MMA Review: #547: UFC Fight Night 89

-What with my whole concentration right now being on Euro 2016, this show was pretty much flying under the radar for me, but despite a couple of oddities (again) on the main card it looked like an intriguing one, mainly for the main event – a title eliminator between top ranked Welterweights Rory MacDonald and Stephen Thompson. First show in Ottawa too of course which is always cool.

UFC Fight Night 89

Ottawa, Ontario

-Your hosts are Jon Anik and Kenny Florian.

Women’s Catchweight Fight: Joanne Calderwood vs Valerie Letourneau

Technically this one was being fought at Flyweight (125lbs) but as the UFC doesn’t have that division for women yet I’m more inclined to call it a Catchweight. Interesting match between two strikers too – Calderwood was coming off about a year on the shelf after having to withdraw from her December fight with Paige VanZant, while Letourneau had last fought in a losing effort against Strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Despite JoJo’s clear talents I was leaning towards Letourneau here as she’d fought up at 135lbs before and looked like the bigger fighter, and she also seems to weather damage better than Calderwood.

Round One begins and right away they trade with strikes, no messing around here. Good combo from Letourneau and Calderwood clinches and forces her into the fence with a couple of short elbows. They trade some knees inside before Calderwood hits a sneaky trip takedown to guard. Letourneau closes up the guard and then goes for an armbar and it looks like it might be sunk, but JoJo’s elbow just about clears it and she manages to pull free before dropping a right hand. Another attempt follows for Letourneau but Calderwood avoids, only for the Canadian to kick her free to pop up. Nice combo from Letourneau and they trade back into the clinch before exiting. Exchange continues with both women landing before Calderwood hits Letourneau with a clean right hand. Letourneau fires back with a combo. Good low kick from JoJo and suddenly she uncorks a BEAUTIFUL spinning backfist that drops Letourneau hard! Looks like she’s out in fact, but a couple of hammer fists on the ground appear to wake her up and referee Jerin Valel lets it continue. Probably should’ve been stopped right there. Letourneau manages to hang on in the guard, and with one minute to go it looks like she’ll make it out of the round. Calderwood decide to bring the fight back to standing, but now Letourneau appears to be recovered. She does eat a front kick though that almost causes a wardrobe malfunction of all things. Fuckin’ Reebok. Good elbow from Calderwood and she continues to press the action. Letourneau answers back with a nice combo though and now they’re trading pretty openly. Big rights land for both and the round ends there. 10-9 Calderwood in a great round.

Round Two and Calderwood opens with a nice combo ending in a body kick, only for Letourneau to answer right back with a nice head kick. Good exchange sees both land right hands. Front kick to the body from JoJo. She’s going to the body a lot in fact. Hard right hand lands for Calderwood too. Trade continues and Calderwood is just walking right through Letourneau’s shots. Takedown attempt is avoided by Letourneau. Crescent kick (!) glances for Calderwood. Good right hand follows but Letourneau comes back with a one-two. This is definitely not the best fight with regards to defensive moves, that’s for sure! Exchange continues before Calderwood shoots on a takedown, and trips her down despite Letourneau attempting to defend. This time she lands in half-guard. Letourneau tries to roll for a kimura, but JoJo stays calm and remains on top. Good job from Letourneau to wall-walk to her feet, but JoJo stays on her with some knees from the clinch. Right hand separates for Letourneau but she takes another front kick to the body. Good body kick answers back for Valerie. Good right hand from Calderwood and she catches a kick and dumps Letourneau down again. She lands in full guard this time, and Letourneau does a great job of landing some shots from the bottom that force JoJo to stand back up over her. She kicks the legs as Letourneau scrambles back up, and they continue to exchange shots until the round ends. Another great round; 10-9 Calderwood.

