Dustin Jacoby v. Michal Oleksiejczuk
These two fighters start off the event and waste no time throwing multiple combinations. For the most part the opening round was all hands and only a very seldom kick would surface from Jacoby. Each fighter had very brief grappling moments but for the most part the the whole round was contested on the feet. Each fighter had their moments and both had good output making it a very difficult round to score for the judges. In the second round both fighters resumed right back into the fight which was basically just a boxing match. Neither fighter ever really clinches, kicks or shoots for takedowns. Halfway through the round Jacoby hurts Oleksiejczuk with a flush shot and then pours on the blitz looking for the finish. Oleksiejczuk survives although he takes a lot of hard shots but after the blitz Jacoby is now clearly fatigued after the sprint. Another close round but Jacoby had done enough that this round should’ve been easier to score in his favor. In the third round Oleksiejczuk gets back to his healthy activity and is making a better account of himself but Jacoby is just as active. By the end of the third round Jacoby had out landed Oleksiejczuk by a bit which was enough to win him another round. A closely contested match but Jacoby had done enough to win two rounds in the judges eyes. Jacoby by unanimous decision.
L’udovit Klein v. Devonte Smith
This fight was a much better demonstration of mixed martial arts than the previous fight. In the opening round Smith lands a couple of good body kicks as well as some good punches. About halfway through the round however, Klein lands a flush punch that rocks Smith and stumbles him backwards. Klein chases after him with a flurry but Smith intelligently clinches and uses a body lock to slow the onslaught and buy time to recover. Later in the round Klein lands a beautiful two punch combo followed by a beautiful head kick that lands and wobbles Smith once again. A good round for both but a clear cut winning round for Klein. Round two Smith comes out more aggressive and starts having some success early. Klein remains calm though and is able to fire back at the right times for some success of his own. About halfway through the round Smith shoots for a takedown which he does not complete but the two fighters then clinch and spend the next minute on the cage trading inside shots. Another closely contested round making this a tough one for the judges to score. In the final round Klein hurts Smith early with a body kick and Smith starts retreating immediately in clear pain. Klein chases after with more hard shots but once again Smith is able to clinch and survive. In the final couple minutes of the fight Klein is starting to slow a little. Smith starts turning it on and having some of his best success of the fight. Unfortunately for him, it was just a bit too little too late. A good showing for both fighters but in the end the judges felt that Klein had done enough to get the nod. Klein by unanimous decision.
Tim Elliott v. Tagir Ulanbekov
The opening round of this fight was a beautiful performance for Elliott. He came out on fire and was able to shock the crowd and announcers with how dominant and overwhelming he was over Ulanbekov. Elliott has always had the awkward style of fighting but the awkwardness paired with the high aggressive activity was what was appearing to be too much for Ulanbekov early on. Elliott even rocks Ulanbekov at one point and wobbles him backwards to the ground. A beautiful opening round for Elliott and a clear cut winning round. In the second Ulanbekov is able to land a takedown but Elliott hops right back up. Elliott continues his akward movement and heavy put but Ulanbekov is increasing his grappling attempts and is finding ways to slow Elliott occasionally. The second round was a much more competitive round and should be a tough one to score for the judges. In the final round Elliott seems a tiny bit fatigued while Ulanbekov continues to pour on the grappling pressure. The announcers feel that Ulanbekov could be down two rounds and might need a finish or a 10-8 round to not lose the fight. In the final couple minutes of the round Ulanbekov is finally able to get a takedown of real substance. He takes the back of Elliott and is threatening rear naked chokes while throwing in punches as Elliott tries his best to defend. Elliott is able to survive the round but he definitely loses the round. In the end though, the judges felt that Elliott had done enough to get the win. A very impressive performance by Elliott to pull off the upset against a highly touted prospect. Elliott by unanimous decision.
Umar Nurmagomedov v. Brian Kelleher
This fight was pretty short lived but it was a pretty competitive while it lasted. Nurmagomedov came out using his usual lightning speed kicks and fast punches while Kelleher threw back mostly punches. Nurmagomedov tried several takedown attempts but Kelleher was very impressive with his defense and was able to evade the takedowns for the most part. When Nurmagomedov did finally get Kelleher down he was able to hop back up quickly using whizzers and other various tactics. He was looking very impressive as far as his wrestling defense but eventually Nurmagomedov was able to get him down and then take the back. That is where all the danger is when you fight him. Kelleher didn’t seem too concerned and that was his fatal mistake. While on the back, Nurmagomedov is throwing punches from behind and then out of nowhere, with lightning speed, he throws in a rear naked choke that is in deep and inescapable. Kelleher tries to hang on but in a matter of seconds he is left no choice but to tap out. Nurmagomedov by first round submission.
Maryna Moroz v. Mariya Agapova
Both ladies come into this fight with a high amount of aggression and hatred for one another. Former training partners turned enemies made for a very high action first round. Agapova comes out throwing hard shots from the outside utilizing her reach advantage but Moroz stayed calm and looked for her grappling openings. Once Moroz sees her opportunity she initiates a clinch and slowly starts working to get her takedown. From there she takes the back of Agapova and starts threatening rear naked chokes. Agapova is somehow able to survive but Moroz is wearing her out with the grappling, submission threats and ground strikes. By the end of the round Agapova looks clearly winded. In the second round Moroz gets right back to the grappling and Moroz is very fatigued and is clearly starting to wilt. Moroz continues to pressure heavily from top control and as much as Agapova tries to squirm and survive it is only a matter of time before Moroz is able to lock in a head and arm choke. Agapova tries to hang in there but being gassed, breathing heavily and having someone squeezing on her neck just proves to be too much. Agapova is forced to tap out. Moroz by second round submission.
Nick Negumereanu v. Kennedy Nzechukwu
The first round of this bout was pretty calm and measured. Both fighters came out somewhat tentative. Nzechukwu stayed long and was looking for his jab while Negumeranu stayed patient and looked for his occassional moments to blitz in with a two or three punch combo. Not a whole of action in the first and a tough one to score for the judges. In the second round Negumereanu came out much more aggressive and started pressing much more heavily. He eventually gets a body lock and forces Nzechukwu up against the cage. From there Negumereanu throws knees to the thigh while continuing to work for the takedown. Nzechukwu is able to fend off the takedown and escape the clinch. Once the fighters meet back in the middle Nzechukwu is able to start landing his best shots yet. He starts landing flush right handed jabs and straight lefts. He starts doing some good damage and now has the nose of Negumereanu bleeding. A nice rally late in the second for Nzechukwu which may have been enough to win him the round. In the final round Nzechukwu accidentally lands a very bad eye poke which compromises Negumereanu. When the fight resumes Negumereanu comes out on fire and blitzing with full force. Nzechukwu is able to evade for the most part and once Negumereanu finally settles a little Nzechukwu starts landing flush shots again. The third round ends up being the best round by far. A high action round which caps off the fight nicely. In the end, the judges felt that Negumereanu had done enough for the win. Negumereanu by unanimous decision.
Marina Rodriguez v. Xiaonan Yan
The opening round of this fight was pretty closely contested. When the fighters came together and started to throw it appeared to be Yan who had the slight edge. Rodriguez started doing better towards the end of the round but Yan had done slightly more volume and landing. A tough round to score but it felt like the judges might give it to Yan. In the second round Rodriguez turned up the intensity and had a little bit more luck but she still was having trouble finding Yan and dealing with the hand speed of her counter strikes. Yan tried some takedown attempts in the second and was able to land one but Rodriguez was able to get back up fairly quickly and with minimal damage. Another tricky round to score. In the final round Rodriguez did her best work. She had increased activity but in this round Yan was finally starting to be more stationary perhaps due to fatigue. Rodriguez was finally starting to connect more and doing some good work. Although the round was still fairly close, it appeared to be the most clear cut winning round of the fight and felt like it went to Rodriguez. After a good tough scrap, the judges thought it was Rodriguez who had done just enough. Rodriguez by split decision.
