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Join 411’s LIVE UFC 221 Coverage

February 10, 2018 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC 221 Luke Rockhold Yoel Romero - Tai Tuivasa

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MAIN CARD (PPV, 10 p.m. ET)
#2 Luke Rockhold (185 lbs.) vs. #1 Yoel Romero (187.7 lbs.)* – for interim middleweight title, Romero is not eligible to win the title
#9 Curtis Blaydes (255.5 lbs. ) vs. #5 Mark Hunt (265 lbs.)
Cyril Asker (243.5 lbs.) vs. Tai Tuivasa (263.5 lbs.)
Li Jingliang (170 lbs.) vs. Jake Matthews (170.5 lbs.)
#13 Tyson Pedro (205 lbs.) vs. Saparbek Safarov (204.5 lbs.)

Damien Brown (156 lbs.) vs. “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim (156 lbs.)
Israel Adesanya (183 lbs.) vs. Rob Wilkinson (186 lbs.)
Jeremy Kennedy (145 lbs.) vs. Alex Volkanovski (145.5 lbs.)
#4 Jussier Formiga (126 lbs.) vs. #8 Ben Nguyen (125.5 lbs.)

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Mizuto Hirota (156 lbs.) vs. Ross Pearson (156 lbs.)
Teruto Ishihara (135.5 lbs.) vs. Jose Quinonez (135 lbs.)
Daichi Abe (170.5 lbs.) vs. Luke Jumeau (170.5 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 221. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be relaying all of the action to you guys just as I see it. Before we go any further a bit of full disclosure, I’m not feeling great. I can’t pinpoint the source but since you’re all devoting time to reading this I figure you should be aware of issues that might impact the quality. The fact that this card isn’t exactly inspiring enthusiasm isn’t helping matters.

Speaking of this card, boy is it a dog of a PPV. The main event was initially middleweight champion Robert Whittaker defending the belt against Luke Rockhold before a series of injuries and illness’ on the part of the champion necessitated him removing himself from the card. Stepping in to take over for Whittaker is Yoel Romero, Romero took this fight on short notice and wound up missing weight so now the interim title is only on the line for Rockhold in a situation identical to the main event for UFC 206. The rest of the main card is Australians or New Zealanders taking on evil foreigners.

UFC 221 comes to us from the Perth Arena in Perth, Australia. This is the UFC’s debut in Western Australia as that state only allowed MMA fights to be contested in a cage in the last couple of years and MMA in a ring is just dangerous and stupid. On commentary we have Jon Anik and, making his UFC commentary debut, Jimmy Smith. As for the rules the relevant governing body has not adopted the new rules, so anything besides the soles of your feet on the mat means you’re considered downed, the scoring language is needlessly vague, and there will be instant replay in use tonight.

Luke Jumeau has gone 1-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a loss, he’s trying to get his UFC record above the .500 mark and begin moving up in the division. Daichi Abe is undefeated as a professional and is coming off of a successful UFC debut when he bested Hyun Gyu Lim, he’s trying to remain perfect and prove he’s ready to move up the ranks at welterweight. The odds are with Abe at -150 to +120 for Jumeau.

Welterweight Bout: Daichi Abe (6-0, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Luke Jumeau (12-4, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Jumeau has just half an inch of reach on Abe. Feinting from both guys to get us going, and God help us there’s already “wooing”. I know it’s only 7:30 am there but come on. Jumeau avoids a wild right from Abe. Abe lands a couple of jabs but he’s still trying to get a feel for the follow up right. Inside leg kick lands for Abe. Bit of a body kick then a leg kick from Abe. Abe blocks a right but eats a left hook that sits him down for a second, he’s back up and Jumeau backs off rather then engage in a fire fight. Jumeau lands a leg kick then takes a couple of counters. Stiff jab lands for Abe, then a body kick and a right. Abe avoids a right and lands a right of his own, Jumeau really likes to find perfect counters and Abe clips him with a right then flurries before resetting when Jumeau started firing back. Abe lands another counter right, Jumeau is down now looking for a single leg and Abe is flurrying on him. Jumeau is back up but Abe is still on him along the fence before he circles free. For a counter striker Jumeau’s head movement is really poor. Left lands for Abe, he wobbles Jumeau again and backs him into the fence but again can’t quite get him out of there before Jumeau recovers enough to get free. Another right from Abe will be the last blow of the round, and Jumeau’s face is a mess.


ROUND TWO: There’s swelling around Jumeau’s left eye and he’s bleeding from the mouth as the second round starts. They trade left hooks then Jumeau gets a double leg against the fence. Abe wall walks immediately and they separate. Left to the body from Jumeau lands. Another clinch, they break again without anything happening. Left to the body then a right to the head from Jumeau, Abe responds with a right. Abe might be fading a bit, he’s taking a sedate pace this round. Body kick from Jumeau. Leg kick from Abe. Again Jumeau digs to the body, he’s telegraphing that but Abe isn’t picking up on it yet. Short combination lands for Jumeau, and a body kick as well. Jumeau lands a leg kick. Solid jab from Jumeau, then a left hook as Abe tried to close distance. Bit of a counter left from Abe lands, he’s mostly taking this round off it seems. They trade a few jabs, Abe lands a right as Jumeau tried to crash distance. Both men miss some lefts to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jumeau, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Abe coming forward a little more this round, he lands a left body kick. Another left body kick from Abe. Leg kick from Jumeau then a bit of a right. Left hook from Jumeau, both guys are slowing down now. Head kick from Jumeau is partially blocked but he’s swelling around the eye immediately after that one. We get time, Jumeau was complaining of an eye poke and he’s bleeding from the eye now. We’ve got time, that cut is right under the right eyelid I think. Replay shows that was a punch, not a poke but the ref doesn’t get the benefit of that. The doctor is checking on the eye, it’s near the corner of the eyelid on the outside but he can continue. Abe coming forward now, lands a bit of a right. Right lands for Jumeau then a body kick. Abe is southpaw at the moment, can’t figure out why. They trade a few body kicks. Leg kick from Jumeau, and another that takes the legs from Abe for a second. Straight right lands for Jumeau then a body kick. A brief exchange of jabs, Jumeau takes Abe down with a leg kick again as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jumeau, 29-28 Jumeau overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Luke Jumeau via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-27 x3)

Those are some weird scores, under the old scoring system there shouldn’t be a 10-8 for either guy. Jumeau on the mic now, says he’s always emotional when fighting because of the journey from where he was to where he is and gives a brief motivational speech. Asked about the second and third rounds he says he knew Abe was fading but that Abe was dangerous throughout then thanks his new coach.

Seriously, one judge gave Jumeau a 10-8 third but didn’t give Abe a 10-8 first. We’re in for a long night.

Teruto Ishihara just broke a two fight losing streak and he’s looking to establish himself down at bantamweight going forward. Jose Alberto Quinonez is on a three fight winning streak after coming up short to win some season of TUF: Latin America, if he can extend that to four in a row here he’ll be looking at some bigger opponent options going forward. Quinonez is the favorite at -155 against +125 on Ishihara.

Bantamweight Bout: Teruto Ishihara (10-4-2, 135.5 lbs.) vs. Jose Quinonez (6-2, 135 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Quinonez is an inch taller while they have the same reach. Both guys fighting southpaw. Ishihara coming forward early, Quinonez lands a couple of leg kicks while circling. Quinonez catches a leg and gets a takedown, Ishihara moves to the fence and wall walks. They settle into the clinch and begin fighting for position. A few knees to the body go back and forth, Quinonez nearly has a body lock. Some serious head pressure and upper body control from Quinonez thus far, he’s driving Ishihara back to his knees along the fence. Quinonez moves to the back now as Ishihara is on his knees. Quinonez only has one hook in, now a body triangle and he’s after the choke. Ishihara is up to his knees against the fence, Quinonez trying to flatten him back out. Ishihara is able to break the body triangle and regain his feet but he’s still in the clinch. We get time, Quinonez’s cup has come half way out of his shorts and they restart at distance. Not sure I agree with that. Circling from Quinonez, Ishihara lands a left and they clinch again. Outside trip from Ishihara but Quinonez is back up and after a double leg now, can’t get it and they trade elbows before separating. Glancing right from Ishihara lands, then a left as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Quinonez

ROUND TWO: Quinonez was definitely wobbled from that left at the end of the round, he seems OK as the second starts. Right from Quinonez lands, Ishihara pushing forward. Orthodox now from Quinonez, and he misses a high kick then goes southpaw. He’s doing a lot of stance switching, I’m just not going to call each one. Bit of a head kick from Quinonez. Hard inside leg kick from Quinonez. Another inside calf kick from Quinonez, then one to the outside. Ishihara lands a leg kick of his own. Body kick from Quinonez lands. They both miss punches, Ishihara gets a takedown against the fence and Quinonez is back up then they separate. Quinonez lands a leg kick. Some more leg kicks from Quinonez, Ishihara lands one of his own but they’re both just kind of sniping at each other. Ishihara wobbles Quinonez with a left, he falls but gets up before anything can really develop and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ishihara, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves then Quinonez talks him into a quick hug. Leg kick from Quinonez lands. Ishihara lands a couple of leg kicks, Quinonez lands a jab and they clinch. Ishihara lands a knee to the body, Quinonez lands an uppercut and Ishihara is able to spin free. Leg kick from Quinonez. Another calf kick from Quinonez. Body kick from Quinonez, Ishihara lands a leg kick of his own. Both guys very aware of how important this round is and they’re being cautious. Quinonez lands a bit of a head kick then avoids a double leg attempt. Left then a right land for Quinonez. Another calf kick from Quinonez. Counter right lands for Quinonez, that’ll be the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Quinonez, 29-28 Quinonez overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jose Alberto Quinonez via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Seriously? One judge didn’t give Ishihara the second after he violently dropped Quinonez? I don’t even know anymore. Quinonez on the mic, he says Ishihara was tough but he trained hard to be good in the third round and felt clear mentally. Asked about the end of the second and being rocked he says he knew Ishihara hit hard and it was good that he took those at the end of a round rather than beginning. As for who’s next, because this is part of the interview script now, he says he wants someone in the top fifteen and he wants to test himself.

