The local crowd had to be happy with that UFC event.
Eleven events in eleven weeks for the UFC, and this dizzying ride comes to an end with a nicely packaged small event that put its Latin American talent on display. Mexico City played host to a card that may not be the most memorable or consequential overall, but made for a few highlight reel moments and added to the development of some fighters on the roster.
Altitude played a factor, but not enough to be a deterrent in most of these bouts in an obvious manner. Only a handful of the fighters on this card were ranked, but there was plenty of meat on the card for the home crowd, considering this was almost a Mexico vs The World event.
Sergio Pettis – At first, it seemed to me that Pettis wasn’t going to win this bout. He showed tremendous defense throughout and gained confidence as the fight went on. Once his timing was on, he was able to chip away at Moreno and do damage while keeping a consistent pace. Seeing as this fight was a #6 (Pettis) vs #7 (Moreno) bout, it’s hard to gain a lot of momentum, so it’s still not clear where Pettis goes from here. Champion Demetrious Johnson is facing Ray Borg soon, leaving four other options for him in the meantime. Fights against Jussier Formiga, Wilson Reis, Joseph Benavidez or Henry Cejudo would be interesting no matter what, so we’ll just have to wait on what comes next for Sergio.
Alexa Grasso – Despite her problem making weight this time around, Grasso showed growth in dealing with an opponent with heavy forward pressure and a tough wrestling game. Grasso dealt with takedowns by being able to get up and didn’t really get extra comfortable until close to the end. That said, she never seemed flustered and kept attacking with better timing and use of range. Her UFC record now stands at 2-1.
Niko Price – Not much you can say about quick fights, but it seemed clear from me in the Vivisection earlier this week that Price’s striking would find a hole in Jouban’s game to eventually hurt him. What I couldn’t predict was him doing that so early. Price is now 2-0-1 in the UFC after his knockout win over Alex Morono was overturned for testing positive due to smoking the Devil’s Lettuce. Price remains undefeated in his professional career at 10-0 and is starting to become a serious problem for slower starters. He has a lot of potential, and is showing he could really be used in compelling matchups against more established opposition.
Humberto Bandenay – Another short fight, but it shows a few interesting things. Bandenay’s reflexes are pretty amazing. His ability to fluster opponents with his janky movement still works, but it’s not a style that can’t be figured out. While it didn’t seem like a fight that would be exciting to me at first, we got a hell of a finish and another fighter making an instant impression in his debut. This is how you go from unheard of to someone to instantly pay attention to.
Sam Alvey – Having fought for the UFC for almost exactly three years now, Alvey’s 8-4 UFC record (31-9 overall) is nothing to scoff at. It wasn’t a barnburner, and we didn’t get another thundering knockout, but Alvey was able to negate Evans’ wrestling and cage pressure, looking good in his defense and use of fundamentals. His striking was good enough to earn him some rounds, and he remains a durable test for anyone that steps in against him.
Jack Hermansson – Another fight I thought would be a slog that had a finish I didn’t see coming. Hermansson’s ground strikes are something anyone can do, but he showed some veteran stripes in being smart in setting it all up. He picked his shots well and drowned Brad Scott with strikes from different angles no matter where Scott went. All of that en route to his third UFC win to put his UFC record at 3-1.
Dustin Ortiz – The man has more than a few reasons to believe in himself. Ortiz uncorked a good shot to drop Hector Sandoval and showed he’s still a viable threat in the flyweight division. Despite having a shaky UFC record, he bounces back from his loss to Brandon Moreno and could sneak back into the top ten after coming into this fight at #12.
Rani Yahya – Yahya fought like he was double parked outside the arena, because he didn’t give Briones any room to play. Rani came in hunting the quick submission and got it with a gorgeous Kimura. It may look like just another shoulder lock to the uninitiated, but for us grappling nuts? That was picture-perfect basic BJJ, and it washes the sour taste of that Joe Soto loss out of his mouth.
