There's a pow-wow in the Krakow Arena in Poland this afternoon (Apr. 11, 2015) as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its first stop in the country for UFC Fight Night 64, featuring a heavyweight matchup of bangers in the main event of the evening.
Mirko Cro Cop and Gabriel Gonzaga clash in an epic rematch of their UFC 70 fight eight years ago. It is the Croatian's first fight in the Octagon in over three years. Meanwhile, "Napao" tries to avoid the dreaded three-fight losing streak.
Another set a prolific sluggers battle in the co-main event when Jimi Manuwa takes on Poland's own Jan Blachowicz. The 32-year-old Blachowicz looks to continue his rise through the light heavyweight ranks, while the Brit Manuwa wants to put a first-round (technical) knockout loss to Alexander Gustafsson behind him.
Before the main-card goodies, fight fans witnessed an interesting set of "Prelims" on this exclusive UFC Fight Pass event.
Fans inside the Krakow Arena were treated to a host of entertaining exchanges, most notably back-and-forth victories claimed by Yaotzin Meza and Sergio Moraes. A thunderous, straight left hand capped the afternoon's preliminary main event early, as Leon Edwards stopped the struggling Seth Baczynski in just eight seconds.
Check out the UFC Fight Night 64 "Prelims" results below:
"The Polish Pistola" was out to prove he still has what it takes to hang with the best in the UFC's welterweight division when he collided with the Brit "Rocky".
Baczynski came out firing, but it's a straight left hand from Edwards that puts the former to sleep in eight seconds, giving Edwards the first-round T(KO) win.
The accomplished Polish striker Fabinski and South African submission machine McLellan took to the Octagon in what was a thoroughly one-sided affair.
Fabinski looks to engage in the clinch early and pushes McLellan into the fence. The latter reverses it and the two exchange knees. Fabinski has double underhooks, though, and he steps into half guard. "Soldier Boy" working hard to get back to his feet, crawls to the fence. His efforts were futile though, as he ends up right back where Fabinski put him. Fabinski is relentless and records his third takedown of the round. He's in side control now. Some hard shots from Fabinski, who has the back of McLellan now. McLellan is back to his feet and defending the choke. The pair are back to striking, but the judoka Fabinski finds a takedown. McLellan going for a guillotine choke. Fabinski holding on and defending well with thirty seconds left to go.
Fabinski immediately looks for the takedown and secures it. He's looking to further his position. McLellan is back to his feet rather quickly. He's looking for the takedown now. Struggling for the single leg takedown is McLellan. As the two separate from the clinch, McLellan lands an uppercut. Fabinski's wrestling is unreal as he continues to ground McLellan. Short elbows coming from Fabinski. He's in half guard and working, where he'd close out round two.
McLellan barrels forward looking to take this round and make it a gritty brawl. The pair end up in the clinch, but McLellan is not coming close to a takedown. Fabinski reverses the clinch and plants his opponent on his back yet again. Fabinski moving with McLellan well on the ground. Knees to the head of McLellan. Fabinski trapping the arm of his opponent on the ground and looking for offense. The exhausted middleweights get back to their feet momentarily but Fabinski records another takedown and finishes out the fight in dominant fashion. Fabinski takes this fight by unanimous decision.
Sergio Moraes vs. Mickael Lebout
Mickael Lebout looked to make it 2-0 for his Cross Fight MMA team on the afternoon when he faced the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Moraes.
The pair are throwing wild shots to begin round one. Moraes unloads on the French fighter. The Brazilian is the aggressor, with Lebout looking to counter. Looping punches coming from Moraes. A sharp body kick lands for Moraes with one minute left. Left hand lands for Moraes. He pushes forward and closes the distance. Lebout not allowing him to take him down. Moraes finds the takedown as round one ticks down.
A left-right hand combo finds the mark for Moraes. Huge low kick from Lebout chops down Moraes. He is finding his groove on the feet. Lots of movement and jabs from Lebout. He's much more active in round two, just as Moraes connects with a right hand. We pass the halfway mark of the fight and Lebout is controlling the striking. He's backing up Moraes. Lebout lands a left and right hand on the charging Moraes. A left hand by Moraes cracks Lebout. He searchs for a takedown towards the end of round, lands a knee and finishes out round two on a positive note.
Moraes lands a stinging left hook on Lebout to start the final round. Lebout lands a left of his own. A front kick finds the face of Lebout. The pair are swinging in the pocket. Morares tags him and plants him on the ground with just over three minutes to go. The Brazilian is working in half guard and slides into full mount. It is back to half guard for Moraes, as Lebout looks for control from the bottom. No significant offense coming from Moraes. He's now in side control. With one minute left in the fight, Moraes starts looking for elbows. Moraes gets the full mount, and then his opponent's back. He secures the body lock. Lebout gets out of it and ends the fight in top position. Moraes is your winner by unanimous decision.
