MMA Review: #684: UFC Fight Night 152

-This one was a bit of a throwaway show even for a Fight Night, as while the main event of Kevin Lee vs. Rafael Dos Anjos looked cool, there was a real lack of name value elsewhere. Still, with the likes of Charles Oliveira and Vicente Luque involved I was hoping for some excitement at least.

UFC Fight Night 152

Rochester, New York

-Your hosts are Brendan Fitzgerald and Paul Felder.

Lightweight Fight: Davi Ramos vs Austin Hubbard

BJJ whiz Ramos was on a three-fight winning streak coming into this one so I was surprised he wasn’t matched higher than a newcomer in Hubbard, although I’d guess nobody wanted to fight him. Hubbard was coming in at 11-2 and looked solid, but I still figured he’d end up tapping in this one.

Round One begins and not a lot happen in the first minute or so with some feeler strikes being exchanged before they land a DOUBLE LOW BLOW and have to pause. Restart comes quickly and Ramos lands a couple of one-two combos. Crowd aren’t too happy with this slow-ish pace. Head kick from Ramos is countered by a quick flurry from Hubbard. Exchange continues as Felder suddenly states that Ramos looks a bit like Dan Henderson, and he’s got a point! Big combination lands for Ramos and Hubbard takes it really well, showing a strong chin. Eye poke from Hubbard forces another break but Ramos is okay to continue and he cracks Hubbard with a combo from the restart. Ramos’ stand-up looks much improved and he tags Hubbard again. Big takedown from Ramos with seconds to go but Hubbard bounces back up. Ramos pulls him back down and takes the back with both hooks, but he can’t choke him out before the round ends. Clearly 10-9 for Ramos.

Round Two and Hubbard gets wobbled by a pair of leg kicks. Ramos packs some serious power in his strikes. Decent combo fires back for Hubbard. Knee lands to the jaw of the Brazilian and he might be slightly hurt. He comes back with a combo though and then looks for a takedown, and when Hubbard blocks he takes the back with one hook in. He drags Hubbard down and gets both hooks in, but Hubbard scrambles and escapes to his feet. Decent combination lands for Hubbard but Ramos fires back with punches. Exchange continues before Ramos drops for a takedown, but Hubbard uses a potential kimura to defend. Ramos completes the takedown and gets into half-guard, where he chips away with strikes to end the round. 10-9 Ramos.

Round Three begins with Hubbard pushing forward with a couple of combinations. He keeps on throwing with volume but he’s not landing much cleanly to be fair and Ramos lands a vicious leg kick that slows him down. Big left hook from Ramos has Hubbard wobbled and the Brazilian closes in and continues to rock him with punches before taking the back and dragging him down. Hubbard’s in big trouble here. Big punches get through for Ramos on the ground but Hubbard does just enough to survive. Action slows down a bit as Hubbard manages to hang on, and with 1:40 to go ref Keith Peterson calls a stand-up, angering Ramos as he felt like he was working. Combination lands for Hubbard but Ramos circles out of danger. Hubbard keeps on firing, and manages a right hand that knocks Ramos down as he throws a spin kick. Hubbard refuses to enter the ground so Ramos tries a kick out of a kip-up (!) that doesn’t work. Seconds to go and Hubbard drops into the guard to end the fight. Good ending for Hubbard but I’d call this 30-27 for Ramos.

All three judges have it 30-27 for Davi Ramos, only decision that made sense really. Fight was mostly fun as Hubbard hung tough and tried, but he was outmatched by Ramos in all areas really. Ramos still showed a few holes in his game – his stand-up looked a bit stiff and he could do with stronger takedowns – but if he can close those holes then he’s a possible contender.

Lightweight Fight: Charles Oliveira vs Nik Lentz

This one felt like the most pointless trilogy match ever – not only because Oliveira was on a good run coming in while Lentz felt like he was on the way down in his career, but also because Oliveira had easily won the second fight and had actually won the first before it was turned into a No Contest! To be fair, the first two fights had been a lot of fun, but even so. With all that in mind, I was taking Oliveira by submission.

