Dayne Fox recaps all the UFC action across the Atlantic, including Darren Till’s arrival as a contender.
The UFC kicked off its run of 11 events over 11 weeks with an under-the-radar card with UFC Gdansk. When all was said and done, it didn’t do anything to make anyone feel it should have been promoted any more. Darren Till on the other hand, did everything possible to show the UFC he is worth promoting as a contender. Not a future contender. A contender, as in here and now.
Till picked apart Donald Cerrone from the beginning, nailing Cerrone with left hands time and again. As he got loose, he began to let loose with short combinations and elbows, eventually rocking Cerrone with a straight left. Till swarmed for the finish, dropping Cerrone to his knees before the ref stepped in to end the contest.
While the win over Cerrone is the biggest story of the night, a close second was the exchange between Till and Mike Perry, who jumped up cage side to exchange words with Till, setting the stage for a potential confrontation between the two youngsters. Of course, Perry will have to get past Santiago Ponzinibbio in December for us to get that contest. No complaints as I want to see that fight too, but I won’t deny that a contest between Till and Perry doesn’t sound appetizing either.
More shotgun reactions to the card:
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz recovered nicely from her devastating loss to Claudia Gadelha, picking apart newcomer Jodie Esquibel in every aspect of the fight. Esquibel was game early on, but once she couldn’t find an area that she could win the fight, Kowalkiewicz began stalking her. Short combinations, body kicks, and knees in the clinch made up the majority of her attack to secure a one-sided decision from the judges.
- Though it started out a bit slow as Clark looked for the takedown early, Blachowicz began to take control as he focused his attack on the body of Clark. Clark’s attack began to show more panic to it as he ate body kick after body kick, even succumbing to a takedown from Blachowicz, hardly known for his wrestling. As Clark rushed forward, Blachowicz caught him in a WWE-style sleeper hold… er, I mean… a modified RNC. Or was it a bulldog choke? Regardless, Roddy Piper would be so proud….
- Mostly a snoozer, Oskar Piechota mixed in just enough offense to keep his contest with Jonathan Wilson from being a complete waste of time. Piechota nearly finished the contest at the end of the first and third with submissions and knocked the American on his butt to close the second. Alas, he couldn’t put a stamp on his victory with a finish. Nonetheless, promising debut for Piechota.
- Everyone likes home cooking… except when you’re visiting. Nasrat Haqparast showed better than anyone expected, taking the fight to Held to win the standup battle and escape submission attempt after submission attempt from Marcin Held. A strong case could have been made for the young German to leave the victor. Instead, Held got some favorable judging, securing 30-27 scorecards from all three judges. A Held win isn’t improbable, but three 30-27 scorecards was a load of crap. Can we please get some accountability for judges!?
- Brian Kelleher and Damian Stasiak threw down for one of the more entertaining contests of the evening. Stasiak hurt Kelleher early in the first round, but couldn’t finish the American. Kelleher slowly swung the momentum in his favor with a steady barrage of overhands while Stasiak threw an inordinate amount of spinning back-kicks in hopes of exhausting Kelleher. It didn’t work. Kelleher kept coming and floored Stasiak about three minutes through the third before finishing off Pole with a series of hammerfists.
- In the fight-to-forget for the night, Ramazan Emeev dominated a lethargic Sam Alvey. Alvey took the contest with about 10 days notice, cutting over 30 pounds in the process and still failing to make weight. Emeev fought intelligently, mixing takedown attempts with his pressure. I would say he avoided Alvey’s power, but Alvey didn’t throw anything worth avoiding. Poor fight that Alvey should never have accepted.
- The people’s main event between Andre Fili and Artem Lobov didn’t disappoint. Fili did a great job of using his nine-inch reach advantage, darting in and out of Lobov’s limited range and dropping Conor McGregor’s training partner with a head kick late in the first frame. Lobov was able to recover in between rounds, getting back to his counter punches and nearly stole the second round before Fili scored a late takedown. More takedowns from Fili followed in the third round to secure the win, followed by a post-fight speech about humans treating one another as humans.
- Worth noting during the Fili-Lobov contest was Marc Goddard stopping the action briefly to admonish Conor McGregor – yes, I said Conor McGregor – as the lightweight champ circled the outside of the cage yelling advice to his teammate. Can’t recall ever seeing that before. At least we know McGregor could become a manager in professional wrestling if his MMA or boxing careers ever falter….
- Warlley Alves returned to the cage for the first time in nearly a year, securing an uneventful decision over short-notice opponent Salim Touahri. While it wasn’t a horrible contest, that’s pretty much all that can be said as Alves’ measured approach produced few memorable moments. Nonetheless, the talented Brazilian snaps a two-fight skid with this win.
- No one was sure what Aspen Ladd was thinking in the first round of their contest, instigating a clinch against the Elbow Princess, Lina Lansberg. We still don’t know what was up there, but she listened to her corner in between rounds and scored a takedown at the first opportunity. Once Ladd got the mount, she simultaneously unleashed vicious punches with banshee screams until the referee stepped in. Solid debut win for the 22-year old.
- Ever wonder what a 10-7 round looks like? We got ourselves a pretty good look at one as Josh Emmett knocked Felipe Arantes down four times in the opening frame of their three-round battle. You’d think a referee would never allow a fight like that to continue, but Arantes kept moving and defending, making it difficult for the referee to justify stepping in. Emmett slowed considerably after that, leading to the fight going to decision. Emmett could be a force in his new home of featherweight.
- A scheduled bout between heavyweights Adam Wieczorek and Anthony Hamilton was scraped less than 24 hours before the event as Wieczorek was perceived to be in danger due to his support of a soccer team from South Poland. Considering some supporters of a rival team showed up to the ceremonial weigh-ins looking for a fight, I can’t say the decision was ludicrous. Europeans sure do take their soccer seriously….