Heili Alateng v. Kevin Croom
This fight was short lived and started the night with a bang. Croom came into this fight with a considerable height and reach advantage but Alateng didn’t seem to care much about this. In the opening round both fighters meet in the middle and waste no time getting to work. As they beginning exchanges start to take place Alateng is doing well at closing the distance. Croom is trying to keep the distance with jabs and push kicks up the middle but Alateng continues to press forward. Then out of nowhere Alateng closes the distance with a left jab followed by an overhand right that lands flush. Croom is immediately wobbled and stumbles backwards as Alateng blitzes after him throwing high speed combinations. A few more shots land flush and although Croom is trying to survive, he eventually falls flat on his face. He is not out but the referee has seen enough and rushes in to stop the fight. A very impressive 47 second TKO for Alateng. Alateng by first round TKO.
Sam Hughes v. Istela Nunes
The first round of this fight featured a lot of punching exchanges between both fighters. Although kicks were occasionally sprinkled in, it was the punching that was the dominant strike of choice for both women. Hughes tried her best to hang on the feet but it was the speed, power and technical precision of Nunes that was giving her the advantage throughout the round. Nunes also has a very good ability of striking while moving backwards which also gave her a significant advantage. Hughes ate a lot of shots and kept moving forward but the first round was a clear cut winning round for Nunes. In the second round Hughes continues to march forward and towards the end of the round we start seeing the slightest of fatigue in Nunes. A very large majority of the round was once again won by Nunes but in the last 20 seconds Hughes finally lands her first takedown and in the final 15 seconds she has Nunes in a crucifix position taking nonstop undefended punches to the face. The punches were not powerful at all but they were all undefended and it was not a good image for the judges. It is unclear if this was enough to steal the round for Hughes but this was definitely the first very big confidence booster for Hughes in the fight. In the third round a huge event takes place. Nunes lands an accidental eye poke and rather than giving a warning the referee immediately takes a point away from Nunes. This can often times have a huge implication in a three round fight. In the final two minutes of the fight Hughes lands another takedown and once again holds Nunes on her back. This control time may have been enough to win the final round for her. After a long uphill battle for Hughes, the point deduction and her persistence to keep pushing ends up paying off for her. Hughes by unanimous decision.
Trey Ogden v. Jordan Leavitt
In the first few minutes of the opening round both fighters are being very measured with their shot selection and output. Ogden appears to be edging the exchanges by the slightest of measures but then out of nowhere he accidentally slips on the canvas and Leavitt rushes down to the ground to assume top control. Leavitt then accrues about a minute and a half of control time which could have been enough to win the round for him. However, in the last 30 seconds Ogden latches onto a choke that gets very tight. Leavitt tries to scramble and escape but with each transition the choke appears to be getting tighter and tighter. Leavitt ends up hanging on and making it out of the round but it will be interesting to see how the judges score that round. In the second round the fighters stay on their fight the entire round. Ogden is the aggressor walking forward the entire time while Leavitt tries to lure Ogden into his attacks and counter strikes. Ogden appears to land the higher volume in the second round and up to this point the striking numbers show that Ogden is also leading the strike count throughout the whole fight. A close round but the second may have gone to Ogden. In the final round Ogden starts initiating some grappling and manages to land a few takedowns. Leavitt is able to get back up fairly quickly with minimal damage but the takedowns will definitely be helpful in the scoring for Ogden. In the final two minutes Leavitt then lands a takedown of his own but his takedown ends up producing a lot longer amount of control time. Ogden seems to accept the bottom position and does not show any urgency to get back up. This proves to be very costly for him. The judges end up giving Leavitt the edge in that round as well as one other round which is just enough to win him the fight. Leavitt by split decision.
Chris Barnett v. Martin Buday
Barnett enters this fight at a huge height and reach disadvantage. Barnett stands at 5 foot 9 while Buday is 6 foot 4. As the first round begins to unfold Barnett shows that he has a surprising amount of speed but once Buday starts to clinch he is able to force Barnett against the cage and hold him there with relative ease. Buday lands inside strikes and knees while clinching Buday against the cage. Although none of the strikes are extremely powerful, they are definitely scoring as is the fact that Buday is controlling Barnett in the process. This control time along with the peppering shots appeared to be enough to win the round for Buday. In the second round Buday gets right back to his clinches and forcing Barnett up against the cage. The power and size thus far has been too much for Barnett to combat and Buday is slowly winning the fight while clinching up against the cage. The second round is also won by Buday and in this round he is able to win a little more dominantly with a bit more powerful shots being landed. Going into the final round Barnett knows he probably needs a finish in order to secure a win. Unfortunately for him he mentions to his corner that he thinks his rib is broken in between rounds. In the final round Barnett pushes through the rib injury and shows his toughness. However, he continues to get dominated against the cage and shut down. During one of these fence clinches though, Buday ends up accidentally landing an illegal elbow. The fight ends up being stopped due to possibly a little exaggeration on the acting part of Barnett. What he doesn’t realize is that the fight has gone long enough that he will not get the win due to a disqualification. The fight will instead be settled by the score cards. Once he realizes this he immediately “recovers” and starts pleading to keep the fight going. Unfortunately for him, the decision had already been made and the fight has now been stopped. Buday by unanimous decision.
Rafa Garcia v. Jesse Ronson
In the first round of this bout Garcia starts showing some changes in his game. He usually is willing to just stand in the middle and trade with his opponents but this time he is starting to implement wrestling. Both fighters land their shots occasionally and although the round was very close, Garcia may have been able to edge out the round due to his wrestling. In the second round Garcia gets right back to the wrestling but unfortunately, as Ronson is standing back up Garcia lands an illegal knee. Another situation where the referee is forced to intervene. The fight is allowed to continue this time but a point deduction is once again the result of an illegal blow. When the fight resumes Garcia shows urgency knowing he has lost a point. He immediately gets another forceful takedown and gets right back to work. Ronson has been good at getting back up every time but during one of his scrambles this time, Garcia locks in a rear naked choke. Ronson tries his best to fight the hands but the choke is too tight and he is forced to tap out. Garcia by second round submission.
Drakkar Klose v. Brandon Jenkins
The opening round of this fight is all Klose. He rocks Jenkins early and then blitzes after him landing at least 30 follow up shots that are flush. Somehow Jenkins is able to survive and keep fighting back with an incredible display of toughness and heart. On several different instances it feels like the fight is about to be stopped but somehow Jenkins is able to survive to the end of the round. A very clear 10-8 round for Drakkar Klose. In the second round Klose comes out patient and does not rush anything, despite his being extremely close to the finish in the previous round. This pays off for him because he eventually is able to rock Jenkins once again during an exchange. Klose follows up with more flush shots and this time the referee has seen way too many unanswered shots in this fight and steps in to call it off. A very impressive performance in a very dominant win for Klose. Klose by second round TKO.
Lina Lansberg v. Pannie Kianzad
In the first round Lansberg is able to force the clinch up against the cage where she is famous for landing elbows. Kianzad is able to stifle most of Lansberg’s offense though. Eventually, Kianzad is able to land a takedown and although Lansberg is constantly trying to escape, Kianzad stays one step ahead. Kianzad continues to stay in a dominant position and land peppering shots while controlling Lansberg for a majority of the round. A clear cut first round in the favor of Kianzad. In the second round Kianzad lands a good shot which opens up a cut on the face of her opponent. Lansberg continues to press forward but Kianzad is getting better at cutting angles and trying to keep the distance. Kianzad dominates most of the second round but in the last 30 seconds Lansberg lands a couple of flush elbows. One of the elbows hurts Kianzad and drops her immediately but she is able to get back up and finish the round. In the final round Lansberg marches forward with a little more enthusiasm knowing that she had just hurt Kianzad minutes ago. However, in this final round Kianzad is no longer willing to engage in the clinch fighting and is now using her best footwork of the entire fight. Kinzad keeps distance and picks Lansberg apart from the outside which ends up being enough to win her the round. The judges give her the final round along with another round giving her enough to win the fight. Kianzad by unanimous decision.
Devin Clark v. William Knight
The opening round of this fight is mostly all Knight. Clark goes for an early takedown but Knight sprawls and grabs ahold of the neck. He squeezes as hard as he can but is unable to get submission. However, he refuses to let go of the neck and just holds Clark’s neck in place for nearly two minutes. Once Knight finally lets go he lands a beautiful jump knee followed by a very powerful flurry where he lands more hard shots. Clark survives and ends up fighting back in the final minute but Knight had done more than enough to win the round comfortably. In the second round Clark comes out composed and bides his time until he can finally land a takedown. He lands it with authority this time and Knight lays flat on his back for almost the entire remainder of the round. Knight is able to fight off most of the damage but the top control for Clark is very clear and is plenty enough to win him the round. Going into the final round it appears the fight is tied at one round a piece. In the first couple minutes of the third both fighters are tentative and don’t want to enter into the pocket. Clark finally throws a big winging shot in order to duck under right after and get the takedown. Knight is able to get back up quickly this time but Clark keeps him clinched against the cage. After being against the cage for about 30 seconds Knight lets his guard down just long enough for Clark to step back and catch him off guard with a flush shot that wobbles him. Clark steps back in and lands another shot that drops him. Knight tries to survive but Clark lands a few more shots and the referee has now seen enough to stop the fight. Clark by third round TKO.
