Despite there being a definite amount of green fighters on the card, UFC® 180 at Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City was an ideal Saturday night for any UFC® fan.
First-Round Fire: Montano vs. Heatherly, Urbina vs. GarciaIt is very rare for there to be a number of first round finishes in one card, and UFC 180® had plenty.
Even in the early fights, both welterweight fighter, Augusto Montano and middleweight, Hector Urbina, were able to stop their opponents within the first round.
The pink-haired Montano pulled off an impressive number of knee jabs to Chris Heatherly, ending with a knockout. The fight left Montano smirking and the more solidly -built Heatherly clearly mystified.
Although Edgar Garcia seemed in control at the beginning of his middleweight fight, The Ultimate Fighter veteran Urbina used a choke for an almost instantaneous tap from Garcia. This fight marks Urbina’s first UFC® victory, and a notable one at that.
Brutal Loss: Lamas vs. BermudezProbably one of the more heartbreaking losses of the night was that of Dennis Bermudez, who had been working to solidify himself as a title contender for the featherweight division.
The former Ultimate Fighter contestant, who had been on a seven fight winning streak, was making some serious headway in the UFC®. He won two Fight of the Night performances in 2014 alone! Bermudez appeared an obvious win when compared to rookie and fellow college wrestler, Ricardo Lamas.
However, Lamas dropped the energetic Bermudez onto the mat with a jab and was able to get the rising star to tap via a brutal guillotine choke.
The Final Fall: Gastelum vs. Ellenberger
In the co-main event of the night, Jake Ellenberger seemed to seal his fate in one of the biggest falls from MMA royalty in the history of the UFC®.
Having once been one of the biggest names in the welterweight division and known for his lethal combination of meticulous wrestling and hard hits, Ellenberger has been on a quick downward spiral since his shocking loss to Martin Kampmann in 2012. The initial defeat was followed by a decision loss to Rory Macdonald and an embarrassing beating by Robbie Lawler who will fight Johnny Hendricks at UFC 181 in December.
UFC® 180 was no different. Kelvin Gastelum got Ellenburger on his back fairly quickly before performing a rear-naked choke causing him to tap in the last seconds of the first round.
Fight of the Night: Werdum vs. Hunt
And finally, the main event! The heavyweight bout was still unpredictable despite the predicted winner, Fabricio Werdum, receiving the coveted interim heavyweight title.
Mark Hunt, who had only three weeks notice for the fight after current champion Cain Velasquez’ injury, brought some serious intensity in the first round. He dominated Werdum, to the audience’s surprise, with a handful of solid shots and some impressive wrestling. After giving the Brazilian native a legitimate beating, Hunt still seemed hesitant to set in with a finish.
And rightfully so. Werdum appeared bloody but unshaken at the start of the second round.
In the second round, Hunt began again, dropping Werdum with a hard right hand. As he scrambled for a finish, it was ultimately Hunt’s fear of a takedown that distracted him enough for “Vai Cavalo” to come back with a vengeance.
Werdum, in a moment that UFC® lovers live for, ended the fight with a flying knee knockout, winning the interim heavyweight title.
Hunt’s unexpected delivery during the first part of the second round, along with his “Average Joe” body, most likely won him some fans in spite of the loss. The likable New Zealander will surely resurface again.
Werdum will go on to fight defending heavyweight champion Velasquez when he recovers in what Werdum hopes will be a fight in either his native country of Brazil or in Mexico again.
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