The Octagon is our next destination for the first of a UFC Fight Night double header, with Mark Munoz facing Gegard Mousasi in the main event in Berlin, shown live this past Saturday night on BT Sport here in Britain.
We begin in the featherweight division, with Tom Niinimaki taking on Niklas Backstrom.
This was a great way to start the show. Niinimaki scored with the early takedown, but when Backstrom got back to his feet the Finn was relentless in his attempts to take the fight back to the ground, although he was constantly frustrated by Backstrom’s defensive work.
Niinimaki looked a bit suspect when Backstrom countered one of his attempts by locking in a guillotine and pulling guard, and although he managed to survive this particular scare Backstrom quickly went for a rear naked choke. Niinimaki had no choice but to tap, giving Backstrom the submission win.
Then it was up to middleweight as Luke Barnatt faced Sean Strickland.
This won’t go down as the greatest fight in middleweight history. The initial feeling out period seemed to last the entire first round, and it wasn’t until the second when things got a little better with a brief moment of ground work and some hard right hands from both fighters.
The most notable ground work came in the third when Barnatt went for a leg lock, but when Strickland managed to free himself from that predicament it was back to what came before, which didn’t really endear the fighters to the fans.
With the fight going the distance the judges entered the equation. No agreements here as Strickland took the split decision.
The co-main event continued the middleweight action as Francis Carmont faced C.B. Dollaway.
Now this was more like it. For three rounds these two put on a high entertaining affair. Carmont had a great deal of success throughout with his kicks, which he backed up with some great combinations. But as far as the striking goes it was Dollaway who took the upper hand, especially when his counter left put Carmont on his backside.
The ground fighting wasn’t too bad either. Carmont put in some good work when he went for a couple of kimuras, but once again it was Dollaway who enjoyed the greater success, including when he countered Carmont’s first kimura attempt by taking his back. He followed this up in the third with a spot of ground and pound from the mount in the third.
As for the judges this time they were in complete agreement as Dollaway took the unanimous decision.
The main event featured yet more middleweight action as Mark Munoz faced Gegard Mousasi.
Now this was definitely more like it. Munoz was intent on taking the fight to the ground from the off, and it backfired on him immediately when Mousasi ended up in top position after Munoz slammed him down.
They briefly returned to their feet until Munoz went for the takedown again. Mousasi took control once again, and within seconds he’d taken Munoz’s back and synched in a rear naked choke for the submission win.
In conclusion - the first of the UFC’s double header proved to be a very entertaining show. Although Barnatt and Strickland didn’t exactly set the world on fire the other three fights certainly delivered, with an exciting three rounder book ended between two great first round finishes.
As for the fight of the night no-prize there was only really one contender, with Francis Carmont and C.B. Dollaway taking this prestigious award.
So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing to do, and that’s to give this Fight Night the thumbs up.