Mounir Lazzez v. Ange Loosa
The first round of this bout is very competitive. Loosa shows he is extremely fast and every time he opens up he does so with lightning speed. Lazzez is smart though and does well to stay on the outside and snipe with jabs and kicks. Both fighters land their fare share of shots but by the end of the round it appears that Lazzez has edged out the round with the better shots landed during the striking exchanges. In the second round Loosa picks up his output but Lazzez is still giving him all kinds of trouble by being a sniper from the outside. The round is close but once again it appears that Lazzez has edged it out. The final round Loosa tries to find press forward and look for the finish but Lazzez is always one step ahead. Lazzez cuts angles and evades all the big attacks while landing his precision counter strikes. The round is once again close but every time it is Lazzez that is just the slightly more polished and tactical fighter. Loosa gives a very good account of himself in his UFC debut but unfortunately for him he was just up against a more polished fighter on this particular evening. Lazzez by unanimous decision.
Pat Sabatini v. T.J. Laramie
This fight started out very competitive. Although Laramie was a huge underdog, he apparently missed that memo. He came out very strong and not only was winning the striking exchanges he also was stuffing the usually very dominant grappling of Sabatini. Although the first round was closely contested, it appeared that Laramie may have edged out the round in his favor. In the second round however, Sabatini starts finally landing some takedowns and really forcing Laramie to work. Laramie showed his grappling competence though along with his immense amount of strength and never settled on anything Sabatini was doing. Laramie kept the round competitive but later in the round Sabatini lands a flush body kick that folds Laramie up in very obvious pain. Sabatini rushes after him and tries to lock on a submission but Laramie not only escapes but ends up on top. This proved to be a perfect opportunity for him to recover. Although Laramie survives it is Sabatini that very clearly wins the round. In the final round the pressure and grappling of Sabatini finally starts to wear on Laramie. Laramie stays strong and technically sound but the takedowns are lasting l Sabatini just stays relentless in his attacks. Laramie puts up a good fight and has a very good showing of himself coming off of a layoff but Sabatini proves to just be too much over three rounds. Sabatini by unanimous decision.
Mayra Bueno Silva v. Yanan Wu
These women came out very fired up in the first round. They waste no time and get to exchanging hard punches and kicks immediately. Within the first couple minutes Silva lands flush and drops Wu instantly. Wu is able to survive though and works her way back to the feet. Silva continues marching forward but Wu remains nimble and fires back with her lightning fast counter combinations. The round stays exciting the whole time but Silva very clearly wins the round. In the second round Wu starts turning things around. She stays quick with her combinations and although Silva still lands some good shots, Wu eventually lands a takedown and starts working from top control. Silva threatens several submissions from the bottom but in the end she does not get them and Wu stays in top control for the judges to see. This large chunk of time on top should be enough to secure the round for Wu. In the third round the fight stays standing and Silva really starts to utilize her jab. She stays on the outside throwing her jab continuously like a piston. Wu throws the heavier output but a majority of the strikes do not land. Silva on the other hand is landing her jab fairly consistently which proves to be enough to win her the round. An exciting and competitive fight with plenty of action but in the end the judges felt that Silva had done enough to get the nod. Silva by unanimous decision.
Andre Fialho v. Miguel Baeza
This fight was short lived but very exciting while it lasted. Both fighters come out very measured as they clearly respected each other and the awareness of their opponent’s one punch knockout power. Baeza ends up being the fighter who stings first as he lands a very flush shot to the jaw of Fialho that cleary stuns him. Fialho stays poised though and continues his footwork and throwing strikes of his own. Baeza also is chipping away with the leg kicks as per usual in his fights. As the round progresses Fialho slowly starts getting more and more inside with his footwork. He starts getting dangerously close with his strikes until he finally lands the big one. He wobbles Baeza and while he has him stunned he blitzes quickly with several fast follow up shots. He stings Baeza a few more times until Baeza falls and Fialho rushes after him. He lands a couple more strikes while Baeza is still stunned on the ground and finally the referee is left no choice but to step in and stop the fight. Baeza protests but he was clearly hurt and no longer defending himself intelligently. A very impressive win for Fialho. Fialho by first round TKO.
Caio Borralho v. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev
Both of these fighters make their UFC debut after having very impressive performances on Dana White’s Contender Series. Omargadzhiev is yet another dangerous sambo wrestler from Dagestan. Omargadzhiev lands a quick takedown early in the first round but Borralho quickly reverses with a very slick sweep that catches Omargadzhiev off guard. From there Borralho stays on top and in control for the remainder of the round. He even works his way to the back of Omargadzhiev where he is able to threaten rear naked chokes and throw plenty of unanswered shots from behind. A very clear cut round in the favor of Borralho. In the second round Omargadzhiev comes out determined after being dominated in the first. Unfortunately for him he gets over eager with his shots and is now throwing huge looping punches. He loads up so bad on one of his punches that he falls down after missing. Borralho takes advantage of the mistake and once again assumes control on the ground. In addition to the ground control he once again works his way to the back of Omargadzhiev. He once again finishes the round there and clearly wins yet another round in dominant fashion. In the third round Omargadzhiev starts having more success as he continues blitzing forward with extreme aggression. This time he is actually landing his attacks and starts picking up some momentum. Regardless, he still would need a finish to pull off the victory. Unfortunately though, with one minute remaining in the fight, Borralho lands an illegal knee while Omargadzhiev was still grounded. Illegal strikes seem to be the all too common theme for the night. The referee takes a point away from Borralho but Omargadzhiev states that he is no longer fit to finish the fight. So once again a fight is cut short due to an illegal strike. Very unfortunate for Borralho after putting on such a beautiful and dominant performance over a very dangerous opponent. However, the fight had gone on long enough that the score cards were once again the determining factor. Borralho is still able to secure the win but it just comes with a little bit of a cloud over it. Borralho by unanimous decision.
Vicente Luque v. Belal Muhammad
The opening round of this fight starts off fairly calm. Luque is hesitant to sit down on any of his strikes because he knows that Muhammad’s main approach will be to shoot in for takedowns. When Muhammad finally takes his first takedown attempt Luque is ready and fights it off very well. Muhammad stops the grappling approach for a while and just decides to start engaging in the standup with Luque. By doing this he is able to get finally get Luque more relaxed and then once this happens Muhammad shoots in for another takedown and he is able to land it this time. This is not an easy feat to accomplish against Luque. Muhammad finishes the remainder of the round in top control. In the second round Luque is walking forward and stalking Muhammad backing him up against the cage and trying to corner him. Muhammad bounces back and forth laterally trying to stay safe. This type of pressure can start to wear on Muhammad over time if he doesn’t find any answers for it. Luckily for him he finally is able to land another takedown with 90 seconds remaining in the round. Luque does manage to get back up but not before Muhammad is able to score another full minute of ground control. The takedowns at the end of the first and second round could very well be enough to edge the rounds in Muhammad’s favor. In the third round the pressure of Luque starts to get to Muhammad. The nonstop footwork and lateral movement of Muhammad is finally starting to wear on him. Luque continues to march forward and force Muhammad to scramble desperately. Just when it looks like Muhammad is finally going to be in trouble he ducks under and lands a huge takedown in the nick of time. Even with the takedown though, the third round may have gone to Luque. In the third round Luque continues with the pressure and once again when it looks like Muhammad is about to melt from the pressure he lands an extremely critical takedown to save him. The fourth round once again is close but Muhammad is able to have a little more ground control than the third round and it may have been just enough to edge the round out for him. In the fifth and final round Luque’s corner is urging him to win the round at all costs. They feel like the fight might be tied at very best. Luque continues to march forward and forces desperate takedown attempts out of Muhammad. This time Luque is ready and is able to stuff the first three attempts. Muhammad, who is already tired, has now burned even more energy trying to get these takedowns. With two minutes left in the fight Muhammad blitzes once again but this time is able to land a hard fought takedown. This could prove to be huge. He takes the back of Luque against the cage and tries to secure a rear naked choke. Luque is able to eventually escape but now he only has 45 seconds left. The small crowd in the UFC Apex is now as loud as they have been all night. Luque marches forward but is not able to do anything of note in the final amount of time left. It appears that Muhammad may have done just enough to win this rematch. The judges agreed. Muhammad by unanimous decision.