On Saturday November 21st the UFC held its TUF Latin America 2 Finale from Monterrey Mexico. The main event was between Neil Magny and Kelvin Gastelum and was a closely contested affair that many felt should have ended in a draw, but Magny wins by split. The co main was just the brawl we expected from Ricardo Lamas and Diego Sanchez with Lamas prevailing. It was a decent main card for an event that even the most diehard mma fans had trouble staying engaged.
Neil Magny(17-4) is once again knocking on the door for potential fighter of the year. He came in a huge underdog to Kelvin Gastelum(11-2) only taking the fight on two weeks notice. That seems to be a pathway to success for the welterweight as he has the uncanny ability to give some of his best performance in that mood. Tonight was no different as he had his way with Kelvin in the first three rounds. He out struck and even carried the early advantage on the mat. In the fourth round is where Gastelum exploding connecting not once but twice on two blows that sent Magny down. Neil was smart enough to clinch up and survive the rounds but it was enough damage to turn the tide of the fight. The reaction from critics and twitter screamed for a 47-47 draw but the judges felt otherwise. They awarded Magny the split decision 48-47 in one of the closest main events we have had for sometime. It was nice to see Kelvin keep the gas tank in order and make it through all five rounds and he should return back stronger than ever. For Neil it’s another strong win in the 170 pound division that doesn;t have him at the entrance to a contendership but he inches closer with each victory.
When it comes to a fight with Diego Sanchez(25-8) there is one thing that’s constant, there will be blood. Ricardo Lamas(16-4) is the perfect opponent to welcome him to the featherweight division. The fight went as expected as no way in hell would Diego quit. After an insane kick to his calf he pretty much fought the rest of the fight on one leg but kept at it against “The Bully”. Ricardo looked fantastic mixing up his wrestling with some impeccable footwork and speed. Uppercuts and kicks to the head and the leg of Sanchez was on the menu and he executed them all in route to his victory. It was gutsy performance by Sanchez but Lamas was on his game. A spinning back elbow in the third showed his improving striking repertoire and the new father continues to remain in the top of the 145 weight class. We will see Diego again but for Ricardo he’s eyeing a top 3 match up in the near future.
The former Olympian Henry Cejudo(10-0) faced his toughest challenge to date in the form of former number one flyweight contender Jussier Formiga(18-4). Once again Henry chose to stand in most of the fight and outstruck Formiga dancing in and out of his combinations. Jussier was ready for the takedown attempts so Henry kept them at a minimum. When the fight went to the clinch Henry threw some great knees to the body and really outpointed Formiga. A late slam in the third helped improve the distance in the scoring even though the judges saw the fight as a split. There were moments that were closely contested but overall Cejudo was the better athlete and is looking towards a potential title fight next.
The welterweight TUF LATAM 2 finale showed a lengthy battle between Enrique Marin(8-3) and Erick Montano(7-3). It was an evenly contested bout but the amount of strikes proved to be the determining factor in the fight. Marin was able to get Montano on the ground a few times but did little damage. Erick also found his take downs near the end of the rounds which accompanied the strikes to help him edge out his competitor. Montano is surrounded by a good group of coaches so we should see more resolve from him in the near future.
In the first fight for the TUF LATAM 2 finale it was all about the take downs. Enrique Barzola (11-2) served well in the first round by avoiding most of the big leg kicks by Horacio Gutierrez(2-2). Those missed attempts is what allowed Enrique to land one of his nine take downs and keep the fight on the ground. For all three rounds he frustrated the young striker with vicious body blows and great top position. Without being able to get back to his feet Horacio had no chance to make this competitive. The Peruvian fighter takes home the lightweight finale and showed off some great wrestling and durability to earn the unanimous decision.
It was a decent opening bout to the main card between Leandro Silva(19-3) and Efrain Escudero(24-10). In the first round the leg kicks and movement by Silva kept him one step ahead as Efrain looked for an opening. He would not find them until the second round where he was able to get the fight to the mat and grind out a tough round. Unfortunately for him it was Leandro who got the advantage in the third with a few shots to the body and a well time sprawl to stop the Escudero takedown. He immediately took the back of Efrain and with a strong body lock kept control of Efrain to win the fight by an unanimous decision 29-28.
Up next for the UFC is UFC Fight Night 79: Henderson vs Masvidal live from Seoul, South Korea. It all goes down on November 28th exclusively on UFC Fight Pass. The full results from UFC Fight Night 78: Magny vs Gastelum is listed below.
Neil Magny def. Kelvin Gastelum via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
Ricardo Lamas def. Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Henry Cejudo def. Jussier Formiga via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Erick Montano def. Enrique Marin via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Enrique Barzola def. Horacio Gutierrez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Leandro Silva def. Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Erik Perez def. Taylor Lapilus via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Bartosz Fabinski def. Hector Urbina via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Alejandro Perez def. Scott Jorgensen via TKO (injury) – Round 2, 4:26
Andre Fili def. Gabriel Benitez via knockout (strikes) – Round 1, 3:13
Alvaro Herrera def. Vernon Ramos via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:30
Polo Reyes def. Cesar Arzamendia via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:42
Michel Prazeres def. Valmir Lazaro via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)