MMA Review: #676: UFC Fight Night 147

-This was the latest return to the UK for the UFC and to be fair it was a solid card with three really good fights at the top. The rest was a little empty but for a Fight Night, three great fights is always a strong return.

UFC Fight Night 147

03/16/19
London, England

-Your hosts are John Gooden, Dan Hardy and Paul Felder.

Middleweight Fight: Jack Marshman vs John Phillips

This was a strange fight to open proceedings – mainly because it featured two Welshmen! Both guys were coming off two losses as well, meaning their backs were largely against the wall. I was expecting a dirty brawl and went with the more proven Marshman to win.

Fight begins and they circle with little happening in the first minute before Phillips tags Marshman with a hard left hand, knocking him back into the fence. Clinch from Phillips follows and he shoves Marshman into the fence and lands some knees. They break off and a brief exchange sees Marshman land the better shots. Surprising takedown attempt from Marshman is stuffed. Beautiful right hand connects for Phillips and Marshman goes down….but rather than look to finish him Phillips lets him back up with a BOW. No idea what he was doing there! Sure enough Marshman comes back to his feet and immediately tags Phillips with a combo. More circling from Marshman follows as neither man lands anything of note. Wild exchange sees both men glance on bombs. Nice body kick from Marshman and he avoids a wild swing before they trade to end the round. 10-9 Phillips for the knockdown.

2nd round and again it’s Marshman circling on the outside as Phillips pushes forward. Big left hand lands for Phillips to counter a body kick, but Marshman takes it well. Another body kick lands for Marshman. Takedown is stuffed again by Phillips. Couple more shots to the body glance for Marshman. Left hand connects for Phillips but Marshman again takes it well. Big body kick drops Phillips for a second but he pops up as he was off balance, only to take a couple of shots in the process. Wild combo misses for Phillips and he eats a stiff right hand counter. Phillips is talking a ton of trash here too. Another body kick lands for Marshman. He keeps on going to the body and it’s slowing Phillips down now. Round ends with more counters from Marshman and he outright refuses to be drawn into a brawl when Phillips tries to point to a spot on the canvas ala Max Holloway. 10-9 Marshman.

3rd and final round and Phillips connects on the big left hand to open things, but Marshman circles out smartly again and continues to pick at him from the outside with body shots and kicks. Pace has really slowed down here now. Body kick lands again for Marshman. Phillips keeps pushing forward but he just can’t seem to land. Right hand finally connects for him and he’s really swinging now, desperate to catch Marshman with something big. Marshman continues to largely stay out of range and catch him on the end of shots though. Seconds to go and they trade just a bit, but Marshman keeps on staying back. Clean counters land well for Marshman again and then they do trade to end the fight. 10-9 Marshman for a 29-28 in my opinion.

Judges have it 29-28 Phillips, 29-28 Marshman and 29-28 Marshman for ‘The Hammer’ to pick up a split decision. Crowd boo but I think the judges pretty much got it right, as Marshman won the last two rounds with his cleaner striking. Weird fight really as Phillips messed up big time by not trying to finish Marshman after that early knockdown, and then Marshman just refused to brawl and fought smartly, which made sense but also made for a less exciting fight. Ah well!

Welterweight Fight: Claudio Silva vs Danny Roberts

UK-based Brazilian Silva had returned to the UFC in 2018 after the best part of 4 years on the shelf to beat Nordine Taleb in a bit of an upset, and this was his second fight back, facing off with Roberts, who was on a pretty solid 2-fight win streak. Despite MMA Math suggesting Silva would win (he’d beaten Taleb who beat Roberts) I was going for Roberts due to his athletic advantage.

Round One begins and Silva lands a nasty leg kick to begin things. Silva really walks him down early on and lands some decent shots but he’s reaching too and Roberts manages to work his way out of danger. Not much offense from Roberts at all yet really. Clinch from Silva and he forces Roberts down into guard. Silva works into side mount and Roberts might be in trouble here. Looks like he might be setting up for a kimura, but Roberts manages to avoid it but can’t get out from under him at all. Mount attempt winds up with Roberts getting half-guard though. Full mount now for Silva and he lands some shots before looking for an arm triangle. Roberts works super hard to try to block it, and somehow he manages to spin on top as Silva looks to slide out to the side. Big shots land for Roberts as the round ends. 10-9 Silva.

