Tag: marina rodriguez

PREVIEW | UFC 257: Poirier vs. McGregor – Full card and predictions

THE UFC’s first pay-per-view event of 2021 sees its biggest draw return to the octagon atop a stacked main card to be hosted at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.

Fighters littered up and down the card will be keen to latch onto the attention garnered though the highly-anticipated main event, with plenty of statements to be made on the famed Fight Island.

>> SCROLL for the full card and predictions

Just over a year removed from his spectacular showing at UFC 246, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor steps into the octagon for a second time against Dustin Poirier, but much has changed since their first meeting in 2014.

Both have gone on to claim UFC gold in the lightweight division but will be out to impress current title holder, Khabib Nurmagomedov and potentially earn rematches against the undefeated Dagestani champion.

They won’t be the only 155-pounders eager to claim their contendership status, with the co-main event pitting vicious New Zealand striker Dan Hooker against UFC newcomer Michael Chandler.

Hooker’s last bout saw him edged by Poirier in a five-round war, while Chandler has held brass in Bellator’s lightweight division and now makes the long-awaited move to MMA’s leading promotion.

Another title eliminator of sorts takes place as women’s flyweight contenders Jessica Eye and Joanne Calderwood lock horns, with both eager to climb back into the top five and claim challenger status.

Another women’s bout slots into the main card as Brazilian prospects Marina Rodriguez and Amanda Ribas do battle, both on hot streaks and holding the potential to rise steeply with an impressive outing.

A potential banger between two men with some of the best monikers going around rounds out the main card action, as Matt ‘The Steamrolla’ Frevola meets Ottman ‘Bulldozer’ Azaitar. The undefeated Azaitar has shown plenty during his short time in the UFC, but comes up against a tough Long Island favourite in this bout.

FULL CARD AND PREDICTIONS:

FOTN: Hooker vs. Chandler
POTN: McGregor, Ribas, Azaitar
Prelim banger: Arman Tsarukyan vs. Nasrat Haqparast

MAIN CARD

Lightweight | Dustin Poirier [2] vs. Conor McGregor [4]
Prediction: McGregor by T/KO

Lightweight | Dan Hooker [6] vs. Michael Chandler
Prediction: Chandler by decision

W. Flyweight | Jessica Eye [6] vs. Joanne Calderwood [7]
Prediction: Eye by decision

Lightweight | Matt Frevola vs. Ottman Azaitar
Prediction: Azaitar by T/KO

W. Strawweight | Marina Rodriguez [8] vs. Amanda Ribas [10]
Prediction: Ribas by submission

PRELIMINARY CARD

Lightweight | Arman Tsarukyan vs. Nasrat Haqparast
Prediction: Tsarukyan by decision

Middleweight | Brad Tavares [14] vs. Antonio Carlos Junior
Prediction: Tavares by T/KO

W. Bantamweight | Julianna Peña [7] vs. Sara McMann [9]
Prediction: McMann by decision

Light Heavyweight | Khalil Rountree Jr. vs. Marcin Prachnio
Prediction: Rountree Jr. by T/KO

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD

Middleweight | Andrew Sanchez vs. Makhmud Muradov
Prediction: Muradov by T/KO

Catchweight (150lbs) | Nik Lentz vs. Movsar Evloev
Prediction: Evloev by decision

Flyweight | Amir Albazi [15] vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
Prediction: Albazi by submission

Image Credit: UFC – (Retrieved via) Main Event

RESULTS | UFC Fight Island 3 – Whittaker edges Till in tense five-rounder

FIGHT ISLAND hosted its third and final UFC Fight Night on the weekend, with former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker taking out his headline dig against Darren Till via unanimous decision. The Australian returned to the winners list and halted Till’s run to the title all in one fell swoop, maintaining his number one contendership status in a tense main event which went the distance.

The 15-fight card equalled the promotion’s record for most bouts in a single event, matching the numbers put up all the way back in 1994 at UFC 2. Fearsome welterweight prospect Khamzat Chimaev ensured the records would keep on tumbling, as he completed the quickest turnaround victory in UFC history, defeating Rhys McKee just 10 days after his last outing in Abu Dhabi.

