Mana Martinez v. Guido Cannetti
This fight was a tough one for Mana Martinez. His beloved coach tragically and suddenly passed away the week before this fight due to Covid complications. In addition, this was his UFC debut. Martinez had a rough start as Cannetti was lighting him up with devastating kicks. He was absorbing brutal body kicks, horrible leg kicks and even an occasional head kick. Martinez had his moments against the cage occasionally when he would throw flurries but it appeared the first round was clear cut in Cannetti’s favor. Round two was better for Martinez as he picked up the activity and did enough to steal the round in some of the judge’s eyes. Round three was the best round for Martinez as he continued the increased activity but most importantly ended the round with a very important takedown. The fight was close but ultimately, Martinez did just enough to honor his late coach. Martinez by split decision.
Pat Sabatini v. Jamall Emmers
This fight was short lived but was action packed. It started out with both fighters throwing punches and within the first minute Emmers lands a brutal uppercut which drops Sabatini. He follows Sabatini to the ground which is ill advised against a fighter with the grappling caliber of Sabatini. Both fighters attempt submissions but in the end it is Sabatini who is successful. He locks in a heel hook which quickly tears the ligaments around the knee of Emmers causing him to yell out and tap in agony. Sabatini by first round submission.
JJ Aldrich v. Vanessa Demopoulos
This fight was the UFC debut for Vanessa Demopoulos and she took the fight on short notice. Unfortunately for her, JJ Aldrich is not an ideal opponent to make your debut against, especially on short notice. Round one Demopoulos came out aggressive and was looking good but it didn’t take long for Aldrich to duck under and put her on her back. From there Aldrich initiated ground strikes and was dominant enough to control from there and finish the round on top. Round two was more of the same but in more extreme fashion. This was the most dominant round of the fight for Aldrich. Round three was slightly more competitive but still belonged to Aldrich. Respect must be given to Demopoulos though as she was totally outclassed in every department. Despite this she never once got discouraged over gave up. She kept tough and tenacious the entire time, which we know Dana White loves. Her debut was not as she hoped for but she will definitely be back. Aldrich by unanimous decision.
Dustin Jacoby v. Darren Stewart
This bout was short lived and went pretty much as expected. Darren Stewart came out aggressive and surprisingly was going after the one tactic he could use to have a chance, the takedown. Stewart actually secured a couple of the takedowns and gave Jacoby some things to think about but it was short lived and only delayed the inevitable. Eventually Jacoby got back to his feet and rocked Stewart. From there he followed a stumbled Stewart to the cage and began his flurry. He landed a few here and there further adding to Stewart’s stumbles. It was very quickly after this that the referee had seen enough and stepped in to stop the fight. Jacoby by first round TKO.
Sam Alvey v. Wellington Turman
Sam Alvey came into this fight on a five fight losing streak. Turman however, hadn’t exactly been setting the world on fire lately either. He had lost three of his last four fights. The opening round looked like a typical Sam Alvey fight with him backing into the cage and trying to lure his opponent in to land a counter punch. Turman was out landing him enough to win the round and towards the end of the round landed a spinning elbow that cut Alvey badly below the left eye. Round two Alvey appeared to be winning early on but Turman rallied later in the round to steal it. The third and final round was a complete circus. Two separate times the fight was paused due to a perceived eye poke. After reviewing both, it appeared that only one actually happened. However, that did not change the fact that both times the referee took a point away from Turman for a total of two points being deducted in one single round. The fight ends up going the distance and is left to the judges. In the end, Turman did enough to still squeak out the decision, despite the two point deduction. Turman by split decision.
Abdul Razak Alhassan v. Alessio Di Chirico
Alhassan came into this bout desperately wanting to get back on track. He had started his UFC career with a huge explosion, winning four of his first five bouts. All four of those wins came by way of first round knockout. Unfortunately for him, he then went on a three fight losing streak. His opponent, Di Chirico, was a tough dance partner to land when you’re trying to get back on track. Fortunately for Alhassan, he didn’t seem to notice that. The bell rings and each fighter meets in the middle. Within 17 seconds, Alhassan lands a devastating head kick that immediately knocks out Di Chirico and ends the fight instantly. He gets back on track in devastating fashion. Alhassan by first round KO.
