The dogs bit back tonight with SIX of the underdogs grabbing wins on this UFC card. The best finish of the night had to be from Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera who came in and knocked out one of the best bantamweights of all time, breaking his nose with a head kick. More surprising finishes came from Tyson Nam and Gerald Meerschaert who both grabbed finishes as fairly significant underdogs. We were also treated to one the WILDEST fights of the year between Nate Landwehr and David O
nama and an insane brawl between Yazmin Jauregui ad Iasmin Lucindo just before that. There were also standout performances from Angela Hill, Azamat Murzakanov and Priscila Cachoeira. All of the bouts from UFC San Diego are covered below along with BLÜ’s favourite performances of the night: the BLÜ BONUSES.
Youssef Zalal vs. Da’Mon Blackshear ended in a Majority Draw
Both men took some time chipping away at each other with their kicks early, then it was Zalal who made the first move with a HEAVY takedown. Blackshear was doing well to defend from the bottom and throw out submissions, but Zalal was smothering him with his wrestling. using his impressive submission skills. But then Da’Mon reversed positions with about a minute left. I’d have probably scored the round for Zalal with is aggression and control, but it was a close round.
Blackshear was the one pushing the offence in the 2nd Round, pinning Zalal along the fence and smothering him, sinking in a submission attempt. From there he made a key mistake though, allowing Zalal to take his back and lock in some DEEP submission attempts. Then it was Zalal that made the mistake, letting Da’Mon take his back! The round started off close, but with a couple of VERY deep submission from Zalal’s back at the end of the round, Blackshear clearly won the round, likely tying it 1-1.
Knowing he needed to make a statement , Zalal tried to push the pace with his striking. Da’Mon was keeping up with him for the first minute, but Zalal started to really pull away, landing some crisp combos to slow him down. As the round went on, Zalal was pressuring hard, lighting Blackshear up with HUGE shots to the body. With a minute left, Zalal dropped him, letting loose some HEAVY ground and pound, working HARD for the finish.
He didn’t grab the finish, but it may have been a 10-8 in that final round. I’d have probably scored it 29-27, but anything could have happened with those opening rounds. The judges couldn’t tell who won the fight either, scoring it 29-28, 28-28 and 28-28 in a majority draw.
Josh Quinlan def. Jason Witt by KO in the 1st Round
The first big move of the fight came as Jason Witt launched himself into a takedown, dragging Quinlan down to the ground. Quinlan got back up pretty quick though, getting back to his striking. Then, out of absolutely nowhere, like lightning, Quinlan threw out a combo that knocked Witt out COLD, fully unconscious with no follow-up shots needed.
BLÜ’s Prelim. Pick #1
Ode Osbourne vs. Tyson Nam
Tyson Nam is talented and deserves to be in the top 15, but Osbourne has looked like he could crack the top 10. He moves more, has a longer reach and has more power. Not only that, he’s got better defence. I figured this would be an entertaining bout and may even go a couple rounds, but it seemed VERY likely that Ode would start to land huge shots that drop Nam, leading to another highlight reel finish.
Osbourne by Finish
Ode started with the action first, ramming kicks into the body of Nam. Using his extra reach to his advantage, Ode was doing well to his Nam without getting hit himself. Things seemed to be going smoothly… until Ode jumped in with a knee and got SMOKED by a hook from Nam, dropping him to the canvas for a sensational 1st Round finish.
Tyson Nam def. Ode Osbourne by TKO in the 1st Round
I stand by what I said; both these guys deserve to be in the top 15. With this win, Nam will surely get someone in the rankings, probably someone like Sumudaerji or Elliot on their way down. I’d have even said Albazi, but he’s fighting this week. Osbourne should get another shot there too, but they might give him someone on their way up first.
Gabriel Benítez def. Charlie Ontiveros by TKO in the 1st Round
Right away, the size advantage was VERY clear with Ontiveros towering over Benítez. He used that early, landing some HEAVY shots on Benítez. Not only was he landing big combos, he also threw out some beautiful kicks. Gabriel tried to shut down some of his WILD offence with some clinchwork, but Ontiveros was still dangerous. After an unlucky low blow to Ontiveros, Benítez jumped in and rocked him with a big shot. From there, he lit Ontiveros up with a quick combo and slammed him into the ground. After that it was just a matter of throwing out some ground and pound until the ref stopped it.
BLÜ’s Prelim. Pick #2
Nina Nunes vs. Cynthia Calvillo
Normally, it’s hard to predict finishes and even winners of women’s fight because they’re so even and unpredictable. In this case, Calvillo seemed to be the clear choice. She’s MUCH bigger, fighting at 125 instead of 115 like Nunes; she’s way more dangerous and way more active. Especially when you consider the fact that Nunes hadn’t fought in a while, just had a baby and isn’t the youngest fighter anymore… I thought we were looking at a statement win for Calvillo.
