Last night (Sat., July 16, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ventured into Long Island, N.Y., for a show at Elmont’s UBS Arena. UFC on ABC 3 was a thrilling spectacle, which— unfortunately — ended on a whimper.
The main event, advertised as a banger between two Featherweight finishers, ended before it could get started with Brian Ortega suffering a freak injury inside the first round. Despite the anti-climatic end to the show, there was plenty to see and talk about from a night of incredible action and wild finishes.
Rodriguez And Ortega Still In Limbo
Last night was supposed to clear up the title picture at 145 pounds. Division champion, Alexander Volkanovski, in beating Max Holloway for a third time, proved at UFC 276 that there isn’t much left for him to do in the Featherweight division. It is expected that he will test his skills at Lightweight, vacating the Featherweight title.
Holloway might be in pole position for a chance to reclaim the belt he held for a long time. His opponent, though, could have been the winner of Ortega vs. Rodriguez. However, with the way this one ended ... now we’re not so sure.
Nevertheless, this fascinating match up got off to a tense start with both men showing a willingness to trade in the center of the cage. However, that soon changed once Rodriguez’s shots started landing on Ortega. Ortega then realized his single punches weren’t cutting it against “El Pantera’s” nifty combinations.
Ortega went for a takedown and initiated a clinch. The crowd booed this development, which was weird (given they had already been treated to bucket loads of action already). In the clinch, Rodriguez defended smartly and harried Ortega with light kicks and punches. Eventually the fight spiraled to the ground, where Rodriguez grabbed a hold of Ortega’s arm.
Ortega pulled his arm away ... and then it was all over. The former title challenger collapsed to the ground suffering from a possible dislocated shoulder. It goes down as a technical knockout victory for Rodriguez, but it might not be the kind of win that springboards him to a title fight.
With that deflating finish, both Rodriguez and Ortega are left scratching their heads. Both seemed up for a rematch, but do either have time to waste when it comes to hunting down a title fight?
What More Does Michelle Waterson-Gomez Have To Give?
The 36-year-old Michelle Waterson-Gomez came into UFC Long Island with hopes of proving she wasn’t a gatekeeper in the Strawweight division. However, a second round guillotine choke loss to Amanda Lemos has solidified her position there. Does she want to spend the next few years facing more dangerous up-and-comers hoping to use her as a stepping stone to the division’s Top 10?
Waterson-Gomez is now 1-4 in her last five fights. Over that time she’s lost to two surging prospects in Lemos and Marina Rodriguez and two championship-caliber veterans in Carla Esparza and Joana Jedrzejczyk. Her victory was a razor thin win over Angela Hill in 2020.
She’s spent time on UFC’s broadcast team in the past. There’s a good chance working media row might look more appealing now, in comparison to being lost in the middle of the pack at 115 pounds.
Best Round Of The Year ... Ever?
Matt Schenll vs. Sumudaerji is going to stand the test of time and be one of those contests that people bring up to both newbies and the uninitiated. “You gotta see this fight,” they’ll say. “It was wild, out of this world, one guy looked dead and then he came back ... you gotta see it to believe it.”
Words barely do this one justice. The second round of the contest is, without doubt, “Round of the Year” right now... and it could be the best round of UFC action we’ve ever seen.
Schnell looked out on his feet at the beginning of the round when Sumudaerji was teeing off on him with measured elbow strikes. At times it looked like Schnell was waiting for a bus and the Chinese fighter had time to hold his opponent still, take aim and deliver a crushing blow to the side of the head.
Remarkably, those blows didn’t down Schnell. And each time the referee looked ready to step in, the American seemed to find some resolve and fire a punch back to keep him in the game.
Sumudaerji might have gotten a little over-confident towards the end of the round. With his hands down, he got caught with a huge left from Schnell. That punch sent him floating back to the fence. This lead to the fight hitting the ground.
On the ground Schnell pounded away with vicious elbows, cutting Sumudaerji. Somehow, Sumudaerji survived that and was able to sweep Schnell and get on top of him. But, then Schnell locked on a triangle choke.
The referee couldn’t see what was happening, but Schnell let him know “dude is out.” And when Schnell broke the hold it looked like a crime scene down there. He got the win, a bonus and some recognition in the always fun 125-pound weight class.
Matt Schnell— Fight Pics That Go Hard (@fightpicsgohard) July 16, 2022
(New York, 2022) pic.twitter.com/YFqDGeRSs6
Burgos Vs. Jourdain Delivered
We knew Shane Burgos vs. Charles Jourdain was going to be one of the fights of the night. And the all-action Featherweight contenders didn’t disappoint. Both are known for entertaining brawls, but at the beginning of this one Burgos seemed interested in a more calculated approach.
After making Jourdain feel his power on the feet, the American went to his wrestling and grappling (both of which seemed above Jourdain’s level). Burgos was able to work over Jourdain in the clinch, get a takedown and secure deep position on a back mount and choke attempt.
Jourdain showed a lot of grit and savvy in avoiding being finished. This frustrated Burgos to the point he gave up on technique and tried to finish the fight with brute strength. Instead of slowly working for his rear-naked choke, he tried to submit Jourdain by just putting pressure against the Canadian’s jaw. It didn’t work and Burgos may have gassed out his arms in the attempt.
Jourdain flew out for the third and started pinging Burgos with punches and kicks that had the New Yorker in a lot of trouble. However, try as he might, Jourdain was not able to put Burgos away — especially after Burgos was able to clear the cobwebbs and fall back on his superior wrestling.
A fun scrap ended in a majority decision for Burgos (29-28, 29-28, 28-28).
Lauren Murphy Looked Fantastic
One fight removed from a self-described “butt-whooping” against UFC women’s Flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko, Lauren Murphy put in one of the most complete and ferocious performances of her career.
She dominated former UFC Bantamweight queenpin, Miesha Tate, from bell-to-bell in this one. Murphy was quicker to the punch and able to nullify any threat Tate posed with her wrestling bona fides.
Murphy touched up Tate a lot on the feet, cutting and bruising “Cupcake” and possibly breaking her orbital bone. The win promises to keep Murphy at the top of the divisional rankings.
On the mic she said she would be attending UFC’s debut show in Paris, France. Her desire is to watch super prospect Manon Fiorot take on former champ Jessica Andrade and then face the winner.
Tate was making her Flyweight debut in this fight. She was coming off a similarly lopsided loss to Ketlen Vieira. Those losses, stacked together, beg us to question whether there is much left for Tate to do in the Octagon.
Additional Thoughts ...
- Li Jingliang def. Muslim Salikhov via TKO (punches and elbows), round 2 (4:38). A fun back-and-forth fight ended in victory for ‘The Leech’. He weathered the storm from sanda standout Salikhov before hitting the Russian with some big right hands. After felling Salikhov, Li put him away with some nasty elbows.
- Punahele Soriano def. Dalcha Lungiambula via KO (punches), round 2 (0:28). Hawaii’s Punahele scored another impressive KO last night, snapping a two-fight losing streak in the process. Lungiambula looked decent in the first round, hitting leg kicks and out-wrestling his opponent. However, in the second Soriano was able to land the big punch he had been timing the entire fight. Once he knocked down Lungiambula he swarmed and finished with brutal ground-and-pound.
- Ricky Simon def. Jack Shore via submission (arm triangle), round 2 (3:28). Ricky Simon upset the oddsmakers by handing Jack Shore the first loss of his pro career. It was all Simon in this one. He bullied Shore against the cage and then hurt him in the open space. After stunning Shore in the second round, Simon was able to take the Brit down and smoothly execute the fight ending choke.
- Bill Algeo def. Herbert Burns via TKO (retirement), round 2 (1:50). Herbert Burns looked good early on in this one, threatening Algeo with an arsenal of submission attempts. However, those attempts seemed to take a toll on Burns. He gassed out, bad. And in the second, Algeo upped the pace. Burns faded to the point he could barely stand. Eventually the referee had seen enough and waved off the fight.
- Emily Ducote def. Jessica Penna by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27). Former Invicta FC strawweight champion Emily Ducote picked up a big win in her UFC debut last night. She tormented former UFC title challenger (and fellow former Invicta champ) Jessica Penne with leg kicks and punching combos that left the veteran out of ideas. The loss is pretty derailing for the 39-year-old Penne, who saw her prime years taken away by lengthy USADA sanctions.
For complete UFC Long Island results and coverage click here.