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UFC 299: Fantastic fights and hard finishes. O’Malley still king, Poirier delivered a KO, Venom did not disappoint. A look at the highlights

The UFC offered another numbered gala on the night of March 9-10. He delivered a great show. From the very beginning, the prelims of the card, there was plenty to watch. There was no shortage of big stars on the main card. What did UFC 299 look like?



The UFC offered another numbered gala on the night of March 9-10. He delivered a great spectacle. From the very beginning, the prelims of the card, there was plenty to watch. There was no shortage of big stars on the main card. What did UFC 299 look like?

Early Prelims 299

The entire UFC 299 gala opened with an attractive women’s fight. Scottish tough Joanne Wood (16-8) squared off against Ukrainian beauty Maryna Moroz (11-5), who was the organization’s first female fighter to appear in Playboy magazine.

Fans in Miami and on their TV screens were certainly not bored. Both fighters put on a great performance and we saw an evenly matched fight with several stand-up shootouts, but with the Scotswoman pulling the slightly longer end of the rope, winning a split decision.

It is worth noting that Wood went into the match as a slight underdog. After a recent run of three straight losses, she notched her second win in a row, which is very important. On the other hand, she gave her Ukrainian opponent a taste of such a losing streak.

Just like the first duel on the card, the second one ended on points. But there can’t be much talk of equanimity. CJ Vergara (12-4-1) took on Kazakhstan’s Asa Almabaev (18-2), who had his path to his second UFC win pretty clearly laid out.

He did his best to drag the American to the ground and dominate him and delivered several takedowns as a result, climbing to a total of 9 takedowns throughout the fight. He went on to win on points.

The first finish at UFC 299 offered a third fight

The first ending of the entire gala wasn’t until the third fight, but that was also to be expected. The heavyweight bout featured undefeated Cuban Robelis Despaige (4-0) and seasoned Josh Parisian (15-7).

The former scored his debut in the organization and with it his first win, which he didn’t have to wait too long for. The battle of the heavyweights delivered absolute chaos and ferocity from its opening bell, and after 18 seconds it was all over.

The next measure of strength also ended in the first minute. Brazil’s Michel Pereira (29-11), who is known as a great showman and attractive fighter, handled Poland’s Michal Oleksiejczuk (19-6) rather handily.

Immediately from the start, the Brazilian pressed the standup, but did not win by KO/TKO. Instead, he delivered a successful rear-naked choke and smothered his opponent exactly one minute into the first round. A great performance and most importantly a seventh straight win. Pereira is now 8-2 in the UFC.

Philipe Lins (17-5) and Ion Cutelaba (17-9-1) rounded out the first part of the gala. The former picked up a win on points and a failed UFC entry, losing twice, to notch his fourth straight win. And deservedly so.

His Moldovan opponent has lost the fourth of his last five fights. So if he believed he was getting back on a winning streak after his last fight with Tanner Boser, he needs to let his appetite go.

UFC 299 Prelims

Pedro Munhoz (20-8) and Kyler Phillips (11-2) opened the second half of the tournament. The American went into the fight as the favorite, however, the seasoned Brazilian Munhoz was the biggest bite of his career so far.

In fact, in his last fight, Munhoz lost on points to title challenger Marlon Vera, who fought Sean O’Malley in the main event of the evening. But now the same thing has happened to him. Phillips put on a good performance and won on points after a three round battle. He improved his UFC record to 6-1.

Afterwards, we saw Mateusz Gamrot (23-2) fight Rafael Dos Ajos (32-15). The Polish fighter wants to fight his way to the title and the duel with the Brazilian legend should help him to do so. It was known that nothing easy awaited him and that was confirmed.

The Polish fighter’s strongest weapon didn’t work quite as he expected. Dos Anjos showed great defense against takedowns and Polish wrestling, but he couldn’t find a recipe for Gamrot’s pressure. Thanks to him, the former KSW champion scored another valuable scalp and won on points.

In the second women’s bout of the night we saw more great performances. Maycee Barber (13-2) confirmed her role as the favourite and took Katlyn Cerminaro (18-5) on points, which brought her closer to the title fight. She may not become the youngest champion in UFC history, but that doesn’t have to worry her.

She lived up to her nickname. The future is simply here, and the up-and-coming American has shown great improvement and huge potential.

The prelims card waited until the last match to end. It was delivered by the seasoned Curtis Blaydes, who knocked out Jailton Almeida in the second round. The first didn’t go quite as he had hoped, but he kept his cool in the opening of the second and improved his record to 18-4. His opponent, on the other hand, fell to 20-3.

UFC 299 main card

Peter Yan is back!

You probably couldn’t ask for a better main card opener. Former champion Peter Yan (16-5) took on Chinese prospect Yadong Son (21-7-1). The Russian was seen as the favorite, but especially in the first half his opponent managed to get him into a lot of trouble.

The Chinese looked physically stronger, had harder punches, and added a brief dominance on the ground. But from the second round onwards, the Russian fighter began to take the reins of the match. Among other things, Song began to look tired, slowed down considerably and his power advantage seemed to be gone.

Thus, Yan began to have the upper hand in the stand-up and added a brief dominance on the ground in both the second and third rounds, which he dominated. So he won on points and confirmed that he is still a force to be reckoned with.

