MMA Review: #605: UFC Fight Night 112

-Nobody was really talking about this show until the press conference for the UFC’s summer period a couple of months before it that saw main eventers Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee get into a fist-fight due to Lee’s comments about Chiesa’s mother. Pretty cheap? Possibly, but at least it got people interested! Elsewhere we had a pretty solid card, with another fight involving BJ Penn and the return of former WW champion Johny Hendricks.

UFC Fight Night 112

06/25/17
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

-Your hosts are Jon Anik and Dominick Cruz.

Featherweight Fight: BJ Penn vs Dennis Siver

Aw man, I thought BJ would’ve gone back into retirement for good after being shitkicked by Yair Rodriguez back in January but no dice, he was back here to face Siver in a match I figured he at least had some chance in due to Siver not being the quickest dude in the division.

Round One begins and Penn looks OLD. BJ pushes forward as Siver looks to fire off some kicks, but Penn stuns him with a straight left. Siver clinches and drops for the takedown but Penn shrugs that off despite the German pushing him into the fence. They break off and Siver glances with a front kick to the jaw. Jab connects again for BJ and he continues to push forward through the kicks. Crowd are into BJ. Clinch from Penn and he forces Siver into the fence before the German throws him off. Big jab lands for Penn. Spin kick to the body glances for Siver as both men continue to exchange. Left hook from Siver knocks BJ’s mouthpiece out but ref Herb Dean allows him to put it back in. Siver tags him again though with a right. Exchange continues and Penn looks like he’s slowed down already. Jab does land for Penn but he’s taking more than he’s giving for sure. Jon Anik pretty much says Penn would’ve killed Siver had they met in their primes which is hilarious but TRUE, but the round ends with Siver in control. 10-9 Siver.

Round Two and again Penn comes out throwing the jab as Siver tries more kicks. Quick combination does land for Penn but Siver looks super comfortable with these exchanges to be honest. Big overhand right glances for the German. Takedown attempt is shrugged off by Penn as Siver appears hurt for a second, but he recovers quickly. Penn is basically just boxing here and it isn’t really working. Pair of nice jabs land for Penn to get the crowd going but Siver slows him down again with a front kick. Head kick glances for Siver. Two minutes to go and a counter right uppercut LANDS FOR BJ AND DOWN GOES SIVER!~! Penn pounces to look for the finish, but Siver manages to survive, only to wind up underneath side mount. Couple of knees to the body land for Penn but Siver appears to have recovered now. Round ends with Penn on top and goes to him for the knockdown, evening it up at 19-19.

Round Three and Siver opens with a couple of leg kicks, apparently totally recovered now. Penn looks really tired at this stage, circling out and not really throwing much. Big swings glance for Siver and he’s really got BJ on the back foot. Jabs begin to get through for Siver and he looks totally confident. Spin kick lands cleanly to the body for the German. Jab into a high kick land for Siver and he continues to pour it on. BJ looks absolutely exhausted and Siver’s now beating him to the punch consistently. Leg kicks have BJ badly hurt and a head kick wobbles him. He’s totally on the retreat. More shots land for Siver and Penn is just in survival mode now looking to avoid being too badly hurt. Siver continues to walk him down and land though, rocking him with a left hand and following with some big shots. Penn is doing well to hang in here. The German follows up with more strikes to the point where the ref’s warning Penn to defend himself. Seconds to go and this is effectively over. Big head kick glances for Siver to end the fight. 10-8 round for Siver; 29-27 overall for him.

Judges have it 28-28 (!), 29-28 and 29-27, majority decision for Dennis Siver. Well, the judge who scored the 2nd a 10-8 for Penn but only gave Siver a 10-9 third needs to fuck off out of the sport because it’s not boxing and you don’t get a 10-8 for a knockdown. Penn tried hard but the knockdown was basically all he got as Siver was more fluent, used more weapons and outworked him for most of the fight. And really he’s insane if he carries on now because he’s beyond done and would be spoiling his legacy by going any further. Don’t really think this does much for Siver either as it’s 2017 and not 2010. Fight was decent but nothing special.

