Welcome to CagedInsider’s coverage of UFC on FOX 18, which consists of me sitting in the press section at cageside in the Prudential Center in sunny (not really) Newark, N.J.
First up in the prelims – which you can watch on Fight Pass – are Tony Martin versus Felipe Olivieri.
Since both these guys are opening up the Fight Pass prelims, the expectation is that maybe they’re not yet the most elite fighters in the world – expectations that are met by their tentativeness in the beginning of the round. When he finally musters enough confidence, Olivieri manages to buckle Martin’s leg with a couple of kicks, while Martin scoops the Brazilian up more than once for some flying lessons. By round’s end, Olivieri starts throwing a plethora of kicks and punches, so he takes the frame for sure.
Martin’s plan to become like a human heavy bag is even further realized, as he stands in front of Olivieri and beckons him to hit him – which Olivieri obliges. Only with a minute and half left does Martin start cracking him back, and in the waning seconds of the round he actually wobbles the Brazilian. I’m not sure if it’s enough to steal the frame, but the crowd loves it.
Amazingly, if Martin’s plan was to let Olivieri tire himself out from dishing out a beating, it works, as the Brazilian is simply too exhausted in Round 3 to stop the takedown and keep Martin off his back. At 3:02 of the round, Olivieri taps out to a rear naked choke.