Sunday night provided the very stacked UFC Fight Night 88. In the main event Cody Garbrandt made quick work of the formerly unbeaten Thomas Almeida. Two shots to the face of Thomas was all it took for Almeida to hit the canvas and propel Cody up the bantamweight ladder. He felt he had an advantage with power and speed over the slow starting Almeida and he had no issues proving it. In the co main event Jeremy Stephens welcomed Renan Barao to the featherweight division and put on a sturdy performance in route to victory. It was a main card filled with scrappy fights and fantastic displays all around.
From the moment the fight started you could tell Cody Garbrandt had a different sense of urgency than Thomas Almeida. While Thomas waited for an opening Cody never gave him one and started with missed cartwheel kick to show his confidence before pouring it on. As Almeida back tracked Cody moved in for the kill and laid a devastating right hook that stunned Thomas followed by a left that eventually dropped him. Garbrandt remains undefeated and more than likely etched his way into a title contention match next.
Jeremy Stephens welcomed Renan Barao to the 145 pound division with a few upper cuts and impeccable take down defense. To the point that Renan attempted 11 total takedowns and only landed 2. Barao took the best that Jeremy had to offer and waited until the the second round to fight in the clinch. A few timely right hand hooks kept the former bantamweight champion from gaining any ground and allowed Jeremy to continue to show why he is truly becoming one of the dominant and most exciting featherweights in the division.
Body work was on the menu for Rick Story against Tarec Saffiedine. Even though he looked great physically the constant pressure of Story didn’t allow Tarec to get settled. We saw only a few glimpses of his always fast paced kicks but it was the bodywork of Story that dictated the fight. Every time he got in close Story unleashed a fury of body punches that frustrated Tarec and the wound on his knee started to open as well. Tarec got a few timely combinations in during the third round but the momentum was already heading in Story favor as he ate the shots and pressed on. After the long layoff he captures a win over one of the most gifted fighters in the division and following up after the defeat over Nelson is huge.
The overall improvement in the ability of Chris Camozzi continues to shine. He neutralized the striking of Vitor Miranda early. He catches the foot of Miranda in the early rounds and lands a spectacular takedown which dictated the rest of the fight. Chris landed a ferocious elbow that opened up a cut on Miranda’s head which prompted the doctor to come in for a check. He was able to continue but the good footwork mixed with on the top pressure is what truly made the difference. In the third round Vitor started laying out kicks to the head but there really wasn’t too much behind them. Chris controlled the fight from start to finish and pulls off the unanimous decision.
As anticipated the fight between Jorge Masvidal and Lorenz Larkin was a barn burner. The fight started off with vicious kicks to the calves by each fighter but was stopped by an inadvertent eye poke. In the second round is when the body kicks started to fly for Larkin. Masvidal was more than game and used his range and clinch to keep the speedy fighter at bay. Heading into the third round the uppercuts from Larkin also started to find their mark but Jorge continued to press forward and took everything Lorenz gave him with a smile on his face. An amazing switch kick mixed with a surprising takedown secured the round for Larkin heading into the third. Jorge had some of his best moments in the third nearly pulling off a guillotine submission twice. He also landed a takedown of his own but Lorenz was back to his feet. The fight was scored in favor of Larkin by a split but Lorenz could have easily won all three rounds. This was a great fight.
Josh Burkman has been tightening up his boxing and that was on display early in the fight against Paul Felder. He landed a great right to the chin of Paul in the middle of the round and looked great moving away from the pressure. Towards the end of the second is when Felder picked it up landing a few hooks of his own. He also connected on a great knee and spinning back heel kick. The third round is when he opened up more with a vicious elbow to the face of Burkman and from there stayed in control. Paul picks up the win but it was a great showing from Burkham.
Up next for the UFC is UFC 199 on June 4th from Los Angeles, California. The full results from UFC Fight Night 88 are listed below.
Cody Garbrandt def Thomas Almeida KO/TKO, 2:53 R1
Jeremy Stephens def Renan Barão Unanimous Dec
Rick Story def Tarec Saffiedine Unanimous Dec
Chris Camozzi def Vitor Miranda Unanimous Dec
Lorenz Larkin def Jorge Masvidal Split Dec
Paul Felder def Josh Burkman Unanimous Dec
Sara McMann def Jessica Eye Unanimous Dec
Abel Trujillo def Jordan Rinaldi Unanimous Dec
Jake Collier def Alberto Uda KO/TKO, 1:06 R2
Erik Koch def Shane Campbell Sub, 3:02 R2
Bryan Caraway def Aljamain Sterling Split Dec
Adam Milstead def Chris De La Rocha KO/TKO, 4:01 R2