Here are ten highlights, in no particular order, from Saturday night’s UFC show in Boston…
1. Conor McGregor is looking like the real deal. The Irishman brought his brand of striking, laced with a solidly unpredictable ground attack, to win a unanimous decision over Max Holloway. Look for “Notorious” to make some inroads into the upper end of the Featherweight ranks.
2. Michael McDonald looked spectacular in his Bantamweight win over Brad Pickett. The 22-year old Californian hung a 10-8 round one spanking on his British opponent before submitting Pickett in the second round with a triangle-to-armbar-to-triangle submission that was really something to see!!! McDonald was coming off just the second loss in his young career to World Champ Renan Barao. Now at 16-2, McDonald is poised to make another run to the top. But fellow Californian Urijah Faber may be waiting in the wings…
3. Urijah Faber never looked better than Saturday night in Boston. “The California Kid” lost the initial takedown of round one to Iuri Alcantara. Faber spent the next two minutes defending off the bottom before taking control of the second half of round one and all of rounds two and three. Speed, athleticism, and creativity is what Faber is all about, and it was all on display in Boston, as the fan favorite won a unanimous decision, including a couple of 30-26 scores.
4. Just a few hours after the Red Sox dispatched of the Yankees, Boston’s own John Howard made his return to the Octagon a successful one with a split decision win over New York striker Uriah Hall. The much anticipated Middlewieght standup war immediately turned upside down as Hall nailed a double leg takedown just seconds into the first round. “Doomsday” overcame a significant height and reach disadvantage with solid leg kicks, occasional Joe Frazier-esque left hooks, and some well-timed takedowns to secure the split decision win.
5. Michael Johnson brought his “A” game, as he faced Boston’s favorite Lightweight Joe Lauzon. Johnson dominated the fight from wire to wire with crisp combinations and excellent foot work, as he kept the fight standing for nearly all fifteen minutes. Lauzon was no match for Johnson’s striking, and the Bostonian never really tried to take this fight to the ground. In the end, Johnson left the Octagon with his biggest win to date, a one sided unanimous decision victory, as he ruined the moment for Lauzon a twenty thousand Boston MMA fans.
6. Brown and Browne; KO partners:
6-A. Matt Brown ran his winning streak to six with a 29 second KO of fellow Welterweight Mike Pyle. Pyle came in riding a four fight win streak of his own, but he was simply overwhelmed by the onslaught of Brown. Brown came out with both guns blazing and dropped Pyle to the canvas with a body head combination, and then finished his downed opponent with a couple of well placed punches!!!
6-B. Heavyweight Travis Browne, no relation to Matt s you might have guessed from the spelling of their last names, withstood a tremendous barrage of punches and knees, including one very questionable knee to the head of a grounded opponent, from Alistair Overeem early in the first that had referee Mario Yamasaki thinking of stopping the assault. After surviving the onslaught, Browne fought back to his feet and created space and the fight resumed. The 6’7” Browne landed a straight front kick to the face of Overeem and the Dutch striker dropped like a deer out of season. Travis finished the effort with a couple of unobstructed punches to the face of the downed fighter and that’s all that ref Yamasaki wanted to see.
Both Brown and Browne earned a $50,000 KO of the Night bonus.
7. Steven Siler knocked out Mike Thomas Brown, ensuring that this night was not to be a sweep for the Brown (e) family. Siler ran his UFC record to 5-1 with a first round KO of the former WEC World Featherweight Champ. Siler dropped Brown with a short right uppercut and followed the Portland, ME native to the canvas to finish the fight with several unanswered hammerfists, forcing the ref to stop the attack! This win is surely the biggest of Siler’s career.
8. In the Main Event of UFC Fight Night 26, Chael Sonnen choked out Mauricio Rua with just a few seconds left in the first round in their Light Heavyweight bout. Chael out wrestled Rua for nearly the entire first round, grinding and punching and generally making life miserable for the Brazilian. With just 20 seconds left in the round, the American Wrestler decided to give up top position and he grabbed hold of a guillotine and jumped guard. Rua was forced to tap at 4:47 of the first round.
9. Sonnen, while giving his usual post fight speech, called out another Brazilian Wanderlei Silva, saying “Wanderlei Silva, six feet tall, 205 pounds. Until I met you, I didn’t know they could stack crap that high.”
10. McDonald pocketed an additional $100 K, as he scored both Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night bonus money. Other bonus money winners were Pickett, Brown, Travis Browne, and Sonnen.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports