The second of two UFC events hosted this weekend as part of the ‘International Fight Week’, the TUF 19 Finale will be headlined by BJ Penn‘s featherweight debut against Frankie Edgar. Penn has lost twice to Edgar, and this fight could be his last, even with a win. Ranked #2, Edgar will look to continue his path towards a rematch with Jose Aldo by defeating the former lightweight champion Penn to finish their trilogy in style.
The event also plays host to the two finales from the season, with Team Edgar’s Corey Anderson and Matt Van Buren squaring off to crown the light heavyweight TUF champion. In the middleweight bracket, Team Edgar’s Eddie Gordon and Dhiego Lima will square off for the six figure contract, and Edgar will hope to make it a whitewash with a win after taking up all four final spots.
Also on the main card is a heavyweight scrap between Derrick Lewis and UFC debutant Guto Inocente, who makes his long awaited debut after fighting in Strikeforce at 205lbs. Lewis is coming off an impressive Octagon debut, coming back from adversity to knock Jack May out in the first. Kicking off the main card will be a contest between 22 year-old flyweight prospect Justin Scoggins and tough #13 ranked 125-er Dustin Ortiz.
Here is a full play-by-play of the TUF 19 Finale, which will cover the prelims on UFC Fight Pass and FOX Sports 1, as well as the main card on FOX Sports 1.
Main Card: FOX Sports 1
Frankie Edgar vs. BJ Penn
It’s the big one. Can Penn get back at Edgar, or will Frankie make it a whitewash? How will the weight cut affect Penn? Does Edgar have Penn’s number? So many questions coming into this, and I can’t wait to get ‘The Answer’ (sorry).
Huge roar for the +385 underdog Penn, who may be fighting his last ever fight tonight – win or lose.
Round 1 – It looks strange seeing Penn so thin. Edgar with a couple of body shots and using a lot of movement at the moment, landing short combinations. Nice leg kick. Little output from Penn while Edgar is landing a lot. Overhand right by Edgar. Body-head from Edgar. Lovely takedown by Edgar, Penn with the butterfly guard. Edgar standing and lands a leg kick. Penn trying to get Edgar into his guard, and he obliges. Penn pushes him off, Edgar tries for the leaping punch but it’s blocked. Full guard again. Short shots from Edgar there. Penn trying to lure Edgar in but doing little off his back when he does so. Penn trying to land the upkick, but Edgar avoids and lands a shot as he jumps into the guard again. Short shots again and Edgar gets to his feet. Penn attempts a flying upkick. Edgar with some big leg kicks. This is a strange strategy from Penn thusfar, trying to get Edgar into his guard and when he does so, he is doing absolutely zero offensively. A warning of inactivity from Herb Dean. Edgar gets up again and lands a leg kick before Dean stands them up. Body kick by Frankie. Edgar with the combination, mixing it up nicely. Sharp left lands from Edgar. Nice combination, with the overhand right at the end of it. Left hook. Penn has done absolutely zero in this round and it is all ‘The Answer’.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Edgar.
Round 2 – The jab of Edgar is working well. Penn looks stiff on the feet. Edgar is doing a great job of keeping unpredictable. Penn starting to push forward now but still not throwing anything. Overhand right by Edgar lands. Body kick. Overhand right once more. Penn with a combination finally. He looks so flat though. Overhand right by Edgar. That is his go-to weapon. Another takedown from Edgar. This strategy of Penn isn’t making sense to me, he looks flat, slow and not his usual self. Weight cut or otherwise, this isn’t the old BJ Penn. Edgar once again gets to his feet and kicks the legs of Penn whilst he is trying to lure him down. Edgar then goes down into the postured guard, lands a couple of rights before going down into full guard and landing some short, quick shots. Lovely work by Frankie. Edgar is keeping an unbelievable pace thusfar. Edgar landing some big shots now and back into the guard, turning it up now. Short elbows are damaging Penn now. He’s really unloading on BJ and Penn has no response. Edgar with another dominant round, and I think that’s a 10-8.
