The Fight: Chris Fields vs. Matt Van Buren
Van Buren and Fields don’t like each other and they’ve made that obvious throughout the season. The two had an intense face-off at the fight announcement. At the weigh-ins, they both showed up draped in their nation’s flag. Fields has to be pulled away by the Team Penn coaching staff.
Van Buren quickly closed the distance and tied Fields up, pushing him to the cage. He delivered knees to the body while Fields answered with right hands to the bread basket. When they separated, Van Buren initiated the clinch and they exchanged knees to the body. Van Buren secured a takedown late in the round. For the most part, it was an uneventful round.
Van Buren was able to get the fight to the ground in the early going of the second frame. Fields worked his way back to his feet and took Van Buren down, but Van Buren landed elbows from the bottom and scrambled back to his feet. He took the Irishman down again but couldn’t keep him there. While in the clinch, Fields went for a guillotine choke and pulled guard but was unable to lock up the submission. He spent the next minute of the stanza on his back with Van Buren peppering him with short right hands. Fields used the cage to stand only to be slammed back to the canvas in the closing moments. The fight ended with Van Buren in Fields’ half guard. The judges scored the fight for Van Buren by majority decision.
UFC president Dana White was not happy with either fighters’ performance.
“Normally I’ll breakdown the fight and I’ll tell you what went down and what happened. Nothing (expletive) happened. Nothing interesting or exciting happened,” said White. “I feel like this is the season of guys that just don’t give a (expletive).”
“I’m happy that I got the win, but I’m disappointed with my performance. I know I’m better than that,” said Van Buren after the win. “I just felt flat, a little nervous. I felt kind of hesitant, but I went in there and pushed as hard as I could today. It was enough to get the win. That’s all you can do.”
“I’m very disappointed about the fight. It was a close fight. It was a little bit back and forth at times. I think I kind of let him get off first and that’s what kind of lost me the fight,” said Fields following the loss. “I don’t want to knock him. He did his job, but I feel I’m a better fighter than him. It’s very disappointed because I feel I should have won the fight.”
Semifinal Match-ups Announced
Typically the two opposing coaches are called into an office to meet with Dana White and discuss what match-ups they like for the semifinal-round. Coach Frankie Edgar and Coach BJ Penn were summoned as normal. The fighters were called in individually and instead of them getting to say who they wanted to face in the next round, White gave them all a sort of pep talk and lecture at the same time. He then informed the coaches that he’d be playing matchmaker without any input from the coaches or the fighters.
The first semifinal-round bout announced was Team Edgar middleweight Eddie Gordon against Team Penn’s Cathal Pendred. The second semifinal fight pits Team Edgar’s Corey Anderson against teammate Patrick Walsh. Team Edgar’s Dhiego Lima will face Team Penn’s Roger Zapata in the second middleweight semifinal bout. The final semifinal round match-up will be between Team Edgar’s light heavyweight Matt Van Buren and Team Penn’s Daniel Spohn.