Catch up on all the results and more in our breakdown of the main card.

IN SHORT:

POTN Bonuses: Fabrício Werdum, Paul Craig, Khamzat Chimaev, Jesse Ronson, Tom Aspinall, Tanner Boser

Decisions: 8
KO/TKOs: 4
Submissions: 3

MAIN CARD

Robert Whittaker [1] def. Darren Till [6] | Decision (unanimous) 48-47, 48-47, 48-47

Whittaker and Till ensured their war would live up to the hype, as the two delivered a high-level, strategic striking battle across what was a gripping 25 minutes. Nine months after he relinquished his middleweight title to Israel Adesanya, the Australian staked his claim for a rematch having earned the nod over his English counterpart.

The number one ranked contender came out looking relaxed, landing his jab well as Till entered within range. But it wouldn’t take long for the fan favourite Englishman to find his own range, dropping Whittaker with a nasty elbow in one of many powerful exchanges amid the early goings.

Whittaker would see out the first period, before scoring a knockdown of his own in the second stanza via a big overhand right. He would follow Till to the mat and land some punishing elbows from top position, with the damage not only worn on Till’s face, but also on the lead leg that Whittaker was chopping up.

With respect earned on either side, both men took a touch more caution in their respective approaches. Till had recovered and Whittaker began to look a little wild as his adversary slipped out of range with aplomb, but his work on Till’s compromised limb and ability to change levels had him ahead in terms of points.

That kind of work in terms of volume played a significant factor in Whittaker gaining the upper hand, as he managed to land a greater amount of blows in response to Till’s heavy, but sparing combinations and left-hand missiles.

Needing to up his output, the enigmatic scouser began to push the pace, fighting Round 5 on his terms. While he managed to open up a big cut on Whittaker’s ear, his efforts were met by a couple of late and definitive takedowns to see out proceedings, as the Australian simply found a way to win.


Shogun Rua def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira | Decision (split) 29-28, 28-29, 29-28

Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua inflicted a shutout in his trilogy fight against fellow Brazilian legend, Antonio Rogeria Nogueira, sending the 44-year-old into retirement on an unfortunately sad note. The two men know each other incredibly well, and the respect between them was evident amid a patient start.

But as the pair found their rhythm, Little Nog’s powerful left hand emerged and Shogun’s brutal kicking game also came to the fore. The bout became more of a brawl as the action wore on, with both fighters looking dangerous on the feet.

Rua seemed to finish the better of the two as they mixed some grappling into the show, with the 38-year-old landing some heavy shots up top and collecting a 27th career victory.


Fabricio Werdum [14] def. Alexander Gustafsson | Submission (armbar) 2:30 Rd 1

The theme of Brazilian stalwarts turning back the clock neither started nor ended in the co-main event, with Fabricio Werdum defying odds and age to take out Alexander Gustafsson in Round 1.

Much was made of a small rivalry between the two which extended back to a sparring session around a decade ago, but former champion, Werdum ensured Gustafsson’s entrance to the heavyweight realm would be a quick and fruitless one.

The Swede looked light on his feet and pumped his jab early, but it took one desperate chain of takedown attempts for Werdum to spell the beginning of the end. Having dragged Gustafsson down to the mat via his back, the 14th ranked Brazilian stepped over and looked to snatch up an armbar in transition, working on the grip with his belly down.

It took some adjustment, but Werdum was able to roll, extend his leg across Gustafsson’s face, pry his arm free and yield the tap in an impressive 2:30 performance. He’s simply world class on the ground.


Carla Esparza [7] def. Marina Rodriguez [9] | Decision (split) 28-29, 29-28, 30-27

Another former champion, Carla Esparza got the nod over Marina Rodriguez in their ranked strawweight bout, enforcing her strong wrestling game on the Brazilian to push further towards the top five.

Rodriguez looked the more potent of the pair on the feet, prompting Esparza to quickly shoot in on a beautiful takedown entry and eventually land in top position. While she could not quite find the distance to land damaging ground-and-pound, the American remained busy as her opponent looked to throw her legs up from guard.

Esparza made the near-costly mistake of looking for a submission late in the first two rounds having controlled them both, with Rodriguez using the scramble to get on top and cut her up with some nasty elbows.

