lyoto-machida UFC Fight Night 68 was, quite simply, one of the best UFC events I have ever watched. It totally blew away my expectations, and at the end of it I felt good to a fan of MMA again. Let’s start with the preliminary card. The opening fight of the Fight Pass prelims was surprising, as underdog Jose Quinonez submitted Leonardo Morales in the first round with a rear-naked choke. That was nice to see, but then fans were treated to an even better fight as Jake Collier and Ricardo Abreu stood toe-to-toe or 15 minutes in an extremely competitive, back-and-forth match that was one of the better fights of the card. The televised prelims, too, were very fun to watch for the most part. First we had Justin Edwards and Joe Proctor engage in a tremendous bout that culminated in an absolutely deadly submission win at 4:58 for Proctor – the latest submission in UFC history. The fight was destined for a controversial decision if it hit the cards, so to see Proctor finish it was amazing to see. The next two fights, Chris Wade vs. Christos Giagos and Brian Ebersole vs Omari Akhmedov, were both stinkers, but a beautiful knockout by Shawn Jordan over Derrick Lewis in the prelim main event made everyone quickly forget about those two fights. Then it was time for the main card, and I’d venture to say this was the best main card top-to-bottom of the year, and one of the best ever. First we had Francisco Rivera become the first man to knock out Alex Caceres, doing so in just 21 seconds. That was impressive in its own right, and then in the very next fight we had Anthony Birchak need less than two minutes to dispatch of Joe Soto via TKO. That, too, was super impressive. I was already having a great time watching the card, and then the Fight of the Night came on, with Brian Ortega taking on Thiago Tavares. This was an amazing fight. It took place on the ground, in the clinch, on the feet — everywhere really – and it was one of those fights where you just wished it could have went on forever. After doing well in the first two rounds, Tavares began to tire and in the third Ortega was able to take advantage of it by taking the vet to school on the feet and knocking him out in brutal fashion. Tremendous stuff. The last three fights, Dustin Poirier vs. Yancy Medeiros, Ben Rothwell vs. Matt Mitrione, and Dan Henderson vs. Tim Boetsch, were all fantastic as well, with all three of those fights culminating in first-round finishes for Medeiros, Rothwell, and Henderson, respectively. To see an amazing card end on a high note with MMA legend Henderson getting a first-round KO was nice to see, and capped off one of the best events of the year. This was an absolutely fantastic card, one that totally blew away all my expectations and left me wanting more. I rated UFC Fight Night 68 a 9.5/10. It was nearly flawless except for the Akhmedov/Ebersole and Wade/Giagos fights which weren’t the greatest. But other than that this was just an absolutely fantastic card, and hopefully the next three cards in June can keep the momentum going.


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