Jalin Turner v. Jamie Mullarkey
The opening round of this bout was one of the best rounds of the night up to that point. It was all action with Mullarkey pressing very aggressively. Mullarkey was throwing multiple punch combos and landing nicely but Turner remained calm and countered with his huge reach advantage. Both were touching each other but it was Mullarkey who was suffering the majority of the damage. As intense as the action was in the first round and as much damage as Turner was inflicting on his opponent, the most impressive thing about it was how calm he looked even in the middle of the chaos. It really was a sight to behold. In the second round Mullarkey comes out battered but not discouraged. He continues his aggressive march forward throwing hard shots but it doesn’t take long before Turner land his hardest flush shot of the fight. It drops Mullarkey and he immediately shells up on the ground while Turner pours on the follow up shots. This body language was a clear indication to the referee that Mullarkey had nothing more to offer and was no longer planning to fight on. A very impressive performance by Turner and a methodical breakdown of a very tough Mullarkey. Turner by second round TKO.
Sergey Spivak v. Greg Hardy
This bout was the shortest fight of the night up to that point. As the opening bell sounded and the fighters met in the middle, the size advantage for Hardy was glaring. He was clearly over 300 pounds and looked like a giant. Hardy starts calm and throws a couple of blistering shots but Spivak is able to evade fairly easily. After about 30 seconds Spivak finally takes his first inevitable takedown attempt and lands it with almost no resistance. Hardy is held down fairly easily for Spivak as he’s landing good ground strikes and trying to improve his position. Eventually Hardy is able to stand up using basically just size and strength with almost no technique. But Spivak is able to keep ahold of him and take him right back down. This repeats once more and after being taken down three times now Hardy is clearly winded now and not as energetic. Spivak takes the back and mounts Hardy and starts raining down hard shots. Hardy shells up and now is showing to the referee that he has no more answers. His body language says he is giving up. The referee has no choice but to stop the fight. A very impressive performance for Spivak with a stoppage at two minutes and sixteen seconds of the first round. Spivak by first round TKO.
Kevin Holland v. Alex Oliveira
Holland comes into this fight after moving down in weight to try his hand at the welterweight division. He comes in over confident and starts off throwing his strikes from too far away. When he throws his shots he’s reaching from far distances and starts getting caught with counter strikes. He also appeared to underestimate the speed difference the lighter fighters in this division would have. After some quick hard lessons it appears Holland starts to calm himself and show some respect. Oliveira is able to land some takedowns and once again surprise Holland but Holland remains calm and composes himself. The round ends with Oliveira on the back of Holland with a choke locked in deep. Holland shows no concern though as he smiles and throws two thumbs up as the final seconds expire. In the second round Holland comes out more humbled and respectful. He starts throwing more laser shots but this time he’s not reaching from ill advised distances. It doesn’t take long before he lands a devastating flush shot that drops Oliveira instantly. Holland chases him to the ground and throws devastating ground strikes with lightning speed. Oliveira tries to hang in there but he is unable to recover and the referee has seen enough. A great scrap and a decent learning experience for Holland in his new weight class. Holland by second round TKO.