The seventh-ranked contender survived, managing to frustrate and tire Rodriguez with her smothering grappling to see out another tight decision victory.


Paul Craig def. Gadzhimurad Antigulov | Submission (triangle choke) 2:06 Rd 1

Journeyman Scot Paul Craig made a claim for ranked status at light heavyweight, submitting Gadzhimurad Antigulov in just over two minutes. Craig managed to suck the Russian into his realm, accepting an early takedown and immediately getting to work from the bottom.

The 32-year-old threw up a triangle and despite eating some big shots for his trouble, managed to inch the choke in tighter and eventually yield the tap. It was a case of Antigulov opting to punch his way out, rather than fighting the position.


Alex Oliveira def. Peter Sobotta | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

‘Cowboy’ Alex Oliveira looked as good as ever in his unanimous decision victory over Peter Sobotta, putting on a ruthless kicking display to dominate the three rounds. The Brazilian veteran landed repeated blows to his opponent’s body, turning his midsection red as the colour of his glove tape.

With Oliveira working so well at kicking distance, Sobotta could not quite muster up the right form of attack to get within range, with the 32-year-old controlling the action on the feet. He would drop Sobotta right before the Round 2 bell, and looked sharp across the full 15 minutes.


Khamzat Chimaev def. Rhys McKee | TKO (punches) 3:09 Rd 1

The UFC’s quickest turnaround victory was earned in brutal fashion, as Chimaev made it two wins in 10 days to improve to 2-0 in the UFC. Having made his debut at middleweight, the Swedish representative cut back down to the welterweight limit and put a swift beating on promotional newcomer, McKee.

McKee came in as Europe’s top prospect outside the UFC and was game to the task, but simply has no answer to Chimaev’s blanketing grappling and strength on the mat. The Northern Irishman struggled between full mount and back mount as his opponent reigned down unanswered hammer fists, eventually having the referee intervene at just over three minutes in to the bout.

Now at 8-0, Chimaev again took no damage en route to landing 68 total strikes to nil, taking his overall differential to 192-2 in his first two UFC digs. Welterweights beware.

PRELIMINARY CARD

Francisco Trinaldo def. Jai Herbert | TKO (punches) 1:30 Rd 3
Jesse Ronson def. Nicolas Dalby | Submission (rear-naked choke) 2:48 Rd 1
Tom Aspinall def. Jake Collier | TKO (punches) 0:45 Rd 1
Movsar Evloev def. Mike Grundy | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 29-28
Tanner Boser def. Raphael Pessoa | TKO (punches) 2:36 Rd 2
Pannie Kianzad def. Bethe Correia | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 29-28
Ramazan Emeev def. Niklas Stolze | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 29-28
Nathaniel Wood def. John Castaneda | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 20-27

Combat Hat: The 10 best Contender Series alumni

IT is no secret that Dana White and co. have serious eyes for talent, with organised UFC scouting searches spawning all the way back in 2005 with The Ultimate Fighter, and transitioning into the now-famed Contender Series. The standalone promotion is set to launch in Asia this year, and has already produced an impressive list of alumni. We take a look at the show’s 10 best graduates – in order of appearance – after four featured on Sunday’s UFC 246 card.

Season One:

Sean O’Malley (Week 2) | 10-0/2-0 UFC | Bantamweight

‘Sugar’ Sean O’Malley became an instant fan favourite after his impressive knockout victory in just the second Contender Series edition. His seamless transition into the UFC with two unanimous decision victories worked to immediately justify the new scouting format, and his personality out of the cage only adds to his in-cage appeal and grappling quality. The 25-year-old has already had notable moments in the leading promotion, including a unique post-fight interview with Joe Rogan while lying on the mat in agony due to a fractured foot. His natural progression into the bantamweight rankings has been halted due to doping violations and two subsequent six-month bans, but O’Malley is due to make his long-awaited return against José Alberto Quiñónez at UFC 248.

Dan Ige (Week 3) | 12-2/4-1 UFC | Featherweight

One of the many promising Hawaiian prospects is Dan Ige, who fought his way to a UFC contract by submitting Luis Gomez (no, not Michael Bisping’s mate) in an entertaining Week 3 bout. Despite not earning a contract on the night and coming up short in his official UFC debut, Ige has proved himself worthy of the promotion with four consecutive wins in just over a year, and has notable grappling credentials as a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt and judo brown belt. Despite his five submission victories, Ige is also capable on the feet having put Mike Santiago away within a minute in his maiden UFC win, while also using those heavy hands to rock Danny Henry before submitting him in style. Next on the agenda is Mirsad Bektic at UFC 247, and a win would go a long way to getting that sought-after ranking next to his name.

Geoff Neal (Week 3) | 13-2/5-0 UFC | Welterweight

The ‘Handz of Steel’ moniker just about does justice to Geoff Neal, who has proven to be the real deal at 170lbs. A well-built athlete with scary knockout power, Neal entered the scene on the Contender Series at middleweight, but since flourished at welterweight to finish four of his five UFC wins and earn the division’s number 11 ranking. While he has not crossed a fellow ranked opponent as of yet, impressive stoppage victories over the likes of Niko Price and Mike Perry of late make him fully deserving of the ranked tag in a talent-rich weight class. He seems to be in a hurry, and with plenty of big names to challenge ahead of him, Neal could be the next big thing at 170lbs with scope to move to 185lbs in time and if need be.

Season Two:

Antonina Shevchenko (Week 3) | 8-1/2-1 UFC | W. Flyweight

The sister of women’s flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko, Antonina entered the mixed martial arts realm as an esteemed kickboxer. She was given the chance at a UFC contract after working to a 5-0 professional record, and took it with both hands with a beautiful display of her muay thai pedigree to earn a TKO win via knees to the body. Currently the number 12 ranked women’s flyweight contender, Shevchenko’s run to the top was momentarily halted by a first professional loss to veteran leveller Roxanne Modafferi, but she returned to the winners list with a fight of the night performance against Lucie Pudilova in August, 2019. Her next bout is yet to be announced, but a decent hit-out should be in store for Shevchenko, and her name goes a long way to progressing quickly.

Maycee Barber (Week 5) | 8-1/3-1 UFC | W. Flyweight

A fighter in a hurry, Maycee Barber is hell-bent on bringing ‘The Future’ forward by beating out Jon Jones to become the youngest-ever UFC champion. The 21-year-old has shown plenty since earning a contract during Season Two via vicious elbow strikes, going on to nab finishes in all three of her UFC wins via three different methods. Barber’s physicality and pure meanness inside the octagon has proven too much for many of her opponents, and she gained a heap of respect for her heart upon fighting on with a torn ACL in her first professional loss at UFC 246. Given the injury, fans will have to wait around a year to see the American in action again, with plenty of options ahead for the ninth ranked women’s flyweight star nonetheless.

Edmen Shahbazyan (Week 5) | 11-0/4-0 UFC | Middleweight

One of the brightest middleweight prospects is Edmen Shahbazyan, who fights out of the famed Glendale Fighting Club under Edmond ‘Head Movement’ Tarverdyan. Tarverdyan has trained the 22-year-old since he was a boy, with UFC hall of famer Ronda Rousey one of his former training partners. The fighter of Armenian descent boasts an incredible professional MMA record, going undefeated through 11 bouts with his UFC debut the only one to endure past the first round. Wins over Brad Tavares and Jack Marshman have accelerated the prodigy into ninth in the middleweight rankings, with a top-tenner surely up next unless he opts for a gatekeeper-type opponent. Either way, his technical stand-up game and punching power have proven too much for all 11 opponents, and he is a scary proposition for the future.

Jimmy Crute (Week 6) | 10-1/2-1 UFC | Light Heavyweight

Australian brawler Jimmy Crute is one of three exciting talents to be signed out of the Season Two, Week 6 instalment, fighting to a 2-1 record in the promotion after earning a TKO victory in his Contender Series shot. Fighting under the tutelage of legendary Australian kickboxer Sam Greco, ‘The Brute’ finished two light heavyweight mainstays – Paul Craig and Sam Alvey – within three months of entering the UFC, but came up short on the mat during his first venture into the realm of ranked opponents. After a much-needed break to develop his game, the 23-year-old Victorian is set to fight just his third professional bout overseas when he meets Michał Oleksiejczuk in New Zealand at UFC Fight Night 168. Crute’s heavy hands and tendency to finish fights make him one to watch, possessing a deceptively good ground game to boot.

Sodiq Yusuff (Week 6) | 11-1/4-0 UFC | Featherweight

One who may well find himself among the rankings come Wednesday is Nigeria’s ‘Super’ Sodiq Yusuff, a heavy hitter who has started life in the UFC flawlessly. His 4-0 record to date was extended at UFC 246 with a comfortable decision win over Andre Fili, with the typically dangerous knockout artist serving a reminder of his grappling quality with some accomplished ground work – he started off in a jiu jitsu gym after all. Yusuff did not need a finish in his Contender Series effort to earn a contract, but has since made up for it with two beautiful TKO wins in the top promotion. At 26 years old, Yusuff will soon enter his prime and is perhaps one of the more fearsome prospects given his well-rounded game and obvious avenue to victory – that undeniable power.

Chase Hooper (Week 6) | 9-0/1-0 UFC | Featherweight

The son of Ben Askren (not really), Chase Hooper has proven to be a beneficiary of Dana White’s decision to sign him to a development league contract upon an impressive decision win in his Contender Series shot. Victorious and still undefeated after three more fights outside of the top promotion, Hooper was ultra-impressive in his UFC debut at UFC 245 in dispatching of Daniel Teymur via TKO within the first round. A true modern-day MMA prodigy, Hooper possesses a range of weapons with his splitting elbows, slick ground game and rare range on the feet. There is plenty of time for the 20-year-old to find his feet, but fans will inevitably be eager to see more of ‘The Teenage Dream’ as soon as possible. He may look like a kid, but has a skillset beyond his years.

Brazil:

Johnny Walker (Week 2) | 17-4/3-1 UFC | Light Heavyweight

Another fighter who did not require a finish to impress Dana White, the unique and truly unorthodox Johnny Walker has found a home at number 11 in the UFC light heavyweight rankings. An athletic freak with a crazy knack for early and eye-catching finishes on the feet, the Brazilian was put forward as a prospect who could be the one to dethrone long-time 205lbs champion Jon Jones, but a first round TKO loss to Corey Anderson proved there are levels to the game, and has put Walker back in the pecking order. With a proposed moved to Tristar Gym, Walker will hope to recapture the magic that saw him claim three consecutive T/KO victories upon entering the UFC, and could still be anything.

Other notables:

Casey Kenney 13-1/2-0 UFC

Greg Hardy 5-2-(1)/2-2-(1) UFC

Ricky Simon 15-3/3-2 UFC

Augusto Sakai 14-1/3-0 UFC

Marina Rodriguez 12-0-2/2-0-2 UFC

Card recap – UFC on ESPN: Overeem vs. Rozenstruik

FIGHT fans were in for some fun with the latest UFC on ESPN instalment, headlined by an exciting heavyweight main event between two esteemed kickboxers – one a veteran, and the other a rising star. It was Suriname’s Jairzinho Rozenstruik who came up clutch with a vicious last-minute knockout, shortly after a more controversial bout at the same weight ended via similar method. Elsewhere, there were two draws across the main card, while Aspen Ladd returned to the winners list and Bryce Mitchell recorded just the second ever twister submission victory in the UFC. The fight night was also dedicated to the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund.

NOTE: Round-by-round scores are our opinion, and not indicative of the actual scorecard.

UFC on ESPN: OVEREEM vs. ROZENSTRUIK

FIGHT OF THE NIGHT: Rob Font vs. Ricky Simon
PERFORMANCE OF THE NIGHT: Bryce Mitchell, Makhmud Muradov

MAIN CARD:

HEAVYWEIGHT | Jairzinho Rozenstruik [14] def. Alistair Overeem [6] | KO (Punch) 4:56 Rd 5

Down on all scorecards before a brutal fight-ending sequence, Rozenstruik showed why you should not blink during heavyweight bouts as he notched up the biggest win of his MMA career. Now 4-0 in the UFC, the Tuesday Night Contender Series alum has now picked off two former MMA world title holders, relying on his one-punch knockout power to do so this time around. While Rozenstruik called out Francis Ngannou for a fight which could produce fireworks, Overeem seems to have had his last tilt at the title and remains five short of 50 MMA wins.

