MMA Review: #448: UFC Fight Night 36

-This was the first Brazilian show of 2014 and the focus was on the Middleweight division with two top bouts in Machida/Mousasi and Jacare/Carmont. Elsewhere you had the usual myriad of native Brazilian talent and as usual, it looked like a fun card.

UFC Fight Night 36

Jaragua Do Sul, Santa Catarina

-Your hosts are Jon Anik and Kenny Florian.

Featherweight Fight: Charles Oliveira vs Andy Ogle

This was Oliveira’s first fight following his loss to Frankie Edgar; one of those rare fights that had him coming away looking better than he did going in despite the loss. Brit Ogle looked like a tailor-made opponent for him too – a smaller 145lber and a more grappling-based fighter with lesser striking skills. Smart pick was Oliveira, probably with a finish too.

Round One and the crowd are LUDICROUSLY hot for Oliveira. Quick clinch from Ogle but Oliveira clocks him with a knee and then breaks with a combo. Beautiful takedown from Oliveira and he’s almost got mount right away. Mount proper follows and the Brit is in deep shit. He tries to roll, but Oliveira keeps position and then takes the back with both hooks. Ogle stands with Oliveira in the legendary lemur position, and the Brazilian slaps on a body triangle for good measure. He works for the choke as Ogle tries to defend, and having seen Oliveira in this position before you have to give a lot of credit to Ogle for not falling victim right away. They go back to the ground but Oliveira keeps the body triangle locked on, showing tremendous control. Good punches land for Oliveira and he continues to work for the choke, but the Brit defends in excellent fashion. Seconds to go and Ogle manages to shake off a hook, but Oliveira trips him right back down and slaps it back in. Round ends with Oliveira in firm control. Got to be a 10-8 for Oliveira there as Ogle literally did nothing but defend.

Round Two and Ogle looks to strike, but gets popped by a right hand early. Takedown attempt from Oliveira but Ogle stuffs it and lands a combo. Another attempt is more successful though and Oliveira takes Ogle’s back, but this time the Brit manages to escape the position and gets into top position in the Brazilian’s guard. Not much happens from there and Oliveira uses the fence to get to his feet. Right hand breaks for Ogle. Takedown from Oliveira and he lands in Ogle’s guard. The Brit attempts to scoot back towards the fence and does so, popping back up to his feet. Big right misses for Ogle and Oliveira ducks under and hits a takedown, but Ogle reverses. He gives his neck though and Oliveira locks up a guillotine and pulls guard. Ogle manages to survive, but Oliveira switches to a ninja choke and squeezes on that instead. Great job from Ogle to slide his head free and he almost takes the back before Oliveira pops up to his feet. They wind up clinched and Ogle hits a big slam when Oliveira goes for the guillotine again. Ogle lands in side mount and frees his head, then settles into Oliveira’s guard where he lands a solid elbow. Oliveira looks for a triangle choke, but Ogle postures up nicely to avoid. Crowd are openly booing now. Couple more solid shots for Ogle and he passes into side mount, but Oliveira tries to use the fence to work a reversal. He does so and takes the back, landing a knee as Ogle stands. Oliveira pulls him down into back control again and works for the choke, but he can’t get it before the round ends. 10-9 Oliveira but a closer round.

Round Three and Ogle quickly wades forward with punches, shrugging off a clinch, but Oliveira counters a low kick with a short left that drops the Brit. He pounces and takes the back again, looking to lock up the choke, but he slips off and ends up on his back in guard. Triangle attempt from Oliveira but Ogle pops free and stands, landing a body kick as Oliveira gets up. Clinch from Ogle and he tries a takedown, but Oliveira ends up jumping to guard on an unsuccessful guillotine attempt. Nice left elbow lands for Ogle. Oliveira kicks him off to a big pop and then stands where they trade some punches. Good body kick lands for Oliveira and he shoots again, but Ogle sprawls and they wind up clinched. Scramble sees them go down and it’s Ogle who lands on top in the guard. He tries to posture up to deliver some punches, as Oliveira looks to work some upkicks. Triangle attempt comes literally from NOWHERE for Oliveira and within a split second it’s locked up and Ogle taps out. Holy shit that was fast.

Can’t sleep on Charles Oliveira on the ground, dude. Ogle was game as hell and really went for it but he seemed outclassed from the beginning unfortunately. If Oliveira can fix his problems – namely his penchant for allowing himself to get hit REALLY HARD, then he’s a contender at 145lbs. At the very least he’s a fighter who guarantees action every time, which means I’m a fan. Entertaining opener for sure.

