Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heads to Newark, New Jersey tonight (Sat., Jan. 30, 2016) for an exciting UFC on FOX 18: "Johnson vs Bader" mixed martial arts (MMA) event, featuring a Light Heavyweight tussle in the main event of the evening pitting Anthony Johnson against Ryan Bader.
Prior to the featured bout of the evening, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett steps into the Octagon to battle the streaking Ben Rothwell, as both men vie for a coveted shot a UFC gold.
Prior to the main card -- which kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on FOX -- fight fans will be treated to six "Prelims" bouts on FOX Sports 1, featuring some very intriguing fights and several up and coming prospects.
One of the more noteworthy bouts is the FOX Sports 1 main event, pitting former Strikeforce Welterweight kingpin Tarec Saffiedine against longtime UFC veteran Jake Ellenberger.
Below are the results for the six "Prelims" bouts scheduled on FS1:
Jake Ellenberger vs. Tarec Saffiedine
Round 1: Ellenberger starts off with two strong hooks inside. Head kick from Saffiedine is blocked. Jab from Ellenberger. They clinch, and they both land their respective shots. Ellenberger bullies Saffiedine to the fence, but eats a knee before they break off. Another head kick attempted by Saffiedine. Left hook from Ellenberger, and Saffiedine goes high again. Jab from Saffiedine, and he goes high twice more. Ellenberger's arms are going to be sore after taking all these shots from Saffiedine's kicks. Front kick from Saffiedine just misses. Low kick lands for Saffiedine. A bevy of kicks for Saffiedine in this first round, and it seems Ellenberger is already in a defensive shell. Then out of nowhere Ellenberger lands a brutal right hook out of the clinch that badly stuns Saffiedine! Ellenberger rushes forward, and Saffiedine answers with a big clinch knee. Ellenberger eats eat, and comes back firing. The pace has slowed a minute after the big right hook, and Saffiedine looks to have recovered fully. They both swing and miss as Saffiedine moves forward. Jab from Saffiedine in the final 10 seconds, and another head kick attempt. Tough round to score, but I reluctantly give it to Ellenberger 10-9
Round 2: Head kick from Saffiedine to start the round, and then he catches Ellenberger with a short right hand. Saffiedine now in attack mode, and he throws a question mark kick. Ellenberger is bleeding over his left eye. Body shot from Ellenberger. Loud body kick from Saffiedine lands. Jabs from Saffiedine, and now he is evading Ellenberger's pot shots. Another shot to the forearms from Saffiedine. Left hook lands for Ellenberger. Saffiedine goes high and low again with leg kicks. They exchange, but both men miss. Ellenberger is very one-dimensional in this fight, throwing very little other than powerful hooks. The clinch in the center, and Saffiedine lands a low blow that stops the action. On the restart, Saffiedine goes high twice with very hard kicks. Ellenberger attempts to respond, but he is unable to. With just about 10 seconds left in the round, Ellenberger gets a momentary takedown, but Saffiedine pops right back to his feet. 10-9 Saffiedine
Round 3: More kicks from Saffiedine here to start the third. Not much action in the first minute, but Saffiedine again lands a nasty kick to the forearms of Ellenberger. After a short clinch on the fence, Saffiedine lands a jab. Ellenberger really has nothing to offer Saffiedine, and Saffiedine is content to coast and land shots here and there en route to a decision. This is not a good fight, and not the way UFC brass want to head into the main card on FOX. Ellenberger blocks another few hard kicks, but these aren't fight enders. Ellenberger tries a desperate haymaker, but he can't land. Goldberg calls for Saffiedine staying on the outside, and just kicking away. Jab here, kick there. Rinse, repeat. The clinch on the fence with 90 seconds to go, and Saffiedine lands some knees. Ellenberger turns Saffiedine around, but ends up giving Saffiedine his back as he attempted a weak takedown. Saffiedine working for a rear-naked choke with 35 seconds to go, but Ellenberger won't allow it. They get to their feet, and Ellenberger goes for a takedown that fails. They exchange to end the fight, and Ellenberger actually wobbled Saffiedine. Too little too late. 10-9 Saffiedine
Result: Saffiedine via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Diego Ferreira
Round 1: They touch gloves to start. Aubin-Mercier starts off with a jab, and Ferreira answers with a body kick. Ferreira throws an outside leg kick. Left hook from Ferreira. Big body kick for OAM. Ferreira's kicks are blocked, and OAM lands an uppercut. In the first clinch, OAM quickly disengages, seemingly content to strike with Ferreira. OAM hard kick to the body and a left hook. They exchange kicks to the body, and OAM goes high. Ferreira tags OAM with a nice combination of punches and kicks. Body kick for OAM. Both men are using a measured approach. Ferreira counters OAM's body kick with a nasty left hook that lands. OAM goes back to the left hand and head kick combination and it lands. They clinch, and OAM pushes Ferreira to the fence. They break off the fence, and Ferreira misses a head kick. 1-2 lands for Ferreira and a knee before they clinch on the fence. Hard kick to the body from OAM, and Ferreira misses high again. 10-9 Ferreira
Round 2: Uppercut from OAM to start, but Ferreira answers with a nice combination. Ferreira drops OAM momentarily after he throws him down following an ill-fated head kick. OAM takes Ferreira down for a second, but Ferreira gets to his feet quickly. Body kick from Ferreira, but OAM answers with a few punches. Ferreira lands a beautiful combination, finishing with a head kick that stuns OAM. Trip takedown from OAM, but Ferreira gets to his feet almost immediately. Ferreira is landing at will on the feet, and he's landing several hard shots as OAM presses forward. Nasty elbow on the cage from Ferreira, and they are back in the center of the cage to exchange. Hard body kick from OAM, and he goes high and lands moments later. Right hook from OAM lands, and Ferreira answers with a clinch uppercut. They both land hard punches, and now the pace has turned up just a bit. OAM is now gaining momentum, but Ferreira is firing back too. Ferreira badly misses a spinning back fist. Both men exchange to end the round, but nothing major lands. 10-9 OAM
Round 3: Ferreira looks for an early trip takedown, but OAM isn't having it. OAM lands another hard body kick, and now he is getting his timing with an uppercut and straight right too. High kick for OAM, and he gets a big double-leg takedown. Ferreira quickly gets to his feet, and OAM lands a right hand. Another takedown from OAM, but Ferreira scrambles on top and into half guard. Ferreira quickly passes into full mount, then into back mount, all while fishing for submissions. OAM is desperately trying to free himself, and finally gets back to half guard for the time being. Ferreira now landing ground and pound, and this final round is turning towards his favor. OAM looks to get up, but Ferreira masterfully takes the back again, and OAM looks exhausted. 90 seconds to go, and OAM is fighting to avoid getting choked out. Ferreira throwing strikes from OAM's back, but he still can't get his forearm under the chin for the finish. Ferreira's working to get the finish, now locking in a body triangle to restrict OAM's breathing. The fight will end with Ferreira riding OAM's back. 10-9 Ferreira.
Result: Ferreira via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Kevin Casey vs. Rafael Natal
Round 1: Casey paws out the jab to kick off the fight. Leg kick for Casey lands. Left hand for Natal, and Casey answers with a head kick. Both men swing and miss. Leg kick from Casey, and he follows up with two straight punches that land. Natal dives in for a takedown, and Casey responds by attacking with a guillotine. Casey releases, and reverses the position. Natal now has his back to the fence, and Casey is landing knees. Natal tries to explode free, but Casey doesn't let the clinch go. Boos have begun to rain down at the Prudential Center, and they break free. Slow head kick from Natal is blocked. Right hand from Natal misses. Casey misses a wild right hook, but lands an uppercut moments later. Big takedown from Natal, and Casey has him in full guard. Casey gets back to his feet quickly, and Natal rushes right back in for a takedown. Casey uses Natal's momentum against him, and lands on top. Natal gets to his feet, and Casey lands a left hand that cuts Natal. Wild end to the round sees Casey blast Natal with a few hard shots that stuns the Brazilian, and then Natal floors Casey with a counter right hook as the bell rings! Five more seconds in the round and the fight could have been called. Tough round to score, 10-9 Natal.
