Tag: ufc card

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 2 – Figueiredo sleeps Benavidez to claim vacant flyweight title

IF there was any doubting it before, there can be no questioning now that Deiveson Figueiredo is the undisputed flyweight king, after defeating Joseph Benavidez for a second time at UFC Fight Island 2 this weekend.

It was the Brazilian’s fourth-consecutive win, and came just five months after putting the perennial American contender away via TKO, but being deprived of the belt having missed weight.

>> SCROLL for full results and performance bonuses

He filed his name under the vacant championship rank this time, with the result now seeing Benavidez hold an 0-4 record in UFC title fights, and making it three champions he boasts two losses against, after Demetrious Johnson and Dominick Cruz.

The quick, powerful, and accurate Brazilian again made light work of his veteran opponent, dropping him three times within an action-packed first round, and getting the job done via rear-naked choke after a series of submission attempts.

To the credit of Benavidez, he fought the position valiantly and made Houdini-like escapes from some incredibly compromising chokes, but could only withstand the onslaught for so long.

It made for difficult viewing as his eyes rolled back upon falling into unconsciousness, but only cemented his status as a true fighter with enormous heart.

Jack Hermansson was another to make quick work of his ranked adversary, submitting former interim title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum in Round 1 via heel hook.

‘The Joker’, now 21-5 returned to the winners list in emphatic style, ducking under a flurry of Gastelum punches to land a takedown, before getting to work on the American’s legs.

After Gastelum survived an initial entanglement, Hermansson would not let slip on his second attempt, snatching up the hold once again to yield a tap from his opponent.

There were six decisions scattered across the card, and one of the more impressive distance victories came from Rafael Fiziev, who put on a striking clinic against the dangerous Marc Diakiese.

Fiziev, a coach at the famed Tiger Muay Thai, put his range of kicking skills on full show with some brutal shots to the body of his English adversary, all of which echoed through the empty Fight Island arena.

The 27-year-old easily took the first two rounds and withstood a late Diakiese surge, now improving to 2-1 in the UFC and 8-1 overall after going down in his promotional debut.

In the sole women’s matchup on the main card, Ariane Lipski lived up to her ‘Queen of Violence’ moniker with a brilliant kneebar finish of compatriot, Luana Carolina.

The Brazilian flyweight was on the hunt early, stalking her opponent before putting her down with power, resisting a calf slicer to eventually wrench up a savage kneebar and have Carolina reeling in pain.

The result sees Lipski improve to 2-2 in the UFC after a 0-2 start, with perhaps the weight of her legend prior to entering the promotion slowly lightening.

Rounding out the main card, Askar Askarov edged fellow flyweight contender and title fight back-up Alexandre Pantoja in a razor thin decision full of eye-catching scrambles.

Still undefeated, it was Askarov’s 12th professional win, and was earned though rallying in Round 2 and 3.

The accomplished grappler used his chain wrestling to wear of Pantoja, surviving an onslaught of early submission attempts to go on to tire the Brazilian and leave him with no real options on offence.

MAIN CARD RESULTS

Deiveson Figueiredo [1] def. Joseph Benavidez [2] | Technical submission (rear-naked choke) 4:48 Rd 1
Jack Hermansson [6] def. Kelvin Gastelum [7] | Submission (heel hook) 1:18 Rd 1
Rafael Fiziev def. Marc Diakiese | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 29-28, 29-28
Ariane Lipski def. Luana Carolina | Submission (kneebar) 1:28 Rd 1
Askar Askarov [7] def. Alexandre Pantoja [4] | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28

PRELIMINARY CARD RESULTS

Roman Dolidze def. Khadis Ibragimov | TKO (knee and punches) 4:15 Rd 1
Grant Dawson def. Nad Narimani | Decision (unanimous) 30-26, 30-27, 29-27
Joel Alvarez def. Joe Duffy | Submission (guillotine choke) 2:25 Rd 1
Brett Johns def. Montel Jackson | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28
Amir Albazi def. Malcolm Gordon | Submission (triangle choke) 4:42 Rd 1
Arman Tsarukyan def. Davi Ramos | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 29-28
Serghei Spivac def. Carlos Felipe | Decision (majority) 28-28, 29-27, 29-27

Breakdown:

KO/TKO – 1
SUB – 4
DEC – 6

FOTN: Fiziev vs. Diakiese
POTN: Figueiredo, Lipski

RESULTS | UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Hooker – Poirier takes out another FOTY contender

THE FINAL event hosted at the UFC Apex Centre before heading over to Fight Island delivered on action, headlined by an incredible main event bout between world class lightweights, Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker. ‘The Diamond’ took home his fifth win in six fights after a lengthy layoff, capping a card which boasted six finishes; including four by third round submission and two via first round knockout.

‘Platinum’ Mike Perry was another to impress in his co-main event nod, with twists and turns as crazy as the man’s personality littered down an incredibly entertaining Fight Night.

>> SCROLL for the full results.

MAIN CARD

Dustin Poirier [3] def. Dan Hooker [5] | Decision (unanimous) 48-47, 48-47, 48-46

We are struggling to find the right words and superlatives to describe just how insane this fight was. Just trust us, it was nuts. The words of Dustin Poirier perhaps sum it up best; “a fight isn’t a fight until you’re forced to overcome something”. What a perfect look into the mindset of the former interim lightweight champ, who made an emphatic return to the octagon with a grinding decision victory over fifth-ranked contender, Dan Hooker.

