john lawrence gets in the octagon…
Here we are in the new year and this fight card had the potential to set the pace for the UFC for the year. They put together a great fight card (especially for a free event), and any fight card with Vitor Belfort on it has the potential to be great. This fight card, in my opinion, definitely did not disappoint and I’m pretty excited to see what else the UFC has in store this year.
Vitor Belfort showed up to fight without a doubt. He attacked Michael Bisping at his own game, charging right in and began striking. He knew he could not let up and he continued the barrage until the bell in the first round. Round two continued with more of the same, that is, until about a minute and a half into the round when Vitor released his inner Chuck Norris and dropped Bisping with a head kick. Then he proceeded to follow him to the ground and finish him off with punches. I’m not really sure, at this point, what this is going to mean for the UFC middleweight division, as a win for Bisping would have meant a title shot. Belfort may not receive the same since he has had two title shots, in just as many years. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
In the co-main event of the evening we saw middleweights C.B Dolloway and Daniel Sarafian. This was one of the most back and forth fights I’ve seen in a long time. In the first Sarafian took the fight straight to Dolloway. He was able to stop the collegiate wrestlers take down attempts very well and was able to gain and maintain the upper hand. The second round went the exact opposite direction. Dolloway came out and was able to put on a clinic of his own and late in the round dropped Sarafian with a huge uppercut. He went to the ground to finish up with hammerfists, but he just couldn’t finish him off in time. To the third round we go. This round was really the culmination of the fight. It literally just went back and forth to the final bell. I know this is kind of a cliché, but this was a fight that really could have gone either way. But alas, someone has to win. The judges saw the fight in favor of Dolloway for a split decision. I expect that this will be the year for Dolloway to step up into the heavy hitters of the middleweight division.
In the heavyweight division, there was Gabriel Gonzaga against Ben Rothwell. Gonzaga took the early upper hand in the fight, neutralizing Rothwell and keeping him pinned up against the cage for most of the first round. He continued with his game plan into the second until Rothwell made the mistake of leaving his neck out to the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. Gonzaga wasted no time capitalizing on it and locked in a standing guillotine choke. He pulled Rothwell down into his guard and locked the choke up and the victory.
Relative newcomer to the UFC Khabib Nurmagomedov and long time UFC veteran Thiago Tavares fought in the lightweight division. This fight was over almost as quick as it began. After establishing his range, Nurmagomedov dropped Tavares with a devastating left uppercut. As Tavares hit the canvas, Khabib pounced on him and started dropping viscious elbows. A couple dozen elbows to the head later, the ref finally stepped in and stopped the fight.
Results of the undercard
Godofredo Castro def. Milton Vieira via split-decision
Ronny Markes def. Andrew Craig via unanimous decision
Nik Lentz def. Diego Nunes via unanimous decision
Edson Barboza def. Lucas Martins via submission – strikes
Pedro Nobre vs. Iuri Alcantara – No contest
Ildemar Alcantara def. Wagner Prado via submission – kneebar
Francisco Trinaldo def. C.J. Keith via submission – arm triangle
Submission of the Night went to Ildemar Alcantara for his kneebar
Knock Out of the Night was awarded to Vitor Belfort
Fight of the Night was awarded to C.B. Dolloway and Daniel Sarafian