Round 2: Natal goes low with a kick to start the round, and now Casey has more time to recover from the flash knockdown at the end of the first. On the restart, Natal cracks Casey with another right hook, and then slams Casey to the mat. Natal in full guard, but isn't really capitalizing yet. Natal finally opens up with a few strikes, and steps over into half guard. Casey gives up his back to get to his feet, and he reverses position and clinches Natal on the fence. Natal with a clinch and lands two brutal knees. As the break free, Natal lands another two straight rights. Natal is taking over the fight right now with his strikes. Natal easily gets a takedown, and lands a few hard hammerfists. Casey is providing very little defense from his back, and Natal is blasting him with hard ground and pound. Casey finally attempts an armbar to thwart the punishment and just barely survives. 10-9 Natal
Round 3: Casey probably needs a finish here in the final round to win. Casey can barely move on the feet, and Natal lands a few haymakers in a wild barrage. Both men are looking for the home run shot, and throwing strikes sparingly. The pace has slowed significantly in this final round, and Casey can barely move on the feet. Natal seems fine with coasting here, and he easily gets a takedown. Right back to the hammerfists for Natal, and he passes into half guard. Natal is just wearing on Casey now, and the Brazilian moves into full mount. Casey is in a defensive shell, and the referee finally calls a stop to the onslaught after several unanswered shots.
Result: Natal via third round technical knockout
Dustin Ortiz vs. Wilson Reis
Round 1: Inside leg kicks to start, and they exchange inside early. Kicks from Ortiz land high and low. Stiff straight right lands from Ortiz. Very active start for both men, and Reis lands a nice left hook. Inside leg kick from Reis, and the exchange hooks. Right hand from Reis. Ortiz with a right hand over the top. Head kick blocked by Reis. Ortiz ducks under for a takedown, but Reis breaks free. They exchange hooks, and Reis lands the better shot. Ortiz with a kick, and Reis lands another right hook. Uppercut for Ortiz misses. Reis pressuring with his strikes, and looks for a single-leg takedown. Reis is relentless, and gets Ortiz down, but only momentarily. Reis lands a right hook s the stand up. Stiff straight lefts for both men. Hard kick to the body by Reis is caught by Ortiz. Very fast paced fight here in the first round. Ortiz stuffs a takedown, and lands a knee. Reis rushes forward and clinches Ortiz on the fence momentarily. Ortiz breaks free, and tries for a takedown himself, but Reis ends up getting his back standing before getting a late takedown. 10-9 Reis
Round 2: Superman punch attempt misses for Reis, but he lands a nice left hand in the middle of an exchange. These Flyweights are fighting at a lightning quick pace. Body kick from Ortiz, and a momentary takedown. Reis back to his feet, and eats a superman punch before landing a counter right. Both men are getting in their licks here, and Reis rushes in for a takedown and clinches Ortiz on the fence. Reis takes Ortiz's back standing, but he can't get him down. Hard shot from Reis lands, and they exchange kicks. Nice leg kick from Reis, and Ortiz lands a right hand. Both men are throwing strikes at every opportunity. Ortiz attempts a takedown, but Reis bullies him to the cage. They break off the cage, and Ortiz tries another deep double-leg shot that is stuffed. Reis pulls for a single-leg, and he gets it for just a second before Ortiz fights to his feet. Reis' pressure in the grappling department in wearing Ortiz down. They meet back in the center of the cage to exchange once again, and Reis hits a beautifully timed double-leg takedown. Reis immediately gets full back mount with about a minute to go. 30 seconds left and Reis is fishing for a submission. Ortiz survives a late armbar attempt from Reis. 10-9 Reis
Round 3: Hard head kick from Ortiz to kick off the final round, but it's blocked. Ortiz is showing a sense of urgency early, but Reis ducks under for a takedown. Reis back to back mount, but Ortiz wiggles himself free momentarily. Reis trips Ortiz on the fence and gets his back once again. Reis is clearly the better grappler, but Ortiz's defense is outstanding. Ortiz gets to his feet, and they exchange. Left hand cracks Ortiz, and he answers with a jab. Pressure from Reis even though he is likely up two rounds, and he clinches Ortiz on the fence. Reis is bullying Ortiz at this point in the fight, and looks on his way to a decision win. Trip takedown from Reis, and Ortiz throws some desperate elbows from bottom. Ortiz gets up, but he's dumped again. Reis landing knees to the thighs, and Ortiz again gets back to his feet. Reis drags him down again, but Ortiz sneaks out the back door and gets to his feet with 90 seconds to go. Seconds later, Reis grabs a hold of Ortiz again, takes him down, and immediately passes into mount. Ortiz gives up his back, and Reis is pummeling him with shots. Ortiz somehow gets to his feet, but Reis won't let go of him on the fence. Superb all-around performance from Reis in what should be a unanimous decision victory. 10-9 Reis
Result: Reis via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
George Sullivan vs. Alexander Yakovlev
Round 1: Leg kicks to start for both men. Hard leg kicks from Sullivan. Yakovlev answers with a nice body kick. Sullivan tries to answer, but Yakovlev holds on and slams Sullivan to the mat. Sullivan scurries to his feet, but finds himself clinched on the fence. Knees to the leg from Yakovlev, and Sullivan breaks free. Body kick is blocked by Sullivan. Yakovlev gets a takedown as Sullivan foolishly rushes in. Yakovlev working in side control, and passes to full mount. Sullivan gives up his back, but he gets to his knees. Yakovlev lands a knee from behind, but Sullivan gets to his feet and breaks away. Sullivan immediately pushes forward, and lands a body kick. Yakovlev content to counter strike at this point, and Sullivan is cracked by a vicious straight right hand that knocks him out cold. What a performance and finish from Yakovlev!
