown from Johnson but Rosholt scrambles and winds up giving his back as he stands. Johnson tries to hop on, but gets sloppy and he slips off, allowing Rosholt to take top position in half-guard. Couple of big elbows connect for Rosholt and Johnson is badly cut open now. He tries to answer with some elbows from the bottom, but he doesn’t look capable of getting up. Rosholt works to pin Johnson’s left arm down, and it looks like he might have an Americana locked up. Johnson is in trouble, but Rosholt can’t quite force the arm into the correct position to force the tapout and Johnson survives, only to eat some blunt elbows. Round ends with Rosholt on top again. 10-9 Rosholt and Johnson’s going to need a knockout to win.
Third round and Johnson comes out swinging with a looping left hook that lands, but Rosholt shoots and forces him into the fence. Johnson tries to lock up a front headlock, but Rosholt takes him down pretty easily from it. Big mistake from Johnson there. Rosholt settles into side mount as Johnson attempts to lace up the right arm for a kimura. Rosholt pulls free but Johnson does a good job to stand back up. He looks tired, though. Rosholt stays on him and moves into a waistlock, where he lands a solid knee to the head. Herb Dean decides to call a break and they restart with 2:30 to go. Lunging right hook from Johnson but Rosholt easily avoids. A flying knee also misses. Johnson is at least pushing the pace. Rosholt suddenly looks exhausted and he’s backpedalling. Couple of punches hurt Rosholt and force him to clinch, but Johnson shrugs him off. Another shot lands for Johnson but he strangely decides to clinch up and push Rosholt into the fence, and of course Rosholt quickly reverses position and forces him into the fence instead. Action naturally slows down again and the crowd are really pissed off now. Rosholt exits with a knee, but then charges right back into the clinch and now Johnson looks for a takedown. Good uppercut inside for Johnson and then he separates and catches Rosholt flush with a combo! Rosholt is stunned and stumbles back, and Johnson follows up with some HUGE PUNCHES! Rosholt is all over the place, desperately trying to clinch, but inexplicably Johnson TAKES HIM DOWN. Why would he do that? Rosholt ties him up from half-guard and that’s the fight. Kenny Florian’s UGH on commentary says it all. 10-9 Johnson for a 29-28 Rosholt win.
Official scores are 29-28 all round for Jared Rosholt. That was a horrible fight, though – Rosholt did fine when he had top position but he struggled to get it for the majority of the fight, and there was SO MUCH slow clinching throughout. Johnson turned it on late with those punches but the takedown when he had Rosholt stunned was probably one of the all-time ridiculous moves that I can remember seeing in the UFC. A win is a win I guess and this one put Rosholt at 5-1 in the UFC, but he just doesn’t seem to be developing as a prospect in the way I’d hoped. Time is still on his side though – at 29 he’s still young for a Heavyweight, and his wrestling alone makes him a formidable opponent for anyone in the division. Which might be the problem actually as it means he can use that one skill to get past all but the very top guys, so he hasn’t been really forced to do anything different yet. So yeah, fight stunk.
I wasn’t a fan of the matchmaking for this fight, as Alvey had been calling out Elias Theodorou in the months preceding and that sounded like a good fight to make, especially as both guys are charismatic and so it wouldn’t really have mattered who won (probably Theodorou). Instead, Smilin’ Sam was faced with Brunson, who while a near-top ten fighter, is as dull as Travis Lutter. With Alvey being a very limited fighter – if he can’t land his haymaker he tends to lose – I was going with Brunson to end his fun win streak, unfortunately.
