UFC Puts on Successful, Exciting Card in St. Louis
There were fireworks in the Scottrade Center in St. Louis Sunday evening for UFC Fight Night, most notably a superb knockout in the main event.
Updated: Jan. 15, 2018 • 5:38 PM ET
The UFC put on another successful event this past weekend in St. Louis.
ST. LOUIS — The UFC took a successful trip to St. Louis on Sunday, and the main event produced major fireworks. In a featherweight clash, No. 9 ranked Jeremy Stephens defeated No. 13 Dooho Choi by second round knockout.
The first round saw both fighters taking a tactical approach, with Choi seeming determined to stand with the Stephens. Choi landed more shots in the round, but Stephens landed with more power.
In the second round, Stephens absorbed a powerful front-kick to the jaw, but he pressed forward and landed an uppercut and a straight right soon after. Stephens capped-off the attack with a right hook to Choi’s ear, dropping Choi to the mat where Stephens eventually finished him with powerful ground and pound shots.
Stephens collected his 17th KO/TKO victory and 20th stoppage of his career to improve his record to 27-14, while also praising Choi after the fight.
“Dooho Choi is super tough,” Stephens said in his post-fight Octagon interview. “Thank you guys for coming over all the way from Korea, I wish I would have went over there and performed…You guys got a great boy representing.
“His low kicks are very good, he’s a very strong guy (and) he’ll be back. He’s very young. I hope I won some Korean fans.”
So who does Stephens want to fight next?
“Brian Ortega, I know he’s here,” Stephens continued. “I want to fight everybody in front of me, but for right now I’m going to enjoy some time with my familia. I just won a shit ton of money, thanks Dana White.”
Choi fell to 14-3 and has lost two straight fights. The 26-year-old joins a long list of fighters who have tried to stand with Stephens and failed. The South Korean has a year until he must serve mandatory military service, so it’ll be interesting to see who he fights next.
In Sunday’s co-main event, Jessica-Rose Clark spoiled Paige VanZant’s return to the Octagon and debut in the flyweight division. VanZant landed more strikes in the fight, but Clark scored two takedowns and controlled more than five minutes of the fight. Clark also had a triangle choke locked in for more than a minute at the end of the second round, which seemed to make the difference in the fight. VanZant opened things up in the third round, throwing a variety of kicks and combinations, but it was too little, too late.
Clark won the fight via unanimous decision, but VanZant doesn’t walk away without respect, as she was heard telling her corner in between the first and second round that she broke her arm. Clark improved to 9-4 with one no contest and has set herself up to move up the flyweight rankings. Meanwhile, VanZant (7-4) has dropped two in a row and three of her last four fights.
Rest of the main card
In a welterweight fight, Kamaru Usman defeated Emil Meek via unanimous decision. Usman used superior grappling to take total control of the fight and overwhelm Meek, who tried to open things up while standing but was quickly taken down every time he landed a clean shot. Usman entered the fight ranked 10th in the division and should be in line for a big next fight.
“I’m the most dominant and most well-rounded welterweight on the planet,” Usman said in his post-fight Octagon interview. “Nobody can stop me, and that’s why they’re all afraid to fight me. Colby (Covington), you can run, but you can’t hide.
“This Nigerian nightmare is looking for you. Now I’m going to find you.”
The win was Usman’s sixth straight and ended Meek’s four-fight win streak. The victory was also Usman’s fifth win by decision in his seven fights in the UFC.
In the main card’s opening fight, Darren Elkins spoiled Michael Johnson’s return home and debut at featherweight. Johnson landed potent strikes in the first round, but Elkins shook off the damage and recovered in the second round by taking things to the ground and finishing Johnson by rear naked choke. The win was Elkins’ sixth straight.
“I want the No. 1 contender,” Elkins said after the fight in his Octagon interview. “I think that’s realistic. I got six. The only one that has a better win streak than me is [champion] Max Holloway himself, so I want the one that’s going to give me the title shot.”
Johnson, who is originally from St. Louis, dropped to 17-13 and suffered his fifth loss in his last six fights.
FS1 Prelims results
James Krause def. Alex White via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Marco Polo Reyes def. Matt Frevola via first round KO
Irene Aldana def. Talita Bernardo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Kyung Ho King def. Guido Cannetti via first round submission (triangle choke)
UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims results
Jessica Eye def. Kalindra Faria via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
JJ Aldrich def. Danielle Taylor via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Mads Burnell def. Mike Santiago via unanimous decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)