Another great night of fights is in the books after the UFC returned to Australia on Saturday March 19th. On a night that had multiple finishes and some great fights, we here at MMA Latest had to narrow it down to 3 performances. The writers took a vote and based on that vote we have decided on a fight of the night as well as two performance of the night bonuses. For this card, we have a submission of the night, a knockout of the night and a fight of the night to be given out.
Submission of the Night
Our first performance of the night comes courtesy of the Lightweight division. In a great, back and forth fight, 2 up and coming fighters went at it as Jake Matthews took on Johnny Case. The fight was a good one with Matthews controlling the fight for the most part but Case wasn’t going away quietly. Matthews really started to pour it on in the 3rd round, eventually sinking in a rear-naked choke. After not being able to submit Case with the choke, Matthews let go of the submission but quickly reapplied it after Case can’t shake him off of his back. With Matthews flattening him out, Case had nowhere to go and was forced to tap out with mere moments left in the fight.
Knockout of the Night
The main event of the evening featured two veteran heavyweights who have both shown the ability to finish fights in devastating fashion. Mark Hunt and Frank Mir came into the fight prepared to go all five rounds if necessary but both were clear in their desire to finish the fight quickly during the build-up to the bout. The gameplan for both fighters was clear from the start as Mir repeatedly attempted to take the fight to the ground while Hunt was throwing strikes with bad intentions. Hunt clipped Mir with several shots while managing to avoid the takedown attempts from the former Heavyweight champion. A little more than halfway into the first round, Mir leaned forward again to attempt another takedown and Hunt landed a perfect right hand just behind the ear that dropped Mir. Hunt walked away with no follow up punches as the ref stepped in and ended the fight. Hunt clearly showed that he still has that one punch knockout power as he adds another walk-off knockout to his resume.
Fight of the Night
While the performance bonuses had votes split between multiple finishes, the fight of the night bonus was unanimous among the writers. The co-main event featured the return of Hector Lombard to take on Neil Magny in a matchup of two top-ranked welterweights. Lombard came out of the gate like a house on fire and quickly drops Magny with a vicious uppercut. Lombard immediately starts to rain down blows as Magny desperately attempted to defend and recover. Magny managed to get back to his feet with a little under two minutes left in the first round and landed some knees in the clinch that don’t seem to phase Lombard. Magny went for the takedown, got stuffed but managed to get back to the feet again. Magny ended the round with multiple jabs to Lombard who looked like he may have tired himself out earlier in the round.
The second round began much the way the first round ended, with Magny landing jabs and knees in the clinch. Lombard managed to blast Magny with a big left hand that dropped him and Lombard jumps on top of him again. When Lombard goes for a heel hook, Magny immediately reversed it and ended up on top. After multiple submission attempts, Magny got full mount and just rained down shots on Lombard who looked like he was completely out of it. Lombard rolled onto his stomach and continued to absorb punches from Magny as the ref looked on.
The round ended with Magny having landed close to 40 unanswered shots. At the beginning of the third round, Magny landed a huge right hand and an elbow as he gets the clinch on Lombard. Magny easily got the double leg takedown and almost effortlessly locked in a mounted triangle as Lombard didn’t even look like he was trying to defend himself. Magny landed a few more shots to the head of Lombard before the referee finally stepped in and stopped the fight less than a minute into the 3rd round. Neil Magny continues to impress and make a name for himself as he dominated Hector Lombard after surviving the initial blitzkrieg in the first round.
Jacare Souza vs. Kelvin Gastelum Official for UFC 224
Brazils second UFC event of the new year added another middleweight contest. UFC officials announced, Kelvin Gastelum will face Jacare Souza in Rio de Janeiro at UFC 224.
The inevitable main card booking of Souza comes after headlining UFC on Fox 27. The Brazilian fighter is 3-2 in his last 5. His recent contests only look worrisome in comparison to the entirety of his long career. Prior to his past 5, Souza held an eight fight win streak. In that period of time, he defeated Gegard Mousasi, Derek Brunson (for the first time), and Chris Camozzi twice. Despite the drama words and numbers on screens create, his recent record is nothing to have concern over. A split decision loss to Yoel Romero in 2015, and a 2017 TKO loss to division champion, Robert Whittaker is manageable. Defeating Derek Brunson in the opening round of their main event bout kept him deep in the milky opaque froth that is the middleweight title picture. Clearly his position in that photo lies upon the upcoming match up.
Looking ahead for Jacare Souza, assuming he wins, becomes interesting, just as it devastating for Kelvin Gastelum. Gastelum is 3-1 since returning to middleweight, technically his record sits at 2-1 and 1 No Contest. He tested positive for marijuana in a sample collected the night of his bout against Vitor Belfort by USADA in March of 2017. Originally, the outcome of the bout read the way viewers remembered it; a 1st rd. TKO in favor of Gastelum. On May 7th, 2017, the win was officially overturned and changed to a No Contest. He also received a 90 day suspension, adjusted to the day of the failed test (March 11th).
In the aftermath of the failed test, his scheduled contest against Anderson Silva. He then split his next two contests, losing to Chris Weidman and defeating Michael Bisping emphatically, yet under odd circumstances. A win for Gastelum certainly muddies the waters of middleweight contenders, while adding to a good 185 lb. resume.
UFC 224 takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 12th, 2018 at the Jeunesse Arena. A battle betwen Brazilians is set for the date as Lyoto Machida takes on Vitor Belfort. Other featured bouts include; Aleksei Oleynik vs. Junior Albini*, Cezar Ferreira vs. Karl Roberson*, Alberto Mina vs. Ramazan Emeev, and Davi Ramos vs. Nick Hein*.
*Bouts reportedly set for UFC 224
Exclusive: Mike Ekundayo, “He could come with anything, I don’t care”
UFC 222 Re-Worked with Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya, and Frankie Edgar vs. Brian Ortega
— UFC (@ufc) February 8, 2018
UFC 222 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 3rd.
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