What a night of fights! Out of all the fights, main card and prelims, not one went to the judges.
A new contender emerged in the Heavyweight division, and the winners of season 30 of The Ultimate Fighter were crowned.
Two fights did not go ahead. Jason Witt vs Josh Quinlan was cancelled; there has been no word if that fight will happen at a later date. Ariane Lipski vs Priscila Cachoeira was moved to next weekend’s San Deigo card.
Jamahal Hill def Thiago Santos
A new challenger in the heavyweight division has arrived, and his name is Jamahal Hill. ‘Sweet Dreams Stadium’ (better known as the Apex) is a happy hunting ground for the Chicago native. Hill was taken into the championship rounds for the first time in his career and handled it well.
Santos proved that he still has some fight left in him. He did fight smart, mixing his stand-up with some good takedowns. It’s hard to know what Santos should do. He has only won one fight out of his last seven, so maybe taking time to see where he is at will be a good thing.
Fantasy Matchmaker: It’s a no-brainer; Hill needs to fight someone in the top 10. Even though he already has a fight, Volkan Oezdemir would be a good fight for Hill. Like Santos, Oezdemir is a former title challenger and made a triumphant return against Paul Craig. It will most likely depend on if he beats Nikita Krylov.
As for Santos, a match-up against Scotsman Craig mentioned would be a good fight.
Geoff Neal def Vicente Luque
Neal put forward an impressive performance to Beat Luque. ‘Handz of Steal’ not only won, but he stopped the durable Brazilian.
After a one-sided first round, Luque was able to make a comeback and make it a fascinating final round. However, Neal came out as he did in round 1, making sure it didn’t go to the judge’s scorecards.
Luque is now on a two-fight skid and will need to return to the gym and assess a few things.
Fantasy Matchmaker: Neal called out Gilbert Burns after the win. It’s quite the step up in competition, but it’s a good call out. Burns seems to be a little preoccupied with Jorge Masvidal. Anyone in the top 10 would be suitable for Neal; maybe avenging his loss to ‘Wonderboy’ is on the cards.
As for Luque, he could have a trilogy fight with Belal Muhammed, but that may not be something the fans would like to see just yet. Sean Brady would be a good fight for him.
Mohammed Usman def Zac Pauga
Mohammed Usman is the Heavyweight winner of TUF season 30. The brother of Kamaru Usman pulled off an impressive knock-out over Zac Pauga.
Pauga won the first round, landed the crisper strikes, and controlled the Octagon. The second round was different, as Usman put Pauga to sleep with a nice left.
Fantasy Matchmaker: It will be exciting to see how the younger Usman goes in the promotion. He has heavy hands and good wrestling, maybe taking on UFC newcomer Hammy Abdelwahab.
Usually, those that make the finale get signed to the UFC, so Pauga may get a contract even with a loss. Maybe William Knight can welcome Pauga to the promotion.
Julianna Miller def Brogan Walker
There was a lot of bad blood in this fight. ‘Killer’ Miller was far too strong, imposing her will on Walker. If someone new were watching the fights, they wouldn’t have thought that Miller had the least experienced of the two.
Walker tried hard, but it just wasn’t her night. She may still get a UFC contract. As for Miller, she has a very bright future ahead of her.
Fantasy Matchmaker: The matchmakers will not want to throw Miller in the deep end. Mandy Boehm or Hannah Goldy will be the best ones to welcome her. As for Walker, Victoria Leonardo would be good as her first opponent.
Serghei Spivac def Augusto Sakai
It was a must-win fight for Sakai; he had lost three fights in a row. Unfortunately, Spivac made it four.
He survived into the second round, but the Brazilian was thoroughly out-classed by the Sambo practitioner. Spivac tool Sakai down at will, landing the cleaner strikes on the feet and ending the fight with a TKO.
Fantasy Matchmaker: The ‘Polar Bear’ will surely be a ranked fighter now, and his next fight should be against Blagoy Ivanov. As for Sakai, he should still get a fight but will need to win to keep his job. He should take on Jared Vanderaa.
Terrance McKinney def Erick Gonzalez
This fight was promoted to the main card due to the Lipski/Cachoeira postponement.
‘T-Wrecks’ made short work of his opponent again. McKinney got the first-round submission via rear-naked choke. He looked good doing it as well.
Fans have to tip their hat off to Erick Gonzalez; in his UFC debut, he took on veteran Jim Miller on short notice. He put a couple of good shots on McKinney but came up against a fighter on the rise.
Fantasy Matchmaker: McKinney called out Paddy Pimblett after his win, which is 100% the fight to make next for both Lightweights. As for Gonzalez, going up against a veteran like Clay Guida would be an exciting battle.