Tag: herbert burns

RESULTS | UFC 252 – Miocic seals status as the heavyweight GOAT

STIPE Miocic confirmed his status as the consensus UFC heavyweight GOAT, after edging Daniel Cormier via unanimous decision in their epic trilogy decider at UFC 252. The Ohio native (20-3), who fought in his seventh-straight UFC title bout now has four successful defences to his name, and improves his ledger against Cormier to 2-1.

Having battled Miocic three-consecutive times, ‘DC’ conceded that this may be the end of his legendary career, with another championship opportunity unlikely to present. Two of his three professional losses have come at the hands of Miocic, with the third part of the former double-champs’ other famous rivalry with Jon Jones.

The ‘and still’ champion was made to endure a raft of sneaky right-hand punches from Cormier throughout, but managed to remain upright through all of his adversary’s power while landing some heavy boxing combinations of his own. After being stunned at the end of Round 1, Miocic got his own back in the closing stages of Round 2, with a significant eye poke closing up Cormier’s left side in the third.

While Cormier looked to push the pace across the championship rounds, he was controlled well by the bigger man, Miocic in clinch engagements, which proved vital in nullifying the Olympian’s wrestling. Almost every five-minute period was as tight as they come, though Miocic’s diversity of strikes and control of position ultimately earned him the nod.

What’s next? It has to be number one contender, Francis Ngannou. Although, light heavyweight champion, Jones has also put his hat in the ring for a potential move up to heavyweight.

>> SCROLL FOR FULL RESULTS

Jairzinho Rozenstruik could also be back on track for a shot at the heavyweight strap, after dispatching of former champion, Junior dos Santos in Round 2. ‘Bigi Boy’ was patient and respectful in his approach, but only required one clean combination to change the course of the fight.

The Suriname native swarmed on his seasoned opponent after dropping him with an uppercut and right hook, allowing him no time to recover as the referee duly stepped in. That’s now three-straight losses for ‘JDS’, while Rozenstruik (11-1) gains redemption for his punishing defeat to Ngannou in May.

The co-main event produced another banger, albeit if one of the competitors seemed to come away seriously compromised. Sean O’Malley was transported to hospital after potentially re-aggravating an old leg injury, which saw him stumble a couple of times during his fateful fight with Marlon Vera.

A clear underdog coming into the bout, Vera required just under five minutes to get the job done via TKO, pouncing on his flailing opponent and ending the show with some brutal elbows from top position. It remains unknown as to what exactly caused O’Malley’s leg to fail, as he was seen rolling his right ankle in the early stages. Despite that, the Ecuadorian pointed to his checking of O’Malley’s low kicks when queried in the post-fight interview.

Daniel Pineda was another to impress on the main card, halting the hype train of Herbert Burns with a second-round TKO victory. After six years out of the UFC octagon, Pineda made good on his return with an impressive performance on the mat against a renowned grappler. He ended the bout with some punishing elbows from the crucifix position, having proven much more active from top position than Burns.

RESULTS

MAIN CARD:

Stipe Miocic [C] Daniel Cormier [1] | Decision (unanimous) 49-46, 49-46, 48-47
Marlon Vera def. Sean O’Malley [14] | TKO (elbows) 4:40 Rd 1
Jairzinho Rozenstruik [6] def. Junior dos Santos [5] | TKO (punches) 3:47 Rd 2
Daniel Pineda def. Herbert Burns | TKO (elbows) 4:37 Rd 2
Merab Dvalishvili [15] def. John Dodson [12] | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Vinc Pichel def. Jim Miller | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-27
Virna Jandiroba def. Felice Herrig [15] | Submission (armbar) 1:44 Rd 1
Daniel Chavez def. TJ Brown | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28
Livia Renata Souza def. Ashley Yoder | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 30-27

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD:

Chris Daukaus def. Parker Porter | TKO (punches and knee) 1:28 Rd 1
Kai Kamaka III def. Tony Kelley | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28

 

RESULTS | UFC 250: Nunes vs. Spencer – The Lioness makes history with divisional sweep

AMANDA Nunes made history on Sunday as the first ever UFC fighter to simultaneously defend two active titles, dominating Felicia Spencer in a one-sided headline bout for the women’s featherweight championship. Nunes looked flawless across the five rounds, showcasing her full range of skills while putting to bed doubts about her cardio.

All eyes were also on the UFC Apex Centre in Las Vegas for a night which would garner huge implications in the bantamweight division, with six high-level 135-pounders featuring on the main card. Of them, Aljamain Sterling, Cody Garbrandt, and Sean O’Malley earned wins befitting of performance of the night bonuses as part of the seven bouts which would not require a full 15 minutes.

Check out all the results from top to bottom, including each decision and a run-down of the main card action.

POTN: Sean O’Malley, Aljamain Sterling, Cody Garbrandt, Alex Perez
FOTN: Nil

MAIN CARD

Amanda Nunes [C] def. Felicia Spencer | Decision (unanimous) 50-44, 50-44, 50-45

Initial thoughts: We are not worthy, and neither is any other female fighter at the moment.

‘The Lioness’ only further extended her lead atop the ladder of women’s MMA greats with one of the more lop-sided championship decision victories in recent times. Nunes was simply dominant in all areas of the fight and somewhat merciful toward the end; but not before showcasing a catalogue of skills ranging from low kicks, to hard punching combos targeting both the head and body, terrific grappling technique and strength, her often forgotten jiu jitsu prowess, and damaging ground-and-pound.

Much of the narrative in the build-up told of Spencer’s main avenue to victory coming through an advantage on the ground. The Canadian would bravely work her way into grappling range but eat some nasty shots for her trouble, eventually becoming gun-shy on the approach. It meant her greatest strength, and supposed only advantage seemed a world away, with Nunes, a BJJ black belt the one to thrive with her wrestling and submission game on the mat in any case.

Despite being cracked on the feet and cut open during multiple exchanges on the ground, Spencer stayed in the fight for the full 25 minutes and was game as anyone, but simply outclassed by a world class fighter who has all the tricks in the book and is on top of her game. A stoppage from referee Herb Dean was the final hurdle for Spencer to manage before riding out to the final bell, as Nunes made a point of further proving her cardio with another well-managed five-round triumph.

Fallout: After cleaning out both divisions of which she champions, Nunes would be well served to wait for a truly worthy contender. Let the current batch fight it out and make a case. In the meantime, bask in the glory of your success.

For Spencer, the thin pickings at 145 pounds mean there is no glaring opportunity for her next either – perhaps a rematch with Megan Anderson for number one contendership?


Cody Garbrandt [9] def. Raphael Assuncao [5] | KO (punch) 4:59 Rd 2

Initial thoughts: It’s good to have you back, Cody.

Former bantamweight champion Garbrandt put his name back in lights with a redemptive knockout victory over perennial veteran contender, Assuncao. Not even the Round 2 bell could save Assuncao from Garbrandt’s lethal combination of speed and power, as ‘No Love’ suckered the Brazilian in with his back to the cage before locking onto his target and unleashing a right hook from hell to bring about the immediate stoppage.

Having split his camp under the tutelage of his regular Team Alpha Male coaches and Mark Henry on the opposite side of the US, Garbrandt looked as measured and composed as he ever has in the octagon. It worked to help him earn his first win since 2016, after suffering the first three defeats of his professional career in succession.

Though renowned for his strength within boxing range, Garbrandt had great success with calf kicks to bruise the legs of his 37-year-old opponents and ensure there would be no way he could match the American’s fleet footedness. Assuncao was patient in not biting on Garbrandt’s feints, but could not resist his punching power once hit having been dropped earlier in the round with the very same right hand.

Face-down knockouts are always ugly, but come from the absolute best shots. This one of Garbrandt’s best, and a mature performance which should put the bantamweight division on notice once again.

Fallout: Billed as the ninth ranked bantamweight coming in, a top five spot should beckon for Garbrandt having taken out the division’s number five.


Aljamain Sterling [2] def. Cory Sandhagen [4] | Submission (rear-naked choke) 1:28 Rd 1

Initial thoughts: Give this man his shot!