It came on the back of the longest break of Poirier’s career, nearly 10 months removed from his title bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov. He was truly made to work, down two rounds to nil on all three judges’ scorecards despite throwing his all into putting Hooker away early. The longer, calmer New Zealander worked well to absorb Poirier’s punishing combinations while also chopping at the lead leg with nasty calf kicks.

The back and forth contest was fought at a crazy pace, with Poirier winging wild hooks with his back to the fence proving successful within boxing range, with Hooker desperate to find distance. A more methodical and much slower third round saw Hooker take Poirier down, but he fell right into the American’s patented guillotine and had to resist a triangle attempt to make it into the championship rounds.

While Hooker has proven time and time again that he is much more than just a kickboxer, Poirier showcased his superior diversity by faring better in grappling exchanges. Hooker would often initiate the wrestling with takedown attempts, but Poirier continued to turn out from bottom and snatch up guillotines to get back to his feet. Poirier took out the fourth round after landing a takedown of his own, trapping Hooker’s legs and looking for late submissions.

It was all on the line in Round 5 with the ledger locked at 2-2, and Poirier put his championship calibre skills on full display as he finished the much stronger fighter, picking off Hooker with single shots and resisting each takedown attempt with that defensive guillotine option. In a true show of grit, ‘The Diamond’ sent a message to his fellow 155-pound elites – he is here to stay.

We had it: 48-47 Poirier – a bunch of tight rounds but we can agree with the judges that Poirier finished the stronger of the two. Round 5 could have been a 10-8 to Poirier, with one judge instead opting for that exact score in the fourth.


Mike Perry def. Mickey Gall | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28

No coaches, no problem. Mike Perry turned in a tremendous performance against Mickey Gall in their co-main event dig, taking out two rounds to one in all three judges’ scorecards. Cornered by his other half, Perry showcased confidence in his heavy hands, walking Gall down while also working his strong takedown defence, and dominating each grappling position.

There was no doubting that the two came to scrap, and Gall looked quite comfortable early with his longer, straight punches landing in exchanges on the feet. Gall’s early success may have seen him take out Round 1 despite a big slam from Perry, but the second and third periods belonged to the latter.

Perry landed takedowns of his own while remaining savvy to all of Gall’s transitions on the mat, he went very close to getting a finish after dropping his opponent with a couple of nicely placed right hands. He was simply the fresher fighter after three rounds and proved much more effective, improving his record to 14-6 with over four minutes of top control.


Maurice Greene def. Gian Villante | Submission (arm-triangle) 3:44 Rd 3

This one meant a lot to ‘The Crochet Boss’ Maurice Greene, who arrested a two-fight skid with his incredible clutch submission of heavyweight debutant, Gian Villante. While Greene could well have been up by two rounds, it seemed the fight was still up for grabs in Round 3, and Villante was running away with it having dropped the 6’7 American.

Villante’s corner lauded him to let his hands go after punishing Greene with leg kicks, while the latter pushed a decent pace throughout. Greene showed his heart after being skittled by a heavy counter left punch from Villante, followed by some mean ground-and-pound elbows which very nearly ended the fight.

But Villante seemed to have emptied the tank in searching for the finish, falling into an arm-triangle choke and tapping with just over a minute left in the bout. Exhaustion surely played a factor, with the submission from bottom coming somewhat as a surprise as Greene looked to simply be stalling in the position.


Brendan Allen def. Kyle Daukaus | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-27, 30-27

Two Contender Series graduates with incredible grappling prowess put it all on the line in their main card slot, with Brendan Allen doing enough to get the nod over Kyle Daukaus after three brutal rounds of action. It was Allen’s seventh-straight win, and his third in the UFC.

Fans ultimately got what they were promised out of these two with some wonderfully technical exchanges on the mat, punishing ground-and-pound, and free-flowing submission work. While a finish was not achieved, Allen left the formerly undefeated prospect a bloody mess and earned a nice shiner of his own in the process.

While Daukaus looked more comfortable on the feet with his sharp boxing combinations, he was crumbled by a huge Allen knee up the middle in Round 1, who then looked to secure the neck before laying heavy ground-and-pound.

Daukaus seemed unfazed and returned to his boxing-to-wrestling gameplan in the second, but Allen’s ability to use the guillotine to reverse position and end up on top allowed him to again control proceedings. A shot slightly after the bell dropped Daukaus, who displayed incredible toughness in the face of a potential 10-8 period against him.

The third round arguably belonged to Daukaus, who dropped some big elbows of his own and threatened the rear-naked choke multiple times, but could not quite break down Allen’s defence. The latter eventually broke the body triangle late and finished with a flurry, escaping another potential 10-8 result – only this time, not in his favour.

We had it: 29-27 Allen – Allen takes Round 1 10-9 and the second 10-8, before relinquishing Round 3 10-9. He had done more than enough.


Takashi Sato def. Jason Witt | TKO (punches) 0:48 Rd 1

The night’s theme of short notice success ended via the straight left hand of Takashi Sato, as he took out late replacement Jason Witt within the first round. It was a swift display from the Japanese welterweight, who dropped Witt with a beautiful left hand to follow the jab, and chased his opponent down to the ground.

