So let’s get to the recap!
The only “big” fight on the prelims was between Daron Cruickshank and Anthony Njokuani. The fight started with about a minute and a half of evenly-matched striking. Cruickshank managed to double-leg Njokuani but couldn’t keep him on the ground for long. Cuickshank was more aggressive in the striking for the next few minutes, throwing a more diverse array of attacks and just more strikes in general. He used these strikes to get Njokuani off balance and turn a high-crotch single leg into a wonderful slam. Cruickshank finished the first round on top in Njokuani’s guard.
In the second round, Cruickshank tried a takedown, which was blocked. He followed that up with this crazy jumping roundhouse that Njokuani simply sidestepped. It seemed as if Cruickshank’s takedowns made Njokuani afraid to open up. Then Cruickshank hit a gorgeous flying knee. Somehow Njokuani survived it. Cruickshank took him down off the flying knee but then landed an accidental illegal knee to Njokuani’s head. Dan Miragliotta briefly stopped the fight then stood him up. However, this made no difference as Cruickshank shot in for a successful double leg takedown afterward. Njokuani fought to his feet and landed a couple of decent shots. Cruickshank landed several of his own not long after. Cruickshank seemed to get the better of the exchanges throughout the rest of the second round.
A right hand from Njokuani buckled Cruickshank early in the third, but then Cruickshank landed an overhand right of his own to even the score. Cruickshank scored with a great spinning back kick to the body as well. Cruickshank took Njokuani down with a minute left in the fight. Njokuani nearly sunk in an armbar but it was too little, too late. Cruickshank won via unanimous decision.
After a few other fights of varying levels of irrelevance, it was finally time for UFC Fight Night 54‘s co-main event: Bryan Caraway versus Raphael Assuncao. The first round was pretty even. Both fighters exchanged some nice body kicks and stiff hooks to the face. They both also failed some takedown attempts. The second round was pretty much a replay of the first with even less activity, though Caraway seemed to eat more punches than Assuncao. Assuncao nearly sunk in an awesome guillotine in the third but couldn’t complete it. He also landed some tired strikes, as opposed to Caraway who didn’t really do much of anything significant. Assuncao won via unanimous decision.
The main event between Rory MacDonald and Tarec Saffiedine arrived after what felt like weeks. The first round was evenly matched until MacDonald managed to take Saffiedine down off catching one of his kicks. The takedown definitely gave MacDonald the round despite the fact that Saffiedine returned to his feet within 10 seconds. MacDonald started pulling away in the second, using his jab to pepper Saffiedine and keep control of the distance. MacDonald tagged Saffiedine with a massive hook in the third and faceplanted him. It was over after a few follow-up punches. Nice work from MacDonald; he looked sharp.
Overall, this card was horrendous–easily one of the worst of the year. The fights were poor and contested between athletes who weren’t close to the top levels of the sport. The fact that the card was the second card in a LONG weekend of MMA made it even more intolerable. Don’t even scroll down for the complete results. Just forget this event ever existed save for McDonald’s excellent KO.
Rory MacDonald def. Tarec Saffiedine via TKO (punches), 1:28 of round 3.
Raphael Assuncao def. Bryan Caraway via unanimous decision (30-27 x3).
Chad Leprise def. Yosdenis Cedeno via unanimous decision (
Elias Theodoru def. Bruno Santos via unanimous decision (29-28 x3).
Nordine Taleb def. Li Jingliang via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27).
Mitch Gagnon def. Roman Salazar via submission (rear naked choke), 2:06 of round 1.
Daron Cruickshank def. Anthony Njokuani via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Jake Lindsey via submission (keylock), 3:22 of round 2.
Paul Felder def. Jason Saggo via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Chris Kelades def. Patrick Holohan via unanimous decision (29-28 x3).
Albert Tumenov def. Matt Dwyer via TKO (head kicks and punch), 1:03 of round 1.
Pedro Munhoz def. Jerrod Sanders via submission (guillotine), 0:39 of round 1.