MMA Review: #690: UFC Fight Night 155

-This one had a pretty weak card on paper with low name value, but on the plus side, UFC legend Urijah Faber was returning from retirement in his home town, so we were at least guaranteed a hot crowd there.

UFC Fight Night 155

Sacramento, California

-Your hosts are Brendan Fitzgerald and Michael Bisping.

Middleweight Fight: Marvin Vettori vs Cezar Ferreira

Vettori had been out for well over a year prior to this one, as his last fight was his loss to Israel Adesanya in April 2018. Ferreira meanwhile had last been seen in a loss to Ian Heinisch in late 2018. Due to how Mutante had struggled in that fight I figured Vettori would find a way to win.

Round One begins and they circle around with nothing thrown in the first 30 seconds and the first thing to land is an EYE POKE from Ferreira. That sucks. They restart after Herb Dean gives Ferreira a real bollocking, and Vettori answers a low kick with a solid left hand. Big swings miss for both men but Vettori has Mutante backing up with heavy punches. Beautiful step-in body shot lands for Ferreira. Wheel kick misses for the Brazilian. Left hand lands for Vettori. Couple of combos have Mutante backing up again. He does come back with a pair of leg kicks though. Exchange continues with both men landing some solid blows. Ferreira’s low kicks are looking good but he’s eating a bunch of punches. Takedown from Vettori with less than a minute to go, and he passes to mount (!) and drops some punches. Big shots land for the Italian and Mutante is in trouble. Round ends with Vettori landing elbows from the top. 10-9 Vettori largely for that finish.

Round Two and Ferreira’s face looks messy. Big shot lands for him but Vettori takes it well and stumbles him with some punches of his own. Takedown from the Italian follows and he plants Ferreira on his back and then gets right back to dropping elbows. Ferreira reverses up, but he eats more punches and he’s bleeding badly now. Nice uppercut lands for Mutante but Vettori drives him back with another takedown attempt. He drags him down with a rear waistlock and then keeps him pressed against the fence, but Ferreira gets free. Big uppercut lands again for Ferreira. Vettori continues to land the better punches though despite taking a couple of low kicks. Left hand has Ferreira wobbled and he eats more punches on the follow-up. Looks like Mutante’s punches have lost their snap too. Takedown attempt from Ferreira is stuffed and Vettori drives him into the fence. Action slows down from there until the round ends. 10-9 Vettori.

Round Three and Ferreira comes out with a big wheel kick that narrowly misses. Takedown attempt follows but Vettori defends it and separates before landing a quick combination. Ferreira is definitely firing in this round and they TRADE OFF from the clinch like a short Frye/Takayama exchange. Ferreira is getting tagged every time Vettori throws punches. Takedown attempt follows for Mutante again but he still can’t get the Italian down. Stumble sees Ferreira go down and when he pops up, Vettori grabs him and shoves him around the cage. Looks like Mutante is out of steam. Two minutes to go and the pace has really slowed down now as Vettori pops Ferreira with some more shots from the outside. Ferreira still can’t get Vettori down and he’s losing this fight. Beautiful one-two snaps Ferreira’s head back and he does well to take it. Round ends on the feet with Vettori still landing. 10-9 Vettori for a clear 30-27.

Judges have it 30-27 all round for Marvin Vettori in what was a really impressive win for him – he basically beat up Ferreira in all areas. I would’ve liked to see him take Mutante down more after really beating on him on the ground in the first round, but hey, it was still a solid showing in a decent enough fight.

Middleweight Fight: Karl Roberson vs Wellington Turman

This one was going largely unnoticed as Turman was making his UFC debut with a solid record of 16-2, while Roberson hadn’t fought since a loss at 205lbs to Glover Teixeira at the start of the year. UFC experience told me to pick Roberson in this one.

Round One and they trade some heavy punches from the off with Roberson landing some pretty heavy shots that Turman just eats up. Couple of heavy kicks glance for Turman and then he shoots hard with a double leg, driving Roberson into the fence. Roberson defends the takedown well initially, but eventually Turman forces him down into side mount. Roberson looks to work to his feet, but almost gives up a guillotine in the process before Turman spins to take his back. Nice job from Roberson allows him to turn and now he gets top position inside the guard. Armbar attempt from Turman is close but Roberson slams his way free and drops a couple of hard punches down through the guard. Action slows slightly as Roberson seems happy to work from the top with short elbows and punches. Into half-guard for Roberson and he continues to work until the round ends. 10-9 Roberson.

Round Two and Roberson tags Turman in the early going with a hard body kick and some follow-up shots. He’s got Turman on the defensive with his striking right now. Clean left hand connects for Roberson and then he surprisingly clinches. Action slows down as they jockey for position inside the clinch, and then Turman manages to take the back from a standing position. Suplex attempt puts Roberson on his knees but he manages to work to his feet. They remain clinched and Turman manages to complete another takedown, landing in full guard this time. He moves into half-guard and drops a couple of elbows, then manages to get the back again. Looks like he’s basically got both hooks this time. One minute to go and Roberson manages to spin free into top position, but soon has to avoid another armbar. Round ends on the ground with Roberson not doing a lot. 10-9 Turman for me as he was more active on offense, but it was close.