Gerald Meerschaert v. Makhmud Muradov
A lot of people expected Muradov to win this fight by knockout in devastating fashion. In the first round it looked like the outcome was going to be exactly that. Muradov landed several heavy shots on Meerschaert which were enough to wobble him on more than one occasion. Meerschaert hangs tough while continuously going to the ground in hopes that Muradov will follow him down there. Muradov stays smart though and refuses to play that game. The first round ends with Muradov clearly winning but Meerschaert not yet giving up. In round two you start seeing subtle signs of Muradov slowing down and showing some fatigue. Meerschaert senses this and turns up the intensity. After landing a few nice shots they end up on the ground with Meerschaert taking Muradov’s back. The absolute last place you ever want to be with Meerschaert. It is only moments later that he locks up a rear naked choke and intensely squeezing, forcing Muradov to tap. Meerschaert by round two submission.
Andre Petroski v. Michael Gillmore
This fight was a closely contested battle with Petroski having the advantage in the grappling and Gillmore showing an advantage in the striking. Gillmore was landing some good shots here and there while Petroski was landing takedowns. Petroski also landed some occasional strikes which were extremely hard but each time he did it seemed like Gillmore didn’t even notice. Round two was more of the same but Gillmore appeared to be edging it out until the last minute Petroski lands a takedown making it more confusing for the judges. Round three was the most dominant for Petroski because he comes out and gets a takedown within the first 20 seconds. He controls posture there and eventually pins one of Gillmore’s arms down into the gift wrap position where he can no longer defend himself. After several hard punches and some even harder elbows the referee is forced to stop the fight. Petroski by round three TKO.
Kevin Lee v. Daniel Rodriguez
Kevin Lee made his debut in the welterweight division for this fight. He went up a dangerous and streaking Daniel Rodriguez. In the opening round Lee immediately takes to the wrestling and begins to dominate and control. Round two Rodriguez comes out more determined and has much more success. By the time the round ends he has landed twice as many strikes as Lee. The final round Lee lands a takedown early in the round as he knows he has to. Unfortunately for him Rodriguez gets back up and begins piecing Lee up on the feet again. By the time this round ends Rodriguez has once again landed twice as many strikes as Lee. It is enough to secure him the win. Rodriguez by unanimous decision.
Ricky Turcios v. Brady Hiestand
The opening round of this fight was the best round of the night up to that point. Hiestand immediately comes out and starts wrestling. He lands a takedown but the relentless and scrappy Turcios gets out quickly. Then the same scenario unfolds again. Eventually you can see it in Hiestand’s eyes as he begins to realize what an uphill battle this is going to be for him. No matter how many takedowns Hiestand lands Turcios always just scraps his way out by sheer will and determination. Round two might have been better than the round before. Then round three might have been the best of all. By the time the final bell rings, the fans have no idea who is the winner. The only thing that is clear is we have just seen the Fight of the Night, hands down. In the end, it was the sheer heart and determination that wins out. Turcios by split decision.
Bryan Battle v. Gilbert Urbina
In the opening half of the opening round Urbina comes out like a man possessed. He lands hard shots and then grabs ahold of Battle and slams him down like a rag doll. From there Urbina continues to manhandle and dominate Battle to the point that it almost looked unfair. As a little time passes it just seems like something changed inside of Urbina. The intensity lets down and out of nowhere he just seems to let Battle slip back into this fight. The second half of the opening round was almost like an entirely different fight. Then in round two Battle comes out and looks even better. Ultimately he ends up on the ground and takes the back of Urbina. He locks up a rear naked choke and moments later Urbina is forced to tap. Battle by round two submission.
Edson Barboza v. Giga Chikadze
This fight was a nail biter as advertised. Giga comes out in the first and completely dominates. He was throwing lightning fast, extremely hard and with laser precision. In round two however, he shows a very slight decrease in speed and stamina. Barboza takes notice. Barboza increases the pressure and keeps Chikadze on the back foot with his back against the cage. Giga hangs in there although by the time the second round ends he may have lost it slightly. This would leave the fight even going into the third. Round three Barboza sticks with the heavy pressure but somewhere along the way Chikadze lands a hard shot which stumbles him. Chikadze activates his killer instinct and closes in with high intensity. He throws flurries but not carelessly. He lands flush several more times and continues to stumble Barboza. Although Barboza’s toughness was commendable, the ambush was ultimately too much. The referee is forced to stop the fight. Chikadze by third round TKO.