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UFC Fight Night 124: Stephens vs. Choi (1/14/2018) - St. Louis, MO (Scottrade Center)

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UFC Fight Night 124: Stephens vs. Choi 
January 14, 2018
St. Louis, MO (Scottrade Center)

Jeremy Stephens (145.5) vs. Do Hoo Choi (146) - Stephens, TKO (punches), R2 (2:36)
Paige VanZant (125.5) vs. Jessica-Rose Clark (125.5) - Clark, DEC (unanimous)
Kamaru Usman (169.5) vs. Emil Weber Meek (170.5) - Usman, DEC (unanimous)
Darren Elkins (145.5) vs. Michael Johnson (145) - Elkins, SUB (rear naked choke), R2 (2:22)

Fox Sports 1 Preliminary Card:
James Krause (155.5) vs. Alex White (155) - Krause, DEC (unanimous)
Matt Frevola (156) vs. Polo Reyes (155.5) - Reyes, KO (punch), R1 (1:00)
Talita Bernardo (134.5) vs. Irene Aldana (135) - Aldana, DEC (unanimous)
Kyung Ho Kang (135.5) vs. Guido Cannetti (135) - Kang, SUB (triangle choke), R1 (4:53)

Fight Pass Preliminary Card:
Kalindra Faria (124.5) vs. Jessica Eye (126) - Eye, DEC (split)
Danielle Taylor (113.5) vs. JJ Aldrich (115.5) - Aldrich, DEC (unanimous)
Mike Santiago (146) vs. Mads Burnell (150)* - Burnell, DEC (unanimous)

*Forfeits 20% of purse for missing weight

Event Bonuses ($50,000):
Performance of the Night: Polo Reyes
Performance of the Night: Darren Elkins
Fight of the Night: Jeremy Stephens vs. Do Hoo Choi

Attendance: 10,052
Gate: $812,995
Rating: 1.28 million viewers

Cancelled Bouts:
Thiago Alves vs. Zak Cummings - Injury to Cummings (Head)
Uriah Hall vs. Vitor Belfort - Hall Removed Due to Medical Reasons

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I'm hyped for the main event and KAMARU/Meek. I hope Michael Johnson can put some wins together but Elkins is riding a huge wave of momentum. He's got a 5 win streak going, with wins over Bermudez and Bektic. God damn.

I rewatched Cub/Choi with a homie a few weeks back and I honestly don't know if we'll ever see Choi look the same again with the amount of damage he took in that fight. I hope that's not the case and he quickly puts down Stephens, but I don't want to see this guy take that kind of damage ever again. 

Thiago Alves has had one strange career. I hope he gets his shit together and has one last strong run before wear and tear/age take their full toll on him.

Was George Bush still president when Jessica Eye won her last fight? Stephen Harper was PM in Canada. Anybody to look out for during the fight pass prelims?

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59 minutes ago, Oyaji said:

I'm hyped for the main event and KAMARU/Meek. I hope Michael Johnson can put some wins together but Elkins is riding a huge wave of momentum. He's got a 5 win streak going, with wins over Bermudez and Bektic. God damn.

I rewatched Cub/Choi with a homie a few weeks back and I honestly don't know if we'll ever see Choi look the same again with the amount of damage he took in that fight. I hope that's not the case and he quickly puts down Stephens, but I don't want to see this guy take that kind of damage ever again. 

Thiago Alves has had one strange career. I hope he gets his shit together and has one last strong run before wear and tear/age take their full toll on him.

Was George Bush still president when Jessica Eye won her last fight? Stephen Harper was PM in Canada. Anybody to look out for during the fight pass prelims?

Re: Stephens/DHC

Stephens is always a tough out. That's why I was surprised they booked him against Barao when Barao came up to FW. He's not someone you're just going to have a showcase against unless you're on the level of a Max Holloway. Jeremy Stephens has three stoppage losses in the UFC: his UFC debut against Din Thomas at UFC 71 (goddamn he has been in the UFC awhile), vs. Joe Lauzon on a Fight Night card in 2009, and Yves Edwards in 2012 on the Bendo vs. Nate Diaz Fox card when he was on a losing skid. That's it.

Even if Do Hoo Choi can return from that brutal fight, it's still going to be a tough fight because that's all Jeremy Stephens has. It's going to be a entertaining fight for however long it lasts and it's winnable for Choi, but I don't see this as "here is your freebie for putting on a bonafide Fight of the Year". This has the makings of being as much of a tough fight as I thought it was going to be (and as it eventually turned out) against Cub.

I think what I like about the post Aldo/McGregor year long saga featherweight division is while there are obviously a handful of elite featherweights, no one guy is just this unbeatable monster. Max Holloway is a extremely good fighter and is leaps and bounds above the Holloway that debuted against Dustin Poirier, but I don't think he is this above all elite fighter like a Khabib where it almost looks unfair to put him against OTHER top fighters. At least not yet because he has time to get there due to his young age. However, when you have a Josh Emmett who was a fairly decent fighter at lightweight but not anything exceptional lay waste to a longtime mainstay like Lamas and a week before Ortega pulls another miracle out of his ass against Swanson, it creates something better than parity. Parity is what you had with female MMA before Rousey showed up and Cyborg was this version of Cris Cyborg and you didn't have a lot of the good to great female fighters at 125 and below now really firmly established yet. Parity is overrated. Even though I would like to see a Mirsad Bektic turn into this scary prospect (much like you probably have with Zabit Magomedsharipov now) to be excited about, it creates a responsibility for the top fighters of division not to have an off night when they lose to a Darren Elkins who is the very definition of solid and a 7 at best in every category but obviously never going to be champion. I don't have this fear that the most random motherfuckers can challenge for the title or actually be champion because you're going to have to put together a legitimate winning streak at some point and beat every level and type of opponent. Max Holloway or whoever is champ throughout the majority of the year isn't going to be fighting a Chris Cariaso type who is about to crap his pants entering the octagon because he knows he has no chance. It's going to be a legit champion and a rightful or at least worthy challenger. If the division no longer has a prime Jose Aldo or a Conor McGregor, then that's how it should be. 

As for Jessica Eye, I use to be pissed that Cezar Mutante still was in the UFC just because he was Vitor's homeboy but Jessica Eye is somehow a worse case. Mutante at least went to another gym, got away from Vitor, and became a fairly decent, respectable fighter. Eye's fights are okay to fairly entertaining, but she's not having fights where you say "Damn, she should be in the UFC and not Invicta." If I was Sean Shelby or Mick Maynard and had to decide between a Jessica Eye or Irene Aldana who is also on this card, I would choose Aldana because you can throw her on a card in Mexico or a Mexican American heavy U.S. market card in SoCal, Chicago, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, etc. I watched Jessica Eye vs. Correia on the UFC 203 card. She's not exactly at Quicken Loans Arena what the Von Erichs were at the Sportatorium circa 1983. If she's not winning fights, she's expendable. 

Looking through the Fight Pass card, Kyung Ho Kang apparently got sucked up in the Rin Nakai vacuum because he hasn't fought in the UFC since the same card as the infamous Tate vs. Nakai bout in 2014. Other than the Penne fight, I can't really give a decent reason to recommend watching a Danielle Taylor fight unless you love JJ Aldrich I guess. Aldana should be able to thump Talita Bernardo. I wasn't expecting Faria to get housed like she did at UFC 216 against Borella. Maybe she is just a really good regional/lower level promotion fighter and nothing more. If she can't look decent against Eye, then Faria doesn't really need to be in the UFC at all. That's my take on the Fight Pass portion.

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Hopefully JJ will be able to break whatever voodoo spell Danielle has on the judges of giving her the win when she clearly lost due to her very weird style. 

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Zak Cummings is out of the Alves fight after slipping out of the tub cutting weight and banging his head. Yep.

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Hall -v- Belfort is off. Hall didn't weigh in.

 

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Much better work from Irene Aldana. Obviously, Talita Bernardo is a fringe UFC fighter but Aldana was cognizant that she had to look impressive. 

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There are times when going bonus hunting goes awry. For Matt Frevola, that was one of those times.

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Thankfully JJ was able to break the voodoo spell Danielle has on the judges. Eye either set or tie a record for number of F bombs on the mic on Fight pass while being interviewed. 

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Just catching up and fight pass dudes putting up the markers really stretching these "flurries" in the Taylor/Aldrich fight, lol. I immediately remember Taylor's fight against Seo Hee Ham where she was reluctant to throw a punch... and won. Even her corner was getting on her for being way too hesitant.

Thank fuck JJ finally attacked from the right with the beautiful spinning backfist. Taylor just moves laterally to her left all day. Thank fuck somebody made her pay.

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It's not hard to get the judges on your side when your opponent refuses to do anything. In the other fights, Taylor would at least land like one strike (usually an overhand right) and then move and continue to move away. I don't think she even did that here. Her corner implored her to at least do something. Even Felder pointed out on commentary that the leg kicks for Taylor were right there. You have tree trunks for legs and basically do nothing with them. In the final round, Aldrich realized Taylor wasn't planning on really doing anything and just went for it. I don't what it is, but Taylor's coaches have to pull her aside and explain to her that her UFC career is in jeopardy if it continues to go this way. You're incredibly undersized and likely to be a strength disadvantage. If you don't do anything on top of that, you give yourself no shot at winning. It's not that hard to understand.

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Why fight if you're that scared of being hit? I don't get it. You gotta bust so much ass to make it to where she is and then she just freezes up.

PS Jessica Rose Clark is going to put a beatdown on PVZ, right? I've been listening to the Heavy Hands podcast (Wyman is the man) and they summed up VanZant's deficiencies pretty well. 

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21 minutes ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

There are times when going bonus hunting goes awry. For Matt Frevola, that was one of those times.

Jesus Christ, that was some serious stank on that legg. Incredibly fun while it lasted. Marco Polo was way more technical and tighter with his shots. Frevola led with a fucking body kick, using it to step into punching range and whiffed on a haymaker, lol. Terrible idea and technique.

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That fight was scored exactly like I would have scored it, but I'm not actually sure Krause won that fight.  Seriously, he lost every second of that fight when they were standing, and while he controlled White, he didn't dominate him.  It felt like White should have won, except he didn't know how.

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6 minutes ago, supremebve said:

That fight was scored exactly like I would have scored it, but I'm not actually sure Krause won that fight.  Seriously, he lost every second of that fight when they were standing, and while he controlled White, he didn't dominate him.  It felt like White should have won, except he didn't know how.

I hate to be that guy but yeah, Alex White wins that fight if it's in Japan. I'm surprised White was so willing to not pull away at every chance to get separation. How many times do you have to rock someone to realize that you don't benefit from clinches and scrambles? In Aldana vs. Bernardo, Aldana tried to get away from Bernardo but Bernardo was clinging to her legs with all that she could muster. In this case, there were times Krause was in pure survival mode except he would wind up in top position every now and then.

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1 minute ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

I hate to be that guy but yeah, Alex White wins that fight if it's in Japan. I'm surprised White was so willing to not pull away at every chance to get separation. How many times do you have to rock someone to realize that you don't benefit from clinches and scrambles? In Aldana vs. Bernardo, Aldana tried to get away from Bernardo but Bernardo was clinging to her legs with all that she could muster. In this case, there were times Krause was in pure survival mode except he would wind up in top position every now and then.

Yeah, that's exactly what I'm talking about.  If White would have just got an underhook and/or pushed away and reset he wins that fight.  It was like it never crossed his mind.

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