First round begins and they trade low kicks before Oliveira grabs the clinch. They separate and Lentz lands a solid right hand. Exchange continues before Oliveira has Lentz stunned with a couple of right hands. He recovers well though and fires back with punches of his own. Oliveira looks to be the slightly sharper striker here. Superman elbow (!) lands for Oliveira so Lentz goes for a takedown, but the Brazilian defends it well. Looks like that elbow opened a cut over Lentz’s left eye. They break off and continue to exchange strikes, and then Oliveira lands a jumping front kick to the jaw that has Lentz hurt. He takes Oliveira down but instantly gets swept over into guard, and he could be in trouble. Oliveira laces up the beck and moves into north/south, then drops a vicious elbow for good measure. Looks like he’s going for a top-side guillotine but Lentz avoids it, only to take some more elbows. He manages to escape to his feet, and the round ends with another exchange. 10-9 Oliveira for sure, very good round for him.

Second round and Lentz’s left eye is in a bad way. Oliveira opens with a hard right hand off a caught kick, but Lentz takes him down before he can really follow up. Oliveira wraps up the neck again and looks for a sweep, then goes for the guillotine outright. Lentz is bleeding badly from the eye. It looks like he might be stuck, but somehow he manages to free his head despite almost teasing the tap. Replays apparently show he tapped once but stopped. Lentz tries to work from the top, but eats an illegal upkick and ref Todd Anderson calls time. Lentz says he’s good to go, and Oliveira gets a “hard warning”. They restart in the same position with Oliveira in guard, but he soon kicks Lentz away and stands. They remain clinched and exchange from there before separating. Exchange follows before Oliveira catches a kick and DECKS LENTZ WITH A RIGHT, and from there he seals the deal with some hammer fists.

Fantastic showing from Oliveira as Lentz is renowned for his toughness and yet he got knocked silly there by a guy more known for his submission game. Time for a step up for Oliveira I think as he’s probably on the best run of his career right now and looks great at 155lbs. This fight was just as exciting as the UFC had hoped it would be.

Welterweight Fight: Vicente Luque vs Derrick Krantz

Initially this would’ve been the co-main event and seen Luque taking on Neil Magny in a chance to break into the top ten at 170lbs, but Magny got popped by USADA for some kind of PED and so newcomer Krantz came in on late notice. Smart pick was obviously Luque to continue his streak – 4 fights all finished inside the distance.

Fight begins and Krantz comes out swinging and actually tags Luque before going for a takedown. Luque defends it and jumps up for a guillotine, but Krantz manages to free his head and plants Luque on his back. Scramble from Luque sees him give his back, and Krantz manages to slap both hooks in. He looks for the choke but Luque defends well and shakes off a hook. Slip from Krantz sees him lose position, but he grabs onto an arm-in guillotine instead. Luque escapes and they stand back up, and Krantz might be a bit tired after all of that offense. Good leg kick lands for Luque. Luque looks to put his strikes together as they exchange a bit, and with 1:20 to go he lands a right hand to the temple that has Krantz badly hurt. Krantz tries to survive, but more shots from Luque put him down on all fours and a quick flurry finishes him off.

Well, you can’t fault Krantz there, he came in as a late replacement and took the fight to Luque early on, but when he failed to put him away the writing was on the wall as he looked exhausted midway through the round, which isn’t a good place to be with a ruthless guy like Luque. Fun finish from Luque anyway as he keeps on moving up the ladder at 170lbs.

Women’s Featherweight Fight: Megan Anderson vs Felicia Spencer

After a lacklustre UFC debut loss to Holly Holm and a controversial win over Cat Zingano, this was Anderson’s third Octagon outing and she was looking to really impress this time. Spencer was making her UFC debut after going 6-0 in Invicta, but to me she looked undersized at 145lbs and I figured Anderson would use her striking to knock her out.

Round One begins and Anderson looks to close Spencer down as she throws some low kicks. Right hand lands for Anderson, but Spencer fires back. Hard right connects for Anderson. Clinch from Spencer and she forces Megan into the fence. Spencer decides to pull guard and then as Anderson scrambles, she jumps onto the back and slaps both hooks in! Nice. Anderson looks to roll but can’t get Spencer off her back, and she might be in trouble. Spencer flattens her out and lands a bunch of punches, but Anderson gets to her knees and shakes one hook off. She still looks stuck though and Spencer continues to drop punches before SINKING THE CHOKE, and Anderson taps out! Wow.

Big win for Felicia Spencer and super-disappointing for Anderson who, judging by this and the Holly Holm loss, needs a lot of work on her grappling. Spencer did really well though, getting inside and dragging the fight to the ground, and once she got the back it was OVER.

