Fight for the Troops Stand-outs, other than Tim Kennedy

| November 6, 2013 | 9:26 pm | Reply

UFC Fight Night 31 Fight for the TroopsHow often do you get to fight in a hanger these days? Not often for sure, but at Fight for the Troops, there was all kinds of action inside the base at Fort Campbell, and plenty of military men and women entertaining the soldiers. While most of the soldiers in the cage fell short of their goals of victory, there was plenty to see from a technical stand point on this card.

Here’s what I picked up on.

Yancy Medeiros: An interesting fighter that got my attention in his UFC debut against Rustam Khabilov, Medeiros went toe to toe with veteran fighter Yves Edwards and came out with a big win. Medeiros is clearly still getting used to fighting against after such a long lay-off, but his physical gifts were apparent again tonight, having an outstanding penetration on his left straight and a chin that took several of Edward’s best hooks with little ill effect. Medeiros does need to clean up his footwork a bit, and it looks to me like he’s used to sparing with much larger opponents and moves in too close to make use of his own considerable reach, and was caught broadside twice when you failed to check step and keep Yves in front of him. Aside from that, it was an outstanding performance that sets up several interesting matches at Lightweight.

Dennis Bermudez: A fighter who has fought frequently and with improvement in every showing, Bermudez put on what I felt was the FOTN against Steven Siler. With five wins under his belt at this point, it’ll be hard to deny Bermudez some tougher opposition, but I feel he’s ready for a big step that puts him against some fringe contenders, particularly Clay Guida. From my vantage point, Bermudez is a better version of Clay Guida, in that rather than hunt for points; he’s hunting for a finish. With a new bit of head movement, footwork and feints added to his already formidable grappling game, Bermudez could chew some folks up in 2014.

Rustam Khabilov vs. Jorge Masvidal: A great bout that showed a lot out of both men. For Khabilov, we saw that he doesn’t need to hit suplexes to win a fight, and his systema-style punching game as on point, particularly early. That off-time style of throwing shots tends to confuse traditional boxers, and if Masvidal’s chin wasn’t so stellar, it would have been a thirty-second fight rather than a fifteen minute war.

Masvidal is one of the most underrated fighters in the game today, just because he has so many intangibles going in his favor. This time out we again saw his full-body strength, surety of movement and his unreal sense of balance; a trifecta that turned the Suplex Master into a freshman year freestyle wrestler. Masvidal doesn’t do anything amazing in clinch and grappling exchanges, but the grace with which he flows through them is one of his defining characteristics for me. No matter what hold Khabilov got on Masvidal, he was able to make powerful twists with his body and reverse position on him several times. The key moment in the fight in terms of these trains coming together was a third round takedown by Khabilov, where he drove Masvidal half way across the cage, hands linked behind his hips, and Masvidal hopped on his toes the entire way, never hitting the mat. Displays like that show why the wrestlers able to put Masvidal on his back are so few and far between in the sport.

Yoel Romero: Much like Masvidal, Romero showed that he’s a physical dynamo, albeit with a major caveat. Using a unique style that played like a very traditional muay thai mixed with boxing taught by a Klitchko, Romero probed, prodded and occasionally hammered Markes as he scored a 3rd round KO. While his reaction speed and battlemind in terms of his offense are definitely top-level, his fundamentals in the striking game show him to be a 36-year-old man with six pro fights. Romero continuously circled into Markes power while still in his range, bobbed into strikes rather than away from them and would often forget he even had legs as Markes would knock his head back and find it again right where he left it.

You can’t expect the world from an elder wrestler who transitions into MMA late in life, and Romero’s game is coming along remarkably. However, his clear love of his own stand-up game, if pitted against the wrong opponent, will lead to a nightmarish KO in his next fight.

Complete UFC Fight night 31: Fight for the Troops results:

Tim Kennedy Fight for the Troops

Tim Kennedy stole the show but others impressed as well.

Main Card:

Tim Kennedy defeated Rafael Natal by 1st rd. KO (4:40)

Alexis Davis defeated Liz Carmouche by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Yoel Romero defeated Ronny Markes by 3rd rd. TKO (1:39)

Rustam Khabilov defeated Jorge Masvidal by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Michael Chiesa defeated Colton Smith by 2nd rd. Rear-Naked Choke Submission (1:41)

Preliminary Card:

Bobby Green defeated James Krause by 1st rd. TKO (3:50)

Francisco Rivera defeated George Roop by 2nd rd. TKO (2:20)

Dennis Bermudez defeated Steven Siler by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Amanda Nunes defeated Germaine de Randamie by 1st rd. TKO (3:56)

Lorenz Larkin defeated Chris Camozzi by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Yancy Medeiros defeated Yves Edwards by 1st rd. KO (2:47)

Seth Baczynski defeated Neil Magny by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Derek Brunson defeated Brian Houston by 1st rd. rear-Naked Choke Submission (0:48)

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Category: Featured, MMA, UFC

About the Author ()

I'm a 20+ year veteran of martial arts and a fan of MMA since UFC 1, when my world was thrown on its head by the budding sport. I'm obsessive in the pursuit of martial abilities and have competed across the country in everything from Vale Tudo to archery to Scottish broadsword. Once my body broke down, I picked up a pen and went in the direction of writing. I specialize in betting advice, predictions, and I'm a walking encyclopedia of MMA trivia. I own a cafe in Exeter, NH called Hammersmith Sandwich Company and write out of my office between customers.

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