Alp Ozkilic def Darren Uyenoyama via Unanimous Decision
The prelims started with a win for Turkey! UFC newcomer Alp Ozkilic, the first UFC fighter from the country of Turkey, gets the ball rolling with a 3-and-out decision victory against a very well-sound veteran in Darren Uyenoyama. First off, the big question of this bout was whether or not Uyenoyama could control the fight with his grappling. He is the superior grappler and I completely expected him to overwhelm the debuting act in Ozkilic, but that proved not to be the case. Alp stayed in control the bout with the better striking, over-powered Uyenoyama in the clinch, and on the ground, and never gave Darren anything to work with for a full 15 minutes. Solid win for the now 1-0 UFC prospect, Alp Ozkilic, and not an ideal start for my prelim predictions.
Abel Trujillo def Roger Bowling via 2nd Rd TKO
A sensational stoppage for Abel Trujillo as he sought out the performance that now puts Trujillo vs. Bowling to a close. This pair fought earlier this year, but the bout was scored a No Contest after an illegal knee, but there was nothing fishy about this fight. In the initial meet, Trujillo and Bowling threw caution out the window and brawled virtually the whole bout. I predicted Bowling to come into this second fight with a bit more caution, a bit smarter gameplan, and a bit more technique, but that wasn’t the case; these two wanted to bang. There were haymakers being sent on two-way flights until eventually it was Bowling who dropped. Both men landed solid punches but it was clear that Trujillo was in better shape for this fight and in better shape for a brawl. A slow start for me as I fall to 0-2 on the prelim predictions
Sam Stout def Cody McKenzie via Unanimous Decision
Finally, I get a fight correct! Sam Stout’s defense was on-point last night as he defended Cody McKenzie’s desperate takedowns. It was clear coming into this bout that McKenzie’s only realistic chance at winning this fight was if he could catch Stout on the ground, particularly in a scramble, but he never had the chance. Stout stuck to his bread and butter; throwing to the body and never taking part in the grappling game, Stout racked up 3 victorious rounds and won the bout on points. I predicted a first round stoppage for Stout, but I don’t think anyone can blame him for staying cautious as he was submitted in his last bout by a guillotine, which just so happens to be McKenzie’s signature technique.
Zach Makovsky def Scott Jorgensen via Unanimous Decision
Wow! What a debut for the former Bellator bantamweight champion, Zach Makovsky. His full well-rounded MMA skills were on display against a very skilled and experience veteran in Scott Jorgensen. Makovsky, the southpaw, gave Jorgensen lots of troubles on the feet with his accurate and precise left hand. One would think that Jorgensen would be able to take control of the bout via his wrestling, but that wasn’t the case. Makovsky, a talented grappler in his own right, hanged right in there with Jorgensen in the clinch and on the ground, but ultimately won 3-and-out against Jorgensen. A fantastic performance for Makovsky as he surprised me with this big victory. I’m 1-3 on the prelims; not doing so hot.
Bobby Green def Pat Healy via Unanimous Decision
Wow, what a war this bout was! Bobby Green showed exactly how to handle Pat Healy’s non-stop pressure, and that was fluid movement and accurate power punching. It seemed as if Healy was gaining more momentum as the fight went on, and he was, but Green still seemed to earn the favor of the judges with his counter-punching. It was a fast paced fight, and nothing really surprised me about this one, but Healy seemed a little fazed by Green’s movement, athleticism, and explosive counter-striking – a very rare occurrence for the patented grinder. I predicted Healy to win a close split decision, but Green showed how to get it done by winning it unanimously; although, if I may add, I thought this fight was a little closer than scorecards made it look.
Edson Barboza def Danny Castillo via Majority Decision
For any fan and follower of Edson Barboza, you totally knew that this was a potential outcome. It’t now a known fact that Barboza has big problems when facing wrestling with big right hands. Not just Barboza, but it seems that most Muay-Thai strikers are susceptible that type of style. It showed in the Jamie Varner fight, and it showed up here again as Barboza had to fight through a devastating first round after getting clubbed with a vicious hook that basically set up nothing but disaster for Barboza. I give Barboza mad props for fighting through it however, even on verge of unconsciousness. Once the second round started and Castillo lost that initial explosive power that he had, the fight completely changed tides. The second and third rounds would feature Barboza’s kicks, to the body and leg, and punches on display. Barboza also expertly defended Castillo’s takedowns; once Edson was able to find his rhythm and not have to worry about the right of Castillo, he saw the takedowns coming and shrugged them off with zero resistance. I’ll admit, I underestimated Castillo’s power; expecting Barboza to walk right through him, but even after a dramatic beginning, it was clear Barboza was more deserving of the victory. 2-4 for my predictions,
Ryan LaFlare def Court McGee via Unanimous Decision
A back and forth contests ends with the undefeated, Ryan LaFlare, continuing his streak of victory. LaFlare is a guy who has been flying under the radar, but peeked my interest in his previous fight against Santiago Ponzinibbio. The dominant grappler put his striking on display in this bout against Court McGee, who was riding a two-fight win streak. McGee and LaFlare exchanged punches and takedowns through-out the whole bout, but LaFlare did way more with the kicks and knees. LaFlare landed several nicely timed kicks and knees to the body that further proves how well-rounded he is becoming. Suffering through a badly bloodied face, LaFlare had the early edge in grappler as he took McGee down almost at will. The third round would be McGee’s however, as McGee’s fail-proof conditioning turned in too little too late. LaFlare pulls off the victory and rides to 3-0, as I thought he would.
I conclude the prelims with a 3-4 record. I started off poorly but I closed alright. If you want to take a look at my predictions, click here for the prelims and here for the main card. Stay tuned to my main card review coming shortly!