UFC Glasgow – Finally a 2017 Card that packed a Punch

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Guest Blogger – Logan Winger

UFC Glasgow was not without surprise, thanks to a couple of fights that took everyone by surprise and not just the fighters on the receiving end. Sunday’s event marked the second visit for the UFC to Glasgow, Scotland and thankfully this time there was some action for the fans to remember. The Preliminary card was packed with exciting fights from veterans as well as rising stars.

The Women’s Bantamweight division saw Leslie Smith bring her winning streak to two fights since her loss to Cris “Cyborg” in 2016. In this bout against a very hard hitting Amanda Lemos, Smith just simply kept the pressure on until Lemos had nothing left in the tank. Up to the fight ending flurry from Smith that resulted in a TKO victory, the fight would have been difficult to call. Both Women showed tremendous heart and scary power. I love the growth of the Women’s divisions in the UFC and cannot wait to see both of these women back in the Octagon.

After a pair of unanimous victories for Brett Johns and Danny Henry(Winner of the Fight of the Night bonus), the fans were witness to an odd, yet incredible KO victory.

Galore Bofando and Charlie Ward had barely even had a chance to get a feel for one another, when a botched throw by Ward and an aggressive shoulder shuck from Bofando ended with Ward getting knocked out by the canvas.

Literally. If you have not seen the highlight yet, let me tell you, it is worth seeing just for the “what the ….” factor. Bofando took no chances on whether Ward was going to stand back up by diving in for a few solid punches before the referee slipped between the two fighters. Of all the ways to lose a fight, that has to be among the most disappointing ways.

 

The last two fights of the Preliminary card managed to shine pretty bright too, ending in a rear-naked choke from Pantoja midway through the 3rd and final round, and a spectacular left hook from Danny Roberts that put Bobby Nash to sleep.

All-in-all, the Prelims were as exciting and eventful to watch as most Main Card fights have been in recent months, and in my opinion, they may have even trumped the Main Card for 113 as well.

The Main Card was an oddly consistent series of fights with 3 decision victories and 3 KO victories playing leapfrog. It all started with a dominating unanimous decision win for Justin Willis over James Mulheron that took me by surprise. Not that I didn’t feel like Willis won, but rather that I didn’t think he would win.

Following that Heavyweight bout, Khalil Rountree and Paul Craig faced off. Thankfully this fight ended in the 1st round because neither of these fighters showed any form of captivating aggression or pressure until the final seconds before the fight was stopped. Rountree essentially mocked Craig and stayed out of his range for the first four and a half minutes, only landing and absorbing a handful of punches and even fewer kicks.

Finally Craig got backed against the cage and Rountree cut off his exit with a vicious right cross that looked to temporarily shut out the lights for Craig. A few nasty hammer fists from Khalil later and the fight was over with just 4 seconds left in the round. Rountree absorbed a fair amount of boos from the crowd for standing over his beaten opponent, post KO, but it was certainly an exciting end to the fight.

At Middleweight, we got to see a very back and forth fight between Jack Marshman and Ryan Jones. Both fighters had the chance to put the other fighter away in this on, but somehow neither fighter got knocked out and a very swollen faced Marshman took the win via Unanimous Decision.

That is a fight I would love to see a rematch of at some point in the future. Next up was a lightweight bout between Paul Felder and Stevie Ray. This fight gave Felder a share of the Performance of the Night bonus, and for good reason. After a very closely contested first 3 minutes, where both fighters were digging for control in the clinch, Felder struck gold with a knee to Ray’s chin that buckled him. Felder immediately tried to finish but Ray was able to pull guard. Unfortunately for Ray, his return to the Octagon in Glasgow would not end in a victory like his first. Instead, Felder planted a couple strikes and then a pair of well placed elbows to end Ray’s night.

Sundays Co-Main Event was a Catchweight fight at 118lbs between Cynthia Calvillo and Joanne Calderwood(missed weight). There is something to be said about how entertaining Calvillo’s fights turn out to be.

It seems like every fight I have seen in and outside of the UFC has been a roller coaster of a fight. This fight was no different. As sometimes happens, the Judges were watching a different fight than 99% of us out there, scoring the fight 30-27 x2 and 29-28. Anyone who actually watched the fight knows that at best the fight should have been scored 29-28 x3 and the first round could have arguably been considered a draw. Both fighters pressed each other, Calvillo with furious hooks and snappy jabs, and Calderwood with long range kicks to the body and legs and well timed hooks when Calvillo would close the distance.

Calvillo landed a pair of takedowns in the fight, which undoubtedly contributed to her final score with the Judges. Unfortunately for Calderwood, if there was any doubt about who the winner should be, the second takedown and the following rear-naked choke sealed the deal. Calvillo’s win bringing her young career to a 6-0 start.

The Main Event of the evening pitted MMA Veterans Santiago Ponzinibbio and Gunnar Nelson against each other in a Welterweight matchup. Coming into this fight, it was hard to gauge which fighter would walk away victorious.

Ponzinibbio is a very heavy handed Welterweight, winning 14 out of 25 fights via KO or TKO. On the other hand, Nelson is equally as successful at submitting his opponents. Once the fight got started it appeared as though Nelson quickly figured out his range as he fired off a few combinations with decent success in the first minute. It looked like Ponzinibbio was just circling, biding his time to throw one of his bombs. Fortunately for all of us fight fans, we didn’t have to wait long. Ponzinibbio swung for the fences and landed an hard right cross that nearly brought Nelson down but he somehow recovered. His recovery was just long enough to give Ponzinibbio a nice square target against the cage to tee off on, which he did, landing a handful of punches one of which shut out the lights on Nelson. Another impressive KO victory to end the evening in Glasgow.

The UFC has had some struggles lately. Trouble retaining fighters, keeping fighters healthy, and just simply providing you and I with entertaining fights consistently.  I have high hopes that this Fight Night helps turn that around. The match-makers nailed it on this one, whether they realized it or not. Maybe this will show them that trying to revive older and more legendary fight careers should not take their focus far off of grooming next years class of Champions. We can but hope.

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