MMA Review: #505: UFC Fight Night 67

-No clue what’s going on with the official releases of the UFC PPVs that I usually pick up so I’m just going to concentrate on the Fight Night shows for the time being. It’ll put me out of order, sure, but I always had fun doing the DREAM and StrikeForce shows right after they’d happened so it should be cool.

This show, anyway, had probably the weirdest choices for main card fights since, well, ever. You had one of the top prospects in the whole sport (Mirsad Bektic); another decent prospect making his UFC debut (Tom Breese); a fight between two top Flyweight contenders (Wilson Reis vs. Jussier Formiga); and one of the most reliable action fighters on the roster (Rony Jason) all on the prelim card while Wendell Oliveira (0-1 UFC) vs. Darren Till (0-0 UFC) and Ryan Jimmo (who had accused Zuffa of slavery) vs. Francimar Barroso (hadn’t fought since March ’14) made the main card. Go figure, it’s so frustrating sometimes. At least we had Condit vs. Alves in the main event!

UFC Fight Night 67

Goiania, Goias

-Your hosts are Jon Anik and Brian Stann.

Welterweight Fight: Darren Till vs Wendell Oliveira

Oliveira – coming off the wrong end of one of 2014’s nastiest knockouts at the hands of Santiago Ponzinibbio – was initially pegged to fight TJ Waldburger here, but that was scuppered when TJ withdrew for unknown reasons and so the Brazilian-based British kickboxer Till stepped in on short notice. With the late notice and the fact that he was a total unknown I couldn’t pick Till here despite not being at all convinced by Oliveira.

We’re underway and Till opens proceedings with a body kick before dodging some shots from Oliveira. Another body kick follows before Oliveira shoots. Till defends it and they end up clinched, where the action slows down as Oliveira lands some knees to the body. Crowd begin to boo as we’ve got a real stalemate here from this clinch. Don’t know if the ref is asleep or what but he really ought to be breaking this up. Finally Till breaks with a jumping knee to the body. Couple of kicks miss for Till as he’s looking to stay at a distance now. Good left hand connects for the Brit. Wild swings miss for Oliveira as Till dodges backwards. Leg kick lands for Till. Oliveira comes back with one of his own. This is a bad round, man. Action peters out as the round ends in a chorus of boos. 10-10 as neither man really did much of note.

Into the 2nd and Oliveira rushes forward, but Till quickly bodylocks him and looks for a takedown. Trip from the Brit but Oliveira pops back up. Head kick glances for Till on the break. Good combo from Till ends in a left hand. Body kick is caught and Oliveira goes for a takedown, but Till defends with a whizzer and manages to get top position on the way down. Half-guard for Oliveira and he lands a short, sharp elbow to the temple. Couple more elbows land hard too. Oliveira tries to tie him up, but Till opens up with some more BRUTAL ELBOWS and Oliveira is OUT. Wow. That finish looked like Jon Jones over Brandon Vera.

First round of this sucked but once Till got confident and settled into the octagon he looked great, hurting Oliveira standing before finishing him violently on the ground. And post-fight Till surprises everyone by cutting a promo in a thick Scouse accent….before switching right into fluent Portuguese! Whoa. If this guy can keep fighting well and winning Zuffa might’ve accidentally stumbled onto a possible star here. We shall see.

Lightweight Fight: Francisco Trinaldo vs Norman Parke

Another match changed by an injury, this would initially have seen TUF: The Smashes winner Parke taking on hot prospect and world-class grappler Gilbert Burns, but Durinho was forced out with an injury and so Massaranduba stepped in, taking his toughest opponent since Michael Chiesa, the last guy to hand him a loss in the UFC. Despite Massaranduba not really reaching the levels I hoped he could coming off his TUF Brazil run I was still picking him to beat Parke here, just due to personal bias I guess as I’m a big fan.