Round One begins and Brunson stays on the outside before winging a left hook that sets up a clinch. He keeps Alvey firmly pressed into the fence and works the body with a few shots, before landing a couple of short punches to the head too. Big uppercut connects for Brunson as Alvey tries to secure the plum clinch. Alvey gives up on the plum but he can’t shake Brunson off him. Nice knee from the clinch lands for Alvey but Brunson returns fire with a BIG COMBINATION that has Alvey on roller skates! Big right-left from Brunson but Alvey somehow stays vertical. Brunson chases forward but he’s swinging wild now and risking taking a big counter as Alvey swings back. Alvey can’t land though and a big left hand wobbles him badly again. Brunson follows with more left hands and Alvey looks out on his feet. He tumbles down onto all fours and Brunson seals the deal with some punches on the ground. Crowd boo loudly as Alvey was popular with them.
Fight basically went how I thought it might, albeit a little shorter – Alvey is fun to watch but he’s so, so limited and if he can’t land that haymaker then he doesn’t have all that much. His chin held up decently here but the human body can only take so much and Brunson was landing some BOMBS, so the finish was inevitable really. Brunson is looking better every time he’s in the cage and I just wish he’d show more of a personality to stand out from the crowd, because he’s like the forgotten man at 185lbs at the minute and he really shouldn’t be. As for Alvey, I doubt the loss matters as he’ll keep his job due to his charisma and punching power. Fun knockout for Brunson at any rate.
Really intriguing fight here, as Johnson had entrenched himself into the top ten at 155lbs with his wins over Lauzon, Tibau, Guillard and most recently Barboza, while Dariush was looking to move into the same lofty area after putting together impressive wins over Daron Cruickshank and Jim Miller. This was a tough one to pick as Johnson had looked fantastic in all four of those afore-mentioned fights, but I was leaning slightly to Dariush as to me he’s possibly the most improved fighter on the UFC roster at the minute when you compare him in say the Cruickshank fight to how he was in his lone loss to Ramsey Nijem. It’s night and day, especially in terms of his striking.
Round One and Johnson cuts a lot of angles early on, looking to back Dariush up. Half-shot is easily avoided by Johnson. Crowd are firmly behind Johnson. One-two glances for him. Leg kick comes up short for Dariush. Both men seem to be coming up short at the minute actually. Almost two minutes in and Johnson glances on a one-two again. Jab sets up a nice left hand from Johnson and then he easily avoids a takedown from way on the outside. Another one-two glances for the Blackzilian. Both men throw out some jabs and Johnson glances on a left hook. Jumping knee to the chest lands for Dariush. Combo glances for Johnson and he continues to back Dariush up. Another takedown attempt is avoided. Short counter left drops Dariush for a split-second but he pops right back up. Johnson’s on him with a combo though and Dariush is definitely hurt. Another counter left stuns him again but he’s surviving. Beautiful counter right lands for Johnson as Dariush steps forward. Johnson’s movement is superior. Body kick lands for him too. Jabs connect for both men as the round ends. 10-9 Johnson for the pressure and definitely for the late work.
Round Two and Johnson comes out pressuring Dariush again, using the jab to back him up. Nice knee to the body lands for Dariush though. Takedown attempt is blocked by Johnson who follows with a jab to the body. Head kick is blocked by Johnson who fires off with a counter left. Jumping knee from Dariush glances and almost allows him to grab the plum, but Johnson shrugs it off. Nice knee from Dariush but Johnson counters and snaps his head back with an overhand left. They continue to exchange jabs, and Johnson continues to be the aggressor and land the cleaner punches. Every time Dariush steps in he’s eating the counter left at the minute. Really sharp combination puts Dariush firmly in defensive mode. Decent left hand connects for Dariush and he’s also landing some decent leg kicks, but he hasn’t come close to a takedown yet. Johnson continues to pepper him with punches and back him up. Left hand connects nicely for Dariush. Takedown attempt is stuffed though. Another big counter left hand hurts Dariush and forces him into retreat. Dariush keeps coming but he’s eating the left over and over. Deep takedown attempt is avoided again by Johnson whose counter-wrestling looks fantastic. Round ends with more of the same for Johnson. 10-9 Johnson for sure.