Cooper scores round 2 10-8 Edgar (20-17 Edgar).
Round 3 – Penn’s corner wants him to win this round big. Edgar lands a head kick there. Nice shots by Edgar there once again. Jab then leg kick, and then a teep for the #3 ranked 145-pounder. Penn is just too stiff at this point and getting caught at will. Another overhand left by Edgar. Nice combination. Head kick now. Penn is moving forward but that’s all, no actual output. He lands about six jabs there. Huge trip by Edgar. He gets half guard momentarily but Penn sticking with his patented butterfly guard now. This really is an odd fight so far. Edgar with short shots accumulating, and he’s cut the left eye of Penn now. This is actually becoming pretty hard to watch. Big elbow. Penn is hurt. Frankie now in half guard with the arm pinned and landing big shots with the left. Overwhelming. That elbow hurt Penn, he really grimaced there. Herb Dean warning BJ. This is going to be stopped. And there it is. Edgar ends the trilogy, retires BJ Penn and shows why he is one of the greatest fighters in the UFC.
Result: Edgar via TKO (punches) at 4:16 in third round.
I don’t quite know how to explain that fight – it was just odd. Frankie Edgar was brilliant, but BJ Penn did absolutely zero. I’d like to see the stats, because I really don’t think Penn attempted any more than, say, 20 strikes in an almost 15 minute long fight. Edgar busted him up, got the finish and showed that Penn shouldn’t have returned.
Penn confirms his retirement to Jon Anik. Good decision and very humble by the Hawaiian.
Corey Anderson vs. Matt Van Buren
Van Buren won the Fight of the Season for his bout with Dan Spohn. He meets fellow Team Edgar teammate Corey Anderson to crown the light heavyweight crown.
Round 1 – They exchange and Anderson seemed to land a big shot there. Huge combination for Anderson, followed by a takedown and a number of unanswered strikes. Wow he’s landing some huge shots and this one is going to be over quick. Another takedown. He has the back now. More short shots on Anderson and Mario Yamasaki steps in to stop the contest. Corey Anderson is the TUF light heavyweight winner.
Result: Anderson via TKO (punches) at 1:01 in first round.
Great performance by Corey Anderson – swift, brutal and deserved. Van Buren had no answer for the power of Anderson.
Dhiego Lima vs. Eddie Gordon
The middleweight finale, with both fighters fighting out of Team Edgar. Both Cormier and Stann are predicting a Lima win, who seems to be the consensus favourite for this fight. Gordon is 7-1, Lima being 10-1.
Round 1 – Lima with a leg kick and blocks the counters. Gordon taking the centre and pushing Lima back. Left hook grazes Lima there. Stiff jab from Lima. Gordon with a big combination, that overhand right landing. Lima is in trouble! It was the big right that dropped him! An uppercut drops him! Those shots hit the back of the head but he’s continuing the barrage! More big shots and Lima is out. Great performance from Gordon, who went bezerk mode once he knew Lima was hurt. He is the middleweight TUF 19 champ.
Result: Gordon via TKO (punches) at 1:11 in first round.
Very impressive from Eddie Gordon, who smelt blood and went for the kill. He was the underdog but didn’t act like it. Absolutely brutal shots.
Derrick Lewis vs. Guto Inocente
Lewis made a successful debut against Jack May, while Inocente makes a long awaited UFC debut after falling out of a number of bouts. Inocente moves up from light heavyweight for this one. Both are 6’3 but Lewis is more than 30lbs heavier than Inocente.
Round 1 – Lewis misses two kick attempts. Inocente taking the centre. A leg kick for Lewis misses too. A lot of movement from Inocente so far. Inocente with a left and right, both missing, and Lewis counters with the body lock. Lewis gets him to the ground momentarily but Inocente separates quickly. Lewis closes the distance and gets the clinch again, nice knee by Inocente. Lewis trying to overpower him. Big right hook lands for Lewis there, and he gets the clinch again. Inocente with knees to the body. Uppercut misses for Lewis. Leg kick lands for Inocente but Lewis catches it and drops Inocente to the floor. Upkicks by Inocente to the body. Lewis misses with a huge right but lands in side control now. Inocente giving up his back it seems. Huge rights by Lewis and he gets the first round finish! Inocente is busted up and was completely out of it there. The power advantage of Lewis was the key there, and that was a big win for the American.