Sterling staked his seemingly undeniable claim for a 135-pound title shot with one of the quickest showings of the night, taking out Sandhagen via submission in Round 1. Both men were on strong win streaks coming into the bout, with Sandhagen unbeaten in the UFC, while the number two ranked Sterling had saluted in his previous four outings.

The grappling game of Sterling once again came to the fore as he handed Sandhagen a maiden stoppage loss, immediately closing the distance in the 25-foot octagon and getting to work from an initial clinch. Sterling would slip to the back and get hooks in as the two hit the mat, before slotting his arm around the jaw of his opponent to threaten the rear-naked choke. After an adjustment to the first attempt, Sterling got under the chin of Sandhagan to yield a last-second tap before the American went out.

Fallout: There was simply a great intensity to Sterling’s game and he looked to be on a mission, with the proposed Yan-Aldo fight for bantamweight gold now surely up in the air given his run.


Neil Magny def. Anthony Rocco Martin | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 29-28

Initial thoughts: 30-27? That ain’t it.

The first decision of the main card came at welterweight, as awkward cardio machine Magny edged Martin via unanimous decision. While Magny was awarded two 30-27 scorecards, the bout was far closer in reality with Martin faring well across the first two rounds to put up a case for taking either of them. Magny undeniably won the third though, sealing consecutive wins for the year.

Martin was smart to close the distance early against his tall and lean opponent, pushing a decent pace against the far more measured output of Magny. It seemed Magny continually had answers for Martin’s advances, able to slip out of trouble on the mat while landing a greater volume of strikes in the face of Martin’s bigger shots. After an economical start, Magny poured the pressure on late against a tiring Martin, and earned a tight win to push his case to be reinstated in the welterweight rankings.


Sean O’Malley def. Eddie Wineland | KO (punch) 1:54 Rd 1

Initial thoughts: He’s gonna tell Joe Rogan he love him, isn’t he? (He did).

‘Suga’ O’Malley pulled off one of the most impressive moves of the night, cleanly knocking out inaugural WEC bantamweight champion and grizzled 39-fight veteran, Wineland with as clean a right hand as you are likely to see. The now 12-0 25-year-old is a star in the making and will likely have a number next to his name come Tuesday after inflicting a walk-off KO reminiscent of brick-handed heavyweights like Mark Hunt.

After finding the target with his right hand earlier in the round, O’Malley produced a truely fine set-up to his finish; feigning a right uppercut to bring Wineland’s left hand down and distracting with a left-hand feint, before thumping his right glove down the pipe in what was a picture perfect shot which sat Wineland down. It was one and done, a walk-off, and the finest knockout of the year until Garbrandt inflicted his own violence about an hour later.

Fallout: Get this man a number.

PRELIMINARY CARD

Alex Caceres def. Chase Hooper | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

In short: There are levels to this game, and Caceres proved as much to the youngest fighter in the promotion with a dominant all-round performance. Hooper is a stud and belongs at the level, but this was a step too far as he was outclassed on the feet against a composed assassin, and unable to get his grappling game going. It wasn’t for a lack of trying though, the kid is game.


Ian Heinisch [13] def. Gerald Meerschaert | TKO (punches) 1:14 Rd 1

In short: If there ever was an ideal way to return to the winners list, this was it. Heinisch justified his ranked status with a huge TKO victory over a credentialed veteran, landing a well-timed overhand right on the end of a level change. He even did a flip to celebrate, the guy is a middleweight!


Cody Stamann [12 BW] def. Brian Kelleher | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

In short: One of the sleepers of the undercard here, with Stamann looking ultra-impressive at 145-pounds. Fighting in the wake of the loss of his brother, the American was solid in all areas of the fight against a game competitor who constantly moved forward. Stamann insists his future is at bantamweight, where he is ranked number 12.


Maki Pitolo def. Charles Byrd | TKO (punches) 1:10 Rd 2

Pitolo needed just over six minutes to pull off an impressive TKO victory over Byrd, who at 36 years old retired after the fight. The Hawaiian looked great having moved up from welterweight, landing hard combinations up top in between some back-and-forth grappling exchanges in Round 1.

Some early pressure from Pitolo in Round 2 was enough to but Byrd away, punching through his compatriot’s guard both to the head and body before landing a beautiful takedown and finishing with heavy ground-and-pound. It would be the first octagon victory for the man dubbed ‘Coconut Bombz’.

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD

Results:

Alex Perez [9] def. Jussier Formiga [4] | TKO (leg kick) 4:06 Rd 1

Devin Clark def. Alonzo Menifield | Decision (Unanimous) 30-27, 29-28, 29-28

Herbert Burns def. Evan Dunham | Submission (rear-naked choke) 1:20 Rd 1

Card recap – UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. dos Santos – ‘Razor’ Blaydes slices into title contention

STATEMENT made. Curtis Blaydes thrust himself back into the heavyweight title picture in the UFC Raleigh main event, stopping former champion Junior dos Santos in Round 2. Michael Chiesa also took full advantage of his moment in the sun with as he utilised a perfect gameplan to topple Rafael dos Anjos via decision, with a bunch of claims staked further down an interesting fight card. We recap each fight, and analyse every fight-ending sequence and decision from the latest UFC Fight Night instalment.

FOTN: Brett Johns vs.Tony Gravely
POTN: Alex Perez, Herbert Burns

MAIN CARD:

HEAVYWEIGHT | Curtis Blaydes [3] def. Junior dos Santos [4] | TKO (Knees and punches) 1:06 Rd 2

Round by round:

Round 1 – 10-9 Blaydes

The broadcast team notice ‘JDS’ is deliberately keeping a hand low by his hip in anticipation of a Blaydes takedown, but of course, that leaves his whole left side open up top. Blaydes is the clearly busier fighter, hunting the Brazilian down and charging in for a couple of takedown attempts. But dos Santos answers well, stuffing both emphatically and winding up for that lead uppercut to no avail. Blaydes gets in deep with a third attempt but ends up in a clinch, where he also lands a groin strike to break up the action. Finished with an 0-4 on takedown attempts at the end of the round for Blaydes, but clearly the aggressor. ‘JDS’ hanging his hopes on the uppercut and thwarting the American’s game.

Round 2 – Stoppage

Can’t get the fight to the mat? No worries, Blaydes finishes it on the feet early in Round 2. Looking to push the pace again, he lands heavy up top over the lowered guard of JDS as he winds up that uppercut, and puts him away standing.

Fight-ending sequence: Blaydes changes levels to hint feint the takedown, but instead throws a beautiful 1-2 and beats JDS to the punch with a looping right while the Brazilian winds up that lead uppercut. He follows up with a barrage of knees and punches to leave the referee with no choice but to step in.

WELTERWEIGHT | Michael Chiesa def. Rafael dos Anjos [5] | Decision (Unanimous) 30-27, 29-28, 29-28

Round by round:

Round 1 – 10-9 Chiesa

Chiesa looks huge. The American is looking for a way in, clinching and slipping to the back of ‘RDA’. Chiesa drags the Brazilian down and gets both hooks in, eventually locking in a body triangle. Chiesa threatens the rear-naked choke, one of his favourite moves, but RDA is a great grappler and escapes to pull guard, eventually getting back up. The round ends with a beautiful level change and takedown for Chiesa.

Round 2 – 10-9 Chiesa (20-18)

Chiesa continues to go forward and lock up, adopting the Usman and Covington pressure and wrestling gameplans which worked to smother the former 155lbs champion. RDA lands a couple of nice shots and starts to chop the lead leg in typical fashion. Chiesa is still looking strong though, and keeps slipping to the back as the two clinch. Close round, an argument to be made either way.

Round 3 – 10-9 Chiesa (30-27)

RDA needs a finish from our view. Chiesa locks up straight away against the cage and takes RDA down. Chiesa isolates an arm on top and looks for a straight armlock, but RDA pulls the arm free – great defence. A stalemate ensues with RDA trying to lock up a leg, but Chiesa escapes to get into full guard. Chiesa stays busy on top with some ground-and-pound to see it out. Perfect gameplan from Chiesa, nullifying the dangerous Brazilian. And he calls out Colby Covington, bold.

