Welcome to our coverage of the UFC Fight Night card from Vancouver, British Columbia headlined by Donald Cerrone and Justin Gaethje.
*Austin Hubbard def. Kyle Prepolec by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Louis Smolka def. Ryan MacDonald by TKO at 4:43 of Round 1
*Chas Shelly def. Jordan Griffin by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Hunter Azure def. Brad Katona by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
*Miles Johns def. Cole Smith by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Augusto Sakai def. Marcin Tybura by knockout at 0:59 of Round 1
*Misha Cirkunov def. Jimmy Crute by Peruvian Necktie at 3:38 of Round 1
*Uriah Hall def. Antonio Carlos Junior by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Tristan Connelly def. Michel Pereira by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28)
*Todd Duffee vs. Jeff Hughes ended in a no contest at 4:03 of Round 1
*Glover Teixeira def. Nikita Krylov by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Justin Gaethje def. Donald Cerrone by TKO at 4:18 of Round 1
The commentary team consists of Brendan Fitzgerald and Daniel Cormier with John Gooden popping in and out.
KYLE PREPOLEC (12-6, 155) VS AUSTIN HUBBARD (10-3, 156) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Hubbard is a former LFA lightweight champion. He lost his UFC debut to Davi Ramos but went the distance in their fight this past May. Prepolec trains out of Windsor, Ontario and is coming off his own decision loss to Nordine Taleb in his UFC debut this past May.
Prepolec won the first round with his left cross that landed twice and wobbled Hubbard on the first one. It was an exciting round with each throwing head kicks and having success. Prepolec landed with his jabs and stunned him with a right hook at the end. The second round was a big one for Hubbard through two pivotal takedowns. Hubbard attacked with strikes after the second takedown and dominated the final minute and made it even going into Round 3. Hubbard had a dominant round in the final frame, taking Prepolec down and controlling his back with lots of strikes. Prepolec escaped in the final minute but could not do anything.
WINNER: Austin Hubbard by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This was an exciting fight for the time it lasted. Once Hubbard incorporated his wrestling it was his fight and was aggressive once he got Prepolec down. He was disappointed with his performance.
LOUIS SMOLKA (9-3, 135.5) VS RYAN MacDONALD (10-1, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Smolka has a relentless pace for the time this fight lasted. He attacked the body of MacDonald with multiple punch combinations and never let up with his strikes. He rocked MacDonald with an overhand left and dropped him with a right for the stoppage. Smolka looked fantastic and MacDonald couldn’t keep up or adapt.
WINNER: Louis Smolka by TKO at 4:43 of Round 1
This was Smolka’s third fight since returning to the UFC and is 2-1 during his second run. He bounced back from a submission loss to Matt Schnell in this fight. It was a great performance from Smolka. He is now training in California with Team Oyama.
CHAS SKELLY (17-4, 146) VS JORDAN GRIFFIN (17-6, 145) – FEATHERWEIGHT
This was a great fight. Skelly won the first round through his grappling and transitioning to the back where he threatened with a choke. Griffin turned and Skelly maintained a portion of the choke while on top. Griffin survived and got to his feet where he landed several strikes. In the second round, Griffin got Skelly down and mounted him and landed elbows. Skelly escaped and got control of the back but he was tired. Skelly won the third round and worked for the takedown. Each had submission attempts throughout the round but it was Skelly that had the advantage.
WINNER: Chas Skelly by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
This was Skelly’s first win since February 2017 following losses to Jason Knight and Bobby Moffett. Griffin looked good in this fight but is now 0-2 in the promotion after coming in through Dana White’s Contender Series.
BRAD KATONA (8-1, 135) VS HUNTER AZURE (7-0, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Katona was the winner of TUF Season 27 at featherweight and is coming off his first pro loss to Merab Dvalishvili.
I thought every round was close and wasn’t upset at the decision even though I thought Brad Katona won.
Azure stunned him in the first and Katona appeared to lose his balance and went down. Katona came back to control him against the cage and shut down Azure’s game. In the second round, Azure dropped Katona with a combination. Katona came back with a pair of takedowns and clinched with him against the cage. I felt the knockdown was the key part of the round and had it 19-19.
In the final round, Azure won the first half through his strikes but then was the recipient of a trip takedown and Katona took his back going for a rear-naked choke. Azure escaped and it was a razor-close round. I could accept a wide range of scores for this one. I had it 29-28 for Katona.
WINNER: Hunter Azure by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
COLE SMITH (7-0, 135) VS MILES JOHNS (9-0, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Both are undefeated with Smith fighting out of Vancouver and came out to the PRIDE theme music.
Cole Smith shut down Miles Johns in the first round by taking his back while standing. Johns could not get him off the back until the final minute where Smith clinched him against the fence.
The second round was the close round where Johns got a takedown but Smith got up and then took the back of Johns and takes him down to the mat with a body triangle applied. Johns escaped near the end. I had it 20-18 for Smith after two.
The third round was all Johns landing huge shots as Smith was tired. Smith killed time holding him against the fence but when Johns got off he let his hands fly. This was close to being a 10-8 round but I only gave it to Johns 10-9 and the fight to Smith 29-28.
WINNER: Miles Johns by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
It came down to the second round and you can’t argue the fight going 29-28 for either. Johns keeps his undefeated record and gets his first UFC victory.
AUGUSTO SAKAI (13-1-1, 258) VS MARCIN TYBURA (17-5, 257.5) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Sakai rocked him with a right hand and followed with big uppercuts and right hands over his guard that dropped Tybura for the stoppage.
WINNER: Augusto Sakai by knockout at 0:59 of Round 1
It was Sakai’s fifth straight win and is now 3-0 in the UFC after wins over Chase Sherman and Andrei Arlovski in his last two outings. Tybura has lost four of his last five fights.
MISHA CIRKUNOV (14-5, 205.5) VS JIMMY CRUTE (10-0, 205) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
This fight was brief but was nonstop action for the duration. Cirkunov landed a big takedown and worked to side control and applied a crucifix and then mounted Crute, who escaped. They had several big reversals and then Cirkunov flipped Crute over into a Peruvian Necktie in top position and tapped Crute.
This was an excellent fight for the short time it lasted.
WINNER: Misha Cirkunov by Peruvian Necktie submission at 3:38 of Round 1
This was a must-win for Cirkunov, who had lost three of his last four fights after being a fast-rising star at light heavyweight. Cirkunov said he would like to fight Corey Anderson, who is fighting Johnny Walker in November at UFC 244.
ANTONIO CARLOS JUNIOR (10-3, 185.5) VS URIAH HALL (14-9, 184) – MIDDLEWEIGHT
The first round was close with Hall coming out strong with his jab that busted open Carlos Junior’s nose. Carlos Junior got onto his back but Hall stayed calm and eventually got Carlos Junior off. The ATT fighter scored a takedown and ended the round on top of Hall. I had it 10-9 for Carlos Junior but it was close.
Carlos Junior held him against the cage until Hall got off the fence and dropped Carlos Junior with a right hand. Hall was aggressive with his follow up but cautious. Hall backed off when Carlos Junior attempted an armbar and eventually let Carlos Junior up. It was 19-19 after two on my card.
The third round was easy to score as Carlos Junior took Hall down and controlled his back for the entire round with minimal damage but maximum control. I had it 29-28 for Carlos Junior.
WINNER: Uriah Hall by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Hall seemed surprised when it was scored for him but the first round easily could have gone either way with Hall doing a lot of damage with his jab. This was Hall’s second consecutive win while Carlos Junior has lost two straight.
Hall said he was coming for Israel Adesanya.
MICHEL PEREIRA (22-9, 172*) VS TRISTAN CONNELLY (13-6, 169.5) – CATCHWEIGHT
Pereira missed weight at 172 pounds and was fined 20%. Connelly took this fight on five-days’ notice.
The first round was just wild as Pereira did a Ricochet routine and exhausted himself. His moves included a Pele kick and koppu kick that didn’t connect. He tried a backflip and landed on his feet but did land several big knees and strikes.
