UFC on ESPN+ 8, informally known as UFC Fort Lauderdale, has officially concluded. Among the knockouts, back-and-forth slug fests, and newly emerging contenders, the event had something for everybody. Let’s delve into what took place on the main card fight-by-fight.
UFC Fort Lauderdale Main Card Recap
Ronaldo Souza vs. Jack Hermansson
In a description that could be used for either competitor, this was a short-notice bout against a dangerous grappler. Early in the fight, Jack Hermansson was able to tag Ronaldo Souza and looked to have a tight guillotine, the same choke he finished David Branch with in his last fight.
In an exciting grappling exchange, Souza perfectly defended against the choke. The second round gave us a situation many had hoped to witness- Hermansson’s top game against Souza’s guard. It was interesting to watch play out, but ultimately, Hermansson looked to get the better of the situation. He didn’t come close to finishing the fight, but he landed 95% of his attempted ground strikes on the Brazilian in the first two rounds.
The third round looked much better for Souza. It took place on the feet and Souza kept Hermansson on his heels. He landed several good body shots, and they looked to be slowing Hermansson down.
Though momentum was on Souza’s side going into the championship rounds, Hermansson was able to effectively reverse the tides. As a result, Jack Hermansson defeated Ronaldo Souza via unanimous decision. He overwhelmed Souza on the feet, and on the ground. Due to his astonishing success against the number-four-ranked middleweight in the world, Hermansson arguably broke into the top five rankings.
Ronaldo Souza walks away with a devastating setback in his hunt to earn his first UFC title fight.
Greg Hardy vs. Dmitrii Smoliakov
Despite his inexperience, Greg Hardy’s name-recognition and perhaps his terrifying knockout power landed him in yet another co-main event spot. Hardy’s opponent, Dmitrii Smoliakov was a Russian wrestler, with a 9-2 professional MMA record.
As the fight began, it became immediately apparent that Hardy would not be rushing his attack like he had done in his previous fights. Like any dangerous fast starter, his bull-rush tactics did him well until somebody was able to weather the storm. And that moment came in Hardy’s official UFC debut. But this time, he fought with patience and the results spoke for themselves. Greg Hardy defeated Dmitrii Smoliakov via first round TKO.
Alex Oliveira vs. Mike Perry
Win or lose, Alex Oliveira will usually inflict significant damage in the early going against his opponents. Mike Perry is heavy-handed and loves an opponent who will engage with him. At the very least, Alex Oliveira vs Mike Perry would be a fun match-up.
Before the fight began, Perry and Oliveira were both seen dancing. They each couldn’t have looked happier to be doing battle. As is typical for a ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira fight, the first round appeared to belong to the Brazilian. As Perry grounded Oliveira and landed ground strikes, the second round would assuredly be his. Perry carried his momentum from the second round into the third. Although Oliveira was game, the damage to his body and the all too familiar third round fatigue would again be his downfall.
Mike Perry defeated Alex Oliveira via unanimous decision. This is arguably Perry’s biggest victory in the UFC to date, and he did it in his home state of Florida.
Glover Teixeira vs. Ion Cutelaba
Beginning in April of 2016, Glover Texieira’s MMA record fell into a checkered win-loss-win pattern. Were this trend to continue, he would be due for a loss against Ion Cutelaba. As their fight started, Cutelaba immediately looked faster and stronger than Texeira. Cutelaba even landed a well-timed spinning back-fist that dropped the Brazilian. In the second round, both fighters were landing significant strikes on the feet. The tables turned when the fight hit the ground. Texeira ended up taking Cutelaba’s back and applied a rear-naked choke shortly thereafter. Cutelaba had no other choice but to tap. Glover Texeira defeated Ion Cutelaba via submission at 3:37 of the second round. Texeira gets consecutive victories for the first time since 2016. He’ll be 40-years-old in October.
John Lineker vs. Cory Sandhagen
John Lineker is a known tank in the UFC bantamweight division. He walks through strikes with ease and has some of the heaviest punches known to 135 pounds. Meanwhile, Cory Sandhagen came into this bout after going 3-0 in the UFC. He won all of his fights via finish, and he was gunning for the always-dangerous Lineker as he would anyone else. Fans who had the privilege of knowing just how amazing this match-up was, were salivating at what could come of it. The fight did not disappoint.
Sandhagen tactically utilized his unorthodox and diverse striking game, while Lineker threw and often landed punches equipped with scud missiles. In the end, Sandhagen out-struck Lineker, and won the split-decision victory. Close or not, Sandhagen is proving to be a dangerous contender at bantamweight. He improves to 4-0 in the UFC, and 11-1 overall.
Roosevelt Roberts vs. Thomas Gifford
With only seven pro fights, Roosevelt Roberts had already competed in several promotions. Among other shows, he’s competed for Bellator, Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, and the UFC. He came into this fight undefeated with all of his wins coming via finish.
In the lead up to their clash, Thomas Gifford stated: “it’s either finish or be finished”. Unfortunately for everybody involved, it would be neither. Though Gifford showed heart and provided proof that he could hang in the UFC, the Arkansas product would lose a 30-27 decision on all three judges scorecards.
In his post-fight victory speech, Roosevelt Roberts asked for a fight against Matt “The Steam Rolla” Frevola. He claims to want revenge for his teammate Jalin Turner, who lost a decision to Frevola in early April.
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