It was a changed main event for the Ultimate Fighting Championship as they returned to Sweden for their latest Fuel TV offering, shown this past Saturday night on ESPN here in Britain.
The broadcast began in the featherweight division as Akira Corassani went up against Robbie Peralta.
This was a pretty good three rounder. The first round featured some nice striking exchanges as both fighters got some good blows in, the best of which came from Corassani when an overhand right sent Peralta back a few steps.
The best action came in the second. Peralta connected with a big left that staggered his man. He then moved in for the kill, although Corassani survived the onslaught as he came back with another overhand right that rocked Peralta again.
Peralta took the upper hand in the third round striking exchanges, which meant a change of tactics for Corassani when he took the fight to the ground, and even though Peralta managed to get back to his feet Corassani put in some good work as he controlled the action.
With no finish in sight the judges came into play for the first time. No disagreements here as Corassani took the unanimous decision.
The featherweight action continued with Diego Brandao and Pablo Garza.
Garza came into this fight with a big height and reach advantage, and although these natural gifts kept Brandao at bay early on it wasn’t long before the former Ultimate Fighter came forward and scored with the big slam.
From there Brandao was able to transition at will, and as the first round entered it’s final two minutes Brandao locked in an arm triangle for the submission win.
Further featherweight action featured in the filler material as Marcus Brimage faced Conor McGregor.
I was hoping they’d show this one, mainly because I’d seen a great deal of McGregor during his Cage Warriors days. It was an impressive debut from the Irishman. They began trading straight away with Brimage getting the upper hand for a few seconds. But as the fight got past the minute mark McGregor connected with a left uppercut that rocked his man. He followed Brimage down to the mat before the referee stepped in to give McGregor the TKI win after just 67 seconds.
It was down to bantamweight for the next fight as Brad Pickett took on Mike Easton.
This proved to be a very enjoyable back and forth encounter as they kept up a tremendous pace for the entire 15 minutes. Both guys put in good performances. The striking was top notch throughout. As for the grappling for the first two rounds a pattern developed where one would take the other down only for the other to get back to their feet in seconds.
It was only in the third where we saw some sort of ground dominance when Pickett scored with a takedown, moving to Easton’s back as he got back to his feet. Pickett went on to score with another big takedown as the fight came to an end.
The judges were called into action once again, and this time they couldn’t agree as Pickett took the split decision.
Heavyweight action followed as Matt Mitrione took on Phil De Fries.
This was the blink and you’ll miss it affair of the evening. After the opening exchanges De Fries failed with his takedown attempt. Mitrione more or less barged into him then, and as De Fries went down Mitrione connected with a few blows before the referee stepped in after just 19 seconds to give Mitrione the knockout win.
More filler material followed in the form of the lightweight encounter between Reza Madadi and Michael Johnson.
Now this was good. It was a bout filled with great action. After the initial feeling out period the fight went to the ground, and it wasn’t long before Madadi went looking for a couple of leg submissions, attempts which Johnson managed to survive. The action then progressed nicely, and as the first round neared it’s end Johnson connected with a kick to the head that sent Madadi crashing. Johnson followed up with a spot of ground and pound but found that time was against him as the round came to an end.
That proved to be Johnson’s last piece of dominance in this fight. As soon as Madadi scored with a takedown in the second he controlled the action. Johnson seemed almost powerless as Madadi put on an excellent display of ground fighting.
It was the same story in the third, but this time around Madadi upped his game even further when he moved into position so he could apply a d’arce choke for the submission win.
More lightweight action followed as Ross Pearson faced Ryan Couture.
This rather intriguing encounter saw Couture put on a very good performance in the first round. He put in a good display, controlling the action as he tried to grind Pearson down with a clinch against the cage, adding some dirty boxing into the mix as well, although Pearson came back strongly towards the end of the round.
Pearson looked a lot more confident when the second round began, and although Couture got off some good shots his slide began when Pearson tripped him for a brief moment of ground and pound. Couture managed to get back to his feet, but a big left sent him back down again. Pearson followed up with some more ground and pound until the referee stepped in to give him the TKO win.
The main event featured light heavyweight action as Gegard Mousasi went up against Ilir Latifi.
There was a distinct difference in class between these two. Mousasi put on a great display of fighting throughout. It was a solid and workmanlike performance, his left jab giving the adopted Swede no end of trouble. His other hand wasn’t too bad either.
Latifi looked a game fighter, but he also looked like a guy who took this fight on short notice. He got in a few good punches but failed with his takedown attempts in the first two rounds. It wasn’t until the end of the fight that he managed to take the fight to the ground, but his ground and pound was too little too late by then.
The judges were then called upon for the final time, and once again they were in complete agreement as they gave Mousasi the unanimous decision.
In conclusion - this was another solid outing for the UFC on their return to Sweden. There were some really good performances here from the likes of Corassani, Mitrione and Pearson, and all of this made for a very enjoyable show.
As for my fight of the night no-prize this time I’m going for the lightweight encounter between Reza Madadi and Michael Johnson. And to think I would have missed this one if it hadn’t been for Matt Mitrione’s 19 second knockout.
So with all of that out of the way let’s wrap this thing up by giving the UFC’s latest show the thumbs up.
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