Welterweight Fight: Nico Musoke vs Viscardi Andrade

Largely unknown Swede Musoke had made a bang in his UFC debut, outstriking and then submitting veteran Alessio Sakara inside of a round. TUF Brazil II’s Andrade meanwhile had looked fantastic in his own UFC debut, knocking out Bristol Marunde in violent fashion. This seemed like a tough fight to pick, especially with Musoke moving down to 170lbs for the first time, but I was behind Andrade personally.

Round One and both men press the action with some feeler strikes early on. You can tell right away though that Andrade is looking to set up the overhand right. Takedown from Andrade as Musoke overreaches with a right hand. He lands in the Swede’s guard and looks to chop at him with the left elbow as Musoke tries to get his back to the fence to get up. Couple of good shots get through for Andrade as Musoke keeps active and shifts his hips around in an attempt to get up. He eats some punches, but manages to stand and Andrade separates. Stiff jab lands for Musoke. Clinch and a right hook follow for the Swede. Andrade is still looking for the overhand right and sure enough it lands FLUSH and FOLDS MUSOKE. Andrade makes the mistake of prematurely celebrating though, and then realises referee Keith Peterson hasn’t actually stopped things and pounces into the guard in an attempt to finish. Nico actually does well to tie him up, evidently having a good chin, and he goes right into a triangle/armbar attempt that Andrade postures out of. Few good punches get through for Andrade as the crowd start the infamous chant that apparently translates to “You’re gonna die”. Sweep attempt from Musoke and he uses it to get to his feet. Jabs from Nico back Andrade up somewhat but the TUF Brazil veteran almost lands the big overhand right again. Musoke’s beginning to take over now though, landing a nice combination coming forward. Good knee connects too. Right hands glance for both men and then Andrade lands with a thudding left hook. Nice knee to the body from the clinch for Andrade and the round ends just after. Fun round; 10-9 Andrade for the big knockdown.

Round Two and Nico opens with a combo to the body and head. Overhand right glances for Andrade again but Musoke grabs hold of him and forces him into the fence. They muscle for position and Musoke manages to get a rear waistlock, but he can’t trip the Brazilian down as Andrade shows a strong vertical base. Knee connects for Nico and he stays heavy on Andrade, who returns fire with some punches. Trip attempt is avoided by Nico and they break. Body shot connects for Andrade but Musoke pegs him back with a couple of jabs. Takedown is blocked by Musoke and he catches Andrade on his way out with a left head kick! Andrade seems okay though and fires back, but Nico opens up with a combo that has him backpedalling. Musoke drops for the takedown and gets it, dumping Andrade onto his back in guard. Nice ground-and-pound connects for Nico to the body and head, and he stands to attempt a pass before dropping down with another heavy right. Andrade comes back with some paintbrush punches from his back, but Nico is in clear control now and the Brazilian crowd do not like it one bit. Tremendous job by Musoke and he continues to land before passing into side mount. Andrade manages to get back to guard, but he looks like he’s wilting a little under the pressure. More ground-and-pound seals the round for the Swede. 10-9 Musoke to even the scores up.

Round Three and Musoke once again uses his jab to force Andrade back. Andrade tries to draw him into a trade, but Nico lands a right and then backs up before closing the distance into the clinch. Andrade quickly backs out and escapes this time though. Stiff jab snaps Andrade’s head back. Big right hand from Andrade is blocked by Nico who clinches again and forces Andrade into the fence. Trip takedown from Musoke and he takes the back with one hook, but Andrade stands and manages to shake it off. Nico stays on him though and suplexes him back down, and the crowd are FURIOUS. Full back control for Musoke now with both hooks. Good control from Musoke and the boos are LOUD at this point. Body triangle is locked up and Andrade looks out of steam to me. He tries to roll free but can’t shake Musoke off, and the Swede lands some punches to the head for good measure too. He can’t sink the choke to finish, but the clock is ticking on Andrade now. Seconds remaining and it looks bad for Andrade, and the fight ends with Musoke clamped onto his back. Clear-cut 10-9 for Nico Musoke and 29-28 for Musoke’s got to be the only possible result.

Indeed, it’s 29-28 all round for Nico Musoke. This was a stirring comeback for Musoke actually as Andrade had him in a lot of trouble in the first round and probably could’ve finished him had he not prematurely celebrated, but once he’d recovered he really took over the fight with his ground game, thoroughly outworking the TUF Brazil veteran on the mat which was surprising given Andrade is a BJJ world champ. I’m actually interested to see where Musoke’s ceiling is now because that’s two very good upsets in a row for him in the UFC and he’s showed zero nerves in either fight. Nothing overly spectacular here but this was, as the saying goes, perfectly acceptable MMA.

Welterweight Fight: Erick Silva vs Takenori Sato

Silva – looking to bounce back from a nasty KO loss to Dong Hyun Kim – was initially pegged to face David Terrell (!~!) student Nate Loughran here, but when Loughran pulled out with an injury, Pancrase champ Sato was brought in on relatively late notice. I’d never seen Sato fight before but the word was that he was basically a tomato can being brought in for Silva to crush, which made me happy as I’m a big fan of Erick’s.

Fight begins and the crowd are heavily into Erick, treating him as a major star. They circle and both men look tentative early on. Big body kick connects for Silva and Sato looks like he may be hurt. He shoots for a single leg but Silva hops to avoid and then hits some TURNING HEEL KICKS TO THE HEAD with his free leg! Big punches land too and Sato looks like he’s out. Mario Yamasaki stops it there and indeed, the Japanese fighter is unconscious.

Well, that was the definition of a squash match but hey, if you’re going to squash an overmatched opponent you may as well do it in style and Silva definitely delivered in that respect, as those turning heel kicks were absolutely ridiculous. Sure, he’s got some holes in his game that will probably prevent him from ever being a legit title contender but Silva always guarantees excitement and how can you complain about that? Total highlight reel finish.

Middleweight Fight: Ronaldo Jacare Souza vs Francis Carmont

Well, after reeling off an impressive six UFC wins in a row – admittedly some of them in dull fashion – Carmont was definitely due a step up in competition and this was a big one, facing off with Jacare, arguably the best grappler in the division and a guy who had just violently KOd longtime contender Yushin Okami. Despite Carmont’s obvious strengths – size, grappling skill, takedowns – Jacare seemed like a nightmare match for him on paper and I was expecting another stellar performance from the Brazilian here.

Round One and both men throw a lot of feints in the early going. Left hand glances for Carmont. Wheel kick glances for Jacare and he follows with a right hand that sets up a takedown, and from there he takes the back immediately. Body triangle is sunk in and Carmont’s in trouble. Souza controls him nicely and lands some punches, but he doesn’t outright go for the choke surprisingly enough. Carmont rolls but can’t get out and finally Jacare does look to lock up the choke, but the Frenchman defends and manages to survive. Choke suddenly looks locked in but again Carmont manages to tuck his chin and holds out. Lot of guts being shown by Carmont here but it doesn’t look like he can escape the position. Round ends with Souza in firm control even as Carmont tries to turn into him. 10-8 round for Jacare I’d say.

Round Two and Carmont comes out FIRED UP, mean-mugging Jacare from his corner and looking like a psychopath. Hey man, whatever works! Couple of leg kicks open for the Frenchman but Jacare hits him with a stiff jab. Flurry from Souza stuns Carmont and backs him up, allowing the Brazilian to go for the takedown. Carmont manages to shrug it off, but he can’t seem to get his striking game going either. Sick head movement from Souza allows him to avoid some punches from Carmont and he closes in and tags the Frenchman with a combo of his own. Man, Jacare is so fucking awesome these days. Wheel kick even glances for him. Carmont decides to switch it up and goes for a takedown, but Jacare stuffs it and they wind up clinched for a second before breaking. Overhand right from Carmont and Souza goes down, but it’s a slip and he’s right back up. Right hand lands over the top for Souza. Low takedown attempt follows and he forces Carmont into the fence. Carmont breaks off, but eats a right hand as they separate. Carmont comes back with a combo. Carmont is having a little more success with his punches now, but Jacare tells him to bring it and then stalks forward again. Left to the body from Jacare. Single leg attempt follows but Carmont blocks it again and breaks free. Round ends on the feet. Carmont did better but it’s still 10-9 Jacare.

