UFC Fight Night travelled to the “Heart of America” last Saturday, bringing a monstrous event to Kansas City, Missouri that was headlined by Max Holloway and Arnold Allen.
The former featherweight champion faced off against the British contender in a crucial bout in the division.
Holloway was on a mission to show what he had left in the tank as he voyages into the latter stages of his UFC career whereas Allen’s eight-year tenure in the organisation has led to this moment.
The card also saw the return of the seasoned Edson Barboza, who faced off against the inexperienced Billy Quarantillio in the co-main event.
There were also some eagerly anticipated ties in the form of Tanner Boser vs Ion Cutelaba, Pedro Munhoz vs Chris Gutierrez and Dustin Jacoby against Azamat Murzakanov.
Max Holloway def. Arnold Allen via unanimous decision:
Max Holloway stoutly defended his pedigree in the featherweight division as he handed Arnold Allen the first loss of his UFC career.
However, take nothing away from Allen’s performance.
His stock has significantly increased despite the defeat, with Hollway visibly expressing his fatigue at the final claxon and labelling Allen a “great opponent” in his interview with Joe Rogan.
Both men stuck to their game plans and gave a solid account of themselves, but in the end, Holloway’s experience toppled Allen.Embed from Getty Images
The former champ was much more economical in his striking; which is something we do not usually associate with the hectic Hawaiian.
Holloway and his team were aware that each round was going to be super competitive so a strategy was deployed whereby Max would ensure he notched up more significant strikes than Allen across each round.
Holloway is arguably the best volume puncher in the sport, and it was emphasised against Allen, with Holloway planting 147 significant strikes compared to Allen’s 76.
Allen landed some smart punches and was never in too much trouble of getting sparked out, but the Brit was constantly chasing the fight with Holloway steaming away with his striking input to win courtesy of a unanimous decision.
Edson Barboza def. Billy Quarantillo via KO:
Is there anything Edson Barboza cannot do? It was another stunning knockout to add to his personal highlight reel as he lifted a knee into the jaw of Billy Quarantillo in the first round.
The initial exchanges were quite contested too. Quarantillo looked to deploy his mixed martial arts early as he tried to walk Barboza down with a flurry of strikes.
Two minutes into the round, he pushed Edson up against the cage and as he went to change levels, Barboza beautifully anticipated his opponent’s move and cannoned a knee off his head.
Barboza has certainly reminded everyone of his presence in the featherweight division and it was a much-needed win after two defeats on the bounce.
Whether the 37-year-old Brazilian feels he can propel up the division over the next year remains to be seen, but his devasting arsenal of strikes has been something every UFC fan has adored and associated Barboza for.
Azamat Murzakanov def. Justin Jacoby via unanimous decision.
Azamat Murzakanov maintained his undefeated record and reinforced his threat to the light heavyweight division with a closely contested bout with Justin Jacoby.
Murzakanov was quick out of the blocks and dominated the opening two rounds. The Russian hurt Jacoby with a nasty overhand in the opening round and again in the second with a crunching front kick.
Credit to Jacoby, who flexed his resilience after taking some heavy shots from Murzakanov and soldiered on.Embed from Getty Images
The Russian did deteriorate in the third round which opened up an opportunity for Jacoby to work his way back into the bout. He landed some neat shots but nothing of any significance as Muzakanov cantered towards the final horn to secure victory.
The Russian said after the fight that he wants to accelerate to a title shot in the quickest possible manner, but given the division is stacked with quality and contenders, he may have to bide his time.
Ion Cutelaba def. Tanner Boser via TKO:
The Hulk smashed his way through Tanner Boser and gave the Canadian a harsh introduction into the light heavyweight division.
Boser had previously contested at heavyweight but dropped down to 185 in search of a new test. Well, what a rude welcome it was as Cutelaba proved too tough of an entrance test.
The pair traded shots in the opening phases of the fight but The Hulk transformed himself and sent Boser crashing to the canvas with a brutal right hand. From there, the Moldavian international pounced on his opponent and dished out a barrage of strikes to end the fight.
Cutelaba has halted a three-loss streak with a fine win, but it was against a fighter in Boser whose credibility is sinking every fight night. It is now two straight losses for him and four defeats in his last five outings.
Pedro Munhoz def. Chris Gutierrez via unanimous decision:
Munhoz and Gutierrez was billed as one of the standout fights but failed to live up to expectations as both men opted for safe navigation through the fight.
Gutierrez is renowned for his weapon of a left foot and his array of combos, which was prevalent in the opening round.
However, Munhoz landed a brilliant left hook on the chin of his opponent midway through the first, putting Gutierrez on the canvas.
Gutierrez significantly flatlined in his striking input but so too did Munhoz, as both men showed a bit too much respect for one another which made for a lot of strikes that lacked any substance in the second round.
In the final round, Munhoz cemented his grip over the bout with a stunning straight out of the chute that rocked Gutierrez, who had again done ever so well to stay upright.
All three judges scored the fight for Munhoz who took home a unanimous decision victory over a very dangerous outfit in Gutierrez, who was largely a spectator for most of the fight.