UFC Fight Night 124 Results: Stephens Cracks & TKO’s Choi in the Second Round. Jessica-Rose Gets a Big Win Over VanZant.

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Three comebacks in tonight’s Fight Night event were nothing short of a miracle as Kyung Ho Kang, Darren Elkins and the Hall of Famer Matt Huges showed off their grittiness. The Fight of the Night award went to the main event as Stephens and Choi picked up $50,000 for their fight. Marco Polo Reyes took $50K for his KO win over Matt Frevola and Darren Elkins took the Performance of the Night bonus.

PRELIMINARY CARD

Mads Burnell defeated Mike Santiago via unanimous decision. Featherweight Burnell missed weight for this bout and the fight was agreed on a catchweight. Burnell bounced back from his previous loss as handed Sanitago his second consecutive loss inside the octagon. It was Burnell’s takedowns and ground game that got him the much-needed victory. Santiago did respond back with his defence and counter attacks but that couldn’t keep away Burnell’s relentless attacks. The extra weight Burnell carried into the fight did come at an advantage as he spend most of the time on the top smothering Santiago. Burnell continued with his game plan right into the final round as he sensed Santiago fade away with his pressure.

What’s Next: With a bad weight cut, Burnell should focus on his nutrition and diet for his next fight. Another missed weigh in and his reputation would be at stake. Nonetheless, Burnell has a lot of catching up to do in the featherweight division.

J.J. Aldrich defeated Danielle Taylor via unanimous decision. Aldrich needed a round to get things heated up as she took Danielle to the deep waters in the second and third round. Aldrich made better use of her 5inch height advantage as she kept finding the target for her punches. Danielle looked to avoid the strikes and kept back peddling the whole time. Aldrich gained confidence in the later rounds and continued her pressure which took its toll on Danielle. By the end of the third round, Danielle was all weathered out while Aldrich looked ready to go another two rounds.

What’s Next: After losing her UFC debut, Aldrich picked up her second dominant win. She’s not yet ranked and there are a lot of good strawweight’s above her, but she needs a couple of more wins before she gets a ranked opponent.

Jessica Eye defeated Kalindra Faria via split decision. Dropping 10 lbs and moving to the flyweight division was the right move for Jessica Eye as she snapped her four-fight losing skid. But it didn’t come easy as she got hit with a heavy head kick early in the first round, but held on till she got her senses back. Kalindra Faria was unable to fend off Jessica’s takedown and ground game as she gave up her back in the second. In the final round, both the flyweights didn’t hold back and landed several punches and kicks. Jessica landed two takedowns and controlled most of the fight on the top earning the split decision in the judges score card.

What’s Next: With this win Jessica Eye should be able to save her job in the UFC and look for more fights in the flyweight division. A fight with Jessica Rose Clark would be a good test for Jessica Eye in her next appearance.

Kyung Ho Kang defeated Guido Cannetti via submission. It was the first ‘come back’ win of the night and what a comeback it was. Kang got wobbled by early strikes but survived to lock up a triangle choke on Guido at 4:53 secs of the first round. Guido landed his left and dropped Kang to the mat hurting his right eye. Kang got back up and moments later had his own takedown landed and got the better position to lock the choke. Guido did everything to fend off and even lifted Kang up to the cage, but the pressure was too much, he dropped and tapped out.

What’s Next: Kang picks up his win after four years and looked incredible in tonight’s performance. He needs few more legit competitors and impressive wins to break into the #15 bantamweight spot.

Irene Aldana defeated Talita Bernardo via unanimous decision. The 5.8” Aldana proved too much for the shorter Brazilian who relied mostly on her ground game to stay relevant in the game. Aldana’s striking did much of the damage to Talita’s bad head movement and footwork resulting in a bloodied face. There was a huge gap in terms of the striking skills between the two. Talita proved she was resilient and for a brief moment let her hands do the talking as she landed some decent shots on Aldana. By the end of the third, Talita has taken enough beating but survived only to lose on the scorecards.

What’s Next: Irene Aldana picked up her first win after two straight losses in the UFC. Her striking is at par with any of the female bantamweights. With this win she should make her mark in the top 15 spot and challenge some better ranked opponents. Talita has now lost two in a row and her next win decides her future in the UFC.

Marco Polo Reyes defeated Matt Frevola via knockout. Both the lightweights were too eager to throw down and engage in a brawl. But it was Mexico’s Marco who got the better of the wild exchange and he let his hands do the talking as he landed a straight right and left hook combo that had Matts mouthpiece flying away.