Round Three begins with Johnson showing even more movement, dancing on the outside and flicking out the jab. Dariush manages to land some jabs of his own but he’s still at a disadvantage standing. Takedown is easily avoided again by Johnson. He’s taking more jabs thus far in this round though. Dariush seems to be moving better now and he’s landing the better shots thus far in this round. Johnson again lands with a solid left though. Head kick is blocked by Johnson but he eats a pair of jabs and Dariush does a good job of dodging the counters this time too. Nice combo from Dariush coming forward. Johnson tries to pressure him back again but he takes a jumping knee. Big counter left from Johnson lands cleanly though, his best shot of the round. One minute to go and Johnson lands a clean one-two and then a pair of hard left hands. Combo lands for Johnson and suddenly he seems to have found his range again. Beautiful jab from Dariush stops him in his tracks and snaps the head back though. Clinch from Dariush is broken but he lands with a left. Exchange continues with both men landing decently. Couple more jabs from Dariush and that’s the fight. 10-9 Dariush but 29-28 Johnson overall. Not the best fight actually.
Judges have it 29-28 Dariush, 29-28 Johnson and 29-28…..for Beneil Dariush. Aw man, that’s a RIDICULOUS decision. I just don’t see how you could score that fight for Dariush, sorry. Sure, he probably won the third but he got dropped in the first round and in the second it was quite clear that not only did Johnson land the best shots and while they were counters, he was also the aggressor and was backing Dariush up throughout. It wasn’t the most exciting fight as Johnson seemed content to use his superior speed to snipe from the outside and counter Dariush, but I mean, that shouldn’t mean that the judges fuck up to that degree. Post-fight Dariush pretty much admits he’s a bit baffled by the decision too and says maybe it was because he landed more kicks, but even then he didn’t land that many. Probably the worst decision of the year I’d say and at least the UFC seem to be treating it as a win for Johnson with regard to how both have been booked going forward.
Due to the thin nature of the division at the minute, this was a very important fight at 205lbs with the winner looking to progress into title contention and the loser having to really rebuild themselves. Momentum coming in seemed to be with OSP – not only was he fighting in his hometown, but he was coming off the biggest win of his career against Shogun Rua and had also followed that up with another impressive win over Patrick Cummins. Glover meanwhile hadn’t fought since his disappointing 2014 loss to Phil Davis, and was coming off various injury layoffs. Despite that I was taking the Brazilian to win – OSP is a fantastic athlete but I didn’t think he was polished enough in any single area to deal with a guy like Teixeira who can finish you on the ground or standing up.
Fight begins and Glover pushes forward and catches a kick, going for a takedown. OSP defends it well but Glover manages to get hold of him and he slams him down into half-guard. Few solid punches get through for Teixeira but OSP does a nice job of scrambling and he explodes up to his feet. Low blow follows for OSP and Big John McCarthy has to call time. Teixeira seems recovered and they restart, but OSP CRACKS him with a HUGE BODY KICK and he goes down! Glover pops up immediately but he’s clearly hurt, and OSP wades in with punches as Glover desperately tries to get a single leg. OSP defends and nails him with some hammer fists and elbows to the side of the head, then stuns him with a big combo as they stand! He makes the mistake of trying another body kick though and Teixeira catches it and takes him down, passing directly into mount! Big punches land for Teixeira and OSP gives his back for a second before rolling back into the mount. Massive comeback from Teixeira. He lands some hard shots from the mount but OSP’s doing a good job of covering up. He gives his back again though and Teixeira’s got both hooks in. Somehow OSP manages to escape, but Teixeira stays right on him and gets hold of him as he stands. Crowd are massively into this fight. Another nice takedown lands for Glover and he easily avoids a weak kimura attempt and mounts. The disparity in ground skill seems to be huge. Teixeira takes the back again, but this time he screws it up and OSP gets into top position. He hops into side mount and tries a Von Flue choke of all things, but he can’t quite finish it and Glover escapes to his feet, eating a big uppercut en route. His nose is busted up badly. Takedown attempt from OSP is stuffed, but he lands a left hand from close range. Round ends with some wild swings from Glover. Close round to score and I’d actually go 10-10 I think as Teixeira dominated more of it, but the more telling offense came from St. Preux.