Welterweight Fight: Alex Garcia vs Tim Means

As a big fan of Garcia’s and less so for Means I was pretty intrigued by this one, and obviously I was hoping the Dominican Nightmare could pull it out. Means’ reach advantage was worrying admittedly, but hey, he’d looked awful in his previous fight while Alex had looked awesome so the hope was definitely there.

Fight begins and Garcia catches Means pretty cleanly on a left hook early on. Looks like Means wants to keep his distance as you’d expect, but he does let Garcia inside to land punches including a hard uppercut. Means looks stunned and Garcia takes him down, but Means pops back up and ends up pushed into the fence before reversing and breaking with knees to the body. Striking exchange continues with neither guy really getting much of an advantage. Nice right hand into a left hook connects for Garcia and that leads into a brief trade with both glancing on shots. One minute to go in what has been a dull round, and it just looks like both are a bit gunshy. More punches glance for both and the round ends there. Probably 10-9 Garcia I guess as he landed the better punches by a hair.

2nd round and Means opens with a leg kick as he continues to keep his distance, pecking at the shorter Garcia from the outside. This is a yawner of a fight. Takedown attempt is stuffed by Means who eats a short right hand on his way out, but he continues to land punches from the outside, namely a long right hook. He’s also getting through with some jabs now too. Beautiful left hand connects for Means. Garcia is spamming the overhand right but keeps coming up short. Another left hurts Garcia but he recovers well and doesn’t really allow Means to follow up. More of the same follows – a lot of feinting with little action outside of a decent body shot from Means. Garcia’s definitely slowing down now too. Round ends there and yeah, it was pretty crap. 10-9 Means, however. Crowd are booing pretty loudly at the end.

3rd round and Garcia tries the takedown early on, but can’t get it again as Means keeps his distance. Crowd begin to boo again under a minute in before Garcia gets Means down for a second before the Dirty Bird scrambles back up and lands a left on the exit. Good left to the body lands for Means. Garcia just can’t get anything going now. He just can’t get inside Means’ reach. It’s not like Means is doing much more to be fair, just touching him on the end of his punches basically. This sucks. More of the same continues as the crowd keep on booing. Decent combination finally lands for Garcia but he doesn’t follow it and Means fires right back with strikes of his own. Fight eventually peters out with not much else going on. 10-9 Means for a 29-28 I guess.

Judges all have it 29-28 for Tim Means but that was a contender for worst televised fight of 2017 for me; Garcia just couldn’t get inside Means’ reach and I guess Means was too worried about Garcia’s knockout power to really open up. Let’s just forget it happened and move on because it SUCKED.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Dominick Reyes vs Joachim Christensen

This was originally supposed to see Christensen taking on Azamat Murzakanov, but when Murzakanov got removed from the card for UNDISCLOSED REASONS (no idea sorry!) newcomer Reyes was brought in on late notice following a highlight reel head kick KO from Legacy Fighting that went viral on Youtube.

Fight begins and Reyes nails Christensen right away with a body kick. Left hand wobbles the Dane and Reyes OPENS UP and has him in trouble, diving for a leg. Takedown is stuffed by Reyes who DESTROYS HIM WITH A LEFT HAND and the ref actually gets in a bit late as Christensen is DONE and takes a couple of pointless shots for good measure.

Well, that woke the crowd up after that last fight. That was an AWESOME DEBUT for Reyes. Who knows how good he actually is given Christensen wasn’t the best opponent but who cares, the guy could go on to stardom given the thin nature of 205lbs with dudes shooting into the top ten after like two fights.

Women’s Strawweight Fight: Felice Herrig vs Justine Kish

Battle of two TUF 20 alumni here; I was hoping Felice would get a step up the ladder after her big win over Alexa Grasso actually but I guess Kish was undefeated and the UFC don’t seem to want to push Felice for some reason so this was cool enough. Just glad to see Felice getting on the televised card to be honest.