Round One and they circle, with both guys looking pretty tentative in the opening minute. Good inside leg kick from Trinaldo and he lands another to the outside leg. Head kick misses for Parke and Massaranduba catches him with another heavy leg kick. Short jabs glance for both men. Overhand left glances for Trinaldo. More jabs from both before Parke glances on an overhand left. Another hard leg kick from Trinaldo. Parke seems to be pushing forward more but so far he’s being outlanded. Nice body shot from Massaranduba. Combination follows on the counter to the body and head. Takedown from Parke and he plants the Brazilian by the fence. Good elbows to the body connect for Trinaldo as Parke works to keep him grounded. Massaranduba uses the fence to get up to his knees, but Parke dumps him again. Reversal from Trinaldo allows him to stand but Parke takes the back with a rear waistlock and sticks a hook in. He can’t get full back control though and Massaranduba turns into him. Trip from Parke allows him to take top position proper from half-guard, but Massaranduba scrambles and looks for a sweep, preventing any offense from the Irishman. Reversal allows Trinaldo up to his feet, and he throws some back elbows as Parke leans down onto him. Seconds to go and the crowd begin to boo. Elbows from Trinaldo defend the takedown and the round ends with a hard knee and a combo from the Brazilian. Close round; I’d call it 10-9 Massaranduba as he won the stand-up and didn’t really get harmed or controlled by Parke’s takedowns.

Round Two and Trinaldo looks confident, pressing forward and backing Parke up with his strikes. Good combination lands early for him. He’s stringing his punches together really well here. Jabs connect for both men and Trinaldo lands a heavy leg kick for good measure. Takedown attempt from Parke but Massaranduba defends it well. This time he forces Parke into the fence and avoids an outside trip, breaking off a few moments later. Big left hand connects for Massaranduba and a brutal hook to the body follows, slowing the Irishman down. Another takedown is stuffed by Trinaldo who exits with a hard knee to the body. Left hand comes back for Parke but Trinaldo catches him with a combo. Flying knee glances for the Brazilian. Takedown attempt from Parke but a beautiful sprawl allows Trinaldo to avoid it. Crowd are wildly into Massaranduba. He continues to push forward and continues to land on Parke, connecting on a sharp standing elbow as well as with more combos. Flying knee lands for the TUF Brazil veteran. Big left hand has Parke a bit wobbly and he has to really back up. Trinaldo’s got him on the run here. Body kick connects for Massaranduba and he follows with a leg kick. Big overhand left answers for Parke. One minute to go and a left hand connects for Trinaldo. Left to the body follows. Trinaldo’s body work in this round has been brilliant. Another combination backs Parke up and a leg kick lands hard too. Seconds to go and Massaranduba connects on a body kick. Takedown attempt from Parke is stuffed and that’s the round. Probably one of the best rounds of Massaranduba’s UFC career. 10-9 Trinaldo and I’ve got him two rounds up.

Round Three and both men miss with wild overhand lefts. Sharp double jab lands for Trinaldo. Another left lands to the body for him too. Body kick stumbles Parke but it looked more like he was off balance. Another left hook to the body lands for Massaranduba. Takedown attempt from Parke and he drives Trinaldo into the fence and manages to trip him down nicely. Kneebar attempt from Massaranduba is avoided by Parke, who uses it to pass into half-guard. Side mount now, but Trinaldo rolls, only to give his back and Parke gets one hook in. Second hook follows and Parke gets full back control. Trinaldo might be in trouble. He manages to shake off one of the hooks, but Parke works to put it back in quickly. He’s not really going for the choke though despite being in total control. Crowd are booing this loudly as you’d imagine. Neck crank attempt by Parke is defended well. Parke might be running out of time now as he probably needs a finish here. Another attempt at the neck crank fails for the Irishman. Trinaldo manages to shake off the hooks and breaks free, and with just under a minute to go he’s on his feet! Crowd go wild as it looks like he might be setting up for a guillotine variant, but Parke avoids it and drops for a single leg. He gets it, putting Massaranduba back down into half-guard, but the Brazilian rolls for a possible armbar and then tries to reverse. Parke avoids and ends the fight with some punches from the guard. 10-9 Parke but I’d call it 29-28 for Massaranduba overall.