Jack Della Maddalena heads to the top of the welterweight division

Seasoned Brazilian and former title challenger Gilbert Burns (22-6) once again proved his mettle by accepting another fight with a lower ranked opponent. As the number four welterweight in the division, he went up against number eleven Jack Della Maddalena (16-2).

He picked up two wins after his defeat to Khamzat Khimaev, which he could have easily won on points. But then he was no match for Belal Muhammad and now the dangerous Aussie also took on him, scoring the biggest scalp of his career.

Burns didn’t put on a bad performance. He did not do badly in the stand-up, and he also managed to take the fight to the ground several times. However, it was on the ground that Maddalena showed more quality than expected. He showed good defense and great stand up.

Just after avoiding one of his takedown attempts with about a minute and a half left in the third round, he immediately hit the Brazilian with a hard knee to the head and he went down. Though Burns still tried to get back in the game, the Australian landed many hard punches and the referee had to stop the fight.

This definitely put Maddalena in the top 5 of the division and showed that he is a force to be reckoned with. He’s now 7-0 in the UFC. But it’s worth noting that Burns had the fight scored in his favor. Had he lasted the last minute and a half, he would have gone on to win on points.

It was a thunderous opening. Michael Venom Page defeated Holland

UFC fans are in for a big premiere. Already a former Bellator star and legendary Michael Venom Page (21-2) made his first appearance under the banner of the best organization on the planet. And he wasn’t expecting an easy debut. He was to be tested by showman Kevin Holland (25-15), who is not afraid of a challenge.

Holland himself is also very unpredictable, he can surprise and he doesn’t let himself be thrown off. But in this fight, Venom gradually dismantled him from the first second. He showed great movement, he annoyed the American with his unreadability and he hit hard and well.

Except for a moment in the second round when Holland took advantage of the Englishman’s hesitation and managed to keep him on the ground, where he delivered several punches and tried to set up a choke, Page clearly had the upper hand. He was gradually breaking his opponent down. Had the American not been so resilient, we would surely have seen a knockdown.

Page was entertaining on the opening night, we saw a few elbow attempts from the turn, but Kevin stood his ground. Still, Michael scored a dominant win on points, making it clear that he can measure up to the UFC’s elite.

The God of War has fallen, Dustin Poirier has shown his level

In the main preliminary bout, the legendary Dustin Poirier (29-8) faced the hungry and predatory Benoit Sait-Denis (13-1). The French fighter was even seen as the favorite, but Diamond was all the more motivated to show that he doesn’t belong in the old iron yet.

The God of War, as Saint-Denis is nicknamed, was confident he could match up with such an icon. Could he be far from the truth? How’s this. He didn’t put on a bad performance. He was more than a match for Dustin in the first round. We saw a spectacular and complex fight, beautiful exchanges in the stand-up and quality on the ground.

Poirier tried three guillotine chokes in the first round, but Saint-Denis escaped each time. On the other hand, he got himself on Diamond’s back and attempted a choke. To no avail.

During the break, Dustin heard from his trainer that he shouldn’t attempt any more guillotines and that he shouldn’t play games with the Frenchman and overly respect him when he was a level above him. But what did he do first in the second round? He landed a good standup shot, of course, and then tried a guillotine. Unsuccessful.

Instead, Benoit took his opponent’s back and tried a rear-naked choke. Also unsuccessful. Instead, Poirier got to his feet and started landing punches. Not once, but several times. Finally, he dealt Saint-Denis his first knockout defeat.

O’Malley remains the UFC champion

In the main event, we got a big rematch. Champion Sean O’Malley (17-1) took on Marlon Vera (23-8-1), the only man to ever defeat him. While the king of bantamweight was seen as a big favorite, Chito has shown several times that he is not to be underestimated. Never.

The Ecuadorian knows how to take advantage of even the one chance you offer him. In a match where he’s the worse man all the time. That’s exactly what was expected in a battle with his American opponent.

O’Malley clearly dominated from the start of his first defense. He hit hard, he was faster, he was more technical. In the first round, he was rather sniffing Vera and slowly breaking him down, but in the second five minutes he started a much higher pace and also harder punches. Later, he may not have been far from finishing, Chito again showed great stamina.

In the third round, the challenger finally softened up a bit. But it can’t be said that he put on a performance worthy of a new champion. Sean still had the upper hand, although the good news for Marlon was that he didn’t look exhausted. Was he saving his strength for the championship round?

Quite possibly. He came into the fourth round well, active, the hall driving him forward. He started combining his punches well, picking up the pace. O´Malley did more in the first half alone than he had done in the whole fight up to that point. He was able to put the champion in a couple of tight spots. But if he wanted to win, he had to go for the stoppage.

He had to try to do that in the fifth round because he didn’t deliver in the fourth. But the better fighter came in, O’Malley, who started to dominate again and mostly didn’t allow Chito to do anything. He made virtually no mistakes. What’s more? Instead of just trying to defend an already clear points win, he tried to finish and wasn’t afraid to take risks.

The fifth round nevertheless offered a great spectacle. Vera was still determined to go on the offensive at the end, but O’Malley wasn’t afraid of that and didn’t fear a shootout at the end. On the contrary. And he was better at it.

Sean O’Malley proved that he is the rightful champion and deserves all the respect he can get.

Source: UFC, Twitter, Tapology