The first stop in border city Hidalgo, Texas can be considered a success. After controversial decisions and referee’s decisions, the card plowed through with great fight after great fight. As expected, the main and co-main event lead the pack as both ended in first-round finishes, combining for a total time three minutes and 16 seconds. With the crazy finishes and controversies, here’s the five thing we learned from UFC: Hidalgo.
Belal Muhammad is the real deal
The Roufusport trained Belal Muhammad made his UFC debut in July against rising star Alan Jouban. The former Titan FC Welterweight champion was called to action less than a month before to be on the main card during the biggest weekend in company history.
He showed resilience and toughness in the fight against Jouban. Despite being dropped three times in the fight, Muhammad fought and scrapped to a decision loss. He was able to land some strikes and takedown Jouban twice in the fight. All-around, it felt like Muhammad was in the UFC to stay and could be a name in this sport.
His fight with Augusto Montano at UFC Hidalgo was we people have come to expect from Muhammad. High pressure, diverse set of striking skills that can be transitioned into wrestling and grappling seamlessly.
With his third-round decision win over Montano, Muhammad picked up his first UFC win and put himself in a position to show that he is the real thing in the UFC.
Referee/Judging in MMA needs some reform
We have seen it time and time again that fans are left scratching their head after a decision is called or a referee’s in-cage decision is deemed inaccurate. UFC: Hidalgo was not any different in this sense.
The preliminary card gave a lot of different reactions to its referee’s decision. Alejandro Perez was deducted a point for throwing a punch in between rounds during the first fight of the night. However, referee Kerry Hatley did not warn or deduct a point from Perez’s opponent Alberto Morales for a clear knee to a downed opponent in the very next round.
During the next fight on the card, both Randy Brown and Erick Montano were warned multiple times to keep their hands and feet out of the fence. Both fighters continued to use the fence and were warned with the words ‘final warning’ being issues, without any repercussions.
Judging and referee work is a real issue in MMA and is something that needs to change. Whatever the answer may be, it could be more beneficial to this sport than any other major change.
Derek Brunson is ready for the elite at Middleweight
Derek Brunson’s first-round TKO over fellow top 10 fighter Uriah Hall puts Brunson right in the thick of things at 185 pounds. With contenders like Dan Henderson, Chris Weidman, Luke Rockhold, Jacare Souza, and Yoel Romero, Brunson should be added to that list of top contenders who could step up right now.
Following stoppages of Ed Herman, Sam Alvey, and Roan Carneiro, Brunson is tied for the longest KO/TKO streak in the UFC with Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic. His lone loss in eight UFC fights is to Yoel Romero where he lost by TKO in the third round.
A fight with Gegard Mousasi was booked at UFC 200 before he had to pull out due to injury. A fight with the winner of either the Mousasi-Vitor Belfort or Weidman-Romero fight should be in order for Brunson after this win.
2016 is the year of the draw
UFC: Hidalgo saw yet another draw for 2016. This marks the record for the most in a year for the UFC with six when the Bantamweight bout between Alejandro Perez and Albert Morales ended in a majority draw.
The bout would have been a decision win for Perez without the point deduction right before the start of the third-round. The deduction occurred for a punch thrown after the bell by Perez at the end of the second-round.
Of the six draws this year, three have been due to a point deduction while the other three were due to 10-8 rounds. None of the fights ending in a draw have been on a main card this year. All six were originally broadcasted on UFC Fight Pass.
2015 saw just two decisions go the route of a draw. It’s exactly opposite of the draws in 2016 as both came via 10-8 rounds were on the main card.
Dustin Poirier is not quite ready for the top tier of Lightweights
Being a top contender at 145 pounds, Dustin Poirier lost the fight of his life at UFC 178 against now Featherweight champion Conor McGregor. After the fight, he went up to the Lightweight division in order to revive his career.
Knockout victories over Carlos Diego Ferreira, Yancy Medeiros, and Bobby Green with the addition of a decision win over Joseph Duffy, Poirier catapulted into the top 10 and earned the main event slot at this event. With the only top 15 fight coming against Bobby Green at UFC 199, this fight with Michael Johnson was a serious risk and could make or break Poirier. It would be the first main event slot for Poirier at 155 pounds.
With the first-round knockout loss, it’s back to the drawing board. Everyone was raving about how Poirier transformed his career with the move. His progress was halted with the loss, and everyone alike may have put too much on him too quickly.
*Live Updates* UFC Winnipeg Official Results
The UFC returns to Canada for the final Fight Night card of 2017. In the cold of Winnipeg, Manitoba, the UFC will host eleven of the originally twelve scheduled fights. Unfortunately, Tim Elliot will not fight in the north country. His scheduled opponent, Pietro Menga, a newcomer to the promotions roster, failed to make weight after taking the bout with just over a weeks notice.
An exciting main card will be capped off with a potential contender eliminator bout featuring, Robbie Lawler and Rafael Dos Anjos. The former champions (Lawler at welterweight, Dos Anjos at lightweight) both put together impressive win streaks which dispatched top contenders in their respective divisions. Elsewhere on the main card, Santiago Ponzinibbio takes on the outspoken Mike Perry.
The card begins on UFC Fight Pass at 4:30/1:30 ETPT.
UFC Winnipeg Official Results:
MAIN CARD – FOX – 8PM/5PM ETPT
- #2 Robbie Lawler (28-11) vs. #4 Rafael Dos Anjos (27-9) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Rafael Dos Anjos def. Robbie Lawler via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
- #3 Ricardo Lamas (18-5) vs. Josh Emmett (12-1) – Catchweight bout (148.5 lbs)
- Result: Josh Emmett def. Ricardo Lamas via KO (punch) 4:33 round 1
- #10 Santiago Ponzinibbio (25-3) vs. Mike Perry (11-1) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- #3 Glover Teixeira (26-6) vs. #7 Misha Cirkunov (13-3) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Glover Teixeira def. Misha Cirkunov via TKO (punches) 2:45 round 1
PRELIMINARY CARD – FS1 – 5PM/2PM ETPT
- #14 Jared Cannonier (10-2) vs #15 Jan Blachowicz (20-7) – Light Heavyweight bout
- Result: Jan Blachowicz def. Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Julian Marquez (6-1) vs. Darren Stewart (7-2) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Julian Marquez def. Darren Stewart via submission (standing guillotine) 2:42 round 2
- Chad Laprise (13-2) vs. Galore Bofando (5-2) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Chad Laprise def. Galore Bofando via TKO (punches) 4:10 round 1
- Nordine Taleb (13-4) vs Danny Roberts (14-2) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Nordine Taleb def. Danny Roberts via KO (head kick and punch) :59 round 1
- John Makdessi (14-6) vs Abel Trujillo (15-7) – Lightweight bout
- Result: John Makdessi def. Abel Trujillo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Alessio Di Chirico (10-2) vs Oluwale Bamgbose (6-3) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Alessio Di Chirico def. Oluwale Bamgbose via KO (knee) 2:14 round 2
EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD – UFC FIGHT PASS – 4:30PM/1:30PM ETPT
- Jordan Mein (29-12) vs. Erick Silva (19-8) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Jordan Mein def. Erick Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-26)
Gilbert Burns vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier Added to UFC Orlando
The UFC has now added more bouts to the front end of their 2018 schedule. Gilbert Burns (13-2, 5-2 UFC) will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier (10-2, 6-2 UFC) in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) December 14, 2017
Alongside a few other high-profile fight announcements, is the addition to the UFC Orlando, Florida card. The two lightweights will join Jake Collier and Marcin Prachnio, as the second fight set for the event.
It has been a while since the UFC hosted an event in the state of Florida. Last seen by the Floridians was UFC on Fox: Texeira vs. Evans, on April 16, 2016 in Tampa Bay. The card was a success, despite the cancellation of its planned main event between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Drawing a gate of $1.05 million and 2.13 million viewers.
Gilbert Burns signed with the UFC after accumulating an undefeated record of 8-0. His first loss came in his home country of Brazil, as Rashid Magomedov defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson 3, in November of 2015.
In his most recent bout, Burns defeated Jason Saggo by KO with five seconds remaining in the second round at UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs. Branch.
Aubin-Mercier will come into the contest as a winner in his last three bouts. The Canadian fighter trains out of the Tristar gym, alongside legends such as Georges St. Pierre and head coach, Firas Zahabi.
In 2011, Aubin-Mercier was chosen to compete on The Ultimate Fighter: Nations. Competing in the welterweight bracket, he became a finalist by defeating both, Jake Mathews (unanimous decision) and Richard Walsh (rear naked choke). In the finale, Aubin-Mercier lost to Chad Laprise by split decision.
UFC Orlando will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida on February 24th, 2018.
Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida Officially Headlines UFC Belem
Eryk Anders vs. Lyoto Machida is officially booked to headline UFC Belem in Brazil.
Following his unanimous decision victory over Markus Perez on last weekends, UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Swanson, undefeated middleweight, Eryk Anders, called for the match-up with former UFC light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida. The UFC heard, and obliged.
First reported by The MMA Kings (@mma_kings.)
EXCLUSIVE: My sources tell me that Eryk Anders (@erykanders) has gotten his wish. He'll headline UFC Fight Night: Belem against Lyoto Machida (@lyotomachidafw) in Brazil. Ask and you shall receive. #UFC pic.twitter.com/qX62A9qH6k
— The MMA Kings (Nolan King) (@mma_kings) December 14, 2017
Anders holds a 2-0 undefeated record in the UFC. The Alabama native made his promotional debut against Rafael Nata in July of this year. A bout he took on short notice, replacing Alessio di Chirico whom withdrew from the fight due to a neck injury. Anders defeated Natal by knockout in the first round that night at UFC Long Island.
Prior to his indoctrination to MMA, the undefeated middleweight played for the University of Alabama football team, between 2006-2009.
Machida recently returned to the UFC roster after an 18-month suspension handed down by USADA, stemming from a failed out-of-competition test leading up to his April 2016 contest against Dan Henderson.
In his return to the octagon, Machida faced Derek Brunson in the main-event of the UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Machida, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “The Dragon” lost the bout via first round KO.
UFC Belem, Brazil is scheduled for February 3rd, 2018, at the Mangueirinho Arena. The card will also feature the flyweight debut for Valentina Shevchenko as she faces Priscila Cachoeira.
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