Damian Stasiak vs. Yaotzin Meza
The talented Polish prospect Stasiak engaged in a thrilling tussle with former struggling bantamweight Meza.
The featherweights tie up after a quiet period to begin the bout. Stasiak and Meza battling for position in the clinch. Meza finds a takedown. The MMA Lab product is in half guard now and is starting to land shots. Stasiak is turtling up and Meza is riding him. Stasiak looks to get back to his feet, as Meza secures what looks like a neck crank. Now, the Polish fighter begins to work his offense on the ground. Stasiak is aiming to set up a choke on Meza, who gets free and is looking to secure a takedown against the fence. Stasiak lands a spinning back kick in this action packed tilt. Meza lands a hard right kick as Stasiak returns with a straight left. Stasiak floors Meza and takes his back. The Arizona-based Meza is flattened out, but somehow survives the first frame.
The United Gym staple Stasiak lands a hard outside leg kick and another spinning-back kick to start round two. Meza attempts to pull guard and secure a guillotine choke. Stasiak begins to work in full guard, who loses top position and Meza is now in full guard, defending a kimura attempt. The 34-year-old Meza is out of the submission attempt and in his opponent's full guard. Stasiak still looking for the kimura attempt. Meza not really landing any clean punches within full guard. Meza tags him with a right hand and takes his back. He's back in half guard, then full guard as a frantic round two ends.
The 25-year-old Stasiak lands a right hand to start the final frame. Meza lands a takedown, and finds his opponent's back after a failed submission attempt. We're back in guard now and Meza is searching for an arm-triangle choke. Meza is in full mount now, rolls with Stasiak to take the latter's back. And we're back in full mount. A brilliant display of jiu-jisu from Meza, who is on his opponent's back now looking for a underhooks. Stasiak is out of it momentarily, but Meza gets back to half guard. Stasiak rolls for a leg lock in desperation. One minute left. Meza back to Stasiak's back and ends the fight in top control. Meza notches his second UFC win by unanimous decision, while Stasiak sees his five-fight winning streak snapped.
It was grappler versus striker in this matchup of veteran heavyweight bruisers.
The sluggers both push forward and light each other up with strikes. Hamilton bullies Omielanczuk into the cage and takes him down. "Freight Train" neutralizing Warsaw's Omielanczuk. The Jackson-Winkeljohn trained Hamilton unleashing a bit of ground and pound in full guard. Huge, winding shots coming from the Albuquerque-based fighter. Elbows raining down from the 34-year-old. Hamilton begins working the body now. He looks to posture up and stay busy. Continuous body blows from Hamilton. Hamilton transitions to side control, but Omielanczuk gets back to half guard and round one ends.
Action is slow to start round two. Hamilton charges in, looking for the takedown and nabs it 20 seconds into the round. The 32-year-old Omielanczuk gets back to his feet quickly, but eats a knee from Hamilton. Omielanczuk starts snapping off uppercuts on Hamilton. The former spends time defending against the fence, but finally turns the tide later, notching two takedowns, while landing heavy hands. Hamilton returns towards the end of the round in a dominant position, landing shots to Omielanczuk's face in the clinch.
Omielanczuk lands a leg kick to begin round three. Hamilton shoots for a takedown, but Omiel counters with a nice sprawl. Hamilton back on the offensive and has Omielanczuk up against the cage. Hamilton landing huge knees to the body. Omielanczuk returns with a couple knees of his own. Hamilton working the dirty boxing. The muay-thai clinch is working wonders for the American. We're halfway through the final round and Hamilton is continuing to work the body of his Polish counterpart. A nice right hand lands for Hamilton. More body punishment coming from Hamilton. He finds his first takedown of the round with under thirty seconds to go, and rides it out to secure a unanimous-decision victory. Hamilton earns his second UFC victory, while Omielanczuk drops his second-straight bout.
Izabela Badurek vs. Aleksandra Albu
Polish submission specialist Badurek aimed to make the fairly green Russian her next victim.