Calvillo by Finish
The fight was slow to start with minimal offence from both sides, with the first move coming from Calvillo with a takedown. Nunes got up quickly though and returned to the striking. After some more slow striking, with mostly small kicks being thrown, Calvillo went for another takedown and was shut down once again. With minimal action from both sides, it was impossible to tell who was going to grab the round on the cards.
The 2nd Round opened the exact same way with some a steady supply of light leg kicks from both sides. Finally, after a round and a half, the action heated up with Calvillo dragging Nunes to the ground. Nunes was doing VERY well to defend and try and get back up, but Calvillo did well to keep her down for a couple minutes. Calvillo didn’t get too much damage going before Nunes got back up, but you’d have to think that Calvillo won the round with not much else going on.
Nunes opened the final round throwing out some more kicks while Calvillo was clearly trying to drag the fight to the ground once again. She grabbed a quick one, but Nunes was quick to return to her feet once again. There weren’t really any huge moves from either side, but I’d have probably given it 29-28 to Nunes, only because she was slightly more active and landed a lot more kicks. The judges were split, scoring it 29-28, 28-29 and 30-27 for Nina Nunes.
Nina Nunes def. Cynthia Calvillo by Split Decision
Martin Buday def. Łukasz Brzeski by Split Decision
Buday was using his HUGE size early, wobbling Brzeski with some early shots. The problem for Buday, of course, was Brzeski’s speed. Sadly for him, Buday kept pressuring forward constantly, not allowing him to get any offence going. Buday slowed down his offence though, then letting Brzeski land a BOMB that had had Buday walking back. As the round went on, Buday had recovered, but was struggling with pace of the smaller Brzeski. With that extra activity, it seemed likely that the rookie, Brzeski, was up 1-0.
Brzeski kept that pace going into the 2nd Round, hitting Buday with some quick shots. Buday wasn’t phased by any of the shots coming at him, but had very little offence going. That being said, whenever Buday landed it definitely had a heavier impact. Once again, with his extra activity, Brzeski likely took the round and found himself up 2-0.
The final round continued the exact same way with more output from Brzeski and the occasional large combo from Buday. Overall, it seemed like a clear win for the debuting fighter, Łukasz Brzeski. The judges were split once again scoring it 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28… for Buday. I don’t even know what to say about that one; that was horrifyingly bad from the judges.
BLÜ’s Prelim. Pick #3
Angela Hill vs. Lupita Godinez
Similar to Nunes and Calvillo, we had a CLEAR winner in Godinez here. Hill was the smaller woman here by far and had been struggling immensely with grapplers. Godinez is one of the most talented grapplers on the women’s roster; she’s relentless and very well-rounded. Hill never gets finished so I didn’t think we’d see ‘Loopy’ get a finish, but likely a DOMINANT decision.
Godinez by Decision
‘Loopy’ wanted to make an early statement, SMOKING Hill with some huge combos. A couple minutes in and Hill was already clearly struggling to get offence going. Interestingly, as the round went on, Godinez slowed down, allowing Hill to get off some decent combos. Realizing the fight was getting a little too close, ‘Loopy’ shot in for her first takedown, but was shut down by Hill. It looked BAD for Hill early, but she seemed to actually turn it around to win the round on the cards.
Hill busted up Godinez early with some combos, but ‘Loopy’ responded by taking Hill down to the mat. To the surprise of everyone, Hill locked in a NASTY guillotine that actually forced Godinez to move back to her feet. Godinez was hanging on well, but she wasn’t pressuring hard like all of her other fights. Instead, she was letting Hill pressure forward and land huge combos. Then, to close out the round, it was Hill that somehow dragged Godinez down. Shockingly, that meant Hill had likely found herself up 2-0.
Godinez was pushing a lot harder in the final round, but still found herself backing up thanks to Hill’s constant pressure. She tried to get another takedown, but was shut down once again by Hill. The final round may have been the closest of the night. They both landed some great combos, pressured forward at times and were active the whole round. I’d have probably gone 29-28 for Hill, but anything was on the table for this one. The judges were united this time, all scoring it 29-28 for the HUGE underdog, Angela Hill.
Angela Hill def. Lupita Godinez by Unanimous Decision
Main Card Action
Gerald Meerschaert vs. Bruno Silva
This is one of the most brutally one-sided matchups I’ve seen in a while. Gerald is known for struggling on the feet and getting hit, while Silva wobbled the world-champion kickboxer, Alex Pereira, in his last fight. I said that, even if by some miracle Gerald didn’t get knocked out, Silva is also pretty solid on the ground. Gerald seemed to have no avenue of winning this fight and looked like he was going to get BRUTALLY knocked out early in the fight.
