Chokes were the technique of the night on Thursday with 6 of the 12 fights ending by way of strangulation. Here is an in-depth look at some of the best choke finishes of UFC Fight Night: Namajunas vs. VanZant.
Rose Namajunas def. Paige Vanzant via submission (rear-naked choke) round 5
This fight can be summed up in a single sentence: Rose is the better fighter. Namajunas came in with a seemingly perfect gameplan against VanZant and implemented it to the letter.
Rose had the demeanour of a veteran throughout the contest, staying cool and collected as she dismantled VanZant in every aspect of the game. The finish came in the final round with Rose taking the fight to the ground with a gorgeous body lock drop takedown moving right into half guard. From here, Rose continued with what she had done throughout the fight and kept her head close to Vanzant’s body controlling Paige and working her way to better positions, rather than rushing for a finish.
During a scramble to escape from the bottom, VanZant gave up her back to the submission-savvy Namajunas. Rose, showing her experience in this position, worked her arm underneath Paige’s chin and the moment it was in position for the choke, Namajunas pulled herself onto her back and into the RNC position with a gable hand grip. To her credit, Paige spiritedly tried to turn into the choke, but the submission was too tight and VanZant was too tired and faded quickly, tapping out.
Rose showed in the fight finish the same skill she showed throughout the fight and that was calmness. despite many failed submission attempts earlier in the contest, Rose never lost her cool and took the fight ending choke when it clearly presented itself. being calm when in a fist fight is an incredible advantage in the cage and the mark of a true champion.
Michael Chiesa def. Jim Miller via submission (rear naked choke) round 2
This loss must have been a tough one for Miller to swallow with the finish coming off a very well-timed and executed kneebar attempt causing him to lose top position and give up his back for Chiesa to land some clean punches to the head, leading to sinking in the 7th rear naked choke victory of his career.
Chiesa was able to avoid the kneebar by freeing his knee and bending his leg, negating the submission, from her he used strikes to keep Miller busy while he made his way to top control and eventually to a full mount. From here, Chiesa visibly hurt Miller with ground and pound, causing miller to roll, giving up his back and attempt to stand up by posting with both hands on the floor. This is a cardinal sin for many jiu-jitsu practitioners and you saw exactly why here. By posting with both hands on the mat, it takes away your two best tools at escaping and defending the position.
Chiesa took full advantage of the situation locking in the rear naked choke forcing Miller to quickly submit.
This fight showed just how effective strikes can be in setting up your submissions. Jim Miller is no slouch on the mat, but when you are hurt and continuously beaten on, it is very easy for all your training to go out the window and for you to make a simple, but yet devastating mistake costing you the contest.
Sage Northcutt def. Cody Pfister via submission (guillotine choke) round 2
This fight finish, like the Jim Miller situation, was a simple mistake that cost Pfister the contest. After a takedown by Sage leading to a scramble for top position, the fighters ended up in the sprawl position with Northcutt on top. From here, the talented wrestler in Pfister got a hold of a single leg and used that to get to his feet and turn the position into a takedown of his own. While on his way to his feet, Pfister kept his head up high to force Northcutt upwards and out of the sprawl position, but fatally left his way too high, allowing Sage to lock his forearm on Pfister’s neck and fall straight into a guillotine choke.
Pfister attempted to fight off the choke, but as he let go of Northcutt’s leg, Sage gained a full guard and finished the fight with the choke. When it comes to the UFC, the smallest details can be the difference between a win and a loss. Cody showed great attacking wrestling in the first round of this fight, but his aggression led to his downfall, causing him to forget a day-1 jiu-jitsu lesson and letting the Sage Northcutt hype train continue.
Aljamain Sterling def. Johnny Eduardo via submission (guillotine choke) round 2
Another classic mistake in this fight caused another well-respected jiu-jitsu competitor to be submitted.
The ending of this fight came after a takedown from Sterling landing him in Eduardo’s full guard. From here, Aljamain was happy to land punches on Eduardo and wear down the clock, clearly winning the round. Eduardo made a smart decision here to try and escape the position that was causing him to lose the round, but the way he went about it was very poor.