Round Three and Calderwood opens with some kicks as Letourneau looks to counter with punches. Nice combo lands for Calderwood. She’s taking a few jabs but doing much more damage with her low and body kicks. Takedown is defended by Letourneau. Spinning back kick glances for JoJo and she goes for a takedown off it, but Letourneau defends and they wind up clinched. Knees land inside for both girls before Letourneau breaks. Front kick to the body from Calderwood freezes Letourneau in her tracks and she backs up in pain, and Calderwood quickly pours it on with a combination, but Letourneau manages to tie her up in the clinch to survive. They break quickly and a left hook lands for JoJo. Letourneau’s still in deep trouble here despite firing back with a body kick of her own. Big front kick to the face from Calderwood, but an odd moment follows as Letourneau turns away to apparently stop another wardrobe malfunction. That’s gotta suck, dude. Ref appears to call time and then restarts them to much confusion from Kenny Florian in particular. Clinch from Letourneau as they restart and she tries to land some shots, but JoJo quickly breaks off and continues to fire shots at her. Another front kick to the body causes Letourneau to outright turn away in pain, but for some reason Jerin Valel LETS IT GO ON despite her stumbling away, and Calderwood comes flying in with a BRUTAL COMBO before dropping her with ANOTHER spinning backfist for the TKO. Aw man, that was pretty disgusting.

Tremendous opener and a tremendous showing from Joanne Calderwood, but the whole thing was badly marred by a really shitty refereeing performance from Jerin Valel. I know Letourneau is very tough, but realistically she was knocked out in the first round here and in the third I have absolutely no idea why Valel didn’t step in when she turned away rather than let her get knocked out by a truly vicious combo. Best win of Calderwood’s career I’d say when you consider the punishment Letourneau weathered in the fight with Jedrzejczyk, but that ending stunk.

Lightweight Fight: Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs Thibault Gouti

For me this looked like a squash on paper as Frenchman Gouti had lost his UFC debut pretty badly – he was choked out in less than a minute! – and had also failed to get into the TUF 22 house, but it made sense given Aubin-Mercier is a guy they obviously want to push as a possible star in Canada and he needed a rebound following a tough loss to Diego Ferreira. I couldn’t see any area that Gouti could bother Olivier in and picked the Canadian to win by an early submission.

First round begins and Gouti throws out some jabs as they circle, before Olivier shoots on a single leg. Good takedown defense by the Frenchman allows him to stay on his feet, but Aubin-Mercier stays on him and tries to switch to a double. Gouti shrugs that off though and then cracks him with a right as they separate. Cerrone-style lunging knee answers for Olivier but he misses on another takedown attempt. Pair of right hands land for Gouti from close range. Head kick glances for Aubin-Mercier but it doesn’t land cleanly. Another one follows with the same result and Gouti fires back with a stiff jab that forces him to circle out. Good body kick from Olivier and he shoots on a double leg and this time he manages to ground Gouti to a big crowd pop. Pass into half-guard follows but Gouti quickly reclaims full guard. OAM moves back into half-guard and keeps him grounded, dropping a couple of short elbows for good measure, and then he postures up to land a pair of really good shots. Gouti scrambles in an attempt to escape but he gives his back in the process and Olivier slaps one hook in. Gouti tries to escape again and almost manages it, but OAM remains clamped on him with a hook in. Beautiful scramble from Gouti allows him to pop free and suddenly he opens up with punches from the top and Aubin-Mercier looks hurt! He manages to recover quickly though and locks half-guard up to slow the Frenchman down. OAM pops back to his feet with less than a minute to go, and he lands a pair of kicks, one to the head and one to the body. Combo answers for Gouti. Another head kick glances for Olivier and he follows with a combo, but eats a really nasty combo from Gouti before the buzzer. Close round; call it 10-10 in fact as Gouti did more damage despite being controlled for portions.

Second round and Gouti looks confident, pushing forward to begin before stuffing a takedown although he does take a body kick. Quick combo glances for Gouti. Nice knee from Olivier and he lunges in for a takedown again, but Gouti stuffs it pretty easily and lands with a couple of glancing shots. Into the clinch now but Gouti separates swiftly. Combo lands for OAM but he telegraphs another takedown and Gouti stuffs it again. Nice leg kick from Gouti. Looks like his nose is cut though. Short jab connects hard for OAM. Nice combination follows as Gouti pushes forward. Jumping knee from OAM lands as well but Gouti takes it well. Right hook from Gouti and he goes for a guillotine as Olivier shoots, but he can’t get it and the TUF Nations star dumps him to the ground in guard. Couple of strong punches connect from the top for Aubin-Mercier and he passes into half-guard. Good job from Gouti to get back to full guard, but he continues to eat some ground-and-pound. One minute to go and Aubin-Mercier continues to work from the top with elbows and punches. Looks like Gouti might be a bit tired. Round ends with Aubin-Mercier in firm control and goes to him pretty clearly, 10-9.

Third round and Aubin-Mercier shoots pretty quickly this time, driving Gouti into the fence with a single leg attempt. Gouti defends well but he can’t shake OAM off him this time and Olivier keeps working and gets him down, taking the back as they hit the ground. Both hooks are in now and Gouti’s in trouble. Body triangle for good measure from Olivier and he begins to work for the choke as Gouti desperately tries to defend it. The Frenchman tries to roll for a second but he can’t shake Aubin-Mercier off him at all and the Canadian lands some short punches to soften him up while looking for the choke. Gouti keeps trying to defend as best he can, but eventually Olivier locks up the neck and forces him to tap out.

Pretty fun fight and I guess I underrated Gouti – or perhaps overrated Aubin-Mercier, who knows? – as he was able to hang in there for much longer than I expected and actually did a lot of damage standing before Olivier wore him down with the takedowns and by the third round it was beginning to look as one-sided as I expected coming in. Good win for Aubin-Mercier but he still showed some holes in his game – namely a penchant for telegraphing his takedown attempts and allowing himself to get hit – and so I wouldn’t rush him up the ladder just yet. Gouti probably earned another UFC fight with his performance too so good job from him as well.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Steve Bosse vs Sean O’Connell

Well, it seems like every Fight Night card these days has a throwaway fight that doesn’t really belong on the main card in terms of rankings or divisional relevance, but ends up there due to the possibility of it being a dirty brawl, and this one definitely fit that bill. Popular Canadian Bosse had knocked out James Te Huna violently last time out and before that he’d ended up unconscious at the hands of Thiago Santos, and both fights went basically a minute, while O’Connell’s whole UFC career has been knock out or get knocked out. I was going with Bosse but just hoping for some crude entertainment.

Round One begins and they circle around before beginning to trade strikes pretty much right away. Low kick into a right hand from Bosse and they’re just throwing BOMBS at one another with literally zero defense, ha. Good low kick from O’Connell. WILD TRADE follows and Bosse is ROCKED LIKE A FUCKING HURRICANE and a trio of left hands send him crashing down! Looks like he’s out, but somehow he survives a barrage from half-guard and manages to get to full guard to slow O’Connell down. Bosse works back to his feet to a massive pop from the crowd, and they clinch briefly before Bosse separates with a huge right hand. Both men continue to swing haymakers, with Bosse landing a couple of huge shots before O’Connell rocks him with another combo. Back to the clinch and they muscle for position, finally slowing the action down slightly after that insane beginning. One minute to go and they break, and of course Bosse comes in firing again and O’Connell is happy to oblige. Another trade follows in and out of the clinch with Bosse throwing in a spinning backfist for good measure. Back to the clinch with seconds to go, and O’Connell muscles him into the fence before Bosse switches and looks to drop for a takedown. Brief trade ends the round. Well, that was something. I know why they made the main card now! 10-9 O’Connell for that knockdown.

Round Two and Bosse opens with a low kick before they exchange haymakers again with Bosse getting the best of it this time. Takedown attempt from O’Connell follows in reply, but the Canadian stuffs it well and they end up clinched again. Good knee connects inside for O’Connell before Bosse almost trips him down. He pops back up though and they continue to muscle for position. Takedown attempt now from O’Connell but Bosse stuffs it again. Combo breaks for Bosse and both guys look tired to me. Big left hook wobbles Bosse again but this time he remains standing and fires right back, stunning O’Connell with punches before throwing him to the ground and dropping some solid punches from the top. Bosse moves into side mount for a second before O’Connell spins into half-guard, only to eat a huge right hand. Two minutes to go and Bosse continues to drop bombs through the guard, ignoring an upkick in the process. More shots land for Bosse and he does a good job of preventing a reversal from O’Connell. Big hammer fists from Bosse and it looks like he’s about to finish it off, but O’Connell manages to move enough to survive. Side mount now for Bosse but he allows O’Connell to spin around, only to take the back and drop some more bombs. O’Connell is in trouble for sure. He manages to stand with seconds to go though, and Bosse opens up on him with some knees and a crushing right hand. Knee responds for O’Connell and that’s the round. This is a hell of a brawl. 10-9 Bosse to even it up.

Round Three and O’Connell stalks forward as Bosse circles on the outside. Wild haymakers miss for both men as they show no sign of really looking to get any more defensive. Wild combo lands for Bosse and O’Connell is in trouble, but somehow he remains standing and fires back with a left hook that snaps Bosse’s head back. These guys have unbelievable chins and heart. More punches land for both and it looks like O’Connell’s nose is busted. He manages to catch Bosse with another left that has him hurt though. Spinning backfist answers for Bosse. O’Connell’s face is a MESS. He looks exhausted too, but still has enough for another INSANE TRADE OFF that sees him stun Bosse again with a left hand. One-two lands for O’Connell. Another exchange follows with Bosse landing the spinning backfist again to set up a crushing combo that O’Connell TAKES LIKE A MAN. A man who has zero defense and a granite chin that is. Clinch from O’Connell and time is running out now as we’ve got about a minute to go. Takedown attempt from O’Connell but Bosse stuffs it and breaks off with a right. Big punches land for both men again as Bosse keeps on trying the spinning backfist. Seconds to go and O’Connell stuns him again, but he takes it well and they HIGH FIVE AND TRADE HAYMAKERS until the buzzer. Jesus. Call it a 10-10 for a draw because how do you score something like that?

Judges end up going 29-28, 29-28 and 29-27 for Steve Bosse, surprisingly enough. Not sure how he got a 10-8 in there and I’m not really sure he deserved the win, but fuck it, it was the sort of fight where neither guy comes off looking like a loser – aside from the brain cells they undoubtedly obliterated – as it was such an entertaining brawl with both men taking a ludicrous amount of damage and somehow avoiding being knocked out. Won’t win any awards for finesse but as a pseudo-bar brawl it was fantastic. And hey, Fabio Maldonado just came off a pretty crazy fight with Fedor and fights at 205lbs and I can’t be the only one wondering about him vs. Bosse, right?

Welterweight Fight: Donald Cerrone vs Patrick Cote

This was Cowboy’s second foray into the Welterweight division after a successful debut over Alex Oliveira in February, and he was faced with a tougher opponent this time out in Cote, who was on one of the best runs of his UFC career following wins over Josh Burkman and Ben Saunders. I was picking Cerrone to win just because he’s got more tools at this stage and Cote realistically is on the tail end of his career, but I was expecting a tough one for him.

Round One and Cote catches Cerrone on the end of an overhand right early on, but as he swings another Cowboy tackles him down with a double leg to guard. Action slows down from there as Cote holds on and seems to be stalling, before he manages to wriggle free and escape to his feet after about two minutes of the round. Cowboy surprisingly looks like the bigger man here. Right to the body from Cote is answered by a sharp leg kick. Head kick glances for Cowboy. Another beautiful takedown follows and this time he’s in half-guard. He works to pass this time as Cote tries to prevent it, and eventually takes the mount and then slaps one hook in as Cote gives his back. Second hook is in for Cerrone and it looks like he’s got the choke sunk as Cote tries to stand, but somehow the Canadian survives it and frees his neck. One minute to go now as Cerrone continues to work for the choke, but he slips out of the position and ends up standing over Cote kicking the legs. Round ends there and goes firmly to Donald Cerrone, 10-9.

