UFC: Rodriguez Shines, Cerrone Comes Up Short Again
By Harry Jensen
This time last week, last night’s Fight Night was without a main event after Sandhagen vs Dillashaw was cancelled due to injury, but Marina Rodriguez and the experienced Michelle Waterson stepped up to the plate for their flyweight debut, in the Brazilian’s first 5-round fight.
The fight characterised a Muay Thai approach from Rodriguez against Waterson’s karate foundation, with Rodriguez taking the unanimous decision.
Rodriguez showed good striking with her hands and landed convincing knees and elbows at the end of most rounds to take them, but Waterson still had some success with high kicks and a takedown which led to 4 minutes of control time in round 4.
Rodriguez capitalised on her success from her last outing at Fight Island earlier this year where she knocked out rising star Amanda Ribas, taking her to a 2-fight win streak.
Marina Rodriguez is currently #6-ranked in the strawweight division, and if she wants to stay in the 125lbs division, her height should help her to translate the extra weight into more power at flyweight, but hopefully we can see her fight for a title shot at strawweight; maybe against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, or a revenge fight against Carla Esparza.
In the co-main, Donald Cerrone didn’t get the performance he was looking for to bow out of his UFC career against Alex Morono, as he was finished in the first round in the welterweight division.
‘Cowboy’ came into the first round with his characteristically slow start, and paid the price with a strong overhand right and aggressive flurry from Morono to get the biggest victory of his career. He now has 11 first round stoppages, and will be looking to make strides in the welterweight division of the back of his ‘Performance of the Night’.
Cerrone is now without a win in 6, dating back to his decision against Al Iaquinta in May 2019
Neil Magny took on Geoff Neal in a closely matched affair, with Magny ending up on top with the decision victory. Both fighters were coming off of loses against Michael Chiesa and Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, respectively, so were both looking to prove to the division that they were still in for contendership contention.
The fight consisted of Neal stalking Magny down with Magny jabbing off on his face and body to keep him at bay. 2020 superstar Khamzat Chimaev has already taken to his socials to call Magny out for a showdown this August, which will undeniably be the Russian’s hardest test.
Marcos Rogerio de Lima beat Maurice Greene in a lopsided unanimous decision. Greene overextended on some swinging 1-2s which led to de Lima taking him down and landing 166 across the course of the fight, with only 14 being significant. De Lima had 14 minutes 6 seconds control time in the 15 minute fight.
There was a great lightweight fight on the card between Diego Ferreira and Gregor Gillespie, which resulted in a TKO by strikes finish for Gillespie at 4:51 of round 2, and a nifty $50,000 for both fighters as the ‘Fight of the Night.’
The bout was a very technical affair from the get-go, with both fighters willing to engage in a thrilling grappling exchange. ‘The Gift’ was pushing a crazy pace with a multitude of takedowns, and Ferreira seemed to have the upper hand with submission attempts on the ground.
Gillespie seemed completely gassed out at the end of the first, but somehow he caught a second wind and kept searching for takedowns and control in a display of heart and grit.
Ferreira ended up accepting the bottom position much more, and Gillespie rained down with powerful punches from top guard to grab a very important win in his career; his first in 2 years.
He’ll be looking to find an opponent in the top ten of the stacked lightweight division, Islam Makhachev would be a personal favourite, but any ranked win from 10-15 will do him big favours for his stock too.
Phillip Hawes bested the tough Kyle Daukaus to open up the main card. The second round was the most notable, with Daukaus rocking Hawes and looking for the finish. Hawes managed to recover and began investing in body shots and saw Daukaus’ output significantly decrease as time went by. After controlling the final round with grappling & ground and pound, Hawes snatched the unanimous decision win.
Michael Trizano beat the Slovakian Ludovit Klein in a closely fought decision win, much closer than the scorecards suggested.
Klein kept the fight competitive by landing a takedown every round, but Trizano’s butt-scootch-to-the-cage was on point to get up without conceding too much control time. Klein was saved by the bell at the end of round 3, as Trizano sunk a guillotine choke late, but didn’t have enough time to get the finish.
Elsewhere on the card, middleweight prospect Tafon Nchukwi’s inexperienced showed as he was outjabbed and outwrestled by Jun Yong Park, as the South Korean now goes 10-1 in his last 11 fights.
This fight had the craziest scoring of the night, with one judge scoring it 30-25 to Yong Park, and another giving Nchukwi a draw with 28-28 despite being left in a bloody mess on the floor at the end of the fight.
Guyana’s Carlston Harris won ‘Performance of the Night’ with an anaconda choke submission in the first round of his UFC debut against Christian Aguilera, taking him to a 4-fight win streak.
Photo Credit: Zuffa/UFC