Eduardo used his legs to kick Sterling off him to create some space for a stand-up escape, but the lazy kick attempt barely moved Aljamain, meaning he was still right there when Eduardo moved forward for his escape attempt. This allowed Sterling to take advantage of Eduardo being preoccupied with his escape plan and sink in the guillotine choke on his Brazilian foe. Eduardo, knowing he was in trouble, rolled to his back, allowing Sterling to effortlessly step over into mount for a virtually impossible to escape guillotine choke finish.
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Rhode Island Prospect John Douma Booked for CES 49 against Zach Burhans
The New England regional MMA scene has been fairly quiet this month. Such a description won’t be apt one month from now. As the days fade away from the month of March, the two most prominent organizations of this region gear up for early April events. The CES MMA promotion holds CES 49, on the first Friday of April (April 6th). CES 49 takes place in its hub venue, Twin River Casino, in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Yesterday, CES officials announced John Douma, a highly regarded pro featherweight prospect, makes his third appearance for the MMA promotion, when he faces Zach Burhans at CES 49.
For John Douma, he looks to continue his career with an undefeated record. At 2-0, Douma owns two stoppage victories, both coming in the first round (1 KO/TKO, 1 Sub). Born and raised in Wyckoff, Rhode Island, Douma is the New England regions 18th ranked pro Featherweight (Rankings by Tapology.com). A lofty ranking for a 21-year-old with only two professional fights on his record. Especially so in the regions most prominent professional division.
Zach Burhans comes into next months match with a similar amount of experience. Burhans has four professional fights in his arsenal of experience with a record of 3-1. Twice that of his opponent, but two times a small number is still a small number. The New York fighter makes his promotional debut at next months CES 49.
Surprisingly, Burhans has not fought since his last loss, which came in March of 2011. The loss was the first of his four fight pro career. It also was the first fight for Burhans since August of 2009. At CES 49, he ends his second hiatus from professional mixed martial arts. His second and most recent break from the sport was his longest. Burhans did not compete from March 2011, until next months CES MMA card. Making the span between his most recent and upcoming, around 6 years and nine months.
CES 49 takes place at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island on April 6th. Other bouts featured on the card include, #1 ranked New England Lightweight, Nate Andrews takes on Chris Padilla for the promotions vacant Lightweight title. Kaline Medeiros attempts to bounce back following her 3rd round submission loss to rising star, Mackenzie Dern at Invicta 26, when she faces 11th ranked pound-for-pound New England women’s fighter, Jenna Serio. Also, Chris Curtis goes up against Jason Norwood in a main card Welterweight clash.
Report: Bellator plans Rome event for July
With the news of Bellator 200, turning a bit stale being nearly a week old, comes more international event news for the promotion. According to a report by Raphael Marinho of Combate, Bellator scheduled its third international event of 2018. In the report, it states the promotion booked July 14th as a date for a Rome, Italy event.
It will be the first event held by Bellator in the historic city of Rome, Italy. The first in Rome, but the fifth Bellator event in Italy. Previously, the promotion made stops in Torino and Florence, Italy, holding two events in each location. It also marks the 23rd international held by Bellator. 23 events across 10 cities, and 5 countries.
The previous four Italian events held a mixture of combat sports. Each of the events had a Kickboxing card, serving as the main event and an MMA card, which acted as a main card. News of an accompanying Kickboxing card, most likely, would come following a formal announcement of the event.
Also included in the report, the promotion is working to make Alessio Sakara the headliner of evening. Sakara spent nine years with the UFC (Oct. 2005 – Oct. 2013). Over that span, he earned a record of 6-8. He was cut following four consecutive loses. Before signing with Bellator, Sakara signed with Final Fight Championship, where he went 1-0, 1 NC. His final fight with FFC (Final Fight Championship) was a 1:32 KO of his opponent.
The Italian athlete, Sakara, fought on three of the four previous Italy held Bellator events. Sakara headlined Bellator 190 & 168, while begin the co-main event for Bellator 152. Interestingly, the Middleweights only Bellator competition took place in his home country of Italy. He is 2-1 with the promotion, defeating Brian Rogers and Joey Beltran, respectively, while losing to Middleweight champion, Rafael Carvalho, most recently.
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