The UFC returned to Texas for UFC Fight Night 44. This is the first time the promotion has held an event in San Antonio, TX. Four of the five undercard fights ended in the first round. Oleksiy Oliynyk finished Anthony Hamilton with a neck crank variation that was a choke. Next, Legacy vet and UFC newcomer, Ray Borg, finished Shane Howell with a rear-naked choke in the first round. Cody Gibson stopped Johnny Bedford via tko in a controversial finish. And in the final preliminary fight, Carlos Diego Ferreira made quick work of Colton Smith. He stopped him with a modified rear-naked choke in his UFC debut.
The main card started with James Moontasri walking out to Michael Jackson’s Beat It, and that’s exactly what it looked like he would do to Ellenberger. Moontasri dropped Ellenberger with a viscous counter uppercut, but he was unable to finish him. Ellenberger would recover after that brutal first round and earn a split decision victory. He utilized his wrestling to get takedowns and control the later rounds.
Clint Hester and Antonio Braga Neto would be a rollercoaster of a fight, a rollercoaster with more lows than highs. Neto controlled the pace of the fight early on, and secured takedowns. On the feet, Hester was able to land shots at will. The array of punches seemed to impress the judges more than simple top control, and Hester would earn the split decision victory.
Hacran Dias versus Ricardo Lamas started as a very technical fight, which turned into a not so good fight. While standing, Dias looked like a hulked up Jose Aldo, all the way down to his trunks; he displayed crisp punching and devastating leg kicks. Lamas’ game was to turn the fight into a grappling match, and that’s exactly what he did. Lamas would earn a unanimous decision victory in a not so entertaining fight.
Cezar Ferreira and Andrew Craig didn’t get the crowd hyped as much as you would think with a Texas boy fighting. The fight was a drawn out, feeling out process, for the southpaw Ferreira and orthodox Craig. While both fighters looked to find their range, Ferreira was able to secure the takedowns and rack up points. While on the ground, Ferreira had dominant positions, but couldn’t do anything with them. Late in the final round, Craig would hurt Ferreira, almost close to putting him away. But there was not enough time. Ferreira would go on to get the decision.
The co-main event would be Nicholas Musoke and Kelvin Gastelum. Gastelum failed to make weight and was forced to give up 20% of his purse. Musoke looked to out wrestle Kelvin in the opening round, but it was the second that saw the most action. Gastelum showed improved striking and footwork. He dictated the pace of the fight, hurting Musoke with strikes from all angles. Musoke showed tons of heart and never went down, but Gastelum would finish the fight with a decision victory.
The main event was the most anticipated fight of the night. And it lived up to the hype. Cub Swanson had the speed and quickness, while Jeremy Stephens was ready to unload the power. During the early rounds, Stephens dictated the pace of the fight with his power, but during the middle of the fight, a liver kick would turn the tides. Swanson continued his high output of strikes while Stephens continued to fade, and went on to earn the unanimous decision.
Cub Swanson def. Jeremy Stephens via Unanimous Decision
Kelvin Gastelum def. Nicholas Musoke via Unanimous Decision
Cezar Ferreira def. Andrew Craig via Unanimous Decision
Ricardo Lamas def. Hacran Dias via Unanimous Decision
Clint Hester def. Antonio Braga Neto via Split Decision
Joe Ellenberger def. James Moontasri via Split Decision
Carlos Diego Ferreira def. Colton Smith via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1
Cody Gibson def. Johnny Bedford via TKO – Round 1
Marcelo Guimares def. Andy Enz via Split Decision
Ray Borg def. Shane Howell via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) – Round 1
Oleksiy Oliynyk def. Anthony Hamilton via Submission (Neck Crank) – Round 1