Josh Emmett and Calvin Kattar put on an entertaining battle in their featherweight bout Saturday which served as the main event of a UFC Fight Night card at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas.
But Emmett’s bloody, five-round split-decision victory over Kattar was far from the best, or most memorable fight of the night.
The 13-fight card produced a UFC record-tying eight knockouts, including five in the first round, and one submission that was set up by powerful strikes.
It started early with three consecutive knockouts by Roman Dolidze over Kyle Daukaus, Phil Hawes over Deron Winn and Cody Stamann over Eddie Wineland.
The finishes kept coming through the co-main event, when Kevin Holland’s quickness and accurate striking was too much for Tim Means. Holland dropped Means in the second with a ferocious combination and finished him with a D’Arce choke for the night’s only submission.
It was a fun night of fights, a far less high-profile card than the one that preceded it a week earlier in Singapore at UFC 275, but it was nonetheless wildly entertaining.
This is one man’s attempt at ranking the finishes. I’ll start from ninth and work to first, though it should be mentioned there wasn’t a cheap one among them.
9. Joaquin Buckley KO3 Albert Duraev, 0:10: Buckley hurt Duraev, a former training partner early in the fight with a head kick, and he just kept coming. By the end of the second round, the fight had been taken from Duraev and his left eye was totally closed.
The finish was ruined a bit, though, because it was stopped by the doctor in between rounds. Because the bell rang to start the third before the doctor was brought in, it counts as a third-round KO, but it was anti-climactic after the way Buckley had torn Duraev apart in the first 10 minutes.
8. Kevin Holland SUB2 Tim Means, 1:28: Holland looked brilliant in his second fight at welterweight. He was far quicker than Means and was beating him to the punch virtually every time.
Holland hurt Means with a combination and when Means went towards him, Holland seized on it by putting him into a D’Arce choke. Means quickly tapped, giving Holland an impressive win.
7. Adrian Yanez KO1 Tony Kelley: Adrian Yanez has been making waves in the bantamweight division and showed why against Tony Kelley. Yanez was picking Kelley apart from the beginning of the bout and Kelley had next-to-no defense.
Kelley was throwing a lot of kicks, which were effective, at Yanez, but he could not get out of the way of any of Yanez’s shots. Yanez blasted Kelley with a right that dropped him.
Yanez circled him and landed two hard rights on the ground before referee Kerry Hatley stopped it.
6. Gregory Rodrigues KO1 Julian Marquez, 3:18: This was a no-contest almost from the beginning. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Rodrigues showed fine striking form.
They were trading in the pocket, firing big shots, and Marquez caught Rodrigues. But Rodrigues came back and hit Marquez, dropping him viciously and ending it.
5. Phil Hawes KO2 Deron Winn – Hawes had a six-inch height advantage on Winn, and used it throughout the fight. Winn showed great heart, taking a lot of punishment and fighting back, but Hawes was on point and just overwhelmed him with every kind of strike you could imagine.
Hawes hit Winn with a head kick and Hawes followed up by firing two elbows that landed on the side of Winn’s face. Referee Herb Dean stopped it in one of the best, and most violent, performances of Hawes’ career.
4. Cody Stamann KO1 Eddie Wineland, 0:59: Wineland was never in the fight. Stamann caught him with a big right early and it was just a matter of time until the finish. Stamann dropped Wineland and finished him quickly with hard shots on the ground. It was a one-sided beatdown.
3. Jeremiah Wells KO1 Court McGee, 1:34. McGee threw a combination at Wells and thought he was safe. He backed away in order to reset, but Wells stepped forward and winged a left hook. It caught McGee on the jaw and it was over then.
Wells landed two big shots on the ground before Dean could get there and stop it.
2. Roman Dolidze KO1 Kyle Daukaus, 1:13: Dolidze came out hard and was hurting Daukaus badly with punches. Daukaus retreated to the cage and the fighters clinched.
Dolidze cracked Daukaus with a knee to the face that dropped Daukaus. Seconds later, the fight was over and the Night of Knockouts had officially begun.
Ricardo Ramos KO1 Danny Chavez 1:12 Chavez landed a right over the top that partially connected. Ramos spun and hit Chavez on the face with a perfect spinning back elbow that seemed to come out of nowhere. Chavez slumped to the canvas.
It was the second time in his career that Ramos had scored a spinning back elbow KO. This is one that everyone who saw it will never forget: