Photo Courtesy of Riley Lorenz

UFC Fight Night doesn’t disappoint in Atlantic City

The UFC returned to the legendary Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City  and the fans didn’t disappoint. The event was electric from start to finish, which helped set the stage for the fighters. Saturday night, the atmosphere itself was so captivating, partnered with so many polarizing figures, it made for a unique experience. 

Upon entering the main card, the prelims didn’t disappoint and many believe there are possible hidden gems for years to come. Some names that stood out were Julio Arce, Nate Landwehr and Ibo Asian. That said, the opening fight to the main card appeared to be a bit slow, however tons of technique and skill were displayed by Chidi “Bang Bang” Njokuani.

Njokuani defeated Rhys Mckee by a split decision in a relatively boring fight, but as stated, the versatility amongst the fighters showing their skill was enjoyable for the purist. The following fight resulted in a knockout by Kyle Nelson in the opening round of the fight. Nelson came into the fight as the underdog with the odds stacked against him, yet he managed to shock many by dominating and securing the victory in the first with a ferocious knockout

UFC Fight Night Controversial Finishes 

Another exciting prospect, Nursulton Ruziboev, laid Sesdriques Dumas out in the first round as well. Unfortunately, the fight did have a controversial “no-call” in regards to an eye gouge to Dumas. After the fight concluded, Dumas made it his business to state his case to the officials and his corner, however the contest was concluded. Although Dumas showed glimpses of hope throughout the fight, Ruziboev proved to be in control and dominated the majority. Shortly after the conclusion of this fight, UFC president and CEO Dana White announced another appearance in New Jersey in early June.

“The city of Newark and Prudential Center have always been great partners to us,” UFC President & CEO Dana White said. “After setting a new arena record last year, I wanted to bring another huge event back to New Jersey to kick off the summer with another big UFC event. UFC 302 is going to be fun!”

This leads to the arguably most exciting and talked about fight of the night, Chris “All-American” Weidman and Bruno Silva. Another thriller for the fans, however it appeared multiple eye gouges were taking place by both opponents. Unfortunately for Silva, the experience of Weidman played a major role and even after the fight, he offered Silva some advice moving forward. 

“You’re in the third round and don’t know what’s going on in the scorecards,” Weidman stated in the post-fight press conference. “My coaches had me up two, as well as the judges, but you never know. That’s why you just have to dig deep and the man with more willpower will find a way to win!”

Outside the outstanding performance from Weidman, some believed this may have been his final fight in the octagon as he rapidly approaches the age of 40. However, he made it abundantly clear that he continues to explore his options and he wants to enjoy celebrating this contest and resting with his family. 

“I considered [hanging up the gloves] plenty of times and I think if I would have lost tonight, it could have been the last time,” Weidman continued. “ … But, it didn’t happen and I got the win so here I am !”

Main Event of the Night

Unfortunately, the homecoming of Erin Blanchfield was spoiled by the French native Manon Fiorot. Blanchfield grew up in New Jersey and spent the majority of her life there. That said, the entire arena was there to see her dominate and hopefully secure a victory, however the size and athleticism of Fiorot just proved to be too much. Blanchfield’s power began to become a concern.

Fiorot decided in this fight she wanted to keep Blanchfield at her feet and not allow her to grapple and get into the ground game. In the opening rounds, Blanchfield nearly secured a kimura (submission), however Fiorot found her way out of it and back to her feet. She managed to win in a unanimous decision (50-45 x3).

Prelims Results

  1. Caolan Loughran won in unanimous decision over Angel Pacheco.
  2. Jacob Malkoun won in second-round knockout over Andre Petroski.
  3. Ibo Asian defeated Anton Turkalj in a third-round knockout.
  4. Dennis Buzukja defeated Connor Matthews in a third-round knockout.
  5. Julio Arce knocked out Herbert Burns in the second round.
  6. Virna Jandiroba (4)  won in a unanimous decision against Loopy Godinez (10).
  7. Nate Landwehr won with a ferocious knockout to Jamall Emmers in the first round.

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