Ross Pearson is a veteran of the sport and the UFC, he’s been with the promotion since 2009, but he’s currently on a four fight losing streak and his most recent wins have been dubious split decisions. Pearson is in desperate need of a win here, because while some of the UFC’s standards have been adjusted a five fight losing streak almost certainly means being shown the door. Mizuto Hirota is a veteran of the sport as well, in his current UFC run he’s 1-1-1 and while he’s coming off of a loss a win over Pearson would be one of the most recognizable names on his resume. Despite his current losing streak the odds are with Pearson at -155 to a +125 comeback on Hirota.

Lightweight Bout: Mizuto Hirota (18-8-2, 156 lbs.) vs. Ross Pearson (19-14 1 NC, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Pearson is an inch taller and has an inch and a half of reach on Hirota. A bit of circling to start, both guys feinting as well. Jab from Hirota, Pearson with a bit of a counter right. Leg kick from Hirota and a jab behind it. Pearson lands a jab. Right from Hirota lands but Pearson lands a solid counter left hook. Leg kick from Hirota. Slight left hook from Hirota, both guys still getting a read on each other. Another leg kick from Hirota lands. Both men doing a lot of slipping, Pearson lands a left shovel punch. Hirota lands another leg kick, then another. Counter right lands for Hirota, Pearson is reaching a bit at times, he wants this to be contested close rather than at distance. Pearson ducks under a right and misses a flying knee as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pearson but 10-10 is probably more accurate

ROUND TWO: Hirota opens with a leg kick, both guys also range finding with the lead hand. Clubbing right from Hirota lands, Pearson responds with a jab then a leg kick. A right from Hirota is blocked then he lands a left to the body. A few leg kicks go back and forth. Pearson eats a leg kick and counters with a one two. Hirota is bleeding from the nose now. Pearson has a good read on the timing now, he’s countering much more successfully when Hirota tries to engage. They trade left hooks in close, Pearson is opening up a bit now. The left hook lands for Pearson again. Another slip and counter from Pearson. Hirota lands a right. Left hook lands for Hirota and he lands in the clinch. Hirota wobbles Pearson with a right, he lands again in close and Pearson is clearly hurt as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hirota based on that final exchange, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Hirota working the lead hand early. Bit of a leg kick from Hirota, and he checks the counter leg kick. Pearson lands a right to the body then an inside leg kick. They trade a few lefts then Hirota lands another leg kick. Some interesting lead hand work from both men, Hirota lands another leg kick as well. The hand speed of Pearson is troubling Hirota a bit, Pearson is getting more offense off when they close distance and exchange. Left hook lands for Pearson. Hirota lands a bit of a right, then a left hook behind it. Leg kick from Hirota. Hirota is trying to steal this round as it closes, Pearson backs him off with a front kick to the body then misses a jumping knee to run down the clock.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pearson, 29-28 Pearson overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ross Pearson via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)

No real issue there, Pearson owned much of round 2 before getting dropped. Pearson on the mic, he plays with the crowd clearly not caring about the timing issues of the broadcast. He says he’s a fighter no matter what and he’ll keep coming back win lose or draw. Pearson thanks Dan Hooker for bringing back his love of the sport and vows never to be knocked out again then says he’d also like a rematch with Hooker.

That’s it for Fight Pass, we’re on Fox Sports 1 for the rest of the prelims.

Jussier Formiga is one of the premier flyweights in the world, and I think the only top five guy who hasn’t yet had a shot at Demetrious Johnson. Formiga is coming off of a win and he’s looking to get a winning streak rolling while making a case for himself as a title challenger. Ben Nguyen has a stellar recent record, he’s 4-1 in the UFC with that lone setback coming to Louis Smolka and he’s on a two fight winning streak. Nguyen was last seen submitting Tim Elliott in less than a minute and if he can take out Formiga here he’ll find himself ranked in the top five and likely in the title picture. The odds are close, -130 on Formiga to +100 for Nguyen.

Flyweight Bout: #4 Jussier Formiga (20-5, 126 lbs.) vs. #8 Ben Nguyen (18-6, 125.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Formiga has the edge in reach to the tune of two inches. Nguyen closes distance quickly and gets Formiga on the fence. Knees to the body from Nguyen and a few lefts to the head. Short elbows to the head and knees to the body from Nguyen, Formiga is able to spin him but can’t control him and they separate. Another clinch and More body work from Nguyen. Formiga isn’t fighting for head position, Nguyen has control over him. They break and Formiga misses a right. We’re back in the clinch and more control from Nguyen. Formiga escapes quicker this time but he’s really got to get some offense working. Formiga slips a kick and lands a right. Hard leg kick from Nguyen but Formiga gets a body lock and takes Nguyen down into side control. Mount now from Formiga, really quick motion from him to get there. A few short rights from Formiga towards the head, Nguyen is trying to push his hips down to escape the mount but against a grappler the caliber of Formiga that’s a big ask. And the round ends with Formiga still in mount.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Formiga