Round Two and Silva again presses the action but gets wobbled badly by a left counter from Roberts. Takedown attempt from Silva manages to stop any momentum though and he pins Roberts on his back in half-guard. That was a big error from Roberts to allow that. Silva is all over him on the ground and he gets to full mount again, and then in a weird moment Roberts reverses and almost gets caught in an armbar, but the ref calls time and puts Silva back in mount as Roberts apparently used his toes in the cage illegally. Bad time for the ref to intervene. Silva takes the back as they restart and again looks for an arm triangle, but once again Roberts escapes and ends up on top after a scramble. Sweep from Silva and they end up standing, and both guys look a bit gassed. Huge left hand from Roberts has Silva hurt again, but he finds himself in the clinch. Break from Roberts and he really hurts the Brazilian with a combo, but somehow Silva manages to drag him down again and takes the back. This is all action. Silva still can’t get a finish despite taking totally dominant positions though, and the round ends with Roberts somehow surviving a deep triangle attempt. 10-9 Silva.

Round Three and Silva looks exhausted coming out of his corner. Roberts looks far fresher. Big left hand puts Silva down and he’s in trouble. Roberts decides to dive into the guard to drop some elbows rather than keep it standing, and he’s got Silva cut up pretty badly here. Silva is in trouble. He gets to half-guard to look for a sweep but Roberts just keeps on dropping elbows. Leglock attempt from Silva and it looks quite dangerous, but Roberts does just enough to stay in the fight. Full guard now for Silva and Roberts lands some more shots, but suddenly gets caught in an armbar and after a bit of a struggle the ref steps in. Weird finish as it looked like Roberts had escaped, but post-fight seems to confirm it was a verbal tap.

Hell of a fight right there; Roberts was in trouble every time the fight hit the ground but somehow kept himself in it and almost had Silva done with his third round flurry until that final armbar took him out. Not a clue where either man goes next but I’ll definitely be willing to keep an eye out for them after this one. Quality stuff.

Bantamweight Fight: Nathaniel Wood vs Jose Quinonez

Wood was garnering quite a lot of hype coming into this one as not only was he on a two-fight win streak in the UFC over a pair of tough opponents (Johnny Eduardo and Andre Ewell) but he was also a local guy, literally hailing from a few miles away from the arena. This was a winnable sounding fight for him too as despite winning 4 in a row, Quinonez’s brawling style seemed to mesh well with Wood’s more technical style.

Fight begins and Quinonez slips on a low kick, causing a big crowd pop. Big counter right lands for Wood as Quinonez throws out some low kicks. Takedown attempt from Wood is blocked and Quinonez goes for one of his own, but he can’t get Wood down. Finally he does force him onto his back in side mount, and he spins into north/south but can’t get anything going from there and Wood hits a reversal before they stand. Striking exchange sees both men land some good shots and Wood has him wobbled with a left hand. Another one drops Quinonez and Wood instantly clamps on for a potential D’Arce, but Quinonez manages to spin around to alleviate the pressure before escaping to his feet. Exchange continues and Wood is definitely the sharper striker here. He tags Quinonez with some more combinations before hitting a takedown to end the round. 10-9 Wood.

Into the 2nd and Quinonez goes down early off a low kick but pops right back up. Wood is all over him with the pressure here though, walking through his shots to land harder ones. Right hand hurts the Mexican but he pops up again. Clinch from Quinonez but he can’t get Wood down and they break off. Right hand lands cleanly for Wood. He keeps on pressing forward before blocking another takedown, and this time Wood hits a slick outside trip and takes the back shortly after. Quinonez tries to scramble out, but Wood slaps both hooks in, sinks the choke and this one is DONE.

Great showing from Nathaniel Wood – it wasn’t a perfect showing as he got hit a few times and taken down but outside of that this was a squash match. Time to move this kid up the card as he’s clearly the real deal and could well be the best hope the UK’s got for a future UFC champ right now.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Volkan Oezdemir vs Dominick Reyes

This was arguably the best fight on this card, even moreso than the main event, as Oezdemir had challenged for the UFC title in 2018 and despite losing that fight – and his subsequent one to Anthony Smith – he was still ranked in the top 5 at 205lbs. Reyes meanwhile had been on a tear, taking out everyone in front of him, and this was his chance at breaking into the elite. I figured he could do it too – I’m a big fan of his style and he’s got all the tools to become the champ in the future – and I picked him to surprisingly steamroll the Swiss fighter here.

First round begins and they circle before Reyes lands a couple of left kicks to the leg and the head. Oezdemir can’t quite get into range in the early going. Low kick sends him down, but he pops right back up. He manages to close Reyes down to land a combo but Reyes quickly circles out. Low blow lands for Reyes and the ref has to call time to let Oezdemir recover. More kicks from Reyes and he just about dodges some clubbing shots from Oezdemir. Clash of low kicks sees Reyes go down but he springs right back up. Oezdemir tries to keep him clinched but Reyes quickly breaks off. Nice left from Oezdemir and he hits a takedown, but Reyes immediately looks to work back up and does so. Good left separates for Reyes. He picks at Oezdemir from the outside before eating a big left. Head kick glances for Reyes in reply though and he circles out. Round ends shortly after. Super-close round to call but I’d probably go 10-9 Oezdemir I think as he seemed to land the bigger shots.

