Don Madge bores Fares Ziam, UD
There's no reason for you to waste time watching this one. Good for Don Madge picking up the win and helping expand the MMA foot print in South Africa, but this one wasn't good in any way. Madge was supposed to face Magomed Mustafaev, but he ended up getting injured, and being replaced with Ziam. Madge is now 2-0 in the UFC. Madge thinks he broke his knuckle in the first round and says the heat in the arena got to him.
SRS' Rec: No
Omari Akhmedov bores Zak Cummings, UD
I'm kind of surprised to not see James Krause in Cummings' corner, but then again, I've been stuck in the pro wrestling loop for a few weeks. He gets taken down in impressive fashion a couple of times along the way. Cummings' corner at least has the urgency to tell him he's losing the fight, but it doesn't really change much. This was another one that just wasn't very good. Not a great way to kick off the morning.
SRS' Rec: Pass
Muslim Salikhov KTFOs Nordine Taleb, R1
This finish woke us all up. Not a lot happening until the 4:20 mark, when Salikhov obliterates Taleb with a big overhand. Taleb goes stiff and Salikhov looked like he was about to follow up -- HE WASN'T GETTING UP. Salikhob needs to fight more regularly in the UFC to get some real momentum going, and the more he does, the more people are going to discover his amazing knockout ability. He's 35 and has been kickboxing as a pro since 2003. Taleb is now 38 and has lost three of his last four, all by finishes. The UFC gives people a much longer leash these days, and he's a mainstay in Canada, so it wouldn't shock me at all to see him fighting on some of those cards.
SRS' Rec: Check out this finish. It's a good one.
Belal Muhammad tap tap taparoos Takashi Sato, R2
I can't remember a time after 2016 that I've been excited to see Belal Muhammad fight. He had the great Titan title win, and three really exciting UFC fights -- for better or for worse. Fortunately, this fight was a lot different. Muhammad overcomes some takedowns and ends up securing a rear naked choke win. This is a good one for him. He needed a finish, and probably needs another or he's gonna be stuck on the early prelims forever. Muhammad has won six of his last seven.
SRS' Rec: Watch the finish
Ottman Azaitar deads Teemu Packalen
This is a clear mismatch from the jump. Azaitar walks him down and pummels away. He's really overwhelming. The overhand right knockout is downright scary and Packalen is twitching when he hits the ground. Packalen has been in the UFC since 2015, has never fought more than once a year, has only one win, and hadn't fought in two and a half years and looked like it.
SRS' Rec: Ottman looks like someone worth paying attention to.
Sarah Moras stops Liana Jojua, R3
Literally nothing happens in this fight until the ref separates them when nothing happens in a clinch. Okay. Moras lands a couple of strikes. Moras gets taken down and pinned, but always is active off her back. Elbows and a high guard really do well for her. She takes top control and wins via TKO. This doesn't mean a lot to me with her weight miss, but good for her. Solid, complete performance, but hopefully Moras can stay healthy.
SRS' Rec: Fine fight, but you don't need to see it.
Zubaira Tukhugov drew with Leone Murphy, SD
This fight is all over the place. I thought the draw here was warranted. Murphy overcame a bad first round and worked his way back into it. The sweat here is making it easier to slip out of a lot of situations. You could do a lot worse than Murphy did against a guy like Zubaira Tukhugov, but Tukhugov hadn't fought since before Fightful launched.
#5 Joanna Calderwood defeated #6 Andrea Lee, SD
You can tell the heat is getting to two really well conditioned, legit top ten talents. This is a high level female striking battle. There's an amazing clinch elbow that drops Lee. Calderwood appropriately calls out Shevchenko after this fight, and noted how hot it was in the building
SRS' Rec: Not compared to some other fights
Carlos Diego Ferreira derails Mairbek Taisumov's hype train, UD
This is an outstanding, gritty fight, and I loved the urgency in the corner of Ferreira. Carlos came into this as a +225 underdog, and applied pressure after being handled early. One of his best strikes came late in the third round with a big head kick. This is an early FOTN contender. Ferreira has now won five in a row, and knocked off Taisumov, who won six in a row before this. Since 2016, Taisumov has had trouble getting into the cage, pulling from four fights with injuries and visa issues.
SRS' Rec: This was a great fight.
#4 Curtis Blaydes dominates #9 Shamil Abdurakhimov
Blaydes as Shamil down easily and pummels him. If he adds submissions to his game, that's a whole different level. This ass whipping is so one-sided and expected, and Blaydes wasn't even remotely tired. He wins after filthy GNP.
SRS' Rec: Yes, Blaydes is elite.
#15 Islam Makhachev UD's Davi Ramos
Davi Ramos says that he would be a tough matchup for Khabib. He would not. Islam won this fairly easily. In round three, Islam drops Ramos with a big knee, but Ramos is very dangerous on the ground. Makhachev has won six fights in a row.
SRS' Rec: Nah.
Paul Felder beats? Edson Barboza via SD.
Herb Dean completely misses a headbutt. Felder recognizes it, Barboza recognizes it and finally stops things briefly. Felder moves forward even more in round two, trying to keep Barboza on his heels. Barboza connects with a nasty spinning back fist. I dunno how Felder won this, much less 30-27 on a score card. He wants a big fight or else he'll retire.
SRS' Rec: Sure.
UFC Undisputed Lightweight Championship
Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) chokes out Dustin Poirier (ic), R3
Poirier got underhooks in, but is taken down and back mounted. Poirier gets back to his feet. Poirier keeps trying to switch, but ends up in a worse position each time. Nurmagomedov gets pieced up by a nice combo and body kick from Poirier, but the smothering continues. Poirier hopeless in his own corner, before he briefly applies a guillotine. Poirier stays with the guillotine even though he probably should have stood up. It was hit shot, though. Khabib chokes out Poirier and wins in the third. Khabib jumps the cage and hugs Dana White.
SRS' Rec: Yes, and I'm saying this before the fight even happens.