Recapping UFC Fight Night 139

The UFC had its 25th-anniversary event in Denver, Colorado Saturday night and capped off the night with a Top 15 matchup at 145lbs. Almost exactly 25 years to the day of UFC 1 the UFC brought another card to Denver with 12 fights on it. The card was headlined by “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (14-4 #10 Ranked Featherweight) and Yair “El Pantera” Rodriguez (11-2 #15 Ranked Featherweight). The UFC did a great job mixing in old school and new school. The old logo donned the center of the Octagon and the tale of the tape and fighter name displays were the same as at UFC 1. There were tons of legends in the building and guys who fought at UFC 1 as well. This was a fun night of fights for the UFC and after 25 years they did a great job to honor it. The card itself was very interesting with tons of decisions and some solid finishes. We saw a multitude of close tough fights that even had the judges divided. Let’s take a look back at the 25th Anniversary show for the UFC.

We kicked the night off at 135lbs as Mark “Bumblebee” De La Rosa (11-1) took on Joby Sanchez (11-2). De la Rosa came out fast looking to close the distance and score a takedown. De La Rosa was relentless going after a single-leg against the fence. Sanchez was able to get away and then landed a nice combination. De La Rosa returned fire and connected with a hard right hand that had Sanchez on his bicycle. They were going back and forth on the feet trading and landing. De La Rosa missed with a wild left hand and Sanchez clinched him and pressed him up against the fence to end the round. We headed to round 2 and Sanchez was starting to find his range. Sanchez ten grabbed him and tried to take De La Rosa to the mat. Sanchez tried to change levels and De La Rosa stuffed it and almost threw a guillotine on him. Sanchez was able to sneak away and we were back in the stand up game. Sanchez landed another hard left hand, but De La Rosa was continuing to come forward. De La Rosa changed levels and tried to grab for a single leg. He transitioned to try and take the back, but Sanchez was able to reverse the position and had De La Rosa back up against the fence. De La Rosa was able to escape and was just stalking Sanchez as the round ended. We went to round 3 and these guys were trading. Sanchez was moving around the outside, but De La Rosa was firing at him. De La Rosa was moving in and had to eat a hard right hand from Sanchez. De La Rosa fired a hard jab that snapped the head back of Sanchez. There was not a ton of action as the fight wore down until the bell sounded. We went to the judges as they scored it 29-28, 28-29, and 30-27 for the winner by split decision Mark De La Rosa. This was a big win for De La Rosa who was able to move up to 135lbs. He will go back to the gym and keep training to potentially keep building at 135lbs.

The last Fight Pass prelim featured 125lb fighters Joseph “Bopo” Morales (9-2) and Eric “Showtime” Shelton (12-5). Shelton went right to the low kicks, and Morales dove right back towards with an overhand right. They were really moving around the cage and Shelton was trying to find a home for the right hand. Shelton just barely avoided a big head kick. Shelton was hen able to change levels and find a takedown. Shelton was able to take his back for a brief second, but a good scramble from Morales got the fight back to the feet. Shelton again went for a takedown, and Morales latched on to a guillotine. Shelton was struggling to get out of it, but Morales was squeezing. Shelton then ripped his head out of the danger and ended the round on top. To start round 2 Shelton just missed with an uppercut. Morales tried to throw a leg kick and Shelton caught it and used it to score the takedown. Morales, however, was able to eventually make his way back to the feet and they were back in the center of the cage. Shelton again tried for a takedown, but Morales briefly stuffed the attempt. They ended up with a throw from Shelton getting Morales to the ground. Morales, however, battled up to his feet and immediately went to grab on for a guillotine. This was another guillotine that looked tight, but Shelton was able to slide out but remained on top. Morales finally got back to his feet and immediately went for a head kick. Morales then went for a takedown and ended up transitioning into a triangle choke hammering in elbows as the round ended. We headed to round 3 and I was Shelton going for takedowns again. Morales was able to stop it and then scored a takedown of his own. Morales was unable to keep Shelton down long and he scrambled back to his feet. Shelton then changed the levels and scored another takedown. Morales went for a guillotine again but was unable to keep it locked in. Shelton was unable to keep him down but landed a very hard knee to the head as Morales got up. Shelton grabbed on and slammed Morales to the mat on his head and was on top of him in guard. Morales got back to his feet, and he was trying his hardest to get a finish. Morales threw a spinning elbow that came close, but Shelton was able to scramble and stay in the fight as the horn sounded. We headed to the judges and they scored it 29-28, 27-30, and 30-27 for the winner by split decision Eric Shelton. This was probably the right call by the judges and was an action-packed fight. If the Flyweight division really is going away these typed of fun fights are what the fans are going to miss out on.