Second round and Reyes looks pretty confident. Nice low kick opens the round for him and he blocks a couple of swings from Oezdemir. More kicks from Reyes as Oezdemir tries to walk him down, but it’s a pretty slow round thus far. Takedown attempt from Reyes but Oezdemir defends it really well and then shoots himself, but Reyes blocks with ease. Hard body kick lands for Reyes. Couple more shots follow as he appears to have found his range a bit despite having to retreat quite a bit too. Nice knee from Oezdemir. Another takedown attempt fails for Reyes, but he does land a heavy body kick. Looks like Reyes’ nose might be busted up. He’s still landing the slightly better shots here though for me. Clean left hand from Reyes but Oezdemir takes it well. Nice counter shot lands for Reyes and he manages to stuff a takedown as the round ends. 10-9 Reyes but really either round could’ve gone either way.

Third round and both guys look slightly tentative. Takedown from Oezdemir but Reyes pops right back up to his feet, only to be forced into the fence. He breaks free quickly though and they continue to exchange. Combination backs Volkan up. Big exchange sees both men glance on hard punches. Both guys look really marked up. Another takedown attempt is defended by Reyes and they wind up in the clinch. Weird moment follows as Reyes’ corner yell at him about a cheese grater, no clue what that’s all about. Two minutes to go and they break, and Reyes hits Oezdemir with a really hard knee to the body. That has him backing up and Reyes hits him with a couple more shots before blocking a takedown. Good body shot again from Reyes now. He’s really stalking forward at this stage. One minute to go and Reyes is starting to pull away, in this round at least. Oezdemir swings back a bit but he’s tired. Pretty open exchange ends the round. 10-9 Reyes for me for a 29-28 win. Could go either way.

Official scores are 29-28 Reyes, 29-28 Oezdemir, and 29-28 for Dominick Reyes to take the split decision. Well, a split was definitely understandable there as the first two rounds were so close, but I definitely thought Reyes did enough with the body work to take the third round so I think the right guy won in the end. Fight had some slow moments but it was mostly fun and hard-hitting. Don’t think Reyes is ready for the title shot just yet, but in two or three more fights? I reckon he’s definitely going to be close.

Welterweight Fight: Leon Edwards vs Gunnar Nelson

This was an interesting fight, as Nelson had choked out Alex Oliveira in impressive fashion in late 2018 while Edwards was on a 6-fight win streak with his last victory coming over Donald Cerrone. Despite Edwards being on a hot run I wasn’t convinced that as a jack-of-all-trades, he’d have enough to handle Nelson on the ground and so I went with Gunni via tapout.

Round One begins and both men look like they’re just trying to gauge the distance early on. Nice body kick connects for Nelson from the outside. Clinch follows and he muscles Edwards into the fence, then follows with a really good takedown after a lot of hard work. Edwards springs back up, but Nelson trips him right back down. He manages to hold Edwards down, but only for a moment as the Englishman works back to his feet again. Good job from Edwards to turn the clinch around and now he hits a takedown of his own, landing in side mount before taking the back with one hook. Couple of decent punches land for Edwards from there and he looks in firm control. Rear naked choke attempt from Edwards (!) but Nelson defends. He can’t seem to get out of this position, though. Crowd are surprisingly behind Gunnar. He works up to his feet but Edwards remains on him like glue, and then he suplexes him back down. Nelson pops back up though and this time he gets free. Seconds to go and Edwards lands a body kick, glances on a head kick and that’s the round. 10-9 Edwards.

Round Two and both men look like they’re in a karate-style stance now. They both glance on some strikes from range before clinching up, but Edwards breaks with a short elbow. Nelson rushes him and pushes him into the fence, but Edwards quickly spins him around and breaks. Two minutes to go and Nelson clinches again, but again Edwards muscles him off. This has been a real nothing round to be honest. Right hand into the clinch from Nelson but he takes a couple of strong knees to the body and then Edwards breaks with a hard left. Seconds to go on the clock and BRUTAL ELBOW from the clinch sends Nelson DOWN and he’s in big trouble! Edwards lands a bunch of shots but can’t quite put him away, and the round ends there. 10-9 Edwards and that knockdown was HUGE.

