UFC Fight Night 88 didn’t have the most impressive name-value, but those in the know had a feeling that this card full of exciting fighters had potential for a fun Sunday night of fights. They delivered. Oh yes, they delivered.
Cody Garbrandt def. Thomas Almeida via knockout (round 1). You can see the vicious replay here.
Jeremy Stephens def. Renan Barao via unanimous decision (29-28). This was Barao’s first fight in the UFC at featherweight, and in the first round he looked rejuvenated. But in the second round, Jeremy Stephens went full Lil Heathen and stumbled the former bantamweight champ with a brutal series of stiff uppercuts. My god, the uppercuts.
MY GOD THESE UPPERCUTS!
This slowed Barao down considerably, and left him looking lost, like he did in his series of fights against TJ Dillashaw. Was it the strikes he absorbed that slowed him down, or is Barao going to get gassed after a few minutes no matter what weight class he’s in? Barao also looked small compared to Stephens. The cut to bantamweight destroys him, but he might not be big enough for featherweight.
Rick Story def. Tarec Saffiedine via unanimous decision. This was another great fight, with Story coming back from a near two-year layoff. He defeated the former Strikeforce champ with a gritty performance that showed off his toughness (and really hard head).
Chris Camozzi def. Vitor Miranda via unanimous decision.
Lorenz Larkin def.Jorge Masvidal via split-decision. This was one heck of a fight, proving that Strikeforce is still strong in the DNA of MMA.I think these guys need to fight again. Maybe on every card, because this was pure fire. Masvidal is 4-3 in his last seven, with all three losses coming via split-decision.
Paul Felder def. Josh Burkman via unanimous decision in a highly-entertaining slugfest.
Sara McMann def. Jessica Eye via unanimous decision, and could be looking at a title fight against the winner of Miesha Tate/Amanda Nunes. That is, unless the UFC wants to give Holly Holm the shot if she wins in July.
Abel Trujillo def. Jordan Rinaldi via unanimous decision.
Jake Collier def. Alberto Uda via TKO (round 2). Collier rallied back from a crushed nose to deliver sweet revenge against Alberto Uda.
And that comeback…
Erik Koch def. Shane Campbell via rear naked choke (Round 2). This was Koch’s first fight in over two years, and the CM Punk training partner (it’s true) has declared he’s back on the road for the featherweight title.
Fight Pass Prelims
Bryan Caraway def. Aljamain Sterling via split-decision. This was the most Caraway fight ever. Get dominated early, survive with a gutsy performance, then crawl back. This is a huge win over Sterling who was undefeated and looking to be the new name in the bantamweight division.
Check out this crazy full nelson.
Adam Milstead def. Chris De La Rocha Via TKO (Round 2) in a brutal heavyweight slugfest. The gore. The gore!