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UFC Fight Night 90 Recap: dos Anjos vs. Alvarez

Eddie Alvarez shocked the world by beating Rafael dos Anjos for the Light Heavyweight Championship

UFC Fight Night 90: dos Anjos vs. Alvarez

July 7, 2016

MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, Nevada 

This Fight Pass exclusive event kicked off the official UFC events as part of International Fight Week and boy did it start with a bang. Almost every fight on this card  was good, which was kind of amazing considering it was 5-1/2 hours long. It really set a positive mood leading into a long few days to come.


Fight Pass Prelims


(Welterweight) Vicente “Silent Assassin” Luque vs. Alvaro Herrera

R1: Good first round for Luque. He was able to eventually take down Herrera after an aborted early attempt, where he was able to grind Herrera and land some elbows. Luque focused on kicks when they were standing. Herrera landed a big shot to Luque at about the 90 second mark and also a spinning back elbow later.

R2: Luque changed stance to Southpaw, having a bit of success with body shots and kicks. Luque at this point was 4 for 5 on takedowns and continued to ground and pound Herrera. Luque unsuccessfully attempted to get Herrera’s back, but still managed to land a spinning back elbow on Herrera. He was patient, able to lock in a D’Arce choke after working a grip on Herrera’s head and neck for the sub.

Winner: Vicente Luque

(Bantamweight) Marco Beltran vs. Reginaldo Viera (TUF Brazil S4 winner)

R1: Viera got a big takedown to Beltran, but Beltran grabbed the cage which diminished the effect and gave him the opportunity to get back up quickly. A big shot from Beltran rocked Viera. Beltran did a great job of figuring out Viera’s timing, allowing him to hit and slip out of range with ease. Viera was also cut across the bridge of his nose by the end of the round.

R2: Beltran came out full of energy. Both men were throwing full force with big power shots and doing damage early, trading wobbling shots. Viera seemed to get the best of it, and he was able to pick up Beltran and dump him in the middle of the Octagon. Beltran was taking some damage before he was able to get a big upkick from his back on Viera, followed by a huge heel kick. A triumphant turn of events for Beltran, who was able to flatten Viera out and get a rear naked choke to finish him. Really impressive sub and he showed a ton of heart.

Winner: Marco Beltran

(Lightweight) Gilbert Durinho Burns vs. Lukasz “Wookie” Sajewski

R1: Lukasz got kicked to the ding ding, then after he recovered a bit he made the mistake of coming in to a straight shot by Burns that rocked him. He was able to recover but Burns kicked him in the face a couple of times, really hurting him. Burns had a body triangle and got a last moment armbar that caused Lukasz to tap out with only a few seconds to go. Talk about a dramatic finish.

Winner: Gilbert Burns

(Bantamweight) Felipe Sertanejo Arantes vs. Jerrod “J-Reazie” Sanders

R1: Very active round. A scramble from Arantes allowed him to mount Sanders, but Sanders was able to reverse, getting a full mount. Sanders spent the rest of the round on top landing strikes.

R2: The second round started off all Sanders, who was convincingly dominating from top. Sanders misjudged his position and Arantes took advantage of it, stretching an armbar from below.

Winner: Felipe Arantes

(Bantamweight) Pedro Munhoz vs. Russell Doane

R1: Doane flew out of the shoot fast with 2 body kicks and some stiff punches. Munoz tried to adjust, turning his body to avoid being a direct target for Doane’s body shots. Doane cracked Munhoz, wobbling him significantly, but Munhoz shot on him, taking him down. Munoz was busted up, just dripping blood from his hairline when he leapt into a guillotine to finish the fight. Crazy ending, but still the 5th sub in a row.

Winner: Pedro Munhoz

(Bantamweight) Anthony “El Toro” Birchak vs. Dileno Lopes 

R1: I missed first 2 minutes due to UVerse fuckery, so by the time my internet was back up, Lopes was in human backpack mode on a standing Birchak, leveraging his weight to tire him out. Birchak dumped Lopes, nailing him with a good combination of punches and a couple of kicks that had him off balance. Lopes scrambled out of danger, getting Birchak’s back again, grapevining his leg, using it as a sweep and allowed him to hit a couple of upkicks to the head from back. Also of note, Birchak appeared to have cut his hand, possibly on the cage, but denied it being cut when a doctor questioned him on it after the bell.

R2: Lopes got the better of the first couple of minutes, able to find pockets for action. Birchak reversed the trend, stunning Lopes with a left, and he continued to keep him off balance with shots as Lopes backed up. Lopes attempted to shoot on Birchak, but Birchak was able to continuously stuff those attempts. The last minute was spent in the clench, Lopes grapevining Birchak’s leg again. Birchak had a fairly one-sided striking advantage up to that point in the fight.

R3: Both fighters came out… hugging. After the love fest, they got back to business. Birchak continued to get the better of strike exchanges, while Lopes continued to try to grab and take down Birchak. Round 3 was much more measured with both men being much more tired than when they stated. Lopes realized he was losing, so he tried to Hail Mary a couple of shots, but he was also slower than at first by this point. The end of the fight came with both putting their hands on their hips as a sign of respect, but met with a chorus of boos by the crowd, who wanted fireworks in the final seconds.

(Note: after the fight, Birchak revealed that what we thought was a cut was actually when his thumb broke and poked through the skin, but he popped it back in place. Gross.)

Winner: Anthony Birchak (Split Decision)

(Lightweight) John “The Bull” Makdessi vs. Mehdi “The Sultan” Baghdad

R1: Baghdad looked like he was doing a good job of getting within range and kicking Makdessi, but he did have his leg caught by Makdessi when he stayed in range. Makdessi caught his leg a few times, always getting a shot or two out of it. Makdessi was good at feinting and making Baghdad think he was coming in when he wasn’t, giving some openings. Makdessi was more active, landing more significant strikes. A very close round that could have gone either way.

R2: Baghdad seemed to adjust a bit, moving around more and not staying still as much. He started landing more body/head combos. Makdessi fired a big leg that missed, causing a dramatic slip. Makdessi continued to apply pressure, bringing the wheel kick into his bag of tricks. Makdessi’s dedication to striking paid off with a good showing in round 2.

R3: Baghdad absolutely, positively went into round 3 to finish, landing huge bombs on Makdessi that split him open and had him stumbling. Baghdad tried to hit a flying armbar, but couldn’t sink it in. placing Baghdad on his back where he didn’t want to be. Baghdad got to his feet, landing a huge left to the chin. Makdessi did a great job of recovering even getting some good shots of his own, including a couple of elbows. Makdessi may have been less effective in the round, but he finished strong, just swarming Baghdad and even knocking him down. Exciting last round, even if Baghdad wasn’t able to finish. All in all, a very close fight depending on what you value in scoring. This was a proper war and both men deserve credit for giving it their all.

Winner: John Makdessi (Split Decision)

(Welterweight) Mike “Quicksand” Pyle vs. Alberto “Soldier Of God” Mina

40 year old Mike Pyle, with his short and tight mullet, needs to win this one, his 40th pro fight.

R1: Big leg kicks by Mina were blocked, but they still had to sting. Mina hit a takedown about 2 minutes in, get top position but Pyle controlling him by trapping his arm. Ref Herzog stood them up due to lack of activity. Mina knocked down Pyle with a left, and Pyle grabbed on to Mina to give himself a moment to recover. Mina got a huge takedown again, but Pyle caught him in a guillotine as he fell on top, Mina gave a thumbs up to the ref and the bell sounded.

R2: Mina had Pyle moving back at the beginning of round 2 and he ended up on his back. Pyle threw some leg kicks from his back that Mina was smart enough to not get hit with, backing up. Mina landed a beautiful flying knee to Pyle’s chin, as perfect as they get, knocking him into next week. A barrage of shots later, the ref jumped in to save Pyle, who was O-U-T.

Winner: Alberto Mina


Main Program


(Lightweight) “Irish” Joe Duffy vs. Mitch “Danger Zone” Clarke 

R1: This one was FAST and decisive. Joe Duffy came flying out of the gate, hitting Clarke so hard that he spun and landed on his stomach like he was breakdancing. Duffy SWARMED on Clarke, hitting him fast and hard, then slipped behind him for a rear naked choke that had Clarke tapping. 4th fastest KO in UFC history at 25 seconds.

Winner: Joe Duffy

(Welterweight) Alan “Brahma” Jouban vs. Belal “Remember The Name” Muhammad 

R1: Muhammad able to successfully take down Jouban following a heavy shot. I have no idea how Muhammad made it out of the first round., getting dropped first by a chin punch, then a huge knee, followed by a metric fuck ton of elbows to the head. Big John stood over them, ready to stop it at any moment, but Muhammad was able to miraculously weather the storm.

R2: Muhammad tried to pressure Jouban to start the round, but he was noticeably gun shy. This lead to an opening that Jouban took advantage of, cracking Muhammad, who fell again but quickly recovered. Even if he isn’t as active or successful at striking, you have to give it to Muhammad for being a tough son of a gun full of heart.

R3: The fact that this fight made it to a third round is a minor miracle. Even more of a miracle, Muhammad turned it up and completely turned the tide, landing almost at will for the first time, repeatedly. It was a complete 180, even when he took shots he was moving forward. It was as if Muhammad was possessed. What a couple of lions. This embodies the spirit of all that I love in a fight.

Winner: Alan Jouban

(Heavyweight) “Big Country” Roy Nelson vs. Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis 

Hoss fight time. Roy and his mullet (tied up or not) are going to wreck shop. Someone’s getting pregnant tonight when that much super sex steps into the Octagon.

R1: These are some BIG dudes. Lewis started off with big kicks that looked like they didn’t feel so well and Nelson tried to clench while Lewis patiently let time slip by until Big John broke them up. Lewis hit a head kick that looked deadly and Nelson grabbed him and took him down hard to the canvas. They got back up, but Lewis landed a brutal knee to the body, followed by several dead on shots to the head. Nelson’s chin was definitely tested and I’m happy to report that it still seemed to be present. Big John broke the clench again, which turned out not to be a good thing for Nelson, who ate multiple shots at the time. Nelson was able to get Lewis down with a sweep at the very end of the round before the bell. Nelson also had a huge bright red welt on his stomach from the kicks he absorbed.

R2: Lewis started off with a flying knee, but Nelson seemed to take it well. Think about that sentence: He took a flying knee well. What a man. Nelson tried to start morking Lewis’ legs, using the clench to set up some knees of his own. He was able to trip Lewis and get side control, trying to get Lewis in a crucifix. Lewis was able to get back to his feet, Roy got him down again, and STILL Lewis was able to get back up. AGAIN oy got him down, sweeping to side control, with Lewis saying screw it and just standing up and walking away as the bell sounded.

R3: I had this 1-1 at this point, so this fight is anyone’s. Lewis kept the knee game going and Roy continued the takedowns. Lewis is so strong, just getting up when he could and not being held down by Nelson. The started throwing hands like there was no 4th round, and there wasn’t. This round was the kind of round that makes one run around their house screaming at the top of their lungs (allegedly). Just a batshit crazy slugfest, both landing repeatedly on their chins and heads. Both of these hosses should get a big bad bonus for their performance. I may not have 100% agreed with the decision, but you can’t fault either for their work. In the end, the decision came down to if the judges valued striking or takedowns more, as Lewis landed a disproportionate amount of significant strikes vs Nelson’s takedown party.

Winner: Derrick Lewis (Split Decision)

Rafael Dos Anjos (Lightweight Champion) vs. Eddie Alvarez (#2)

Eddie Alvarez is serious. If you wondered, just listen to him screaming. “Agggggh!” See, he’s totally serious. This fight is going to be a classic. Two of the very best in the world going out and proving who is the best between them. RDA looks ready mentally as he came out as well. Jogging and leaping like a frog all the way to the ring. Here we are, the “MAIN EVENT, OF THE EVENNNNNNNNNNNING!!!” “IT’S TIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME!!!!!!”

R1: This fight looked like it was in 2x speed, just bouncing around and changing up like crazy, feints, heads weaving and bobbing. RDA landed a big uppercut but it didn’t seem to have any effect on Alvarez. Alvarez shot on RDA, but RDA flipped him and almost secured a guillotine. Alvarez quickly got back to his feet. Then IT happened. A BIG left to RDA’s head. He stumbled backwards and Alvarez saw gold in his future. There was not one SECOND for RDA to recover. Alvarez threw gloves like it was the most important moment in his life, like it was what he worked his entire career to achieve. This was one of the most incredible finishes I’ve ever seen and I feel blessed to have been able to witness it. Old Eddie Alvarez is not only back, but he is the new champ. What. A. Night.

Winner: Eddie Alvarez

About the author


I found out the business was a work at the age of 3 and have been a mark ever since. I grew up with a crazy cast of colorful characters around me and wrestling has been in my blood ever since I can remember. I may have taken one too many unprotected chair shots to the head, but I never stay down for long.

Happy to be part of the Wrestling With Words family, whether writing articles about the glory of 6:05, reviewing WWE or MMA PPVs, or jacking my jaw about MMA on Tap or Snap.


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