We went to FS1 for the prelims and it started with 2 Dana White Contender Series Alums Devonte “King Kage” Smith (9-1) and Julian “Juicy J” Erosa (22-7). Erosa came forward and threw a few low kicks. Then very quickly Devonte Smith cracked Erosa with a left-right combination and he went down. Smith dove on him and just pummeled him as the ref stopped the fight. Devonte Smith is a scary man. He is a powerful guy who showed he could end it. This is the kind of talent that is coming through the Contender Series and they are proving how good they are on the big stage.

Up next we had Davi “Tasmanian Devil” Ramos (9-2) and The Ultimate Fighter Season 27 alum John “The Machine“ Gunther (7-2). The fight almost immediately went to the ground and Ramos was the one on top. Ramos transitioned to his back very quickly. Ramos was quickly looking for the rear naked choke, but couldn’t get it under the chin just yet. Ramos was loosening him up and then snuck his arm under the chin. Gunther tried to stay in it as long as possible, but he eventually had to tap. Davi Ramos is just unreal on the mat. His jiu-jitsu is so world class that once the fight goes to the ground it is all over. He is an absolute factor going forward at 155lbs.

We head to 145lbs as Chas “The Scrapper” Kelly (17-3) took on Bobby “The Wolfman” Moffett (13-3). Moffett was moving forward and coming right at Skelly to start the fight. Skelly threw a low kick that got caught and Moffett came over the top with a left hand. Skelly then went for a double leg and it was stuffed, but Moffett gave up his back Skelly was on him. Skelly was trying to work for a rear naked choke and couldn’t find the opening. Skelly was essentially a backpack on Moffett who was breathing heavy and eating punches. Moffett finally escaped and they ended the round in the center of the Octagon. We headed to round 2 and these guys were trading in the center of the cage. Moffett eventually changed levels and scooped him up for a double leg takedown and got him to the mat. Skelly was working hard off his back, but it ended up getting him locked into a choke. They were circling and circling on the mat in the choke and the referee stepped in, as it appeared that Skelly had gone unconscious in the d’arce. Skelly immediately protested the stoppage and we had some controversy. In a first for the UFC, we were going to the replay to determine if the fight should be restarted. The arm maybe appeared to go limp, but this was a tough call either way. The decision took some time to be determined and the ruling was upheld. This was a tough one to swallow for Skelly, and Moffett certainly looked good and had the choke in deep. This might be one they have to run back.