ROUND TWO: Nguyen comes out jabbing, he walks into a right from Formiga and drops to a knee for a second. Formiga is bleeding from the forehead, not sure what caused that but it’s up by the hairline. They clinch up, jockey for position and Nguyen gets Formiga on the fence. Quick under hook from Formiga and they wind up separating. Double leg attempt from Formiga, nothing doing though. Nguyen lands a leg kick but is taken down, Formiga lands in full guard. Quick pass to half guard from Formiga. Formiga tries to mount, Nguyen is able to elevate him and regain his feet. Another leg kick from Nguyen is countered, this time with a straight right from Formiga. Nguyen lands a right of his own. Bit of a body kick from Formiga, but he poked Nguyen in the eye as he landed it so we’ve got time with five or so seconds left in the round. The doctor is in the check the eye, and the replay confirms the eye poke. The doctor is good with Nguyen continuing, we restart and the round ends. The horn they’ve got to announce the end of rounds is a sad sad thing.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Formiga, 20-18 Formiga overall

ROUND THREE: We get a touch of gloves for the last round. They trade rights. Formiga lands in close with a couple of punches. Counter spinning back fist from Formiga FLOORS Nguyen, Formiga is all over him, gets the back, pounds him a bit then locks up a rear naked choke and puts Nguyen to sleep with it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jussier Formiga via Technical Submission, rear naked choke, at 1:43 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Formiga for his work this evening. Big win for Formiga if he wants to get into the title picture, and he’s on the mic now. He says he looks for the spinning counter a lot and drilled it for this fight in particular. Formiga mentions he’s been in the top ten for the totality of his UFC run and wants a shot at the champion before thanking everyone.

Here’s the finish, really quick read on the counter spinning back fist on the mat Formiga looked like a constrictor snake eating a rodent.

Jeremy Kennedy is undefeated including being 3-0 in the UFC, he’s trying to get that to four in the UFC and solidify himself as the prospect at featherweight to watch going forward. Alexander Volkanovski would like to claim that title for himself, he’s also 3-0 in the UFC and is on a thirteen fight winning streak. With a win here he’ll likely find himself taking a step up in competition for his next bout. Volkanovski is the -210 favorite while Kennedy’s comeback sits at +170.

Featherweight Bout: Jeremy Kennedy (11-0, 145 lbs.) vs. Alex Volkanovski (16-1, 145.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Kennedy is five inches taller but Volkanovski has the reach advantage of half an inch. They touch gloves to get us going. Leg kick from Volkanovski. Both guys just doing some range finding. Kennedy grabs a single leg, they wind up on the fence and Volkanovski pushes him off then enters the clinch on his own and has Kennedy on the cage. A body lock from Volkanovski, he’s landing knees to the thigh and body while they fight for position. Quick outside trip from Volkanovski and he’s in the guard of Kennedy. Kennedy trying to work a high guard while Volkanovski stacks him against the fence. Half guard from Volkanovski and he’s landing some short lefts to the head. A hard couple of lefts from Volkanovski land to the head of Kennedy. More lefts and a right from Volkanovski. Kennedy is trying to get some kind of inversion threat but Volkanovski pressures through it and Kennedy has guard back. Volkanovski postures up and lands a few more punches. Elbows now from Volkanovski, Kennedy is just covering up. Half guard again for Volkanovski, he lands a few more punches. Kennedy finally up on a hip looking for a sweep or reversal, he’s back up but still in the clinch. They end the round just after they separate.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Volkanovksi, that was really one sided

ROUND TWO: Another touch of gloves for the second round. Kennedy pushing forward now, lands a bit of a right. Volkanovski slips a right and lands a right then hits a double leg against the fence. Volkanovski immediately moves to half guard and lands a right. Kennedy looking to wall walk, he’s up but eats a knee to the body before he tries to get Volkanovski down. Volkanovski misses a right as they break. Kennedy after a single leg, Volkanovski defending along the fence. Successful defense from Volkanovski and he drives Kennedy down then settles into half guard again. A few more short elbows from Volkanovski and a left as Kennedy gets guard back. Punches to the body and head now from Volkanvoski, then a solid series of rights to the body. Kennedy trying to get a high guard going but Volkanovski is posturing through it and punching him. More offense from Volkanovski. A hard series of elbows from Volkanovski have some blood coming from Kennedy, Volkanovski keeps teeing off and gets a really late round stoppage as Kennedy couldn’t keep showing intelligent defense.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alexander Volkanovski via TKO, punches, at 4:57 of Round 2

Complete wipe out from Volkanovski from start to finish, get that man someone in or near the top fifteen. Mic time for Volkanovski, he says he knew this was a bad match up for Kennedy and dedicates the win to a friend who passed away. Volkanovksi says no one’s calling him out and he wants a top guy, specifically Andre Fili or Jeremy Stephens, he says he’s a nice guy and wants the loudmouth bullies. He talks us through the finish and mentions he felt like the stronger fighter, and says he’s not here to just be in the UFC he wants to make it to the top.

A few highlights, Kennedy just couldn’t get up from under Volkanovski and Volkanovski was happy to smash him from top position.

Rob Wilkinson just suffered his first loss when he debuted in the UFC and was stopped in the second round, he’s trying to rebound from that setback and prove he’s worthy of his spot on the UFC roster. Israel Adesanya is making his UFC debut here and has a perfect professional record to go along with it, he’s also finished all of his opponents and is looking to keep both of those streaks in tact while making a good first impression. The odds are with Adesanya, an impressive -360 to +250 for Wilkinson.

Middleweight Bout: Israel Adesanya (11-0, 183 lbs.) vs. Rob Wilkinson (11-1, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Adesanya is an inch taller while they have identical reaches. Adesanya doing some early stance switching and probing with the jab. Leg kick from Adesanya. Straight left from Adesanya lands, they may have identical reaches but Adesanya is fighting longer. Wilkinson catches a kick and pushes into the clinch. Body lock from Wilkinson and he’s got solid control. Adesanya really needs to pummel for an under hook here, he’s losing the head position battle and now gets taken down with an inside trip but he wall walks immediately. Wilkinson desperately keeping in the clinch, he doesn’t want anything to do with the striking. Adesanya finally gets an under hook, and avoids a trip takedown. Wilkinson just wont let him breathe but Adesanya is able to spin free and separate. Wilkinson is bleeding from the bridge of his nose. Leg kick from Adesanya. Adesanya rolls through a takedown attempt but Wilkinson is able to get the clinch again. Wilkinson gets a takedown against the fence, Adesanya wall walks immediately again. The round comes to a close in the clinch.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Wilkinson

ROUND TWO: Adesanya lands a jab to start the second then almost lands a head kick. Wilkinson tries to get a clinch, nothing doing this time. Stiff jab from Adesanya. Jab then a right to the body from Adesanya and he avoids a takedown attempt. Adesanya avoids a bad takedown attempt then has a head kick blocked. Body kick and a knee from Adesanya, Wilkinson able to get a clinch though and we’re back on the fence. Wilkinson tries a single leg, this time Adesanya is able to escape and reset in the center. Uppercut and a knee from Adesanya, Wilkinson is basically a heavy bad in these exchanges and his nose is fauceting blood. Hard combination then a left to the body, Wilkinson is on the fence trying to move and Adesanya is starting to clobber him. This should be stopped, Wilkinson is getting abused and finally collapses after a few body shots to prompt the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Israel Adesanya via TKO, strikes, at 3:37 of Round 2

Solid stuff from Adesanya, there’s some work to do but I feel for anyone who has to strike with that guy. Interview for Adesanya, he says this has been a long time coming then jokes about the production staff at the UFC creeping on his social media then pretending they don’t know who he is then asks if they know who he is now. He talks us through the build up and says this wasn’t any different from any other fight, he tells the entire division that he’s the new dog and just pissed all over the cage before pimping his after party.

Wilkinson just had nothing to offer standing, Adesnya picked him apart to the body and head with consistent and violent offense until he crumpled. Slightly late stoppage from where I sit but not horribly egregious.

Damien Brown has gone 2-3 in the UFC and is on a two fight losing streak, he needs to avoid that hitting three in a row here. Dong Hyun Kim has gone 2-2 in the UFC but is currently on a two fight winning streak, he’s trying to get that to three in a row here and potentially earn a shot at a bigger name next. The odds are with Kim at -135 to a +105 comeback on Brown.

Lightweight Bout: Damien Brown (17-11, 156 lbs.) vs. “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim (15-8-3, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Kim is an inch taller and has two inches of reach on Brown. There’s a touch of gloves to get us going. Feinting from both guys early, just getting a read on the other so far. Kim lands an inside leg kick. Right then a left hook from Kim, and a delayed outside leg kick to follow that. Bit of a jab from Kim. Hard leg kick from Brown takes the legs from Kim, but he bounces right back up. Another calf kick from Brown. Now they trade leg kicks, then trade jabs. Quick exchange of punches, Kim is starting to go to the body now. Brown blocks a head kick and lands an uppercut. Kim lands a straight right. They both miss a few blows as the round ends.


ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. A bit of stance switching, Kim trying out southpaw and lands a leg kick then has a high kick blocked. Body kick from Kim. Leg kick from Kim then a jab. Another leg kick then a bit of a knee from Kim. Straight right lands for Kim, he’s slowly turning up the volume on his offense. Inside leg kick from Brown, Kim jabs the body. More leg kicks going back and forth, Kim lands a sharp jab as well. Brown blocks a head kick, both guys trying to counter and so wont really commit to their offense. Leg kick from Brown. Kim lands a body kick. They both miss punches, Kim lands a right and a left then blocks the counters. A couple of jabs from Kim land, Brown lands a leg kick. Brown lands a hard leg kick as the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kim, 20-19 Kim overall

ROUND THREE: Quick hug for the last round. Kim lands a left. Inside leg kick from Kim, Brown lands a body kick. Kim digs the body with a combination and avoids a leg kick counter. Kim lands a straight left, then again but eats a counter right on the second. Straight left from Kim. Another straight left from Kim, Brown lands a body kick this time to counter. They trade lefts but Kim landed the better blow. Another left from Kim, then we get a bit of an exchange. Kim evades some hooks then they trade leg kicks. Kim lands a right and eats a counter leg kick. Brown lands a calf kick. Stiff one two from Kim lands. Brown misses a leg kick to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kim, 30-28 Kim overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Dong Hyun Kim via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

That was, well underwhelming is such a polite word. Kim on the mic now, he says this is three in a row and puts over Brown as a tough opponent. He says he planned on punching but Brown was prepared for that so he had to adjust on the fly to a more kick heavy offense.