Witt seemed to still have his bearings about him as he looked to grab a single leg and recover on the mat, but Sato continued to head hunt and left the referee no choice but to save the American from some nasty ground-and-pound.


Julian Erosa def. Sean Woodson | Submission (D’Arce choke) 2:44 Rd 3

What a way to kick off the main card. Julian Erosa would not be denied in his late notice call-up to face formerly undefeated prospect Sean Woodson, eating everything the former boxer threw over 13 minutes to submit him via D’Arce choke in Round 3.

Woodson looked so impressive in the early goings, flowing in his striking game with quick, long shots and a range of looks to keep Arosa at distance. Lauded for his toughness, Erosa would continue to march forward through Woodson’s barrages, smothering his length and turning the tide with nice body shots in Round 2.

It was an odd fight to call, with plenty to be made of Erosa’s pressure and durability, but Woodson’s precision ultimately seeing him remain on top. Erosa ensured a call would not be required despite being dropped with a big left hand in the third, and jumped on his opportunity to sink in the decisive submission having constantly remained in Woodson’s face.

The win not only snapped a three-fight losing skid for Erosa, but also marked an incredible turnaround from being cut from the promotion, to clutching a return win on five days’ notice after looking down and out.

PRELIMINARY CARD

Khama Worthy def. Luis Pena | Submission (guillotine choke) 2:53 Rd 3

Talk about taking the judges out of the equation. Khama Worthy finished his tight three-round war with Luis Pena at the death, marking a seventh-straight win and his second in the UFC. A modified guillotine choke did the job against a worthy, educated grappler in Pena as he looked to chain his takedown attempts in Round 3.

The result was up in the air at that point, with Worthy arguably taking out Round 1, and Pena dominating Round 2. Worthy’s beautiful counter striking, punishing body kicks, and lingering right hand got him going early, but Pena reigned it back with a dominant five minutes of grappling in the second. Multiple submission attempts were survived by Worthy, and a question of cardio would arise in the deciding third round.

Worthy was up to the task though, getting that right hand to land once again and stuffing most of Pena’s entries before shrewdly taking advantage of his opponent’s position to lock up a tight choke.

Khama Note Worthy.


Tanner Boser def. Philipe Lins | KO (punches) 2:41 Rd 1

Tanner Boser put an exclamation mark on his return to the UFC winners list, viciously accounting for Philipe Lins in the first round. It was the Canadian’s ninth win via knockout and boy, was it mean.

Having initially impressed with his movement and accuracy on the feet, Boser landed his patented overhand right in a good spot to stun Lins. He pounced immediately to spell the end of the boutl; landing every shot in a quick and precise combination to send Lins to the mat, and following up with a brutal hammer fist for good measure.

It was the first KO of the night, and a belter at that. 


Kay Hansen def. Jinh Yu Frey | Submission (armbar) 2:26 Rd 3

The Ronda Rousey generation is here. 20-year-old Kay Hansen picked up a massive win in her maiden UFC bout, defeating fellow debutant and former Invicta atomweight champion, Jinh Yu Frey. It was only fitting that the win would come via armbar submission too, Rousey’s trademark move.

Frey, 15 years her opponent’s elder started the stronger of the two, able to lean on her experience and calmly pick off some nice counter left hooks as her fast hands got to work. She seemed to have answers in all departments until she was taken down and controlled in Round 2, with Hansen dominating from half guard.

The fight was up for grabs in the third, and Hansen kept her momentum rolling despite eating some more left hands for her trouble. While Frey repeatedly did well to remain upright from Hansen’s initial entries, the youngster’s chain grappling allowed her to spell the beginning of the end.

An improvised series of throw and trip attempts saw Hansen transition the move to an armbar position, rolling with Frey’s escapes and eventually being able to sit up with Frey on her back, and extend the arm to yield a tap. This was a big scalp on debut for the youngest female on the UFC roster, no doubt about it.


Youssef Zalal def. Jordan Griffin | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28

Do judges score defence? That was somewhat a question which arose as Youssef Zalal got the unanimous nod over Jordan Griffin, pushing his record out to 9-2 with a third-consecutive victory.

The clear striking advantage belonged to Zalal, who picked off the better shots in the face of Griffin’s perennial forward movement and kickboxing combinations. The Moroccan was able to stuff nearly all of his opponent’s grappling advances, while looking the much fresher fighter in the late exchanges.

We had it: 29-28 Zalal – a close fight with two close rounds; we gave Griffin the first for his late takedown, but Zalal easily took the third and narrowly claimed Round 2.

RESULTS | UFC Fight Night: Eye vs. Calvillo – Calvillo earns decision win in flyweight debut

A NEW flyweight contender has emerged in former ranked strawweight Cynthia Calvillo, after the California native came away with a unanimous decision victory over 2019 title challenger, Jessica Eye in her divisional debut.

The pair’s main event bout headlined the UFC’s second Fight Night held at its Apex Centre in Las Vegas, with half of the 10 matchups ending in stoppages. The night began at a break-neck speed, with the opening three fights finished in under a minute each via KO/TKO within the smaller, 25-foot wide octagon.

The event may have been written off by fans at face value due to the underwhelming headline bout, but the overall card delivered in terms of highlights. Check out all the results, from top to bottom in our card recap.

