UFC Fight Night 161 Results: The Real Winners and Losers
We should rename this "UFC summaries for people who couldn't spare seven hours out of their Saturday for UFC fights."
We get it. UFC Fight Night 161 kicked off Saturday at 5 p.m. ET and didn't wrap up until approximately 11:30 p.m. It comprised no fewer than 14 fights, from JJ Aldrich and Lauren Mueller kicking it off all the way to the main event pitting strawweight contender Michelle Waterson against ex-champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
This thing was long. And with baseball playoffs and big-time college football happening at the same time, well, not every card is critical appointment viewing.
Did you commit the mortal sin of drifting in and out, catching only the top one or two fights, or did you—gasp—miss this thing altogether? Just thank your lucky stars we sacrificed so you could enjoy your weekend. As always, the final stat lines on this did not reveal all. These are the real winners and losers from Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
For the literal-minded among us, full results appear at the end.
Winner: Joanna Challenger
She's been Joanna Champion and Joanna Violence. Saturday, she showed she's ready to be Joanna Challenger.
Jedrzejczyk used a visible size advantage to win clinch and standing exchanges throughout five one-sided rounds and defeat a game Michelle Waterson in the main event. The kicks, in particular, were a familiar and potent weapon for the former 115-pound champ.
Waterson, who made her bones outside the UFC at 105 pounds, simply didn't have an answer for an opponent who has fought frequently at the 125-pound flyweight level. The Karate Hottie had her moments, including with a near-submission finish at the end of the third, but Waterson never mustered enough sustained offense or defense to challenge the former strawweight champ.
After losing twice in a row to Rose Namajunas and then later dropping a decision to flyweight queenpin Valentina Shevchenko, Jedrzejczyk's overall relevance was in question. This win over a game if undersized Waterson returns Jedrzejczyk to prominence at the top of her division. How about another exciting and recently deposed champ Jessica Andrade for a next opponent? That's a pretty sure bet for fireworks.
Loser: Mackenzie Dern
Anyone who has had kids knows what a time and energy commitment those little guys can be. So we're admittedly grading on a curve here with Mackenzie Dern, who fought Amanda Ribas on Saturday just four months after giving birth to a baby girl.
Dern deserves praise for getting in there, but in the cold light of the morning, she didn't do her professional self many favors, dropping a clear unanimous decision to Amanda Ribas. It was Dern's first professional MMA defeat.
A multi-time jiu-jitsu world champion, Dern (7-1) hasn't exactly looked bullet proof at the UFC level. Missed weight and "invitations" to change training gyms, among other things, have caused some to wonder about her commitment level. This performance, admirable as it was given the circumstances, won't do much to quell those concerns. Dern was outclassed on the feet and was unable to get the fight to the ground, where she would presumably have had an advantage.
She will have other chances, and she will surely get more wins in the UFC, but Dern's prospects as a fighter in full are an open question.
Winner: The Old Guard
He had lost four straight coming in. So it stood to reason UFC matchmakers expected Cub Swanson to drop a fifth to undefeated phenom Kron Gracie.
Not so fast.
Swanson got his right hand working early, ripping the body of Gracie early and often. Gracie, a decorated grappler, was outclassed on the feet and couldn't land a takedown when he needed it. Gracie showed toughness in withstanding the onslaught, but this was not his night, and it wasn't close. Don't close the book on the veteran Swanson just yet.
Winner: Long Shots
Welterweight Niko Price probably wasn't fighting his fight, right up until the moment he won it.
In front of a home-state crowd and against an opponent in James Vick who, thanks to a three-fight losing streak entering Saturday, was by his own admission fighting for his job, Price came out swinging. The action hit the mat, with Price in bottom position and getting the worst of it until Vick postured up for a better angle. Price fired a random upkick. But if you are familiar with Price, you know that no strike, even the seemingly random, is benign. Vick hit the mat, and that was all she wrote.
Price continues to be one of the most creative strikers in the crowded 170-pound division or beyond. Meanwhile, Vick's a good fighter, but after losing four straight, his three-year-long UFC tenure may be in jeopardy.
UFC Fight Night 161 Full Card Results
Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Michelle Waterson by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46).
Cub Swanson def. Kron Gracie by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Niko Price def. James Vick by KO, 1:44, Rd. 1.
Amanda Ribas def. Mackenzie Dern by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Matt Frevola def. Luis Pena by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Eryk Anders def. Gerald Meerschaert by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Ryan Spann def. Devin Clark by submission (guillotine choke), 2:01, Rd. 2.
Mike Davis def. Thomas Gifford by KO, 4:45, Rd. 3.
Alex Morono def. Max Griffin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27).
Deiveson Figueiredo def. Tim Elliott by submission (guillotine choke), 3:08, Rd. 1.
Marlon Vera def. Andre Ewell by TKO, 3:17, Rd. 3.
Miguel Baeza def. Hector Aldana by TKO, 2:32, Rd. 2.
Marvin Vettori def. Andrew Sanchez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
JJ Aldrich def. Lauren Mueller by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).
Scott Harris covers MMA and other sports for Bleacher Report.