That’s it for prelims, we’ll be on PPV for the main card.

Tyson Pedro is coming off of his first professional loss when he couldn’t do much of anything to Ilir Latifi, he’s trying to prove that was just a case of too much too soon and that he’s still going to be a fixture in the future of the badly depleted light heavyweight division. Saparbek Safarov is also coming off of the first loss of his career, he stepped in on short notice to fight Gian Villante and he’s hoping to show the breadth of his skills now that he’s had a full training camp in preparation for this fight. Pedro is the heavy favorite at -285 to +225 for Safarov.

Light Heavyweight Bout: #13 Tyson Pedro (6-1, 205 lbs.) vs. Saparbek Safarov (8-1, 204.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Pedro is two inches taller and has an inch of reach on Safarov. I’m getting some connection issues as this one gets set to start, so apologies in advance. I missed the first ninety seconds or so, apparently Pedro got up after being taken down. Bit of a knee from Pedro. Safarov catches a kick but can’t do much off of it. Body kick from Safarov, and he misses an ugly as sin left hook. Pedro lands a right, then another that wobbles Safarov but he starts firing back, can’t get a double leg and they wind up separated. Another right from Pedro then a leg kick. Safarov avoids a takedown attempt and lands an uppercut then a jab. Counter right from Pedro lands, he’s obviously physically stronger. They wind up clinched as Safarov is after a single leg while Pedro holds the head. Safarov gets Pedro down and punches him as he regains his feet then tries for another takdown. Pedro tries a kimura sweep, they roll a bit and he’s got it then steps over the head and cranks it to get the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Tyson Pedro via Submission, kimura, at 3:54 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Pedro for his work this evening. Pedro on the mic now, he thanks the crowd for making noise for him and notes it’s his first time in this city. He talks us through the finish and knew he’d be strong enough to force the issue and jokes that Safarov had really hard hips for a guy with a dad bod. Asked who he wants next and how soon he’ll be back he says he’s got an injury at the moment but couldn’t pull out with these people coming. He says his goals in life are to get home safe, drive his motor bike real fast, drink a copious amount of beer, get the title, get a million followers, and get on the Joe Rogan Experience.

In case you missed it here’s the finish. That really isn’t a sweep you should hit on anyone who knows what they’re doing, especially with his set up, but if your opponent can’t stop it go for it. Also a key component was the fence positioning, when Pedro sits back for the kimura you should spin around over the head of the guy going for it, it releases the pressure and sets you up either for an armbar or just side control but the cage forced Safarov to just roll straight over and from there it’s all over.

Jake Matthews just broke a two fight losing streak when he moved back up to welterweight and won a controversial split decision, he’s trying to get his third UFC winning streak up and running here and look to remain undefeated at welterweight. Li Jingliang is on a four fight winning streak and has finished three of those, if he can get to five in a row here he’ll likely be fighting a fringe top fifteen opponent next. While close the odds are with Jingliang, -155 to a +125 comeback on Matthews.

Welterweight Bout: Li Jingliang (14-4, 170 lbs.) vs. Jake Matthews (11-3, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Jingliang is half an inch taller while Matthews has an inch and a half of reach on him. They touch gloves to get us going. Some circling from both men, they’re both showing the lead hand but aren’t doing anything with it. They trade lefts, both guys still probing with punches. Quick exchange of punches, both men landed there. Leg kick from Jingliang but Matthews counters with a right. Right from Jingliang this time, they’re starting to rev up the offense. Bit of a left from Jingliang. They trade in close again, Matthews lands a counter left hook as they break that drops Jingliang. Matthews moves quickly to the full mount, Jingliang trying to control his posture. Matthews on the back now and after the choke. Jingliang is hand fighting well so far. Matthews loses one hook for a moment, he’s got it back now but Jingliang will see the end of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Matthews

ROUND TWO: Jingliang still coming forward to start the round, Matthews circling. Hard right from Matthews but he at a hard uppercut and they wind up scrambling, Matthews is holding a guillotine and he’s got full guard cranking on it. Jingliang is able to pull his head free and starts teeing off from top position. Matthews is bleeding badly from the right eye, I can’t see the specifics of the cut but that’s pretty gnarly. They get close and start swinging haymakers at each other, Jingliang is still coming forward. Leg kick from Jingliang then he jabs the body. Matthews has his back on the fence and he eats a few punches from Jingliang before he gets off of the cage. Jingliang lands a right, both guys starting to swing wild now. An exchange of rights but Matthews is fading a bit under the pressure of Jingliang. Jingliang lands another leg kick then a right. A bit of brawling now, Matthews is putting his hands down and trying to use the old bull guard, ducking the crown of his head into the punches. Jingliang lands another leg kick to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jingliang, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: The replay shows that cut on Matthews was opened up as Jingliang gouged at his eye to get out of the guillotine choke. That should have been a point taken from Jingliang. Jingliang coming forward again, Matthews hits a single leg against the fence and lands lefts as Jingliang gets up. They’re fighting in the clinch, they break after Jingliang lands an uppercut. They trade left hooks, both guys still struggling to reliably find the target. Matthews lands a lunging right that drops Jingliang but Jingliang gets his back as they’re on the mat. Jingliang in the ride position and lands a few punches before Matthews rolls to get guard. Jingliang postures up, now stands and lands a hammer fist as Matthews regains his feet looking for a double leg. They settle for the clinch then break apart. Glancing left hook from Matthews, he tries a flying knee but eats a counter right. Double leg from Matthews, Jingliang is up though and lands a few punches before time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Matthews, 29-28 Matthews overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jake Matthews via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26 x2)