POTN Bonuses: Christian Aguilera, Tyson Nam, Mariya Agapova, Marvin Vettori

MAIN CARD


Cynthia Calvillo [10 SW] def. Jessica Eye [1] | Decision (unanimous) 49-46, 49-46, 48-47

This main event may have been far from an instant classic, but it will be remembered for delivering a much-needed shake-up to the UFC women’s flyweight division. Eye was not only the number one contender at 125 pounds who had won four of her last five fights, but she was also one who missed weight – albeit narrowly – in anticipation of meeting Calvillo, who moved up a weight class.

The early going suggested pre-fight qualms from fans would come true, with either fighter feeling out the other in a stand-up battle and Eye looking the more comfortable striking practitioner with her counters at length. Needing to find a way on the inside, it took a persistent, chained takedown attempt for Calvillo to drag Eye to the mat, where she got her jiu jitsu game going by locking in a body triangle on the back.

Eye looked solid on defence, but her corner knew of Calvillo’s threats on the ground and warned their fighter not to use any knees, but rather to believe in her own boxing combinations. In another lacklustre five-minute period, a late Calvillo takedown would prove the difference and edge the points in her favour heading into the championship rounds.

With the fight now ticking over to become the longest in Calvillo’s career, she began to take over. After landing an early takedown, the dangerous grappler got to work with over four minutes to do so, slipping in the hooks and eventually, a body triangle once again. Eye would turn out well and stuff a later takedown attempt, but with six minutes of ground control in Calvillo’s favour, it was clear the number one contender required a finish.

That was not to be as the fifth round proved another back-and-forth contest fought mostly on the feet, with few exchanges in the centre of the shrunken octagon the only highlights. Having gone the full 25 minutes, it was clear that Calvillo had pulled off the unlikely win and staked her claim as a new contender. The judges agreed.

We had it: 49-46 Calvillo – straightforward decision. 4-0 to the winner after dropping Round 1.

Fallout: Number two ranked flyweight Katlyn Chookagian declared her interest in a fight with Calvillo soon after the fact, with a top five spot looming for the divisional debutant. It makes sense.


Marvin Vettori def. Karl Roberson | Submission (rear-naked choke) 4:17 Rd 1

‘The Italian Dream’ finally got his hands on Roberson at the second time of asking, and took full advantage of the opportunity with a first-round submission of his American foe. The weight-related controversy from their last proposed meeting carried on into this one as Roberson came in four pounds over the middleweight limit, but it mattered little in the end as Vettori added a quick win to his resume – his third-straight.

Some high-level grappling and acrobatic scrambles were showcased by both men across the four minutes, with Roberson initially taking Vettori’s back before having the position reversed. Vettori scrambled to get on top and threaten the guillotine, and a powerful effort from Roberson to break free only put him in a worse position.

Vettori looked to end the fight with some vicious, unanswered ground-and-pound but was at risk of punching himself out, so threw the left hook in, locked in the choke and rolled upon squeezing to yield the tap.

Fallout: An impressive performance from the man who took Israel Adesanya the distance, and a top 15 opponent surely looms if not for his own ranking.


Charles Rosa def. Kevin Aguilar | Decision (split) 28-29, 29-28, 29-28

Rosa, Rosa, Rosa. The featherweight looked impressive in his tight decision victory over a tough, seasoned opponent in Aguilar, with not much to split the pair come the final bell. Both men came in off losses, with Rosa quickly rectifying his to Bryce Mitchell last month, while Aguilar now has three-straight on his record.

In a back-and-forth stand-up battle, it was Rosa who looked to be better dictating the pace of the fight, diversifying his strikes better in the face of Aguilar’s boxing as the latter struggled to let his hands go enough. Both men were looking for ways in, switching stances and flinging big shots by the end of the bout, but the judges sided with Rosa in a very even contest.


Andre Fili def. Charles Jourdain | Decision (split) 28-29, 29-28, 29-28

‘Touchy’ Fili took out the first split decision of the night, accounting for rising Canadian prospect ‘Air’ Jourdain in their main card slot. A dangerous striker, Jourdain looked slick on the feet and had good success early with his combinations, while also appearing to compromise Fili’s right arm with hard left high kicks.

After being dropped by a big overhand left in the opening round and surviving on the ground, Fili continually returned serve on each of Jourdain’s strikes, countering well and piecing the 24-year-old up by the end of the bout. Fili was more effective with his sniping shots and remained constant with his forward pressure, while also proving successful in taking the fight to the ground when desired. Another to return to the winners list after a good recovery in the early stages.


Jordan Espinosa [13] def. Mark De La Rosa | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-26

Espinosa looked super impressive in his unanimous decision victory over formerly-ranked bantamweight De La Rosa, justifying the number 13 next to his name. Espinosa was simply too sharp on the feet in his striking patterns and movement, able to switch stances effortlessly and stay balanced in the face of De La Rosa’s grappling advances.

While De La Rosa constantly moved forward, he was pieced up in the striking exchanges and thwarted in the clinch as Espinosa successfully stayed busy throughout the bout, even from defensive positions with punishing elbows. The ranked prospect simply seemed comfortable wherever the fight went, and looks destined for a top 10 matchup in the near future.


Mariya Agapova def. Hannah Cifers | Submission (rear-naked choke) 2:42 Rd 1

Cifers’ quick return to action after a loss proved fruitless as she came face-to-face with another rising prospect in Kazakhstan’s Agapova. Typically known for her boxing prowess, the promotional newcomer finished the bout via submission with a slick rear-naked choke after stunning Cifers on the feet.

Agapova set up a sweetly timed head kick with punches to sit Cifers down, opting to clinch before slipping to the back and sinking in the choke while standing to eventually yield a tap on the mat. The American Top Team trained fighter added a seventh finish to her nine wins overall, with a loss to Tracy Cortez in the Contender Series the only blemish on Agapova’s record to this point.

PRELIMINARY CARD

A hot start to the night saw the first three bouts last a combined 1:53, all finished within the first minute via KO/TKO. Christian Aguilera added an 11th win via that exact method to his record in his promotional debut, teeing off on Anthony Ivy to end the bout at 59 seconds.

Veteran Hawaiian Tyson Nam kept the ball rolling, but only needed 32 seconds to land his perfectly-timed right hand counter to a Zarrukh Adashev inside leg kick, kick-starting his UFC career. Incredibly, Julia Avila needed even less time to put Gina Mazany away, swarming on her opponent with punches in bunches after a sweet knee up the middle from the clinch.

Serra-Longo product Merab Dvalishvili rounded out the preliminary card with a grinding, but dominant victory over Gustavo Lopez at a 140-pound catchweight. The Georgian looked comfortable in all realms, but impressed most by once again breaching double figures for takedowns in the one-sided decision.

RESULTS:

Merab Dvalishvili def. Gustavo Lopez | Decision (unanimous) 30-26, 30-26, 30-25

Julia Avila def. Gina Mazany | TKO (punches) 0:22 Rd 1

Tyson Nam def. Zarrukh Adashev | KO (punch) 0:32 Rd 1

Christian Aguilera def. Anthony Ivy | TKO (punches) 0:59 Rd 1

RESULTS | UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Burns

THE UFC returned to the fight capital of the world this weekend, and while there may not have been a live crowd at the APEX Centre to appreciate the action, plenty of viewers around the world were treated to an awesome bunch of fights.

Gilbert Burns announced himself as a true welterweight title contender after dominating former champion Tyron Woodley in the night’s headline bout, marking one of two incredibly one-sided decisions on the card.

Main event aside, it was the six stoppages which stole the show, with four coming early in the night while Mackenzie Dern and Roosevelt Roberts finished their bouts on the main card. Get caught up with all the results below, from what was a mixed bag of match-ups brought to you by way of Las Vegas, Nevada.

FOTN: Brandon Royval vs. Tim Elliott
POTN: Gilbert Burns, Mackenzie Dern

MAIN CARD:

Gilbert Burns [6] def. Tyron Woodley [1] | Decision (unanimous) 50-45, 50-44, 50-44

Initial thoughts: Masvidal ❌ McGregor ❌ Edwards ❌ Burns ✅

Durinho Burns put his name in lights with a well-executed dismantling of former welterweight champion, Woodley in the night’s main event. The Brazilian struck early and never looked back in what was a lop-sided battle, earning points across all three rounds and in two judges’ minds, a 10-8 in the opener.

It was undoubtedly the biggest fight of Burns’ career, welcoming the former champ back after over a year off having fought four times himself during that period. Let’s remember, Burns is a world champion jiu jitsu practitioner, a fact which may have been lost amid the chaos of dropping Woodley with a tight uppercut in Round 1.

Woodley’s experience would see him successfully cling on from bottom as the pair hit the mat, ensuring a recovery period before he burst out with pure strength to end the round on his feet in a small moral victory. But the points for that period were long gone, and Woodley was cut badly above his left eye.

At that point, Woodley remained in the fight. The constant threat of his right hand and quick flurries with his back to the cage made Burns’ perennial forward motion seem a touch risky. Just as Woodley began to look comfortable enough to punch into the pocket, Burns would perfectly time a level change and jump into top position with a takedown. The former champ this time used the fence to get back to his knees, then feet to end the round, but he was in the desperate position of being three rounds down on points.

In what became a frustrating pattern, Burns continued to play the role of aggressor despite Woodley being the one required to turn the fight. Round 3 saw both men land clean combinations on the feet, but Burns’ kicks and octagon control again earned him the ascendancy. If it wasn’t already clear enough, Din Thomas would spell it out for Woodley upon the bell – he needed a finish.

Any hope or threat of that finish was comprehensively dashed as Burns continued to get in his opponent’s face, forcing him to skate the cage while not allowing him any room to rush with a counter. Burns’ doubled-up jabs and a massive right hand on the end of a combination again forced Woodley to clinch and survive. The theme of relinquishing points to stay in the fight wore on.

The generational changing of the guard was completed in the fifth and final round as Burns essentially did as he pleased. In scenes reminiscent of Woodley’s most recent effort in the octagon, it seemed everyone else portrayed the urgency he lacked to get the win, in attempting to spur him into action. In fairness, Woodley let go and searched for the space he needed to attack, but Burns was far too good throughout the five rounds and was not about to let up.

