In UFC 216 we got a great showcase of up-and-coming talent and veterans fighting hard and the main events did not disappoint either. Let's get into the fights and break down what went down in Las Vegas at UFC 216. Before we get into it let's first clarify that Derrick Lewis pulled out of his fight with Fabricio Werdum, so to replace him Heavyweight Walt Harris was brought up and his original under card bout with fellow heavyweight Mark Godbeer was cancelled. Werdum accepted this fight on short notice so he would still have his fight on the card.
Thales Leites vs. Brad Tavares (win)
To kick off the night we begin with Middleweight action between Brazilian Thales Leites and Hawaiian born Brad Tavares. The story of the fight was Tavares' pinpoint striking. Although both fighters exchanged punches and leg kicks throughout the 3-round bout, Tavares landed the more significant shots and he did so more often. In round 1 he landed a well timed hook on Leites that wobbled the Brazilian, and ended the first with another flush hook and a flying knee that connected. In the second, Leites tries to up his leg kicks but Tavares' boxing was doing damage to Leites and his eye began to swell. In the third, Leites ate too many leg kicks and they began to take effect, two of them knocking him down. Tavares finished the fight empathically and got the Unanimous Decision Victory. This is Leites' 4th loss of his last 6 fights and first loss of 2017, while this is Tavares' 3rd straight UFC win.
John Moraga (win) vs. Magomed Bibulatov
In our next fight we had a flyweight bout between 125-lb UFC veteran John Moraga and UFC newcomer Magomed Bibulatov. Bibulatov came into this fight undefeated, while Moraga was looking for a more emphatic win after a decision win in June that snapped his 3 fight losing streak. It didn't take long for Moraga to do just that. For about a minute both fighters were feeling each other out but 1 minute and 38 seconds into the first round, Moraga threw a high kick that missed along with a right that followed it, which also whiffed. The left hook he threw after, however, clipped Bibulatov right on the chin and it sent him down to the canvas. Moraga quickly followed up with a flurry of ground and pound and Referee Jason Herzog stepped in to stop the fight. John Moraga via KO in the first round. This is Moraga's second straight win while Bibulatov was handed his first pro loss.
Marco Beltran vs. Matt Schnell (win)
In the next Flyweight bout of the night, we have Submission Specialist Marco Beltran squaring off against UFC newcomer Matt Schnell. Beltran was 3-2 in the UFC coming into this fight. Schnell has lost his first two UFC fights and comes in looking to find his first win in the octagon. In the first round both fighters come out tentative feeling each other out for a couple of minutes. It is clear early that Beltran's kicking is his main weapon, while Schnell's are his hands. Whenever Beltran kicks Schnell tries to counter with quick combinations and he is successful at times, connecting with Beltran on more than a few occasions. In the second round, Schnell comes out a bit slower and Beltran lands more kicks, but eventually Matt is able to catch a couple kicks and counter them, and he also mixes in good leg kicks here and throughout the fight. In the third, Schnell comes out doing the same with combos and leg kicks and comes forward. However after a couple more exchanges Schnell lands a low blow kick and Beltran is given time to recover. After resuming, Beltran comes harder and tries to land more strikes. He is successful with punches more in this round. In the final major event of the fight, Beltran goes for a takedown and Schnell grabs onto his neck for a guillotine, but in the final ten seconds, Beltran escapes and lands a final strike. Matt Schnell wins via Unanimous Decision. He gets his first win in the UFC while Marco Beltran falls to 3-3 inside the octagon.
