Dustin Ortiz def Jose Maria Tome via 3rd TKO
The Roufusport prodigy shines through in his UFC debut against a pretty solid opponent in Jose Maria at UFC Fight Night 32. Ortiz had a slow start in the first two rounds, but managed to turn up the pace in the third with a takedown and some vicious flurries of punches that left Maria dazed. I originally had Tome winning a decision, thinking he’d be able to keep the fight on the feet, but that was not the case. Ortiz showcased some solid takedowns and transitioning skills, and showed his ability to expose even the slightest gap in defense from this opponent. I start off 0-1.
Adriano Martins def Daron Cruickshank via 2nd Rd Submission
WOW! A surprising showing from Adriano Martins comes out of nowhere as he out-strikes and finally out-grappled Daron Cruickshank in a dominant performance for a UFC debut. I figured Cruickshank would have more to offer on the feet, but he seemed relatively gun-shy. He kept eating straight lefts from Martins and had nothing to offer. Martins eventually got the fight to the ground and submitted Cruickshank in the second. A fairly disappointing performance coming from Cruickshank, who I predicted out-point Martins on the feet. I fall to 0-2 off the bat, not good.
Thiago Tavares def Justin Salas via 1st Rd Submission
Finally, I get a fight right! Tavares completely out-grappled Justin Salas once he was able to take him down, and submitted him with relative ease, just like I thought he would. If anything, Tavares won this fight more easily than expected, I would’ve figured Salas would give Tavares more things to think about on the feet. However, Tavares made quick work and had a solid performance. 1-2.
Omari Akhmedov def Thiago Perpetuo via 1st Rd KO
In a bout that knew would be explosive, I never thought it would reach the magnitude that it did. Both of these guys went straight at each other tried to knock each other’s heads off, and both were close to doing so. Perpetuo and Akhmedov exchanged grappling positions, and both had each other hurt at one point in the 3 ½ minutes this bout lasted, but it was Akhemedov’s power that was the deciding factor as he was able to land a counter right hand to drop Perpetuo for the finish. I was expecting a 3-rounder here with Perpetuo edging out on points, but these guys evidently didn’t have a decision in mind when they charged at each other. A highly entertaining bout, but another prediction I had wrong. 1-3 for me.
Sam Sicilia def Godofredo Pepey via 1st Rd TKO
And I redeem myself once again. This fight went exactly how I thought it would with Sicilia exploding on Pepey early in the bout and winning via strikes. Sicilia wasted no time in exposing Pepey’s lack of striking defense on the ground, and exploded with a flurry of strikes for the stoppage. I knew Sicilia’s tight compact frame would benefit him in close engagements like that, and his truckload of power is what made a slight error on Pepey’s part turn into the end of the fight. I conclude the prelims with a 2-3 record, not the greatest, but I’d have to say I was expected more Brazilians to win.