Round-by-round:

Round 1 – 10-9 Overeem
After Rozenstruik opted against a glove-touch, Overeem came out looking focussed with his more measured approach, steering clear of Rozenstruik’s power while touching him with a couple of nice left hand strikes. With over three minutes on the clock, Overeem pounces and sticks a beautiful takedown from the clinch. They remain on the ground, Overeem on top in a sort of half-guard with Rozenstruik conserving energy from the bottom.

Round 2 – 10-9 Overeem (20-18)
Patient on the feet again from both men, but Overeem quickly gets Rozenstruik against the fence in the clinch. Referee Dan Miragliotta breaks it up after almost three minutes with only a few knees thrown among the jostle, with the fight continuing largely at range. Both men land a nice shot each – including another heavy left from Overeem – but look unfazed.

Round 3 – 10-9 Overeem (30-27)
Overeem’s corner ensure their man that Rozenstruik is gassing, but he comes out looking fresh and blocks a telegraphed double-leg entry to enact another clinch. A bit of back and forth on the feet follows and Overeem lands a big overhand left, following it up with another telegraphed level change. He manages to throw Rozenstruik to the ground again from against the cage, landing some nice ground-and-pound to finish.

Round 4 – 10-9 Rozenstruik (39-37)
Left hand continues to land for Overeem, but Rozenstruik looks to hit back with a nice barrage which pushes Overeem back against the cage. The Dutchman covers up as the two calmly disengage, with limited damage done. Rozenstruik gets his counter-strike game going, having a bit more success late-on in splitting Overeem’s guard, but he survives a couple of late flurries.

Round 5 –
Overeem’s coaches looking for him to set-up the takedown, touch and go. He looks to engage but nothing gives, meanwhile Rozenstruik looks more desperate for the big shot and backs Overeem up. The big shot comes, cue the stoppage.

Fight-ending sequence: A tired-looking Overeem backs up against the fence with 10 second left, prompting Rozenstruik to come at him with an accurate left, following with a massive overhand bomb to sit the Dutchman down. A walk off KO, madness with four seconds on the clock – shades of Lewis vs. Volkov.

CATCHWEIGHT (120.5 lbs) | Marina Rodriguez [9] drew w/ Cynthia Calvillo [10] | Majority Draw (29-28, 28-28, 28-28)

Round-by-round:

Round 1 – 10-9 Rodriguez
A bit of a feeling-out process with Rodriguez the one to come forward in her traditional Muay Thai style, landing some aggressive hooks as the longer fighter. It prompts a takedown from Calvillo, but Rodriguez works back to the feet and hits hard on the break with knees, elbows and kicks. Finishes with a big head kick and heavy knees, but Calvillo survives and scores another takedown.

Round 2 – 10-9 Rodriguez (20-18)
Calvillo looking to pop and move more on the feet, coming in quickly as Rodriguez loads up. Calvillo’s corner asking for a level change, but she can’t get past the clinch and Rodriguez continues to damage to the body moving forward. Some great Muay Thai on show, vicious knees and kicks.

Round 3 – 10-8 Calvillo (28-28)

Calvillo’s corner asking for single-leg takedowns but she lands a double, looking to move into mount. She can’t get through but lands some nice elbows up top before grabbing a kimura grip and landing some more elbows to the body. She works around to get a body lock on Rodriguez’s back, striking and looking for the rear-naked choke. Calvillo goes close to finishing the fight with more ground and pound as she rolls into mount, but Rodriguez does an outstanding job to survive and get back to the feet. Understandable 10-8 for Calvillo, levelling the scorecards.

We had it: 28-28, like two of the judges. Rodriguez the better fighter in Rounds 1 and 2, but was almost finished in the last. Could have gone either way on the final round 10-8 call, but Calvillo’s dominance on top nabs her a draw.

