The Sunday Aftermath – UFC Fight Night 63: Mendes vs. Lamas

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After a few quiet weeks inside the cage, it was back to business on Saturday night in Fairfax, Virginia with UFC Fight Night 63. The card, which took place at an unusually early time because of college basketball competition in the States, looked strong on paper for a fight night show and, in practice, was also fairly easy on the eye.

Mendes On The Money

In the headlining position for the evening was the featherweight bout between former title contenders Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas with more possible title implications included. The build-up was relatively under the radar for this one but it didn’t take long to heat up once they touched gloves. A leg kick from Mendes was the first landed strike of the bout as both men came out swinging hard. Lamas quickly answered that with a nicely hidden uppercut while staying out of the reach of his opponent. Lamas looked settled early and threw his usual spinning wheel kick which was well off the mark on every occasion. Although Lamas was able to establish a long striking range in the fight early on, he couldn’t keep it up; and that was always going to go badly.

Mendes, the expert in-fighter, walked down his opponent after his good start and landed a huge straight right hand which put him down with around two minutes on the clock. Lamas was in bad trouble from then on as Mendes swooped in to unload a series of hammerfists. Somehow, “The Bully” managed to survive and get back to his feet but it wasn’t for long. Mendes continued to pour it on hard and landed a devastating knee to the head which had Lamas running for cover. He couldn’t find it. As he backed up, Lamas fell to the floor and Mendes dealt six unanswered blows before Lamas again struggled to his feet. A left hand from Mendes once he got up had the wobbly Lamas hurt additionally and he again feel to the ground as he tried to escape the attacks.

This time Mendes took his time and controlled Lamas from the back before unleashing another onslaught. Eight hard punches later and Mendes was asking referre Dan Miragliotta to stop the fight and, much to the relief of Ricardo Lamas, he duly obliged. With the win, Mendes puts himself back towards the title track after losing last time out to champion Jose Aldo while Lamas will need to rebuild and improve if he wants to tackle the top boys again in the future. Now all they have to do is sit back and wait for Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo to decide who the champion they are targeting is.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Lightweights were in action in the penultimate bout of the evening as Al Iaquinta and Jorge Masvidal looked to push their way up the minefield of a UFC 155 lbs division. As referee Keith Peterson started the bout it was tame in the opening moments. Masvidal began with a few low leg kicks while Iaquinta’s jab was a set up for some early head seeking boots. The first big shot of the fight came two minutes in and it was a flying knee, followed by a body kick, from Masvidal which found the mark. For long periods the fight happened at long range which favoured the bigger, and maybe slightly quicker, Masvidal who was able to keep the hard hitting Iaquinta at bay.

The last minute of the round, though, saw the first real flurry of back and forth exchanges as Iaquinta landed with a nice right hand which Masvidal answered back with a right-left combo which rocked the New Yorker. Clearly dazed, Iaquinta attempted to pull guard but Masvidal was able to disengage and, with the seconds ticking down, land another booming combination that had Iaquinta in bad trouble on the seat of his pants when the first bell went.

Iaquinta looked to be recovered as the second stanza started although a big cut below the right eye had begun to allow blood to pour from his face. The range was a little closer in the second than the first which suited “Raging Al” who put a big right hand on Masvidal before dodging a ferocious looking axe kick. As he did all night, Masvidal attacked with leg kicks between every Iaquinta charge and even knocked him off balance with one as the extremely close round played out.

A big body kick from “Gamebred” was a marker set down to start the final frame as the exchanges became more violent the longer the fight progressed. Iaquinta was able to land a couple of right hands along with his leg kicks while Masvidal looked like he was starting to struggle with the additional output. By the second half of the third, the jab of Iaquinta had taken up permanent lodgings on the chin of Masvidal who seemed to enter defensive mode. That didn’t deter Iaquinta though as he continued to up the volume and put a series of overhand rights together with his chin-seeking jab and leg kicks. Masvidal did answer back late in the round but the judges decided it in the end. It was always going to be a tight call and when Iaquinta was given the split decision win he was met with loud jeers from the crowd to which he appropriately replied “I fought my ass off… Fuck you”. After a pretty close and enjoyable fight, a rematch might be the best tonic.

That wasn’t the only lightweight fight of the night on a card packed with tremendous match ups. Former 155 lbs title contender Gray Maynard also returned to the Octagon but gave up a unanimous decision loss to Alexander Yakovlev in what was a pretty lacklustre affair to send him to a fourth consecutive loss and possibly retirement while, also at lightweight, former Conor McGregor featherweight victim Dustin Poirier made his step up in weight and put on a fantastic display of striking to finish Diego Ferreira in the very first round. The fourth lightweight bout of the evening was a grappling procession as Michael Chiesa made life misery over three rounds for Mitch Clarke to get the unanimous decision win in one that won’t live long in the memory. While back down at featherweight, fan favourite Clay Guida put on a clinic of wrestling to grind out the unanimous decision over Robbie Peralta and preceded to call out lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, whom he has a win over, in an odd post fight interview.

Check out the full results below

Chad Mendes def. Ricardo Lamas via TKO – R1, 2:45

Al Iaquinta def. Jorge Masvidal via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)

Michael Chiesa def. Mitch Clarke via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-28)

Julianna Pena def. Milana Dudieva vua TKO – R1, 3:59

Clay Guida def. Robbie Peralta via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Dustin Poirier def. Diego Ferreira via knockout – R1, 3:45

Liz Carmouche def. Lauren Murphy via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Alexander Yakovlev def. Gray Maynard via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Timothy Johnson def. Shamil Abdurahimov via TKO – R1, 4:57

Ron Stallings def. Justin Jones via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Co-host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Tuesday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more.

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