The UFC returned to Miami after a very long time with the 287 event. Some interesting fights were put together and the quality of the fights showed. We saw a title fight and some great finishes. What did UFC 287 look like?
UFC 287 kicked off with three bouts on the Early Prelims card and we got to see a women’s bout right out of the gate. In that one, Jaqueline Amorim and Sam Hughes faced off and took care of a three round battle. Hughes had a pretty clear advantage in that one. She landed more punches, countered eight takedowns and deservedly won a unanimous decision.
The second fight offered the first finish of the gala. It was taken care of by Steve Garcia, who managed to knock out Shayilan Nuerdanbieke in the second round. He had the upper hand in the fight and scored an important win. He won two fights in a row for the first time in his UFC career.
Chilean prospect Ignacio Bahamondes and the experienced Trey Ogden then closed out the first of three cards of the tournament. The 25-year-old Chilean went into the bout as the favorite and showed why that was the case throughout the fight. He has only lost his first fight in the UFC, and now scored his third win in a row. It may be on points, but it is just another step in a career well underway.
The prelims card offered two women’s fights. Brazilian Cynthia Calvillo and Mexican Loopy Godinez opened the whole card and were the favourites. The battle between the two beauties was very even and Godinez won on split-decision. Statistically, however, Calvillo had the upper hand as she had more significant strikes in two rounds, plus she delivered a takedown. But it wasn’t enough to win.
Joe Pyfer also confirmed the role of the favourite in his duel, who in the first round stopped his opponent Gerald Meerschaert, whom we can know for example from the mutual fight with Makhmud Muradov, whom he defeated.
Twenty-six-year-old Pyfer hasn’t lost in the UFC yet, and the win over Meerschaert puts him a little further along in his career again. Meerschaert has had his 51st career fight, notching his 16th loss, while his conqueror boasts an 11-2 record.
The third women’s match of the tournament followed. The legendary Michelle Waterson returned to action, looking to avenge two straight losses. Her opponent was eight years younger Brazilian hope Luana Pinheiro, who is looking to head for the title.
The match was evenly matched, with the legendary Waterson slightly on top according to the stats. She narrowly dominated the first round, the second could have gone either way, but Waterson again handled the third better, delivering a takedown and controlling the fight on the ground.
Still, Waterson lost on a split-decision and notched her third straight loss. Pinheiro, on the other hand, moved into the top 10 in the rankings and won her ninth straight match.
The entire card concluded with a battle of two seasoned fighters. Middleweight No. 14 Chris Curtis squared off with the division’s No. 15 Kelvin Gastelum. Curtis was in better shape going into the fight as Gastelum had lost four of his last five fights.
Gastelum, however, had done better by at least two rounds, while Curtis had won at most one. However, both fighters delivered an attractive fight that certainly didn’t bore. And Gastelum took the win by unanimous decision.
The main card
Sensation silenced, Holland grounded Ponzinibbio
The main card of the tournament opened with the youngest fighter in UFC history, Raul Rosas Jr. taking on seven-years-older Christian Rodriguez. The 18-year-old talent went into the bout as the favorite and the first round duel looked accordingly. While Rodriguez rejected most of the takedown attempts, Rosas still found a way to get close to a choke, which he did not successfully apply.
The second round was in a different vein. Rodriguez showed that he was more experienced, more mature and calmer, waiting for the younger opponent to make mistakes. He got them and started to eat him up. Even on the ground. It looked the same in the third round, Rodriguez tried several times to put on the choke, but Rosas didn’t allow him to do either. Still, Rosas lost on points for the first time in his career.
What followed was the expected duel between two great stand-up fighters. Kevin Holland was looking to get back on a winning streak after two losses, but his opponent was Santiago Ponzinibbio, a man never to be underestimated under any circumstances.
Holland, however, was the better man from the start of the fight. He moved well, showed great vision and took advantage of his height advantage and longer arm spans. He kept his distance well and Ponzinibbio had his work cut out for him to even get close.
We were close to a knockdown at the end of the second round. While Ponzinibbio held his opponent’s leg, Holland landed a great backfist to send the Argentine down. But he recovered and we had to wait until the third round for the knockout. Holland landed a great shot to his rival’s chin and he went down. He didn’t agree with the stoppage, but there was more or less nothing to worry about.
Holland entertained not only himself but the fans as well. Additionally, after the match, he challenged Jorge Masvidal to a BMF title match. However, he lost to Gilbert Burns and his career is most likely over.
Great shootout, Burns runs over Masvidal
The seasoned Rob Font vs. the brash and confident Adrian Yanez? Another bout that promised to be an attractive spectacle and we got it. If only it had lasted a little longer. Because at 2:57 of the first round, it was over.
The two fighters waited for nothing and fought hard in the stand-up. The knockout stunk with almost every punch, and after less than three minutes it was delivered by Font, who confirmed his role as the favorite and after two losses he is back on a winning streak. He caught his opponent with an awesome bomb and then finished him off on the ground.
For Miami, the most anticipated fight took place in the main preliminary match of the evening. Jorge Masvidal, the home favourite, challenged Gilbert Burns and announced before the tournament that he would retire if he lost.
Things didn’t look bad for Masvidal in the first round. Burns caught him a few times, but the Miami star kept up with him. But at the end of the first five minutes, the Brazilian delivered the first takedown and indicated he had all the aces up his sleeve.
In the second round, Burns delivered two takedowns and began to pull the clearly longer end of the rope. He followed that up in the third round and landed some good shots. Masvidal was tired and slow by then, and the Brazilian was far from finished at times. But Masvidal showed a hard chin and held on to the end.
Either way Masvidal lost and announced the end of his career, Burns scored an important win and clearly announced that he would like a title fight.
Adesanya brutally finished Pereira!
Title rematch and fourth match overall. Alex Pereira this time as the UFC champion, Israel Adesanya unusually as the challenger, yet the favourite, even though the Brazilian had beaten him in their previous three measurements of strength.
The first round was very hard on the scoring. Both fighters were rather feeling each other out, perhaps not very attractive for the layman, but for the more experienced spectators it was a beautiful game of stand-up chess.
The second round, however, was a different story. Both went all out, there was plenty of action to see and Adesanya and Pereira traded hard punches. At times one pushed, at others the other.
However, just when it looked like Adesanya was in trouble, Pereira was lured to the canvas and went to work on Adesanya, who took advantage of the Brazilian taking the bait and landed two hard bombs after one of Pereira’s attacks, finishing the Brazilian fantastically!
This makes Adesanya the old king and confirms that he is a phenomenal champion and an incredibly strong personality. He beat Pereira for the first time in his career.
Source: UFC, Twitter, Sherdog
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