Bryce Mitchell v. Edson Barboza
The first round of this fight was very exciting. Anytime you watch a Barboza fight you know he has some of the most fast and vicious striking in all of the UFC which can end a fight at any second. Mitchell was aware of this and was very cautious in his opening round approach. It was very tense as Mitchell continued to engage in the striking exchanges. Mitchell’s approach will always be the wrestling and grappling but it was very intense waiting to see if he could survive until he went for it. Then out of nowhere, it was actually Mitchell who landed a flush shot that dropped Barboza. The crowd erupts as nobody saw that coming. Mitchell chases him to the ground and locks up top control. From there he goes to work in which he starts to dominate the remainder of the round in top control. He continues to land ground strikes as he wears out Barboza and starts to wilt him. In the second round Mitchell picks up right where he left off. He eventually lands another takedown and from there he once again just dominates Barboza for the remainder of the round. The round was so dominant that a 10-8 score could even be argued. In the final round Mitchell lands one more takedown which is all he needs. He once again dominates Barboza for the entire round again. In essence, Mitchell only needed one takedown per round to dominate the entire fight. We have not seen Barboza dominated and controlled like this since he fought Khabib Nurmagomedov. A very impressive performance for Mitchell on his way to the top. Mitchell by unanimous decision.
Rafael dos Anjos v. Renato Moicano
Moicano steps into this fight on late notice. The concerning aspect for him is that this fight was scheduled for five rounds which Dos Anjos had been preparing for and Moicano had not. In the opening round Moicano comes out aggressive, perhaps knowing his cardio can only hold up for so long. Moicano throws aggressive strikes and then aggressively pursues a takedown attempt. Dos Anjos is able to defend and it doesn’t take long before he is able to get a takedown of his own. From there Dos Anjos is able to control and dominate Moicano from top control for the remainder of the round. By the end of the first round, Moicano is already showing signs of wear and tear. In the second round Dos Anjos gets right back to work and eventually lands another takedown. He once again dominates from top control for the remainder of the round. Moicano is already showing signs of being done. Unfortunately for him, there are still three full rounds remaining in this fight. In the third round Dos Anjos lands a head kick that wobbles Moicano backwards. Dos Anjos chases and throws strike after strike to the head of an already injured Moicano. If Moicano wanted a way out he had an easy opportunity to take it. Surprisingly though, he fights on and suffers through the onslaught and is somehow able to clinch from the bottom to stop the barrage. Against all odds, Moicano somehow survives and makes it out of the round. He is beat up and exhausted but he continues to give up. Moicano comes out in the fourth round with one eye completely swollen shut. The doctor checks him out and asks if he can continue and he once again doesn’t take the easy way out. Moicano fights on in the fourth round and is once again taken down. From there he just takes more and more brutal damage that just seems completely unnecessary at this point. It is an absolute miracle, but Moicano somehow survives the fifth round and completes the fight. Absolutely exhausted and his face completely butchered. It was basically a one sided fight but Moicano earns the highest respect possible. What a display of heart. Dos Anjos by unanimous decision.
Colby Covington v. Jorge Masvidal
This fight was one of the most anticipated grudge matches in recent history. Once best friends, now mortal enemies, both fighters come into this bout with intense animosity. In the opening round Masvidal was cautious of the takedown attempts from Covington. He was able to evade for a majority of the round but eventually Covington is able to land the first takedown. Masvidal is still full of energy at this point so he is able to stay patient and eventually work his way back to his feet. The first round was fairly close although a slight edge may have gone to Covington. In the second round is when things started to turn. Covington is able to land a takedown and start to control for a good portion of time. This was the beginning of a recurring theme for the remainder of the fight. Masvidal tries to mitigate the damage from the bottom but he is clearly controlled and clearly lost the round. In the third round it was more of the same only slightly worse this time. As the fight progressed it was more and more dominant control from Covington. The control time got more pronounced and the damage did as well. In the fourth round Masvidal did have a brief moment where he lands flush and drops Covington but it is only short lived. Covington recovers and gets right back to work. In the fifth and final round Covington gets right back to grinding Masvidal down with the grappling. By this point Masvidal is just too completely gassed to put up anymore resistance. Covington has his way for the entire fifth round and by the end of the fight we see a defeated and frustrated Masvidal. A dominant performance for Covington in a mostly one sided fight. Covington by unanimous decision.
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