UFC Fight Night: Almeida vs. Garbrandt ended with great fights top to bottom with action and drama throughout the event. The climax of over two and a half hours of fight time ended in exciting fashion as Cody Garbrandt stayed perfect in his young career with a first round KO of Thomas Almeida. With many considerations, post-fight bonuses were hard this week as all the fights were exciting and full of action.
Fight of the Night: Chris De La Rocha vs. Adam Milstead
It’s not often the first fight of a card sets the tone for the rest of the night to come. Fight fans usually wait for at least a couple of fights for the action to really get going. Heavyweight unknowns Chris De La Rocha and Adam Milstead threw all that out the window and threw big punches for a round and a half.
De La Rocha made his debut at UFC Fight Night 72. The fight didn’t last long as his opponent Daniel Omielanczuk got the TKO win in just 48 seconds. The BJJ black-belt had finished all four of his opponents up to that point before the loss to Omielanczuk. His goal was to get the fight to the ground as soon as possible to use his grappling prowess.
Milstead is a highly touted prospect who made his debut against De La Rocha. He stepped into the fight with seven straight finish stoppages, including a TKO in the first round of his last fight. The opposite of De La Rocha is Milstead as he likes to plow forward with heavy hands and leave the fight standing.
The fight was off to the races right away both guys coming out throwing huge punches early. Milstead was landing more than his opponent, prompting De La Rocha to go for takedowns to get the fight on the ground. Every time the fight would break from the clinch, they would go back to throwing leather. The round ended with a total of 56 Significant Strikes landed with Milstead getting the better of it with 32. The second round was much of the same despite the tiring of both guys. The pressure was kept on by Milstead with De La Rocha trying his best to get inside and make the fight dirty. The end came as Milstead landed blows that were not being defended or challenged and Chris Togoni had seen enough.
Performance of the Night: Cody Garbrandt def. Thomas Almeida
After seven consecutive decisions, the young guns in the main event were under immense pressure to perform and get a highlight reel finish. In spite of all the the things set against them, Cody Garbrandt and Thomas Almeida became the first Bantamweight non-title fight to main event a card. A combined 29-0 with 23 knockouts between the two, the fight was set to be nothing but spectacular. Almeida was coming off of a knockout performance over Anthony Birchak in November and Garbrandt a TKO in February over Augusto Mendes.
From the start, the Team Alpha Male standout looked poised for this fight to end early. He was landing hard shots in the pocket with little resistance from Almeida. About midway through the fight, Almeida uncharacteristically went for a takedown to try and get something going on the ground. He started slow two fights ago against Brad Pickett too, getting hit with shots from all angles in the first round. This fight would look similar, but with the hands of Garbrandt being so powerful, the fight would likely be stopped. Much of the same ensued as Garbrandt landed big shots at will, knocking Almeida around for the first two minutes. ‘No love’ found his opening and took it in the second minute with hard shots that sent Almeida to the ground. Big John McCarthy stopped the fight at 2:53 of the first round after Garbrandt landed 18 head strikes in just three minutes of fight time.
Performance of the Night: Eric Koch def. Shane Campbell
All platforms for the event were covered as the early prelims, preliminary card, and the main card. Former would-be title challenger Eric Koch returned from a two-year absence to face Shane Campbell. After starting his career as a Featherweight and earning a title shot at Jose Aldo, something he would not be able to cash in. He moved up to the Lightweight division after a loss to Dustin Poirier. He is now 2-1 in the division and will look make a stand towards the title. Campbell had an illustrious kickboxing career that saw over 50 career wins. He joined the UFC ranks at UFC 186 with a TKO loss to John Makdessi. That started a series of three out of four losses in which he was finished in two of those.
The fight started with some solid striking on the feet with Koch getting the better of the kickboxer. The fight went to the ground with some great takedowns from Koch in the first round, but Campbell was able to stay out of harms way. The second round started with a solid counter elbow from Campbell that shook the Milwaukee-based fighter. Koch immediately took the fight to the ground with the hopes of finishing the fight and out of harms way of those strikes. The rest of the round stayed on the ground with Koch transitioning into better and better positions with each passing move. The final step was the submission finish as he put on the Rear-Naked choke in the second round.
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.
Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.
After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.
A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.
Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.
Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.
A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.
“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”
Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.
“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”
Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.
“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.
The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.
Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.
An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).
Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.
PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.
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