Woodley’s 94 per cent takedown defence was met over the 25 minutes with two successful attempts from Burns, and the aura that always seems to follow him, dissipated. The fact that Burns consistently threw caution to the wind in search for the win, and never retreated as many would with victory in sight made the win all the more impressive. On the other hand, Woodley had been broken yet again, seeming a shell of his former self.

Fallout: Burns called out his teammate and current champion, Kamaru Usman after the fight. Sir, we think you may just be next in line.


Augusto Sakai [13] def. Blagoy Ivanov [12] | Decision (split) 27-30, 29-28, 29-28

Ivanov again found himself on the wrong side of a tight decision in the UFC, this time seeing Sakai earn his fourth-straight promotional win and 15th overall. It was the Brazilian’s second split decision triumph in three fights too, having bettered former champion Andrei Arlovski in 2019.

Sakai was clearly the taller man and looked comfortable at range up top, getting his kicking game going from the early stages. In what was largely a fight fought on the feet, Ivanov would start promisingly with his quick advances into punching range, but Sakai soon found his rhythm and timing.

The action picked up as the fight wore on, with Ivanov sensing a need for urgency but labouring a touch in his movement given Sakai’s efforts to chop down at his legs. While Ivanov ended a tight second round on top, it felt like Sakai was beginning to gain the ascendancy.

Another tight round closed out the bout as the two men began to swing a touch more freely. Sakai was simply the more technical striker though and was able to land the more effective and varied blows to secure victory. A sore and deciding point for Ivanov may have been Sakai’s holding of the fence to prevent a takedown, an act usually worthy of a one-point deduction.


Billy Quarantillo def. Spike Carlyle | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28

Two rising prospects on big win streaks met at a 150lbs catchweight in what would be one of the main card’s more entertaining bouts, as Quarantillo edged Carlyle via decision. The dynamic Carlyle, pigeonholed as a first-round fighter literally jumped into the action with a kick off the start, later forcing Quarantillo to cover up against some brutal elbows.

Clearly the more powerful man with the grace of some extra weight, Carlyle controlled his opponent well in the scrambles and was able to threaten submissions from Quarantillo’s back. In a bizarre end to a high-paced round where Carlyle threw all-but the kitchen sink, he would naively turn his back just before the bell and almost have his lights turned off. Crazy stuff.

Quarantillo’s combination of composure and stamina was always pitch to come into play during rounds two and three, though he would run into an elbow upon advancing early in the second round. The fight again hit the mat where Carlyle would showcase his explosive power to remain in control, though he began to look exhausted in the face of Quarantillo’s pressure to shift the fight on his terms. It worked in the eyes of the judges too, as two late triangle attempts from Billy Q seemed to sway the points in his favour.

The question of cardio only became more evident in Round 3 as Carlyle looked to clinch up immediately. Quarantillo’s corner pleaded with their fighter to get up after landing some ground-and-pound and an awkward rear-naked choke attempt, but that advice would only truly pay off in the final 30 seconds as Quarantillo teed off with some heavy shots.

It was enough to earn a seventh-straight victory, but was Quarantillo’s first fight to go the distance since 2016. Constantly on the hunt for finishes, there is no quit in this man, and he looks an exciting prospect for the future.


Roosevelt Roberts def. Brok Weaver | Submission (rear-naked choke) 3:26 Rd 2

Roberts squashed his fight week beef with Weaver in emphatic style, needing a little under two rounds to finish his opponent via submission. The two Contender Series graduates were certainly game, getting right to work as Weaver looked to close the distance and Roberts attempted to find success at range.

With Weaver trying to punch his way into takedown attempts, Roberts would almost capitalise on his recklessness in a guillotine attempt, but Weaver spun out impressively to survive the round.

Roberts’ work on the feet was so slick, timing his counter strikes perfectly and presenting good variation up top. But it was on the mat where he would finish the fight, landing a takedown before shifting into mount from half guard and slipping in a tight rear-naked choke on his second attempt.


Mackenzie Dern def. Hannah Cifers | Submission (kneebar) 2:36 Rd 1

Boy was it good to see Dern back doing what she does best, notching up another submission victory and incidentally, the first-ever leg lock submission in women’s UFC history. Cifers was a tough and worthy opponent, giving Dern a ton of grief with her physicality in the early stages.

But Dern’s hard combinations on the feet and opportunism on the mat made for quick work, and a performance of the night bonus to boot. A beautiful throw from Dern in the clinch set the finish in motion, as she later snatched up Cifers’ left leg to swiftly secure the knee bar.

If you didn’t know already, yes, she is a BJJ world champion. Back in the win column at 8-1 in her professional career, Dern looks to be on track to shake up the strawweight rankings and is keen to get back in the cage.

PRELIMINARY CARD:

There is probably only one better way to exact revenge on the woman who beat you last than to earn three 30-25 scorecards against her sister, which is exactly what Katlyn Chookagian did in the featured preliminary card bout. While she went close to finishing the fight early, Chookagian would have to settle for a dominant showing over the full 15 minutes in the face of Antonina Shevchenko’s persistence.

Daniel Rodriguez was another to earn full points according to the judges with his win over Gabe Green. Rodriguez got his two-piece combinations going well up top and found success at range as the longer fighter.

One of the more impressive performances came from Jamahal Hill in his TKO stoppage of Klidson Abreu. The American prospect has arrived on the big stage, and continues to excel – this time with a beautiful knee up the middle and some punches to finish.