The featured prelim of the night had Ashley “SpiderMonkey” Yoder (6-4) and Amanda “ABC” Cooper (4-5). They were feeling each other out early with leg kicks. Cooper was using leg kicks to try and open up her striking. Cooper responded to a jab with a hard overhand right that landed. Yoder was spending a lot of the time backing up towards the cage. Yoder then came back from a combination with a hard left hand that connected. Cooper just spun away from another left hand from Yoder. Cooper was able to latch on and score a double leg takedown. Cooper was on top of Yoder in her guard and trying to transition. Cooper moved into side control, and Yoder latched her head in between her legs, but there wasn’t any sort of choke from it. Cooper slid out and was inside control again. Cooper tried to grab an arm, but Yoder was able to roll and was then in the dominant position. Yoder ended the round on top. We headed to round 2 and Cooper was coming forward quickly. They were trading shots on the feet and Yoder was feeling it out with her jab. Cooper was hammering leg kicks on there and then slammed a kick to the body. Yoder quickly clinched and landed some knees to the body. Yoder tried for a hip throw, but Cooper was able to defend it and keep Yoder pressed against the fence. Yoder went back to the throw and this time got it. Yoder was on top and trying to get into the guard of Cooper. Cooper was able to get back to her feet, however. She then had Yoder pressed up against the fence and turned it into a takedown of her own. Cooper kept trying to pass and it eventually they ended up in a north-south position where the round ended. We headed to round 3 and Cooper landed a left hook on a charging Yoder. Cooper ripped a hard overhand right that connected. Cooper was keeping her distance and picking apart Yoder on the feet. Cooper just kept peppering in shots. Cooper went for a takedown, but Yoder was able to roll through with the momentum of Cooper and ended up on top. Cooper from the bottom was starting to try and threaten for a submission. Cooper was trying to battle off, and Yoder went for a kneebar that was close. Cooper was able to reverse it and ended up on top. Cooper then tried to snatch an armbar. Yoder was able to sneak out and then she took Cooper’s back. The choke wasn’t under the chin and it was more a face crank as the round and fight ended. The judges would score this one 29-28, 27-30, and 29-28 for Ashley Yoder. The judges have been so weird tonight with 3 split decisions including 30-27s. Yoder did a great job in this fight in the grappling part of this and it was an important win for her.

We went to the main card and kicked it off with The Ultimate Fighter Season 27 Winner Michael “The Lone Wolf” Trizano (9-0) and castmate Luis “Violent Bob Ross” Pena (5-1). Pena came out right away working leg kicks and using his length to keep the distance. Pena was sending front kicks to the body. Trizano returned with a body kick that landed hard. This was a very slow and methodical pace form both guys. Pena was starting to open up a little more with his hands, but Trizano’s head movement was working well. Trizano kept working leg kicks that were adding up. Pena had a leg kick blocked at another and then tried to go for a single leg takedown. Trizano did a great job defending the takedown and stayed up on the feet. Pena had him pressed against the fence. They were going back and forth and Trizano jumped up and grabbed for a guillotine choke. Trizano tried to adjust his grip and Pena was able to escape and was on top in guard. Trizano battled off the ground and got back to his feet. Pena was trying to grab for kimura’s while standing as the round ended. We headed to round 2 and Trizano was again attacking the legs with his kicks. Pena tried to change levels, and was met with a straight right from Trizano. Pena again tried to change levels, but the sprawl from Trizano was on point. Pena had him pressed against the fence and Trizano was lighting him up with elbows against the fence. Pena was still attached to him and went to try and get Trizano’s back. Pena was forcing Trizano to wear him like a backpack standing up. Trizano went down to his butt and Pena had the body triangle locked in. Pena was searching for a rear naked choke but was unable to get it locked in. Trizano then was able to turn into it and get on top in Pena’s guard. Trizano was keeping busy on top grappling and Pena tried to threaten late using his legs. They ended the round in a scramble on the mat. We headed to round 3 and they were trading back and forth with Trizano really working the inside leg kick. Pena tried for a shot from very far out but was unable to grab Trizano. Pena came in with a right and then latched on to Trizano against the fence. Pena worked his way to a trip and landed the takedown. Pena was posturing up looking to land elbows, and it was Trizano who was able to reverse the position and Trizano was on top on the mat. Pena slid out and reversed the position. Pena was working hard on the mat trying to wrap the legs of Trizano against the fence. They got back to the feet and Trizano landed a hard left hand and another leg kick These guys let it all hang out in the last 20 seconds each trading big blows and were headed to the judges. They scored it 29-28, 28-29, and 30-27 for the split decision winner Mike Trizano. This was another fight that again had a split decision that includes a 30-27 from one judge. This was a fun fight and Trizano looked really good. His takedown defense was solid early. As the winner of The Ultimate Fighter, he certainly has a focus on him, but he is a guy who can go out and get it done.

