Welcome to another installment of Saturday afternoon UFC! This one is UFC Fight Night 37, and since it’s taking place in London, England, and is being broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass, we get to have our weekly dose of top-level sanctioned violence at 1pm EST. Hooray!
The main event features light-heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson inexplicably taking on Jimi Manuwa – “inexplicably” because didn’t Gustafsson just give champ Jon Jones the fight of his life? Why then is he fighting someone not in the top ten? Anyway, Gustafsson and Manuwa are the main event, and the co-main has Melvin Guillard facing Michael Johnson. Keep hitting “refresh” for updates.
- Louis Gaudinot vs. Phil Harris
Round 1: After about 20 seconds of probing with their boxing, Harris ducks his head and shoots for a single-leg takedown – and Gaudinot methodically hops back against the cage to retain his balance, snakes his arms around Harris’ neck, and jumps into an arm-in guillotine. Harris drops to the ground and the green-haired scrapper rolls into mount, still maintaining the pressure – a turn of events that leaves Harris with no other recourse but to tap.
Result: Louis Gaudinot def. Phil Harris via Submission (Guillotine) at 1:13, R1
- Igor Araujo vs. Danny Mitchell
Round 1: Araujo wastes no time trying to distract Mitchell with strikes, as he throws a wild punch and an even wilder kick before changing levels for a takedown. Mitchell stuffs the attempt, but a subsequent scramble has the Brazilian on top trying to pass guard. Yet despite Araujo’s jiu-jitsu black belt credentials, the Brit fighter opens up and attacks from the bottom with heelhooks and toe holds. Araujo defends nicely, and delivers some ground and pound, and the round ends with Mitchell scoring with a sweep that dumps Araujo on his butt.
I’d give the round to Mitchell because of his more effective grappling.
Round 2: After about 30 seconds of Mitchell swinging and Araujo looking awkward, the Brazilian shoots for and gets a takedown, and is again working to pass guard. Unlike in the round prior, Mitchell seems much more stifled by Araujo’s top game, which translates into zero sub attempts from is back and only escaping back to his feet with a minute and a half left in the round. Mitchell does go for a flying triangle, but he flubs it and spends the last seconds of the frame trying to not eat leather.
Araujo takes Round 2.
Round 3: They trade in pretty ugly fashion on the feet, and then Araujo and Mitchell go to the ground and the Brazilian is threatening with a triangle choke that would’ve discourage lesser men. Not Mitchell, though, who escapes that – and a subsequent omoplata – and threaten with more heelhooks and toe holds. Then… then… oh boy. They sit up and engage in one of the most embarrassing, technique-less slapfighting ever seen in the Octagon.
I’d give the round to Araujo, but… sheesh.
Result: Igor Araujo def. Danny Mitchell via Unanimous Decision
- Brad Scott vs. Claudio Henrique da Silva
Round 1: Silva comes out aggressive trying to mix takedowns with strikes, but Scott makes him suddenly cautious with an uppercut and some marginally more accurate strikes of his own. The takedown does come though, and Scott is soon forced to escape from being mounted – which he does, and when they get back to their feet it’s all about the Brit’s sprawl-and-brawl game.
Things grind to a halt thanks to an accidental eye poke at the four-minute mark, and after a restart, Silva gets the single-leg and works his jiu-jitsu mojo from within Scott’s half-guard.
Silva takes the round based on his more effective grappling.
Round 2: If the fighters in the bout before this one were throwing wild kicks and punches, then these guys strikes live in the woods and have known no civilization. Seriously, we’re talking UFC 1-level stuff. However, Scott ends up getting the better of the exchanges, and the Brazilian is reduced to looking like a sloppy drunk. Silva does manage to get in an eye-poke, so he has that going for him.
Scott takes the round with his striking.
Round 3: Silva renews his efforts to smother Scott and get him to the ground, and after another eye-poke, does succeed and getting his opponent down and taking his back. Scott stands with Silva acting like a backpack, and after about half a minute Scott shucks him off and then they’re grappling. The rest of the round is all about Silva forcing Scott on the defensive with his jiu-jitsu.
Silva takes the round thanks to his grappling superiority.
Result: Claudio Silva def. Brad Scott via Unanimous Decision
- Luke Barnatt vs. Mats Nilsson
Round 1: Given the size and dimensions of the two fighters, the respective game plans of Barnatt and Nilsson are no secret: the taller Barnatt wants to keep Nilsson at the end of his 12-foot-long jab, while Nilsson wants to get in close and swing hard. This is pretty much what they do from the outset. At around the halfway mark of the round Barnatt’s output remains steady while Nilsson slowly starts to retreat into his shell, and in the waning seconds of the frame Barnatt staggers him with a high-kick then withers him against the fence with a swarm of fists and knees.
Result: Luke Barnatt def. Mats Nilsson via TKO (Strikes) at 4:24, R1
- Cyrille Diabate vs. Ilir Latifi
Round 1: These two could not have more contrasting body types, with Diabate tall and lanky and Latifi short and muscular. Their respective game plans are plain as day as well, and Latifi is the first to impose his will by scoring a takedown at about a minute and a half in. For the next two minutes Diabate is stuck on defense, and as Latifi keeps latching onto his neck at various angles – and finally succeeding in securing a front choke – the Frenchman is left with no choice but to tap.
Result: Ilir Latifi def. Cyrille Diabate via Submission (Front Choke) at 3:02, R1
Main card results:
- Omar Akhmedov vs. Gunnar Nelson
Round 1: Nelson starts walking Akhmedov down with a low karate stance, and the Russian keeps him somewhat at bay with hard kicks to the leg. But Nelson lands a straight left at about a minute and a half in, and when Akhmedov stumbles the jiu-jitsu stud pounces, almost instantly sliding into mount. For the next couple minutes the Icelandic fighter drops elbows from above, and when time is close to running out and they’re scrambling, Nelson latches on to Akhmedov’s neck and cinches in the guillotine.
Result: Gunnar Nelson def. Omar Akhmedov via Submission (Guillotine) at 4:36, R1
- Brad Pickett vs. Neil Seery
Round 1: In a battle between a Brit slugger in Pickett and an Irish slugger in Seery, it would seem that a crushing knockout would be inevitable – and with how both men start off swinging for the fences, each dinging the other more than once, that KO appears to be right around the corner. But at the halfway point of the round Pickett changes tactics and takes the fight to the ground, and works to pass Seery’s half-guard while working for a head/arm choke. Seery counters nicely, and when they get back to their feet they’re once again swinging by the time the bell rings.
Pickett takes the round for his grappling.
Round 2: They continue to throw bombs, and perhaps sensing that one misstep means he could go to sleep, Pickett mixes it up with takedown attempts and kicks. That’s a smart route to travel on, as after securing a takedown and putting Seery on his back, Pickett keeps him there and racks up points with some ground and pound.
Pickett takes the round thanks to his ground game.
Round 3: The Irishman is consistently beating the Brit to the punch, and after Pickett takes an accidental thumb to the eye and they restart, he scoops Seery up and dumps him onto the canvas. Pickett is on top trying to get out of half-guard for a while, and when Seery manages to scramble back to his feet, Pickett just shoots in and slams him down again. The horn sounds with the two swinging away.
The round went to Pickett again due to his takedowns and top game.
Result: Brad Pickett def. Neil Seery via Unanimous Decision
- Melvin Guillard vs. Michael Johnson
Round 1: Johnson comes out and takes the center of the cage, and the two fire off extremely quick kicks and punches at each other. The action pauses for a bit after Guillard takes an inadvertent foot to the junk, but then they’re banging again. Because he wants to draw his foe out, Johnson tries to bait Guillard with single kicks and punches, but the “Young Assassin” is too fast of a counter-puncher, and Johnson gets cracked in the face a couple times. In terms of speed and movement, Guillard is owning Johnson – enough to at least rack up points, at least.
Guillard takes the round for landing more.
Round 2: They circle a bit in the opening minute, each wary of the other, and then the probing and baiting continues. Fatigue has Guillard slowing ever so slightly, and that’s enough for Johnson to put his knuckles on him here and there and land a dazing flurry late in the round.
Johnson takes this round – his game plan is starting to work.
Round 3: Guillard comes out aggressive and Johnson changes levels, grabs his legs and takes him down. Though only down for a couple seconds, the message is clear to Guillard: he has to worry about more than just Johnson’s boxing. For the next few minutes Guillard is walking backwards, and Johnson’s varied attack starts to find its mark, with the Young Assassin stuck against the fence bobbing and weaving while trying to stay conscious. The round ends with Guillard upset that he got poked in the eye and didn’t get a break for it.
Johnson takes this round.
Result: Michael Johnson def. Melvin Guillard via Unanimous Decision
- Alexander Gustafsson vs. Jimi Manuwa
Round 1: Manuwa comes out throwing leg kicks in an effort to chop the taller fighter down, but Gustafsson simply takes him down and goes to work from within Manuwa’s half-guard. For about a minute Gustafsson forces Manuwa to defend against kimuras and Americanas, and after absorbing some ground and pound, the Nigerian-born fighter gets back to the feet and tries to bang it out with the Swede.
Gustafsson takes the round thanks to his effective grappling.
Round 2: Another accidental eye poke has the round halted for a bit early on so Manuwa can recover. Then they’re slugging, and Gustafsson nails his opponent with a knee to the chin and follows it up with an uppercut, and Manuwa tumbles to the canvas in La-La Land. The referee steps in, giving Gustafsson the win via TKO.
Result: Alexander Gustafsson def. Jimi Manuwa via TKO (Strikes) at 1:18, R2
And that’s all she wrote!