Result: Lewis via TKO (punches) at 3:30 in first round.
Solid win for Derrick Lewis and he’s now 2-0 inside the UFC. He could be a force in this heavyweight division.
Justin Scoggins vs. Dustin Ortiz
‘Tank’ is still unbeaten and 2-0 in the UFC, while Ortiz has gone 2-1. This should be an interesting and fun one, and I’m expecting fireworks. Scoggins looking like a mini Alexander Gustafsson, sporting a similar haircut-beard combination.
Round 1 – Ortiz pressing forward early, landing a jab but Scoggins turns him around in the clinch. Ortiz getting the trip though and is straight into half guard. Ortiz posturing up and landing a short elbow. Scoggins trying to elevate Ortiz but sensible defence. Scoggins working on the armbar now, showing his ground game here. Ortiz defending well so far it seems. He has it now! Ortiz is in trouble! His arm is in a bad spot. He needs to tap. Wow he somehow guts it out. They’re on the feet now and Scoggins has the clinch, dropping down momentarily for a takedown but instead landing a left then getting the takedown. Ortiz gives up his back but works his way back to his feet and they’re back in the clinch. They separate. Ortiz with a lot of movement. He lands a couple of shots but Scoggins counters. Scoggins gets him to the ground and has the back, but well escaped by Ortiz. Ortiz now working on a takedown. He has the back of Scoggins now. He works his way back to his feet now though, but Ortiz staying on him in the clinch and almost gets the trip. Scoggins has him against the cage and utilises a beautiful duck under to get the back. Ortiz escapes but Scoggins works on a guillotine and gets a sweep. Ortiz defends and is back to his feet, the two now in the clinch again. 30 seconds left in a high pace, fun round. Scoggins with the back once more, dragging Ortiz to the ground a couple of times. A couple of knees and a combination from Ortiz at the end of the first.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Scoggins.
Round 2 – Leg kick by Scoggins, counter from Ortiz misses. Good jab as Scoggins move away. Good combination lands for Ortiz, with a left on the exit. Ortiz going for the takedown but a sweep by Scoggins, who now has the back with one hook in. He abandons it and instead tries to work on the left arm of Ortiz. Ortiz attempting to roll but having trouble here. Ortiz sweeps into side control, great technique there. Short shots by Ortiz, and he is avoiding Scoggins’ attempts of improving his position. Scoggins regains guard now, but half guard immediately by Ortiz. Short shots by Ortiz land in this position, good job at keeping active. Scoggins elevates Ortiz but Dustin sticking to him like glue, staying in half guard and keeping active. Scoggins wall walks but Ortiz has his hands clasped together and drags him back down into side control. Big shots by Ortiz landing from this position. Nice ground and pound by Ortiz, he’s keeping busy with body-head combinations. Good work by Ortiz with just 30 seconds left. Scoggins working on an armbar but recognised by Ortiz this time, who escapes it handily. Good round for the Roufousport product.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Ortiz (19-19).
Round 3 – Both corners convinced that they need the third to get the nod, good advice. They come together early, Scoggins landing a nice right and a left shortly after. Ortiz pushing forward and lands a high kick, avoiding Scoggins’ attack. Big left by Ortiz, and a head kick. Scoggins with a combination before getting the clinch. Uppercut by Ortiz. Leg kick from Scoggins lands. Big left lands for Ortiz, that got Scoggins’ attention. Another nice left, before a takedown for Ortiz. He’s winning this round and the fight as it stands. Half guard for Ortiz and some short shots, he seems to be looking for a choke here. Scoggins gives up his back but gets to his feet shortly after. Ortiz with the left as he clinches up, takedown defence unsuccessful and Scoggins has him against the cage. Scoggins drops down and has Ortiz down to the seated position against the cage. Ortiz explodes to his feet and is now working on a takedown of his own, unsuccessfully. Scoggins does the same and is unsuccessful, and Ortiz repeats the favour. Ortiz has top position momentarily but Scoggins trying to sweep, unable to in the end. Ortiz in the full guard and landing short body shots now. This will be a big win for Ortiz.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Ortiz (29-28 Ortiz).