Round Three and cornerman GSP has Carmont fired up again. Leg kick opens for him again and he’s throwing a lot more strikes now, but Souza seems to have the speed and power advantage which isn’t good for him. Couple of nice left hooks land to the body for Jacare. Slick takedown from Jacare, just perfect timing and he lands directly into mount. Carmont rolls, risking it, and Souza gets both hooks in and starts to land some brutal shots. Crowd are going crazy as it looks like the choke might be sunk, but again Carmont manages to survive. Jacare tries to transition into an arm triangle, but Carmont shows some good base. He can’t shake Souza off his back though. Dude is a monster. Carmont manages to get rid of the hooks for a second but Jacare pulls him right back down and slaps them back in, going to the body triangle for good measure. Carmont is growling but not doing much else really as Souza continues to control him. Short punches land for Jacare and the choke looks sunk again for a moment but again Carmont manages to survive the attempt. Fight ends with Jacare firmly in control. 10-9 Souza for a 30-26 in my eyes. Crowd are loving this.

Official scores are 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 for Jacare Souza. No clue how you’d give Carmont a round there (had to be the second I guess) but who cares, right man won anyway. This was a tremendous showing for Jacare as I expected Carmont to at least keep it competitive in losing and really he didn’t, it was a one-sided fight and the Frenchman did well to survive. The thing with Jacare is that while a lot of other top BJJ guys who have come into MMA (Demian Maia, Roger Gracie) have all that technique but aren’t overly athletic, Jacare is one of the most explosive guys in the game and so it allows him to be faster and stronger than most opponents as well as more skilled, which makes him a nightmare fight. Would I pick him over Chris Weidman? Probably not, but against anyone else in the division I think he’s the favourite at this stage. Fight was too one-sided to be considered really good or anything but it was definitely watchable.

Middleweight Fight: Lyoto Machida vs Gegard Mousasi

This one sounded like a striking dream match on paper – the unorthodox karate stylings of Machida taking on the more traditional Dutch kickboxing style of Mousasi, and of course, both men are more than capable on the ground too. The big favourite coming in was Machida, but I was personally taking Mousasi to pull off the upset, as I just couldn’t see Machida being able to comfortably outstrike him as he usually does to his opponents, and I still question Machida’s chin a little, especially as he’s the wrong side of 35 now.

First round begins and Lyoto circles around the outside as Mousasi takes the center of the cage. Early low kick lands for Machida. Mousasi looks like he doesn’t have a care in the world. Hard body kick lands for Machida. Seriously tentative stuff so far which isn’t surprising. Good low kick lands for Mousasi and he dodges a counter combo. Takedown attempt is shrugged off easily by Lyoto. Darting combo glances for Machida. Mousasi is really stalking forward now but he comes up slightly short on his strikes and eats a sick counter left hand from Lyoto. Another left lands to counter a missed combo from Mousasi. Head kick misses for Lyoto. Looks like Lyoto is the faster fighter though. 10-9 Machida; standard Lyoto fare as Mousasi couldn’t get a handle on him at all.

Second round and Machida comes right out with a jumping switch kick that glances off Mousasi’s chest. Low kick from Mousasi and he continues to stalk forward, but he’s also going straight forward which might not be smart against Lyoto. Nice quick left again connects for Machida and he’s out of range before Mousasi can even answer. Good inside leg kick from Mousasi. Body kick from Machida. Couple more quick counter punches land for Lyoto as Mousasi continues to stalk forward. Another low kick from Mousasi but Machida answers with a HARD head kick. Mousasi somehow takes it with no issue and goes for a takedown, but Lyoto shrugs it off. Front kick to the body from Lyoto and he dodges a couple of counter shots. Mousasi seems to be missing or only glancing on everything but his leg kicks. Body kick just comes up short for Mousasi and a quick flurry backs him up. Mousasi tries to grab him to land some shots but Lyoto quickly disengages. One minute to go and Lyoto clips Mousasi with a counter right as Mousasi does manage to land a combo this time. Leg kick follows for Mousasi. Nice low kick from Machida. Seconds to go and Mousasi goes for a takedown, but again Lyoto blocks it. High kick glances for Mousasi on the buzzer. 10-9 Lyoto again.

Third round and Mousasi comes out pawing with his jab as Lyoto continues to circle away. Decent left hook surprises Machida and lands almost cleanly. Single leg attempt from Mousasi but Machida defends it well. Mousasi lands a couple of knees and forces Machida into the clinch, but Lyoto seems comfortable and hits a push kick to the chest before separating. Beautiful left hand set up by a jab from Lyoto and he shrugs a takedown off again. Right hand follows. Spinning back kick to the body from Machida. Mousasi keeps coming forward but a left high kick lands for Lyoto. Nice combo ends in the left high kick again. Mousasi seems to be getting a bit frustrated now and he walks right into a right hand. Trademark lunging knee to the body connects for Machida. Machida is looking awesome now. Wild combo glances for Mousasi but Lyoto fires back with a low kick and a stepping left hand. More of the same follows before Machida surprisingly shoots, but Mousasi blocks with a front facelock. He can’t get a guillotine though and they separate. Left hand from Machida and he’s sliding just out of the way of Mousasi’s strikes. Round ends there. 10-9 Machida and 30-27 for him so far in my eyes.