Round Three and holy shit Nelson’s right orbital bone looks broken, his eye is horribly swollen. Crowd are still way behind Nelson. Takedown attempt from Gunni and he drives Edwards into the fence but can’t get him off his feet. Edwards has become a hell of a wrestler. Another attempt from Nelson still doesn’t work and Edwards separates with a knee to the body. Nelson goes for it again, but it’s the same outcome and this time Edwards forces him into the fence instead and gets a takedown of his own, taking the back for good measure. Nelson stands back up but Edwards keeps hold of a rear waistlock until Gunni spins around into him. Elbow breaks for Edwards. Big right hand from Nelson sets up another takedown attempt and this time he gets Edwards down, quickly passing into mount! Edwards holds on tight as there’s not long left, and sure enough the time runs out. 10-9 Edwards despite that ending and I’d go 30-27 for him.

Judges have it 29-28 Nelson (?!), 29-27 Edwards and 29-28 for Leon Edwards to pick up the decision, thank god. I mean shit, how could anyone score that for Nelson? That’s ridiculous judging. Outside of like two moments of the fight Nelson got outclassed here which was a major surprise to me. Edwards isn’t the loudest talker but he’s become an unbelievably good fighter, particularly with his wrestling which is crazy given he came from a boxing background. Fight wasn’t always the most exciting but it had a lot of high points, particularly that brutal elbow.

Welterweight Fight: Darren Till vs Jorge Masvidal

This was a pretty big fight, with Till looking to bounce back from his loss to Tyron Woodley on home turf while Masvidal had been on the shelf since a 2017 loss to Stephen Thompson, but still sounded like a tough opponent for ‘The Gorilla’. I was taking Till based on Masvidal’s layoff and also because I felt like his style meshed well with Masvidal’s to cause the Cuban a lot of issues.

Crowd are just INSANELY into Till and his Sweet Caroline walk-out track and quite rightfully so. The man is a hero.

First round begins and Masvidal charges out and lands a LOW BLOW. That was shitty although it did look unintentional. Ref calls time and Till recovers quickly, and they restart and Till DECKS HIM WITH A LEFT! Jesus. Till pounces and looks to finish, but Masvidal shows some real toughness to hang on and not take many more shots. They scramble and Masvidal gets back up and somehow looks okay. That was crazy. Big punches glance for Masvidal as Till throws some kicks. Kick from Masvidal is caught and Till takes him down, dropping into the guard. He lets him back up and Masvidal lands some more kicks. Till looks like he’s just trying to measure him for another big shot. Takedown is blocked by Till. Big left hand knocks Masvidal backwards and Till follows up with some more shots but evidently Masvidal’s chin is great and he fires back and lands some decent punches of his own. Till keeps on backing him up and they clinch for a second before the Scouser breaks with an elbow. Crowd are DEAFENING in favour of Till. Big left hook lands for Masvidal and he follows with a body kick. Couple more big shots land for Masvidal but Till shrugs them off and taunts him before landing a hard left of his own. Clinch from Till and then he breaks with a big left uppercut. Masvidal looks stunned but presses forward and that’s the round. Hell of a round. 10-9 Till.

Second round and Till marches forward with some early punches and backs Masvidal up with the left hand again. Masvidal keeps firing back though and he lands the body kick again. Till keeps leaning backwards to avoid punches which is a bit worrying. Eye poke from Till and the ref has to call time again. They restart after Masvidal’s recovered and he gets a takedown, but Till pops right back up. Masvidal looks to take the back but Till shakes him off and they’re clinched now. They break off and Masvidal is coming forward much more now. Good jab lands for Till. He’s still dropping his hands a bit though. Body kick from Masvidal as Till keeps on leaning back. It’s so risky. Big left misses for Till and he eats some big shots from Masvidal. Left glances for Till again and now Masvidal taunts him a bit. Two minutes to go and Masvidal DECKS HIM WITH A LEFT HAND and that’s it! Holy shit. Till is OUT too, completely unconscious. And the crowd go SILENT like it’s Brazil or something.

Best knockout of Masvidal’s career at the time? I’d say so. Replay shows he actually caught Till with TWO big left hands, the second as he was already going down which is just vicious. Till was doing fine early on but the fact that he kept leaning back with his hands down was always dodgy and sure enough it cost him big time. Gutted to see the Gorilla lose, but this main event delivered HUGELY.

-Show ends with Masvidal demanding a title shot and being pretty respectful to England, too.

Final Thoughts….

Well, the opener here stunk but the rest was pretty hot, from the sick knockout in the main event to a really fun fight between Silva and Roberts early on. Reyes/Oezdemir perhaps didn’t quite live up to expectations but it was still solid, so it’s a thumbs up, just about, for this one, and Masvidal’s knockout in particular is a total must-see for any UFC fan.

Best Fight: Till vs. Masvidal
Worst Fight: Marshman vs. Phillips

Overall Rating: ***

Until next time,

Scott Newman:
NewmanMMA@gmail.com