Two debuting Strawweights were next as Maycee “The Future” Barber (5-0) took on Hannah “Shockwave” Cifers (8-3). Cifers was going very slow and plodding. Berber was a ball of energy just rushing forward and landed a hard head kick. Barber connected with a big right hand and Cifers appeared wobbled. Cifers stopped a throw and they were pressed against the fence trading positions. They finally broke apart and were back in the center trading shots. Barber just missed with a head kick. Cifers tried to clinch and we were battling against the fence. Barber had her in the clinch and landed a hard uppercut. Barber was controlling the position better and keeping Cifers at bay. Berber dropped to a knee on the break and ate a hard right hand from Cifers. Then a low kick cam from Cifers but a return right hand came from Barber. These two were starting to really trade and Barber landed another big hard shot. Against the fence as the round ended. We headed to round 2. Barber came right out looking to land the head kick and was firing. They ended up on the mat after a few moments and it was Barber just maneuvering around and preventing Cifers from grabbing on to a submission. Barber was really letting the ground and pound fly. Cifers was busted wide open and bleeding everywhere. Barber was relentless and just smashing Cifers. The referee had finally seen enough and called it. Maycee Barber made a statement with this win in her UFC debut. She is only 20 years old and looks better each time we’ve seen her from the Contender Series to her debut here. She has a chance to be a real star at 115lbs if she continues to improve and perform like that.

We went to Lightweight next as Beneil Dariush (15-4-1) took on the debuting Thiago Moises (10-3). Dariush went right at Moises with a hard kick to the body. Dariush then immediately went for the clinch and Moises jumped up and grabbed on for a guillotine. Dariush was able to sneak out and the fight was on the ground. Moises went for an armbar, but Dariush was able to get out. Moises partially gave up his back against the fence, but Dariush was keeping him there. Moises was able to get back to his feet and we were in a clinch battle against the fence. These guys were scrambling all over the cage in the grappling exchanges. Moises tried for a big head kick back on the feet and Dariush blocked it. Dariush went on to score a takedown and was working to get the back of Moises. Dariush transitioned late into mount and was pounding on Moises who was mostly blocking them as the round came to an end. We headed to round 2 and it was a quick takedown from Dariush that started it. Dariush was controlling the position very well and he was doing some moderate damage on the ground. Moises finally battled back to his feet, but Dariush stayed right with him and was holding him against the fence on the ground. Dariush was working for the rear naked choke and it was getting close to being under the chin. Moises successfully defended it however and lived to see round 3. We started the final round with more of the same from Dariush. He was able to take the back early from Moises with the body triangle locked in. Dariush was working for a rear naked choke again. Moises finally got him off his back, but Dariush stayed on top of him. Dariush would close out the fight in that position. We headed to the judges 30-25, 30-25, and 30-26 all for Beneil Dariush. This was an impressive and dominant win for Beneil Dariush. He showed the difference between a real UFC veteran and a debuting fighter and looked great doing it.

