I haven’t attended a live UFC event since before my daughter was born last year. This was an exciting card that was capped off with a great main event between Jack Hermansson and Jacare Souza. I was torn at the end because I have been hyping Hermansson for a while on the podcast and I am really excited to see his potential in this middleweight division. However, I was also sad to see Jacare take another loss at a point in his career when a title shot is a diminishing possibility.
Jacare took this fight as a replacement for Paulo Costa, who pulled out due to drug test complications against Yoel Romero. When Romero pulled out, Jacare never even thought about backing down from a tough replacement like Hermansson. That’s why this fight was a true changing of the guard. Two fighters who have proven that they will step up to any challenge on any timeline met in the middle and one passed the torch to the other.
The buildup to the main event was exciting as well. Mike Perry and Alex Cowboy Oliveira set the BB&T Center on fire – even before the fight started. Perry approached the octagon with his usual intensity. Then Cowboy came through the curtain to “Balada” by Gusttavo Lima and the pace never ceased from that point. “Balada” translates literally to “party” from Portuguese, so Perry kept the party going with a dance display inside the octagon as Cowboy approached the cage that really got the crowd going.
The fight itself was non-stop action with big strikes from both fighters, constant pressure, flips, takedowns and it ended in a very fair decision for the Michigan-born Perry who continued to win the crowd over with his post-fight speech. The stock of both fighters rose after this performance as they both showed a refusal to back down even when faced with big shots.
Even though Perry and Oliveira put on a show for the Florida crowd, the single biggest pop in the arena came when Glover Teixeira came from behind to submit powerhouse striker Ion Cutelaba. Glover took a great deal of punishment from Cutelaba, who may have punched himself out in the first round, only to show the young light heavyweight why experience and jiu jitsu is so important in the MMA game. The crowd erupted when Cutelaba tapped quickly from the rear naked choke applied by the veteran Teixeira.
While Teixeira had the biggest ovation of the night, that brought the entire arena to its feet, another veteran was not nearly as lucky. Andrei Arlovski took a fight against a young contender series standout Augusto Sakai. From my vantage point, Arlovski clearly outworked Sakai but unfortunately he did it in front of judges who chose to ignore what was happening in front of their eyes. It was not the worst robbery I have ever witnessed in MMA, but still a very disappointing result for the former champion.
Another veteran who appeared on the card, on the early prelims in fact, was Jim Miller. Miller only needed 2 minutes to submit the 6’2 lightweight, Jason Gonzalez. With that, here are a few interesting accomplishments in the UFC by the Jersey native Miller:
- 10 FOTN/Performance Bonuses
- Most UFC fights in history (32)
- Most wins in UFC lightweight history (18)
- Fourth most wins in UFC history overall (19)
- Most submissions in UFC lightweight history (8)
So even though he has lost five of his last seven fights, Jim Miller is still an all-time great in my book. I’m glad I got the opportunity to see him get a W in person because the last time I saw him fight live, he lost in his home state of New Jersey.
The rest of the card was very solid and entertaining as a whole, but now on to the important part… adult beverage accompaniment for the evening. As I mentioned in the beginning of the blog, my beer of choice for this event came from Funky Buddha Brewery. The Florida suds supplier teamed up with the Florida Panthers hockey team to brew its Gloves Off IPA exclusively for the BB&T Center. I believe they also carry this at their brewery in Oakland Park, Florida.
The Gloves Off IPA is a hazy red IPA that is brewed with Amarillo and Mosaic Hops. So this beer has the strength and hop-forward flavor of an IPA, but the richness and backbone of a red ale. The hop-forward flavor is balanced out with a toasted caramel aftertaste that lingers on your palate with just enough sweetness. A few of these beers turned out to be the perfect pairing with the fight night in Florida.
Overall, this was really a great live event and I’m glad I got the opportunity to see it live. I really enjoy watching the UFC from the comfort of my own home most of the time, but this was a nice change of pace. If you want to hear more about the experience, check out episode 138 of the podcast, posted below. Thanks for reading!