Beating the Odds: UFC on Fox 22

By Brian Knapp Dec 19, 2016

Leslie Smith refused to be a steppingstone.

Smith -- a +245 underdog, according to -- spoiled the Ultimate Fighting Championship debut of Irene Aldana, as she captured a unanimous decision over the highly regarded Lobo Gym prospect at UFC on Fox 22 on Saturday at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. Scores were 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

Pressure and pace were Smith’s weapons of choice, as she overwhelmed the UFC rookie with aggressive body-head punching combinations. She floored Aldana (-295) with an overhand right in the first round and appeared to be nearing a finish with subsequent punches. Smith reset herself on the feet when it became clear a stoppage was not in the offing. Aldana was effective in spots but could not contend with the torrent of punches being thrown her way.

“I’m just there to fight,” Smith said afterward. “That’s the goal; that’s the whole reason I’m there. Aren’t all fights exciting? I just like to go in there and go for it, look for the opening, and if I see it, I go for it; if I don’t see it, I go for it. I’m just trying to make it as technical as possible, but in my heart, I’m a brawler.”

Aldana was not the only favorite bitten by the upset bug. In fact, she had quite a bit of company.

Luis Henrique da Silva (-225) entered the cage with a spotless 12-0 record and left it having submitted to a second-round armbar from Scottish newcomer Paul Craig. Silva tapped 1:59 into Round 2. Craig (+190) ambushed the Brazilian with uppercuts from the clinch in the first round, where he also secured a takedown and applied some punishing ground-and-pound. Silva suffered damage to both eyes and wilted in the middle frame, as the former British Association of Mixed Martial Arts champion pulled guard and transitioned from a triangle choke to the fight-ending armbar.

Meanwhile, Alan Jouban saw through Mike Perry’s saber rattling and chipped away at the Flint, Michigan, native with a steady diet of kicks to the body and lead leg. Jouban (+125) was credited with a knockdown in the second round and dazed his counterpart with a straight left in the third. According to FightMetric data, he out-landed Perry (-145) by a 69-37 margin in significant strikes and secured the only two takedowns of the fight.

Three other fighters beat the odds at UFC on Fox 22. Former Deep and Sengoku champion Mizuto Hirota (+100) took a unanimous decision from Cole Miller (-120) in their three-round undercard battle at 145 pounds; onetime Resurrection Fighting Alliance titleholder Alex Morono (+115) earned a unanimous verdict over James Moontasri (-135) in a preliminary welterweight affair; and American Top Team’s Sultan Aliev (+135) eked out a split decision against Bojan Velickovic (-160) in their 15-minute undercard clash at 170 pounds.


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