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UFC Fight Night 120 Post-Mortem: Bloodshed in the Commonwealth




UFC Fight Night 120
on Saturday in Norfolk marked the
Ultimate Fighting Championship
’s first visit to Virginia since
May 2012, when it witnessed a “Fight of the Year” contender between
Dustin
Poirier
and Chan Sung
Jung
. This time, Poirier was involved in a blood-soaked,
back-and-forth war with former UFC lightweight champion Anthony
Pettis
at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. From top to
bottom, the card was occupied by compelling matchups that pushed
the UFC toward its crowded holiday schedule.

A Bloody Beatdown

Poirier stepped into the Octagon with a chip on his shoulder. After
fighting to a no-contest with another former lightweight champion
in Eddie
Alvarez
in May, the Lafayette, Louisiana, native was looking to
get back to his winning ways in the main event. He did as he
planned in a bloody beatdown of Pettis. Theirs was a back-and-forth
affair, one in which “The Diamond” refused to relent in the
grappling exchanges while landing four of his five attempted
takedowns.

The fight took a turn for the worse for Pettis in the second round,
where Poirier landed a hellish elbow that opened a sizeable gash
above the Milwaukee native’s eyebrow. With blood flowing down his
face and into his eyes, Pettis tried to stay active from his back,
throwing up several triangle and armbar attempts — he locked in
two different triangle chokes — only to have the blood work in
Poirier’s favor and provide means of escape.

The “Fight of the Year” candidate came to what some saw as an
anti-climactic close in the third round, as Poirier landed another
takedown, secured back control and locked in a body triangle.
Pettis tried to reverse position — a feat he managed in Round 2 —
but his body failed him. He suffered an apparent rib injury in the
process and tapped to the body triangle 2:08 into the third
round.

Vintage Veterans

UFC Fight Night “Poirier vs. Pettis” saw a number of veterans give
vintage performances.

Matt
Brown
declared that his co-main event with Diego
Sanchez
would be the final fight of his career. If it was his
last appearance in the cage, he left on a high note. Sanchez looked
to initiate grappling exchanges at the start, held Brown against
the fence and hunted double-leg takedowns that were unsuccessful.
With just under two minutes left in the first round, Brown caught a
body kick from “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 winner and had him
hopping backward towards the cage. He then released the leg,
created some distance and punished Sanchez with a right elbow that
sent him nosediving to the canvas. “The Nightmare” was out cold.
Afterward, Brown backtracked on his retirement talk and indicated
he would return home to reassess his situation after speaking with
family, friends and coaches. He claimed to have had one of the best
training camps of his career, and his brutal knockout victory may
have left the perennial fan favorite wanting more.

Meanwhile, Andrei
Arlovski
entered his bout with Junior
Albini
on a five-fight losing streak that had many observers
wondering if it was time for him to move on to the next chapter in
his life. Now training at
American Top Team
, the former heavyweight showed he had
something left in the tank and took a hard-fought decision from
Albini — a Brazilian prospect who had not lost since August 2012.
Arlovski declined to comment on what was next but thanked fans for
their support and enjoyed being back in the win column.

Elsewhere, longtime lightweight staples Clay Guida and
Joe
Lauzon
opened the main card. Guida continued to thrive as a
member of
Team Alpha Male
, landing a hard overhand right behind Lauzon’s
ear that staggered him just 30 seconds into the fight. “The
Carpenter” followed up with a flush uppercut that floored Lauzon
and set the stage for the finish. Guida then rained punches and
elbows until the bout was stopped 1:07 into the first round, giving
him back-to-back wins for the first time in more than six
years.

Etc.

Raphael
Assuncao
extended his latest winning streak to three fights
with a third-round knockout of Matthew
Lopez
. Assuncao attacked with crushing inside leg kicks that
hobbled Lopez and left him vulnerable to the picture-perfect right
hook that knocked him unconscious. The win moved the Brazilian to
10-1 at 135 pounds, his lone loss coming to current champion
T.J.
Dillashaw
… Former
World Series of Fighting
champion Marlon
Moraes
recorded his first win under the Ultimate Fighting
Championship flag, as he took a split decision from John Dodson
in the featured prelim. It was a hotly contested battle in which
Moraes locked in a guillotine choke with mere seconds to go in the
fight. Dodson tapped but after time expired, sending it to the
scorecards … “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 23 winner Tatiana
Suarez
did not skip a beat in her return from an injury layoff.
She dominated Viviane
Pereira
on the ground, earned a clear-cut unanimous decision
and kept her undefeated record intact … Sage
Northcutt
got back on track with a unanimous verdict over
Michel
Quinones
, as he showed off superior speed and power while also
mixing in takedowns. Northcutt touted his move to Team Alpha Male
and believes he will continue to make improvements moving forward.



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