Fourth round and they come out quite tentatively, with Machida throwing a ton of feints again. Nice takedown comes from nowhere for Mousasi but Lyoto scrambles right back to his feet, eating a knee on the way out. Glancing right hand lands for Mousasi. Good leg kick follows. Machida might be getting slightly tired as he’s hanging his hands a bit now. Left lands for Lyoto and Mousasi visibly checks his nose. Front kick to the body from Lyoto. He’s doing a ton of circling and bouncing around now. Sick leg trip puts Mousasi on his back in guard and Lyoto passes right into half-guard. That was awesome. Mousasi goes for a sweep, but Lyoto slips out into side mount. Immediately Mousasi gets half-guard back though and then looks for the sweep again. This time he gets it with some beautiful technique, winding up on top in half-guard. Machida rolls for a kimura, but Mousasi works free and ends up in full guard. Weird to see Machida on his back. He goes for an oma plata but Mousasi shows great base to avoid and lands a right elbow. Machida does a good job of shifting his hips from the bottom to avoid Mousasi really being able to open up, but he does land with a couple of good shots. Seconds to go and Mousasi stands to drop a left in an attempt to pass, and he takes the back, but Machida throws him over the top and he ends up on his back. Machida drops into the guard but Mousasi lands with an illegal upkick. Bullshit rule but it is what it is and referee Mario Yamasaki has to call time. No point taken thankfully and they restart in Gegard’s guard. Round ends there. 10-9 Mousasi for me as Machida just didn’t put together enough offense and was on the bottom for a decent period of time.

Fifth round and Mousasi misses with a couple of lunging jabs to begin. Flurry backs Mousasi up but doesn’t really land. Machida continues to stay just out of range and narrowly misses a capoeira kick of all things. Output has slowed down a lot for both men now although Mousasi is still pushing forward. Heavy counter knee lands to the body for Lyoto. Stiff left answers for Mousasi. Quick combo lands for Lyoto, who is now bleeding from the nose. Two minutes to go and the foot sweep puts Mousasi on his back again. Into half-guard for Machida and the crowd’s cheer sounds like one where they’re just happy that it probably means he gets the decision now. Lyoto tries to pass, but Mousasi prevents it nicely. Nice pass from Lyoto after a bit of a scramble, and he takes the back with both hooks. Mousasi stands in an attempt to shake him off but Lyoto quickly brings him back down. Mousasi rolls in an attempt to turn into Machida, but he can’t seem to manage it. Seconds to go and they scramble, with Mousasi ending up on his back, and Lyoto puts a stamp on the round with a wild diving right hand into the guard that forces Mousasi to turtle up. I have this 49-46 for Lyoto Machida.

Official scores are 49-46, 50-45 and 50-45 for Lyoto Machida. No controversy here then. Basically this was your standard Lyoto match as he used his feints and movement to stay just out of range for the most part, and sniped at Mousasi from the outside and clearly landed the more significant strikes throughout. Mousasi tried his best but he never really managed to get a handle on the unorthodox Machida, not that it’s easy to do so as Shogun was really the only guy to outthink him over five rounds. Admittedly I expected Mousasi to do better, but I think that might’ve been more wishful thinking as I’m a fan of his. Entertainment factor depends how you feel about Machida and his style – I’m somewhere in the middle so I found this fine, but I could understand both people saying it was a great tactical fight and others who might say it was awful.

-Show ends abruptly there with Machida still celebrating.

Final Thoughts….

This was the absolute definition of a middling show. Nothing sucked outright but nothing was truly outstanding either, and with three fights going the distance and a fourth almost making it that far it felt LONG for a Fight Night card too. If you’re a big Lyoto fan it’s must-see, otherwise I’d call this one a show you can afford to skip. Thumbs firmly in the middle.

Best Fight: Oliveira vs. Ogle
Worst Fight: Andrade vs. Musoke

Overall Rating: **1/2

Until next time,

Scott Newman: