The American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, was home to a outstanding night of fights, with five (T)KOs, four submissions, and four decisions, including two split-decisions.
This was probably one of the hardest events the UFC have ever had to pick bonuses for, and if there was any justice in the world, the UFC would have handed out extra checks due to so many incredible performances on the card. Alas, that would require the UFC acknowledging that fighters deserve more money, so those dream bonuses are currently residing inside a snowball next to Lucifer.
Zabit Magomedsharipov and Aljamain Sterling both somehow missed out on POTN honors after landing kneebar/Suloev stretch style submissions from back mount, which has only happened one time in UFC history before tonight. One. Time.
The event was filled with likely future champions or contenders, with Darren Till, Magomedsharipov, Jessica Andrade, Tatiana Suarez and others all competing. The card reminded me, in some ways, of UFC 126, where Mighty Mouse, Mendes, Donald Cerrone and Jon Jones all participated before becoming either UFC legends or perennial top contenders.
Performances of the Night: Jessica Andrade and Tyron Woodley
Jessica Andrade came out and made one hell of a statement with a KO the commentators were calling one of, if not the best, knockouts in women’s MMA history. Andrade landed a wicked right hook just two minutes into her bout with Karolina Kowalkiewicz, catching the Pole perfectly and snatching the soul right out of her body. Andrade made a strong case as the number one contender with that finish in the new co-main event, and earned a cool $50,000 in bonus cash, as well.
Tyron Woodley retained his title with a fantastic victory over a surging Darren Till. It all started with a perfectly placed counter right hand that dropped Till, followed by some brutal ground-and-pound. Till, tough as they come, covered and moved and blocked and survived that barrage, so Woodley switched tactics, let “The Gorilla” get comfortable defending short shots in half guard, then slipped in an unnoticed D’arce choke that left the scouser with no choice but to tap.
Woodley has been perennially underrated by the UFC, so it’s great to see him get some recognition from Uncle Dana with his 50 G bonus check. Darren Till is only 25 and will no doubt bounce back from this, but as my wonder twin Iain Kidd said on twitter, when you come at the king, you best not miss, and Till missed.
Fight of the Night: Aldana vs. Pudilova
Irene Aldana and Lucie Pudilova put on a fight for the ages. The two traded hard leather from the opening bell, mixed in with a variety of kicks and crushing elbows. Pudilova threw so many kicks that JCVD was probably seething with jealous rage, and that was just in the first round.
Round two opened with the same frenetic pace, but saw Pudilova willing to make even riskier moves. As she launched a thunderous superman punch, Aldana cracked her with a counter right, and the next four minutessaw much of the same action as the the first stanza.
The third round saw Aldana tearing up Pudilova with leg kicks, and the wear-and-tear of the pace the two were keeping was starting to show. They continued their brawl in the center of the cage, with Pudilova smashing Irene’s nose with a nasty uppercut and combos in the clinch. Aldana landed a hard knee and some hard shots of her own, and the fight ended with them swinging for the fences. Personally, I had it for Pudilova, but the judges saw it for Aldana. Either way, it was a fantastically fun fight to watch and these two badasses each get 50,000 smackers for their efforts.