Pearl Gonzalez vs. Poliana Botelho (win)
In the next bout we have an 115 lb contest between Pearl Gonzalez and Poliana Botelho. Pearl comes into this fight looking for her first win in the octagon, while Poliana is coming in with a great showing in other organizations and is herself an MMA newcomer, beginning her pro career in 2013. This fight played out mostly uneventfully with very limited stand up striking. Pearl showed some good strikes to begin the fight and we get a look at Poliana's unorthodox movement. Then Pearl pressed up against the cage in search of a takedown, and struggles for it for most of the round. Poliana shows good striking with her back against the cage, dishing out a lot of elbows and punches and some knees. When they were separated, Pearl tried hard to get a takedown after short exchanges. She failed at this while Poliana continued to show off good takedown defense, clinch work, and striking. The second round is more of the same, as Pearl tries desperately for a takedown, tiring herself out as she does so. She keeps Poliana pressed against the cage, where, she rains down strikes and shows her own clinch control. Poliana showed her striking skill when they did separate landing multiple front kicks to the body and some punches. In the third, we see a repeat of Pearl's strategy, still with no success. She landed some strikes early but not enough to do damage to Poliana. She tries for a takedown, defended by Poliana, and she keeps striking with her back against the cage while Pearl struggles in wrestling her legs out from underneath. She brings some knees to Pearl's body, but Pearl continues the clinch work until they're separated. Poliana lands some good combos towards the end of the match, and puts the exclamation point on it with a takedown of her own, successful, and the final buzzer rings. Poliana Botelho wins via Unanimous Decision.
Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata (draw)
In the next fight, we have the scrap that earned Fight of the Night bonus for both Bobby Green and Lando Vannata. In the first there is a bit of calm before the storm in terms of both fighters taking their time. Green is landing left hooks and jabs early while Lando shows good leg and body kicks and punches. Lando then lands a right hand at the end of a combo that drops Bobby, but he isn't out. He fights back and as he is getting to his feet on one knee, Lando lands an illegal knee and immediately recoils in frustration thinking he was going to be DQ'd. Luckily it didn't land flush and after taking a moment to recover, Bobby Green recovered fully. A point was taken from Vannata and the fight goes on. More exchanges and after a failed guillotine attempt by Lando, they clinch. After separating Lando scores a takedown. Round ends. In the second, we see the exchanges come faster as both fighters are more comfortable. Green lands more good left hands. Lando is bloodied now because of it. After more exchanges Lando shows off his wrestling with another takedown, but after Bobby gets up he goes back to the striking, landing more combinations. All the while though, Green is continuing to score with his lead hand. More fireworks as these two fighters trade and the round ends. In the third we see both fighters just go all out. Lando comes forward hard and lands good combinations but Bobby continues to land the left and switches stances so he also lands the lead right as well. After a clinch exchange, Bobby shows how effective his lead hand is and continues to find the target as Vannata gets ever more bloody. This doesn't stop him though, he lands several combinations of his own and even a high kick in this final round. Lando grabs another takedown but after Bobby gets up again they trade until the end, with Bobby Green landing the final combination that jacked Lando's head back. This fight ended in a Draw. Both fighters will receive $50,000 on top of their fight purse and they both can say they didn't lose.
Tom Duquesnoy vs. Cody Stamann (win)
In the final preliminary bout, we have the Frenchman, Tom 'Fire Kid' Duquesnoy vs the American Cody Stamann in a bantamweight contest. This fight in its entirety was close. Duquesnoy landed spinning back kicks, punches, round houses, and other well timed strikes in the first, but Stamann landed good strikes of his own and even scored a takedown in the first. After an eyepoke, the fight resumes and Duquesnoy has the final say of the first. 'Fire Kid' appears to have the upper hand in the beginning of the second but Stamann stands his ground and comes back with good punches of his own and another takedown. He shows some good ground and pound and lands good strikes from inside the guard. Tom gets to his feet, and chases around Stamann with some strikes, but Stamann times him and gets another good double leg takedown. He demonstrates good top control and continues the ground and pound, landing good strikes and doing this until the end of the 2nd. In the 3rd we have some cautious exchanges from both fighters, including a good high kick from Duquesnoy. After this though, Cody comes forward again and lands combinations and a good high kick of his own. Duquesnoy is slowing down and Cody senses it as both fighters become more aggressive. Cody spins for a kick, misses and trips, and Duquesnoy follows him to the ground. However nothing much happens here, they get to their feet, and the buzzer sounds. Cody Stamann wins via Split Decision. Stamann has won his 2nd fight in the UFC and is on a 9 fight win streak currently. This is Duquesnoy's first loss in the octagon but only his second fight in the UFC. He is only 24 and can improve greatly.
Beneil Dariush vs. Evan Dunham (draw)
In the first match of the main card, we have a Lightweight matchup between UFC Veterans Beneil Dariush and Evan Dunham. In the first both fighters came out aggressively, but Dariush landed a duo of huge elbows that dropped Dunham, but he is durable and is able to survive the onslaught that Dariush puts on him. Dariush keeps top control and shows good ground and pound and although Dunham scrambles well on the bottom Dariush is able to keep control skillfully. The round ends with Dariush on top. In the second, Evan avoids some heavy strikes from Dariush to grab a clinch, and then works a bodylock and takes down Beneil. Dariush works off of his back and Dunham is able to land some strikes but they eventually get up against the cage. They then separate and after some back and forth striking with good leg kicks and punches by both fighters, they clinch up once again. After a stalemate, they exchange once more and then the round ends as they clinch, both of them tired. In the final round, Dunham comes out faster, landing good punches, a high kick, and leg kicks. Dariush comes back with his own striking and eventually Dunham works him against the cage and clinches. Working for a takedown, Evan can't find it so he gets up to punch and then they separate. More punch and low kick exchanges and both men are swinging to the very end. This fight is the second draw of the night ending in a Majority Draw.
Mara Romero Borella (win) vs. Kalindra Faria
In the first Women's Flyweight action of the night, UFC newcomers Mara Romero Borella and Kalindra Faria face off in the newest weight class of the UFC. In the first round, both women come out cautiously, but Mara gets a takedown early on and is in half guard on top. She works into mount and demonstrates great top control. She ground and pounds Faria until she rolls over, giving up her back. Mara takes this opportunity and sinks in both hooks, grabbing for the neck of Faria. Mara gets her long forearm under the chin and sinks in the Rear Naked Choke with gable grips (palm-to-palm), forcing Faria to tap. Mara Romero Borella gets the First round Submission victory. This is her first UFC win and with her ground skills, shouldn't be her last.
Fabricio Werdum (win) vs. Walt Harris
In the night's lone Heavyweight bout we have UFC Veteran and MMA legend Fabricio Werdum facing off against heavyweight up and comer Walt Harris. Harris comes into this fight stepping in for the injured Derrick Lewis, while Werdum is coming off of a close decision loss to Alistair Overeem. In the first round both men came out slowly, and Werdum chose his moment and grabbed onto Harris' leg for a single leg takedown. He completes it and lands in Harris' half guard. Werdum then quickly works into full mount and before he throws any punches Harris turns his back trying to get up on all fours. Fabricio sees this opportunity and quickly sinks in his hooks, grabs the neck and drops back for the rear naked choke. Walt fights the hands immediately, but in doing so, gives up his arm to an MMA veteran and BJJ Black belt. Werdum quickly grabbed the arm and transitioned into the armbar from the back and almost instantly Harris recognizes he is beat, and taps out. Fabricio Werdum via First round Submission. This is Werdum's 8th UFC win and 11th overall submission win.
Demetrious Johnson (win) vs. Ray Borg
In the night's co-main event we have the Flyweight World Title bout between Demetrious 'Mighty Mouse' Johnson and Ray 'Tazmexican Devil' Borg. Johnson comes into this fight tied with Anderson Silva at the most consecutive title defenses, at 10. He seeks to remain champ and break the record for title defenses as Borg comes in as one of the best shots at DJ's title. He is coming off of two wins over 125-lb contenders Louis Smolka and Jussier Formiga. In the first round, both men show good striking skills. Borg slips on a strike and falls and DJ pounces on his back. Borg shows off his signature scrambling ability, though, and gets out. They continue to clinch, with DJ landing strikes from almost everywhere. Borg shoots for a low single and hangs onto the leg of DJ but Johnson is able to stay composed and reverses this into top position, where he smothers Borg. He uses precise and effective ground and pound and passes into side control where he finishes the round. In round 2 DJ comes out with more leg kicks to begin. More precision striking, but exchanges between both fighters. After this they clinch against the fence and Borg drops down for a guillotine, but DJ defends and they get up. Borg however then secures the takedown, and in the ensuing scramble Ray jumps and takes Demetrious' back. This was no problem for DJ, however, as he reversed this position and ended up on top once again. He passes in between half guard and side control, trying to get to mount, but only if he needs to. His ground and pound and top control are masterful and Ray Borg can't do much from the bottom except fight for his life to get up. He is unsuccessful at this in the 2nd. In the third round DJ comes out fast once again landing good kicks and punch combinations. Borg shoots for a takedown but fails, and pays for it. DJ passes into side control and then into crucifix. He ground and pounds Ray from here, also threatening with submissions the entire time. DJ now rains down elbows as well. World class display of top control by Johnson. Demetrious then transitions into Mount which causes Ray to turn his back. DJ threatens the choke after taking Borg's back but he is able to scramble out of it to his feet, where DJ meets him and unleashes a flurry of body shots. They clinch once again after this and Ray tries a guillotine but fails and the round ends. In the 4th, 'Mighty Mouse' began to take over. While Borg got an early takedown on the champ, DJ worked out of it and ended up back on top of Ray Borg. He lands damaging ground and pound strikes, mixing them up but using them so efficiently. Both fighters scramble to their feet and as Borg tries a guillotine DJ gets out, spins around to take his back, and, get this, throws a high kick from behind Borg. Just Demetrious Johnson in his element. DJ lands a pair of takedowns and at the end of the round was interestingly threatening with an armbar. In the 5th, we see why Demetrious Johnson can be regarded as the Greatest champion in UFC history. As the round began, DJ lands an early takedown. He gets to side control instantly, and it is obvious that Ray is tired and worn out. Borg gets out for a moment but DJ brings him right back down and gets to mount. Borg turns his back and stands up again and as he does, Demetrious scrambles and takes his back. He then grabs around Borg's waist for a belly to back suplex and lifts him up for the takedown. As he is falling down DJ actually traps the arm and locks in the armbar right as Borg hits the canvas. After one of the greatest submission catches in history, Borg struggles but finds no escape. He is forced to tap out late in the 5th and Demetrious Johnson Retains his UFC Flyweight championship via Submission. Due to one insanely memorable armbar.
Tony Ferguson (win) vs. Kevin Lee
Lastly, we reach our main event, Tony Ferguson vs Kevin Lee. Tony Ferguson is a UFC veteran with a 9 fight winning streak in one of, if not the most stacked division in the UFC. Kevin Lee is an up and comer with great wins and talent with a big mouth who earned himself a shot against Ferguson with a combo of all 3. This Interim Lightweight title bout was set to be a great one from the beginning. Add the fact that the winner of this fight is next in line for McGregor and his 155-lb strap? The stakes couldn't be higher. In the first round both men exchange good strikes and both men land big shots that catch each other's attentions. They clinch and after a scramble Tony ends up on the bottom in Rubber guard. Lee fights for position on top and is doing well against Tony, passing into North south. Lee then passes into mount and begins dropping huge shots onto Tony. He desperately avoids them and absorbs what he can with his arms and does this for the last 20 seconds of the round, barely surviving. Lee throws a rogue shot after the buzzer though, which Herb Dean warns him about sternly. In the 2nd, Tony came out stronger with quick, flush combinations and a body kick. Lee tries another takedown but Tony shows off his World class takedown defense and sprawls to avoid it. More back and forth exchanges. Tony is getting the better of them however, landing good rights on Kevin as the round goes on. Lee with another takedown that is denied by a Ferguson sprawl. Tony lands a couple more as the round ends. In the third round, Lee is visibly more tired and even said he was in between rounds on his stool. However he comes out and goes for the takedown after Tony lands a body kick. He gets Tony down but he pops up fast. Tony lands a couple of punches and moves forward. He kicks again and then Lee times a takedown and is successful. However from the guard, Tony throws up an armbar attempt. Lee gets out of it against tough odds as it was in deep but he gets to North south. But Tony works with it, transitions, and finds himself back in bottom guard. He then starts to work on a triangle choke and sets it up with the Arm outside of the choke itself. He sinches it up and wraps his leg over his ankle fully locking it in, and after holding it and Kevin realizing that he had no way out, he tapped. Tony Ferguson advanced to a 10 fight win streak in the 155-lb division and is now the Interim UFC Lightweight Champion.