Judges have it a split decision; 29-28 Parke, 29-28 Trinaldo, and 29-28 for Francisco Trinaldo to pick up his third win in a row. Good judging there I’d say – it basically came down to scoring the first round as Trinaldo clearly took the second and Parke the third, and I think Trinaldo’s striking work definitely deserved more than Parke’s largely ineffective takedowns in the first. This was a pretty great showing for Massaranduba actually as his striking looked massively improved and he was tearing Parke up on the feet, and it’s not like Parke is a bad striker or anything. He’s become one of the most underrated guys in the division I’d say and if he were ten years younger then I’d call him a possible future contender. At 37 his ceiling might be slightly lower, but you never know.

Light-Heavyweight Fight: Francimar Barroso vs Ryan Jimmo

So yeah, I had no clue how this one had made the main card, especially when you consider neither man’s really known for their exciting fights (Barroso’s two UFC appearances had been dull while Jimmo’s reputation precedes him) and Jimmo was lucky to still be in a job given his wild tirade against Zuffa prior to his booking here. With Jimmo clearly having his back to the wall – the word was he was basically a lock to be cut with a loss due to his accusations – I thought he’d somehow manage to pull the win out, albeit probably in boring fashion.

First round begins and Jimmo opens with a leg kick. Eye poke apparently follows, but Barroso is okay. Quick flurry from Barroso but Jimmo lands a right hand counter. Lot of feinting thus far. Clinch from Barroso and he forces Jimmo into the fence. Jimmo defends the possible takedown and from there we get a whole bunch of NOTHING. Really hard single leg attempt can’t get Jimmo off his feet. Couple of shots land inside for Barroso but that’s about it. Barroso finally manages to get him down, but it’s literally just for a split second and then Jimmo’s back up. This is awful. Less than a minute to go and the ref FINALLY calls a break. Head kick misses for Jimmo. Leg kick does land for the Canadian. Glancing combo from Barroso. Round ends with more feinting. 10-9 Barroso? Terrible stuff.

Second round and Barroso tries to back Jimmo into the fence but can’t quite manage it. He does land a good body kick though. Takedown attempt is stuffed by Jimmo, and he takes a knee to the body en route to trying to force the Brazilian into the fence. Barroso immediately switches position though and forces Jimmo back. Yawn. They exchange some knees and this time the ref separates them a bit quicker. Couple of kicks glance for Barroso. Jimmo just isn’t doing enough at all here. BRUTAL low blow from Barroso causes Jimmo to collapse in AGONY and the ref obviously has to call time. Doctor has to come in with a BUCKET as Jimmo is heaving. Jesus Christ. Damnit why aren’t his corner fanning his crotch with the Canadian flag? Brian Stann outright says now he’s being sick into the bucket which ought to mean the fight gets thrown out, I’d say. Barroso must be loving this massive recovery period. I seriously can’t believe they’re going to let this continue. Somehow though Jimmo walks it off and they decide to carry on. Wow. Jimmo actually looks like he’s moving fine too. Both men glance on some combinations before Jimmo throws a head kick that Barroso just about blocks. Surprised Barroso isn’t being more aggressive considering. Sloppy punches connect for Barroso coming forward. Right uppercut lands for Jimmo. Right hand answers for Barroso and freezes Jimmo up for a second. Clinch from the Brazilian and he forces Jimmo back into the fence again. He drops for a single leg before releasing to land a pair of hard shots. Jimmo’s still vertical though and once again the action slows to a halt. Ref calls another break with seconds to go and they stare at one another until the buzzer sounds. Ugh. 10-9 Barroso.

Third round and Jimmo opens with some leg kicks as they continue to feint and circle. We might be looking at the worst televised fight of 2015 right here. This or Kelly vs. Walsh from UFN 60 anyway. Crowd are openly booing as Brian Stann tries his best to channel Uncle Dana by going on about whether they WANT TO BE A FIGHTER or not. Clinch from Barroso, surprisingly and he forces Jimmo into the cage. Crowd are just furious now. I hope whoever chose this to go on the main card over Mirsad Bektic got fired. Just over a minute and half and the ref mercifully calls a clean break. And it’s back to the staring contest. Right hand sets up another clinch for Barroso. And of course NOTHING HAPPENS from there outside of a few knees to the thighs. And that’s the fight. 30-27 Barroso but really who cares?

Official scores are 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Francimar Barroso. Look, I don’t like to rag on any of these fighters because I’ve never been in the cage myself and shit, I wouldn’t want to take a low blow like Jimmo just took but man, these dudes are meant to be the best fighters in the world and even if they’re putting on a sloppy fight at least they’re trying. These guys showed literally nothing here, zero aggression, and generally didn’t look like they wanted to be there. Well, I guess with his anti-UFC stance Jimmo DIDN’T. So yeah good luck to him in WSOF or whatever and hopefully I never have to see him fight again. Worst fight I’ve seen in a long time.

Welterweight Fight: Alex Oliveira vs KJ Noons

The UFC’s “other” Cowboy, Oliveira had been one of the best surprises of 2015 in his debut loss to Gilbert Burns, as he’d really taken the fight to the hot prospect and was beating him soundly for two rounds before falling to Burns’s nasty grappling in the third. Here he was moving up to 170lbs and was again taking a short-notice fight, replacing Yan Cabral against the veteran Noons, who had last been seen in an unfortunate eye-poke induced No Contest with Daron Cruickshank. Despite Noons having a big experience advantage, after seeing how well Alex Cowboy had done against Burns I was picking him to win in a mild upset.

Fight begins and Oliveira circles on the outside as Noons takes the center of the cage. Good right hand connects for Noons in a brief exchange. Takedown attempt from Oliveira and he gets KJ down, but he pops right back up. Oliveira stays on him and gets a rear waistlock, dumping him down again. Nice suplex puts Noons onto the ground and Oliveira gets one hook in. He looks to slap the other in but KJ crawls towards the fence and looks to stand. Good job from Oliveira to get behind him though and he gets the second hook in and LOCKS IN THE CHOKE. Noons taps out swiftly.

Total squash – I picked Oliveira but didn’t think he’d finish KJ that quickly and easily to be honest. I think Noons is way past his prime at this point but man, Alex Cowboy looked like a monster in there. UFC really stumbled onto a great talent when they picked him up as a late replacement back in February and I think he could develop into a legit contender, especially if he drops back to 155lbs. Great way to wash the shitty taste of Jimmo/Barroso away too as this was a quick, exciting fight with a decisive ending.

Featherweight Fight: Charles Oliveira vs Nik Lentz

Hey, if you’re into guys named ‘Oliveira’ then this is definitely the show for you! This was a rematch from a fight back in 2011 that saw Oliveira choke Lentz out after largely dominating him on the ground, but unfortunately for the Brazilian the result was changed to a No Contest after the replays picked up a blatant illegal knee to the head that stunned Lentz leading to the finish. Since then both men had dropped to 145lbs and were doing very well for themselves – Oliveira was on a three-fight streak with wins over Jeremy Stephens and Hatsu Hioki in there while Lentz was 4-1 at the weight with the only loss to Chad Mendes. Close fight to call but as Oliveira had largely dominated the first one I was taking him to do the same here and pick up the win for sure this time.

Round One and Lentz throws a couple of kicks to set up a takedown attempt. He drives Oliveira into the fence as I begin to get Barroso/Jimmo flashbacks, but Lentz decides to get much more active by landing some big punches before Oliveira catches him in a tight, high-angle guillotine. He forces Lentz down but the American does a good job of getting on top and freeing his neck. Oliveira goes to full guard but takes a solid right hand. Lentz decides he’s better off standing though and tags Oliveira with a right hand to set up another clinch. Trip takedown from Oliveira turns the tables and he grabs a front headlock off the scramble. He can’t get a guillotine though and Lentz escapes only to eat a knee and an elbow on the way out. Good combo coming forward from Lentz but he eats another knee and an elbow that has him shooting for a takedown. Oliveira blocks the trip before Lentz clocks him with an overhand right. They break off and Oliveira walks through some punches to hit Lentz with a knee to the body from the plum. Back to the clinch and they continue to exchange, before Lentz trips him down for a split second. Oliveira pops back up but Lentz tags him with a flurry and he might be in trouble. He comes back though by blocking a takedown and landing another knee and a big straight right that snaps Lentz’s head back. Wild exchange sees both men land BIG PUNCHES and knees. These guys are just GOING FOR IT. BRUTAL knee to the body drops Lentz and Oliveira pounces and looks for the finish. Somehow Lentz survives, but he’s taking some really nasty shots from Oliveira who then drops down into side mount. Lentz gives his back for a second but then manages to shift himself into bottom position, only to take a nasty knee to the body and some more shots. Full mount for Oliveira but Lentz survives the round. That was AWESOME. 10-9 Oliveira.

