UFC ON FOX 18: Aftermath
With three finishes out of the four fights on the main card UFC on FOX 18 surpassed expectations. With a quick knockout in the main event, a submission specialist being submitted in the co-main event, a hometown hero prevailing in an exciting three round battle and an underdog stopping a prospect, this card was truly a jack of all trades. So, without wasting any more time, let’s breakdown the fights on the main card.
- Anthony Johnson Vs Ryan Bader
Going in to this fight, most fans and experts were picking Anthony Rumble Johnson to finish the fight in the first two rounds by way of knockout. That is exactly what happened but it was the way in which it played out that was somewhat surprising. Most people assumed that if Ryan Bader could take the fight to the ground he could expose some weaknesses in Rumble Johnson’s game which have been exploited in the past. Unfortunately for Bader, Johnson was expecting him to engage in a grappling battle from the moment the bell rang.
Bader shot for a takedown almost immediately which was stuffed by Johnson. From here, Johnson was then able to control Bader with ease from the top position. It then became quite apparent that Rumble, who has been working diligently on his ground game with grappling Coach Neil Melanson, was more patient and relaxed then we have ever seen him before. Bader tried to tie Johnsons arm up in a Kimura in order to defend himself from a heavy onslaught of punches from arguably the hardest hitter in the game. Unfortunately for Bader he focused on the Kimura too much, which led to Johnson passing his guard without much obstruction landing him in mount where he was able to loosen Bader’s grip and break free from the Kimura. From there it was merely a matter of when, not if, as Rumble rained down with heavy leather rendering Bader unconscious forcing the ref to wave the contest off.
Anthony Johnson def. Ryan Bader via first-round TKO (1:26)
- Josh Barnett Vs Ben Rothwell
In the build up to this fight between true Heavyweight Veterans, I like many others felt that Rothwell’s key to victory would be through using his famously heavy hands. This, however, was not the case as Rothwell shocked the MMA world by submitting one of its most prestigious long time grapplers in Josh Barnett. This was the first time Barnett had ever been submitted in Mixed Martial Arts competition.
The fight was relatively even on the feet in the first round with Barnett opening a cut on Rothwell’s face. When they tied up however, it was very clear that Rothwell was the much larger of the two competitors and he used his strength effectively against a crafty Barnett. Barnett initiated the grappling by shooting for a single leg takedown on Rothwell. However Barnett left his neck exposed and Rothwell took full advantage securing a modified version of a guillotine choke his coach has labelled the “gogo choke”. Rothwell used this choke to force Barnett to the ground making him tap instantly. Submitting Barnett is a huge feather in Rothwell’s cap and is arguably the biggest win of his career.
Ben Rothwell def. Josh Barnett via submission (gogo choke) (2nd, 3:48)
- Jimmie Rivera Vs Iuri Alcantara
In just his third bout in the UFC, hometown hero Jimmie Rivera took on the highly experienced veteran Iuri Alcantara. Alcantara has 33 victories under his belt, including a knockout victory over former Featherweight title challenger Ricardo Lamas. This made Alcantara Rivera’s hardest test to date.
In an exciting three round fight, Rivera was able to land the more significant shots and secured takedowns on several occasions. Alcantara was successful at landing his left straight along with a multitude of kicks but it was not enough to deter the gritty and determined Rivera. Rivera landed beautiful shots to the body and had Alcantara in trouble on several occasions. This performance earned both competitors fight of the night bonuses. This was easily the biggest win of Rivera’s career.
Jimmie Rivera def. Iuri Alcantara via unanimous decision
- Sage Northcutt Vs Bryan Barberena
Coming in to this bout Sage Northcutt was not only the youngest fighter on the card but also the one with the most hype. A product of Dana White’s reality show “Looking for a Fight”, all eyes were on Sage with many fans wanting him to succeed but even more salivating at the idea of him falling short. As if that pressure wasn’t enough, Northcutt had a change of opponent less than two weeks out which forced him to move up a weight class to 170 pounds.
Northcutt had some success early in the bout, tagging Barberena with his blitzing Karate style and securing some short lived takedowns. However, in the second round Sage threw a Capoeira style kick which resulted in him being on bottom under a more experienced grappler in Barberena who trains with Benson Henderson on a regular basis. Barberena took over on top, shutting down any of Northcutt’s attempts to scramble and get to his feet. From there he passed to half guard and secured an arm triangle on the opposite side. It is very rare for a fighter to tap from that choke without the opponent stepping over the same side. Northcutt showed he has a lot of improving to do in his ground game but this is to be expected from a 19 year old competitor who had only five fights before entering the UFC. There is no doubt that Northcutt still has a very bright future ahead of him.
Bryan Barberena def. Sage Northcutt via submission (Arm triangle) (2nd, 3:06)
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