Round Two and they begin by exchanging some kicks, Cerrone getting the better of it and landing a really nasty low kick in particular. Nice combo from Cerrone has Cote covering up for a second but he’s fine and he quickly circles out. Another hard leg kick lands for Cowboy but Cote comes back with one of his own. Cerrone lands another and Cote is looking like he might be struggling with his movement now. He drops his hand in fact to try to block another leg kick. Wild combo from Cote but Cerrone takes it and snaps the Canadian’s head back with a left hand. Nice right uppercut answers for Cote. Brief clinch is broken by a Cerrone knee and they exchange some more kicks with Cowboy again landing hard to the leg. Combo misses for Cote but he does avoid a takedown attempt. Beautiful combo from Cerrone though ends in a hard low kick and has Cote hurt. 1:30 remaining and they trade and Cerrone DECKS COTE WITH A HARD LEFT! Cote looked out there but seemed to wake up as he hit the deck. Couple of hard shots on the ground land for Cerrone before he decides to bring the fight back up. Cote comes forward swinging, but he still looks wobbled to me. Low takedown attempt is easily blocked by Cowboy. He’s looking phenomenal here. Front kick to the body lands for Cowboy and then he hurts Cote with another vicious combo. Cote survives it and tells Cowboy to bring it, but he gets hurt again before the round ends. 10-8 Cerrone for me.

Round Three and Cerrone comes right out with another heavy leg kick. Cote swings right back but he’s clearly struggling. Beautiful combo from Cerrone drops the Canadian hard again and he’s in deep trouble. Cote manages to scramble and goes for a low ankle pick, but Cerrone shrugs that off and calls him back up. Brutal leg kick lands for Cowboy. Cote is switching stances constantly now due to the leg kicks. Head kick glances for Cowboy. Cote just can’t seem to land anything on him. Another head kick lands for Cerrone. Lunging left connects for Cowboy and forces Cote backwards. More forward pressure follows for Cerrone and a left hook and a pair of rights drop Cote hard. This time he turns onto his side and covers up, and Cerrone pounces, dropping into mount where he finishes him off with some strikes. Brutal.

Scary performance from Cerrone, who it must be said didn’t look undersized at all against Cote who is a pretty big 170lber. Cote pretty much got no offense in here and not only that, Cowboy knocked him down and had him hurt on multiple occasions and remember this is a guy with one of the best chins in the division. No slow start from Cowboy this time too as he was all over the Canadian from the off. Time for a top ten opponent I think as 170lbs doesn’t seem as loaded as it once did and I think based on this – when you consider the only other loss Cote has at 170lbs is to Wonderboy – Cerrone could be a legitimate title contender there. Colour me nicely surprised. As with all Donald Cerrone fights this was fantastic entertainment from start to finish, too.

Welterweight Fight: Rory MacDonald vs Stephen Thompson

After beating Johny Hendricks in one-sided fashion earlier in the year, a lot of people were surprised when Wonderboy was booked in this fight rather than in a title match with Robbie Lawler, but personally I wasn’t all that shocked – I know people dislike how he seemed to slide into the title shot but I still maintain it would’ve been unfair for the UFC to yank the rug from under Tyron Woodley, especially when there are some definite question marks around Hendricks right now in this post-USADA world after he missed weight at UFC 192 and then looked tiny in the fight with Thompson. More importantly perhaps was the fact that this was to be the final fight on MacDonald’s contract and he had talked openly about entering free agency, and of course, Zuffa don’t like top contenders going into free agency off big wins and so to put him up against the rising star in Wonderboy rather than giving him a nicer post-Lawler rebound also seemed to make sense. So yeah, not such a shocking match after all and hey, I don’t think many were complaining about this as the de facto #1 contender’s fight anyway. As far as a pick went, I was going with Rory feeling he’s more well rounded, more proven at the top level and not as easy to hit as Wonderboy’s last few opponents.

First round begins and both men look really tentative in the opening seconds as you’d imagine. Crowd are definitely behind Rory. Sudden roll for a heel hook from Rory, but Thompson manages to pull his leg free. Didn’t expect that! Right hand into a glancing body kick from Thompson and he backs up before Rory can respond. Big crowd chant for Rory and he rolls for the leglock again, but Thompson again pulls free immediately. Rory’s finding it hard to get into range. Quick combo glances for Wonderboy. Front kick to the body follows as does a low leg kick. Spin kick glances off Rory’s chest. Thompson is doing a great job of maintaining distance here. Good elbow from Rory allows him to get to the clinch, but Wonderboy connects with some short punches of his own and muscles him into the fence. Not long to go in the round now and Thompson exits with a combo. Good head kick almost lands for Rory but only on the very end, and that’s the round. 10-9 Thompson for me.

Second round and Rory opens with a side kick to the body. Pair of leg kicks respond for Thompson and he avoids a clinch attempt. Couple of flicking jabs glance for Wonderboy and he keeps out of range nicely again. Good left hand from Wonderboy. Question mark kick is blocked by MacDonald who follows by looking for the plum clinch, but Wonderboy quickly escapes. Few fans are beginning to sound restless now as this is falling firmly in the realm of technically excellent, but slightly boring. Basically the opposite of Bosse/O’Connell. Another attempted roll for a leglock misses for Rory, by miles this time. Hook kick misses for Wonderboy. Single leg attempt from Rory and he drives Wonderboy into the cage, but Thompson blocks nicely so Rory clocks him with an elbow and separates. Wonderboy is hanging his hands now. Right hand glances for him over the top of Rory’s guard. Snapping right glances too. Head kick glances for Rory but he eats a jab in response. Side kick to the body from Thompson and he circles out of the way to avoid a flurry from Rory. Few more strikes glance from distance for Wonderboy and the round ends in boos. 10-9 Thompson.

Third round and a low leg kick opens things for Wonderboy. Rory just can’t seem to get inside to land on him, but he does manage to catch Thompson coming off the cage with a right hook, his best shot of the fight thus far. Nice right hand lands for Wonderboy though and he’s right out of range. Glancing left hook connects for Rory in a brief exchange. He’s having more success backing Thompson up in this round. Clinch follows and he lands a knee, but Thompson turns it round and it looks like Rory’s trying to pull guard for a leglock. Thompson avoids but Rory rolls for another leglock, only for Thompson to limp-leg his way out and back to his feet. Good right hand from Wonderboy. Rory is reaching with his left hand but not really using his jab. Brief exchange sees Thompson land a combo and a high body kick. Good left from Wonderboy is answered by a right hook from Rory. Nice combo from Thompson. Hard body kick answers for Rory. Minute to go in the round and the crowd are beginning to boo loudly again. Couple more shots from Wonderboy catch Rory coming in. Round ends with a glancing combo from MacDonald. 10-9 Thompson again, however.

Fourth round and a decent combination opens things for Rory as he’s clearly trying to push the action. Wonderboy leg kick slows him down though. Good movement from Wonderboy allows him to avoid some shots and he catches Rory with a clean right hand over the top. Nice left from Wonderboy and he shrugs off a clinch. Leg kick again from Thompson and he dodges a couple of punches. Front kick to the body into a stiff left from Thompson but Rory makes him pay with a counter combo. Good combo fires back for Wonderboy and he almost takes Rory off his feet with a low leg kick. Side kick to the body from Wonderboy as he continues to snipe from the perfect range. Crowd are furious with this now. Just over a minute to go and Rory desperately needs to get something going. Straight left does land for him but Thompson is out of range before he can follow it up. Nice pair of counter punches land for Thompson. Round ends with a short exchange. Hardly Lawler and MacDonald’s staredown after their fourth round, but you know. 10-9 Thompson and Rory needs a finish.

Fifth round and Rory comes right out swinging, but of course Thompson is right out of range. Nice counter combo from Thompson and it looks like Rory might be bleeding slightly from the nose. Beautiful counter left uppercut from Wonderboy but Rory catches him with a clean left hook. Thompson comes back with a hard left counter of his own though to slow MacDonald down instantly. Right hand from Rory catches him clean again though and now they’re exchanging pretty wildly, lighting the crowd up as both men land. Stiff jab lands for Thompson. Rory’s nose looks badly busted up now. Beautiful right hand lands for Thompson, set up by the jab. Wheel kick misses for Wonderboy but he lands with another right. Takedown attempt from Rory but it goes wrong and he winds up on his back underneath side mount. Wonderboy’s takedown defense has gotten really good. Two minutes to go and Rory’s whole face is looking pretty messy as Thompson drops a few elbows down. Good job from Rory to spin to guard, but Thompson stands free. Rory swings, but Thompson catches him with a combo ending in a question mark kick and Rory looks badly hurt, covering up and freezing in his tracks! Thompson tries to swing for the finish but Rory manages to cover up and survive, again showing some insane toughness. Low leg kick lands for Wonderboy and a body kick follows. Rory is almost as bloody as he was against Lawler. He’s still swinging but he’s also eating sharper counters from Wonderboy. Seconds to go and Rory keeps pushing forward, but he can’t catch Wonderboy cleanly and that’s the fight. I’d call it 50-45 for Thompson.

Judges have it 50-45, 50-45 and 48-47 for Wonderboy, meaning he’s almost certain now to fight the winner of Lawler vs. Woodley and who knows, judging on this he has a decent chance of winning the belt I’d say. It’s not going to be easy due to the styles – Lawler has the ability to drag anyone into a war and hits harder than anyone Thompson’s ever faced, while Woodley is incredibly quick and is more likely to go for takedowns than most of Wonderboy’s recent opponents, but he’s definitely a great contender. Fight wasn’t all that exciting outside of short periods, but from a technical standpoint Wonderboy looked fantastic again and dealt with MacDonald better than anyone not named Robbie Lawler has ever done before, perhaps better than Robbie in fact as he didn’t really get hurt. As for Rory, I think people saying he’s done as a top level fighter are thinking a bit too much about it – sure, he didn’t look great here but he was fighting the top contender right now and nobody since Matt Brown has looked great against Wonderboy. I don’t think a long layoff is what he needs either – he definitely did after the Lawler war, but he’s had a year now and it wasn’t like he looked gunshy like the post-GSP Koscheck for instance. Give him a lower-level opponent and I fully expect him to rebound well. I just hope he stays with the UFC now because outside of Andrey Koreshkov who I think he’d smash to pieces, Bellator has nothing for him. Do the right thing, Rory!

-Show ends there pretty abruptly actually, as I guess they were running out of time.

Final Thoughts….

Really good show in the end, with two fantastic action fights in the form of Calderwood/Letourneau and Bosse/O’Connell to add to the usual awesomeness from Donald Cerrone. Other two fights weren’t quite as good but Aubin-Mercier/Gouti was perfectly acceptable and while Thompson/MacDonald would be what you’d call an acquired taste, for a one-off watch for some excellent striking technique it was fine. So it’s a thumbs up for UFN 89 even if Thompson/MacDonald would bore some people – the ones who would probably call Bosse/O’Connell the FOTY in fact.

Best Fight: Bosse vs. O’Connell
Worst Fight: Thompson vs. MacDonald

Overall Rating: ***3/4

Until next time,

Scott Newman: