James Vick vs. Polo Reyes: This is the first fight in the honorable mentions. It was an entertaining fight card all night and this was a perfect way to kick it off. These two had a good back and forth through the first and as we expected, James Vick was able to use his size to his advantage. This fight came to a dramatic end when Vick landed a pair of shots to the side of Reyes' head and dropped him like a brick. We want to put James Vick in at #15 for our rankings and have him fight Evan Dunham next. Those two would be an all out war and close to each other around the ranks.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier: This next fight was the main event of the prelims and ended way too early. These two were going at it and looked like it could have been fight of the night. Dustin was on pace to win this match if it ended by decision. However, in the second round Eddie had Dustin clinched against the cage and while Poirier had a hand on the mat Eddie landed a knee to the head. Now this would be illegal in the old rules, but legal in the new ones and Texas has not adopted the new rules So in this incident it was illegal. Herb Dean, the referee, did not take any action because he forgot he was supposed to be reffing by the new rules. One knee would have been forgivable, but Eddie dropped another and after these two caused Poirier to cripple to his hands and knees, he sends a third. Herb Dean finally takes charge and steps in because the third was illegal in both set of rules. From here the doctors immediately come in and shortly after between the doctors and Dustin himself, declare he is no longer capable to fight. From here we see Herb Dean discussing the matter and say that he plans on calling it a no contest instead of a disqualification because he believes that Eddie didn't see Poirier's hand or knee placement and that they were accidentally illegal. So the fight ended via no contest and it's a no brainer that we want a rematch. I have two big problems with what happened in this fight. First of all, there needs to be something done about these rules, both the fighters and referees have had problems remembering whether or not they are following the new rules and it changes almost every single event. There needs to be some kind of push to get everyone on board or start cutting out the places that refuse. We can't keep having fights like this and fighters like Dustin taking that kind of damage because nobody wants to do anything about setting a standard. The next that bothers me is this fight should have been a disqualification. If it was just the first or second knee then ok I would not have minded because under the new rules they would have been legal. BUT, this third knee was illegal no matter which rule-set is used, with how much of Eddie's weight was against Poirier I refuse to believe he couldn't feel him slump to the ground, and I feel that referees have zero right to declare they know what is going on in someone else's head.
Krzysztov Jotko vs. David Branch: This fight may have been the worst fight on the card. The problem was David Branch had a lot of stalling. By the numbers this was a very close and active fight, but there were a lot of times where Branch would get the clinch and instead of working anything he would hold the cage with both hands and amazingly the ref let him do it. Jotko was noticeably bewildered by Branch's clear efforts to coast by and rack up control time while the ref made no effort to correct him. This fight ended in split decision in favor of David Branch and while I feel bad for the situation, Jotko could have done more to avoid the judge's decision. For that we have him going down a couple ranks and at the time we are looking for David Branch's proper place in the division.
Frankie Edgar vs. Yair Rodriguez: This next fight was a clinic for as long as it lasted. There was belief that Yair could come in and tear Frankie up, but Frankie proved just the opposite. Edgar took Rodriguez to the ground rather quickly in the first and just pummeled him. In between rounds doctors came in to assess the damage Yair had sustained on his left eye. He had massive swelling under his eye and seemed as if he could not see. Things happened rather quickly here, with things being said and actions being taken without, in my opinion, a full assessment of the whole event. Yair made two claims that could be heard clearly through the tv which where him feeling like something is pressed against his eye and the other being that he can still see. Without waiting for, just about anything really, the referee immediately called off the fight upon hearing the first statement. Given the evidence the tv audience had to work with I don't completely disagree with his decision, but I feel it was too quick. There was practically no time given to assess the validity of Yair's claim to still see. I believe the doctors should have been allowed to test it and if they proved it had merit, then a different outcome should have been achieved. Another issue discussed was the possible liability of allowing him to fight if there really was bone damage. I found a copy of the bill that New York passed when allowing MMA in their state and it is very close to other state commission's. Paraphrased, it says the referee holds sole responsibility for anything that happens in the fight and they can only be found negligent if any injury obtained is directly the result of the referee "breaching his duty to the injured fighter." In this situation I believe that it is very likely that nothing could be held against the referee if he decided to allow Yair to fight due to his claims of being able to see. We agreed that Edgar should move on to fight the winner of Aldo vs. Holloway and Yair should go against Cub Swanson. As much as he seems to fumble with these opportunities, Edgar should still be in place for a title shot and seeing Yair fight Cub could provide a fight of the night for any card that it's on.
Demian Maia vs. Jorge Masvidal: This fight was almost exactly like we predicted. Demian Maia spent most of the fight grappling and saw a lot of success with it. In the first round he managed backpack position and was there for several minutes while Jorge was becoming noticeably gassed. In the second there were a lot of missed shots by Maia and it became apparent that was all he was concerned with. This is where Masvidal started to come back because there was a lot of openings for him to land. In the third Maia was able to gain another takedown and kept control for most of the round. Demian Maia gained a win here by decision and proved he is one step closer to fighting for the title. After the match he went to Dana and told him to book the Champ next, to which Dana responded he would oblige so Demian Maia is going to fight Tyron next for the welterweight title, Jorge Masvidal should go up against Carlos Condit next. His last fight was also a loss to Maia and to see these two go at it would not only be exciting, but show who deserves to be in the top 5 more and who may be one of the next in line for a title.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Jessica Andrade: In the co-main Jessica Andrade took an early lead. The judges scored round one in favor of Joanna, but I disagree. Andrade landed two takedowns, really pushed the pace and gathered a good amount of control time. From there Joanna really turned it on. Even though she continued her backward progression, she managed to duck a lot of shots while piling a bunch of her own combos. Andrade kept trying to close the distance, but she messed up by getting too close. Once she initiated the clinch she spent too much time working takedowns that weren't coming and taking too much damage with no payoff. Jedrzejczyk took this win by unanimous decision and this puts her one defense away from tying Ronda Rousey's record for women's title defenses. Joanna is starting to look unstoppable at this point and we think her best matchup will come with whoever wins the fight coming up between Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Both women have already fought her, but they are at the top of the weight class and maybe one of them can see something nobody else does. For Jessica Andrade we think that Rose Namajunas would be the right fight. Both fighters are good strikers and it would be entertaining to see who should be above the other in the rankings.
Stipe Miocic vs. Junior Dos Santos: This final fight of the night showed Stipe Miocic plowing through another tough heavyweight veteran. This fight was over rather quickly with Stipe getting a definitive TKO for his second title defense. This puts him in position to become the first UFC heavyweight to defend the title three times in a row. Five other heavyweights have successfully defended it twice, but Stipe may become the first to defend it three times. We want to see him go up against Francis Ngannou next. Many people want to see Cain fight next and we disagree because he isn't healthy yet. Stipe took almost no damage and could come back as soon as he wanted where he would have to wait for Cain to be 100% before even all the time it would take for the fight camp. Ngannou is ready and he is a monster. He could take Stipe a while and these two may give the heavyweight division a fight it hasn't seen in a long time. We would however like to see Cain fight Junior. Junior has been asking to keep his fights with Cain going due to the draw it brings the division and has already said he would wait for him. We believe these would be what's best for the division.