With a live attendance of 10,021, the fight card in Sydney has come and gone. This card was not without controversy as it was originally set to be headlined by Mark Hunt and Marcin Tybura but due to Hunt’s own publicly announced health concerns, he was pulled from the card and replaced by Werdum. Hunt openly criticized the UFC for doing so, but the show went on.
I’m going to focus on the main card, but before I do, I want to touch on one fight from the undercard. The highlight (and performance) of the night came by way of Frank Camacho vs. Damien Brown. This was a spectacular slugfest that revealed the granite chins on both fighters. The upbeat stand-up in this fight was some of the best we’ve seen recently. Camacho got the split decision, but as he missed weight, wasn’t eligible for his share of the fight of the night bonus.
Alexander Volkanovski def. Shane Young
On one week notice, Young took the fight with Volkanovski. This proved to be to no avail as Young took a 15 minute beating. Volkanovski looked for the finish in the first, but Young was able to stop submission attempts and take tough shots. The second went similarly as Volkanovski looked for the finish but instead landed some hard shots. In the third, Young tried to stay in the fight with a takedown, but Volkanovski controlled this round as well. Volkanovski won the fight via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26).
Elias Theodorou def. Dan Kelly
Theodorou began the fight with heavy kicks. Kelly put on pressure but was met with consistent kicks. In the second, Kelly started the round with heavy output and even got a takedown. That didn’t last long as the fight was quickly brought back to the feet and Theodorou’s kicks ensued. In the third round, there were some decent exchanges and a rear-naked choke attempt by Kelly. However, they got back the feet and the round ended with a few more kicks from Theodorou and a some clinching. Theodorou won the fight via unanimous decision (30-28, 30-27, 30-26).
Jake Matthews def. Bojan Veličković
The first round began with Matthews securing a takedown. The fight got back to the feet but was soon back to the ground via Mathews. Veličković landed a few good shots on the ground but otherwise the round was slow. The second was a strong round from Veličković where he had a decent guillotine attempt and landed some good shots on the feet. The third round went back and forth in terms of control on the ground but Matthew closed the round having better control. Mathews won via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28) but performances on neither side were overwhelming impressive.
Belal Muhammad def. Tim Means
Muhammad took the first round, barely, as he engaged in mostly boxing with Means. In the second, “The Dirty Bird” recovered from a takedown and squared off against Muhammad. Means really seemed to find his rhythm in this round, but “Remember The Name” remained competitive. In the third, Muhammad came on strong with high volume but Means offered great counters. Muhammed won the fight via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) though some believe the fight could have went the other way. In his post-fight interview, Muhammad called out Colby Covington to meet in the octagon for repentance of his recent trash talk against other countries (mainly Brazil). Not a bad call, especially if it lands Muhammad the fight.
Jessica-Rose Clark def. Bec Rawlings
UFC newcomer Clark made a splash in the recently developed flyweight division. Rawlings entered the new division looking for a fresh start, though the night didn’t go according to that plan. This was a impressive performance by Clark. Although Rawlings had a few moments where she had her opponent stunned, Clark controlled the majority of the fight. Clark got the split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Fabrício Werdum def. Marcin Tybura
Coming off of a win over Andrei Arlovski, Tybura looked to continue his run for title contention. Werdum stopped that talk and delivered a dominant 5 round performance. The fight was mostly on the feet, where Werdum controlled Tybura. Werdum came close to a finish multiple times in the fight but Tybura was able to hang tough and stay in the fight. Werdum won the fight via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46). Coming out of the fight Werdum may have a case for another title shot whereas as Tybura got 5 tough rounds of experience in the heavyweight division.
Filled with split decisions, this fight card was not over-the-top exciting, but it did offer some great highlights. Namely, fight of the night winners Camacho and Brown. Though, we got some clarity for where a few of these fighters should go next. Werdum has confirmed himself as No. 2 and could possibly get a title shot. Tybura holds steady in his position in the heavyweight division and can continue his momentum with another win. We see an interesting contender in the flyweight division with newcomer Jessica Rose-Clark. And the likes of Muhammad, Matthews and Theodorou all move forward with brighter possibilities to grow their career.
I’m looking forward to Bisping vs. Gastelum up next in Shanghai.