It was entertaining but Pereira was so tired and Connelly hurt him in the second round with a right hand. Connelly was taken down for the end of the round but did enough damage in the first half to win the round. In the third, Connelly dominated him by taking him down and destroying him with strikes from half-guard and it was borderline 10-8. I only went 10-9 but you could go 10-8.
WINNER: Tristan Connelly by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28)
There a lot of sloppiness to the fight but the crowd was at the edge of their seat and watched Pereira self-destruct from his style and having nothing left after the first round. Connelly had less than one week to prepare for this fight and received a giant reaction after winning the fight. Pereira had been the biggest favorite on the card.
TODD DUFFEE (9-3, 244.5) VS JEFF HUGHES (10-2, 251) – HEAVYWEIGHT
Duffee executed a leg sweep for a brief takedown but this was largely contested on the feet. Hughes cut Duffee under the right eye with a counter shot. Duffee landed a big right hand and then charged at Hughes and dropped him with an uppercut, Hughes is up and they are throwing massive strikes. In the clinch, Duffee grabs his eye and says he was poked.
Time was called and Duffee said he was seeing double and could not continue. The replay indicated a brief eye poke and it was clear Duffee did not want to continue when he was checked on.
WINNER: No Contest at 4:03 of Round 1
They were having an intense fight until the unfortunate ending.
GLOVER TEIXEIRA (29-7, 204.5) VS NIKITA KRYLOV (26-6, 205.5) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
The first round was superb. Teixeira caught a kick and took Krylov down into half-guard and then took the back. He flattened Krylov and landed strikes but Krylov shook out and then mounted Teixeira. Krylov threatened with a choke that Teixeira escaped but reversing position and getting out. They ended the round trading strikes. It was close and I went 10-9 for Krylov.
In the second, the key was Teixeira’s striking with left hooks that stunned Krylov and a right hand along with a big body kick. Krylov got a takedown at the end. It was 19-19 on my card.
The third round was close, Teixeira lost a guillotine choke and then escaped from underneath. Teixeira went for a belly-down armbar and another guillotine unsuccessfully. Krylov was on top and got reversed with Teixeira ending the fight on top. I scored it 29-28 for Teixeira.
WINNER: Glover Teixeira by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Teixeira has quietly won four of his last five fights and is 3-0 in 2019. He turns 40 later this year and isn’t a name that people bring up among the light heavyweight contenders but he absolutely is in that mix for a big fight among one of the top fighters in the division.
DONALD CERRONE (36-12, 155.5) VS JUSTIN GAETHJE (20-2, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Gaethje was landing the power strikes and was quicker than Cerrone. Cerrone would throw and Gaethje was there to land with counter right hands. Cerrone was wobbled by a left hook but kept coming, he threw a shot that missed and was put down to a knee with a right counter. Gaethje followed with uppercuts and thought referee Jerin Valel was stopping it but had to continue and then it was over.
Cerrone was upset about the stoppage but it seemed totally justified.
WINNER: Justin Gaethje by TKO at 4:18 of Round 1
Gaethje said he wants to fight the winner of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson.
It wasn’t the fight everyone was anticipating but was entertaining while it lasted. I had no issue with the stoppage and I don’t think Cerrone thought it was egregious either once he let it sink in.
Gaethje has won three straight and is in a position for a big fight at lightweight, although everyone agrees Tony Ferguson is due for the championship fight. For Gaethje, Conor McGregor does make the most sense for him to fight next. There is zero incentive for Gaethje to fight a lower-ranked lightweight like Paul Felder but those would be the options.
Overall, the main card was largely enjoyable and I’d highly recommend watching the Misha Cirkunov vs. Jimmy Crute fight as it was great for the brief time it lasted. The Tristan Connelly performance got over huge in Vancouver and included one of the craziest rounds you’re going to see on a high-level mixed martial arts card with Round 1 and Michel Pereira’s strategy. Glover Teixeira and Nikita Krylov had a close and technically fought fight that I thought was a very good fight and then you had the disappointment of the ending to Todd Duffee and Jeff Hughes’ fight, which was shaping up to be a hell of a fight before the eye poke ended it. On the prelims, I’d definitely recommend the fight between Chas Skelly and Jordan Griffin.