The Good, The Bad, and The UGLY: UFC Utica
Holy shit what a Knock Out! That’s how you handle the biggest fight of your career in a main event slot. Marlon Moraes has show’d nothing but great performances in all 4 of his UFC fights, and I thought it was going to be hard to top his last fight where he starched the durable Aljamain Sterling. It was hard to tell how far Moraes could go in the Bantamweight division after his first two fights in the UFC. Looking back, Moraes actually fought great fights against two of the division’s toughest guys that make everyone look bad. Marlon Moraes is a monster, and he is possibly the most exciting prospect at the moment in the UFC.
Aside from Khabib, there’s not many guys that are a nightmare to watch ragdoll guys with their grappling. It is such a pleasure to watch a guy like Gillespie walk his opponents down and chain wrestle his opponents until he gets on top. The man is nightmare once he gets on top of you, immediately passing into dominant positions, and is always looking for a way finish the fight once he is on top of you. Not only does he have great wrestling and grappling, but the man gives you problems with his hands as well. I really look forward to watching him climb up the ranks until he meets his a man that will give him a tough fight.
The Real “Performance of the Night” Julio Arce
This is another man that had a flawless performance against a very competent striker. Julio Arce showed an amazing ability to fight a very high level technical fight, and he will be a big problem for the featherweight division as time goes on. Its rare to see a guy fight so well on his feet, and have such a good grappling game to go with it. He called for a “Performance of the Night” bonus but he did not get one. For an overall performance, he got my vote as the overall best performance of the night.
My Breakdowns/Predictions & Cash Grabs for UFC Utica
I’m not trying to brag on myself too much, but I did one hell of a job researching this fight card. I picked the right favorites and the right underdogs to get the job done in each fight. The one fight that I missed on my bets and predictions ended with a fluke, where Jarred Brooks knocked himself out with a slam in the 2nd round after dominating round one. It was one hell of a night for me, and I look to carry on this brilliance into next weeks UFC 225 card.
Walt Harris has to be one of the strangest fighters on the UFC roster. The fight IQ on the guy seems to be very questionable in almost every fight that he has had so far. In this fight both men are to blame, as it was a very slow paced fight for almost 10 minutes until Harris landed a huge shot on Spitz’ chin. I will give Harris credit for swarming his hurt opponent, and finishing the job one second before the end of the round came. I’m calling this a bad fight just because I know that both men could have opened up with his offense a little more. Daniel Spitz did not throw more than five punches the entire 10 minutes that they fought. Very strange for a heavyweight fight.
Nathaniel Wood’s Striking Defense
After researching Nathaniel Wood earlier this week, one of his biggest weaknesses in a previous fight was that he gets tagged a lot when his opponents throw hooks at him. They are able to throw around his guard, and do major damage with repetitive hooks. This is something that should have been worked on in the past, but it clearly wasn’t because Johnny Eduardo had major success in round one spamming the right hook over and over. Wood is very lucky to have got the win tonight, but he must fix that glaring weakness in his game as he starts to face better competition.
Brooks KO’s Himself
Jarred Brooks was fighting one of the best prospects that the UFC had just signed on two weeks notice. Brooks was fighting a great fight, mixing up his strikes with his grappling. He clearly won round one, dropping Jose Torres with a spinning backfist and controlling his opponent on the ground. As round two was unfolding, it looked like a more competitive fight. Brooks finally got in deep on a double leg and lifted his opponent up into the air. I felt some relief watching the takedown unfold, because he was my first bet of the night. But things went south way too quickly as Brooks had Torres lifting over his shoulders. Torres did a great job locking his arms around Brooks’ torso, which didn’t give Brooks a great angle to slam him. Brooks still went for a slam, but the angle was bad which caused Brooks to land on his own head to break the fall. This immediately ended the fight, and gave Torres an immediate path to victory that would keep his undefeated record in tact. Bad luck, bad decision making, or whatever you want to call it. Knocking yourself out when you are trying to slam someone is UGLY.
The Limited Light-Heavyweights
What the hell was I watching? I love Sam Alvey to death, but why can’t he put out a higher volume?! The man has excellent takedown defense, and huge power in his hands, but he will not open up unless someone is charging at him with punches. Gian Villante could have won that fight very easily if he would have just picked up the pace with a few more low kicks to the leg or the body, but he was content with taking it slow as well. This fight was very, very bad. After watching this, I don’t think I could ever look at Alvey with confidence again.
The Worst Knee-Bar Attempts Award goes to: Johnny Eduardo
Johnny Eduardo was looking great finding the holes in the stand-up department against the debuting prospect Nathaniel Wood. Eduardo took the first round, but looked like he was slowing down in the second. Eduardo is primarily a stand-up fighter, went for a takedown against Wood, and that’s where things went south. I’m not going to bash on Eduardo for going for the takedown because the ground game has been a glaring weakness for Wood in the past. Wood sprawled out nicely on the single leg and immediately started working for a darce choke. While the choke is still being worked on, Eduardo thinks it’ll be a good idea to roll under for a knee bar, which only made it easier for Wood to completely lock in the choke. Nothing about that surprises me though, as Eduardo has 9 of his 12 losses coming by submission. The absolutely insane part about all of this is the fact that Eduardo lost his last fight by strikes because he was trying to roll for the knee bar as well! One of the hardest submissions to pull off in MMA, and this guy will not stop going for it. Well that’s two back to back losses because of he put himself in terrible positions by committing himself to a knee bar attempt.
Well there you have it guys and gals. That’s a wrap for UFC Utica, and we are now heading into fight week for UFC 225. Thanks for reading!