MAFB: UFC Fight Night 192 Review
In what constituted a filler week before the mega showdowns at UFC 266, MAFB: UFC Fight Night 192 ended up being a fun little spectacle. Fourteen fights is a slog when the only ranked fighters reside in the main event, but at least we got a couple of prospect watches.
Arman Tsarukyan violently confirmed his trajectory after taking a keep warm fight against Christos Giagos, finishing the Californian in under a round. Zhu Rong moved past his debut hiccup and finished Brandon Jenkins late after a dominating wrestling performance. Erin Blanchfield finally secured her UFC debut after a year of cancelled fights, destroying the tough as old boots, Sarah Alpar. The sleeper fight on the card was Montel Jackson vs JP Buys, however, and it’s a real head-scratcher as to why it didn’t receive UFC Fight of the Night bonuses?
Catch up on the preview and predictions for UFC Fight Night 192: Smith vs Spann if you haven’t already, and have a good old laugh at our expense.
More interested in number crunching? Find out how each fighter ranked on the Pintsized Interest scale this weekend on MAFB Math: UFC Fight Night 192.
Anthony Smith vs Ryan Spann
Smith def. Spann // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1 3:47
Oh, Superman Spann, why must you fight like a Super-Spanner. Aside from the Johnny Walker loss, Spann has steadily met each career hurdle with explosive success. Perhaps the jump to former title contender was too much, but there aren’t many left on the barren LHW roster for Spann to feast upon. Likewise, Smith nestles himself back into strange rankings purgatory after such a decisive win. The rematch with Aleksandar Rakic seems to be Lionheart’s preferred match-up, but it’s difficult to see the result changing from anything other than a Rakic wrestling clinic.
In what proved a short but sweet fight, Spann showcased his limited striking fundamentals. Trailing Smith’s lateral movement, rather than attempting to cut off the octagon, Spann wafted at the air. A failed spinning attack from Smith led to Spann wrapping up Lionheart against the cage, but Superman’s inexperience showed. Rushing into fruitless strikes, Spann released an underhook, allowing the veteran to leap at the opening and break away from Spann. Tagged by Smith as he exited the clinch, Spann’s natural brawling instincts kicked in as he torqued a huge right straight that left him well extended over his lead leg (evidenced by his rear leg cannoning into the air). Such an opportunity was never going to be missed and Smith dropped Spann with a short left hook.
Spann never recovered, with Smith failing a submission attempt before dropping Spann again on the feet. Superman landed an illegal knee on a grounded Smith, missing Lionheat’s chin by the barest of margins and ultimately saving Spann the disgrace of a DQ loss. Utilising the wealth of his experience, Smith didn’t rush the finish on his stunned opponent and patiently lay Spann flat on the mat before finding the rear-naked choke.
Anthony Smith Analysis and Future
A dominant performance over a LHW prospect on an insane streak usually brings overwhelming praise, but there were always question marks over Spann’s legitimacy as a future title contender. As said before, and will likely occur, Smith vs Rakic 2 will form a future main event. Rakic is a tough stylistic match-up for Smith. If a one-legged Crute could get Smith to the mat, how isn’t a more threatening Aleksandar Rakic going to dominate on the mat again? Instead, Dominick Reyes is a firefight if Dana is fine with a potential career-ender for either man. Jiri Prochazka would be a lovely clash, but the Czech is waiting for a title shot at this point.
Ryan Spann Analysis and Future
Losing to Anthony Smith at this stage isn’t a huge career hurdle in itself, yet the manner of the defeat leaves worries. If Spann is determined to immediately work back up the rankings, a fight with Nikita Krylov is a solid test. I cannot think of a less entertaining fight to watch, however. Selfishly, I’d like to see Spann vs Paul Craig for the memes – the Scotsman has tore up enough veterans and prospects to earn a step-up.
Montel Jackson vs JP Buys
Jackson def. Buys // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
What an exhausting fight to keep up with! JP Buys needed a huge performance after a dismal stoppage loss on debut. Montel Jackson, a -600 favourite, was expected to stomp the gritty South African. With a 5″ height and 8″ reach advantage, and as the more natural Bantamweight, by all accounts, Buys should have been easy pickings to dispatch early.
Rather, Buys poured his heart into an early war to gain a foothold. Diving onto Jackson’s lead leg, it only took a couple of attempts before Buys could work the prospect onto the mat. For the rest of the first round, both men showcased technical excellence as they rapidly transitioned and attempted wild submissions (Jackson’s standing guillotine, Buys’ jumping guard with a guillotine). Critics may point out Jackson should have stood up rather than fight in Buys’ most advantageous area, but the Wisconsin fighter has sharpened his ground skills massively since the Brett Johns loss.
After the first-round antics, however, Jackson dominated the fight. Buys’ bit down hard on the gumshield to get to the scorecards, but it was a Jackson masterclass. During the second, Jackson ragdolled Buys from the top and knocked down the South African. The final round was more of the same, with a couple more knockdowns for good measure. Racking up four knockdowns and just over ten minutes of control time, Jackson was just missing the finish to cap off a wonderful, if expected, performance.
Montel Jackson Analysis and Future
There is still no need to rush Montel Jackson, especially when considering a Flyweight was able to take him down within the first minute of their fight. Incremental steps are necessary to continually sharpen Jackson’s defensive wrestling. Andre Ewell finds himself on a small slide and would keep the fight mostly standing – a perfect small step-up in experience for Jackson. If the UFC is ballsy, they could throw him in with Nathaniel Wood for an extremely tasty prospect match-up, but that is a risk for both men.
JP Buys Analysis and Future
Firstly, immediately move back down to Flyweight. Buys’ skill on the mat was clear against Jackson, going back-and-forth with the far larger man throughout the first round. While the UFC may feed Buys to a prospect, it would be far more prudent to build JP alongside his wife, Cheyanne, as a marketable power couple. Zarrukh Adashev is a threat on the feet, but his woeful TDD could make an excellent ‘who loses leaves’ showdown.
Erin Blanchfield. Incredibly impressed with the debutant after a hell of a time of cancelled fights. Alpar is sub-par (lol), but Blanchfield oozed class in all areas of the fight.
Anthony Smith. Typical Lionheart. When I pick him, he loses, when I don’t, he wins. Out-classed Spann on the feet then patiently waited for the submission – there’s not many better career redemptions than Smith’s.
Surprise of the Night
Joaquin Buckley def. Antonio Arroyo // TKO (punches) Round 3 2:26. The method of victory wasn’t surprising, Buckley’s immense power differential and weak chin suggest that his fights will be brief flashes in the pan. It was the fact that Arroyo was dropped off a glancing hook that seemed to barely touch the back of his head/neck. Strange ending but certainly not a fix as some have claimed.
Fight of the Night
Montel Jackson def. JP Buys // Decision (unanimous). Jackson was expected to win, but the gritty South African made him work for the W. A banger of a first-round that made up for ugly fights involving Pennington/Kianzad and Lopez/Alateng.
Finish of the Night
Nate Maness def. Tony Gravely // TKO (punches) Round 2 2:10. A come from behind knockout victory was always going to win this bad boy. Maness was dead on the feet after being dropped hard near the end of the first round. Crumpled on the mat, only the bell saved Maness. After a freakish recovery time, Maness caught an over-aggressive Gravely searching for the finish.
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