Edwards vs Muhammad: Fight Night Takeaways
Last night’s UFC Fight Night event treated fans with some good performances and nasty KO’s. Eryk Anders started off the main card by turning in a performance reminiscent of Petr Yan’s last week. In the next fight, Manel Kape would put on a solid performance that would be ruined by shitty judging. The next three fights would end in spectacularly exciting KO’s and the main event let down every singular fight fan who tuned in. Leon Edwards eye poked Belal Muhammad in the first round and the fight would make it only eighteen seconds into the next, before being stopped and declared a no-contest due to another eye poke.
Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart Ends in No Contest
Last night’s fight between Eryk Anders and Darren Stewart continued an unfortunate trend in the UFC: illegal knees. The bout was ruled a no-contest in the first round after an illegal knee from Anders, who was doing some good work before the fight’s unceremonious end. Most of the first round was spent with Anders looking for a takedown against the fence and Stewart defending. The fight would take a turn when Anders began to land in the clinch and stunned Stewart. Anders landed a strong left cross and dropped his opponent to the canvas. After eating some heavy shots, Stewart would stand up against the fence. Anders would punch his way into a double leg against the fence and finish the takedown. Stewart was broken down to one knee and Anders would throw the ill-fated strike that ended the fight.
Matheus Nicolau def. Manel Kape by Unanimous Decision
After dropping a close decision to Alexandre Pantoja, Manel Kape stepped in the cage to face Matheus Nicolau. Nicolau was able to secure two takedowns that won him the first round but was unable to do much damage. The former Rizin FC champion made great use of aggressive footwork to walk down Nicolau and bank the second. Kape would outland his opponent in the third and end up on top after defending a takedown. Manel Kape should have won this round and fight. There’s not much to say here other than the obvious. The UFC’s judges are fucking incompetent and this decision was horrendous. This fight was a great example of why MMA needs a judging and scoring system overhaul.
Davey Grant def. Jonathan Martinez via KO
The first round of this one was very kick-heavy and neither fighter seemed to sustain any significant concussive damage until the final thirty seconds. Grant seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges, but Martinez landed a huge rear hook at the end of the first and dropped his opponent to the canvas. Davey Grant opened up with his hands a little more in the second and was out landing Martinez for the first three minutes. Grant ended the fight in the blink of an eye landing a massive left rear hook from southpaw.
Grant set up this strike by switching his feet from orthodox to southpaw to land a right body hook before coming upstairs with the huge left that separated Martinez from his senses. Davey grant looked good and showed off a very broad kicking game, KO power, and a big heart. Martinez didn’t look bad himself he just got caught lacking by a perfect setup. After his second performance of the night KO in a row, a fight with Sean O’Malley makes sense for Grant.
Dan Ige def. Gavin Tucker via KO
Slight favorite Dan “50k” Ige cashed in huge tonight and justified his Moniker with a KO inside of thirty seconds. Ige picked up a well-deserved performance of the night bonus in this one, which was one of four for last night’s event. The KO materialized when Ige slipped Tucker’s jab to the outside and connected with the fight stopping right cross. Ige is now 7-2 in the UFC and has fought the likes of Edson Barboza, Mirsad Bektic, and Calvin Kattar. A rematch of his decision loss to Kattar seems to be the logical next step for Ige. Kattar is ranked sixth and is coming off a loss to Max Holloway and Ige was ranked ninth before his fight last night.
Ryan Spann def. Misha Cirkunov via KO
Fans of violence were once again rewarded with a KO for their viewership of this event when Ryan Spann stopped Misha Cirkunov in the first round. The first significant exchange of this fight took place when Span dropped Cirkunov with a right cross. Cirkunov was able to get back to his feet but was hurt badly. Spann would then back Cirkunov up against the cage and throw another right cross. This time Spann switched his feet to southpaw and delivered a rear left hook that floored his opponent. Spann followed his opponent to the canvas and finished quickly with ground and pound. Now 5-1 in the UFC, Spann has shown some good skills and looks like he is here to stay in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. A rematch with Johnny Walker makes sense for his next fight.
Belal Muhammad vs. Leon Edwards Ends in No Contest
Fight fans weren’t even able to go another week without more controversy and disappointment. Last week’s controversial bout between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling left a bad taste in the mouth of fight fans. At best, this one did nothing to cleanse that figurative taste. Leon Edwards did some decent work in the first round before landing an eye poke and being warned by Herb Dean. Early in the second round Edwards would eye poke Belal again and puncture his eyelid forcing the fight to be stopped. It was ruled a no-contest and Edwards called for a title shot in the post-fight interview. Realistically Edwards probably should’ve been disqualified because he was already warned. A title shot is definitely not warranted from this performance and anything other than a rematch would be farcical.
Coming off of last week’s controversial yet exciting UFC event, this one was weird, to say the least. Ryan Spann, Davey Grant, and Dan Ige all turned in spectacular performances, yet the centerpiece of this event is controversy. Manel Kape got screwed in his decision loss to Matheus Nicolau. Kape was the more active fighter and did more damage, but still lost at the hands of the judges, and the main event ended in a no-contest after a couple of brutal eye pokes.
While the outcomes of these fights were nothing short of atrocious, there is a lot to be gathered here. The first takeaway being that UFC judging is shit to put it generously and desperately needs change. The second major takeaway from this card is that the UFC needs to implement measures to stop eye pokes. Even though there are gloves available that make eye pokes significantly less likely, the UFC will not employ them because they cannot secure ownership of the patent themselves. In fewer words, this could’ve been a night of great fights, but judging and equipment fucked it up for everyone.