Middleweights moving in Berlin (UFC Fight Night 41 Review)

ufc_fn41The UFC would do something that it has rarely done as they would create the ultimate day of fights for fight fans. It would also show a scary trend in the UFC as they continue to walk a fine line between giving fans what they want and putting too much out there. The UFC has always had there once a month fight cards on pay-per-view and that has never changed aside from the odd month where they feature two pay-per-view events. Then the UFC would sign a deal with Spike to broadcast live fights alongside their reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. The deal with Spike TV would see the UFC begin to show two fights every month with one free on the cable network. The UFC would then begin to look elsewhere and sign a massive deal with FOX that would bring them to more households than ever before. With that deal the UFC has started a pattern of showing fights almost every weekend and in some cases every weekend in a month with one on pay-per-view and the rest on free TV. The amount of events have begun to stretch the UFC out very thin with events featuring less key fighters. The UFC wouldn’t stop there though as the UFC would decide to run two full cards in one day. The day of fights was another step towards the UFC putting on too many fights to make their sport interesting. The biggest issues with the fights were that the talent pool continues to be thinned out when the UFC puts on this many fights. That was the case in Berlin when the first event of the day would get underway with a number of unknown fighters and would end with two fighters that would likely be a main card fight rather than a main event. That is not to say that either fighter was good enough to put on a great show but both Mark Munoz and Gegard Mousasi do not have the star power that usually highlights a fight card. Still the fight was created and both top 15 fighters would look to make an impact on the middleweight division. With the contenders beginning to stack up this would not be a title contender fight but instead would be a chance for either fighter to make their way into the pool of potential title contenders. A win in the main event would be another step for either fighter to complete a long road to a UFC championship. It would mean a step up in competition and it would mean the chance to get within a few fights of a title shot. Both fighters would come into the octagon looking to get some recognition in a division where a number of great fighters are looking to get their shot. The matchup would pit a ground and pound American wrestler in Munoz against a technical boxer in Gegard Mousasi. They would face off as two of the underdogs in the middleweight division as nobody has mentioned either fighter in the title contender conversation and they were looking to change that as they faced off in the main event. The fight would be a quick one and would show that the rankings are not necessarily the most accurate. From the start Munoz was looking to put the pressure on but Mousasi would stay out of the way and start imposing his will on the fight. Munoz would look to take the fight to the ground from the start and when the fight got to the ground Mousasi would show his wrestling ability. On one takedown Munoz would see Mousasi reverse immediately and take the mount before Munoz gave up his back. From that position Mousasi would sink in a rear naked choke and end the fight. The loss to Munoz would be his second in a row and it could be the beginning of the end as Munoz has been one of the least active fighters in the division and is not the same fighter he used to be when he seemed to be headed to a title shot. For Mousasi it was a win against a top 10 fighter and should put him into the top 10 and give him some much tougher opponents where he looks to begin his run at the title as he continues to show like a potential contender in the middleweight division.

The theme of fighters not getting a lot of attention in their division would start with the co-main event of the night when Francis Carmont and CB Dollaway would face off. Both fighters had their time when they were considered the future of the division but lately both have dropped in the middleweight rankings. Francis Carmont seemed to be the future of the middleweight division as a six fight win streak made him one of the future contenders in the division. Then he would lose to another future contender in Ronaldo Souza and Carmont’s name would immediately drop out of the title contender conversation. CB Dollaway has had a tougher road though as he has been much more inconsistent since his time on The Ultimate Fighter. While on the show he seemed to be a future contender and that was the talk when he was set to make his UFC debut but after two wins to open his career he would begin his inconsistent fights. Dollaway was looking to prove many of the people who believed he could be great right and after a big KO win over Cezar Ferreira he was hoping to continue the momentum against tougher competition. The fight would be a good one as both fighters came out showing that they knew how important this fight was for both of them. They would stay standing for the majority of the fight with both getting in their shots and earning a leg up on the other at different points in the fight. As the fight moved on CB Dollaway would begin to take over and started to be more aggressive and earning more shots. Dollaway would get the fight to the ground in the second round and again in the third where he would begin to score more points by controlling the fight. It was a closely matched fight between the two fighters but in the end it was Dollaway who would fight a complete fight winning both on his feet and on the mat. The loss was not what Carmont needed as he has now lost two fights in a row and will need to go back and learn from both losses as he hopes to start another win streak to get back to the title contention. For Dollaway it was the biggest win of his career as he would take out a top 10 fighter in the division and looks to finally be ranked in the division. If he can continue to get better he will likely make his way into the title conversation in the middleweight division.

Fight Bonuses

Performance of the Night
In a night where no Fight of the Night bonus was handed out the UFC would give away four Performance of the Night bonuses including one to the main event winner Gegard Mousasi for his dominant performance against Mark Munoz

Performance of the Night
The co-main event winner would also receive a bonus after CB Dollaway would have a great fight against Francis Carmont beating him with a unanimous decision that sent a message to the rest of the division

Performance of the Night
Niklas Backstrom had his work cut out for him in his fight going against a veteran MMA star from Finland but that wouldn’t phase him as he took the fight to the ground and ended it with a variation on the Rear Naked Choke

Performance of the Night
As time was ticking away in his fight Martin Cedenblad would lock in a Guillotine choke and would end the fight while earning himself a fight bonus for a great submission win over Krzysztof Jotko in the prelims

 

Fight Results

Main Event:
Gegard “The Dream Catcher” Mousasi def. Mark “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Munoz
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 1)

Main Card:
CB “The Doberman” Dollaway def. Francis “Limitless” Carmont
(Unanimous Decision)

Sean “Tarzan” Strickland def. Luke “The Bigslow” Barnatt
(Split Decision)

Niklas Bäckstrom def. Tom “Stoneface” Niinimaki
(Submission; Rear Naked Choke, Rd. 2)

Undercard:
Nick Hein def. Drew Dober
(Unanimous Decision)

Magnus “Jycken” Cedenblad def. Krzysztof Jotko
(Submission; Guillotine Choke, Rd. 2)

Iuri “Marajo” Alcantara def. Vaughan Lee
(TKO; Rd. 1)

Peter Sobotta def. Paweł Pawlak
(Unanimous Decision)

“Maxi” Maximo Blanco def. Andy “Little Axe” Ogle
(Unanimous Decision)

Ruslan Magomedov def. Viktor Pešta
(Unanimous Decision)

 

Upcoming Events

UFC Fight Night 42: Henderson vs. Khabilov (Saturday June 7th; 10:00 pm ET)
Alburquerque, New Mexico (Tingley Coliseum)
Main Event: “Smooth” Benson Henderson vs. Rustam “Tiger” Khabilov
Notable: Diego “The Dream” Sanchez vs. Ross “The Real Deal” Pearson
Notable: John “The Magician” Dodson vs. John Moraga

UFC 174: Johnson vs. Bagautinov (Saturday June 14th; 10:00 pm ET)
Vancouver, British Columbia (Rogers Arena)
Main Event: Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson vs. Ali “Puncher” Bagautinov [Flyweight Title]
Notable: Rory “Ares” MacDonald vs. Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley
Notable: Ryan “Darth” Bader vs. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante

UFC Fight Night 43: Te Huna vs. Marquardt (Saturday June 28th; TBD)
Auckland, New Zealand (Vector Arena)
Main Event: James Te Huna vs. Nate “The Great” Marquardt
Notable: Soa “The Hulk” Palelei vs. Jared “The Big Show” Rosholt
Notable: Hatsu Hioki vs. Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira

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