Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its presence known to Mexico City Arena in Mexico City, Mexico, last night (Sat., Sept. 21, 2019) for UFC Fight Night 159. In what really seems to be the new normal, UFC “Mexico City” was carried largely by its main event. There were a few ranked fighters scattered throughout the card, but the clash of “Lil Heathen” and “Pantera” is what drew in its audience ... only for it to end in the blink of an eye. Let’s take a closer look at the best performances and techniques of the night.
Eye Pokes Suck!
What else is there to say about the unfortunate 15-second main event (watch highlights)? It was a total international disaster. And UFC is lucky the situation didn’t erupt into a full-blown crowd riot.
I understand fans at #UFCMexico were disappointed when the main event was called off after 10 seconds due to the ‘away’ fighter getting injured due to an eye poke, but to then launch bottles, drinks at him is disgusting.— Adam Catterall (@AdamCatterall) September 22, 2019
Scrambles On Scrambles
Meanwhile, two of the top three bouts of the night produced some excellent grappling action.
Brandon Moreno put on a great display of counter-wrestling scrambling, constantly working from beneath Askar Askarov’s heavy top game. Askarov himself showed some great transitional wrestling, working his way to the clinch repeatedly and landing big slams. Even when on his back, Askarov was throwing up submissions and keeping things interesting.
Immediately afterward, Carla Esparza showcased some great offensive wrestling, cutting an angle after her shot better than many of her male peers. When put on her back, Alexa Grasso (like Moreno before her) refused to settle, kicking at her foes hips and attacking submissions constantly.
In both cases, the fighter more often taken down (Moreno/Grasso) had a big third-round rally, though it did not score either the win. However, it does go to show just how much more fatiguing it is to wrestle offensively than defend shots — if either fight had another two rounds, the results would not have been up in the air.
Steven Peterson could be the dictionary definition of hard-nosed.
I have yet to see Peterson achieve any bit of success inside the Octagon with achieving it despite adversity. If he lands a big right hand, it’s because he’s eaten five of them. Neither Peterson’s kickboxing nor his athleticism are particularly great, which results in Peterson getting hit rather frequently.
Luckily, “Ocho” is tough as hell. Last night was no different, as he spent most of the first five minutes getting shredded by Martin Bravo’s combination punching. Both men threw over 100 punches in the first five minutes, difference being, most of Bravo’s landed while the majority of Peterson’s blows came up short.
It was not a fun round for the American.
Still, Peterson’s persistence and Mexico City’s altitude seemed to be turning the tide a bit in the second. It’s impossible to know for sure, however, as Peterson somehow countered a spinning back elbow with his own spinning back fist to score an absurd knockout that really had nothing to do with the rest of the bout (watch highlights).
It was still a hard-fought, well-earned moment for the victor.
- Kyle Nelson defeats Polo Reyes via first-round knockout (HIGHLIGHTS): This one didn’t last long, as Nelson jammed Reyes into the fence with an early takedown attempt. It didn’t work out, but Nelson released a massive elbow to the temple that stunned Reyes. The Mexican athlete offered little defense from that point forward, leaning dazed along the fence as Nelson fired huge overhands to secure the finish.
- Angela Hill defeats Ariane Carnelossi via third-round cut stoppage: Did Angela Hill finally put it all together last night? Against an aggressive and powerful opponent, Hill landed lots of hard shots while remaining quite difficult to hit. Repeatedly, Hill timed her right hand over the top over Carnelossi’s lunging hook, and she repeatedly interrupted her foe’s offense with elbows. Considering the elevation, Hill’s pace was especially impressive. The end came in the third, when Hill took advantage of a clinch along the fence do deliver a nasty cut via elbow-on-the-break and force the doctor to intervene.
The elbow that ended that match @AngieOverkill gets the TKO victory at #UFCMexico pic.twitter.com/VdOUJuNxQ0— UFC (@ufc) September 21, 2019
- Sergio Pettis defeats Tyson Nam via unanimous decision: This was without a doubt one of Pettis’ better recent performances. The younger Pettis brother worked to establish the jab from the first bell, pivoting and changing directions very well. Nam looked to line up power shots, but he could never quite get his timing going with Pettis jab repeatedly poking him in the nose. By the third round, Pettis built combinations quite well, throwing upwards of five punches at a time and targeting the body as well.
- Paul Craig defeats Vinicius Alves Moreira via first-round submission (HIGHLIGHTS): Of all the many possibilities among the dozen fights that took place last night, Paul Craig fighting smartly seemed the least likely, yet it happened! Moreira came out looking for the takedown early, and contrary to expectations, Craig actively worked to defend it rather than pull guard. Flummoxed by this development, Moreira pulled guard himself. From top position, Craig picked his shots carefully and avoided submissions, eventually prompting Moreira to attempt to come up into a single-leg takedown. Once more, Craig actually defended, this time breaking his foe’s posture and landing a hard knee to the jaw that began the finishing sequence. Is Craig here to stay?
For complete UFC Fight Night 159 “Rodriguez vs. Stephens” results and play-by-play, click HERE!