Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its presence known to Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., last night (Sat., Dec. 7, 2019) for UFC on ESPN 7. After two rare weeks of UFC drought, UFC “DC” was a welcome return for the promotion, as Jairzinho Rozenstruik scored a last-second knockout punch over Alistair Overeem in the heavyweight main event.
Elsewhere on the card, there was some very talented prospects looking to climb the ranks, which made for a rather entertaining night. Let’s take a closer look at the best performances and bouts of the night below:
The Most Alistair Overeem Knockout Yet
Last night’s main event was not a particular fun fight. At times, it was downright frustrating.
Nevertheless, it was largely a strong performance from Overeem. The former “Demolition Man” fought the fight he wanted to, slowly the pace down to a crawl and exhausting Rozenstruik in the clinch and on the mat. He was never quite able to unleash his formidable ground striking, but Overeem still managed to land some seriously hard blows on the mat, some big overhand lefts, and a few killer body kicks.
Rozenstruik got his licks in with some hard jabs, but overall he seemed frustrated.
Unfortunately, Overeem is one of those fighters that just loses focus despite his own best efforts. 25 minutes proved too long a time to remain zoned in, and Rozenstruik is too dangerous a fighter to afford any major mistakes. Argue the stoppage if you’d like — personally, I thought it was LAME — but the real bottom line is that Overeem got caught with an absolute bomb with his back to the fence and hands by his waist in the final five seconds.
That’s on him.
The Bantamweights Deliver
Two Bantamweight clashes — Rob Font vs. Ricky Simon and Cody Stamann vs. Song Yadong — opened the main card, and once again, the 135-pounders made their argument as the most entertaining division.
The first bout between Font and Simon was simply excellent fighting. Font’s sharp jab and great combination punching was on display, but each time he began to build momentum, Simon would storm back with raw aggression and powerful wrestling. Both men hurt the other by the end of 15 minutes, but Font ultimately landed the best shots and deserved the nod in perhaps the night’s best fight.
Immediately after, Stamann and Yadong threw down for 15 full minutes. Early on, Yadong showcased his slickness and speed, landing the majority of the hard shots. However, he also threw an illegal knee that cost him a point. At about the midway point in the fight, Stamann’s wrestling really began to wear down, leading to a dominant final five minutes for the Michigan-native.
Stamann definitely had an argument to win, but the fight was scored a draw. Regardless of the decision, Bantamweight talent was again on display.
Bryce Mitchell utterly dominated Matt Sayles last night and secured the second twister submission in UFC history.
It was textbook. Mitchell secured an early takedown and advanced into mount with relative ease. As his opponent bucked, Mitchell smoothly transitioned between the mount and back mount, never giving Sayles much space. Admittedly, Sayles did show some inexperience on the mat, and it came back to bite him in the final minute of the round.
With Mitchell controlling a single hook on the mat, Sayles made the mistake of reaching for Mitchell’s head — a tempting target one has to learn not to grab at. Mitchell capitalized perfectly, reaching past the arm and hooking the head to crank on a perfect spine-contorting twister!
Mitchell moved to 3-0 inside the Octagon with his win.
“Contender Series” product Joe Solecki made his UFC debut last night opposite Matt Wiman, and he put on a great display of mixed martial arts (MMA) grappling.
Against a veteran grappler in Wiman, Solecki completely dominated from top position. When Wiman was content to hold guard, Solecki stayed patient and punched in the face. Whenever Wiman did open up and try to throw up a submission or stand, Solecki immediately began working to pass or secure a wrist-ride behind the back. His ability to maintain heavy chest pressure throughout his transitions and guard passes was quite impressive, and it kept Wiman totally pinned on the mat.
Keep an eye on Solecki among the many talented Lightweight prospects.
- Aspen Ladd defeats Yana Kunitskaya via third-round TKO: This was an odd fight. Early on, Kunitskaya surprised by chasing a clinch fight, where she generally did a good job of controlling her foe along the fence. However, Ladd landed the only takedowns of the fight, which ultimately left the first 10 minutes as fair close. Out of nowhere, Ladd stormed forward to start the third with a massive left hook, which began the unexpected finishing sequence and eliminated all doubt.
- Tim Means defeats Thiago Alves via first-round guillotine choke: After the first knockout loss of his career, Means seemed in a hurry to get back in the win column. Immediately, Means went after Alves, and he did eat a few hard counter shots for his aggression. However, that didn’t stall Mean’s offense, and he used a little lead leg kick to step into a perfect left hand. Alves hit the mat, and Means jumped on him, immediately wrapping up the neck to secure the submission victory.
- Billy Quarantillo defeats Jacob Kilburn via third-round triangle choke: In yet another great display of grappling, Quarantillo utterly smashed an outmatched foe. From the first bell, Quarantillo was on the neck and all over his opponent. Kilburn’s toughness saved him from some mistakes on the mat early, but the damage built up, and eventually Kilburn could no longer resist from inside a tight triangle choke.
- Virna Jandiroba defeats Mallory Martin via second-round rear naked choke: Jandiroba’s submission win last night was pretty textbook jiu-jitsu. The Brazilian may not be a great striker, but she was able to stay evasive and time trip takedowns as her opponent chased. Once on top, Jandiroba demonstrated excellent top pressure to wear down her opponent’s defenses and work her way to a submission finish.
- Makhmud Muradov defeats Trevor Smith via third-round knockout: In the opening bout of the night, Muradov absolutely demolished Smith to secure his 13th straight victory and first UFC stoppage win. Smith was tough but outclassed, as Muradov’s speed and boxing allowed him to largely control the flow of exchanges. More than anything else, it was Muradov’s feints and footwork that earned him the victory. Smith was constantly following Muradov’s lead, which allowed the Czech striker to repeatedly walk his foe into hard punches. In particular, Muradov did a great job of drilling the body with his cross, which set up his overhand later.
For complete UFC on ESPN 7: “Overeem Vs. Rozenstruik” results and play-by-play, click HERE!