1.From TUF to Tough
UFC Portland’s main card kicked off with TUF fighter Brandon Moreno against #9 ranked flyweight Louis Smolka. Moreno, who had a short run of this season of The Ultimate Fighter, took the fight on short notice. Smolka, viewed as the best flyweight to not yet fight 125 kingpin Demetrious Johnson, was one of the largest favorites on the card. I mean, who loses to a TUF guy, right? Wrong. Much like he did in his lone TUF bout, Moreno applied pressure to his opponent. He eventually caught Smolka, who then went to take down the 5-1 underdog. Seeing this opportunity, Moreno took Smolka’s neck and made the flyweight contender tap via guillotine choke. On a week’s notice, Moreno made weight and shocked the divison. This goes to show how good the competition is on this season’s TUF, as the bottom seeded fighter in that tournament just submitted a top 10 fighter. Look out for “Baby Assassin.”
2.Cowboy Turns Heel!
In the co-main event of the evening, Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira squared off with former Bellator champion “Ill” Will Brooks. Early in the fight, Brooks suffered a rib injury that would end up costing him the bout. It was finished in the third round by Oliveira via TKO, but that isn’t the big news of the fight. After the victory, “Cowboy” would taunt Brooks. It got to the point that Herb Dean had to hold back Brooks who went to lunge at Oliveira. On top of that, Oliveira had missed weight by OVER 5 POUNDS. He was essentially a welterweight fighting a lightweight. Between the taunting and missing weight, social media erupted with negative words toward “Cowboy.” In his defense, he had said that Brooks spoke poorly of his mother and he apologized for missing weight, but not the taunting after his victory. Regardless, this is a setback for Brooks, who had hoped to continue climbing the lightweight ranks. This also is a blemish on Oliveira’s career, both for the missing of weight and his conduct afterwards.
3. John Lineker is a Bad Mamma Jamma
With the card starting later than usual, many east coast fans had to struggle through a longer night than usual, but it was well worth the wait. Battle of the Johns: Lineker vs Dodson. Everyone knew it was going to be a great stand up fight, as Lineker has the heaviest hands in the division and Dodson has the quickest. The fight certainly did not disappoint. There were exchanges that, had there been any other 125, 135, or even 145 pounder in there, they would have likely been knocked out. Both Lineker and Dodson showed tremendous chins, giving further explanation as to why they had yet to be knocked out. At the end of the 5 round bout, Lineker won via split decision in what was a very close fight. It comes as a bitter sweet victory, as Lineker was able to defeat his opponent, but not the scale, as he again missed weight. In his post fight interview, he called out champion Dominick Cruz, but if he cannot make weight, it is an awfully big risk for the UFC to give him the title fight. For Dodson, he hung in and likely won on a lot of fan’s scorecards against the third ranked guy. For that reason, I believe his future is bright at the division, and I would like to see him fight a top 5 guy next, preferably TJ Dillashaw.