Junie Taps, Bader Dominates, Tyson Guts One Out, and Kampmann Gets a Huge Win. Ultimate Fight Night 18 had the potential to be an excellent card and it truly delivered with some outstanding matches.
The fight of the night for my money was Tyson Griffin vs Rafael Dos Anjos, a fight that until Efrain Escudero was forced to pull out due to injury, was not even on the main card. Dos Anjos was in his first fight since his memorable UFC debut defeat to Jeremy Stephens, which ended for him dramatically, via a massive uppercut.
Dos Anjos came out like a man on a mission, and when Tyson shot for a takedown in the first round Anjos pounced, putting Tyson is one of the most brutal leg compression locks I have ever seen inside the octagon.
Tyson gutted the lock out and eventually slipped out of his but his knee was clearly hurt and his movement effected. Tyson's confidence in his ground abilities was visibly shaken and the majority of the next two rounds was spent striking.
Tyson's knee recovered and it allowed him to really show off some improved striking and footwork, even with the leg injury.
Griffin is showing the true mark of a Xterme Couture fighter, ever improving, and he could realistically enter into the top 10 lightweight conversation with a win over a big time fighter.
The most dominating showing of the night was by Ultimate Fighter Winner Ryan 'Darth' Bader. It was not the most exicitng fight of the night, but Bader smothered an excellent ground fighter in Carmelo Marrero.
Marrero spent much of the fight on his back in a desperation guard, holding on for dear life as Bader passed his guard again and again. Bader showed off some developing submission skills, going for arm bars, arm triangles and chokes.
With more polish added to his striking, Bader could be headed toward the top 15-20 in the light heavyweight divison by the end of 2009.
The most disappointing performance of the night was Junie Browning, who showed nothing in his match with Cole Miller. Miller outsruck, out wrestled and sumbmitted Junie Browning.
I am not a Junie hater, nor a Junie fan. I pity him, he is clearly suffering from depression and possibly a bipolar condition.Xtreme Couture is a good place for him because they will get him to seek help he appears to need.
That being said, after his showing, I don't think the UFC will keep Junie unless he can win his next match. If he doesn't, he will just become another Jeremy May.
Martin Kampmann launched himself near to the top of welterweight contendership with his victory over a well respected fighter in Carlos Condit. Both fighters looked great and it was a very difficult call, but the judges got it right in the end.
It was the perfect finish to an outstanding night of fights.