UFC Fight Night 158: Preliminary Thoughts

UFC Fight Night 158
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - SEPTEMBER 14: Augusto Sakai of Brazil celebrates after his knockout victory over Marcin Tybura of Poland in their heavyweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Rogers Arena on September 14, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)

Saturday night the UFC took their show on the road, setting up shop in picturesque Vancouver, British Columbia. While the main card had a ton of action and featured a highly anticipated main event of Donald Cerrone and Justin Gaethje, we’re going to focus on the preliminaries and break down all the happenings. You can see MMASucka’s pre-fight breakdown of UFC Fight Night 158 here.

UFC Fight Night 158 Prelims

Austin Hubbard def. Kyle Prepolec via Unanimous Decision

In the first fight of the evening, Austin Hubbard and Kyle Prepolec met at lightweight to kick things off. Prepolec was the fan-favorite as the first Canadian to make the walk to the Octagon and the fans were behind him en masse. He came out and executed well in the first round, and the judges all awarded him the opening frame. Hubbard controlled the action on the canvas after that point. He took Prepolec down time and again and used that control to put rounds in the bank. When it was over, Hubbard won a unanimous decision.

An interesting footnote to the fight was that Austin Hubbard had such massive leg swelling after the fight he passed out and had to go to the hospital to get his leg surgically opened up to alleviate the swelling. You can see his thoughts via Instagram, here. Tough way to end the night. 

Louis Smolka def. Ryan MacDonald via Round 1 TKO

Louis Smolka showed up to Vancouver looking for an impressive performance and did he ever have one. He was facing Ryan MacDonald, who was 10-1 heading into the contest. Smolka utilized a steady jab and a straight right hand behind it to score points in the early going. Ryan MacDonald did well to avoid major damage but didn’t seem able to get going. The end came in the first round when Smolka connected with a devastating right hand that sent MacDonald crumbling to the canvas. It was a brilliant performance from Smolka, who has now won five of his last six.

Chas Skelly def. Jordan Griffin via Unanimous Decision

Up next we saw a very entertaining scrap between Chas Skelly and Jordan Griffin. It was one of the more entertaining fights on the card. It was pretty clear what Skelly wanted, and he immediately started searching for takedowns. He was able to transition to a single leg and get Griffin to the canvas. From there he immediately took the back and sunk in both hooks. Griffin spent the next few minutes trying to protect his neck eventually breaking free and landing some big shots as the round expired.

More of the same in the second, as Skelly was interested in getting to the mat. That said, Griffin did a good job landing on the feet and when the action hits the mat. It was Griffin who gets the dominant position and winds up on Skelly’s back. Skelly was standing with Jordan Griffin on his back, and Skelly executed a perfect front flip to escape the position. It was very impressive. The round ended and it was all tied up heading into the third and final round. 

The third round saw Griffin enjoy success standing but ultimately he got trapped on the ground and gave up his back. He tried the same rolling escape but it didn’t work and Skelly had back control with a body triangle. Skelly was exhausted but he controlled the position until there were only a few seconds left. Griffin unloaded and went for a last-second choke, but it wasn’t to be. The fight was over and Chas Skelly won a unanimous decision. It was a fun fight for sure. 

Hunter Azure def Brad Katona via Unanimous Decision

Hunter Azure was making his official debut on the UFC Vancouver card, after earning his contract via the Dana White Contender Series. He was facing established veteran Brad Katona and the Poplar, MT native was looking to debut in style. Azure, who is a tremendous wrestler, opted instead to stand for three rounds and though puzzling, it was effective as he dropped Katona on several occasions. 

Much of this fight took place along the cage, as Katona worked tirelessly for takedowns pretty much non-stop. He was able to take Azure down a few times but didn’t do much with the position sans a transition to the back momentarily in the third round. This fight was decided on how you scored what the fighters did best. Katona lost the standup, he was knocked down twice. He did secure a few takedowns and controlled the action along the cage. In the end, the judges saw the fight for Azure, and he picked up a nice win in his official promotional debut. 

Miles Johns def.  Cole Smith via Split Decision

Miles Johns and Cole Smith were up next and despite the fight going the distance, it wasn’t packed with action. The Vancouver crowd was supporting hometown fighter Cole Smith. In the first round, Cole Smith took Johns’ back standing and they spent the majority of the round in that position. Johns eventually was able to peel Smith off his back, but Smith immediately went after another takedown, slowing the action along the fence. 

The second round saw both men secure takedowns and Smith again found himself on Johns’ back. Johns defended well and wound up on top, and landed some strong ground and pound to close the round. The round was pretty close, and it looked to be tied heading into the final frame. 

The third round was a tale of two halves. Cole Smith had good position against the fence but could not secure the takedown. He just held Johns there, pressed against the cage for a few minutes. Miles Johns was asking the referee for a restart, but it’s not the ref’s job to remove Johns from the cage. With a couple of minutes left, Johns escapes and spends the last 90 seconds punishing Cole with strikes. Cole Smith was rocked and in trouble, as the final bell sounded to end the fight. The judges awarded a split decision to Miles Johns. It was a close fight. 

Augusto Sakai def. Marcin Tybura via Round 1 KO

The last fight of the preliminary card featured heavyweights Marcin Tybura and Augusto Sakai. It was Sakai’s third fight in the UFC and undoubtedly his most impressive. He needed only 50 seconds to dismantle and knockout Tybura.  

Tybura landed a nice kick to the body and then the leg to open the fight, but it was all downhill from there. About 30 seconds in, Sakai started landing jabs and right hands, and finally landed a right hand to the temple and Tybura crashed to the mat in a heap. That 50-second highlight-reel knockout is usually good for a bonus, but not Saturday night. UFC Fight Night 158 was so full action that this knockout didn’t make the cut.

Featured image:
Embed from Getty Images

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here