The UFC has been criticized in the past for some of its regional shows that it does in an effort to expand its global market. These cards usually feature local talent, and without these shows, some of these fighters wouldn’t have UFC contracts. The organization has somewhat mitigated the disinterest of more casual North American audiences who wouldn’t tune in to watch these cards by relegating them cards to Fight Pass, UFC’s monthly streaming subscription service.
Yesterday’s card was full of low stakes matches. In fact, a handful of fighters were making their UFC debuts. Magomed Mustafaev and Arnold Allen were successful in their first UFC efforts with both finishing their fights. Mustafaev is a product of the Russian Sambo system of grappling that produced Khabib Nurmagomedov and opened up a vicious cut on opponent Piotr Hallmann that ended the fight in the second. Hallmann, now 2-3 in the UFC, may get one more fight but his prospects in the promotion are dim. Arnold Allen persevered during a hard fought three round battle and landed a quick ninja choke that caught his opponent by surprise. Allen was losing the fight the first two rounds of the fight and looked to be losing the third as well, but the sudden choke was all it took to get the tap.
Makwan Amirkhani delivered the feels of the night with his passionate if not somewhat awkward interview following his rear naked choke submission over Masio Fullen. Amirkhani revealed that he left his family for six months to pursue training. During this time he accepted no phone calls or contact and only focused on his training. As he scanned the crowd, he finally spotted his tearful mother and broke down himself. It was one of the more genuine moments in MMA where you really get to see the sacrifice that goes into what many competitors endure to chase their dreams. In Amirkhani’s case, the hard work paid off, and he took home a performance of the night award.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk TKOs Penne via Bloodbath
They say you’re not really the champ until you’ve defended your belt at least once. If there were any lingering doubts as to whether or not Jedrzejczyk’s domination over former champ Carla Esparza was a fluke, they were dispelled after a long 14 minutes and 22 second beating of former Invicta champ Jessica Penne.
Penne, a BJJ artist with an improving judo arsenal, used every trick she had to get Jedrzejczyk off of her feet, but she was unable to do so. Penne did a good job of applying cage pressure to minimize the damage, but without being able to get Jedrzejczyk off of her feet, it became a stall tactic that only delayed the inevitable. Jedrzejczyk picked her apart, landing an Anderson Silva style front kick to Penne that opened up Penne’s nose. If that wasn’t the one that broke it, a particularly sharp elbow opened up a huge crack across the bridge of Penne’s nose. By the third round, she looked like she stepped off the set of a Clive Barker movie.
As someone on reddit pointed out, Jedrzejczyk’s sprawl and brawl is similar to Chuck Liddell’s. She does a great job of anti-wrestling, using grappling to prevent from being taken down, and from there she uses her muay thai techniques, arguably the best in the division, to fight her fight. That’s what she did against Esparza and that’s what she did against Penne. Unless the women’s strawweight division produces a top tier wrestler or Rousey-level judoka, it’s going to be up to whoever beats Jedrzejczyk to do so on Jedrzejczyk’s terms, a gutsy, violent spectacle played out on the feet.
So who’s next for Joanna? Tough to say. The division is still developing, but the next credible threat will likely be Michelle Waterson. After her fight, Jedrzejczyk said she will be taking a holiday to recover. She’s fought four times in the past year, two of those being title matches. This will give a bit of wiggle room to have a few more matches to determine a more clear pecking order in the division. Namajunas, the runner up from TUF 20, may get the call, but she’s coming off of two losses and needs at least one win to make a legitimate claim. Tecia Torres may be the most logical choice, as she’s technically undefeated outside of exhibition matches from TUF 20.
- Main Card
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk defeated Jessica Penne at 4:22 of the 3rd round by TKO - Punches and Knee
- Tatsuya Kawajiri defeated Dennis Siver at 5:00 of the 3 round by Decision - Unanimous
- Peter Sobotta defeated Steve Kennedy at 2:57 of the 1 round by Submission - Rear Naked Choke
- Nick Hein defeated Lukasz Sajewski at 5:00 of the 3 round by Decision - Unanimous
- Preliminary Card
- Mairbek Taisumov defeated Alan Patrick at 1:30 of the 2 round by TKO - Head Kick and Punches
- Arnold Allen defeated Alan Omer at 1:41 of the 3 round by Submission - Ninja Choke
- Noad Lahat defeated Niklas Backstrom at 5:00 of the 3 round by Decision - Majority
- Scott Askham defeated Antonio dos Santos Jr at 2:52 of the 1 round by TKO - Knees and Punches
- Magomed Mustafaev defeated Piotr Hallmann at 3:24 of the 2 round by TKO - Doctor Stoppage
- Taylor Lapilus defeated Yuki Sasaki at 1:26 of the 2 round by TKO - Punches
- Fight of the Night: Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs. Jessica Penne
- Performance of the Night: Mairbek Taisumov
- Performance of the Night: Arnold Allen