Middleweight Fight: Antonio Carlos Junior vs Ian Heinisch

This was Heinisch’s second UFC fight following his upset win over Cezar Ferreira last November, while ‘Shoeface’ was riding a 5-fight win streak, although he hadn’t fought in over a year due to injuries. Despite the layoff I figured Shoeface could use his grappling skill to get a submission for his 6th win in a row.

Round One and they trade a bunch of kicks before Shoeface goes into the clinch. Takedown follows for him and he lands in half-guard. Not a lot of action follows as Shoeface tries to pass the guard but can’t quite manage it. Heinisch does well to work back to his feet, but Carlos Junior holds onto a rear waistlock even when Heinisch tries to somersault his way out. Shoeface is all over him here. Another takedown follows but again Heinisch reverses up to his feet. Shoeface gets him down for a third time, but this time Heinisch look to reverse and grabs onto a single leg of his own. He can’t get it though and they come back to their feet in the clinch. Another takedown follows for Shoeface and he takes the back with one hook. Weird shoulder lock attempt leads to a guillotine, but Heinisch slips free. He ends the round underneath full mount, though. Round was all Shoeface, not quite enough for a 10-8 however.

Round Two and Heinisch shows some more movement early on, landing a couple of low kicks and a solid overhand right. Shoeface comes back with a low kick of his own but Heinisch backs him up with some more strikes, albeit not landing too heavily. Eye poke from Heinisch and the ref calls time, but then restarts instantly in a weird moment. Heinisch looks to capitalise but Shoeface takes him down and then gets the back in a scramble. Announcers mention it was a clash of heads that the ref called time for which explains the quick restart. Heinisch manages to work to his feet again, but Shoeface keeps hold of a rear waistlock. Good back elbows from Heinisch prevent him from being dragged down, but a double leg plants him anyway. Heinisch reverses though and gets a takedown of his own, landing in half-guard where he lands some punches to the head. Shoeface gets half-guard but he’s eating a lot of punches now. Big shots get through for Heinisch and Carlos Junior might be in trouble. He clings to the leg and eats some elbows, then drops to his back with Heinisch standing over him, kicking the legs to end the round. Good round for Heinisch, 10-9.

Round Three and the ref warns Heinisch not to grab the fence. Big right hand misses for him as they start and Shoeface comes back with a couple of punches of his own. Low kick puts Heinisch down for a second but he pops back up. Combo lands for Heinisch in reply as they continue to exchange. BRUTAL low blow lands for Shoeface and the ref has to call time. That was like a schoolyard knee to the balls. They restart and Heinisch closes him down and gets a trip, grabbing a front headlock as he gets to his knees. Knee from Heinisch as Shoeface stands, but he gives up a single leg. Heinisch defends well and sprawls out, and they jockey for position before Shoeface gets a rear waistlock again. He slips in trying to drag him down though and winds up on his back in half-guard. Shoeface looks exhausted. Heinisch keeps working from the top with short punches, but a sweep puts him on his back in half-guard. Scramble from Heinisch sets him free and he hits a takedown, and then in a scramble he manages to take top position again. Seconds to go and Heinisch continues to work from the top and he’s in control as the fight ends. 10-9 Heinisch for a 29-28 upset.

Judges all have it 29-28 for Ian Heinisch. Really gritty win for him as he looked totally overmatched in the first round, but then a mix of his heart, tenacity and heavy-hitting style allowed him to come back into the fight and Shoeface got tired and didn’t have a lot of answers for it. It’s actually nice to see a guy like Heinisch who’s not necessarily a super-athlete doing well in the UFC, bit of a throwback in my opinion. Fight was decent enough if not truly great or anything.

Welterweight Fight: Rafael Dos Anjos vs Kevin Lee

This was an intriguing-sounding main event, as RDA was coming off back-to-back losses to Colby Covington and Kamaru Usman and needed to bounce back, while Lee was making the move to 170lbs for the first time following his disappointing loss to Al Iaquinta. Despite this being Lee’s first outing at 170lbs I actually felt he’d win, as RDA’s weakness against pressuring wrestlers had been pretty exposed and I thought Lee could copy the same gameplan.

