Wuliji Buren is part of the UFC’s initiative to build interest in the sport of MMA in mainland China. He is looking for his first UFC victory after dropping his first two fights. Jonathan Martinez dropped his first UFC bout as well and now travels halfway around the world from America to compete in Australia.
Round 1. The fighters come out trading low kicks. They both start going higher with their kicks and then Buren moves in and secures a takedown. Buren looks for a guillotine choke but he loses position in the process and ends up on the bottom. Martinez moves into side control and Buren looks to stand up. Buren gets up and then takes Martinez down, landing a series of punches in the process. 10-9 Martinez.
Round 2. The standup early in the second is kick heavy, just like in the first. Buren shoots for a takedown two minutes in and gets it. Buren looks to set up a rear naked choke but Martinez slips out and stands up. Martinez immediately looks to get Buren down and controls the back with one hook preventing Buren from standing up. 10-9 Martinez.
When Kelvin Gastelum won the UFC’s reality television series competition, “The Ultimate Fighter,” nearly six years ago as a 21-year-old, he made some sizable assumptions.
“Stack up a couple wins, beat a few contenders, get my title shot and this is a fairytale book ending,” Gastelum recalls.
Reflecting on that mindset now as he nears Saturday night’s UFC 234 pay-per-view main event versus middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in Melbourne, Australia, Huntington Beach-trained Gastelum concedes, “I was immature, young and dumb … it doesn’t quite work out that way.”
If Anderson Silva’s legacy as arguably the most superb technician of mixed martial arts in history has taught anything, it’s to never assume the outcome of his fights.
Chael Sonnen believed he'd ended Silva’s extended UFC middleweight title reign until Silva contorted him in the final seconds and forced him to submit. Who could ever forget that Silva kick to Vitor Belfort’s face? Even in those stunning title losses to Chris Weidman, Silva kept everyone guessing.
So now that he heads to Melbourne, Australia, for Saturday night’s UFC 234 co-main event against New Zealand’s unbeaten elite prospect Israel Adesanya (15-0), the assumption is that Silva (34-8) is being sent there to pass his torch.