UFC Utica Fight Nigh Recap
UFC has finally officially arrived in Utica. The Adirondack Bank Center was host to UFC for the first time in Utica this past Friday night. With over 5,000 people in attendance and the fights being televised on both UFC Fight Pass and Fox Sports 1, the night did not disappoint.
The early prelims started the night, airing on UFC Fight Pass, and in dramatic and thrilling fashion as Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks literally knocked himself out against Jose “Shorty” Torres! Brooks, who was up on the scorecards and winning the fight, had picked Torres up in the air and basically pile-drived him but unfortunately knocked himself out in the process. Torres took advantage, getting on top of Brooks, landing a couple of punches before the referee stopped the fight. The crowd went hysterical as Torres celebrated the victory, while Brooks still lay on the canvas, having not regained consciousness. Torres, a flyweight, remained undefeated improving to 8-0, while Brooks dropped to 13-2. Torres said after the fight “When I got in that position, I knew he was going to go for the slam so I decided to go parallel and see where it went from there. Just happened he fell on his shoulder and head and knocked himself out.”
The second fight of the early prelims saw bantamweight Nathaniel ‘The Prospect” Wood (14-3) against Johnny Eduardo (28-11). In the second round Eduardo missed with a takedown attempt and Wood was able to get on top and locked in a strong choke-hold against Eduardo, which led to Eduardo tapping out and Wood earning the submission victory. Wood said after the fight “I started with jiu-jitsu and as soon as he went for that take down, it gave me confidence that he didn’t want to stand with me anymore. I then could setup my d’arce choke and get the submission.”
What was supposed to be the third and final early prelim fight on UFC Fight Pass, the scheduled fight between Jessica Aguilar and Jodie Esquibel was cancelled at the last minute, due to………..use of chap stick! Aguilar was deemed not able to fight because of her use or overuse of chap stick. Originally cleared by a dermatologist, the NY State commission said she was not cleared due to this and cancelled the fight. Aguilar took to Instagram and said “The commission had a concern regarding my lips and my use of chap stick during the physical exam prior to weigh-ins so they requested I be cleared by a dermatologist. So right after the weigh-ins the commission rush to get me clearance which I was granted by the dermatologist. But tonight, at the arena, the commission struck again and cancelled the fight.”
The first fight of the prelims, which started the televised broadcast on Fox Sports 1, brought lightweight Rochester native Desmond ‘The Predator” Green against Gleison Tibau. Green, who had tremendous support from the fans, rocked Tibau with a straight right hand punch sending Tibau down to the canvas, and seemingly looked as if the fight was over. The referee ran over and was in the process of waving off the fight but Tibau bounced right up as this happened and was able to continue and go the distance, finishing the third and final round. As the scorecards were announced the crowd roared in applause as Green won with a unanimous decision victory. Green improved to 21-7, while the veteran Tibau dropped to 40-14. Green said after the fight “I had my grandma fly in for this fight from Virginia, my aunts drove in from Maryland, friends from high school fly in from California and I have an after party tonight so had I lost, it would’ve been a really sorry night.”
A battle of welterweights was next on the card as Chance “Black Eagle” Rencountre made his UFC debut against Belal “Remember The Name” Muhammad”. Muhammad controlled the fight, landing sharp punches and eventually caused major swelling under Rencountre’s eye. The fight ended up going all three rounds with the unanimous decision going to Muhammad, who improved to 14-2 with Recountre losing his UFC debut and dropping his MMA record to 12-3. Muhammad said after the fight “I had a changeup in opponent, literally just a week ago, from an orthodox guy like Niko (Price) to a 6’3 southpaw on a four fight win streak. I feel like with the time I had to prepare, Im just getting better, I’m growing with every fight and Im just confident in there with no matter who they give me.”
Lightweights Nik “The Carny” Lentz and David Teymur squared off in what was the most even battle of the night up to that point. Lentz was the aggressor in the beginning, landing some quality punches but as the fight went on Teymur proved to be the more polished and sharper of the two. Teymur did most of his damage to Lentz’s eye causing serious swelling and blood covering most of the right side of Lentz’s face. Teymur received the unanimous decision victory for his eighth straight win and is undefeated in the UFC as he improved his record to 8-1, while Lentz dropped his record to 30-9-2. Teymur said after the fight “I’m very happy with my performance. I am 5-0 in the UFC now. What you saw out there was my game plan and I got it done. I’ll fight again as soon as the UFC calls me. If they get me an opponent tonight, Im happy to go again.”