Round Three and Roberson opens with some decent strikes from the outside. Turman keeps stalking forward though and glances on a spin kick. Good knee from Roberson in the clinch and he moves Turman across to the fence, but right away the Brazilian drops for the takedown and then takes the back with another rear waistlock. Nice takedown from Turman and he goes for the choke, but doesn’t have his hooks in. He still ends up in full mount though and Roberson could be in trouble. Turman lands some strikes to soften him up and looks in firm control. He takes the back again and the choke looks sunk, but somehow Roberson escapes! Unbelievable. He still remains stuck on his back in half-guard, though, and Turman mounts him again and drops some elbows. Scramble from Roberson only leads to Turman taking the back with both hooks again. Another choke attempt looks close, but Roberson keeps fending it off. Explosion from Roberson puts him on top and he tries to drop some big strikes, stunning Turman with punches from above. Round ends with Roberson standing over Turman, who remains on his back. 10-9 Turman for a 29-28 win.

Official scores are 29-28 Turman, 29-28 Roberson, and 29-28 for Karl Roberson to win the split decision. Not sure about that one – the second round was close but I’d be inclined to say Turman got screwed by the judges there. Decent fight but Roberson needs a lot of work on just making sure he’s trying to keep the fight in his realm – the stand-up – as for some reason he kept clinching and initiating the ground portions where he was losing!

Featherweight Fight: Mirsad Bektic vs Josh Emmett

This one looked like a fascinating clash of a pair of heavy hitters at 145lbs, with Bektic coming off his win over Ricardo Lamas, and Emmett coming off that huge KO win of Michael Johnson. Bektic was my pick here as I felt he was the better wrestler and slightly better athlete overall.

First round begins and the Sacramento crowd are firmly behind Team Alpha Male’s Emmett. Early punches largely miss for both men as do a couple of head kicks. Short right hand glances hard for Emmett. These guys are just about coming up short on their strikes right now. Brief exchange sees Emmett glance on a heavy right hand. Combination glances for Bektic. Bektic appears to be getting into range more now. They’re still throwing heavy combos though. Stiff left jab from Emmett drops Bektic and he follows up with hammer fists as Bektic tries to take him down. Emmett blocks the takedown and gets on top, and from there he rains down some elbows and more punches until Bektic is OUT.

Amazing finish from Josh Emmett as it didn’t look like Bektic was that badly hurt when he went down, but Emmett was all over him with punches and just didn’t let him recover, and one big uppercut clearly had him out. I’m not sure that Emmett is quite good enough to be a title contender at 145lbs, but with that punching power he’s clearly a problem for anyone he faces.

Bantamweight Fight: Urijah Faber vs Ricky Simon

This was basically the REAL main event of the show, with hometown boy Faber coming out of retirement – he’d been gone since December 2016 – at the age of 40 to take on rising star Simon, who’d beaten Rani Yahya in his previous fight. Despite Faber’s age and layoff I took him to win – I just didn’t think Simon was good enough to beat a guy who’d never lost to anyone but the very elite.

Fight begins and Simon glances on some early punches as he pushes forward. Nice jab lands for Simon and he charges in but misses a flying knee. Low kick from Simon but Faber NAILS HIM WITH AN OVERHAND RIGHT! Simon goes DOWN and Faber pounces on him and just DESTROYS HIM with punches to a MASSIVE CROWD POP. Seriously, one of the biggest I’ve ever seen in the UFC. Talk about a way to come back!

Post-fight Faber calls out Henry Cejudo for a title fight, but thankfully the UFC aren’t letting him jump the queue, as he’s facing dangerous prospect Petr Yan next month. If he wins that though, then a title shot is definitely fair. In terms of this fight, it was basically the best possible result for him and for the UFC too as he remains a total star to the crowd, and it’s nice to see him back.

Women’s Bantamweight Fight: Germaine De Randamie vs Aspen Ladd

This was an intriguing fight, albeit not one worthy of being a UFC main event; De Randamie had beaten Raquel Pennington last November in a bit of a dull fight, but people were already talking about a possible title shot for her if she could win here – baffling to me given her last title reign, but you know! Ladd meanwhile was still unbeaten, and had looked excellent in all of her UFC fights thus far. Tough one to call but I was going with Ladd by ground and pound.

Fight begins and Ladd presses forward as GDR throws some punches from the outside. Overhand right connects for GDR and Ladd goes down, and only one follow-up lands before Herb Dean stops it.

Replay appears to show Ladd could’ve continued, so I’m saying this was a gaffe from Herb, although it must be said, Ladd had a poor weight cut and missed weight so I guess he could’ve just been erring on the side of caution due to that. The shot definitely landed cleanly but Ladd definitely didn’t look out. Totally anticlimactic ending although somehow GDR’s been given her title shot off it, so there you go.

-Show ends just after that with GDR celebrating.

Final Thoughts….

Up to the main event this was a solid throwaway show that would’ve been must-see viewing for the Faber fight if it’d had a strong ending. But Ladd/GDR stunk due to the early stoppage, so yeah. It’s a perfectly decent show outside of that, but maybe not worth seeking out other than the Faber comeback.

Best Fight: Faber vs. Simon
Worst Fight: GDR vs. Ladd

Overall Rating: **1/2

Until next time,

Scott Newman: