UFC Fight Night 64 may not have been jam-packed with star names but the organisation’s first foray into the flourishing Polish MMA market on Saturday was an entertaining night of face-punching and limb-wrenching all the same.
The main event threatened to be a dud. A rematch, eight years after the fact, between two over-the-hill former greats that could easily have been a sad spectacle but instead it turned out to be the fight of the night. It was Gabriel Gonzaga’s elbows which started the trouble in the first fight but this time round it was Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s perfectly timed elbow which won him this fight. Welcome back to the UFC Cro Cop.
The shock of the night was provided by Maryna Moroz, who could become the Ronda Rousey of the women’s strawweight divsion. The Ukrainian finished the divisions number six, Joanne Calderwood, with an armbar in just ninety seconds. Moving her to 6-0 in her professional career,all six wins coming inside the distance and five of them were thanks to an armbar. One to watch.
Scotland’s Stevie Ray made his debut after being drafted in as a late replacement for Jason Saggo. Ray took his opportunity with both hands as he dominated fellow lightweight Marcin Bandel before pummeling him to a second round finish. It’s very early days and his record suggests a certain inconsistency but Ray is an interesting addition.
The only major disappointment was the co-main-event between Jimi Manuwa and Polish fighter Jan Błachowicz, who took the fight on fifteen days notice. A largely hesitant affair between to very similarly styled fighter saw England’s Manuwa return to winning ways with an unconvincing points victory, a year after suffering his only career loss to Alexander Gustafsson.
The finish of the night has to go to Leon Edwards. The England based fighter suffered a split decision loss in his UFC debut but bounced back in spectacular fashion with this 8 second knockout of UFC veteran Seth Baczynski.