Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its presence known to Rochester, New York, last night (Sat., May 18, 2019) for UFC Fight Night 152. New York fans were treated to a pivotal Welterweight battle in the main event, which pitted former champion Rafael dos Anjos opposite a top young talent in Kevin Lee. The rest of the card was a mix of action fights and prospects, resulting in a pretty fun night of combat.
Let’s take a look at the best techniques and performances of the night!
The Backpacker Blues
In the main event, Rafael dos Anjos outlasted the early barrage of Kevin Lee to eventually strangle a tired “Motown Phenom” in the fourth round (watch highlights here).
Lee showed some real improvement early, snapping hard kicks and knees into dos Anjos mid-section as he pressured forward and relentlessly pursued the takedown. That constant pursuit of the takedown would eventually cost him, as Lee’s conditioning began to fail him, allowing dos Anjos to return the favor with occasional takedowns. Eventually, dos Anjos denied a takedown and Lee simply collapsed, which quickly led to a submission win for the former Lightweight champion.
It was a really brilliant and badly-needed win for the Brazilian.
From a more general perspective on the entire card, it was a mixed night for fighters’ whose primary skill involves taking the back and dominating from that point forward. Davi Ramos opened the main card in impressive fashion by doing just that to his debuting foe, in addition to pummeling his foe with some stiff right hands on the feet. Felicia Spencer scored a pretty major upset by diving for a jiu-jitsu style sweep and then taking the back from there, so there were some real positive examples.
On the more negative side, Antonio Carlos Junior fell apart in round two against Ian Heinisch. In the first, his transitions towards the back were absolutely beautiful, as he push-pulled, tripped, and reversed his opponent endless with only the back in mind. In the second, when both men were fatigued a bit from all the grappling in the first, the cracks began to show.
Carlos Junior’s transitions were no longer smooth. He was not setting traps. Instead, Carlos Junior was trying to jump onto back mount, hoping that a mistake from Heinisch would allow him to land a great position, rest a bit, and maybe even finish. This all ties back into the main event for the simple reason that Lee attempted to jump the back on dos Anjos numerous times as well, nearly landing an amazing position but instead wasting energy and giving his opponent top position in the process.
It’s a nasty loop backpacking fighters can become stuck in. As fatigue sets in, the fighting looking to take the back becomes more desperate to take the back. In the process, his transitions and finishes grow sloppier, increasing the odds that his opponent escapes or spins into top position. When the backpacker inevitably tries again, he’s now even in worse need of a back take and some rest, which only prompts more careless attempts and digs the hole further.
Will Women’s Featherweight Survive?
Last night, the number of female Featherweights who are not simply puffed up Bantamweights seemingly increased from two to three when Invicta FC Featherweight queen Felicia Spencer stepped into the Octagon for the first time.
In her debut, Spencer fought smartly. Faced with a much bigger foe in Megan Anderson — who also happens to be something of a knockout artist — Spencer didn’t waste much time before jamming her foe into the fence and dropping down on a leg. When it became apparent that a traditional takedown was unlikely to work, the jiu-jitsu black belt rolled underneath into something of a deep half-guard pass. The end result was the same though, as Spencer scrambled into top position beautifully after escaping out the back door.
Moments later, Anderson was tapping to a rear-naked choke (watch it).
This should be a win for the division, a new face at 145 pounds, but it really doesn’t feel that way. Spencer is 5’6” — there’s no way she can make Bantamweight? Either way, Megan Anderson is the more marquee name, the athlete who the promotion has been throwing its weight behind. Yet in three fights, she was out-wrestled by Holly Holm (lol), won via toe in the eyeball, then lost again in the first-round last night.
With the champion returning to Bantamweight, Cyborg at odds with the promotion, and Anderson coming up short again, is there really a division left?
- Vicente Luque defeats Derrick Krantz via first-round knockout (HIGHLIGHTS): Krantz rushed his experienced foe and tagged him early, looking to catch the Brazilian off-guard. Once things settled down, however, Luque reminded the world just why he’s the rising Welterweight contender, using his precision punches to quickly rock and stop the extremely short-notice replacement.
- Charles Oliveira defeats Nik Lentz via second-round knockout (HIGHLIGHTS): I wrote at least twice about how this fight was a terrible idea, and the fight itself went almost exactly as expected. Oliveira battered Lentz with relative ease, crushing the shorter man with kicks and knees before a counter right hand sent him to the mat for good. Oliveira deserves a Top 10-ranked contender, but neither this fight nor the Luque fight really needed to happen.
- Michel Perreira defeats Danny Roberts via first-round knockout (HIGHLIGHTS): Perreira walked into the Octagon with a reputation for goofy athleticism and violence, but also for fatiguing against tougher competition. His debut could not have gone more perfectly, as Perreira jumped off the cage at every opportunity and even threw a rolling thunder, while also looking extremely dangerous. Perreira stung Roberts with a nice right hand and snap kick to the belly that hurt the Englishman, but it was a massive jump knee to the jaw that rocked Roberts badly. Perreira capitalized immediately with a powerful cross that sent Roberts deep into unconsciousness. It was an amazing performance from the Brazilian, who looked gigantic and dangerous at 170 pounds.
- Grant Dawson defeats Mike Trizano via second round rear-naked choke (HIGHLIGHTS): Dawson was out-matched on his feet. Trizano’s jab pummeled his face and was causing his eye to close. Luckily, Dawson realized that he cannot get jabbed up if dove into the clinch. Despite generally doing a good job of defending takedowns, Trizano was a bit too patient in the clinch, which led to a body lock and slam takedown in the second round. Dawson landed in mount and never allowed Trizano to fight back to a better position, quickly taking the back and applying something of face crank until the tap came.
- Ed Herman defeats Patrick Cummins via first-round knockout: Cummins won just about every second of this fight until a knee shut off his lights a few minutes into the round. Cummins boxing looked pretty good, his jab was noticeably faster than his opponent’s punches, snapping Herman’s head back. Unfortunately for “Durkin,” his habit of ducking his head down became too predictable, allowing Herman to find the fight-ending knee.
- Zak Cummings defeats Trevin Giles via third round guillotine choke (HIGHLIGHTS): This was a really excellent match up of experience opposite athleticism. For a majority of the fight, Giles speed was the difference, as his relaxed jabs and straights speared through Cummings’ defenses and bloodied him up. Cummings was unable to land to the head, but he kept it close by digging some body and low kicks. All in all, it seemed like Giles was about a minute away from a close decision victory, only for Cummings to absorb a cross and simultaneously land an overhand. Cummings’ first clean connection of the fight sent Giles to the mat, where the veteran quickly wrapped up his neck to secure the come-from-behind finish.
- Julio Arce defeats Julian Erosa via third-round knockout (HIGHLIGHTS): The event opened up with an excellent, back-and-forth contest in which the deciding factor was really head movement. Both Arce and Erosa landed some hard shots from within the pocket, with Arce managing distance wonderfully to repeatedly counter the longer man, even if Erosa’s wide swings did connect rather often. However, Arce’s ability to slip and fire back repeatedly did the most damage, and his killer high kick that ended the fight was really a result of counter punching/head movement as well. As Erosa pushed forward behind his cross, Arce slipped off the center line and fire a high kick, catching the Southpaw on the chin.
For complete UFC Fight Night 152 ‘dos Anjos Vs. Lee’ results and play-by-play, click HERE!