In a matchup of Former Champion taking on Former Title Challenger Germaine “The Iron Lady” de Randamie (8-0 #5 Ranked Women’s Bantamweight) took on Raquel “Rocky” Pennington (9-8 #4 Ranked Women’s Bantamweight). Pennington came right out and threw while de Randamie came firing right back with a combination. Pennington avoided a big shot and immediately tried to change levels and had de Randamie pressed up against the fence. Pennington was keeping the fight there against the cage. She was not doing real damage but just holding. De Randamie reversed the position and grabbed or a Muay Thai clinch and was smashing knees to the body. Pennington was able to reverse the position back to her holding de Randamie against the cage. The clinch was broken and de Randamie landed a hard right hand. Pennington shot in from a long-range takedown, and it did not work. De Randamie ended the round up against the fence holding Pennington there. The second round started with a nice hard jab from de Randamie. Up against the fence de Randamie was landing big shots on Pennington. De Randamie stepped in for a left then right hand that connected again on Pennington. De Randamie shrugged off a level change and again landed shots up top. Pennington fired back with a hard head kick, but it was blocked. Pennington finally latched on and had de Randamie pressed up against the fence. Pennington was sneaking in short shots in the clinch. De Randamie broke the clinch and landed a hard left hand on the break. Pennington very quickly went for a level change and a single leg takedown, but it was stuffed against the fence as the round ended. We headed to round 3 and a hard leg kick from de Randamie came firing out. De Randamie was coming in slowly and trying to land long punches on Pennington. De Randamie just missed with a big looping head kick. Pennington tried a jumping front kick. De Randamie met that with a nice combination. Both fighters were struggling with landing much of anything as the round ticked away. De Randamie was moving forward and Pennington grabbed on to the clinch and pressed de Randamie up against the fence. A knee to the groin caused a brief stoppage with 1 minute left. Pennington immediately grabbed for the clinch again back against the fence. The punches were really only coming from de Randamie. There was a nice separation from de Randamie and she was all set up, but there were no shots that landed really from either lady as the horn sounded. The judges would score this tight matchup and they scored it 30-27 across the board for Germaine de Randamie. This was a decent performance after a long layoff for de Randamie. She did a good job at neutralizing the wrestling from Pennington. This will be interesting to see where she gets placed at 135lbs now.

We went to the Co-Main event next as Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (34-11 1NC #12 Ranked Welterweight) took on “Platinum” Mike Perry (12-4). Perry threw a low leg kick and then missed with a big right hook. Cerrone immediately grabbed for the clinch and was holding him in the center of the cage. They were trading knees to the body and then separated. Cerrone landed a nice leg kick. Cerrone barely evaded an uppercut from Perry. They again were clinched and traded knees. They separated and Cowboy was working the jab. Cowboy went for a takedown, it was blocked and Perry turned it into a takedown of his own. Cerrone was able to sweep from the bottom and ended up on top in side control. Perry tried to turn and ended up giving up his back. Perry wiggled free and he was on top. Cerrone threw up his legs for a triangle on Perry. Perry was able to slide through the triangle and was on top. Cerrone grabbed on for a late armbar that was in tight. Perry tried to fight out of it but was forced to tap with 15 seconds left in the first round. With the finish, Donald Cerrone now set the record for most wins and finishes in UFC history. Cerrone had his 4-month-old son brought into the cage and his grandmother and celebrated with all of his fans in Denver. This was a huge win for Cerrone who had been on a slide His ground game is not to be messed with which many casual fans usually don’t think about. This was by far the best moment of the evening.

We closed out the night with “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (14-4 #10 Ranked Featherweight) and Yair “El Pantera” Rodriguez (11-2 #15 Ranked Featherweight) at 145lbs. We touched gloves and Rodriguez immediately started feinting and landed a hard low kick. Zombie returned one of his own. Zombie tried to come in and his punches were blocked. Zombie evaded two shots and came back with a combination where a right hand slipped through early. The low leg kicks kept coming from Rodriguez. Zombie was landing a few uppercuts. Rodriguez was really working the lead leg kicks. Zombie landed a nice combination and followed it up with a front kick to the body. Rodriguez snuck in a front kick to the face. Zombie returned fire with a rush that forced Rodriguez to be on his toes and avoid the big shots. Yair went for a late takedown, but it was reversed and Zombie tried for a throw and they rolled through to the ground as the horn sounded. We headed to round 2 and Rodriguez landed a right, but a combo came back immediately from Zombie. Another right hand followed by a left landed from Zombie. Zombie landed another hard left hand and then a body kick. Zombie had Yair pressed up against the fence. Rodriguez reversed the position and had Zombie up against the fence. There was a low blow from Rodriguez and we had a pause. Zombie was ready to go very quickly and we were back going at it. Yair landed a left hand and ate a kick to the body. Yair had a head kick that he threw blocked. He then threw a lead leg kick that connected. Zombie landed a nice left hand in return. Zombie came rushing in and landed a combination, but a spinning back elbow from Rodriguez landed flush. The elbow appeared to stumble Zombie for a second, but he immediately latched on for a clinch. They were against the fence and Rodriguez was able to get away and fell over top of a ducking Rodriguez. They were back in the center of the cage trading shots again. Zombie ripped a hard left hand right across the chin of Rodriguez. Zombie grabbed for the clinch and then blocked a throw from Rodriguez. These guys were absolutely trading just before stopping for the last 5 seconds as the round ended. We headed to round 3 and Zombie came out firing. Rodriguez didn’t waste any time and threw a head kick that Zombie just avoided. Zombie was returning fire, but Rodriguez was landing hard punches and kicks. Another hard kick to the body from Rodriguez landed. Rodriguez landed another kick to the body. Zombie came right back forward with a combination. A question mark kick just missed from Rodriguez. Zombie came rushing forward and landed a big punch that backed Rodriguez up. They exchanged quickly and Zombie had to eat a partially landed head kick. They scrambled with Zombie throwing Yair to the mat briefly. He made it back to his feet quickly. Zombie closed the round quickly with a nice set of punches moving forward. We headed to round 4 and the pace slowed a bit. They were trading punches back and forth. Rodriguez landed another hard kick to the body. Rodriguez laden a front kick to the body, but Zombie returned with a combination. The jab from both guys was on point. Yair landed a body kick and then threw a double roundhouse kick that just missed. Yair thought about a spin, but Zombie was too close to him. Zombie threw a nice combination with double right hands. Zombie landed a hard right hand that connected and wobbled Yair. Zombie came jumping in with a knee and there was potentially a low blow that the ref did not stop it for. They resolved it in the cage without a stoppage. Zombie worked another jab that landed flush. Zombie hit another combination. Yair tried to entice Zombie to meet him on the ground, but instead, they stayed standing and Zombie snapped Rodriguez head back with a right hand. The round came to an end with them dancing around. We entered the final round of the night started with a hug and then another body kick from Rodriguez. The right hands came flowing from Zombie. Zombie ate a jab and connected with a hard right hand. Zombie ate another spinning elbow to land the right hand again. Zombie stepped in and hit a big left hook. Rodriguez was working low kicks and still moving forward. Yair tried to come forward and grab for a takedown, but Zombie stopped it and landed a left hand on the break. They both acknowledged each other and the crowd as they stood in front of each other. Zombie landed a jab and then Rodriguez landed a big head kick. Zombie hit a right hand that stumbled Rodriguez, but he was right back in it. Yair landed another body kick that was answered with a big left hand from Zombie. Zombie just kept coming forward with combinations. Yair did an unreal job of avoiding a combination. With 11 seconds left they acknowledged each other again and pointed to the center of the cage. Zombie rushed forward and Yair hit an up wards elbow on Zombie as he came forward and he knocked Zombie out cold just before the horn. That was a finish at 4:59 of the 5th round for Yair Rodriguez. The biggest win of his career and in just absolutely stunning fashion. Speechless doesn’t even begin to describe how that fight ended.

The UFC’s 25th-anniversary show was honestly an excellent night. The main event was arguably the fight of the year. The finishes up and down the card were so much fun. The UFC has been in our lives for 25 years and we are the lucky ones honestly. It all started with a dream about finding out what was the best technique in the world and it turned into one of the biggest sports in the world. The card tonight was about as perfect as you could ask for as a fan. Thank you to the UFC for providing us 25 years of entertainment and here is to 25 more.

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