Two 10-8’s? What in the world is going on with the scoring down there? Matthews on the mic now, tries to fire up the crowd then puts over Jingliang and says he promised to let his hands go and had to deliver. He addresses the foul and says sometimes you just do what you have to in order to survive during a fight, then says he wants a little break but wants to be on the Australia card at the end of the year.

If you’re squeamish you might want to scroll past the next image, but if you missed that foul here’s a still of it.

Tai Tuivasa is undefeated and had a successful UFC debut, he’s finished all of those wins and is trying to prove that he’s a prospect to watch in the heavyweight division. Not the highest hurdle to clear, but the division is in desperate need of young talented fighters and Tuivasa wants to prove he fits that bill. Cyril Asker has traded wins and losses while going 2-2 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a win though and is trying to halt the hype around Tuivasa. Tuivasa is the favorite at -270 while Asker’s comeback sits at +210.

Heavyweight Bout: Cyril Asker (9-3, 243.5 lbs.) vs. Tai Tuivasa (6-0, 263.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Tuivasa is two inches taller and has an inch of reach on Asker, he’s also eight years younger and twenty pounds heavier. Touch of gloves to get us going. Asker circling early, Tuivasa lands a bit of a combination. They get close and trade rights. Clubbing right from Tuivasa and they’re clinched now. Body shots from Tuivasa before they break. Asker lands a bit of a right but he gets wobbled and Tuivasa tees off with elbows as Asker covers up on the fence. Hard body shots now from Tuivasa then another elbow. Body shots then a left hook, Tuivasa is pouring on the offense and Asker is just standing on the fence not moving much at all. Left hook from Tuivasa then a right elbow, another elbow and Asker off balances from a push then face plants and the ref finally stops it, apparently if you don’t drop you can’t be saved by the ref.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Tai Tuivasa via TKO, punches and elbows, at 2:18 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Tuivasa for his work this evening. Tuivasa on the mic now, he plays with the crowd then says again that you don’t know what Bam Bam is gonna do then says he got out of there fast so he could get to his after party. He thanks Australia and says they’re taking over. Asked who he’d like next he says he just wants to fight and get paid.

Mark Hunt has been a fixture of the heavyweight division for over a decade at this point, but the years and miles are starting to add up and if he wants to get another crack at the title he needs a win here to build on the momentum he gained after stopping Derrick Lewis last year. Curtis Blaydes has only lost to Francis Ngannou and is on a four fight unbeaten streak, he’s looking to get the biggest win of his career over the most recognizable name he’s faced while proving he’s ready for the elite at heavyweight. The odds are with the younger Blaydes at -165 to +135 for Hunt.

Heavyweight Bout: #9 Curtis Blaydes (8-1 1 NC, 255.5 lbs.) vs. #5 Mark Hunt (13-11-1 1 NC, 265 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Blaydes is six inches taller, has eight inches of reach on Hunt, and is a whopping seventeen years younger. They touch gloves to get things going. Hunt avoids a one two from Blaydes. Feinting from both guys, Blaydes keeping things long. They both swing in close but don’t really land clean. Hunt evades a couple of punches, Blaydes isn’t measuring distance yet. Blaydes tries a takedown, switches to a knee tap and gets it but Hunt scrambles back up quickly. Hard right from Hunt wobbles Blaydes, another one and Blaydes is running along the fence. Hunt lands another right, Blaydes back up and gets a double leg to stem the offense of Hunt. Blaydes is in mount and Hunt is looking to wall walk. Hunt to a knee, back up but Blaydes still has his back and gets a body lock takedown. Blaydes is bleeding pretty badly from somewhere, it’s all over the chest of Hunt. Hunt has half guard this time, Blaydes landing a few rights. Blaydes into mount but Hunt rolls and gives up his back to stall out the final ten seconds of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hunt

ROUND TWO: Correction to the above, it’s Hunt that’s cut from a clash of heads I think, it’s not bad enough to warrant a doctor’s visit though. Blaydes tries a takedown, Hunt avoids it but Blaydes gets the clinch along the fence immediately. Hunt is able to get chest to chest then slips free and lands a glancing right. A right lands for Hunt and they both miss follow up lefts. Really slow pace now from both guys. A few jabs being probed back and forth, Blaydes lands a leg kick. Hunt avoids a double leg attempt and lands a left hook. Blaydes gets a double leg, Hunt tries to elevate but Blaydes gets back on top in half guard. A few elbows to the body from Blaydes but he’s just playing to win the round without putting himself at risk. Blaydes lands an elbow to the head. A few more elbows from Blaydes as he opens up then passes to side control as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Blaydes, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Blaydes immediately with a blast double leg, Hunt back up but Blaydes takes him down with a body lock and moves to mount again. A few short elbows from Blaydes get through. Half guard now from Hunt, Blaydes lands a couple of elbows. Hunt to his knees but Blaydes moves into the ride position and lands some lefts. Hunt is back up, Blaydes holding a rear waist lock and takes Hunt back down. Another ride position for Blaydes, Hunt back up but he’s going to get returned quickly, and there’s a foot sweep from Blaydes to get things back on the mat. Blaydes is in side control, working some short punches to the face. Hunt back to his knees, and he’s back up this time pushing Blaydes into the fence and they break. Blaydes immediately ducks a punch and gets a double leg against the fence. Some rights from Blaydes as Hunt gets up but he’s got the waist lock and drags him back down then moves to mount and throws some elbows as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Blaydes, 29-27 Blaydes overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Curtis Blaydes via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-26 x2)

Surprised Blaydes got the first after nearly being finished, but the scores have been weird all night. Blaydes on the mic now, as the crowd boos. He puts over Hunt and says he got caught early and learned his lesson about that then went to his strengths. He says he came to win and did what he wanted to do then asks to be on the upcoming Chicago card.

Yoel Romero is coming off of his first loss in the UFC when he lost a decision to now champion Robert Whittaker, he’s trying to rebound from that win and knock off another elite level middleweight to clear the path to a rematch with the champion. It’s worth noting that Romero took this fight on short notice and missed weight, so he cannot win the interim title here. Luke Rockhold is a former middleweight champion, he’s coming off of a win after taking over a year off and is looking to capture the interim belt to secure a chance to reclaim the actual title in the future. The odds lean towards Rockhold at -185 to +150 for Romero.

Middleweight Interim Title Bout: #2 Luke Rockhold (16-3, 185 lbs.) vs. #1 Yoel Romero (12-2, 187.7 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Rockhold is three inches taller and has three and a half inches of reach on Romero. Both guys are southpaws and we get a touch of gloves for the first round. Rockhold lands a calf kick. Another leg kick from Rockhold. Another calf kick from Rockhold, he’s probing with punches now as well. There’s blood coming from the shin of Rockhold as Romero checked one of those leg kicks. Leg kick from Rockhold, then a bit of a left behind it. A few more leg kicks from Rockhold, he’s aiming more at the thigh now. Romero misses a windmill left. Leg kick from Romero this time, and another one. Another leg kick from Romero, then an overhand left that has Rockhold backing up. Romero lands another leg kick, those are starting to have an effect on Rockhold. They both miss punches and Romero lands a leg kick to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Romero, his left punch was the biggest thing of the round

ROUND TWO: Rockhold showing the jab to start the second. Romero bulls forward and lands punches then digs punches to the body as Rockhold holds a Thai clinch. Rockhold backs free but he’s bleeding around the eye now. Romero lands a right, Rockhold is circling now. Rockhold misses a high kick. Romero bulls forward and lands a few more punches before Rockhold gets off of the fence again. Left to the body from Rockhold then Romero checks a leg kick. Rockhold is starting to get his jab going but Romero’s defense has been pretty good. Romero jabs the body as the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Romero, 20-18 Romero overall

ROUND THREE: Both guys feinting again, Rockhold really trying to get his jab working. Leg kick from Rockhold lands. Romero backing Rockhold towards the fence, he’s jabbing the body now as well. Romero lands a clubbing left, Rockhold is OUT! One more left from Romero as he’s sitting on the fence before the ref waves this one off.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Yoel Romero via KO, punch, at 1:48 of Round 3

Rockhold’s lazy lead hand work bites him in the ass yet again. Big win for Romero, his right middle finger is bleeding, not sure from what but it’s leaking. Romero on the mic and thanks God for everything, wishes Robert Whittaker a speedy recovery and apologizes for the weight issue as it’s the first time in his career either MMA or wrestling when he didn’t make it and thanks everyone for coming out. He puts over Rockhold as a great fighter and athlete and is happy to have beaten another one of the best in his division. Romero thanks the UFC brass and Dana White specifically. Both he and Rockhold are limping, considering the number of checked kicks on both sides I can’t fault either guy for that.

Here’s the finish if you missed it. Rockhold has a bad habit of counter hooking with his lead hand when engaged on, it’s one of his only tools and has cost him more than once. Here he anticipates with the hook but he’s very exposed to the overhand once Romero commits, Romero also controls the inside line so his blow will land first even though he loops it badly.

The UFC replays the Adesanya vs. Wilkinson fight to fill out the last bit of their broadcast time, but you already know how that happened. That will wrap up UFC 221, thanks for being here be that live or after the fact. Tomorrow at 8pm eastern time on the 411 Ground and Pound Radio Show we’ll be unpacking all of the action from this card, and have a double preview of the upcoming Sunday card that is UFC Fight Night 126 and UFC on FOX 28. I’ll be here for both of those events, though I have no idea what I’ll do with a free Saturday seven days from now. Anyway thanks again for reading, I know just how many outlets you have for this kind of content and it’s humbling and occasionally baffling that you choose mine. I’ll be back on Sunday, until then stay safe out there and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

article topics :

UFC, UFC 221, Robert Winfree