With more combinations landing, Marco wobbled Matt and dropped him to the mat. Matt quickly got back up and landed his right knee showing he’s still very much in the game. With a minute left in the first round, Marco landed a straight right sending Matt to the ground.

What’s Next: Marco gets back onto the win column with a solid KO win tonight and proved his striking skills against an undefeated Matt. There are excellent strikers in this division as you move up the division, but Marco needs to be vary of his wild fighting style. If he sticks to the game plan and gets few more wins this year, then he can look up climbing the divisions ladder.

James Krause defeated Alex White via unanimous decision. Wrestling saved James Krause tonight as he struggled to avoid the striking of Alex White and repeatedly took the fight to the mat. Alex did manage to bloody up James and the judges scored the win in James’ favour. But the local crowd was not in the mood to acknowledge the winner who took most of the damage. Alex kept on the pressure and moved forward while James dodged few shots and took him to the ground. In his post-fight win, James was right in admitting this wasn’t his best performance.

What’s Next: With a performance like tonight’s, it’s tough for James to break into the top 15 like he wished for. Getting a ranked opponent next would prove his mettle and whether he can take on better fighters.

MAIN CARD

Darren Elkins defeated Michael Johnson via submission. The second comeback win of the night was not hard to predict when you have Darren Elkins on the other side of the cage. Knowing his previous performances, you can’t count out Elkins until he’s been knocked out or running short of time. Michael Johnson should have known this in his training camp but learned it the hard way when he was choked out at 2:22 secs of the second round. Johnson wobbled Elkins early in the first round with his superior striking. Elkins took the beating like he always does without affecting his cardio or grittiness. He stayed in the game as the fight progressed into the second where Johnson slowed down. Elkins caught the kick from Johnson and quickly took him down. Elkins took Johnson’s back during the scramble and wrapped the rear naked choke.

What’s Next: This is Elkins’ biggest career win as he extends his win streak to six since the last three years. Defeating the #10 ranked Johnson should see him break in the #15 spot and another ranked opponent.

Kamaru Usman defeated Emil Meek via unanimous decision. While many fight fans felt Usman’s performance to be boring, what they couldn’t see was the sheer technicality in his game. He said he was on 30% tonight, imagine if Usman was on 100% what could be the result. After being caught into a guillotine choke, Usman turned the fights direction into his favour as he schooled Meek in grappling, ground and pound. In the top position, Usman landed elbows and punches to shut off Meek’s offence.

What’s Next: Usman stays undefeated in the UFC with seven wins in just three years. He’s called out the #3 ranked Colby Covington, which might be too early given the lesser named opponents he had to face. He could be matched against Santiago, Magny, or Till in his next fight.

Jessica-Rose Clark defeated Paige VanZant via unanimous decision. Looks like fighting on short notice and winning has become a thing or two for Jessica-Rose who took on a 11-day notice to face against the much popular VanZant. Clark defended against a hip throw and took on the top position from where she dictated two rounds beating VanZant on the ground. VanZant’s efforts went in vain as she was taken down and controlled heavily without giving any room for changing of guard. In the second, VanZant managed to secure a top position, only to be locked into a triangle choke by Clark. Unable to finish her, the third round was contested on the feet. VanZant apparently injured her right hand in the first round, which resulted in her performance.

What’s Next: Having competed six times in the last 18 months, #10 ranked flyweight Clark needs a break and not rush into another fight. There are some big names like Rachael, Liz Carmouche whom she could face next.

Jeremy Stephens defeated Doo Ho Choi via TKO. A fan friendly main event ended in the second round when Stephens finally dropped Choi with a solid overhand right. Both the featherweights opened the fight kicking each other’s legs. A front kick from Choi landed right on the button but Stephens remained in the game only to be evoked as he responded violently. They both continued exchanging leather and trading punches in the second round. A right hand from Stephens staggered Choi, who sensed he needs to use of them. Stephens caught Choi with his hands low with a heavy overhand right that had Choi’s head tilted to the right dropping on the ground.

What’s Next: A faceoff with Josh Emmett could be another crazy fight for Jeremy. But he seeks a higher ranked opponent in Ortega who waits for his round for the title shot.

Sohail Syed

Sohail Syed

Writer, Fitness Trainer, Boxing & Kickboxing Coach, Marketing & Branding Professional with 10+ years of experience.

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