Bantamweight Bout for the Ages
John Lineker and John Dodson underlined why everyone is so excited about the bantamweight division with their epic main event showing in Portland.
Lineker got the nod via split decision after an electrifying five rounds and called for a bout with champion Dominic Cruz in his post-fight interview, citing his four-fight win streak in the division.
Looking to stake a claim to the title in the headline clash, both Dodson and Lineker had their durability tested on a number of occasions throughout the contest.
The Brazilian ate five solid right head kicks like they were nothing during in the fight. After being bludgeoned with left hooks and boisterous body shots over the opening three rounds, Dodson was on his bike in the fourth after a venomous flurry that scored to the head and body.
Yet, by the end of the round, Dodson managed to regain composure and pressed on with some straight shots of his own.
Although there was some unnecessary booing at the beginning of the fourth round, the crowd at the Moda Center really got behind the main card pairing. Lineker elicited laughter from the crowd as he jokingly danced, mocking Dodson footwork that kept him out of his firing range.
The volume swelled in the arena when Dodson then entered into a back and forth exchange with Lineker, whose war cry sent another surge through the gathering.
Although Dodson didn't get the win, he certainly earned a lot of respect for his resilience and accuracy against the Brazilian. There are many calling for an immediate rematch of the clash due to its entertainment value, and with Cruz likely to meet Cody Garbrandt in his next title defense, the fans could do a lot worse than see Lineker and Dodson do it all again.
Post-fight Antics Spoil Brooks Win for Brazilian 'Cowboy'
Boos rang around the Moda Center as Alex Oliveira threw a crotch slap and then a one-fingered salute at Will Brooks following his third round TKO victory over former Bellator champion.
Brooks chased the Brazilian down after the incident and threw his mouthguard at him, as Daniel Cormier, who was making his commentary debut, claimed that Oliveira had no right to act so disrespectfully after missing weight the day before.
Brooks showed a new urgency in the second round after eating a knee to the rib in the clinch in the opening round. After disclosing the injury to his corner in between rounds, Brooks attempted three submissions in the second round–two rear naked chokes and an armbar–but the Brazilian managed to evade each one.
The rib injury worsened in the third, and Brooks winced in pain as the visibly bigger 'Cowboy' pushed him against the fence. Oliveira took the American down with ease and worked to side control and when they got back to their feet, he delivered a duo of knees to the body and head.
The referee finally saw enough when Oliviera trapped the arm of Brooks on the ground and teed off with elbows.
Newcomer Zak Ottow Pips Josh Burkman
Keeping to the theme of the main card, UFC debutant Zak Ottow put together a beautiful kicking display to deny veteran Josh Burkman his thirtieth win as a professional on the main card.
Burkman was initially slated to fight Bobby Green, but when Green was forced off the card twelve days ago, Ottow stepped up to the plate on the back of four fight winning streak.
Ottow made no secret that he would be using a kick-heavy approach as he landed two low shots in the first round that stalled the action for a couple of moments. Throughout the remainder of the fight, Ottow scored with outside leg kicks and shots to the body, which never really allowed Burkman to get going.
In the third round, Burkman probably thought he had won the fight with a well-timed takedown in the dying embers. Yet, with thirty seconds to go, Ottow scored a takedown of his own to add further question marks as to who would have their hand raised.
Debutant Brandon Moreno Topples Contender Louis Smolka
Louis Smolka was considered one of the most exciting prospects in the UFC's flyweight division, but promotional newcomer Brandon Moreno showed no big stage jitters as he forced a tap from the Hawaiian in round one to claim his ninth victory in a row.
The 5/1 underdog, who stepped in for the injured Sergio Pettis on a week's notice, still hadn't composed himself after the big win in his post-fight interview when he told John Anik: "I don't believe that happened".
The Mexican national jiu jitsu champion shot out from his corner from the first bell and launched into the early exchanges with reckless abandon. Just at Smolka seemed to be warming to the striking Moreno took him to the ground where 'The Last Samurai' rewarded him with a series of elbows from the guard.
Smolka looked to fire back with a takedown of his own when they rejoined their feet, but Moreno quickly locked up a high elbow guillotine in response to Smolka's high crotch entry.
The top-ten flyweight looked to push the high elbow down to stop the choke, but Moreno's grip proved too strong.
His jubilant celebrations on the victory endeared the newcomer to the Portland crowd, who promised he would return to 'The City of Roses' in the future.
- Luis Henrique da Silva def. Joachim Christensen via submission (armbar) in Round 1
- Andre Fili def. Hacran Dias via unanimous decision
- Shamil Abdurakhimov def. Walt Harris via split decision
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos def. Keita Nakamura via unanimous decision
Fight Pass Prelims
- Nate Marquardt def. Tamdan McCrory via knockout in Round 2
- Ion Cutelaba def. Jonathan Wilson via unanimous decision
- Curtis Blaydes def. Cody East via TKO in Round 2
- Ketlen Vieira def. Kelly Faszholz via split decision
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