The Sunday Aftermath – UFC on Fox 14

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UFC on Fox 14 was this week’s MMA headlining event as the Octagon visited Stockholm, Sweden for the second most-attended fight night in the history of the promotion. A strong card on paper ended up in a night of thrills, spills, upsets and controversy.

Rumble Young Man, Rumble

In the main event, hometown hero Alexander Gustafsson was pitted against the hard hitting American Anthony Johnson in a fight which decided the next challenger to Jon Jones’ UFC light-heavyweight title. It was Gustafsson who started the quicker, landing a stiff kick to the thigh before connecting with a fast combination of hands. Rumble, as he always does, threw with venomous power in every shot – none of which connected early. Gustafsson is known for his great footwork and got that going early as he circled around the Octagon to avoid the shots of Rumble when going left and to draw him in for the counter from distance when going right.

It was all working well until Johnson was caught with an accidental eye poke from Gustafsson which caused a break. From the reset, Johnson landed a huge overhand right, catching Gustafsson cold, and put him on the seat of his pants. The Swede tried desperately to recover but was felled again after Johnson landed a barrage of uppercuts and a kick right on the dome. Johnson smelled blood and went in for the kill, eventually, getting referee Marc Goddard to stop the fight after raining down a litany of strikes to the not-defending Gustafsson – sending the Swedish crowd into silence. Johnson’s win ends the chance of a rematch of the fight of 2013 but does get him a shot at Jon Jones for what’s sure to be an amazing battle. For Gustafsson, the trek to the mountain top now begins again but, in such a weak division, it might not take too long for him to climb it.

Controversial and Colourless

In the co-main event MMA veterans threw down in the middleweight division as Dan Henderson took on Gegard Mousasi. It was a fast start from both men as Mousasi’s strikes looked quick and on point while Henderson wound up with his big shots. Mousasi was obviously prepared for what Henderson had to bring and attempted to draw the American in. On the first throw of the H-Bomb Henderson narrowly missed. On the second, Mousasi beautifully countered and dropped Henderson with a right hook to the temple. Hendo looked badly hurt on the ground but as Mousasi went in for the kill the referee stepped in and stopped the bout. It was an extremely controversial stoppage as Henderson came around quickly but the damage had been done and a few more strikes would likely have brought a stoppage without complaint – but we’ll never know. With the win Mousasi establishes himself in the middleweight top-10 while Henderson, at 44, will need to consider his future after losing five of his last six fights.

After that came the stinker of the night as Phil Davis and Ryan Bader fought in the 205 lbs division. As many expected, it was a slow and tentative start. Davis was happy to stand on the outside while Bader rushed in with strikes as neither man landed much inside the first two minutes. A Bader right hand was the first hard strike that landed, while Davis answered with a right hand of his own before they exchanged kicks to the body late in a tough round to score. The second round was a little more eventful as they landed again with kicks to the body while Bader scuffed two takedown attempts. Midway through the round Davis was able to initiate a clinch and landed with some damage before taking Bader to the mat. Bader quickly got up but time was against him. Again, in the third, not much happened for the first half of the period as two wrestlers nullified each other into a kick boxing match. A strong right hand from Davis was the best shot of the whole fight as he opened up with kicks to the legs as the low output of Bader slowed even more. Bader did manage a takedown late on which, in a close fight, can make a huge difference. A split decision came from the judges and it gave Ryan Bader the somewhat controversial win (29-28, 28-29, 29-28). From here it’s back to the drawing board for Phil Davis and onwards towards the title for Ryan Bader – although that might be some time off yet.

Up And Down Irish

After an historic night for Irish MMA last week which saw Conor McGregor earn a UFC title shot, there were more Gaels on show last night as Team Ryano fighters Neil Seery and Paul Redmond fought in Stockholm. Neil Seery was the very first fight on the card and put on a magnificent display. the Dubliner, fighting unbeaten American Chris Beal, looked crisp with his striking early. Seery had the better of Beal in most of the exchanges as his speed looked too much for the man moving down from bantamweight. To his credit, Beal stuck to the task and got Seery to the floor late to make the round a little closer. Seery’s hands looked good again in the second before he caught Beal in a guillotine from a takedown attempt. It looked to be well tied up as a mad transition insued until Beal impressively escaped and got on top but was met with a sequence of elbows from the always active Seery. Beal had his best boxing output at the end of the second but it wasn’t enough to steal the period. Beal looked out on his feet in the final round while Seery upped the pace. The tough as nails Beal fired off with power strikes but Seery was just too slick and fast as he avoided and outlanded the American throughout the period. In the end, the judges gave Seery a much deserved unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) to move him to 2-1 in his UFC career. A move towards a top-15 opponent can’t be far away.

His teammate, Paul Redmond, had a much more daunting task as he drew unbeaten blue chip prospect Mirsad Bektic in his debut. Redmond, who took the fight on just two weeks notice and was cutting down to featherweight for the first time, was dominated from minute one as Bektic got the fight to the floor and secured top position from a Redmond takedown attempt. The American was calm on top and landed hurtful ground and pound when he chose to move in. “Redser” had no answer for the top game and was badly cut just before the bell to end round one. It was rinse and repeat in the second as Bektic got it horizontal and attacked the increasingly bloody Redmond from top position again. Redmond tried hard to escape but Bektic was just too strong and almost finished near the end of the round but the tough-as-nails Redmond hung in there.  In the final round Bektic caught Redmond with a left hook early before taking him down inside of 30 seconds. Bektic was a lot less active in the third and attempted to pass the guard more than strike which allowed Redmond to defend his position better. Bektic was happy to ride out to the finish on the ground as Redmond ended without being able to get any offence going. The judges’ scored Bektic every round (30-27, 30-27, 30-25) after a wonderful performance from the Bosnian-American who is sure to be on his way towards the rankings shortly. For Redmond, he’ll just be glad to get his debut out of the way following a horrendously tough weight cut and hope to bounce back with a better performance, after a full camp where he has the opportunity to make weight properly, next time out.

Check out the full UFC on Fox 14 results below:

Main Card
Anthony Johnson def. Alexander Gustafsson via TKO – Round 1, 2:15
Gegard Mousasi def. Dan Henderson via TKO – Round 1, 1:10
Ryan Bader def. Phil Davis via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Sam Sicilia def. Akira Corassani via knockout – Round 1, 3:26

Prelims
Albert Tumenov def Nico Musoke via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Kenny Robertson def. Sultan Aliev via TKO – Round 1, 2:42
Makwan Amirkhani def. Andy Ogle via TKO – Round 1, 0:08
Nikita Krylov def. Stanislav Nedkov via submission (guillotine) – Round 1, 1:24
Mairbek Taisumov def. Anthony Christodoulou via knockout – Round 2, 0:38
Mirsad Bektic def. Paul Redmond via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)

Fight Pass Prelims
Viktor Pesta def. Konstantin Erokhin via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Neil Seery def. Chris Beal via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma