UFC Atlantic City was full of stories and weirdness, so let’s just get right into it.
- Edson Barboza vs. Kevin Lee: Result – Lee by Round 5 TKO
- My Prediction: Barboza by Round 4 TKO
- I’m not sure if I underestimated Lee or overestimated Barboza’s takedown defense, but I couldn’t have been more wrong about this fight. Lee looked outstanding and, aside from a wheel kick from Barboza that had him doing the stanky leg, dominated this fight from horn to horn. Barboza might be at the point where it’s too late for him to learn enough wrestling for it to matter. Lee’s now set up to either fight Khabib for the title or match up against Poirier to decide the number 1 contender. Lightweight is such a mess right now that it’s honestly impossible to say what will happen. Barboza hopefully gets some time off after taking some unreal beatings in his last two fights.
- Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson: Result – Edgar by Decision
- My Prediction: Edgar by Decision
- I’m not going to pat myself on the back here because this was by far the easiest fight to call. I figured Edgar would grind him out with his wrestling, but Cub showed some impressive takedown defense in this one. Edgar ended up picking Cub apart as it seemed like Cub was afraid of the takedown the entire fight. Edgar should probably fight the winner of Holloway/Ortega next. Cub vs. Renato Moicano is selfishly the fight that I want to see but he matches up well with Korean Zombie, Darren Elkins, and maybe even Zabit as well.
- Justin Willis vs. Chase Sherman: Result – Willis by Decision
- My Prediction: Sherman by Round 2 KO
- In the words of Lloyd Christmas, “I was WAY off!” Justin Willis has great hands and Sherman is absolutely devoid of head movement. I’m shocked that Willis didn’t finish him, honestly.
- David Branch vs. Thiago Santos: Result – Branch by Round 1 TKO
- My Prediction: Branch by Decision
- This is literally the last thing I would’ve predicted for this fight. Santos looked good for the first couple minutes and managed to destroy Branch’s leg with a couple of kicks, but Branch caught him right on the button with an overhand right to shut him off. I hope to see Branch vs. Weidman next, but Branch would probably have to wait a while for that due to Weidman’s hand injury. Santos could fight anybody and I’ll be there to watch.
- Aljamain Sterling vs. Brett Johns: Result: Sterling by Decision
- My Prediction: Sterling by Decision
- So I actually managed to get this one right. I remembered Sterling’s match with Assuncao (the last time he faced a grappler) and how they ended up just striking the whole time. I felt like Sterling had some pretty good kicks in that fight and would be able to use them to keep Johns off him. That’s basically exactly what happened, but I feel as though we’ve learned nothing about either of them from this. I’d like to see Sterling vs. Dodson and Johns vs. Almeida or Stamann.
- Jim Miller vs. Dan Hooker: Result – Hooker by Round 1 KO
- My Prediction: Hooker by Round 2 TKO
- Couldn’t I have just been wrong on this one? I got the round wrong but as I thought, it was sad and I feel bad. Hooker gets credit where credit is due as that knee was beautiful. Hopefully he gets his wish and is matched up with Felder (who he called out TO HIS FACE, which was incredibly cheeky). Miller hopefully hangs them up or is given another veteran on the decline.
- Merab Dvalishvili vs. Ricky Simon: Result – Simon by Round 3 TKO
- My Prediction: N/A
- I didn’t make a prediction for this fight because I didn’t know a whole lot about either of these guys, but this definitely deserves to be discussed. The fight ended with a 45-second-long mounted guillotine attempt by Simon. It appeared that the fight ended without being stopped due to submission, and Dvalishvili clearly won the first two rounds, so it looked as though Dvalishvili was saved by the bell and won the fight. They instead decided retroactively that Dvalishvili was out, and that Simon won by submission. The only part that confuses me is that they called it a TKO. Fights that end via choke-out (as opposed to the fighter tapping) are technical submissions, not technical knockouts. It was a huge mess that has distracted rom what was otherwise a great fight, which deservedly won fight of the night.
- Corey Anderson vs. Patrick Cummins: Result – Anderson by Decision
- My Prediction: Anderson by Round 3 TKO
- I thought Anderson would grind Cummins out and overwhelm him with ground-and-pound at the end of the fight. He instead focused on submissions and control more than ground strikes. Otherwise, Anderson indeed looked fantastic and Cummins indeed looked like a punching bag. In my book, we should give Anderson someone like Latifi or Blachowicz since that division is so sparse for contenders at the moment.