After the rare Sunday Fight Night last week, we get an even more rare Friday night UFC show this week. Live from Utica, Jimmie Rivera and Marlon Moraes headline the card. What was originally scheduled to be 13 fights, was shortened down to 12 fights as a Fight Pass bout was cancelled at the last minute. At 2:41PM EST, journalist Ariel Helwani reported that Jessica Aguilar was pulled from her fight against Jodie Esquibel after a “chapped lips” issue. Despite the show being on a Friday night, the show did operate in the usual time slots that it would on a Saturday. The Fight Pass Early Prelims, which were scheduled to start at 6:30PM, were moved to 7PM due to the cancelled fight. Jose Torres versus Jared Brooks started the night.
- In the Flywight division, Jose “Shorty” Torres makes his UFC debut against Jared Brooks. Just after a minute of the first round, Torres got knocked down by a spinning back-fist. Brooks was extremely dominant in the first round. In the second round Torres capitalized on an error, after Brooks went for a huge slam, knocking himself out. Torres ended the fight with punches right after. It’s actually amazing to watch, because Brooks really just hit his head hard on the mat. A truly unique fight finish.
- The second fight of the night was Johnny Eduardo versus Nathaniel Wood in the Bantamweight class. Halfway through the first round Eduardo was starting to dominate with strikes. Despite being dominated in the first round, Wood was able to get a tap in the second round with a Darce Choke. Coincidentally, Wood was also in his UFC debut.
- Switching to FS1 for the Prelims, Desmond Green was set to face Gleison Tibau in the Lightweight division. Green, who is from New York, got a very warm welcome when introduced. The fight made its way to the third round, where Green dropped Tibau with a right. Tibau recovered, but was retreating for the rest of the round. The fight went the distance, and made us turn to the judges scorecards. Desmond Green won the fight via Unanimous Decision, which was expected.
- Shifting over to the Welterweight division, Belal Muhammad versus Chance Rencountre. Rencountre, like many others tonight was also making his UFC debut. One thing interesting to note about Belal Muhammad is that he has been and still is fasting for Ramadan. It’s impressive to do any sort of athletic event, better yet MMA, while fasting. Muhammad hit a strong combo of jabs near the end of the second round. Bellal completely dominated every round of this battle. All three judges gave Belal Muhammad a 30-27 win.
- Heading back to Lightweight, Nik Lentz fought David Teymur. The fight went all three rounds, relying on the judges to decide who gets the win. The judges Unanimously decided that Teymur won the fight (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).
- Ending off the prelims is Sijara Eubanks versus Lauren Murphy in the Flyweight division. This match was pretty slow, and went to decision. The judges gave Sijara Eubanks the Unanimous win (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27).
- After six undercard fights, we move on to the main card. Starting it off in the Light Heavyweight division was Gian Villante versus Sam Alvey. There was a pause in the fight in the first round after Alvey got hit in the groin with a kick. Late in the round Alvey was able to knock down Villante. He was near a fight finish, but then the round timer expired. The two fighters went the distance. The judges gave Sam Alvey the win, but via a Split Decision (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
- After five decision finished in a row, we look to Daniel Teymur and Julio Arce from the Featherweight division to have an explosive fight. Arce is from New York, and got a reaction from the Utica crowd because of this. Also, during introductions, you could see that Arce had been trying that “cupping” technique on his back before the fight. The fight looked like it would be going to decision, until Julio Arce was able to make Teymur tap with a Rear Naked Choke.
- Ben Saunders faced Jake Ellenberger as the ninth fight on the card, in the Welterweight division. Ellenberger was finished in the first round after a knee to the torso. After that, Saunders finished the fight with strikes.
- The only Heavyweight fight that we got tonight was Walt Harris versus Daniel Spitz. With only seconds left in the second round, Walt Harris was able to knock Spitz out. He was really up against the clock to finish the fight. Spitz was first hit with a left, but stayed standing. He was eventually taken down and finished by punches.
- In our last fight before the main event, Vinc Pichel faced Gregor Gillespie. Gillespie stopped the fight with a Arm Triangle Submission. When interviewed after the fight, Gregor said that Vinc is hard to take down (there were many, many takedown attempts in this fight). He also opted to not call anyone out.
- Finally, like honestly, finally, it is time for the main event. Marlon Moraes fights Jimmie Rivera. Rivera had the home-state advantage in this fight. In just under a minute of the fight, Moraes absolutely floored Rivera with a left leg kick. After that, he went to the ground to finish the fight. The crowd went absolutely silent for this. After the fight Moraes said that he dedicates the fight to his son, who is on the way. He also mentions that he wants to fight for the Bantamweight title.
With this Fight Night in the books, UFC puts 100% of their focus on UFC 225, which is next week in Chicago. In the main event, Robert Whittaker defends his Middleweight belt against Yoel Romero. This is the second time in both fighters careers that they have met in the octagon. Along with that is a Welterweight bout which is a clash between a trash talker and a composed fighter. The ever so loud Colby Covington will see if he can back up all of his talk when he faces Rafael Dos Anjos.
Even though there are many more fights to discuss, if there was only one more of importance, it would be CM Punk’s. CM Punk faces Mike Jackson. Both fighters have something in common, in that they both took their first professional loss to Mickey Gall. Both fighters will be trying to prove themselves in the UFC, something they haven’t done yet. UFC and UFC fans await a stacked 12 fight card next week.