HEAVYWEIGHT | Ben Rothwell def. Stefan Struve | TKO (Punches) 4:47 Rd 2

An unfortunate loss for Struve, who goes down in his first fight back after a short-lived retirement. He looked the better of the two fighters with his length and kicking game working well, while Rothwell looked to move in quickly, engage in grappling and land uppercuts from the clinch. Such was the difference in range, a low blow almost ended the fight in Round 1 as Struve slipped away from a Rothwell body kick. The Skyscraper fought on, landing a glancing low blow of his own before an almost identical blow to the first incident put Struve down again. Worse for wear, Rothwell’s uppercuts spelled the end as a dejected Struve could only cover up and wait for the finish.

Fight-ending sequence: A checked leg kick hurts Struve as he limps backwards with 25 seconds left, Rothwell follows and moves in with big overhands, eventually landing repeated uppercuts with Struve backed up against the cage. He drops, Miragliotta steps in.

W. BANTAMWEIGHT | Aspen Ladd [5] def. Yana Kunitskaya [7] | TKO (Punches) 0:33 Rd 3

Ladd returns to the winners list and looked great with some savage ground work and help from a corner rev-up at the end of Round 2. After Kunitskaya clinched well early, Ladd took the fight to the ground and landed some nice ground-and-pound. Engaging again, Ladd gets sucked into the clinch but eventually lands a more conventional takedown after a double-leg entry. The final round was short and sweet, with Ladd rushing to land a huge left hand which drops her opponent, following up well to get the finish.

Fight-ending sequence: Ladd comes right in off the line and sits Kunitskaya down with a left hand, getting her angles on top and eventually getting the finish with repeated blows from the back.

BANTAMWEIGHT | Cody Stamann [9] drew w/ Song Yadong [13] | Majority Draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)

Song started off with some sharp combinations, touching Stamann without engaging long enough for the American to level-change. After inevitably being taken down in the first, Song was deducted a point for an illegal blow to the grounded Stamann as he controlled a guillotine choke, immediately broken up. To Stamann’s credit, he continued on but was arguably outdone in the next round, instead finishing well to take out the final round on all three judges’ scorecards.

We had it: 28-28, the same as two of the judges. Sal D’Amato gave Stamann the first round, but we think Song got the better of it despite being deducted a point – so, 9-9 there. Song backs up with the second and Stamman closes to win the third.

BANTAMWEIGHT | Rob Font [10] def. Ricky Simon | Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Font, the more established striker of the two, quickly took up a more aggressive position on the feet, backing Simon up as he pushed the pace. That was until he pulled off a surprise double-leg to really set the tone and intensity. Simon hung tough through some heavy shots and troubled Font with a left hand of his own, eventually nabbing a takedown in an even first round. Better taking his time, Font lent on his striking and started to land big with better distance management. It was much of the same in the third, with Font pulling off the unanimous win.

We had it: 29-28, Simon winning the first round, but Font getting the better of two and three with some big shots and improved takedown defence. Simon couldn’t keep Font down, but got him there plenty.

PRELIMINARY CARD:

WELTERWEIGHT | Tim Means def. Thiago Alves | Submission (Guillotine choke) 2:38 Rd 1

Fight-ending sequence: Means dropped Alves with a left hand and followed him down with ground-and-pound, eventually grabbing the guillotine as Alves covered up on his knees.

FEATHERWEIGHT | Billy Quarantillo def. Jacob Kilburn | Submission (Triangle choke) 3:18 Rd 2

Fight-ending sequence: Quarantillo went to work after an all-action round which he dominated, constantly pressuring for the submission. After transitioning from the back, he moved from an armbar to the eventual triangle to have Kilburn tap.

CATCHWEIGHT (148.5 lbs) | Bryce Mitchell def. Matt Sayles | Submission (Twister) 4:20 Rd 1

Fight-ending sequence: We know Mitchell can do some quirky things on the ground and his work to get a twister was just phenomenal. He had worked Sayles on the ground all round, and scooted to the back before getting to work on the twister.

LIGHTWEIGHT | Joe Solecki def. Matt Wiman | Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)

We had it: 30-26, pretty straight-forward one. Solecki came out firing in the first to, in our eyes, earn a 10-8, then easily getting the better of Rounds 2 and 3 to come out with the final score of 30-26.