With UFC Fight Night: Machida vs. Dollaway officially in the books, we can recap some important things to note. It was definitely a successful night of fights in Barueri, Brazil, and I’m thankful I didn’t have to stay up until 4 in the morning like those in attendance did. Nevertheless, the fights were exciting and didn’t bore anyone to sleep. Furthermore, we go to witness some pretty important stuff go down. Here are the things you need to know after last night’s Fight Night.
Know The Name: Antonio dos Santos Jr.
Even though his fight went into the books as a loss due to injury, he left me wanting to see more of him. He took on the dangerous middleweight Daniel Sarafian who, despite having a losing streak, is a tough customer for anyone with his short and stocky frame. Sarafian came into this fight wanting to take the fight to the ground, but the knockout artist in Antonio dos Santos Jr. didn’t allow him. Instead, they decided to throw haymakers at each other for the better part of two rounds. This was until dos Santos caught his left hand awkward while trying to block an overhand right, and dislocated his finger. Despite popping it back into socket, the ref waved the off because it was Antonio who declared he was unable to continue. However, the round and a half I did see of Antontio dos Santos Jr. I really enjoyed. He used his reach well, he took some hard shots, and he delivered even harder punches in return. Can’t wait to see him again.
Erick Silva Is Back!
Erick Silva burst onto the UFC scene a few years ago as being a reckless, wild, entertaining striker who went for the first-round finish every single time. This style of fighting played off huge in getting him recognized, but it ran him into trouble against fighters who could survive his punishment and late dish it out onto him. Heading into his fight against the, durable, underrated Mike Rhodes, there were a lot of questions as to whether or not he had changed anything in his gameplanning. What we saw answered these questions. Rather than coming out guns blazing like usual, he fought smart, but with the same amount of aggression and intensity. Rather than brawling, he took the fight down, locked up an easy arm-triangle, and got the without breaking a sweat. Silva looked like a silent killer out there, and I really hope he continues this more calculated, smarter approach.
Know The Name: Rashid Magomedov
We’ve all heard of the fantastic fighters coming out of Dagestan, Russia. Guys like: Khabib Nurmagomedov, Rustam Khabilov, and Ruslam Magomedov, but now we have another one to add to the list and that is Rashid Magomedov (not sure if there is any relation to the other Magomedov’s or not). This lightweight is known for his kickboxing skills, but wow was I impressed. He’s undefeated in the UFC, and continued that streak against a fellow prospect who was also undefeated in the UFC. Together they put on a technical striking battle that those who really appreciate the sport and all of it’s little intricacies really enjoyed. He used his slick movement and footwork to zip in and out of Silverio’s longer range all way landing punishing kicks and beautiful hand combinations. At the end though, he caught Silverio with a jab which prompted a smooth, calculated, patient destruction of the Brazilian with just 3 seconds left in the round. The whole time Magomedov kept his cool, and I don’t think he even cracked a smile after winning the biggest victory of his career. Can’t wait to see more of this talented lightweight. Please, UFC, do not feed him to the wolves. He’s got real potential if built up properly, and given a little more experience.
Some Lesser-Important Stuff That We Already Kind Of Knew
I decided to throw the last three fights of the card all into this category of stuff that isn’t necessarily important or shocking, but rather proved our thoughts correctly. First of which is Patrick Cummins. Yes, he’s not a 15-minutes-of-fame fighter, but is actually pretty decent. He extended his win streak against Antonio Carlos Jr. by using his supreme wrestling skills and athleticism to fight off leg locks and ultimately batter his Brazilian opponent from top control. Not really a stand-out performance, but still it further proves that Cummins is a legit guy.
Next up, is the triumphant return of Renan Barao.. or.. kind of. Yes, he got the win against the vastly underrated, Mitch Gagnon, but it wasn’t without some criticism. Barao found himself getting lit up by Gagnon’s tight punching combinations which made me think what TJ Dillashaw would be willing to do to him if/when they fight again. Barao took the shots well though and dished out his own. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Barao’s performance was his takedown defense which still remains perfect throughout his entire UFC career. Gagnon failed to take the larger former champion down, and ultimately was reversed in the third round and forced to give up Barao’s patented arm-triangle. Barao definitely got the win and added some more highlight reel footage, but he didn’t show us anything that really makes me believe TJ Dillashaw won’t light him up again.
Finally, to capture the night off, the UFC ends its 2014 campaign with a bang – literally. Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida made quick work of CB Dollaway as he exploded his left foot through his rib cage and out his spine. Not literally, but that quick was one of the most vicious body kicks I’ve ever seen. I think Dollaway just got too caught up in the moment and let Machida strike first; when he did, the fight was over. Machida further proves how good he is, but more so how good those who have beat him are. We saw Chris Weidman take a few of those same kicks, except he walked through them and was asking for more in their middleweight title showdown. Social media has blown up supporting Luke Rockhold’s comments about how Machida looked good, and wants him next. Things are becoming very interesting in this intriguing UFC middleweight division, and I can’t wait to see it all play out.