Darren Till has been proclaiming all week that he’s the greatest fighter of all time and he showed in his fight vs. Cowboy Cerrone that he might be on his way. Till came out patient and calculated, landing shots when given the opportunity before finding and opening with an elbow and a left hand that dropped Cowboy before the referee came in and stopped the fight by TKO at 4:20 of the first round. Till was sensational, landing just 24 strikes but all of them were significant and busted up Cowboy before earning the stoppage. Cerrone looked like the smalled fighter and knew he had to incorporate some wrestling to get the fight into the later rounds. He landed a takedown but Till was back up just as fast as he hit the mat. He patiently came forward and stalked Cowboy, who could evade the big strikes that stopped the fight. Till improves to 16-01 to remain unbeaten.
As expected, Karolina Kowalkiewicz was just too much for Jodie Esquibel in her Octagon debut, bringing technique, power and precision into the fight with her spectacular striking to earn a unanimous decision win, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27. Kowalkiewicz scored 142 total strikes (127 significant strikes) on her way to the one-sided victory. She mixed up knees and punches to keep Esquibel off balance and score continuously throughout the fight. That’s four wins in the UFC now for Kowalkiewicz, who improves to 11-2 overall.
Jan Blachowicz put together a complete performance in his home country and managed a submission win against Devin Clark by rear naked choke at 3:02 of the second round. Blachowicz got ahold of Clark’s neck on the fence and pulled off a standing rear naked choke without any hooks and Clark was forced to tap out. Blachowicz picks up his third UFC win and it was a needed one after two losses in a row. He out-struck Clark, 50-31 in the fight and landed his only takedown attempt.
THEY SAID IT:
Jan Blachowicz: “It was an amazing feeling. It will stay with me for the rest of my life. He made a mistake and I knew how to make the most of that. I feel really good overall. My opponent hit me twice and I really felt the punches but I was able to make the most of the mistake he made. I will remember this moment for a very long time. So many people have travelled here to see me – my family, parents, my partner, my friends from Poland and from all over so it’s very special for me. It’s an amazing feeling to think that I can be a part of Polish MMA history. I have known Joanna [Jedrzejczyk] for more than ten years now. She really inspires me and it’s great to feel a part of this sport in Poland. Whoever the UFC gives me next, I will take it. But I would like to fight Shogun Rua next. When I first started training in MMA, I used to watch him and so it would be an amazing feeling to fight with someone like him. His style and my style would make a really great fight.”
Oskar Piechota impressed in his debut, out-striking Jonathan Wilson, 80-17, and a takedown to earn the unanimous decision win, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27.
THEY SAID IT:
Oskar Piechota : “This is a great feeling. Jonathan was a really hard guy and he did a good job. I got a bit tired out there after I tried to submit him so I lost a lot of energy. But overall I feel really happy to win. The last submision was nearly there but I didn’t quite have enough time. If I had had more time, I could have got it I think. This whole experience has been great. The UFC is really professional and organised, and the fans have been amazing. The crowd took my level even higher tonight. Without them it would have been a lot harder. Now I want to just get better and better and show them what I can do. I feel the excitement from the fans and the media – it gives me more energy but also does put more pressure on me sometimes.”
Submission specialist Marcin Held picked up his first win in the UFC
THEY SAID IT:
Marcin Held: “I feel great. This was my first win in the UFC, which is a beautiful thing. My opponent was tougher and better than I expected but that’s a good thing. I like fights like that as they push me so I have to thank him for the fight. It was amazing to walk out there and hear the crowd. It was such a great feeling. I will come back even better after this. I would like to fight as soon as possible but it all depends on what the UFC wants so I’ll wait for them. Before this fight, I would have said that I don’t mind where I fight in the world but now I realise how everything is much better and much easier when I fight close to home. To the fans here tonight, I would like to say thank you for the huge noise in the arena. I will try in the future to give you all even bigger and better fights.”
Brian Kelleher has quickly become one of the most entertaining prospects in the UFC. The New York product picked up his second UFC win in Gdansk, bouncing back from a disappointing submission loss in his second fight against Marlon Vera. Kelleher showcased his skills, out striking Stasiak throughout the fight and stuffing 10 of 11 takedown attempts before connecting with a right and a left to drop Stasiak before finishing the fight by TKO at 3:39 of the third round. Kelleher came close on two submissions in the fight and ended up out-landing Stasiak, 103-46 in total strikes for the bout.
THEY SAID IT:
Brian Kelleher: “I had a lot of fun out there. That was probably one of my most fun fights. It took everything I had to finish him, he’s a really tough guy. He brought the best out in me, which I have to thank him for. That was awesome. There’s just something about the journey to get here, I’m out of my comfort zone, I’m coming into enemy territory, it just brings this fire out in me to come here and take the home guy out. I didn’t want to speak too soon but after this fight I want to get one more in this year. I want to be the Cowboy Cerrone of the bantamweight division. I want to stay active, you know. If I’m always healthy, I’m always training so why not make money and do what I love and continue to fight? I’m hoping they put me back in in December. I’m wouldn’t mind John Lineker if he gets passed his next opponent, if he comes out on top then I want to stick with that fight.”
Ramazan Emeev dominated a subdued Sam Alvey, who couldn’t make weight after taking fight on 10 days noticed. Emeev picked up the unanimous decision win, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27. Emeev picked up just one takedown on nine attempts. Alvey did a good job keep it standing but he used all his energy to do so. Emeev almost doubled Alvey in significant strikes, 50-29 in the fight.
THEY SAID IT:
Ramazan Emeev: “The fight was very good. I know that my opponent was quite slow, I tried to look for the takedowns but he had a strong head and a strong heart. I hope that my future opponents will not pick up injuries and that they will make weight. I was a little bit annoyed with Sam before the fight because he was heavier than me and I made the weight but he didn’t, so I felt he had the weight advantage but it is what it is. I enjoyed fighting here in Poland. I was able to see some friends and the crowd were great so it was good to be here in Europe.”
Andre Fili came in with a great gameplan and neutralized Artem Lobov’s power to earn a one-sided unanimous decision win, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27. Lobov landed 82 total strikes to just 70 for Fili, but the Team Alpha Male product landed one more significant strike in the fight (58-57) and landed an impressive five of six takedown attempts that led to 4:21 of control on the ground. Fili avoids the first losing streak of his career by picking up the win and now has five wins in his UFC run.
THEY SAID IT:
Andre Fili: “I didn’t feel as good as I wanted to, mostly I think because of how far the travel was. I didn’t sleep all week and I didn’t feel great in there past the first and second rounds because of the travel time. But you know if things don’t go the way you want in the fight, you have to just adapt and make it happen, it doesn’t matter what’s going on. I knew he was a tough opponent and I knew I was probably going to drop him. I wanted to keep hitting him, I wanted to finish the fight when he was on the ground but I kind of expected that he was going to pop back up at some point. He was a good opponent, it was a good fight and I hope the fans enjoyed it. I feed off the kind of stuff that happened tonight. I saw Conor in the crowd and I got ten times more excited. He was getting all hyped up and I got even more hyped up. I feed off that. I love confrontation. The only thing better than beating Artem right now is beating Artem and seeing McGregor right there talking s**t. It’s all respect though, you know. After the fight I shook Artem’s hand, I shook his corners’ hands and I gave McGregor my respect. It’s all professional. The whole point of this is to put on a show and I think we did that tonight.”
Artem Lobov: “I tried to keep the fight standing obviously. I came forward just like I said I would and I didn’t take a step back. But Fili did a good job, he just kind of wrestled me and held me down and I couldn’t find the space to get him off me. I wasn’t able to get my timings or my game plan in place but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. I got caught with a head kick, that was a big shot but I felt as though I recovered well and I felt fine in there. I wasn’t really feeling what he was throwing. I was able to just absorb the shots, it’s not like the knockouts were close. It’s quite hard in there to think under pressure though, you know.”
It wasn’t the most exciting contest, but Warlley Alves got the best of Salim Touahri to capture the unanimous decision win, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28. Alves landed a pair of takedowns and controlled Touahri for 3:37 of the fight. Alves was out-struck, 51-46, in the fight but landed more significant strikes at 38-30. Alves halts a two-fight losing streak with the victory.
THEY SAID IT:
Warlley Alves: “The change of opponent at the last minute was strange, I had to fight someone with a very different style. I was also coming into the fight on the back of a couple of losses so I had to be more conservative with the way I fought so I could make sure that nothing went wrong. This victory has brought me back to the game. I needed a victory here tonight. Now I know that I’m back in the game and I want to keep bringing good fights. I’m back! I was actually surprised how nice the Polish people were to me. I am used to being in enemy territory so this was just about winning and bringing the victory back home with me. I hope that next time I come here to Poland to fight, I will be their favorite.”
Aspen Ladd spent almost half of the first round defending against Lina Lansberg relentless clinch on the clinch in her UFC debut, but in the second round Ladd came alive. Lansberg landed 42 significant strikes of 48 total in the opening round, but Ladd adjusted between rounds and shot in and completed a takedown 30 seconds into the second round. The ground and pound from top came after that until the referee was forced to stop the bout at 2:33, giving Ladd the win as she finished landing big shots from top. Ladd improves to 6-0 in her pro career.
THEY SAID IT:
Aspen Ladd: “This was my first fight in quite a while and she did everything we expected her to. It was a slow start for me but as soon as I listened to my coaches, everything went according to plan. I loved the crowd here, they were so enthusiastic and the place is packed – they were so loud and I just loved it. It was a good finish tonight but everything can always be improved. As soon as the UFCs’s ready for me to fight again, I’m good to go. I’ll take anybody. Eventually the goal is to be the best 135lbs fighter there is. I really believe that is achievable.”
Josh Emmett established control of the fight in the first round with a few big power shots that led to a staggering four knockdowns. Emmett landed 56 total strikes and 39 significant strikes in the round and cruised to a unanimous decision win, 30-26, 30-26, 30-25. Arantes came back in the second round and started to land some shots of his own, but Emmett turned the pace back up in the final round to put an exclamation point on his win in featherweight debut.
THEY SAID IT:
Josh Emmett: “That was pretty perfect although I thought I was going to get the finish in the first round. He fell down a few times but he was tough as hell. It’s tough to make the weight class but I felt too small at lightweight so this was the perfect move for me, I felt great. I want to show the UFC and everyone that this is my division and I want to just keep on climbing the ranks. I really want to fight on the December 9th card in California next. It’s a few hours from Sacramento where I train and I will sell that place out. I will fight anybody – I’ve never said no to a fight and they know that. The fans here in Europe are super fans. They’re really respectful and just big fight fans so I have loved fighting here in Poland. Now I’m looking forward to spending a few more days here and celebrating with my wife for our wedding anniversary.”