UFC ‘Wichita’: What Happened Last Night?!?!?!?
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its presence known to Wichita, Kansas, last night (Sat., March 9, 2019) for UFC Fight Night 146. On the whole, this was hardly the most talent-rich card, but there is an easy fix to draw fans in regardless: Heavyweights! The main event nearly guaranteed a slugfest of some kind, and there were enough close match ups throughout the card to keep things interesting... at least on paper.
Let’s take a look at the best techniques and performances of the night!
It’s really impressive that dos Santos remains such a relevant Heavyweight.
Last night, dos Santos looked to be in prime form. The Brazilian came in with the right strategy, slamming Lewis’ body and kicking his legs from range, where he was safer from Lewis’ infamous power. Once Lewis was a bit diminished, dos Santos began stepping in behind his right hand, ending things early in the second round.
“Cigano” is now on a three-fight win streak and will be ranked inside the top five after this win. Realistically, he’s just a single win away from the title.
It’s been seven years since dos Santos lost his title, and most of dos Santos’ generation has fallen by the wayside. Cain Velasquez brutally stopped dos Santos twice all those years ago, but just a couple weeks back he lasted about 30 seconds before his knee imploded and he was knocked out. Alistair Overeem, another man who knocked dos Santos flat in 2015, was recently on the wrong side of two of the most brutal knockouts ever witnessed in the Octagon.
Meanwhile, dos Santos remains active, healthy, and finds success. Much respect to the veteran!
Well... It happened
Last week, the UFC held one of its biggest events of the year on pay-per-view that featured a pair of title fights. Those top two fights ended up being a bit slow, but it was still one of the best nights top-to-bottom of combat sports in 2019 so far.
UFC Wichita? Not so much.
The pair of Welterweight finishes near the top of the main card and the fun main event certainly helped elevate this event from “bad” to merely “mediocre,” but this was not the most fun event to watch. Without getting too whiny, there was a bit too much slop, and it wasn’t even the fun kind that features lots of momentum shifts and scrambles. Instead, we saw fights where neither fighter really adjusted, meaning the opening two minutes played out repeatedly for the full 15.
It wasn’t a complete dud, but the only fights worthy of a re-watch ended inside a round.
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos defeats Curtis Millender via first-round rear naked choke: I think we all expected a wild brawl here. Zaleski has done nothing but walk men down while firing bombs and spin kicks; Millender has been dropping foes left and right with his own vicious Muay Thai. Instead, Zaleski flipped the script by dropping down early into a double leg takedown and forcing Millender to the mat. From his back, Millender looked rather helpless, as Zaleski was able to advance into the mount and back mount quickly multiple times. Once there, it didn’t take long for Zaleski to lock in the choke and secure his shot at a top 10 opponent.
- Niko Price defeats Tim Means via round-one knockout: Price is a special fighter. He may not ever capture the strap or even contend, but there is no better opportunist once the Octagon door closes. For the vast majority of the exchanges, Means was the sharper man, relying on head movement and great wrist control to repeatedly ding Price with his left cross. Nearing the end of the first round, Price’s legs had been wobbled a number of times, and he was backed into a corner along the fence. “The Hybrid” was not done, however, as he remained composed and fire back a crisp overhand. Price did not over-commit or load up terribly, but the shot sent Means down in a heap. Means is known for his durability, which really emphasizes his special finishing ability for him to turn things around with a single strike.
- Beneil Dariush defeats Drew Dober via round-two armbar: Dober turned this bout into an absolute war immediately, firing early and checking Daruish’s chin with his right hook. Dariush adjusted in the second by committing to level changes rather than clinch attempts, forcing Dober to the mat with a pair of single leg takedowns. Once on top, Dariush was methodical, slowly advancing into dominant positions. As Dober attempted to escape back to his feet, the jiu-jitsu black belt Dariush transitioned into an armbar/triangle attempt to end the bout with a slick submission. Despite the win, it was a rough showing from Dariush, who was once a top 10-ranked contender just a couple years ago.
- Anthony Rocco Martin defeats Sergio Moraes via unanimous decision: The combination of the right calf kick and jab claimed another victim, as Moraes spent much of the bout stuck at range and getting his leg kicked into the air. It’s also another victory for fighters moving up a weight class. Since his 2018 move to 170 lbs., Martin has put together a four-fight win streak and performed much more consistently across three rounds. Rocco is putting it all together skill-wise and allowing his body to function properly: the result is dominant performances.
- Yana Kunitskaya defeats Marion Reneau via unanimous decision: I don’t have that much to say about the fight itself, in which Kunitskaya’s kicking game allowed her to outpoint Reneau in the first two rounds. Reneau is a notorious slow-starter who didn’t turn it up until the third, but she absolutely mangled Kunitskaya’s nose when she actually threw punches!
- Matt Schnell defeats Louis Smolka via round-one triangle choke: Schnell put on a great display of chain grappling last night to end the fight early. From guard, Schnell attacked with a full guard guillotine that certainly looked tight. However, as it became apparent that the guillotine choke was not tight enough to put his foe to sleep, Schnell threw his guard up high as he released the hold. He managed to isolate one arm and the neck, putting himself in great position to attack a triangle. It took a couple adjustments, but Schnell quickly secured the proper angle to finish the hold, extending his win streak to three.
- Alex Morono defeats Zak Ottow via round-one knockout: Morono has consistently been aggressive and tried to finish fights throughout his UFC career, but generally the result is a blood-and-guts battle rather than quick stoppage. This time around, a spinning back kick sent Ottow backwards, and some hard follow up punches saw Ottow dive into a guillotine choke. The veteran defended well but gave up mount in the process, which allowed Morono to hammer away from top position and secure the finish.
For complete UFC Fight Night 146 ‘dos Santos vs. Lewis’ results and play-by-play, click HERE!