Result: Ortiz via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29).
A fun fight and both flyweights have bright futures ahead of them. Scoggins was close to a finish in the first, but is handed his first professional loss.
Preliminary Card: FOX Sports 1
Jesse Ronson vs. Kevin Lee
Kevin Lee is the fourth youngest active UFC fighter and made a fun debut against Al Iaquinta in a losing effort, while Jesse Ronson has lost his first two UFC fights.
Round 1 – Lee shooting in for a double leg takedown straight away, Ronson defending well so far. Lee has him against the cage but unable to drag him to the ground. They separate and Lee lands a kick. Nice shots by Lee there. Body shot followed by another takedown attempt for Lee, Ronson once again doing a good job defensively. Short knee to the body from Lee. Then a shot to the head. Ronson avoids a combination and lands a jab of his own. Nice leg kick drops Lee. Lee with the straight right, Ronson lands the kick to the body. Lee with a kick of his own. Ronson rips to the body and Lee goes for another takedown, this time stuffed with ease. Stiff 1-2 from Lee. Good combination from Lee. And again. He’s the quicker of the two. Ronson lands a left while Lee lands a couple. Ronson with the counters. Lee going in for the takedown once again, going for the body lock and trying to trip Ronson but once again well defended. Now Lee gets the takedown, slamming Ronson down. Ronson immediately wall walk back to his feet but Lee pursuing the takedown again. Uppercut then elbows from Lee, he’s hurting Ronson with these short shots. Single leg completed and he’s in Ronson’s guard now. Lee has the back now at the end of the round, and it’s a good start for the prospect.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Lee.
Round 2 – Lee with the body kick and Ronson replying with a leg kick. Ronson with a lead uppercut but avoided easily. Lee counters with the kick. Big body kick by Ronson lands. Nice jabs as Lee leaves himself open. Uppercut from Ronson. Sharp hands now from Ronson. Leg kick. Lee going for the takedown once again but good job by Ronson. Lee almost has it now. Ronson is sat up against the cage and lands a couple of short elbows. Ronson is back up and they’re now in the clinch. Knee from Ronson as Lee shoots in again. Good sprawl by Ronson, but Lee is relentless. They separate however. Ronson gets caught by a right. Good combination by Lee. And again. The knee from Ronson lands again as Lee shoots in for the takedown, which he completes. Full guard, Ronson trying to crank on a guillotine but Lee isn’t in any trouble. Ronson uses the neck to get back to his feet, and backs Lee up with some nice combinations. The uppercut from Ronson is successful. Kick lands for Lee. Ronson now shooting in for a single, Lee recognises it and defending well. They separate. Right then a left lands for Ronson. 30 seconds left in the round. Lee shoots in again but not quite as impressive as his previous attempts. Ronson defends but Lee ends the round with Ronson against the cage in the clinch.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Lee (20-18 Lee).
Round 3 – Leg kick from Ronson, who takes the centre. Nice combination from Jesse. They trade kicks. Nice duck by Lee, who gets Ronson in the clinch against the fence. He’s going for another takedown, Ronson trying to work on a kimura on the right arm. He may drop down for this. Lee working for the single, Ronson threatens with the kimura which forces the separation. Left body kick from Ronson. Nice short left from Lee. They’re trading shots from the inside. Very telegraphed shot by Lee, easily stuffed. Ronson backing Lee up now on the feet. Ronson seems to have more in his gas tank. Lee with a 1-2 but fails with the takedown defence. Ronson now with a takedown of his own, landing it but Lee trying to wall walk. Ronson stays on top and has the back! He’s underneath the chin! But Lee explodes and ends up on top in side control! Knees to the body now. 2 minutes left. That was close. Ronson now giving up his back, Lee with some short shots and one hook in. Lee gets his second hook in but Ronson with good defence. Ronson stands with Lee still on his back and no rear naked so far. Lee opting for short strikes, but Ronson shakes him off and lands on the exit. Lee with a stiff jab. Hooks from Lee. He’s backing Ronson up, who must be in desperation mode. Short shots traded by both fighters.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Lee (30-27 Lee).
Result: Lee via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27).
Good performance from Kevin Lee, and I’m not quite sure how one judge gave Jesse Ronson two rounds.
Jumabieke Tuerxun vs. Leandro Issa
Both lost their UFC debuts and will look to rebound with a win here in the bantamweight division.
Round 1 – Inside leg kick from Issa, and another. He misses the third attempt. Outside now. Tuerxun goes body-head but neither land cleanly. Issa utilising the jab, and gets another leg kick to land. Now a head kick, well disguised there. Head kick misses on that attempt, but the jab lands. Leg kick lands and Tuerxun replies with a combination, each shot missing and very telegraphed. A low blow to Tuerxun causes a momentary break. They resume. Tuerxun’s attacks are very laboured, while Issa is much more technical. A couple more leg kicks by Issa. Tuerxun bull rushing and trying to land the hooks but missing every time. Issa with a takedown attempt, defended easy. Huge leg kick buckles Tuerxun. A head kick misses for the Chinese bantamweight. Tuerxun with the body punch there, but misses the hook follow-up. Issa looking very relaxed and Tuerxun still struggling to find his range. Another leg kick for Issa, he’s working the lead leg of Tuerxun. Big combination from Tuerxun there, a couple of nice shots landed there. Issa replies, but Tuerxun is starting to find his range more now. The ducking left hook is very predictable though and he needs to set it up better. Head then body for Tuerxun. He drops Issa with a big left! Issa right back up but on the back peddle and Tuerxun lands another big left! Issa shoots in for a takedown but Tuerxun stuffs it and now works his way on top and into half guard. Short shots, and that one exchange was enough to win him the round.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Tuerxun.
Round 2 – It will be interesting to see how much Issa has recovered, Tuerxun landed some big shots at the end of the first. Issa with a big inside leg kick. Tuerxun with the front kick. He misses a huge winging left. Tuerxun is loading up on these shots but not putting them together. Absolutely huge right leg kick there from Issa, that buckled Tuerxun bad then. Body kick from Tuerxun lands, then a left hook. Body kick by Issa. Big right hand on the end of that combination from Tuerxun hurt Issa. He seems to be wobbly again. Issa lands some shots but Tuerxun once agains staggers him. Issa in trouble once again. Issa with a nice 1-2. Tuerxun misses the huge hook but Issa drops down for a takedown and Tuerxun uses the momentum to get on top. He’s in half guard now. Issa grabbed the cage there to get the sweep and Mario Yamasaki has deducted a point. That was as deliberate as you like and they resume on their feet now. Issa with a combination but he doesn’t quite have the same power as Tuerxun. Tuerxun urging Issa on, with the Brazilian trying to keep him on the outside with his kicking game. Issa with a nice level change and he lands the takedown right into half guard. Short shots to Tuerxun now, and he needs to do something big now that he has this position. Tuerxun escapes and lands a flying knee there. Jab by Issa, who’s trying to stay busy now on the feet. The leg kick lands once more. Tuerxun pushing forward but missing the combination, Nice jab by Issa, who avoids the counter. Issa having a lot more success now and lands a nice left counter there. A level change from Issa but easily stuffed takedown attempt. Nice jabs from Issa now, who’s circling around Tuerxun. Head kick misses. Big leg kick drops Tuerxun there, but the Chinese fighter turns the position around and ends the round on top, with Issa working a guillotine.
Cooper scores round 2 9-9 (19-18 Tuerxun).
Round 3 – A lot of leg kicks from Issa to start the round, then a disguised head kick lands. Tuerxun struggling to find the distance and Issa looking the fresher of the two. A nice takedown from Issa right into half guard, but he really needs a finish in this round. Issa gets into side control and goes for the crucifix position but Tuerxun defends. Wow Issa working on a guillotine now, sweeps Tuerxun into mount but well defended. He has the mount again now though and has the choke, Tuerxun grimacing. He may be forced to tap or go to sleep. Wow he defends it! Very well done there. But he’s still got Issa in the mount on top, and this is big for the Brazilian. Tuerxun gets him out of the mount but Issa in side control, trapping the arm and landing short shots. Mount once again and more short shots for Issa. Nice elbow lands. 1:30 left in the third now. He gets the back mount, and now goes for the armbar and flips Tuerxun over! Belly down armbar, a lot of leverage and Tuerxun is forced to tap! Wow he turned that fight around and got a surprising victory there. Great stuff by Issa.
Result: Issa via submission (armbar) at 3:49 in third round.
A great comeback from the Brazilian, he did well to finish Tuerxun with just over a minute remaining in a fight that he was possibly losing. A 10-9 third would have forced a draw at best for Issa, so that submission was crucial. Impressive stuff.
Adriano Martins vs. Juan Manuel Puig
Hopefully this fight can lift the spirits, after two lacklustre decision fights in a row. Adriano Martins was stopped by Donald Cerrone in his last fight, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Puig, meanwhile, has won six straight, and has 7 decision wins. The Mexican will likely appear on the UFC’s debut in his home country, and will look to do so with a win in his UFC debut.
Round 1 – Martins has landed a series of big shots at the start of the fight. Puig with a leg kick then a high kick. Martins has found his range early. Nice leg kick by Puig, but he’s eating shots. Nice short right by Martins. And another as he catches the kick of Puig and sends him to the mat. He caught another kick but doesn’t capitalise. Uppercut by Martins. Puig trying to mix it up with punches and leg kicks. Martins with a stiff left there, and he’s staying relaxed and trying to pick his punches. Martins with a huge straight left that stagger Puig! But Puig lands a kick to the groin which drops Martins. That’s a shame as he was building momentum, and we now have a stoppage. They resume. Puig with some short jabs but holy moly! Absolutely huge right hook by Martins! One punch knockout! That’s all she wrote. Absolutely huge from the Brazilian there. Puig sent crashing to the mat, and lands flat. No follow-up needed and Lavigne steps in before Martins drops anything else.
Result: Martins via KO (punch) at 2:21 in first round.
That’s a statement right there, and Adriano Martins has some serious knockout power for a 155 pounder. Expect to see Puig on the upcoming card in Mexico, but he won’t be going into it off the same momentum as he had in this one. Great performance from Martins.
Patrick Walsh vs. Dan Spohn
Team Edgar’s Walsh meets Team Penn’s Spohn, both looking to make a successful debut to their UFC run. They’re the only two TUF 19 castmates outside of the finales to fight on this card.
Round 1 – Spohn is trying to keep his distance with punches and kicks. Walsh hesitant at the start of the fight but then explodes with a double leg and gets it. Spohn working on a guillotine with his left arm but Walsh defends it easily, the half guard being the key to that. Spohn regains full guard, but Walsh once again advances to half guard with 2:30 left in a lacklustre round. Walsh trying to work on a kimura but it’s sloppy, then works on an armbar but once again unable to get it. Walsh working for the armbar again, fails, and finishes the round in side control. Little to report on that round, a sloppy and boring one.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Walsh.
Round 2 – Nice inside leg kick by Spohn. Walsh is so relaxed, he lands a left and goes for a deep double leg. He’s unable to completely get it, but then executes a lovely leg trip on Spohn to get into half guard. Short body shots by Walsh, who now seems to be working for a kimura. Spohn works his way on top into half guard, and Walsh is struggling to secure this kimura, and is now on the bottom. Good job by Spohn, who unloads with some short elbows. He has the back now. Both hooks in and Walsh is standing up. Walsh shakes him off but Spohn is trying to get a takedown. Spohn meets him with an uppercut as Walsh escapes. Right hook from Spohn lands. Nice combination by Spohn, but Walsh goes in for a single leg. Spohn defends it and Walsh instead holds him up against the cage. He drops down for a single again but Spohn defends and works on a guillotine. Short body shot, Walsh relentlessly trying for a single. Spohn working on that neck again. This is gruelling. Walsh throws him down to the ground and gets half guard. Short body shots and then to the head. Both are so tired. Walsh is landing some short shots but not trying to advance his position at the moment. He’s won the round but the third round is going to be gruelling.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Walsh (20-18 Walsh).
Round 3 – Body kick by Spohn. Both struggling to find the range. Spohn the aggressor and he has Walsh hurt, a couple of uppercuts and some knees. Walsh gets him against the cage and drops for a single now. He gets it. Half guard again. Frustrating for Spohn, who is down two. Short shots once more by Walsh, and he is probably going to stick with this for the rest of the round. He has the back now, one hook in. He’s going for the rear naked but it will be difficult without the second hook in. He turns Spohn over and settles for half guard. Spohn giving up his back again in an attempt to get to his feet but Walsh sticking on him, one hook in again. Walsh has him in the clinch now. Spinning elbow by Spohn, and a couple of elbows as Walsh goes for the takedown. Big slam from Walsh. Full guard this time. Short shots to the body from Walsh. The referee stands them up due to inactivity and Spohn is now pushing forward. Short shots land from Spohn! High kick! Walsh is busted up! Big knee and a punch! He has the guillotine! This isn’t tight though, and now Walsh is on top with just 30 seconds left. Damn, that would have been great if he had more energy but Walsh is instead going to cruise to a decision. Spohn explodes at the end of the round but he’s clearly lost this one.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Walsh (30-27 Walsh).
Result: Walsh via unanimous decision (30-27 x3).
It’s a win for Walsh in his UFC debut, but a really unmemorable fight and one I won’t be viewing again.
Preliminary Card: UFC Fight Pass
Sarah Moras vs. Alexis Dufresne
Both ladies making their UFC debuts, and Dufresne seems to have a lot of hype surrounding her. She’s unbeaten and coming off a win over Kim Couture, and her longest fight time is 2:20, defeating all five of her opponents via first round finish. Moras was a member of Team Tate on TUF 18, and looks for a successful official debut for the promotion.
Round 1 – Dufresne with an overhand right. Wow they’re going at it, Moras getting the better of that exchange with a big combination. Dufresne gets the clinch and gets a nice trip on Moras, straight into half guard. Dufresne trying to pass but Moras recognises and regains guard. Moras is very good off her back, and Dufresne unable to do much from the top. Well pushed off by Moras, Dufresne jumps back in and gets side control. Dufresne landing knees to the body from this position but doing little else offensively. She’s going for the mount and somehow gets it. Moras regains half guard quickly. Sloppy by Dufresne. Nice body shots from Dufresne now, and she’s actively trying to improve her position. Moras gets her guard back in tact, well done there. Neither landing anything significant, Moras trying to get some elbows in from the bottom but Dufresne with a smothering top game. 1:30 left in the round. Moras sloppily trying to go for an armbar on more than one occasion but failing to secure it. Moras pushes Dufresne away and lands a big upkick. Dufresne lands a shot and goes back to the ground into the guard. Moras’ elbows are working well, but she’s lost that round easily.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Dufresne.
