UFC 169 Preliminary Fights: 5 Things Learned
What We Learned From the UFC 169 Prelims
Every fight on the UFC 169 preliminary card went to the judges decision, despite the card being stacked with finishers. Not to say the fights weren't entertaining, as they were, but when kicking off a card, it's always better for the event's momentum to have a few finishes. The main card also looks like it'll be full of stoppages, but you never know.
The preliminaries showed a lot of promise despite the lack of finishing. After watching the Gennady Golovkin vs Adama under-card, I was pleased to see that a nice amount of technique is being used in the UFC under-card fights as well.
Neil Magny kicked off the card, using his length to out-grapple and out-strike Gasan Umalatov, in a fairly one-sided affair that didn't exactly have the crowd roaring. Nonetheless, Magny displayed improvement in his game, and has earned another fight in the octagon.
Former M-1 welterweight champion Rashid Magomedov proved hard work for Tony Martin, as well as Bruce Buffer, in a fight that displayed his toughness. The Russian was put in several situations where he could have tapped out, as Tony Martin torqued his limbs in a series of kimuras and armbars.
The televised preliminaries kicked off with an exciting fight with two of the youngest fighters in the UFC. Finally the pace of the card started to pick up, but an off showing from Tom Watson, and a bad call by the judges have put pressure on the main-card fighters to perform.
MMA is Evolving
The first televised fight of the card was a battle with Al Iaquinta and Kevin Lee, whom are both are young, upcoming athletes with dynamic attacks. Kevin Lee being only 21 years old, displayed heart, good grappling and courageous striking ability, as Al Iaquinta dropped the youngster in the opening two minutes, chasing him down for the rest of the round. The second round was Lee's, who almost submitted Iaquinta several times with a rear naked choke. The third round was back and forth, but Al Iaquinta came up on top at the end of the fight. In the past, the opening fight on a UFC card would not have displayed such skill, which just shows the rapid evolution of the sport.
Tom 'Kong' Watson is Not the Most Exciting Fighter in the Sport
Before getting dominated by Thales Leites at UFC 163, Tom Watson claimed he was the most exciting fighter in MMA. Whilst he certainly has put on a show in some of his fights, UFC 169 was not really one of them. Watson tried to keep it technical, and in his first round with Nick Catone, kept his distance and picked at the wrestler with kicks and jabs. To his detriment, Tom did little on offence, and was taken down a few too many times during the fifteen minutes. Catone was awarded the victory after 15 minutes of little damage.
Clint Hester is Pretty Good
Clint Hester has got explosive movement, and the technique to go with it. After dropping Andy Enz with a huge left hook, Hester cruised to a decision using speed and accuracy to outwork the unbeaten fighter.
Technique Beats Power
Danny Martinez threw the same winging combination at Chris Cariaso, consisting of a hook to the body, and then two to the head repeatedly. Whilst Cariaso did get hit a few times, his jab and his movement helped him out-strike Martinez by quite a large margin, earning him the victory.
Makdessi is improving
John Makdessi is one of the most talented strikers in the lightweight division. His weakness is his grappling game, shown in his fight with Dennis Hallman, where he was choked out int the first round. In his fight against Alan Patrick at UFC 169, Makdessi stuffed 11 of 13 take-downs, and jabbed his way around the Octagon. Oh, something I forgot to mention, Makdessi somehow lost the fight due to incompetence of the judges, but this shouldn't be considered too much of a setback for him.
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