UFC Ultimate Fighter Finale Recap: Jedrzejczyk vs Gadelha 2
July 8, 2016
MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, Nevada
This was an insane weekend, with so much MMA content to absorb. For myself, due to a combination of internet issues and obligations that were planned for months, I was unable to watch the prelims of Fight Night, but was able to catch the main card.
Joaquin Silva vs Andrew Holbrook
Round 1: This was a FAST fight. Don’t blink or you may miss it. Holbrook was stationary while Silva moved around like crazy, grabbing Holbrook’s leg and flipping him backwards, clipping him a ton of times with hammer fists before the ref jumped in to stop it. 33 seconds of domination.
Winner: Joaquin Silva
Doo Ho Choi vs Thiago Tavares
Round 1: These guys were amped going in. Tavares was able to get a leg takedown, but Choi looked like he was at home on the mat, patiently waiting for an opportunity to stand up while Tavares spent a ton of energy to hold him down. Choi hit Tavares with a MONSTER shot, blacking him out with one right punch and caused him to crumble straight down. He followed up with another shot, Herb Dean jumping in to spare Tavares for any more damage.
Winner: Doo Ho Choi
Ross Pearson vs “Ill” Will Brooks
Round 1: Ross with leg kicks early on, Brooks looking for Pearson’s head. Brooks had the strike advantage by a small margin, but nothing that felt dominant by any means.
Round 2: Brooks stayed in the pocket, moving his head to stay aloof. Pearson chopped with his legs, but punches were mostly ineffective. Brooks was able to take down Pearson with relative ease, which is in his wheelhouse. He got Pearson’s back and Brooks got a hook in, but Pearson escaped to the fence. There was a lot of clench work followed by small maneuvering for position until Brooks fired off a big knee that knocked Pearson back. Pearson retaliated with his own big knee, this time it sent Brooks to the floor, but Pearson didn’t have time to capitalize before the bell.
Round 3: The third round started off with Pearson showing he meant business and wanted to play catch up for the last couple of rounds. Brooks did not let him walk through him either, winging kicks and knees to the body. Brooks fired some very big shots that Pearson slipped, bobbing and weaving with great success. Pearson was digging in hooks to the body as well, though he also absorbed damage from Brooks. Pearson exhibited ring generalship, repositioning Brooks into the corner and getting quite a few unanswered shots in. Brooks was able to take down Pearson, but he got up quickly. They went out on fire, exchanging elbows and knees to the body.
Due to the dominant third round, the audience was not happy when they announced the winner as Brooks, but in my mind and the judges’, Brooks won both the first and second round.
Winner: Will Brooks
Tatiana Suarez vs Amanda Cooper (TUF23 Women’s Strawweight Finale)
Round 1: Suarez quickly got Cooper to the ground, reigning down from top position. She gave Cooper the opportunity to attempt an arm bar, but Cooper was unable to lock it in. Suarez pulled some distance when she regained top control, hitting Cooper with some stiff shots before Cooper swept her, getting side control off of a heel hook. Cooper attempted a guillotine, then pulled her hair when she lost it, getting a series of hammerfists to the face for it. Suarez hooked a necktie and spun with Cooper until it was fully locked. Cooper had no choice but to tap to save herself. We have a new TUF23 Women’s Strawweight winner and hopefully a new contender in the Strawweight division.
Winner: Tatiana Suarez
Khalil Rountree vs Andrew Sanchez (TUF 23 Light Heavyweight Finale)
Coming in from the Ultimate Fighter tournament, Rountree failed to win his initial fight, but ended up being a replacement due to injury of another competitor, but still ended up winning his next fight to get himself in the finale. Really great story. Sanchez is a hell of a man, fighting the toughest opponents he could to secure his own spot in the finale.
Round 1: Rountree fought with more of a traditional pugilistic stance, while Sanchez stayed on his heels, bouncing and changing angles to keep off his game. stuffed the first takedown attempt, but Sanchez was able to secure the second, though was able to get to the cage to get up. Sanchez had the advantage grappling-wise and had the strength advantage. Sanchez fought smartly, leveraging his weight to tire and allow him to get some shots from behind while tying up his wrist and leg. Very much Sanchez’s round.
Round 2: Sanchez looked like he had a lot taken out of him while doing so much to keep Rountree down in the first round. Rountree was able to get some big shots on Sanchez. Sanchez applied the same game plan in this round, spending most of his time trying to (successfully or unsuccessfully) to take down Rountree. Sanchez was able to lob a lot of shots while he had Rountree down, and Rountree looked like he didn’t have an answer for him. Sanchez had Rountree’s wrist controlled and wrapped his leg in a position that made it difficult for him to stand. Sanchez continued to attack, busting Rountree’s nose in the process. Perfect game plan executed for Sanchez.
Round 3: Rountree tried to leg kick Sanchez when he saw that Sanchez was obviously gassing and had his hands down. Rountree was able to land some big hammer fists and also stuff Sanchez’s takedown. Sanchez was able to do an inside leg trip to get him down, gain top position and dominate him. He passed to Rountree’s back for a choke attempt, making sure Rountree’s arm was trapped again as well. The crowd may not have been impressed, but I thought Sanchez executed his plan in a very effective way.
Winner: Andrew Sanchez
Joanna Jedrzekzyk (c) vs Claudia Gadelha (#1) (Strawweight Championship)
Round 1: No touching of gloves, this is a blood feud. Things escalated crazy fast with a knockdown from a jab by Claudia, who got top position for a moment before Joanna was able to stand back up. Claudia was so strong, controlling most of the clenches and leveraging Joanna to throw her down and strike from the ground. Joanna may have had the advantage when she had enough of an opening to strike properly, but Claudia did a great job of making sure that she didn’t have distance, utilized the clench and tried to take her down as much as possible where she had the advantage. Good round for both, but I saw the round for Claudia.
Round 2: Joanna tried to use her striking advantage early, and like the first round, Claudia used the clench to neutralize. Claudia was able to power Joana to be off balance, then hip tossed her to the ground. Claudia tied up Joanna’s leg to hold her down and started teeing off. Even when Joanna got up, Claudia had her leg, so Joanna’s shots weren’t very effective. Claudia continued to press Joanna against the cage, but Joanna was able to fall and roll, getting on top of Claudia for a moment before Claudia pressed her to the cage again.
Round 3: This is where things started to change. Whether or not it was due to being depleted of energy due to so much clenching or pressing Joanna, Claudia started to absorb punishment. Joanna started to strike more, but Claudia was effective at countering as well. As with the previous rounds, Claudia pressed Joanna against the cage, but this time Joanna used short elbows to break it up, then started hitting Claudia to the body to make her pay. Joanna dominated her in striking, knocking Claudia back and to the canvas, but Joanna told her to stand up. Joanna landed several combinations but Claudia threw a big elbow that made Joanna fall. They went on an elbow strike party before the round ended. Definitely Joanna’s round.
Round 4: Championship round time. Joanna showed us why she is known as “Joanna Champion”, proving her heart. Coming out of adversity in the first 2 and a close round 3, Joanna utilized her range and started landing shots at a greater ease. Claudia’s effectiveness diminished at a noticeable rate, spending much of the round chasing Joanna but being too slow by this point to truly do any damage. Claudia’s breathing was labored by now and her takedowns were easily stuffed due to the fact that she was spent.
Round 5: Claudia tried to press Joanna against the cage to take her down again, but Joanna proved she was a freak, stuffing the takedown attempt with her powerful legs and her crazy flexibility. Joanna was bouncing around like she could go multiple more rounds, using a push kick to the face and making herself hard to hit. Joanna pulled a Claudia, pushing her against the fence and taking her down before telling her to get up. They went back to the center of the Octagon and Joanna ducked or blocked most of Claudia’s shots while landing a bunch of her own. She threw multiple punches at once and started landing elbows galore. She cut Claudia at the end in what was a very dominant round.
That fight is exactly why I love Joanna. Adversity in first 2 rounds, domination in last 3. Looked so crisp all the way to the end.
Both women proved to be classy in win and defeat. Joanna put Claudia over and said she was a tough opponent, and Claudia appeared to squash her beef
Winner: Joanna Jedrzekzyk
Overall, this was a solid but fairly missable show with a hell of a main event and a couple of fast KOs, though I can’t speak for the prelims. Considering there were 36 UFC fights this weekend, if I had to choose what to watch, I would definitely spend most of my time watching the Fight Night and UFC200 shows instead. That said, make sure you catch Joanna Jedrzekzyk vs Claudia Gadelha no matter what.