UFC Fight Night 91: Noke and Nguyen fall in the second round as Lineker starches McDonald

Despite being overshadowed by the craziness of what was UFC 200, UFC Fight Night 91 delivered in the best way possible with a night of action packed fights.

While the fight card delivered, the same cannot be said for the two Aussie representatives on the card, with both Kyle Noke and Brisbane based Ben Nguyen succumbing to their opponents in the second round.

Nguyen started fast against Louis Smolka, landing some big strikes before successfully taking the fight to the ground. Yet this initial success was quickly negated as Smolka started to thrive in the scramble, throwing out continuous submissions interwoven by heavy ground and pound until the end of the first round.

Smolka came out in the second round and continued to push the pace, managing to attempt a myriad of submission attempts while capitalisng on his advantageous positions with an avalanche of punches and elbows. Nguyen’s corner was eventually forced to throw in the towel as he continued to take punishment. While Nguyen wasn’t victorious, the loss highlighted his toughness and willingness to compete at the highest level.

Kyle Noke came into the event looking to put his last controversial split decision loss behind him, and while he started well, Keita Nakamura’s forward pressure was eventually too much for him. As the fight started Noke landed a couple of stiff jabs, clearly wobbling Nakamura. However the Japanese fighter never took a backwards step, continuing to pressure Noke even while the Aussie peppered him with strikes from distance.

The second round saw Noke continue his success with the jab and teep while Nakamura attempted to close the distance and land big punches. Nakamura’s pressure eventually saw Noke successfully attempt a few takedowns, seemingly trying to deter his opponent from coming forward so aggressively. With less than forty seconds left in the second round Nakamura landed a huge knee on Noke’s chin, following up with heavy ground and pound. Noke tried to survive by rolling to his back but Nakamura sunk in a rear naked choke with ten seconds left. With the end of the round only one second away Noke was forced to tap.

In the main event of the card Michael McDonald took on John “Hands of Stone” Lineker. McDonald initially looked to maintain his distance against the stocky Brazilian. That all changed when Lineker landed the first of several huge hooks that dropped the America fighter. McDonald looked to trade with Lineker and even landed a few big shots of his own. Yet Lineker eventually stayed true to his nickname and put McDonald away with some vicious punches.

UFC Fight Night 91 took place on Thursday morning (AU time) at Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA.

Main Card Results:

  • John Lineker def. Michael McDonald via KO, Rd 1, 2:43
  • Tony Ferguson def. Landon Vannata via Submission (D’arce choke), Rd 2, 2:22
  • Tim Boetsch def. Josh Samman via TKO, Rd 2, 3:49
  • Daniel Omielanczuk def. Oleksiy Oliynyk via Decision (Majority)
  • Keita Nakamura def. Kyle Noke (Australia) via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 2, 4:59
  • Louis Smolka def. Ben Nguyen (USA/Australia) via TKO, Rd 2, 4:41

Preliminary Card Results:

  • Katlyn Chookagian def. Lauren Murphy via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Sam Alvey def. Eric Spicely via Submission (Guillotine Choke), Rd 1, 2:43
  • Cortney Casey def. Cristina Stanciu via TKO, Rd 1, 2:36
  • Scott Holtzman def. Cody Pfister via Decision (Unanimous)
  • Rani Yahya def. Matthew Lopez via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke), Rd 3, 4:19
  • Alex Nicholson def. Devin Clark via KO, Rd 1, 4:57

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Jake Crane is a Melbourne based contributor for Fight News Australia.