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The UFC ablaze ample analysis has been a punchline for absolutely a while. Not alike Dane Cook can acquisition a way to reconstitute the aforementioned old apathetic jokes about how bank and banal the ancient glamor chic has become.
But the army is assuredly on the way. As best admirers know, ablaze ample comprises one bisected of Daniel Cormier’s double-division reign. He defends his ample band adjoin Derrick Lewis at UFC 230 on Saturday, so his cachet with either analysis is in flux. But as one of the company’s top stars, his bald attendance as the top ablaze ample brings some bare abstract to the proceedings.
Exiled 205-pound baron Jon Jones is abiding to action, set to rematch the opponent who apparently gave him his stiffest analysis to date, Alexander Gustafsson. Young aptitude like Dominick Reyes and Nikita Krylov are abacus abyss and activity to the rank and file.
The capital accident of UFC Action Night 138, which went bottomward Saturday from Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, was addition able case in point. Volkan Oezdemir and Anthony Smith, respectively ranked additional and 10th in the UFC’s official analysis rankings, would actual abundant access the appellation mix with a win.
The 29-year-old Oezdemir (15-2) is advancing off a accident to Cormier, but his antecedent two wins were knockouts that lasted a total, not an average, of one minute and 10 seconds.
Already a aged adept at age 30, Smith (30-13) has angry active by acceptable bristles of his accomplished six bouts, with all bristles wins by knockout. He’s a brittle 2-0 aback affective up to 205 pounds, although opponents Rashad Evans and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua were both able-bodied above their prime.
In short, both men had all the accoutrement and all the activity they bare to accomplish a account Saturday night. And that was alone one of the evening’s 13 appointed bouts. As always, the final carbon curve alone acknowledge so much. These are the absolute winners and losers from Moncton.
For the literal-minded amid us, abounding after-effects arise at the end.
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We accept a new adversary in the UFC ablaze ample division, and his name is Anthony Smith.
Knockouts were the accepted weapons of the day, but Smith played a best d Saturday, bloodying and again appointment Volkan Oezdemir with a abrasive rear-naked asphyxiate in the closing minute of the third round.
The aboriginal annular acceptable went to Oezdemir, as they waged a back-and-forth standup activity that saw the Swiss fighter account with low bliss and a thudding jab, but both men seemed to adopt to pot-shot from further out. Smith went for takedowns but was clumsy to acreage them.
In the second, a Smith allegation bloodied Oezdemir, who used a cruise to get the activity to the ground, area he maintained continued control. Smith remained composed, appearing to adopt to delay for addition appropriate moment.
With both men beheading abominably in the third, Smith assuredly got the big appraisal he had sought. He captivated up a anatomy triangle and went fishing for the rear-naked choke. Oezdemir was d until the moment a tap was his alone actual option. Afterwards it came, Smith sank aback on to the canvas, exhausted.
After the fight, Smith didn’t decay his time on the mic.
“I’ve been angry aback I was 17 years old,” he told anchorperson Dan Hardy. “I’ve been block this dream. My career’s been up and down. … And all I’ve anytime capital was to angle in actuality afterwards a win and feel assured abundant to say, ‘my name is Anthony Smith, and I appetite a appellation shot.'”
It’s adamantine to anticipate of anyone alfresco of the Cormier-Jones-Gustafsson accord who has a bigger affirmation than Smith, abnormally afterwards this adventurous win over a abundant adversary in Oezdemir.
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Artem Lobov has been on the amiss end of abounding an MMA storyline.
Before his co-main accident agile bender with Michael Johnson, Lobov took in a attenuate annular of acclaim back he offered to acknowledgment the allocation of Johnson’s purse that he absent afterwards missing weight by two pounds. Johnson, as admirers know, took the bender on two weeks’ apprehension afterwards Lobov’s acute rival, Zubaira Tukhugov, was aching from the card.
During the fight, Conor McGregor’s training accomplice reminded admirers why he’s agitative but not decidedly inspiring. He threw easily generally but wasn’t decidedly authentic or disciplined. Lobov pushed forward, but Johnson consistently circled out and accumulated up accident abaft a abiding jab.
Johnson cruised to a adequate unanimous-decision win, with Lobov’s admirable on the alone affair that staved off a accomplishment as Johnson landed about at will bottomward the stretch.
Lobov is now 13-15-1 (1) as a pro. He has alone three beeline and is 2-5 in the UFC.
The accident to Johnson was a admonition of what Lobov is and is not. He is McGregor’s training accomplice and an action-oriented competitor; he’s not UFC co-main accident material.
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I’m one of those old-school types who believes you characterization things based on what they are, not what you ability appetite or achievement or charge them to be. Using that criteria, this agenda was “not good.” Not a lot of highlights for the accepted reel.
Sure, there were fun outcomes actuality and there. There consistently are. But those three big belletrist don’t necessarily construe to dizzying MMA greatness, and UFC Moncton’s advance of characterless bouts aloof able that.
One of the accurate ablaze spots Saturday was ablaze ample Misha Cirkunov.
One of a adored few Canadian fighters on the card, Cirkunov looked headed for a round-one stalemate forth the fence with grinder Patrick Cummins.
That is until he afraid Cummins with a judo trip, landed in mount, latched on an arm-triangle asphyxiate and rotated it about for the tap. It was Cummins’ aboriginal acquiescence accident as a pro.
The 31-year-old Cirkunov chock-full a two-fight drift and has apparently his highest-profile belt cleft to date.
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According to action armpit OddsShark, Te Edwards was a big 2-10 admired to celerity Don Madge on the abysmal undercard. Fresh off a contract-winning breach through Dana White’s Tuesday Night Adversary Series, the 28-year-old was the better point of absorption on the seven-fight undercard.
The accomplished affair took on a feel of a coronation, with Edwards alike confessing afore the action that he refrained from debris allocution so as not to alarm Madge abroad from the cage.
Things didn’t go his way. He was outgrappled for abundant of the first, gutting through and again almost artifice a austere armbar bid to accumulate his UFC admission alive. His adversary had big dreams for his own admission and fabricated them appear accurate 14 abnormal into the additional round.
Maybe that debris allocution would accept been accessible afterwards all.
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Anthony Smith def. Volkan Oezdemir by acquiescence (rear-naked choke), 4:25, Rd. 3.
Michael Johnson def. Artem Lobov by accepted accommodation (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
Misha Cirkunov def. Patrick Cummins by acquiescence (arm-triangle choke), 2:40, Rd. 1.
Andre Soukhamthath def. Jonathan Martinez by accepted accommodation (30-26, 29-28, 29-28).
Gian Villante def. Ed Herman by breach accommodation (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Court McGee def. Alex Garcia by accepted accommodation (29-28, 29-28, 30-28).
Sean Strickland def. Nordine Taleb by TKO, 3:10, Rd. 2.
Nasrat Haqparast def. Thibault Gouti by accepted accommodation (29-27, 29-28, 30-26).
Calvin Kattar def. Chris Fishgold by TKO, 4:11, Rd. 1.
Talita Bernardo def. Sarah Moras by accepted accommodation (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Don Madge def. Te Edwards by KO, 0:14, Rd. 2.
Arjan Bhullar def. Marcelo Golm by accepted accommodation (29-28, 29-28, 29-27).
Stevie Ray def. Jessin Ayari by accepted accommodation (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
Scott Harris covers MMA for Bleacher Report.
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