UFC Adelaide: What’s Next For The Losers?
By Ben Jessop
The UFC took over Adelaide last night with a flurry of homegrown fighters placed on the card – It was showing real potential to be an Australian powerhouse of glory! Alas, it wasn’t to be as the home side suffered defeat after defeat. The light was particularly shining bright on UFC legend and long time vet Mark Hunt as this was his last hoorah before his inevitable retirement.
The MMA media are always extremely quick to dream up potential matchups for those who came out victorious, but I’m here to look at what’s next for two of the most promising fighters that suffered losses.
Tai Tuivasa def by Junior Dos Santos – 2nd Round TKO.
Tai ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa (8-1-0) came into the first round, really chasing down JDS in the hope of clearing this off early, which comes as no surprise based on his record, coming off an 8 fight win streak, and with seven of those coming from first round KO/TKO. Unfortunately, he came across as too wild and ended up missing and forcing himself into the fence twice, although this was not enough to shake the Australian as he managed to force JDS up to the fence and really force some pressure onto the ex UFC heavyweight champ. JDS scrambled free and fired a number of significant strikes that Tuivasa walked through and landed a successful leg kick that took JDS off-balance and decreased his mobility as he limped back to his corner at the end of round one.
It would have been Tuivasa’s game plan to come out and capitalise on that injured leg but he was put on the back foot right out of the gate as JDS landed stiff jabs and overhand rights until eventually he got Tuivasa to the ground. Even with JDS having mounted him, Tuivasa never gave up and fought from his back until Herb Dean decided he’d seen enough and called an end to the contest at 2:30 of the second round.
A rivalry seemed to come off of the back of the weigh-ins for UFC Adelaide as an argument kicked off between Tai Tuivasa and Justin Willis. Tai mentioned in the post fight interview that Justin was extremely disrespectful to some of the other fighters and it’s not something he appreciated. Justin continued his tirade throughout the evening, shouting from the sidelines and stating that Australia is now his, he also mentioned that Tai ‘did not deserve’ the fight against him.
Positioned four below Tai on the official rankings, this could be a great fight to make. Justin would be coming off of his win against UFC legend Mark Hunt and will be looking to move his way through the rankings.
Tyson Pedro def by Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua – 3rd Round TKO.
Pedro came into this bout, looking across the octagon at a UFC light heavyweight legend. A daunting prospect for any fighter, Shogun Rua is one of the toughest guys in the world and has shown his dominance throughout the years.
Pedro came into the first round all guns blazing and had an exceptional battle with Shogun and came out on top. Pedro managed to catch Rua with two combinations but ate hard counter punches from the seasoned fighter. The bursts of punches allowed Rua to feel comfortable going all out and got hurt in the process as Pedro hurt him and he stumbled. Pedro took his opportunity and really gave Rua some trouble but could not get the finish, despite landing some really heavy shots.
They separated and Pedro went straight back on the attack, hurting Rua and ending up in the clinch, where he landed significant knee shots and uppercuts that Rua somehow managed to take. The clinch was then reversed and Rua had Pedro on the ground right at the end of round one where he managed to land a set of elbow strikes before the horn sounded.
The second, and the very early stages before the stoppage of the third, were not so even. Rua came out and dominated from the off-set, causing massive damage. He landed a set of inside leg kicks at the beginning of the third which caused Pedro to dip, Rua landed a monstrous right overhand and proceeded to rain bombs onto Pedro before the referee decided it was all over at 0:43 of round three.
The fight to make for me, is Pedro vs Teixeira, which some may not agree with. Based on the performance of the first round of his contest with Rua, there is a genuine chance that
Pedro is more than capable of moving up towards to top spot over the next coming years but needs to continue pushing himself, and Teixeira is most certainly a challenge, being a consistent and genuine all-rounder he poses issues that Pedro could really struggle with. But with both fighters having strong Jiu Jitsu backgrounds, it could be a fantastic matchup. With Teixeira having had this title shot against Jon Jones, he is a top contender within the light heavyweight division and if Pedro could put this to bed, it will catapult him towards where he’s aiming to be.
ALSO ON THE CARD:
Jake Matthews def by Tony Martin – 3rd Round Submission (Anaconda Choke)
Australia’s own, Jake Matthews faced Tony Martin at UFC Adelaide. From the offset Matthews struggled to control Martin. The first round saw Matthews take a controlled approach until the final few minutes where he pushed aggressively and threw overhands at any opportunity. He managed to drop Martin and attempted a guillotine choke but Martin was able to find a way out.
With the second round continuing to press the same energy levels as the madness of the final minutes of the first, it turned into a real brawl with two monsters going for the finish.
The third round ended quickly, as Martin came out as what seemed to be a whole new man. He closed down Matthews and managed to get a deep anaconda choke that sent him to sleep and as his arm went limp, referee Jim Perdios waved it off and called an end to the fight.
Martin took this fight on six weeks notice and was determined to add another win to his impressive record, he also called on the UFC to add a 165-pound division in his post-fight interview.
Matthews is a father-to-be, so has all but ruled out being available for the UFC Melbourne next year as he takes a break from the sport to focus on his newfound role as a father.
People have been critical of Matthews recently, suggesting that he’s not been fighting to his full potential and has taken to ‘panic wrestling’ which has not proven successful, and now, taking time out from the sport it makes it hard to predict who he’d be willing to face in the octagon, or even when that might be. Aged only 24, he has plenty of time and potential left in the tank. I’ll be following him closely to see when his return will be and who he should face when the time comes.
Suman Mokhtarian def by Sodiq Yusuff – 1st Round TKO
Mokhtarian faced Yusuff, a man who has a reputation for dangerously fast and powerful hands. He came into this UFC debut holding a real reputation as a dangerous man on his feet and proved this almost instantly. Yusuff came out strong and began to put seriously powerful shots away until he caught Mokhtarian on the chin and rocked him back into the fence, when he began to smash body shots that were breaking through the block, which then escalated to head shots. It took only 2:14 to achieve the TKO as the referee waved off the fight, the call was heavily protested by Mokhtarian and his corner but it was obvious he had no real way out of the barrage of punches he was taking and it was only a matter of time before he was knocked out.
Although the fight was very short-lived, it leaves Yusuff looking like a terrifying addition to the division and Mokhtarian looking for instant redemption.
With the uncertainty of the future of the flyweight division within the UFC and with Mokhtarian being thirty-three years old, the question needs to be asked as to what to do next? He’ll need to move promotion and attempt to stamp some authority amongst the weight class. It looks like it’s going to be a long and difficult road ahead, I hope he gets the redemption he’ll be seeking after this controversial stoppage.