As the third UFC event in a five-day stretch, there weren’t high expectations placed on UFC Fight Night 71. Most fans already got their fix from UFC 189 and the TUF 21 Finale, and to most, this card felt like a bunch of scrap “leftover” fights that didn’t make it to the two Vegas cards. And for the most part, fans were right, because UFC Fight Night 71 wasn’t the best event the UFC held this year. But it wasn’t as poor as some might have expected, either. It was average — maybe a bit above average — as many of the fights went to decision and with the big cage in play, few stoppages took place to wow the crowd and wake them up. Ironically, the card started off with one of three stoppages on the night, with Lyman Good knocking out Andrew Craig with punches in a welterweight match on Fight Pass. This was Good’s UFC debut and he looked great in this fight. It was a nice way to open up the card, no doubt about it, but the next fight, a middleweight bout between Ildemar Alcantara and Kevin Casey, which Casey won by lopsided decision, really wasn’t up to the quality fans have come to expect as of late. And unfortunately, this fight told the tale for the next batch of fights. The four televised prelims — a welterweight bout between Sean Strickland and Igor Araujo, a bantamweight bout between Masanori Kanehara and Rani Yahya, a women’s bantamweight bout between Jessica Andrade and Sarah Moras, and a featherweight bout between Sam Sicilia and Yaotzin Meza — all went the full three rounds, and none of these fights stood out. They all had their moments, sure, but overall it was a forgettable batch of preliminary fights. The main card, though, was pretty decent for the most part, but not great by any means. The first fight on the main card, a welterweight bout between Alan Jouban and Matt Dwyer, won “Fight of the Night” and rightly so as it was the best fight on the entire card. Both men exchanged bombs for 15 minutes in a fight where both men earned their $50,000 bonus. And then the next match, a lightweight bout between Kevin Lee and James Moontasri, had one of the few finishes on the night, as Lee tapped out Moontasri in the first round with a rear-naked choke. The next few fights weren’t great, however. The bantamweight contest between Scott Jorgensen and Manny Gamburyan was better than most expected it to be, but it wasn’t anything special, either. And the women’s bantamweight bout between Holly Holm and Marion Reneau turned into a lopsided fight in Holm’s favor. These two fights aren’t going to be talked about at the water cooler, that’s for sure. Thankfully, lightweights Tony Ferguson and Josh Thomson put on a show in the co-main event of the evening, and the main event saw Frank Mir knock out fellow heavyweight Todd Duffee in devastating fashion in a big upset. The Mir KO redeemed the card in many fans’ eyes, but overall it couldn’t save the card from being above average at best. I scored UFC Fight Night 71 a 6/10. If I had to rate the main card alone, I’d give the main card a 7.5/10, but the prelims were pretty bad on this card and knocked the overall rating way down in my eyes. The card definitely had its moments, and maybe I’m being too hard on it after two solid events in Vegas last weekend, but overall I just didn’t think it was anything special. Now, let’s see what happens at UFC Fight Night 72 this Saturday.
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