Brandon Royval and Tim Elliott earned fight of the night honours in their prelim sleeper, with Elliott bringing the heat with his pressure game but ultimately running out of gas in the latter stages. Royval, who had to overcome adversity and great pressure sunk in a slick arm triangle to get a quick tap in Round 2.

Another underrated matchup came between Casey Kenney and Louis Smolka, but it was one-way traffic as Kenney earned the first submission victory of the night. In the show-opener, Chris Gutierrez also impressed, earning just the 10th TKO victory via leg kicks in UFC history.

RESULTS:

Katlyn Chookagian [2] def. Antonina Shevchenko [12] | Decision (unanimous) 30-25, 30-25, 30-25

Daniel Rodriguez def. Gabe Green | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 30-27, 30-27

Jamahal Hill def. Klidson Abreu | TKO (knee and punches) 1:51 Rd 1

Brandon Royval def. Tim Elliott [11] | Submission (arm triangle) 3:18 Rd 2

Casey Kenney def. Louis Smolka | Submission (guillotine) 3:03 Rd 1

Chris Gutierrez def. Vince Morales | TKO (leg kicks) 4:27 Rd 2

RESULTS | UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Harris

ASK and you shall receive. The UFC delivered its third event in seven days as top 10 heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris headlined the latest Fight Night, and we can all take a breather now with a week-long break.

‘The Demolition Man’ overcame some early adversity to get back to winning ways in what was the sole stoppage of the main card, littered with entertaining three-rounders. Of note, Dan Ige and Edson Barboza threw down in a belter, while Song Yadong edged Marlon Vera in another razor-thin decision.

The undercard brought about a good range of match-ups, with four of the six bouts not requiring the full 15 minutes. Check out all the results from top to bottom once again by way of Jacksonville, Florida in our fight card recap.

POTN: Casey, Baeza

FOTN: Yadong vs. Vera

RESULTS

 

MAIN CARD:

Alistair Overeem [8] def. Walt Harris [9] | TKO (punches) 3:00 Rd 2

Initial thoughts: Man, the demolition!

Capping off a good week for MMA veterans in UFC main events, Overeem confirmed he is going nowhere with his second round stoppage of Harris. It did not come without adversity though, as the Dutch kickboxing legend was forced to prove his often queried chin after being dropped by a vicious Harris combination.

Having weathered the storm – albeit with a sizeable cut – Overeem would take advantage of Harris’ overzealous chasing of the finish, shoving the American aside as he entered grappling range before moving to his back and laying on some ground-and-pound with plenty of time left in the first round.

The grappling and weight of Overeem clearly wore on Harris, who arguably lost the round despite very nearly finishing his opponent in the early stages. Sensing the opportunity to apply pressure, Overeem connected with a head kick before dropping Harris with a left hand to spell the beginning of the end.

Akin to the first round with Overeem, Harris was given plenty of opportunity to recover, but could not do so as the Dutchman transitioned into back mount and rained down a series of unanswered blows to give the referee no choice but to step in.

It seems the Reem is going nowhere fast, and would now be on a four-fight win streak had his last bout been stopped around five seconds earlier. Currently ranked at eight, he will have to down plenty of his famed ‘horse beef’ to earn another crack at the heavyweight title.


Claudia Gadelha [6] def. Angela Hill | Decision (split) 28-29, 29-28, 29-28

Initial thoughts: Yeah, not too sure about that one.

There were a few questionable, albeit very tight decisions on this card and none were given more attention than that of the co-main event. Gadelha would finally make her return to the octagon after having numerous bouts cancelled, while Hill would push her case for a ranking having kept as active as any fighter, ever.

It is worth noting, Hill had won four of her last five fights, including three-straight, and two via TKO. The woman was in form, and this was a deserved step up in competition for someone who deserves to sit among the elites right now.

But Gadelha started the better of the two, showcasing improved boxing combinations to now go with her world calibre grappling. The Brazilian had good success early, setting her feet and swinging hard as she looked to punch her way into grappling sequences. The best she could manage was a grinding clinch into a takedown in Round 1, but points to her nonetheless.

The tide began to turn in Round 2 as Hill dropped Gadelha with a clean right hand, making the smart decision to let her opponent get back up. The finish may not have been forthcoming, but the round was clearly Hill’s.

Both women had success in the deciding round, which proved to be a stand-up battle. Gadelha finished well as she continued to put everything into her shots, but Hill seemed to have the greater volume. It is tough to take that performance away from Hill, but she will be back. For Claudinha, could Carla Esparza be next?

We had it: 29-28 Hill.


Dan Ige [15] def. Edson Barboza | Decision (split) 28-29, 29-28, 29-28

Initial thoughts: If you don’t know, now you know.

Another decision, another talking point. But first, let’s give it up for these two warriors. To paraphrase Chael Sonnen; if Ige is ranked 15, who are the other 14 guys? The Hawaiian was incredibly tough against easily his most fearsome competitor, absorbing and hitting back at everything Barboza threw at him.

While the result may not have gone Barboza’s way in his featherweight debut, he looked strong, just as quick, and durable despite the extra weight cut. A clean hook from the Brazilian dropped Ige in Round 1, and the signs looked ominous as he threw some vicious hammer fists on the mat. Ige survived though, and replied to being stammered in the same round with a flying knee. Ridiculous.