Round 2 – Moras with a left hook, and she’s getting in some good combinations. A lot of success on the feet, but Dufresne gets the clinch and gets the takedown right into side control. Let’s hope she does something more with top position, as she really did little in the first. Short body shots by Dufresne, but not trying to advance to mount. Moras gets half guard. A warning from the referee for inactivity, and Lavigne stands them up. Good work there. Dufresne seems a little tired. She lands a left hook but Moras gets the takedown! Let’s see if she can do something now with 3 minutes left in the second. Full guard for Dufresne, and she’s holding onto the left arm of Moras. Short shots by Dufresne from the bottom and another warning for inactivity. Moras stacking her momentarily, and this must be tiring Dufresne more. Moras seems to be headbutting her a couple of times, and Lavigne warns her for that. Surprised Moras has done nothing from top position. Lavigne stands them up. Moras immediately shoots in for a takedown but Dufresne counters it straight into mount, but Moras then sweeps Dufresne and ends up on top. Crazy exchange. Moras with a big elbow. Dufresne with mission control but doesn’t stick with it. Big left lands for Moras, and she’s trying to posture up. Dufresne with short shots from the bottom and once again holding on to that left arm of Moras. She uses an omaplata attack to sweep Moras and ends the round in side control. Dufresne may just have stolen that at the end.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Dufresne (20-18 Dufresne).
Round 3 – Moras with a leg kick and a 1-2. Dufresne gets a big throw from the clinch into half guard. She’s holding the head of Moras and landing short shots. Moras goes for a sweep but recognised by Dufresne, who ends up in side control. Back into half guard, and body shots by Dufresne now. She’s pinning the left arm of Moras but doesn’t seem to be attacking a submission. Moras seems a little dejected. Dufresne with short shots and a smothering approach. Another warning for inactivity from Yves Lavigne. Back into guard, Moras landing short elbows. Little happening here, just short insignificant shots and Lavigne should stand this up again. Dufresne trying to posture up but she’s looking very tired. Dufresne postures up but misses. Moras goes for a triangle then lands an upkick. She’s trying to keep active from the bottom, but Dufresne advances into side control. 70 seconds left in the third, Dufresne in side control and Moras trying to work her way up. Dufresne recognises it and gets into north-south. Moras trying to using the cage to take the back of Dufresne, but instead works on an armbar. Very good work there. It’s not deep but this is impressive. Triangle attempt, sloppy again. They’re both working on sloppy leg locks as the horn sounds to end the round. I think Dufresne did enough to win all three, Moras stayed relatively active on the bottom but didn’t do enough to win any rounds in my eyes.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Dufresne (30-27 Dufresne).
Result: Moras via unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 30-27).
Fair enough. Maybe I scored that one wrong then. Moras was active on the bottom, but what did she actually do from that position? Aside from a couple of submission attempts and short strikes, I don’t quite understand it.
I’m all for scoring fights for fighters on the bottom if the fighter on top is doing little, but Moras hardly threw up a ton of submission attempts and landed big shots. Odd one for me.
Robert Drysdale vs. Keith Berish
A debut I have been waiting for for a long time, Robert Drysdale finally steps into the Octagon after two bouts fell out. He faces Keith Berish, a fellow unbeaten 205-er. Watch out for Drysdale’s BJJ, a fighter who has trained some of the best in the world.
Round 1 – Teep from Drysdale, and a ducking hook misses. His stand-up is lacking and he’s trying to close the distance. He has a hold of Berish and takes him down off the boot. Berish may be giving up his back here, he’s sitting up against the cage. Short shots from Drysdale. You definitely don’t want Drysdale on your back, and Berish has allowed just that with 4 minutes left in the round. Body lock from Dysdale, and he’s going for a neck crank for the time being. Berish seems to be okay in this position, he’s trying to stand up while Drysdale in on him. He does so. Drysdale now trying to get his arm under the neck. He has it. There’s the tap! That’s the kind of debut we expected, and great job from Drysdale.
Result: Drysdale via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:03 in first round.
About as simple as it gets for a UFC debut, and Robert Drysdale starts his Octagon run as he means to continue. Berish has his first pro loss and seems to have injured his knee in that exchange.
Ouch, they show a replay of the knee damage to Berish and it is naaaasty.