Last night (Dec. 6, 2013) Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweights Dylan Andrews and Clint Hester faced off on the main card of UFC Fight Night 33 from Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Queensland, Australia.
Former professional boxer Hester won his promotional debut against Bristol Marunde last April. He was originally slated to face off against TUF: Brazil 1 winner Cezar Ferreira but was derailed for a few months with injuries.
The bout promised to be an exciting war between two young fighters struggling for position in a talented division. The mixed martial arts (MMA) action kicked off with a striking exchange. Andrews landed a big right and Hester countered with a body shot. Hester kept his movement level high, jumping in and out of the pocket.
Andrews scored a bodylock takedown to land in half guard. He smothered Hester but didn't do a whole lot from top position until going for a guillotine that was easily avoided. Hester turned the tables and landed on top. A scramble ensued with Andrews getting another takedown to end the round strong.
The second frame saw Andrews go for a takedown but Hester shook it off this time. Andrews found a home for some hard leg kicks and a good right hand. Hester responded with a rushing double leg, landing some elbows and punches. A bloodied Andrews had no answer for Hester's ground-and-pound. The fight returned to the feet and Hester unleashed some hard uppercuts. Andrews was noticeably slower and possibly injured but wouldn't give up.
When the final round was about to begin, news came that Andrews had separated his right shoulder throwing a right hand in the second round. Hester earned the stoppage victory as both fighters showed mutual respect and class amidst the unfortunate announcement.
It was a great performance for Hester, who had a large amount of hype as coach Jon Jones' first pick on TUF 17. Although his weakness was seemingly exposed when Kelvin Gastelum submitted him in an upset, Hester has righted the ship with two straight victories in the Octagon. He's an exciting match-up for any one of many middleweight power strikers. A bout against the winner of UFC 168's Chris Leben vs. Uriah Hall tilt would make for an incredibly exciting match.
Andrews lost the second round but may have taken the first, so it's hard to say what the outcome would have been had he not gotten injured. There's no questioning his warrior spirit and toughness. He'll get another chance to prove himself in UFC after his shoulder heals up. Hopefully the injury isn't too much of a lasting one. Andrews will likely be matched up against a fighter outside of the top 20.
It's anticlimactic that this fight had to end like it did because it was an exciting back-and-forth affair that saw both Andrews and Hester utilize good striking, wrestling, and grapping. Despite both tiring heading into the third it could have gone either way. There may be a rematch booked sometime soon to give closure to the situation.
Clint Hester appeared well on his way to victory against Dylan Andrews at UFN 33. The ending was a surprise as Andrews separated his shoulder. Should a rematch be booked for Andrews' return or did Hester do enough to receive a step up in competition?