Into the 2nd and Glover is clearly in better shape than he was for the Davis fight as he doesn’t look at all tired. Body kick glances for OSP but this time Teixeira takes it well. He pushes forward with some big punches but doesn’t land flush. Nice takedown from Glover but OSP counters and explodes to his feet quickly. Combo glances for OSP but Teixeira wades forward with a heavy pair of punches to the body. Left hook lands flush for OSP but Glover eats it right up. Big crowd chant for OSP. Double leg from Teixeira and he lifts OSP up and hits a….well, it was a soft landing in the end somehow where you’d expect a Hughes-style slam. He passes into half-guard and begins to drop some elbows, and it’s OSP who looks more tired, probably due to his more explosive style. Good elbows get through for Glover and he isn’t giving OSP much room to breathe at all. Crowd aren’t happy with this at ALL as they’re so pro-OSP. OSP hooks Glover’s left leg to attempt a sweep, but Teixeira is too good on the ground for that and he avoids and delivers some more ground-and-pound. It’s not all landing cleanly but it’s enough to keep OSP firmly grounded. Seconds to go and OSP attempts to work to his feet, but as soon as he stands Glover goes for another single leg. Good left hand lands for Teixeira before they break in the waning seconds, and OSP ends the round with a late flurry. Clear 10-9 for Teixeira there.
Third round begins with both men stuffing takedowns, before Glover glances on a right hook. He’s still the aggressor and he swarms on OSP with some big hooks as soon as he backs him into the fence. OSP manages to circle away from the cage, but Glover gets into a clinch and from there he gets a rear waistlock, then picks him up to get a slam to half-guard. Hammer fists follow for Teixeira and OSP looks out of steam. More grinding elbows land for Glover and it looks like he might be setting up for an arm triangle choke. Crowd chant for OSP but it doesn’t help him as Teixeira takes full mount. It’s a tight mount too and OSP doesn’t seem capable of escaping. Big shots land for Teixeira and OSP gives his back, and this time Teixeira locks up a TIGHT rear naked choke and chokes OSP unconscious when he refuses to tap. Pretty sick ending as Big John McCarthy has to extract the mouthpiece and everything. First thing Teixeira does post-fight is check on OSP, really showing his class and sportsmanship.
This was a really, really good main event. One of the year’s most underrated fights in fact. OSP had Teixeira in trouble early with that body kick, but once Glover recovered he just put so much pressure on OSP until he eventually gassed and couldn’t take any more. OSP did have a lot of offense but as per usual with him it was based more around his phenomenal athleticism and explosive power rather than technical skill like Glover possesses, and once he was worn down Teixeira put him away like you’d expect a ruthless finisher like him to do. This definitely shut up those fans who thought Teixeira was either overrated and/or past his best, and while I don’t think the loss moves OSP down the rankings too much as it’s a thin division, it did sort-of expose him as still a work in progress and a somewhat limited fighter, meaning he’ll probably be given fighters a little lower down the ladder next. Post-fight Glover calls out Daniel Cormier but I doubt that fight happens any time soon given DC’s unfinished business with Jon Jones. They also interview OSP who gives a ton of props to both Teixeira and the Nashville crowd, and he comes off generally great. Really humble and classy guy.
-Show ends there as Teixeira celebrates.
This was a decent free TV show from the UFC – granted, the Rosholt/Johnson fight was awful, and in fact Johnson/Dariush wasn’t great either, but outside of those two fights everything else was either good or great, with a massively underrated main event, a good grappling match in Borg/Herrera and two highlight reel finishes for Nunes and Brunson. Definitely worth checking this one out on Fight Pass for sure.
Best Fight: Teixeira vs. OSP
Worst Fight: Johnson vs. Rosholt
Overall Rating: ***1/4
Until next time,