Round Two and Oliveira opens with a body kick and they TRADE OFF WILDLY with both guys landing bombs. What the hell happened to the Lentz who used to wall and stall his way to wins? Not that I care that he’s been replaced with this awesome version of Lentz. Takedown from Lentz and he lands in half-guard. Few elbows land for Oliveira from the bottom but Lentz adds his own from the top and obviously Lentz’s land with more force. Looks like Lentz might be going for some sort of choke variant, and he uses that to pass into side mount. Oliveira rolls and gives his back in order to stand, but Lentz hits a SICK GERMAN SUPLEX that drops Oliveira RIGHT ONTO HIS HEAD. Jesus. Somehow he’s okay though and gets to full guard, where he lands a pair of vicious upkicks. Lentz drops some shots over the top and now he goes for a guillotine, dropping to guard for good measure, but Oliveira rolls. Lentz keeps the choke on from top position for a second before giving up to nail him with some hard elbows from the half-guard. Punches and hammer fists follow before Oliveira somehow shifts himself into a heel hook attempt and now we go into the 50/50 guard. Nice left hook from there for Oliveira and he’s really working hard for the leglock, but Lentz manages to spin free and gets back on top. Oliveira might be getting tired now. Full mount for Lentz and he looks to lock up the neck again when Oliveira sits up against the cage. Oliveira gives his back to escape that, and with seconds to go he’s up on his feet. Diving leglock (!) attempt from Oliveira but Lentz avoids it and takes top position to close the round out. Tremendous. 10-9 Lentz to even things up.

Round Three and Oliveira opens with a body kick, Lentz responds with a wild combo and Oliveira cracks him with a knee to the body for his troubles. Big knee to the body again from Oliveira but Lentz throws him into the fence and looks to secure a front headlock. He uses it to force Oliveira down, but Oliveira rolls, cracks him with another knee to the body and then suddenly locks up a TIGHT GUILLOTINE and jumps to guard. Holy shit that was fast. Lentz rolls but winds up mounted in the guillotine and after a moment or two he has to tap.

Incredible fight. Made up for Barroso/Jimmo and then some. That was one of those rare fights where I’d say both guys came away looking better than they did going in as while Lentz lost, it was easily the best fight of his UFC career and probably guarantees him a good few more fights with them even if he doesn’t rise into title contention. As for Oliveira he’s a legit contender now, no doubt, and you could match him with any of the other top 145lbers and make a great fight. This was a definite FOTYC in my opinion.

Welterweight Fight: Carlos Condit vs Thiago Alves

Fantastic fight on paper for the main event. This was Condit’s first fight back following a long layoff of well over a year with a knee injury sustained in his UFC 171 match with Tyron Woodley, while for Alves it was a rare chance to fight someone who’d been less active than he had, as he’d beaten Jordan Mein in January and this was his quickest fight turnaround since like 2008. General consensus seemed to be with Condit but I was sort-of tempted to pick Alves due to his powerful leg kicks going against Condit’s dodgy knee. I was definitely expecting an exciting fight though, that’s for sure.