Joseph Morales – I guess this is why Urijah Faber is so high on the guy. First he puts Sanchez on Baker Street, then works to break him down and set up his positioning to get the submission. He remains undefeated at 9-0 and makes an immediate statement in a small division that needs new blood. All aces for Morales tonight.
Jordan Rinaldi stuck to his opponent and didn’t give anything up, keeping the flypaper approach and putting on one of the most brutal Von Flue chokes I’ve ever seen. His UFC record evens out to 1-1. Jose Alberto Quiñones used his range, timing and movement to earn a good decision against a hard-hitting Diego Rivas. With a hand speed advantage, Quiñones is now 3-1 in the UFC after his TUF Latin America run.
Brandon Moreno – Look, it’s hard for me to put him here, because he was largely dominant in the first round and managed to look better than expected standing. Perhaps in a three-round fight, he might have won. Sadly, he ran out of answers in the standup department by the third round. Moreno’s unorthodox movement and strikes kept Pettis guessing, but once he got figured out, Pettis was taking everything that was thrown his way and takedowns weren’t as easy to get anymore. Being 3-1 in the UFC with two of those three wins netting you performance bonuses is great, and his stock won’t take that much of a hit. Still, it shows he’s got work to do to crack the upper crust of the division and remain competitive.
Rashad Evans – This marks four straight losses for the former champion, and it’s sad to see this decline. Sure, it was a split decision, but he can barely hang with unranked opponents these days. He probably should have dropped to middleweight ages ago, and now it’s as if the best time for him to retire is overdue as well.
Andre Soukhamthath – Andre seemed like he had this in the bag and got complacent. With shoddy judging, this is the sort of thing that ends up happening. He still didn’t loosen up as much as he could have, and now drops to 0-2 in the UFC. I certainly hope he gets another shot, because he’s very talented and a great addition to the division. He just needed to show more in this fight than he did.
Alvaro Herrera – Hey, he’s the professional fighter, and I’m not. It’s not necessarily fair for a guy on his couch to make judgments on some of the decisions that a pro makes. But come on, you learn as a white belt to bail on that headlock when an opponent has his body on the other side. That puts him at 1-2 in the UFC since his time on TUF LA, and 9-5 overall. He might get cut for his troubles.
Alan Jouban suffered the cruelty of the fight game. As good as Jouban is, he couldn’t stop Price’s dynamic attack. That puts him at two straight losses after the submission defeat at the hands of Gunnar Nelson this past March. Hector Sandoval got slept hard, drops to 2-2 and remains too prone to overcommitting to big swings. Enrique Briones drops to 1-3, and he’s probably getting cut after that quick loss. Brad Scott had no answers for Hermansson once he got going, and now has a 3-4 UFC record.
Randa Markos – Her gatling run, forward pressure, running punches get the job done, opening the door for her wrestling and keeping her opponents on their back foot. Sadly it didn’t work out this time, but it was a fight she could have won with just one of the other judges scoring it differently. I can see the case for Markos winning, and even the case for a draw. I still think Grasso won, but it was a strong showing. We have to consider that Markos has been in a standstill pattern for some time in the UFC, alternating wins and losses since her arrival. I hope she doesn’t get released, as she’s a tough out for anyone and can still put on some wily performances.
Roberto Sanchez – Sanchez was actually winning that one until he got cracked. That and the fact that this was his UFC debut and not an overall indication of his talent or skill puts him in this category. Let’s see how he does next time out.
Alejandro Perez is now 4-1-1 (draw) with a decision win I don’t feel he earned. It’s not the kind of win that earns you momentum when you get dropped a few times but still get the decision. His stock remains the same.
Diego Rivas – Dropping to 2-1 isn’t that bad, but he’s also got work to do when it comes to closing the distance and improving his movement and timing against faster opponents. He wasn’t high up the ladder, and remains in the same spot.
Martin Bravo – If these two were to have a rematch, I doubt it would go the same way at all. Bravo evens out to 1-1 here, and is another fighter that wasn’t in high standing. His stock remains unaffected for now.