We had it: 30-27 Chiesa – all three rounds to the victor, who did enough to nullify dos Anjos in each round and took up greater octagon control.

FLYWEIGHT | Alex Perez [12] def. Jordan Espinosa [11] | Submission (Arm triangle choke) 2:33 Rd 1

Alex Perez made an ideal return from injury, finishing the higher-ranked Jordan Espinosa in Round 1 to put himself up for top 10 status. Espinosa is so smooth on the feet, but Perez looked to quell his movement with a takedown and was successful, transitioning into the dominant position which would eventually allow him to put Espinosa out cold via submission. It was an unorthodox technique with the arm triangle choke coming from the ‘wrong side’, but Perez’s shoulder pressure allowed him to help stop the blood flow and put his opponent to sleep.

Fight-ending sequence: It was an unorthodox technique with the arm triangle choke coming from the ‘wrong side’, but Perez’s shoulder pressure allowed him to help stop the blood flow and put his opponent to sleep.

W. STRAWWEIGHT | Angela Hill def. Hannah Cifers | TKO (Elbows and punches) 4:26 Rd 2

Angela Hill again reminded us of her talents, silencing the Raleigh crowd by finishing their local fighter in brutal fashion. Hill looked the bigger and longer woman, hoping to keep the stand-up game at range while Cifers tried to initiate more of a dogfight in-close. A good pace was set in Round 1, and a nice sweep from Hill in Round 2 spelled the beginning of the end as she transitioned to mount and sealed the deal.

Fight-ending sequence: Upon reaching a very deep full mount, Hill dropped some heavy elbows and punches on Cifers, with the referee stepping in after having a long look at the action.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT | Jamahal Hill def. Darko Stosic | Decision (Unanimous) 29-27, 29-27, 29-27

Jamahal Hill improved to 7-0 in his young MMA career with an impressive win over dangerous Serbian powerhouse, Darko Stosic. It was all-action from the start, with Hill showing great energy while Stosic had the power moving in with flurries. Stosic’s left hand over the top looked a winner, and his path to victory if he could land it cleanly enough, but some superb wrestling in Round 3 had us wondering why he didn’t use his grappling sooner. Hill was terrific on the feet, constantly landing better combinations and slowing Stosic down with body shots.

We had it: 29-28 Hill – Stosic’s grappling easily gave him Round 3 honours, but Hill took out the first two just as dominantly. Big left hands from Stosic kept him from a 10-8 downer, despite being pieced up.

PRELIMINARY CARD:

MIDDLEWEIGHT | Bevon Lewis def. Dequan Townsend | Decision (Unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

In 25 or less: Another Contender Series graduate on the rise earns a well deserved maiden promotional win. Slick on the feet and adjusted well when hampered late-on.

We had it: 30-27 Lewis – easy decision, Lewis takes all three Rounds. Dominant without having those near-fight-ending moments.

FEATHERWEIGHT | Arnold Allen def. Nik Lentz | Decision (Unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 30-27

In 25 or less: Great win over a wily opponent. Much too slick up top, and now 7-0 in the UFC. Featherweight rankings beckon again for the Englishman.

We had it: 30-27 Allen – an argument could go the way of Lentz in either of the first two rounds, but Allen landed the better blows and nullified his opponent’s grappling plans.

W. FLYWEIGHT | Justine Kish def. Lucie Pudilova | Decision (Unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

In 25 or less: Far from a barnburner, but Kish had the better moments in a fight bereft of them. Pudilova surprisingly unwilling to engage with Kish’s awkward style.

We had it: 30-27 Kish – A straightforward one, Pudilova simply didn’t do enough in any round and Kish had the bigger moments.

BANTAMWEIGHT | Montel Jackson def. Felipe Colares | Decision (Unanimous) 30-26, 30-26, 30-25

In 25 or less: Tied for the most takedowns in a bantamweight fight (11), and Jackson was just as impressive on the feet. A good prospect with finishing potential.

We had it: 30-26 Jackson – Second round a 10-8 to Jackson as he went close to finishing, easily won each round.

W. BANTAMWEIGHT | Sara McMann [10] def. Lina Lansberg [11] | Decision (Unanimous) 30-27, 30-26, 30-25

In 25 or less: A single takedown in each round was all it took for McMann. Over 12 minutes of top control overall, what a return. Ugly, but dominant.

We had it: 30-26 McMann – first two rounds were a landslide, possibly 10-8, and McMann clearly won all three with over four minutes of control in each.

BANTAMWEIGHT | Brett Johns def. Tony Gravely | Submission (Rear-naked choke) 2:53 Rd 3

In 25 or less: A great match-up. Gravely is a warrior, but Johns was too good for too long and took full advantage of a late opportunity. Great patience.

Fight-ending sequence: Johns wore Gravely down, dragging him to the mat and pouncing with heavy strikes. They acted as a distraction to the choke, with Johns sinking it in easily and getting the tap.

FEATHERWEIGHT | Herbert Burns def. Nate Landwehr | KO (Knee) 2:43 Rd 1

In 25 or less: Hardly a better way to debut for Burns who came in the superior grappler, but finished in style on the feet. Disappointing homecoming for Landwehr.

Fight-ending sequence: The American lands a couple of nice shots coming in, but Burns waits for his shot under fire against the cage and lands a perfectly placed knee to Landwehr’s chin. Awesome KO.

Card preview – UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. dos Santos

TWO of the top UFC heavyweights are set to rumble in Raleigh, as Curtis Blaydes and Junior dos Santos look to fight their way back into the title picture with a win in their headline bout. In the co-main event, former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos will hope to prove he is more than a gatekeeper at 170lbs when he faces fellow former 155’er Michael Chiesa, while the remaining card provides a chance for fans to catch a glimpse of some rising talent and a scattering of staple MMA veterans.

MAIN CARD:

HEAVYWEIGHT | Curtis Blaydes [3] vs. Junior dos Santos [4]

Much-loved veteran and perennial heavyweight contender Junior dos Santos will hope to open yet another championship run when he faces fellow top fiver, Curtis Blaydes. The bout looms as 35-year-old dos Santos’ seventh-straight main event, and fifth-consecutive UFC Fight Night headliner since going down to current champ, Stipe Miocic at UFC 211. His near-unrivalled experience and powerful, technical boxing make him a serious threat to any heavyweight, and Blaydes should know plenty about powerful stand-up fighters given both of his career losses have come at the hands of Francis Ngannou. For Blaydes to capture a third-straight win, he’ll need to close the distance fast and get working on his wearing wrestling style, but that also may bring dos Santos’ often overlooked jiu jitsu game to the fore. It makes for an interesting battle on paper, and one which may further blur the heavyweight title picture with the next championship bout still to be announced.

Prediction: dos Santos by T/KO

WELTERWEIGHT | Rafael dos Anjos [5] vs. Michael Chiesa

Jerking the curtain for a huge main event is another headliner-hogger in Rafael dos Anjos, who makes his seventh-straight main or co-main event outing in a bout with fellow former lightweight, Michael Chiesa. The former 155lbs champion has not been able to string together consecutive wins since initially moving up to welterweight in 2017, but has faced a raft of absolute killers of late as somewhat of a measuring stick for the 170lbs division. Up next is Chiesa, the TUF 15 winner who is looking to crack the rankings in his new division having won his last two bouts. But dos Anjos provides a stiff step-up in competition that Chiesa has often fallen short against, so it should prove a real test for the quirky American. Both men have high-level jiu jitsu, but the stylistic advantage lies with dos Anjos on the feet, and he is so hard to put away.

Prediction: dos Anjos by submission

FLYWEIGHT | Jordan Espinosa [11] vs. Alex Perez [12]

A top 10 spot in the flyweight rankings could be up for grabs in this main card bout between Jordan Espinosa and Alex Perez, two Contender Series alumni. In the red corner will be eleventh-ranked contender, Espinosa, who took two Contender Series stoppages to be afforded his UFC contract by the boss. The 30-year-old grappler is finding his feet in the promotion at 1-1, and a win against Perez would really help his standing. But Perez, who earned a contract on his first try, comes in with four promotional wins and experience in the octagon against title challenger, Joseph Benavidez. Perez’s steep rise highlights the faith the UFC has in him, but this will be a good test having not fought for almost a full year.

Prediction: Perez by decision

W. STRAWWEIGHT | Hannah Cifers vs. Angela Hill

A relative promotional veteran meets a relative promotional newcomer as Angela Hill and Hannah Cifers do battle in their women’s strawweight bout, with both fighters looking to crack the divisional rankings. Hill, 5-7 in the UFC over two stints, is the former Invicta strawweight champion, but has not been able to string together a run of wins since defending that crown in 2016. On the other hand, Cifers has accumulated a similar record in various promotions over the same time, going 2-1 since entering the UFC and only losing to Maycee Barber in her last eight bouts. Cifers has shown she can throw hands and hang with some solid opponents, but the high-level experience sits with the active and often overlooked Hill. Either way, it should be an interesting battle.

Prediction: Hill by decision

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT | Jamahal Hill vs. Darko Stosic

Contender Series graduate Jamahal Hill makes his UFC debut against Serbian judo and kickboxing practitioner, Darko Stosic. The Serb has shown he can bang on the feet despite his grappling background, earning seven T/KO victories, but more recently suffering two of his three career losses to stand 1-2 in the UFC. Hill is a more fresh prospect with a 6-0 professional record, six months off a TKO win in his contract-earning bout. He, too can find a way to win up top with his raw athleticism, and comes in with a decent size advantage at four inches taller than Stosic. In the opening main card slot, this is a good chance for both men to mark their mark on the promotion in a division desperate for exciting new contenders.

Prediction: Stosic by T/KO

PRELIMINARY CARD:

One to watch:

FEATHERWEIGHT | Arnold Allen vs Nik Lentz

Two of the more well known fighters on the undercard are Arnold Allen and Nik Lentz, who make up our fight to watch on the prelims. 15-1, Allen is fresh off being dumped from the featherweight rankings, but may be in for a return with a win against 43-fight veteran Lentz. It will be no mean feat given ‘The Carny”s experience; Lentz had been competing in the UFC for three years before Allen’s first professional bout, making this a classic match-up between youth and experience. It could provide a timely revamp for Englishman Allen, who was expected to face Josh Emmett in this bout while Lentz was booked to fight Nad Narimani, but the American can never be overlooked.

Prediction: Allen by decision

MIDDLEWEIGHT | Bevon Lewis vs. Dequan Townsend

In 25 or less: These two are a combined 0-3 in the UFC, but can throw heat on the feet. Will Lewis be the next Contender Series success?

Prediction: Lewis by T/KO

W. FLYWEIGHT | Justine Kish vs. Lucie Pudilova

In 25 or less: It’s do-or-die for two women on losing streaks, but who’ve faced tough opposition. Pudilova has four fights since Kish’s last, and it could be telling.

Prediction: Pudilova by decision

BANTAMWEIGHT | Montel Jackson vs. Felipe Colares

In 25 or less: A couple of exciting grappling prospects throw down in this one, and we know how much Dana loves a Contender Series product.

Prediction: Jackson by T/KO

W. BANTAMWEIGHT | Sara McMann [10] vs. Lina Lansberg [11]

In 25 or less: McMann’s return bout after almost two years away, but a fellow tough veteran awaits. Hard to look past the Swede’s stand-up.

Prediction: Lansberg by decision

BANTAMWEIGHT | Brett Johns vs. Tony Gravely

In 25 or less: Sick of Contender Series graduates yet? Gravely is another, who faced decent opposition on his way to the UFC. But Johns needs a win.

Prediction: Johns by submission

FEATHERWEIGHT | Herbert Burns vs. Nate Landwehr

In 25 or less: Two UFC debutants, both on solid win streaks and from high-level promotions. Could be a good one to open the night.

Prediction: Burns by decision