Result: Yakovlev via first round knockout
Alex Caceres vs. Masio Fullen
Round 1: The action kicks off on FOX Sports 1 with both Caceres and Fullen exchanging kicks. Caceres eats a body kick, but throws one of his own. Step-in sidekick for Fullen. Inside leg kick lands for Caceres, and Fullen answers with a kick of his own. Flying switch kick for Caceres is blocked, and then he misses a spinning back kick. Hard left hook lands for Fullen, and he cracks Caceres with an uppercut too. Body kick for Caceres. Head kick from Caceres is blocked, but Caceres lands a left hook to follow. Caceres is stalking in the first round. Spinning back kick for Fullen lands, and Caceres answers. Fullen just barely misses a left high kick, and eats two left hooks in response. Caceres with a wild 360 head kick that hurts Fullen, and Caceres lands a nice left straight to follow. Fullen is hurt, and Caceres gets a trip takedown momentarily. Fullen got to his feet, but ate a few punches and a knee for his troubles. Caceres opening up here late in the first round, but Fullen lands a right hand counter as Caceres misses a head kick. Side kick from Caceres ends an exciting first round. 10-9 Caceres
Round 2: Fullen lands a right hand to kick off the second round. Caceres is throwing a wide range of kicks in this fight. Fullen lands twice with a kick and punch. Spinning back kick for Fullen lands, and he follows up with a straight right. Leg kick from Caceres. Fullen gets Caceres's back momentarily off a missed spinning back kick. They both miss in an exchange, but Caceres lands a shot to the body as he continues to own the center of the Octagon. Nice 1-2 from Caceres and he dodges Fullen's counters. Leg kick lands for Fullen. Very high paced fight. Caceres is mixing it up, going high and low with different kicks. Fullen lands two right hands. Caceres is still pressuring, and he is winning this fight. Two nasty knees to the body from Caceres. Takedown attempt from Caceres is thwarted, but Caceres clinches Fullen on the cage. They break off and he lands another kick. Caceres dodges a head kick and lands another nice shot. Caceres is looking great on the feet in this fight thus far. The round ends with Caceres clinching Fullen on the cage and landing knees, before Fullen breaks free and misses a head kick. 10-9 Caceres
Round 3: An awkward embrace kicks off the first round, and then Caceres takes the center of the cage again. Both men exchange, but Fullen is just missing on most of his shots. Caceres is still pressuring here early in the final round, but not throwing as much. Both men have reverted to throwing wild spinning shots that are mostly all missing. Uppercut from Caceres. Another missed head kick from Fullen. Caceres falls momentarily after his own missed head kick. Both men exchange kicks to the body. Fullen shrugs Caceres away as he pushes closer, and then misses a winging right hook. The pace has slowed significantly this round. Caceres is throwing a bunch of unique strikes, but isn't really landing much here late. They clinch, and Caceres lands a nasty knee. They break away and Caceres lands a head kick and left hand moments later. Fullen catches Caceres off guard with a shot of his own, but Caceres continues to push forward. A barrage in the final minute badly hurts Fullen, but Caceres can't finish him even with immense pressure. Great finish to the fight for Caceres. 10-9 Caceres
Result: Caceres via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)