The UFC's lineup of Fight Nights for the week came to an end last night in Jacksonville, Florida. Bruce Buffer seemingly still hasn't realized there are no fans in the stands, either that or he's a true showman and he just doesn't care. First up on the main card was a fast paced, hard hitting bout between Marlon Vera and Song Jadong and it was Jadong won the fight in a unanimous decision from the Judges table.
The next fight got even harder for me to spell as Eryk Anders faced off with Krzysztof Jotko in a middleweight bout. These two started the fight moving laterally along the fence as Anders was clearly seeking to make this a wrestling match from the start. As the first round went on they moved from just trying to grapple each other to trying to take each other's heads off with kicks. I understand that wrestling and grappling is a big part of the sport, but as a former wrestler myself, this fight spent way too much time against the fence. They both kept looking for takedowns that they just couldn't land. Even the announcers were calling for Anders to try to finish the fight with his hands instead of wasting time in a clinch. Jotko won the fight in a unanimous decision.
The next fight I expected to be much more exciting as Edson Barboza made his featherweight debut against Dan Ige. The first round proved I was right as it was apparent that Barboza had retained his power dropping a weight class, and that Ige was not going to go away quietly, throwing a hundred total strikes in the first round. He also controlled most of the second round until Barboza landed a late takedown. Ige landed a big takedown with a minute left in the third and final round and held Barboza to the ground for the remainder of the fight. Unfortunately he was unable to finish it off, and then to the surprise of myself, the announcers and probably a few others won the fight in a split decision over Barboza.
After that we had a strawweight matchup between Claudia Gadelha and Angela "Overkill" Hill. I have to note that Hill sounds like a character in a 70's blaxploitation movie with that nickname, and I'm here for it. Hill fought tough, but Gadelha struck me as the much stronger fighter by the end of the first round. The second round changed early as Hill dropped Gadelha with a beautiful straight right and held off ensuing takedown attempts, He then finished the round with some solid aggression. I probably would have scored the fight even through the first two rounds. The third round was another fantastic display as the two women just went toe to toe for the entire round, with Gadelha landing a huge elbow late. I have no idea how to score that third round, but the judges gave it to Gadelha in a split decision.
Our main event of the night was the heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Walt "Big Ticket" Harris. It looked like Harris might put the fight away real early as he knocked Overeem down early and rained down hammer fists on his head, clearly opening a cut over the eye. However Overeem displayed good toughness and resiliency in weathering the storm and getting a takedown of his own near the end of the first round. The second round started slow and then Overeem dropped Harris with a huge kick to the head about two minutes into the second round, and then sat on Harris' back raining blows onto his head until the refs stopped the fight. It was scored a TKO victory in favor of Overeem. Despite the violence and brutality of the night and the sport in general, we did see an emotional display of humanity. Overeem embraced his fallen opponent in a show of respect for Harris making a comeback after his personal tragedy last month. This might have been the least exciting of the three fight nights that UFC has presented us with in the past week, but that's just a testament to how damn good the last two nights were.
I for one cannot wait until the UFC comes back next month.