UFC Fight Night 88: Main Card Recap

Thomas Almeida (21-1) vs. Cody Garbrandt (9-0)

Cody Garbrandt won the biggest fight of his career with a violent knockout victory over fellow undefeated bantamweight prospect Thomas Almeida. Someone was very likely going to get slept in this one, and it turned out being the Brazilian. Garbrandt, a fairly big underdog in the eyes of the community, won the fight after a huge right hand put Almeida’s lights out 2:53 into the first. He was tagging Almeida before that and tested his chin en route to handing him his first professional loss.

 

Renan Barao (33-4) vs. Jeremy Stephens (25-12)

It all came down to how the judges saw the third round which was evenly fought between the former UFC bantamweight champion Barao and featherweight contender Stephens. All three saw it for Stephens, giving him a 29-28 unanimous decision in a fight filled with fireworks. It was Barao’s first fight at the 145 division after seven title fights at 135. In the end, Stephens’ striking in the third round got him the victory. Barao had a strong first round by using his speed advantage, which led him to landing some solid jabs and making Stephens miss with his strikes a lot. Barao was able to threaten with the takedown, and while he wasn’t landing them, he was making Stephens think about it. Stephens returned fire early in the second round, landing blow after blow on the Brazilian’s chin, which stood up pretty well. Barao landed a quick takedown near the end of the round, but very likely not enough to win him the second frame. It set the stage for a rubber third-round, which Stephens was able to take.

 

Tarec Saffiedine (16-5) vs. Rick Story (19-8)

The featured welterweight bout was set to go on after a cut on Saffiedine’s knee prior to the fight almost jeopardized it. Story took advantage of it in the first round, causing the scab to open up and bleed. “The Horror” Story was able to fight his fight, consisting of him closing the distance on Saffiedine and punishing his body with strikes in the clinch for the majority of the 15-minute fight. He couldn’t have fought a smarter fight, as he perfectly negated Saffiedine’s distance jab and kickboxing strategy. The result was a well-deserved unanimous decision victory for Story, his third straight win, which followed over a year-and-a-half layoff.

 

Vitor Miranda (12-5) vs. Chris Camozzi (24-10)

Camozzi was able to close the distance and get the better of Miranda in the first round with jabs and elbows in tight. A wild takedown from Miranda turned into an awkward ground position stalemate for nearly the final two minutes of a round that clearly belonged to Camozzi.  Camozzi dominated the majority of the second round by controlling Miranda on the ground and landed some ground and pound near the end of it. Camozzi picked up where he left off to start the third round, dragging Miranda back to the ground. In the latter part of the final round, Camozzi continued to work an exhausted Miranda to the bell. The judges’ unanimous 30-27 decision clearly reflected how the fight looked to most fans watching. He snapped Miranda’s three-fight winning streak in what might have been the biggest win of his career, as it could set up a higher-profile bout at middleweight.

Jorge Masvidal (29-11) vs. Lorenz Larkin (17-5)

The third round of the welterweight bout saw an excellent display from both fighters; both of their chins were tested by some power shots. Larkin seemed to get the better of the standing exchanges, but Masvidal threatened with a pair of unsuccessful guillotine chokes. The first round was close, as Lorenz got the better of Masvidal in the first half and vice versa in the second. It was mostly contested on the feet. In the last minute of the first round, Larkin eye-poked Masvidal, causing him to drop to the ground and pound the canvas with his fist. Masvidal took a few minutes and was able to continue the fight. The second round was close as well. Both fighters landed some big punches, but Larkin finished with a last second power double-leg. The fight ended with a split decision on the judges’ scorecards that went the way of Larkin. Masvidal has now lost three of his past four fights, all his losses in that span coming via split decision.

Paul Felder (12-2) vs. Josh Burkman (28-13)

The first fight of the main card saw a back-and-forth third round of a back-and-forth fight. The fighters continued where they left off from the first two rounds; trading hard punches and elbows. In the third round, Felder got the better of the stand-up exchanges and Octagon control, but Burkman was able to clinch “The Irish Dragon” and take him down a couple of times at the end of the fight, including once with a few seconds remaining. It wasn’t enough, as the judges rewarded Felder with a 29-28 unanimous decision after the fighters split the first two rounds. In the first round, Burkman got the better of Felder near the end of the round when he uncorked some serious bombs on him. Felder has a great chin, as he was able to take shots from not only Burkman, but other powerful strikes in Daron Cruickshank and Edson Barboza over his past few fights. Felder didn’t look like the -300 favorite he came into the fight as, but he recovered in the second round, landing some tough shots on Burkman and clinching up near the end of the round to likely take it, along with the fight, in the eyes of the judges.

 

Featured Image via Flickr/Antonio Fucito

About Michael DeSantis

I love the NHL, MLB, NFL and UFC and also enjoy writing about it. I like to consider sports its own language, which is one that I'm very fluid in. Outside of sports, my interests include family, friends, television, the Internet and video games. I'm a compassionate individual who enjoys helping others, I work hard to achieve my goals and I'm told I make good brownies.

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