UFC Fight Night: July 14, 2018

#6 Cat Zingano vs. #7 Marion Reneau (Women’s Bantamweight)

Reneau started this fight off with powerful shots while keeping her distance. Eventually, Zingano started closing the gap, and scored many powerful takedowns, especially in round 1. Even when Reneau landed powerful jabs, Zingano countered, kept the distance close, and scoring takedowns. Reneau didn’t have much of a chance with the distance being so close; her powerful kicks were ineffective unless directed to the lower half.

It seemed like every time there was an ounce of space within the ground game, Zinago’s elbow met Reneau’s right eye, which was eventually cut. Zingano ended all three rounds on top of Reneau, and ultimately, controlled the fight. Zingano also set her personal best record for takedowns in a fight, which eventually pushed the unanimous decision in her favor. Zingano improved her record 10-3, while Reneau’s record fell to 9-4-1. Zingano will now look to face Amanda Nunues, the current Women’s Bantamweight champion, and who she actually beat via TKO nearly four years ago.

#12 Myles Jury vs. Chad Mendes (Men’s Featherweight)

Chad Mendes, making his first UFC appearance since December of 2015, was looking to slow down the 17-2 Myles Jury. He surely wasn’t going to get any help from height, as there was a four inch advantage in favor of Jury. In round 1, both fighters seemed very cautious of each other, making very little contact for the first two minutes. Then everything changed.

“I’m still an animal, I’m still going to try and knock your head off,” is what Mendes said before this fight. That’s exactly what happened.

It took just one left hand on the jaw of Jury to knock him to the ground. Mendes jumped on the opportunity, and fired plenty of right hands, eventually forcing the referee to stop the fight, giving Mendes the win and a 18-4 record. When asked who’s next, Mendes jokingly asked for Brock Lesnar, but eventually said anyone in the top five. 

Randy Brown vs Niko Price (Men’s Welterweight)

Both of these young fighters had something to prove. If they wanted to make an impact in this competitive welterweight division, they needed to win. Both the height and reach advantage would fall in Brown’s favor. In round 1, Brown looked very comfortable on his feet firing away several jabs. However, the latter half of the first round was spent on the ground. Price threw several punches while continuing the ground game.Towards the end of the round Price ate a knee to the face, which left him a little wobbly heading the his stool in between rounds.

Things went back to the ground early in the second. Both men were in an awkward position when suddenly, Brown’s head was left unprotected. Price took that opportunity and fired 5-6 hammer fists right on the jaw of Brown, knocking him out. This was definitely one of the more unique knockouts one could witness. Price would improve his record to 12-1, while Brown’s fell to 10-3. Price is eager to face whoever is next to challenge him. 

Dennis Bermudez vs Rick Glenn (Men’s Featherweight) 

Once again, both of these unranked fighters looked to make an impact on a very competitive featherweight division which includes names like Aldo, Ortega, Edgar, and of course, Holloway. Both fighters bouncing around the ring with energy, but the 6 inch height advantage and 4 inch reach advantage in favour of Glenn, had him controlling the fight in round 1. However, height advantage never secures a win, as we saw from the Jury vs Mendes fight. Bermudez looked for the left hook plenty of times, while Glenn was forcing distance with kicks to the head and body. In between rounds, Bermudez’s camp round stressed how important fighting at an angle was, as standing straight in front leaves him more vulnerable to the knockout with the advantages Glenn has. Bermudez scored a few early takedowns in round 2, but eventually Glenn worked his way back up to his feet to trade strikes, where he looked more comfortable. Going into round 3, Bermudez had the advantage with the scored takedowns, so Glenn would have to do something in the final round to change the judges scorecard. Bermudez went into round 3 looking to score more takedowns to ice this fight in his favour, and he did, but eventually got cut by elbows and punches, which pushed the judges scorecards to the nights first split decision, in favour of Rick Glenn. His advantages did come into play significantly, as even when Bermudez was able to take him down, the long reach and legs made it easy for Glenn to land a few punches and kicks, even from the ground. Glenn’s record improves to 21-5-1, and a loss goes to Bermudez who’s record is now 16-8. When asked what’s next for Glenn his number one answer was, “Spend time with my family.” 

Sage Northcutt vs Zak Ottow (Men’s Welterweight)

In the co-main event, Sage Northcutt would be the card’s youngest fighter at 22, while Zak Ottow was looking to gain some fans by beating the popular young fighter. Ottow looked for quick control by scoring a takedown within the first 10 seconds of the fight, hurting Northcutt with a shot that rolled his eyes back in the process. However, he was still able to gain a kick right to Ottow’s jaw from the ground. As soon as Northcutt was got to his feet, he landed several punches which ultimately forced Ottow to go to the ground game, where Northcutt attempted a guillotine choke. Round 1 ended with both fighters walking to their corners; however, Northcutt may have won that fight with the pressure he put on in the last minute.

Within the first minute of the second round, things were back on the ground, which ultimately worked in the favor of Ottow, who had no interest in trading strikes with the karate-based Northcutt. Once off the ground, Northcutt fired away, knocking down Ottow., who was clearly rocked. In a desperation move, Ottow tried to grab Northcutt’s ankle, which possibly costed him the fight. With Ottow’s head unprotected, Northcutt only needed 1-3 hammer fists to knock Ottow out (similar to the Brown vs Price fight). The fan-favorite Northcutt improved to 11-2, while Ottow was now 16-6. 

#8 Junior Dos Santos vs Blagoy Ivanov (Men’s Heavyweight)

In the main event, former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos made his return after being suspended for PED use. His opponent was Blagoy Ivanov, who was making his UFC debut.

The dangerous Dos Santos came out early as the aggressor pushing Ivanov to the fence. In round 1, Dos Santos looked very comfortable and was looking to land some big shots, while dodging the power and offense of Ivanov. Dos Santos likes fighting at a medium range (his prime knockout range), so every time Ivanov tried to get close (his prime knockout range), Dos Santos pushed back just a little bit.

In round 2, Dos Santos continued as the aggressor with strong punches and combinations, and a spinning leg kick which pushed Ivanov to the fence just to avoid it. However, Ivanov did push back and had some flashes of power in his jabs to end round 2.

Ivanov came out in round 3 and tried to close to distance as much as possible, and hit the top 10 contender with a few good punches. Dos Santos caught the Bulgarian with a solid shot to the right eye that cut eventually cut open on impact. Ivanov was holding his own, hitting Dos Santos with a left shot that snapped his head back, and then a solid right hand to head, which hurt his left eye. Right before the end of the round 3, referee Herb Dean had to give Dos Santos a warning to keep his fists closed when throwing punches to avoid any eye-poking or unnecessary contact. At the end of round 3, Ivanov’s eye was cut wide open.

In round 4, both men landed shots, and both were looking for the punch to rock the other, with very little takedowns being attempted. Dos Santos was clearly much more aware of the power Ivanov possessed, as he had to get away from the attempted punches and create distance.

Going into the fifth and final round, Ivanov’s corner was asking the Bulgarian for a knockout. Both fighters looked like they were trying finish the fight using their power, which had the audience on the edge of their seats. In the end, the audience was left waiting as both fighters went the full distance (5 rounds, 5 minutes each), and we needed the judges scorecards to settle this fight.

Both fighters put their best foot forward, and gave themselves a chance. Ivanov, who was making his debut, went the distance with a former UFC champion and a top 10 contender, making the heavyweight division look even more competitive. The judges eventually had this fight in Junior Dos Santos favor by unanimous decision. Dos Santos continues his storied career and improved his record to 19-5, and Ivanov’s profession record fell to 16-2-1. Dos Santos entertained the idea of another fight against Stipe Miocic, which would be the trilogy fight between the two, with each man getting a win.

Final Thoughts:

Every fight had a little bit of something. There were a few distinct height advantages and plenty of ground game action in every fight, minus the main event. Chad Mendes’ return actually impressed me the most. The 5’6″ former contender looked like he never missed a beat during the time that he was off. He wasn’t fighting a slouch either in Myles Jury, a top 15 fighter. Mendes fought him coming back and TKO’d him out in the first round, worthy of the performance of the night. I’m excited to see if Mendes can work his way back up into contention and another title shot.

Another fighter that impressed me was Niko Price. In my opinion, he was losing that fight, and all he needed was a few hammer fists to put Randy Brown in another universe. Saying that he’s “never seen the judges” after he’s either submitted or knocked out all of his opponents in his UFC career (1 no contest) is absolutely insane. I doubt he’ll be able to keep that up, but can he work that enough to get to a title shot? He’s got a long way to go.

The main event between Dos Santos and Ivanov was fantastic as well, with both men having iron chins and refusing to be knocked out. Lastly, can you say enough about Sage Northcutt? The 22 year old has a few things he needs to improve on (ground game), but possess extreme potential and power. The next UFC Fight Night will be this coming Sunday on July 22, where Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will face off against Anthony “Lionheart” Smith in the main event from Hamburg, Germany.

Photo: SherDog

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