Silva by Finish
They were both slow to start, but Silva was the one pressuring early, walking Gerald down. After a couple of decent shots from Silva, Meerschaert managed to drag the fight to the ground. It was Gerald down there as he landed some ground and pound that almost had Silva finished. With all that dominance on the round, Gerald, (who was the underdog) was up 1-0.
Silva came in a lot harder the 2nd Round, but was getting pretty wild with his strikes, missing Gerald by a mile in most cases. Meerschaert wasn’t really landing much outside of his body kicks, but was still doing well to avoid Silva’s strikes. It was close, but Meerschaert was probably up 2-0.
The final round opened close once again, but out of nowhere, GM3 landed a BOMB that dropped Silva. From there, he jumped on the submission, grabbing Silva’s neck. Still not recovered, Silva couldn’t defend his neck and was forced to tap, giving the win to another MASSIVE underdog.
Gerald Meerschaert def. Bruno Silva by Submission in the 3rd Round
Ariane Lipski vs. Priscila Cachoeira
This matchup was easily the biggest mystery on the card. I picked Lipski in the original matchup last week, but I since changed my answer. The fight was moved to this week because she missed weight, plus, after missing weight, wasn’t even medically cleared to fight. This matchup was moved up to 130 pounds from 125, but she still had to cut weight AGAIN. Considering Cachoeira’s early pace and aggression, I wasn’t convinced that Lipski will be able to keep up after such a fiasco just a week ago.
Cachoeira by Finish
Just as the action was heating up with both ladies throwing BOMBS, Lipski got caught with the bigger shots and was dropped immediately. Just over a minute into the fight and Cachoeira had already grabbed the win.
Priscila Cachoeira def. Ariane Lipski by TKO in the 1st Round
Devin Clark vs. Azamat Murzakanov
The odds of this matchup really only reflected Murzakanov’s undefeated record. If you actually watched his last fight, he lost BOTH of the opening rounds against Nchukwi. Not to knock Nchukwi, but Clark is WAY more dangerous, relentless and tough. With Azamat almost getting finished by the much slower Nchukwi, it seemed pretty clear that Clark would grab a finish. Keep in mind that Clark beat Menifield and finished Knight who are both bigger than Nchukwi and WAY bigger than Azamat.
Clark by Finish
Both guys were careful, waiting each other out, but Murzakanov was the one pressuring forward early. With that pressure, Murzakanov landed a couple of big ones that stumbled Clark a bit. It wasn’t anything that looked to end the fight, but it was enough to grab the momentum of the fight and win the round on the cards.
Knowing he struggled in the 1st Round, Clark pushed hard with an early bomb. From there though, Azamat landed a MASSIVE combo that had Clark stumbling backwards. It looked as though he was going to grab a finish, but he let Clark recover with a clinch. After some hard work in the clinch, they separated and Murzakanov landed another BOMB and found himself on top of Clark on the ground.
Clark came in HARD the final round, but was shut down with a HUGE shot to the body. From there it was just a matter of Azamat landing ground and pound until the ref called it off, keeping his undefeated record intact.
Azamat Murzakanov def. Devin Clark by TKO in the 3rd Round
Yazmin Jauregui def. Iasmin Lucindo by Unanimous Decision
These ladies brought the fireworks right away for their UFC debuts. Both of them were throwing WILD combos. Jauregui seemed to be landing better early, but then it was Lucindo that landed the bigger combos. As the round went on, it seemed as though Lucindo was getting a bit too reckless, while Jauregui was waiting for her to jump in to grab a good counter. With insane action from both sides, it was up to the judges how they scored that round.
Listening to the advice of her corner, Jauregui slowed it down in the 2nd Round, trying to keep Lucindo at a distance and land big shots from a distance. This started to work well for her as she rocked Lucindo a couple of times, then pushing her into the fence. After taking some time to recover, Lucindo was the one who started to land the bigger shots, even stumbling Jauregui back down to the canvas for a moment. They ended up closing the round out with another all-out exchange from both sides. This round seemed to favour Jauregui, but it was a close one.
Just like the last round, Jauregui opened up clean, avoiding Lucindo’s hooks and jumping in with her combos to stumble her. As the round went on though, just like before, Lucindo started to find her range and land HUGE shots that backed Jauregui up. With all 3 rounds a complete toss-up, we really could’ve seen literally anything on the cards. I probably would’ve scored it 29-28 for Jauregui, but it was about as dead-even as a decision could get. The judges were unanimous in their decision, scoring it 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 for Jauregui.
I was wondering why this fight was on the main card, but WOW did we get treated to a show. Both of these women are dangerous, relentless and want finishes. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that both of these ladies will end up in the top 15 at some point.
