What a spectacular showing from the UFC, as San Antonio welcomed the organization to their first ever card held in the city. Prelims kicked off with a bang; two fights ending within 38 seconds in the very first round, and only one decision through the first half of the fight card. Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens did not seem to disappoint, as the crowd erupted when the final round came to a conclusion. The main card may have not had any finishes, but did not lack in action what so ever. The crowd stayed rowdy and on their feet, while the fighters delivered a card to remember for the local fans in San Antonio. Hopefully the MMA Spotlight can recite enough detail to cover the action packed Fight Night to the satisfaction of each reader.
Cub Swanson defeats Jeremy Stephens via Unanimous Decision Welcome to your first main event San Antonio, Texas! Boy did these boys come to bang! Stephens looked great early, connecting on many powerful right hands; even landing a take down at the end of the first. Stephens seemed to lose his steam the third round and beyond, possibly breaking his left hand in the process. Cub Swanson turned it on headed into the third, stalking Jeremy Stephens, using his unique hand speed to connect on multiple combos on the inside. Championship rounds came about, and Cub Swanson seemed to press on the gas pedal a tad bit more. Keeping pace for a full five rounds with Jose Aldo does not seem like it would be much of a concern for Cub if given the opportunity. Swanson has now won six in a row in the featherweight division, and could potentially land the winner between Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes. What a great showing by the two warriors, Stephens deserves all the credit in the world as well, hanging in there and swinging for the fences with a numb left hand. It was a bit of surprise to not see him go for more take downs, and turn this into a grappling match of sorts. For the first showing in UFC history in the city of San Antonio, Spurs nation definitely got their moneys worth in the end.
Kelvin Gastelum defeats Nico Musoke via Unanimous Decision Musoke came out like a man on a mission in the first round, Gastelum met him head on though; stymieing the distance, and landing bombs against the cage. Musoke used his reach advantage effectively in the first; landing precise jabs, and even slamming the favorite with a nice scoop slam. Gastelum changed the tides in the second, continuously circling his opponent into the cage and teeing off with body kicks and punches. The missed weight seemed to have no ill affect on Kelvin Gastelum, unfortunately enough for him though, the undefeated welterweight will be forfeiting 20 percent of his purse over to Nico Musoke because of it. With an unblemished record, only a top ten opponent in the welterweight division would make any sense for his next fight. There is no excuse for not making weight consecutively, Gastelum must keep his weight in check in order for the UFC to take him seriously.
Cezar ‘Mutante’ Ferreira defeats Andrew Craig via Unanimous Decision The Houston Texan native, Andrew Craig, had Cezar Ferreira reeling in that final round; but it was not enough as ‘Mutante’ had his way throughout the first and second round. First two rounds of the bout, fit exactly into Ferreira’s game plan. Stick to the outside where he could use his reach, and add a little explosiveness whenever he felt it was needed. Craig sat outside of range throughout the fight and did not really get aggressive until the end of the 3rd round; where he then staggered ‘Mutante’, and proceeded to stalk him around the cage until the round concluded. This win gets Ferreira back on the winning side of things, his last bout Cezar Mutante suffered a devastating knockout loss to C.B. Dalloway.
Ricardo Lamas defeats Hacran Dias via Unanimous Decision Position, control, and some wrestling; is what won this fight for Lamas tonight. Not too many wild exchanges for “The Bully” as he summoned inner roots to defeat the game, Hacran Dias. Lamas was calm and calculated with his wrestling , using aggressive position advances to win rounds. Dias had his moments as well, but just did not have an answer for “The Bully’s” wrestling game. With that victory Lamas solidifies himself as a top contender in his division, and hopefully a cause for relief; after losing his most recent bout against Dias’ teammate, featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
Clint Hester defeats Antonio Braga Neto via Split Decision “Head Bussa” Clint Hester came out a blazing ball of fire in the 3rd round, and did just enough to squeak out a split decision over BJJ guru, Antonio Braga Neto. Hester did a superb job negating Neto’s position advances and submission attempts, than proceeded to go to town when the fight took to the feet. Braga Neto seemed to lose his striking game after the first round, practically having no answer for “Head Bussa’s” power shots when he came in. The third round, Hester battered Neto’s body with punches, while surprising everyone with a sweep of his own while Neto had him mounted. The win for Hester could possibly push Hester into top 15 consideration in the UFC middleweight division with his 7th win in a row, four of those wins inside the octagon.
Joe Ellenberger defeats James Moontasri via Split Decision Not too shabby of a debut for both fighters. The first round could have arguably been a 10-8 scoring for Moontarsi; as he dropped Ellenberger with a heavy shot, and almost had him with some on point ground and pound before the round ended. Second round Ellenberger secured multiple take downs, and dominant positions; while also threatening with a rear naked choke midway through. Moontasri was hard pressed to feed off the momentum gained in that first round in the second, and could not seem to keep the fight standing in the second. Third round was somewhat of a toss-up between the two, Ellenberger would press Moontasri against the cage, and the action would stall almost immediately. Moontarsi had a little showmanship about him to finish the round, as he jumped into Ellenberger’s guard hoping to land a flying punch. Split decisions are killer for debut fighters, but Moontasri should get another shot to show what he has on the big stage.
Carlos Diego Ferreira defeats Colton Smith via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Rd.1, Cody Gibson defeats Johnny Bedford via TKO (Punches) Rd.1, Marcelo Guimaraes defeats Andy Enz via Split Decision, Ray Borg defeats Ryan Benoit via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Rd.1, Oleksiy Oliynyk defeats Anthony Hamilton via Submission (Neck Crank) Rd.1
In other notable fights, the Texas boys went 1-1 inside the octagon. Johnny “Brutal” Bedford suffered a very controversial TKO loss to Cody Gibson. Referee Kerry Hatley may have stepped in a bit too early; but it was crystal clear that Bedford bounced his head off the canvas, and froze up immediately before regaining consciousness. Carlos Diego Ferreira made quick work of a former ‘Ultimate Fighter‘ winner, Colton Smith. Ferreira showed far more superior grappling; tossing Smith to the mat with ease, finishing him off with a “no hooks” rear naked choke. Only one fight went to decision in the prelims, with two of the bouts finishing within 38 seconds of the very first round.
Next week the Guardian Liberty Voice heads to Las Vegas, Nevada; as International Fight Week becomes the premier focus for the MMA Spotlight. LION Fights, TUF Finale Edgar vs Penn, and the highly anticipated UFC 175 Weidman vs Machida will all be covered exclusively. Follow the Guardian Liberty Voice as the MMA coverage continues on next weekend.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer leading the coverage in MMA