UFC Fight Night 82 ended with our first lead change of 2016. The Brain only managed to go 3-3, while the Heart went a perfect 6-0. The Heart now takes the lead with a 12-7 record and the Brain trails by two with a 10-9 record. Here are the top 5 moments of UFC Fight Night 82:
Cirkunov Cranks Away for Submission Victory
The light heavyweight prospect Cirkunov delivered another memorable performance. He simply seemed a step (or three) ahead of Nicholson the entire fight. Cirkunov was the faster fighter and delivered the harder shots on the feet, and was especially dangerous on the ground. Cirkunov was able to get the fight to the ground very early in the second round and land some solid shots on Nicholson. He then maneuvered to a neck crank which quickly forced the tap from Nicholson. Nicholson suffered an apparent jaw injury which likely aided in the quick tap, but he was definitely in trouble either way. Cirkunov hasn’t fought anyone with a huge name yet, but he has certainly impressed so far. I expect him to be paired against a fairly solid middle tier guy for his next fight, but there aren’t too many fighters separating him from the ranked fighters in the relatively shallow light heavyweight division.
OSP Works through Early Injury for the Win
It looked like Saint Preux’s night may end prematurely after an apparent leg injury early in the first round. He connected with a leg kick and was clearly injured after the strike. Feijao briefly attempted to attack the leg (with great success), but for reasons I simply cannot fathom, Cavalcante never tried to attack the leg after just a couple of attempts. Saint Preux landed some bombs towards the end of the first and looked close to finishing the fight. For the rest of the fight, Saint Preux continued to attack while Feijao was extremely hesitant. In the end, Saint Preux fought through his injury and took the unanimous decision. It might get a little tricky in deciding who Saint Preux fights next, but there are several top 15 ranked fighters on the UFC 196 card. I think the winner of either the Anderson/Lawlor or Villante/Latifi fight would make a lot of sense.
Rivas Scores a Comeback Flying Knee KO
Rivas definitely didn’t have a great first round. In fact, he was in submission trouble for a good portion of the first. At the beginning of the second, one knee would change everything. Rivas leaped up with a flying knee and knocked Lahat out cold. Lahat was on the ground motionless for a couple minutes. He was later evaluated at the hospital, but luckily avoided any serious injury. Lahat has now been knocked out by a flying knee in two of his four UFC fights. Rivas remains undefeated, but definitely has some things to work on. He’ll get another lower level opponent as he’ll look to keep his undefeated record intact.
Gall Earns Shot against CM Punk
Not often does a Fight Pass prelim receive a lot of attention, but there was quite the buzz heading into the Mickey Gall vs. Michael Jackson (He goes by Mike for obvious reasons). Gall was found on Dana White’s “Lookin’ for a Fight”. Dana offered Gall the chance to fight against CM Punk if he could successfully win his UFC debut. He wasted no time in doing so. Gall dropped Jackson with a right hand and then was able to sink in a rear-naked choke to force the tap from Jackson at just 45 seconds into the first round. Punk was on hand and came to the cage after the fight, and the two are set to face off sometime later in the year. Gall will almost certainly be looking at a big payday for fighting Punk and there will definitely be a lot of eyes on that fight. I believe Gall will be the first fighter in history to have his first two fights in the UFC be against fighters with absolutely zero pro fights. Although, Punk is a great athlete and is training with a great team, he has zero fight experience, so I definitely think Gall has a legitimate chance of beating him.
Thompson Batters Hendricks
The picks for this fight were pretty split heading into this fight, but there weren’t too many people out that that expected this fight to unfold the way it did. Thompson was slightly cautious at the start, but it didn’t take long for him to find his opening. And once he did, he pounced and never let up. Thompson battered Hendricks with precision punches and kicks until John McCarthy waived off the fight. Hendricks now has a pretty significant climb to get back into title contention. With the win, Thompson has earned his shot to fight for the title, and if the same Thompson shows up that just took out Hendricks, I think we could see a new welterweight champion.
Be sure to check back in two weeks for UFC Fight Night 83 which will feature a “Cowboy” duel between Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira.
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