The Save Mart Center in Fresno, California was home to a solid night of fights, with three (T)KOs, three submissions and seven decisions, including two split-decisions
Brian Ortega has developed a reputation for finishing every fight in the third round. No matter if he wins or loses the first two rounds, in each of his past four UFC bouts, he has found a finish midway through the third and final round. Tonight, Ortega was competing in his first five-round contest. This badly confused his internal finish countdown timer; instead of winning in the third round, he made Cub Swanson tap out to a guillotine choke in the second. He received a $50,000 bonus for finishing his fight one round too early.
Aljamain Sterling was on the receiving end of one of the most sickening knockout blows in recent memory. He ducked for a takedown right as Marlon Moraes launched a hellacious kick. The result was Sterling essentially throwing his jaw into Moraes’ rapidly accelerating knee. The impact was reminiscent of Michael Page’s knockout knee which fractured Evangelista Cyborg’s skull at Bellator 158 last year.
Sterling left the Octagon on a stretcher, but was said to be alert. Here’s hoping he didn’t sustain any serious damage from the strike. Marlon Moraes received $50K for his performance.
Fight of the Night: Brian Ortega vs. Cub Swanson
Cub Swanson and Brian Ortega put on a clinic in mixed martial arts for eight frenetic minutes. Both men threw everything they had at each other, with Swanson digging hooks to Ortega’s head and body early, and Ortega responding with kicks to the leg and knees to the sternum. The stand-up was fairly even, but when the fight was in grappling range, it was the “T-City” show all the way.
The last minute of the first round saw Ortega lock up a standing anaconda choke on Swanson, using it to drag the ugly duckling to the ground. Ortega then seemed to try to get his legs over Swanson’s head while still holding the anaconda choke, before deciding just one submission at a time was probably enough. The choke looked deep, but Swanson gutted it out and was saved by the buzzer.
The second round was almost a mirror image of the first. Swanson landed the heavier blows standing, including some good body work, while Ortega countered with jabs, leg kicks and knees. Two minutes into the round saw the fight enter clinch range and Ortega jumped on his chance. He used a knee to the body to set up an outrageous standing guillotine attempt. Just as it seemed like Cub would escape, Ortega adjusted his grip while hanging from Cub like an angry sloth, and Cub, son of Swan, was forced to tap at 3 minutes and 22 seconds of the second round.
Iain Kidd’s girlfriend has the best joke about Swanson. If my memory serves me, it goes:
“Cub Swanson doesn’t even make sense. Swans don’t even HAVE cubs”
Both men received $50,000 for their efforts, which takes Ortega’s total bonus money for the night up to $100K.