David Onama vs. Nate Landwehr
This matchup seemed a lot closer than the odds suggested. Onama has power, but he tends to be a bit slow and lets his opponents lead. Landwehr, on the other hand, is a stick of dynamite. He’s wild, relentless, unorthodox and VERY dangerous. I figured that Landwehr would be pretty aggressive and hit Onama a decent amount, but that Onama would counter him with something BIG and grab a finish. But it also seemed plausible that Landwehr would be too much for Onama and he’d lose in a decision from lack of activity.
Onama by Finish
Landwehr took a much more patient approach this time, waiting to counter Onama instead of running straight at him. The fight started to heat up as Onama started to land some BIG combos, but Landwehr was doing well to avoid the bigger strikes. Onama had the first big moment, landing a huge shot that dropped Landwehr on his back. He got back up but was dropped HARD again, flat on his back. He miraculously got back up but was dropped again. Somehow he managed to reverse positions, finding himself on top of Onama. They moved back to their feet but it was actually Landwehr landing the bigger shots to close the round. It still seemed pretty obvious that Onama won the first round, but Nate really came back at the end.
Carrying that momentum into the next round, Landwehr started to land some BIG combos on Onama, smothering him with offence. Onama started to really wilt under the pressure of Landwehr. He was landing combos, walking forward, getting takedowns and locking in submissions to the point where it was looking like a 10-8 round for Landwehr.
Onama came into the final round with some good offence, but Landwehr picked up where he left off, dismantling him with his WILD offence. He kept dropping Onama to the canvas, then he’d let him back up, holding his arms in the air like a champ. Just as it looked like Landwehr was gonna run away with it, Onama landed a BOMB that stumbled Landwehr back. He recovered and continued his pressure, but incredibly, Onama still wasn’t out of it and ROCKED Landwehr, stumbling him back into the fence. That clearly wasn’t enough though as Landwhehr won on the cards, 29-27 29-26 and 28-28.
Nate Landwehr def. David Onama by Majority Decision
Marlon Vera vs. Dominick Cruz
At the start of the week, before watching tape, I was convinced Cruz would win. Then I saw that Cruz was dropped in his last few fights, plus people now use leg kicks to shut down his movement, leading to him getting hit. Vera already uses his kicks to do that to everyone else, so I figured he’d do the exact same thing here. After slowing Cruz down, likely in the 2nd or 3rd Round, I figured Vera would catch him and swarm in for a finish.
Vera by Finish
Cruz didn’t want to waste any time against the slow starter, Vera, landing some crisp combos. Cruz managed to knock Vera off-balance with a shot and dropped him, but didn’t move to the ground with him. In response to that though, ‘Chito’ ROCKED Cruz, dropping him to his knees. Already this had slowed down Cruz’s movement quite a bit as he had already pretty much stopped bouncing around. To close the round and take it on the cards, Cruz rushed in and dragged Vera to the ground. It was looking good, but Vera had a NASTY armbar locked in momentarily that had Cruz running back to his feet.
Cruz kept his pace going, including his movement, at the start of the 2nd round, but ‘Chito’ still wasn’t phased, pressuring forward against Cruz. Just like the opening round though, Cruz was landing the vast majority of the strikes, clearly winning on the cards. But, as we all know, Vera is a slow-starter and can land a bomb at any moment.
Once again, Cruz locked up a round on the cards, likely finding himself up 2-0. Cruz showed no signs of slowing down in the 3rd Round, landing one of his biggest combos of the night to back Vera up. Then, just as Cruz got comfortable, Vera landed another NASTY combo that dropped Cruz to the ground for the second time in the fight. They kept their regular pace for the rest of the round, likely giving Vera the round on the cards thanks to his knockdown.
Looking to stop a surging Vera, Cruz shot in for a takedown, but was shut down fairly easily. After some more standup, ‘Chito’ dropped him yet again, this time with a CRISP jab. Cruz recovered nicely, but then got SMOKED with head kick straight to his jaw, knocking him out instantly. He was so rocked that he tried to get back up and the ref had to catch him so he wouldn’t faceplant on the canvas. We knew ‘Chito’ would start slow and likely come back, but what a way to make a statement against one of the best bantamweights of all time.
Marlon Vera vs. Dominick Cruz by KO in the 4th Round
With the top of the division awaiting their fate over the next couple months, we’ll really have to see how the rest of the matchups shape out. Considering it seemed like Cruz was going to be getting a title shot off of a win here, that could be next. Personally, I think that’s reserved for the winner of Aldo and Merab. Instead, we’ll probably see ‘Chito’ fight the winner of Yan and O’Malley.
BLÜ’s Record for the Night
Main Card: 2-3
KO of the Night: Marlon Vera
Sub. of the Night: Gerald Meerschaert
Brawl of the Night: David Onama vs. Nate Landwehr
Most Valuable Fighter
She had lost 3 in a row, mostly because of grappling, but she came into this one and beat one of the best grapplers and strikers in the division. It looked as though this was going to be her final fight in the UFC, but she overcame a tough opponent to keep her spot in the top 15.