The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: UFN 123
By Tyler Kartler
Brian “T-City” Ortega’s Slick BJJ
We all knew that Ortega had slick jiu-jitsu, but not many people really believed that the guy would be able to take out a proven vet like Cub Swanson. Well, Brian “T-City” Ortega did it again with his 5th straight finish in the UFC (really 6th, but his debut win was overturned due to a failed drug test). The guy is a killer, and is a problem for most of this division. After beating a guy like Cub, he has now entered the deep end of the Featherweight division, and I’m not quite sure if he will be able to swim with Jose Aldo, Frankie Edgar, or the Champ Max Holloway. But for now, the dude is good!
Moraes’ Deadly Knee
Marlon Moraes was the longtime champ in World Series of Fighting, and had high expectations when he signed with the UFC. He was 1-1 in the UFC so far, with 2 tough decisions. For his fight last night against Aljamain Sterling, he was coming in on 4 weeks notice after his last win. It was a risky move on his part, because Sterling could have been a nightmare if he managed to get on top of him at any point in the fight, but Moraes ended that early with a knee to head as Sterling was ducking in for a takedown. This was one of the best KO’s of the year, and what makes it even more impressive was the fact that Aljamain Sterling has not been KO’d before. Moraes has officially cemented himself as a major threat in the 135lb division with one ridiculous knee.
UFC Fight Night 123’s Fight Card
UFC Fight Night 123 turned out to be a really great card. All 6 of the main card fights delivered with brutal action. The prelims weren’t bad either. Every fight on the prelims was a closely contested battle. Scott Holtzman, Trevin Giles, Alex Perez, Eryk Anders, and Gabriel Benitez all had exceptional performances. They all came in well prepared and stuck to their game plans. Such a good night of fights.
Albert Morales vs. Benito Lopez’s Insane Round 1
I thought this fight was going to be “fight of the night” on paper. It certainly delivered within the first few minutes by rocking each other. Lopez landed some insanely accurate flying knees while going backwards. But after they both recovered, the fight turned into a slow “pitter-patter” striking affair. Occasionally, Lopez would throw something flashy, but nothing significant for the remainder of the fight. The fight did live up to expectations, so props to these two warriors.
Jason Knight’s Mid-Fight Finger Food
As many fights and events that I’ve watched, I cannot recall the ref ever stopping the fight due to someone biting their opponents fingers. Well it finally happened when Jason Knight was going for a takedown, and Gabriel Benitez was defending. Knight took a bite of Benitez’s finger because…. I DON’T KNOW. It looked delicious I guess. I am dumbfounded on why he did that, and what a bad decision on his part.
Luke Sanders UFC Career
I was so excited for Luke Sanders to make a huge splash in the 135lb division after his fantastic short notice debut at 145lb’s. The guy has great movement, with solid punches. He can wrestle and grapple very well. He just seemed like a guy that could give everyone problems. But he lost his past 2 fights after dominating his opponents in round 1. His fight back in March 2017 against Iuri Alcantara, Sanders battered the entire first round, landing over 100 punches to the head. Then in the second round he gets caught in a knee-bar and taps right away. I gave him a pass on that one because anyone can get caught in a submission. But last night he won the first round. In the second, he was pushing the pace and just got lit up with a counter right hand that put him out. He was trying to recover and the referee could have let it go a little longer, but he was out cold initially. It’s just crazy to me that such a good talent could have such bad luck, or its bad fight IQ. As for right now, I have to hop off of the Luke Sanders train until I can see some positive consistency from the guy.
The Referee’s Forcing Unnecessary Stand-Ups
What was it with the referees trying to stand the fighters up while they are in dominant positions on the ground or in the clinch? I thought it was weird in the second fight of the prelims when the “ref” kept telling the fighters to work after only being on the ground for 30 seconds. It just told me that the referee has never grappled before, and it does not know that it takes some time to set up a transition while the other guy is trying to prevent it from happening. But through-out the night majority of the different referee’s were threatening the stand-ups prematurely. Later in the night, Scott Holtzman worked hard to get into top control over Darrell Horcher. He is controlling him and almost has the full mount position against the cage, and the referee has the audacity to stand the fight up. Immediately after that happens, Horcher lands bombs on Holtzman and that could have ended the fight. That’s absolutely disgusting for the referees to take away someone’s dominant position that they worked for, and to put them in a vulnerable position on the feet if they are the less skilled striker. The referee’s need to take note and realize that they had a bad night with this topic.