The Fight Pass prelim fights at UFC 171 were a bit of a mixed bag. We witnessed two fighters who added on to their undefeated streaks in Sean Strickland and Justin Scoggins, both of whom are intriguing prospects and great additions to the middleweight and flyweight divisions, respectively. But we also had Pineda vs Whiteford, in which neither fighter displayed anything to write home about. Frank Trevino and Renee Forte put on a more compelling fight, with Forte dominating the first round from on top of Trevino’s back, and Trevino rallying back to win a unanimous decision.
Whiteford Grinds Out Decision Against Pineda
Pineda has quietly been gatekeeping the lower end of the featherweight division for the last two years, and has been able to beat the not-quite-UFC-caliber fighters. Heading in to his seventh UFC fight against Whiteford, he needed a win to justify his spot on the roster. He didn’t get that win. Whiteford out-grappled him for two rounds and busted him up with well-placed high kicks in the second round.
When Whiteford was in top position, he wasn’t really able to mount any meaningful offense. Pineda’s best efforts were off of his back, but Whiteford’s grappling was too much for him. It would make sense for the Scottish Whiteford to fight on one of the UFC’s new European-centric fight cards coming up, and I could see him being booked on the Dublin card this summer.
Strickland Dominates McDaniel, Wins via 1st-Round RNC
Strickland caught McDaniel several times with some good punches in the first round, both standing and on the ground. He was able to keep Bubba down, and take his back. He landed a good punch to the side of McDaniel’s head, and finished the fight via rear-naked choke. After the fight, the appreciative 23-year old said he has been waiting ten years to get into the UFC, and even kissed the mat. The win improves his unbeaten record to 14-0. I’m interested to see whom they pair Strickland up next with, as there is no shortage of quality opponents at middleweight to test him.
“The Tank” Rolls Through Will Campuzano
Scoggins used his karate-centric kicking technique to both avoid the attacks of Campuzano, and unload a diverse array of hook kicks, high kicks, and some good kicks to the body, all in between out-grappling Campuzano. Campuzano had a moment in the second round, where he had what looked like a tight arm-in guillotine, but Scoggins was able to get out of it. Scoggins dominated the entire fight, and moves to 9-0 with the win over Campuzano, who is now 0-4 inside the Octagon. Scoggins is going to be a handful for most of the flyweight division, and I don’t think it will be too many more fights before we see him fighting someone ranked within the top five.
Trevino Remains Undefeated, Rallies Back Against Forte
Forte didn’t waste time taking Trevino’s back, and hunting for the rear-naked choke. Trevino defended well, but didn’t get things back to a standing position until the last 45-seconds of the first round. The second round was fought on the feet, and Trevino showed more of an offensively display, as Forte slowed down and Trevino turned it up with a variety of kicks, and even a takedown of his own. Forte missed weight for this fight, and was not the same fighter after the first round. The story of this fight was the old familiar of one guy gassing, and the other guy realizing it. Trevino remained undefeated by coming back and unanimously taking the last two rounds, and handing Forte his third UFC loss in four fights.