Albu begins to touch up Badurek's face as the latter immediately takes the center of the cage. "Stitch" continues to fire off the one-two combinations. Warsaw's Badurek lands an overhand right, then looks for a takedown. The two start to look for position in the clinch up against the fence. The Judo practitioner Badurek is searching for a throw but can't find it. She consequentially looks for a trip and begins to knee the legs of the Russian. At the halfway mark of round one, Badurek switches to a single leg takedown attempt. Albu trying to find space and separate from the clinch, but to no avail. Very great balance shown from Albu, who is still defending against Badurek. The grappler puts Albu on the mat, and looks to take secure her back. Back to the clinch they go, and it is Albu in control in the clinch. The referee spent a great deal issuing warnings to both fighters to stay busy throughout round one, as the bell sounds.
A left hand lands for Albu as we start round two. Badurek pushes forward into the clinch. Albu separates and lands a good elbow. More clinch work from the pair. Albu has one underhook. Badurek lands a right hand as they start striking. Albu defends a trip attempt. The Karate specialist Albu looks to unload with strikes. Badurek in defensive mode now, with Albu peppering her with shots against the fence. Badurek drives hard for a double leg takedown attempt, but is caught in a quick guillotine choke attempt and taps out in the second round. Albu remains undefeated in her mixed martial arts career at 6-0, while the S4 Fight Team member Badurek falls to 5-3.
Drysdale jiu-jitsu ace Bandel met the well-rounded Scottish fighter Ray in an entertaining affair.
"Braveheart" lands a leg kick on the hometown favorite and is switching stances early. Ray goes back to the outside leg kick. A straight left hand by Bandel lands, who is eager for the takedown. "Bomba" gets Ray to the ground for a moment, but Ray is up and defending in the clinch against the cage. Bandel changes levels, looking for the single, but instead rolls for a leg lock. Now, Bandel attempts to secure the single leg takedown once again. Bandel finds the the double, but good defense from Ray sees the latter end up in top position. Ray lands an elbow in his opponent's guard. The 25-year-old Ray is looking to take the back of the ground specialist Bandel. Ray locks up a sneaky arm-triangle choke towards the end of the first frame, but the Polish fighter is saved by the bell.
Ray hits a straight left hand and a body kick, almost getting taken down in the process. Bandel is holding onto Ray's leg, but they're up to their feet and Bandel almost gets caught in a choke attempt. Ray on top of Bandel now and pummeling him with punches. The fight is called off, handing Ray the second-round stoppage via strikes and Bandel his second-straight loss.
The Frenchman Lapilus took on the Taiwanese up-and-comer Lee in a bout in which both fighters looked to make successful UFC debuts.
Lee looks to close the distance immediately. The bigger Lapilus is defending the takedown from the TUF: China veteran against the cage. An accidental knee to the groin of Lee causes a momentary stop in the action. The 28-year-old continues to push for the takedown and gets it, but the Frenchman is back to his feet immediately. Lapilus goes for a choke, while in the clinch. The 23-year-old begins to crank on it a little bit more and lands a knee as he exits the clinch. He lands a nice straight-left, as Lee looks for another takedown. A nice jab-right hand combination from Lapilus finds the mark, who is gaining confidence in his striking. The AKA Thailand representative aims to secure another takedown, but Lapilus defends and lands another knee. The southpaw Lapilus continues to land both jabs and knees. Lee lands a big body kick before the first round comes to a close.
Lapilus starts round two with a nice right hand as Lee goes for another kick. Lee drops for a quick takedown, which Lapilus shrugs off, but the former holds on and grounds him for a moment. He has Lapilus against the fence, but needs to pull him away from it. The pair are back on their feet and battling for position in the clinch. We're at the three-minute mark and Lee lands a straight right hand. A one-two combination lands for Lapilus, who attempts a spinning-back fist. Lee goes for a takedown but can't put Lapilus on his back. Lee charges in and lands a body kick, but eats a stinging punch from Lapilus. Lee charges in, eats a knee and begins work in the clinch. The two are separated as the second frame winds down.
The Cross Fight standout Lapilus starts off the final frame pawing with the jab, and lands a takedown a few seconds later, but the duo are quickly back to their feet. Lee attempts another takedown and finds himself caught in the clinch. He can't find double underhooks. Lapilus is opening up with strikes; the jab has been a killer for him thus far. Lapilus lands a straight left, after a body kick careens into the Frenchman. Now it's Lapilus looking for the takedown. Another thundering body kick lands for Lee, followed by a leg kick shortly after. They end the fight where they spent a considerable amount of time: in the clinch. "Double Impact" is victorious in his Octagon debut, while Lee records his first professional loss.
Following a slate of eight electrifying "prelims", get ready for an interesting main card, which is highlighted by a heavyweight rematch between Gabriel Gonzaga and Mirko Cro Cop.
Enjoy your afternoon mania heads!
For complete UFC Fight Night 64 'Gonzaga vs. Cro Cop' results, including play-by-play updates, click here.