In an awesome night of fights and an exceptionally entertaining card for the Fort Campbell, Kentucky troops, Ultimate Fight Night 31 delivered in spades for the fans.
Fight after fight dazzled the gathered crowd and at home fans, with beautiful knock outs, submissions and some wonderful wars; all at formidable paces and with no lulls in the action.
For their exceptional efforts, UFC President Dana White handed out bonuses of $50,000 for the fight, knockout and submission of the night, with Rustam Khabilov, Jorge Masvidal, Tim Kennedy and Michael Chiesa being the beneficiaries.
The particulars are as follows:
Fight of the night went to Rustam Khabilov and Jorge Masvidal. If you missed this fight you have to see it. Khabilov won this fight mostly in counter attack and hit Masvidal with some beautiful and heavy over hand rights, none of which seemed to really phase Jorge. Masvidal returned fire with power of his own, but to no success. As the fight was stalemated on the feet, Khabilov did his best to work it to the ground, but Masvidal is the very definition of hard to get down and keep there. He was impressive in his ability to get back up. Of particular note was a third round head-kick, which looked as it would end the night for Jorge, but he somehow survived it. The two continued back and forth untill the end of the third, with neither fighter looking as if he was prepared to give up, and with both looking as if they could still go. For FOTN, it was a sold choice.
Knock out of the night went to Tim Kennedy. Again, if you didn’t see it you should. Kennedy came out aggressively and confidently. He moved forward on Natal and quickly became the Octagon’s general. However, Rafael Natal looked good, was changing up his stances and was hitting Kennedy with some leg kicks that were demonstrating red to Tim’s thighs. Yet, Kennedy continued forward undaunted and seemingly unworried about the Brazilian’s power. With Natal circling to his right and into Kennedy’s left, Tim rocked him with a power left and Natal went down. It was an excellent selection for KOTN.
Submission of the night went to Michael Chiesa. He looked tough and durable tonight, but then again, so did his opponent Colton Smith. On other nights, this bout could easily have been a fight of the night candidate. It was a very entertaining match that witnessed Smith nearly finishing Chiesa in the first. However, Michael was able to outlast and survive Smith’s rear-naked choke attempts and exit round one down 10 / 9, but still in the fight. In round two Chiesa got his revenge and in the middle of a grappling struggle on the feet, Chiesa flipped Smith to the ground, landing him directly on his head. The impact of Smith’s head was hard to watch and for a moment, fans surely worried about Smith’s wellbeing. However Smith was okay, but dazed and as such, Chiesa took the back of his stunned opponent and submitted him, via rear naked choke.