The final fight of the prelims featured women’s flyweights Sijara “Sarj” Eubanks against Lauren “Lucky” Murphy. Eubanks dominated the opening round, landing vicious punches to Murphy’s face, resulting in a bad cut right above Murphy’s eye. Eubanks secured an impressive takedown in the second round and was able to land some scoring punches but Murphy did an admirable job of defending herself in the precarious position. Both fighters tirelessly made it through the final third round, with Eubanks scoring again on another takedown, but little to no damage actually being done in the round. Eubanks clearly controlled the fight and easily had Murphy beaten, leading to a unanimous decision victory, improving her record to 4-2 and Murphy dropping to 10-4.
The main card kicked off with light heavyweights Gian Villante pitted against Sam “Smile’N” Alvey. Towards the end of the first round Alvey landed a thunderous right hand dropping Villante to the canvas. Villante sprung up however but Alvey continued to land a barrage of punches and fortunately for Villante the bell sounded just as Alvey looked as if he was going to finish him off. The next two rounds weren’t as exciting however. Alvey continued to land punches and Villante developed swelling around his eye but the action was limited. Villante did appear to win the final round but it wasn’t enough as Alvey earned a split decision victory, improving his record to 33-10, while Villante dropped his record to 16-10. Alvey said after the fight “I knew it was a close fight, I thought I had won all three rounds but the judges saw it differently. I tried to finish him but I didn’t press enough. He changed his game plan towards the end of the fight so I couldn’t quite get at him the same way I did earlier. I want Corey Anderson next.”
Featherweights Daniel “Kid Dynamite” Teymur, brother of David Teymur (who had fought earlier and won) and Julio Arce both made their UFC debuts against each other. Unfortunately for Teymur he didn’t perform as well as his brother. Teymur was able to land some kicks but in the third round Arce landed some sharp punches to Teymur’s face opening up a cut above his right eye. Arce then took Teymur to the mat and was eventually able to secure a rear naked chokehold forcing Teymur to tap out. Arce improved his MMA record to 15-2 and Teymur’s MMA record dropped to 6-2. Arce said after the fight “Right now, Im like the rookie working his way up. I’m just starting in a division filled with monsters and Im excited to just continue and head on to the next opponent. I think this kind of put me on the map a little more.”
One of the most impressive performances of the night occurred during the welterweight match up between Ben “Killa B” Saunders and Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger. Saunders landed a perfectly placed knee to Ellenberger’s body collapsing him to the canvas causing the ref to stop the fight. Saunders improved his record to 22-9-2, while Ellenberger dropped to 31-14. Saunders said after the fight “I came out relaxed as hell with a big grin. It was like being back on The Ultimate Fighter in 2007. The Killer B is back baby!”
In a showdown between heavyweights Walt “The Big Ticket” Harris and Daniel “Daddy Long Legs” Spitz, Harris proved he was more heavy handed as he landed secured the TKO victory in huge fashion. Harris landed a huge left hand in the second round sending Spitz to the canvas and then sprung on top of him, landing powerful and accurate punches and elbows, forcing the referee to stop the fight. Harris improved his record to 11-7 and Spitz fell to 6-2.
The lightweight bout featured Vinc “From Hell” Pichel against undefeated, crowd favorite and Rochester native Gregor “The Gift” Gillespie. Gillespie used his wrestling skills to continuously take Pichel down, controlling the fight and eventually in the second round secure an arm triangle choke that would lead to Pichel tapping out, elevating the crowd to the loudest it was all night. Gillespie improved his undefeated record to 12-0 and Pichel dropped to 11-2. Gillespie said after the fight “I don’t call people out. It’s not what I do. All I’m thinking about right now is fishing tomorrow and fishing the next day. I’ll be fishing until my training partner fights at Madison Square Garden next week and then Im going to go and support him.”
The main event of the evening was a showdown between bantamweights Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera and Marlon “Magic” Moraes. Rivera brought his 20 fight win streak into the match and it lasted about 10 seconds! Moraes worked his magic and landed a devastating kick to the head dropping Rivera to the canvas. Moraes pounced on top of him landing punches forcing the ref to stop the fight and secure the TKO victory for Moraes, stunning the crowd and bringing the UFC debut at the ADK Bank Center to a climatic end. Moraes said after the fight “The game plan was to go in there and give it everything I had and show my skills. I got him confused and then I caught him early in the fight and I was able to capitalize. If you were watching closely, you see I land a leg kick first and then that sets up the head kick. Im excited to get back out there and get to the top of the division.”