Round One and the crowd are LOUD, chanting that Condit’s gonna die. Head kick misses for Condit in the first exchange as Alves pushes forward with a hard body kick of his own. They continue to exchange kicks with Alves firing off a couple of his trademark leg kicks. Combo misses for Condit with Thiago doing a good job of getting out of the way. Chopping leg kick from Alves but Condit answers with one of his own. Few more kicks land for Condit. Wild wheel kick misses though. Alves looks like he might be in counter mode. He does a good job of dodging Condit’s attacks though and lands another heavy leg kick. Step-in elbow glances for Condit. Beautiful leg kick from Alves and he connects on a counter right hand too. Alves is doing a great job of keeping out of the range of Condit’s attacks so far. Another leg kick lands for the Brazilian but he takes a combo ending in a body kick. Left hand into a leg kick from Alves. Clinch from Condit but Alves shrugs it off quickly. Pair of leg kicks land for Condit but Alves comes back with two of his own. Big left hand lands for Alves. Body kick from Condit is answered by a leg kick from Alves. Round ends there. Close round but I’d call it 10-9 Alves as I thought he just about got the better strikes in.

Round Two and Condit opens with a right-left-head kick combo but doesn’t land cleanly. Big leg kick from Alves. Nice combo lands for Condit from close range. Leg kick answers for Alves. Inside leg kick follows but Condit fires back with a CRUSHING LEFT ELBOW that sends Alves down! Crowd go SILENT as Condit pounces, looking to finish him off, and Thiago wobbles to his feet but then goes right back down. His nose looks busted up badly and Condit nails him with some shots on the ground before taking full mount! Alves gives his back and Condit continues to land big shots without putting the hooks in. Alves rolls onto his back but he’s taking some serious punishment here. Lot of blood from the nose too which looks shattered. Big knee to the body from Condit as Alves tries to stand. He works his way back up and somehow goes for a choke, but Condit breaks free into a wild trade. Front kick lands to the jaw of the Brazilian. He’s pushing forward but he doesn’t look completely steady to me and Condit tags him with more punches into the clinch before breaking off. Alves has the heart of a lion as he keeps on pushing forward. Big left to the body from Condit and he follows with a BRUTAL right elbow directly to the nose! More big shots land for Condit and then he slams Alves down and goes into almost north/south before taking the back again. Rear naked choke attempt but Alves manages to survive, only to end up mounted. More shots land for Condit and Alves looks about done. Somehow he keeps on moving though to prevent the stoppage. Condit is all over him here, wow. Alves’s nose is MANGLED. Looks like Condit’s going for a D’Arce, but he gives it up as Alves scrambles to his feet and somehow pushes forward. He keeps swinging, but Condit’s landing the better shots still. Spinning elbow seems to stun Alves and Condit opens up on him again before landing a takedown on the buzzer. 10-8 Condit as he was so close to a finish.

Doctor decides to stop the fight between rounds due to Alves’s shattered nose. Crowd boo but I can’t really fault the doc there as Thiago was a mess and obviously you don’t want a guy who’s probably unable to breathe going back out there. Alves showed a hell of a lot of toughness to keep going forward in the second round but realistically he was done once Condit smashed his nose up. This was a tremendously entertaining fight though with Alves looking really good in the first round, but once he’d overcome that somewhat slow start, Condit poured it on in the second and once he dropped Thiago the result seemed academic as he’s not the guy you want coming after you when you’re hurt. Condit is BACK and this fight actually earned him a title shot as I guess Zuffa brass preferred his wild style to match with Robbie Lawler more than the wrestling-heavy style of Hendricks or Woodley. Can’t wait for that one as it promises to be a crazy fight for sure.

-Show ends abruptly after the post-fight interviews, neither of which stand out.

Final Thoughts….

Outside of that one stinker between Jimmo and Barroso – and the first round of Till/Oliveira I guess – this was a hell of a show, with Lentz/Oliveira being a FOTYC, Condit/Alves largely living up to expectation and a decent enough fight between Massaranduba and Parke as well as nasty finishes for Till and Alex Cowboy. Skip over Barroso/Jimmo for sure as it’s dogshit but the rest is really good and definitely worth a thumbs up.

Best Fight: Oliveira vs. Lentz
Worst Fight: Jimmo vs. Barroso

Overall Rating: ***1/2

Until next time,

Scott Newman: