UFC Glendale was a good show overall. The prelims were just exciting enough. There were a couple stand out performances by Adam Wieczorek and Lauren Mueller. The co-main and main event stole the show. The two biggest stand out showings were Alex Oliveira and Dustin Poirier.
In the UFC there has only been two Omoplata submissions ever. The first was Ben Saunders in 2014. The second came on Saturday night; Adam Wieczorek pulled off the rare Omoplata win against Arjan Bhullar. The opening round was won by Bhullar, he used his top game to smother Adam. The second round started off much like the same; out of nowhere against the cage, Wieczorek snatched the shoulder and began to crank. The tap came at 1:59 of the second round and history was made again.
The second prelim performance that impressed me was Lauren Mueller. She took on Shana Dobson, who is a powerhouse striker. Mueller was never afraid, she stood and brawled with Dobson, impressively hurting Dobson multiple times. Shana landed vicious body shots that hurt Lauren, but she pushed through the pain. In the end it was Lauren Mueller getting her hand raised for an outstanding fight.
The last prelim performance I thought stood out was my boy Brad Tavares, coming into his own with a TKO win against Krzysztof Jotko. At the ripe age of 29, Tavares is finally climbing the middleweight ladder on his way to an elite level. Jotko had no answer for the pressure and right hand of Tavares, it only took one to put the Polish striker down. Big things for my man Tavares are coming soon.
The main card began with Michelle Waterson getting a much needed win over the always tough Courtney Casey, using superior wrestling and at times better cardio. The Karate Hottie grounded down Cast over three rounds. Israel Adesanya looked as good as you could in a decision win against Marvin Vettori, in an excellent striking showcase. Israel wasn’t impressed with his own performance and neither was I. I expected he’d be better, I can’t wait to see the adjustments he makes.
The co-main event was exciting while it lasted. Alex Oliveira and Carlos Condit exchanged crazy scrambles, swapped top control and landed significant ground strikes. In the end Alex Oliveira was able to lock in a rear-naked choke and tap Carlos Condit in the first round. It was a vintage ‘Cowboy’ Oliveira performance, capped off by the biggest win of his career. My hats off to you sir.
The main event as many predicted was a barn burner. Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje stood in the phone booth and threw down. Gaethje landed heavy leg kicks throughout the fight battering Dustin’s leg. Dustin Poirier went to town on Justin’s Head/face, and landed clean combos throughout all four rounds. It was better than I had anticipated and I’m glad I got to watch it. Dustin Poirier had the last laugh, stopping Gaethje in the fourth round. A flurry of punches was too much for Justin as he was dropped and then wobbled around the cage. The referee Herb Dean rescued Justin from further punishment. To me this signifies that Dustin Poirier is ready for a title shot. His big fight choking woes are firmly behind him. The lightweight division was officially put on notice in Glendale.
Image credit: mykhel.com, mmafighting.com