Ige’s fast hands and bruising combinations began to yield success in Round 2, returning a great output and bringing the pressure right to Barboza, not allowing him to settle. His sheer ferocity and power arguably delivered him Round 2 points despite a late rally from Barboza, so we would again face a decider.

Barboza seemed to have taken his late momentum into Round 3 with both men busted up and not taking a backwards step. The Brazilian’s body shots began to come into play, but the judges may have viewed Ige’s takedown as the clinching factor as he claimed the split decision.

We had it: 29-28 Barboza.


Krzysztof Jotko def. Eryk Anders | Decision (unanimous) 30-27, 29-28, 29-28

Initial thoughts: Wait, Jotko isn’t ranked?

Anders faced his greatest step up in competition as he readied to face Jotko, with both men coming in off consecutive wins. In what was an interesting battle of styles, the Pole would do his best work from distance in piecing Anders up and circling out, while Anders would constantly hunt him down and look for takedowns.

Ultimately, Jotko’s defensive grappling and greater number of significant strikes delivered him the unanimous decision victory, with the third round a particularly great showing of his movement to not get pinned against the fence, while sticking and moving well. Anders wanted a brawl, but just fell short of the final product.

We had it: 29-28 Jotko.

Song Yadong [14] def. Marlon Vera [15] | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 29-28, 29-28

Initial thoughts: Was Chito cheated?

Team Alpha Male phenom Yadong was again the beneficiary of a razor-thin decision, only this time he would collect the win, too. The 22-year-old was the youngest fighter on the card, but now possesses one of the more impressive unbeaten streaks at nine fights.

It was a battle of Vera’s length and volume at range against Yadong’s quick combinations and power in the pocket, with the Chinese native most probably edging the first round on the back of his strengths with Vera somewhat cautious of that early power.

Vera’s corner asked for more activity, and they got exactly that as the Ecuadorian looked to move forward. But he was met firmly by Yadong’s tight boxing in another close round, which the eventual victor may have edged for his heavier shots, but should have gone to Vera for his late flurry and success in the firefight.

The South American’s forward movement continued in the third, and a takedown very nearly resulted in him getting mount. It wasn’t to be though, and Yadong would get up to finish what was another back-and-forth five minutes. Two takedowns should have sealed the round and quite possibly the win for Vera, but it was Yadong who had his arm raised.

We had it: 29-28 Vera.

PRELIMINARY CARD:

Miguel Baeza def. Matt Brown | KO (punch) 0:20 Rd 2

Baeza signalled a coming of the new age in his KO triumph over ‘The Immortal’ Brown, coming back from being knocked down to finish an MMA legend. The veteran’s power was still very much apparent, but it was on the defensive side where Baeza could exploit his opponent, proving too quick as he put Brown away upon a second knockdown of his own. The first round was crazy and full of momentum shifts, but a beautifully timed counter left hook did the job for Baeza in the second.

Kevin Holland def. Anthony Hernandez | TKO (knee and punches) 0:39 Rd 1

Holland made light work of fellow Contender Series alum, Hernandez with a vicious first round stoppage of his compatriot to put ranked middleweights on notice. Looking fit and coming in slightly under weight, Holland landed a big elbow and folding knee as Hernandez closed the distance, quickly yielding the referee’s intervention. It was impressive, not so sure about calling out Micky Gall though.

Giga Chikadze def. Irwin Rivera | Decision (unanimous) 30-26, 30-27, 30-27

Props go to Rivera for taking this fight on short notice above his usual weight division, though he seemed mismatched from the beginning. Chikadze’s kicks did much of the damage as he took out every round, getting comfortable by the end of the bout with punishing knees and even a front kick to the face. Rivera looks a solid, explosive 135’er with a great chin though, look out for him.

Nate Landwehr def. Darren Elkins | Decision (unanimous) 29-28, 30-27, 30-27

One of the most violent and exciting fights of the night was hidden deep in the prelims, as Elkins and Landwehr went to war. Elkins looked to have claimed the first round, but some chest pumping and bizarre peacocking from the former M-1 champion perhaps caught the judges’ eye. Nonetheless, Landwehr timed his shots – particularly the uppercut – well in the latter stages, and gave back everything he got. His clinch work was also great, and he resisted much of Elkins’ grappling advances. Fun fight, two machines and could have gone either way.

Cortney Casey def. Mara Romero Borella | Submission (armbar) 3:36 Rd 1

Casey made it two finishes from two fights on the night with her seventh overall first round stoppage victory. Having fought a gallery of killers at strawweight, Casey’s move up to 125lbs proved a good one as she dragged an early takedown and capitalised on Borella’s complacency to sink in a deep armbar. She had to threaten it a couple of times, but persistence pays off.

Rodrigo Nascimento def. Don’Tale Mayes | Submission (rear-naked choke) 2:05 Rd 2

Nascimento got the night rolling with an impressive, well-rounded performance against Mayes. The Brazilian grappler and Contender Series alum moves to 8-0 with six submission victories after a swiftly managed rear-naked choke. Nascimento’s desire to grapple gave him freedom on the feet, and he took full toll upon gaining the opportunity to get the fight to the mat.