Fight Night Picks Weekend Roundup

Israel Adesanya faced off against his idol Anderson Silva in the impromptu
UFC 234 main event (Photo Credit: UFC Twitter)

February 2019 is loaded with great fight cards and whether you’re strictly a fan of the UFC or you tend to venture into other promotions there’s something for everyone. Already into our second full weekend of the month, the sport produced plenty of action packed events and before we look too far ahead let’s have a look back at what might have fallen through the cracks.

UFC 234 – Feb. 10 from Melbourne, Australia

Hours before the event middleweight champ Robert Whittaker was forced to withdraw due to injury
(Photo Credit: UFC Twitter)

UFC 234 featured plenty of flair with a relatively “vanilla” roster of talent. Fans had lamented the lack of star power compared to recent free-TV “Fight Night” cards which was only accentuated by the main event falling apart due to injury to the promotion’s middleweight champ Robert Whittaker suffering an acute hernia.

Thrust into the main event, albeit still at a three round contest was the night’s co-main between up-and-comer Israel Adesanya (16-0) and former longtime middleweight champ Anderson Silva (34-9-, 1 NC). In the end it was the “Last Stylebender” taking a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) and out-landing Silva by a total of 65-34 strikes.

Perfomance bonuses on the night were granted to Adesanya and Silva, as well as a POTN to women’s flyweight Montana De La Rosa (10-4) who broke her opponent Nadia Kassem’s (5-1) unbeaten streak by second round armbar. Devonte Smith (10-1) also earned POTN honours with his featured prelim finish of Korean lightweight Dong Hyun Ma (16-9-3).

Bellator Newcastle – Feb. 10 from Newcastle, England

Bellator kicked off its European Series with a 15-fight card including four stacked main card pairings. The event had its own feel, with crossovers from Josh Thomson and Michael C. Williams being the only familiar faces incorporated in the broadcast. Earlier in the week the promotion also announced that for the remainder of the year Bellator events can be viewed on Sky Sports including next weekend’s England vs. England pairing of Michael “Venom” Page (13-0) and Paul Daley (40-16-2) in the main event of Bellator 216.

Bellator Newcastle was littered with former champions from smaller organizations and included a main card with four premier lightweight contests and one top middleweight match-up that saw former BAMMA standout Fabian Edwards (6-0) squeak out a close decision victory over former Cage Warriors champ Lee Chadwick (24-14-1). Former BAMMA welterweight and lightweight champ Terry Brazier (10-2) then met Chris Bungard (14-4) and it was the Scot Bungard getting the back and finishing the fight by rear-naked choke at 2:06 of the first round.

In the co-main event, Geordie Shore alum Aaron Chalmers (4-1) made his second appearance under the Bellator banner paired up against American grappler Corey Browning (5-2) at lightweight. Both men flailed to open the contest and at one point Chalmers had earned the knockdown over his opponent, and in an act of showmanship walked away from the downed Browning as the referee closed in. Browning got back to his feet and the fight continued. Similar to Browning’s result in his last fight, a finish over a tired Kevin “Baby Slice” Ferguson Jr., he was able to show superior fight IQ and submitted “The Joker” by heel hook at 39 seconds of the third round.

Top lightweights capped off the evening, with promotional mainstay Patricky “Pitbull” Freire (21-8) earning a razor thin split decision victory over former BAMMA lightweight champ Ryan Scope (11-2). Pitbull earned a knockdown following a flurry of hooks and flying knee in the first round, but as the fight wore on Scope clawed his way back. Many had scored the fight a 29-28 for Scope, who finished the contest with Pitbull’s back reigning strikes in an effort to gain points. With the win Patricky subsequently called out newly crowned lightweight champ Michael Chandler that would set-up their third meeting.

Best of the Rest

Between Island Fights 52 and Combate 30: Mexicali, there was plenty of high-level action in MMA this past week. Former UFC heavyweight Chase Sherman (13-6) earned his second straight victory under the Island Fights banner with a TKO finish over Jeremy May (13-11). Island Fights 52 also produced another possible UFC-worthy prospect with Brok Weaver (13-4) earning his sixth straight victory over James Freeman (6-3) by first round arm triangle (ruled a DQ due to corner interference)

Combate 30 was also able to wow fans with 9/10 fights ending by finish. In the main event lightweight prospect Rafa Garcia (9-0) was able to stay unbeaten earning a second round rear-naked choke win over Edgar Escarrega (5-3) capping off a busy night in Mexicali, Mexico.

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