The undercard at UFC 171 featured a back-and-forth battle between Kelvin Gastellum and Rick Story, along with a dominant TKO win for Dennis Bermudez, giving him his sixth in a row. Jessica Andrade and Pennington each landed close to 100 total strikes in their three-round slugfest, and Sean Spencer and Alex Garcia nearly finished each other on separate occasions to start of the Fox Sports 2 portion of the card. UFC 171 was a historic night and the four-fight prelim card more than delivered in producing quality contests and meaningful outcomes.
More UFC 171 Coverage:
Garcia Gets Past Spencer in a Split-Decision Victory
This fight didn’t get off to a great start, with a very close first round with neither fighter really hurting the other. They both kicked it up a notch in the second round though, as Spencer rocked Garcia with a big right hand, and a kick immediately after. They clinched up and Spencer landed some short punches that looked like they might finish Garcia, but in the fracas Garcia landed a huge hook that staggered Spencer. Garcia was looking for the finish with a flurry of punches, but didn’t get it. Spencer landed two nice right hands right before the end of the round.
The third round looked to belong to Spencer, as he was the fresher of the two. Garcia got a takedown but Spencer got right back up. He ended up in mount after another takedown but ate a big knee from Spencer as they got back up. Garcia showed in this fight that he has some punching power, and is well rounded enough to stick around, but needs to work on his cardio.
Dennis “The Menace” Notches Sixth Straight Win With TKO of Hettes
Bermudez came out aggressively and with some hooks and leg kicks. They clinched up and Bermudez was the stronger fighter, able to take Hettes down multiple times. Bermudez finished the first round by wrapping up Hettes in a guillotine and holding it until the horn sounded.
They clinched up immediately at the beginning of the second round, and on the breakaway Bermudez threw a quick combo and they clinched right back up. Bermudez turned up with heat with some punches and a knee to the body. Hettes started to cover his face, Bermudez knocked out Hettes’ mouthpiece, and dropped him with some more punches.
Once Bermudez started to really use his striking in the third round, he was able to finish Hettes. Instead of dropping him with a punch and following Hettes down the mat, he dropped him, let him back up, staggered him again with another punch, and finally landed a knee that dropped Hettes one more time and the ref came in and waived off. Bermudez was just too much for Hettes, and is now on a six-fight winning streak. He should certainly see someone in the higher end of the top 10 in his next time out. I’d love to see a fight between Bermudez vs Dustin Poirier.
Andrade Blasts Past Pennington in Split Decision Victory
These two battled from bell to bell. Andrade came out with some Wanderlei Silva-esque powerful looping hooks, but didn’t catch Pennington with anything meaningful right out of the gate. Pennington clinched up and went for a guillotine. Andrade got a nice throw to take Pennington to the mat, and back again after Pennington was able to get up briefly. Andrade was in control from half-guard, until Pennington went for an armbar, but Andrade escaped.
Pennington landed a leg kick at the start of the second round, Andrade came back with some big hooks, and Pennington tied up again. They exchange punches, and Andrade gets another takedown. Andrade goes for a slam but Raquel gets back to her feet. Andrade lands some more good punches, and Raquel clinches again. They have a good exchange against the fence where they stand and bang. Pennington lands a hard knee in the clinch. They both start throwing heavy punches,
Andrade was clearly the more technical and faster striker, but Pennington had a great clinch and stayed in the pocket with Andrade at times, and fired right back, and almost had Andrade finished with a standing guillotine that she let slip at the end of the round, and Andrade went for a guillotine of her own in the closing seconds of the round.
Pennington came out swinging in the third round, and landed often, but Andrade attacked right back with some hard looping hooks. Andrade was good at walking Pennington backwards during their striking exchanges. This was primarily a stand up battle, with Andrade landing more often. Andrade was ranked #9 coming into this fight. I think a fight with #6 ranked Jessica Eye would be a great striking matchup.
Gastellum Earns Split-Decision Victory in Barn burner With Story
Gastellum cut Story early with a hard right hand. Gastellum dropped Story with a big headkick, but Story survived. Story was busted up under his eye and breathing hard at the end of the first round. Both guys were throwing heavy punches in the second round, with Gastellum landing his jab at will and Story swinging for the fences with some looping hooks, mostly missing. Story caught Gastellum with a big shot that dropped him right before the round ended. Gastellum got a big takedown in the third round, but Story was able to reverse the position and take his back, and almost get a rear-naked choke. Gastellum escaped and they traded shots on the feet as the fight ended. This was Gastellum’s biggest win to-date and he improves his undefeated record to 8-0.