First round begins and how Lee ever made 155lbs is a mystery as he looks HUGE here. Both guys come right out with some heavy strikes and a right hand from Lee stuns RDA. Takedown follows and he takes the back in a scramble, but Dos Anjos stands back up. Left hand breaks for Lee and they exchange clean punches and wow, Lee is REALLY pushing the pace here. He lands some big combos and then shoots on a single leg, but RDA defends it well. RDA looks to lace up a kimura on the left arm, but he can’t get that and they end up against the fence with Lee really putting the pressure on. He still can’t get RDA off his feet though and the Brazilian breaks with a knee. Body kick into a knee connects for Lee and they trade punches pretty openly. Head kick from RDA might have Lee hurt a bit, but he comes back with a knee. Takedown attempt now from RDA and he dumps Lee onto his back. Reversal from Lee but he gives his neck, only to escape and go for a takedown of his own. RDA defends that and that’s the round. Close one to score, probably Lee for all the pressure though.

Second round and RDA opens with a vicious body kick. Clinch from Lee and he drives Dos Anjos into the fence, then slams him down only to land in a guillotine. RDA uses the choke to sweep back to his feet, but Lee puts him against the fence again. He keeps working for a single leg but can’t quite get RDA off his feet. They break and exchange strikes, with RDA stunning Lee with a head kick. Takedown from RDA and Lee gives his back, but manages to scramble to his feet. Looks like RDA is much fresher. They break and Lee lands some nice punches, backing RDA up, but once again he fails on a takedown attempt. These attempts must be sapping his gas tank, too. RDA keeps defending using the threat of a kimura to the right arm. Nice knee breaks for RDA and he lands a combination. Couple of high kicks answer back for Lee and now they’re trading before Lee shoots again. RDA sprawls to avoid that and lands some short strikes before the round ends. 10-9 Dos Anjos.

Third round and Lee is looking tired. RDA opens with a flying knee, and now he puts pressure on Lee with his punches. Lee comes back with a body kick but RDA is beating him to the punch here. Takedown from RDA and he’s on top in half-guard. Side mount follows and Lee could be in trouble. He turns his back in an attempt to escape, then works to his feet, eating a big knee to the gut on the way up. Takedown attempt from RDA goes wrong now and Lee takes the back, but Dos Anjos escapes and gets on top. Now he takes the back and goes for another takedown when Lee stands. It works and while Lee gets back up, he’s sucking wind like crazy now. He does work to get a takedown, but Dos Anjos looks so calm and he stands back up. Seconds to go and Lee gets him back down, but RDA reverses and gets on top. Round ends inside the clinch. 10-9 RDA. Lee looks cooked.

Fourth round and his left eye is in a bad way. He does land a strong right hand in some early exchanges, but as they trade he catches RDA with a groin kick. Total accident and they restart quickly. Big combo snaps Lee’s head back from the restart and RDA is really popping him with punches now. Low kick drops Lee for a second and while he pops back up, he got hurt there. Takedown attempt from Lee but RDA stuffs it and they break. They trade some more strikes before Lee shoots again, but once again RDA defends. Good knee to the body from RDA and he breaks off, then takes a couple of body kicks. Lee shoots again but RDA defends and suddenly forces Lee to his back, and he looks hurt. Full mount for RDA now and he slaps on an arm triangle choke and steps into side mount, and Lee has to tap out there.

Really impressive showing from RDA as he just absorbed a lot of the early pressure from Lee before dragging him into the deep waters of the later rounds and drowning him. A lot of fighters would’ve wilted under the sheer aggression that Lee showed in the first round but RDA is an old veteran and he was too wily and once Lee got tired, it was all Dos Anjos. I’m sure Lee will have a bright future at 170lbs, but he definitely needs to control that pace, and this was a big lesson for him that he’ll need to learn from. Hell of a fight though!

-Show ends there as the UFC continue not to fuck about with these ESPN+ shows!

Final Thoughts….

Top to bottom this was a great show; Ramos/Hubbard was probably the worst fight but even that was pretty decent, and outside of that we got three really cool finishes from Oliveira, Spencer and Luque, and a hell of a main event between RDA and Lee. Check this one out if you missed it first time around and you won’t be disappointed.

Best Fight: Dos Anjos vs. Lee
Worst Fight: Ramos vs. Hubbard

Overall Rating: ****

Until next time,

Scott Newman: