With last weekend’s UFC London being touted as one of the best Fight Night cards in years, UFC Columbus on Saturday had a tough act to follow. And while it didn’t quite hit the same peaks, for the most part, the ESPN event entertained.
The card opened with three straight decisions, much to the annoyance of those in attendance at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, who actually managed to boo and jeer some pretty entertaining fights. But that would give way to a pair of finishes, with Chris Gutierrez in particular standing out when he landed a spinning back fist on Danaa Batgerel.
The back fist and follow-up elbows finished the fight, and captured the featherweight one of two Performance of the Night bonuses at UFC Columbus. The other went to main event heavyweight Curtis Blaydes, who eschewed his usual wrestling-heavy game plan, and instead put Chris Daukaus down with a right hand in the second round.
While wrestling is very much a part of mixed martial arts, fans have never got behind the smothering ground game of Blaydes. But with zero takedowns attempted Saturday, they showed their love for a fighter who was looking to make a statement with his hands.
Fight of the Night at UFC Columbus went to Bryan Barberena and Matt Brown, and there was no surprise at that result. The welterweight pair battled it out for three rounds, trading punches, elbows, kicks, both heavily damaging the other. With Brown at home in Ohio, the crowd was firmly in his corner, but it was Barberena walking away with the split decision win in the final fight of his UFC contract.
All four fighters will pick up an extra $50,000 for their efforts, on top of show and win money, and outfitting pay.