Round One begins and they trade strikes to begin before clinching. Kish tries a throw, but Herrig gets the better of the scramble and takes the back with both hooks! Nice. Crowd love that as Felice starts to look for the rear naked choke, but she loses the hooks and Kish pops up to her feet. Herrig muscles her into the fence though and avoids a plum, and from there both women really go for the takedown before Herrig gets her down, almost landing in an armbar. She avoids that and manages to keep Kish down, working into half-guard as Kish tries to take her back. Herrig again manages to take the back with one hook this time, and again she tries to get the choke. Kish avoids that, but winds up mounted instead and now she’s in trouble. Big shots land for Felice as she looks to finish, and Kish gives her back and ends up in trouble there again too. Mount follows again and Herrig keeps on landing. Kish tries desperately to squirm out though and manages to get into top position for a moment before Felice stands back up. Right hand and a front kick break for Felice before she goes for another takedown, but Kish reverses over and gets on top instead. Round ends with Felice getting back to her feet. 10-9 Herrig, pretty clear round to score.

Round Two and Herrig opens with a hard right hand to counter a low kick. Combination follows for Felice but Kish keeps on pushing forward and swinging. Felice is definitely getting the better of these exchanges. Big combination stuns Kish but evidently she’s got a strong chin as she keeps on walking forward. Kish is badly busted open though over the right eye. Another big combination wobbles Kish. Herrig’s striking is looking awesome here. Kish manages to catch her coming in with a knee though. They clinch up and Kish uses some raw strength to almost throw Felice down, but it doesn’t quite come off. Another clinch from Kish allows her to land an elbow, but Felice forces her into the fence and gets a SLICK hip throw into half-guard. Felice keeps working from the top and takes the back again after a few moments, and from there again she looks for the choke. Beautiful reversal from Kish allows her to spin into the guard, and she lands some short punches before Felice tries an armbar. Kish avoids that and work into side mount, but the round ends before she can capitalise in mount. 10-9 Herrig again.

Round Three and they trade off with punches again from the off before Felice tackles Kish down into the fence. Kish looks to reverse, but this time Herrig forces her back down into half-guard. Full mount follows and this time she really squeezes on it to try to retain position. Kish gives her back again and Felice lands some punches, then gets full mount again before Kish hip escapes to half-guard. Kish manages to get up, but Felice hops onto the back again and this time it looks like she’s got the choke sunk from a standing position. Crowd go wild as Kish drops down with Felice clamped on the back, and somehow she manages to roll free! Felice remains in a dominant position though – side mount – and then she takes full mount again. Hard punches land for Felice and Kish is in trouble now as she looks exhausted. Kish gives her back again and continues to eat shots, and then ends up underneath side mount. Herrig takes the back again off an attempted scramble and now she senses the finish, really hammering with punches a we get a HORRIFIC VISUAL of a SUSPICIOUS STAIN on the mat as it looks like Kish has shit herself. Damn that’s embarrassing. Round ends with Felice completely dominant. Call it 10-8 for a 30-26 win for Felice.

Judges have it 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27 for Felice Herrig. Tremendous performance from her against a pretty tough opponent, and that’s now three in a row for her which has to put her in the top ten surely? She’s improved a TON since the loss to Paige VanZant for instance. Maybe throw her in with Claudia Gadelha next? This fight was a ton of fun too with non-stop action although the shit incident wasn’t nice at all.

Middleweight Fight: Johny Hendricks vs Tim Boetsch

After Hendricks basically rescued his career with his February win at 185lbs over Hector Lombard, this was put together in an interesting pairing given Boetsch is like the master of rescuing his own career from the brink on multiple occasions. Hendricks then did the unthinkable (well, not really) by MISSING WEIGHT despite being a career 170lber, which meant I couldn’t pick him to win.

Fight begins and sure enough Hendricks looks totally bloated and out of shape. They circle with Boetsch throwing some strikes from the outside, and the crowd are totally into Hendricks which is unfortunate. Bunch of kicks land for Boetsch to the leg and body, and Hendricks doesn’t look like he can get much done in the early going. Nice combination lands for Boetsch as Hendricks clips him coming in with a couple of lefts. Hendricks keeps coming forward but he’s walking right into much cleaner strikes from the Barbarian. Crowd continue to chant for Johny though. Couple of lefts from Hendricks set up a clinch, but Boetsch quickly shrugs it off. One minute to go and a nice one-two lands for Boetsch. Seconds to go and Hendricks keeps coming forward, but can’t find his range and Boetsch keeps landing on him. 10-9 Boetsch; it was all forward movement from Hendricks but Boetsch landed the better shots by a mile.

Into the 2nd and Boetsch lands a nice right hand into a body kick. Hendricks keeps pushing forward and lands a decent combination of his own, but Boetsch suddenly hurts him BADLY with a BIG RIGHT HEAD KICK! Hendricks is all over the place as Boetsch closes in, and a right hand drops him to a knee. He pops up, but Boetsch OPENS UP with a series of uppercuts and Hendricks goes down and OUT from there.

Big win for Boetsch but I’d say Hendricks is DONE, he was totally out of shape here, couldn’t get much going outside of just walking forward throwing his left hand, and if he gets beaten by Paulo Borrachinha next month – and he will for sure if he looks like this – then he ought to retire for sure. As for Boetsch he probably saved his UFC career once again with this win, unbelievable really as he’s now been around for practically a DECADE. Fun knockout too.

Lightweight Fight: Michael Chiesa vs Kevin Lee

As I mentioned in the intro this didn’t sound like a huge main event until Lee insulted Chiesa’s mother in a pre-show press conference, making the whole thing HUGELY PERSONAL and so piquing everyone’s interest. Part of me still wonders if the whole thing was a set-up as both seem like smart guys who might pull a stunt like that, but who cares, it worked! My pick was Chiesa for the record as I just felt like he was a little slicker than Lee overall.

Fight gets underway and they circle around with both men missing some early shots. Nice left hand connects for Chiesa and sends Lee backwards, popping the crowd, but Lee seems fine. Takedown follows though and Lee’s on his back in butterfly guard. Reversal from Lee allows him to stand and now he looks for the takedown, and he picks Chiesa up for a slam only to get caught in a modified guillotine. Good job from Lee to avoid that, but Chiesa immediately switches for a triangle instead. Lee postures up to avoid it and manages to break free into the guard, and from there he avoids an armbar to work into side mount. Scramble from Chiesa but Lee takes the back with both hooks and now Chiesa’s in trouble. Big shots get through for Lee from back control as he’s got total control now. Chiesa’s taking some serious damage. Body triangle is locked down now too for Lee. Less than a minute to go and Lee manages to sink a choke in, and it looks tight! Chiesa tries to fight the hands but Mario Yamasaki steps in with NO TAP thinking he’s out and stops it there.

Post-fight we get all sorts of chaos as it appears Chiesa’s perfectly fine and wasn’t close to being out despite the choke being thoroughly sunk in. Replay appears to show a premature stoppage although I do wonder if Chiesa could’ve held on for the 20-or so seconds that were remaining in the round anyway. We’ll never find out though thanks to Yamasaki and that’s wrong, basically. I mean, Lee looked awesome and was clearly ahead, but yeah, really disappointing ending to the fight. Lee got a title shot out of it though which was cool for him!

-Show ends after a brief interview with Lee, who basically confirms Chiesa didn’t tap or go out.

Final Thoughts….

Pretty good show in the end outside of the crummy Garcia/Means fight and the bad ending to the main event. Reyes got a hell of a knockout as did Boetsch, and Herrig/Kish was tremendous fun it its own right. The BJ Penn fight was disappointing but you can’t really expect much from a BJ Penn fight in 2017 after all. Thumbs mildly up for this one then but skip Means/Garcia for sure.

Best Fight: Herrig vs. Kish
Worst Fight: Means vs. Garcia

Overall Rating: ***

Until next time,

Scott Newman:
NewmanMMA@gmail.com