Erin Blanchfield v. JJ Aldrich
The first round of this opening bout was very competitive. Both fighters are very skilled in the grappling department so a majority of the round played out on the feet. Aldrich did well to land some knees and kicks and was winning the punch battle straight down the middle. Blanchfield threw head kicks and was very close to landing some flush. Both fighters had their moments but in the end it was a round that might have been seen differently by the three judges. In the second round the fighters continued to jockey for position and trade blows. Aldrich continues to try to secure a takedown but for the most part Blanchfield is able to shut that down. As the women continue to search for momentum Blanchfield finally sees her opening. She is able to lock in a choke on Aldrich while the two are still standing. The choke looks tight and Aldrich appears not to know how to defend it. After a few seconds of hard squeezing Aldrich eventually chooses to tap out. Another very impressive performance for the up and coming 23 year old. Blanchfield by second round submission.
Andreas Michailidis v. Rinat Fakhretdinov
In the opening round Fakhretdinov comes out very aggressive. He marches across the cage and starts throwing combinations with absolutely zero feeling out time. After throwing a few rapid strikes he quickly ducks under and latches onto a body lock which he quickly turns into a takedown. Fakhretdinov lands a couple of strikes in top control but Michailidis is able to work his way back to his feet fairly quickly. After that exchange a majority of the round took place on the feet. Each fighters had their moments and the round ended in the clinch along the fence. A tough one to score for the judges but they may have given a slight edge to Fakhretdiniov. In the second rond Fakhretdinov is able to land another good takedown but this time he is able to secure very tight top control. Michailidis seems to be a little more accepting of the position this time as he appears to be showing very clear signs of fatigue. Fakhretdinov is able to control Michailidis for nearly three minutes while landing shots in top control. None of the shots are particularly damaging but this was a very clear cut round in the favor of Fakhretdinov. In the final round Fakhretdinov shoots for another takedown immediately. Michailidis is able to defend and then almost reverses to get a takedown of his own but after some spirited scrambling it is Fakhretdinov who eventually ends up on top. From there he starts landing good solid strikes and this time they are doing much more damage. A huge cut opens up around the ear of Michailidis and the blood starts pouring out very rapidly. After a few more minutes of ground control and heavy strikes the canvas is now covered in blood. Michailidis hangs tough and is able to survive but this is a very clear cut round for Fakhretdinov. A very dominant performance. Fakhretdinov by unanimous decision.
Jeff Molina v. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
Zhumagulov starts this bout much more aggressive than he usually does. He has been known to be somewhat of a slow starter in the past but appears to be trying to change that. Both fighters exchange strikes in the middle but eventually Zhumagulov starts pursuing the takedowns. He gets a body lock and forces Molina’s back up against the cage. Molina is able to fight off the takedowns but Zhumagulov is able to control along the fence and keep Molina’s offense to a minimum. Eventually Molina breaks free and lands some good strikes to finish the round. A tough round to score. In the second round Zhumagulov immediately pursues the takedown again but Molina is once again able to fight it off. Molina lands a majority of the significant strikes in the round but Zhumagulov lands maybe the best shot of the round with a flush left hook that slightly wobbles Molina momentarily. Another very competitive round and could have gone to either fighter. In the third round Molina marches forward and starts to walk down his opponent. He starts to land several shots and is picking up momentum. Zhumagulov is not being as persistent with the grappling attempts and appears to be slowing down. Molina continues to land shots from the outside continues to march him down. Zhumagulov tries one more desperate attempt towards the end of the round but once again Molina is able to fight it off. As the fight comes to a close it is once again another tough fight to score. In the end, the judges thought that it was Molina who had done just enough by landing the more significant strikes. Molina by split decision.
Tony Gravely v. Johnny Munoz
This fight was very short lived. Munoz comes out looking very good. He is being sharp with the footwork and landing good shots from the outside. As he closes the distance alongside the cage he ducks down and tries to grab the legs. Gravely times an absolutely beautiful uppercut on the inside which he throws from a very short distance. The punch coming from such a short distance was a very clear display of Gravely’s extreme power. The punch lands flush on the chin and drops Munoz immediately. Gravely stands over him and lands several lightning fast follow up shots with heavy power. The referee rushes over to stop the fight. A very quick and impressive performance. Gravely by first round TKO.
Benoit Saint-Denis v. Niklas Stolze
In the first round of this fight Saint-Denis wastes no time pursuing the grappling. He marches across the cage and quickly latches onto the legs of Stolze. On the way in he does eat a very flush knee that opens up a cut but he presses on and is able to secure the takedown. From there he starts improving his position and is displaying a very tight and powerful ground control. The fighters eventually make their way back to the feet and Stolze lands an accidental low blow. The fight is paused but once it resumes Saint-Denis quickly resumes the dominant grappling. In the final ten seconds he locks in a very tight rear naked choke but Stolze is able to survive due to being saved by the bell. If there were five more seconds in the round the fight would have been over. In the second round Saint-Denis is marching forward and being very aggressive with the forward pressure once again. After some resistance and being put in a guillotine briefly he is able to escape and secure the takedown. He once again displays his very heavy top control. Eventually he is able to lock up a choke once again but this time he has all the time in the world. He takes the back and gets the rear naked choke. Stolze is left no choice but to tap out. Saint-Denis by second round submission.
Damon Jackson v. Daniel Argueta
This fight was a very grappling heavy affair. Jackson gets a takedown very quickly in the first round and from there takes the back of Argueta. Jackson secures the body lock and from the back he is threatening rear naked chokes. Argueta stays composed though and is able to land some pretty decent strikes by punching backwards behind his head. In fact, he landed one that was so flush he even swells up the eye of Jackson. As the round progressed Jackson spent a majority of the round in control on the ground. At several different instances he gets a tight squeeze around the face of Argueta which were clearly painful but he was never able to get under the neck. A clear cut round in the favor of Jackson nonetheless. In the second round Jackson once again secures a takedown and is immediately in heavy control again. He lands some better strikes in this round and once again is threatening submissions. Argueta shows composure and never panics but Jackson clearly dominates the round again. Going into the third round it appears that Argueta will need a finish to get the win. In the third Jackson is now showing signs of fatigue. Argueta marches forward with huge aggression and is starting to land as Jackson is appearing to be wobbly from fatigue. Argueta makes the mistake of closing the distance and trying to grapple. After some huge exhausting scrambles Jackson is able to muster up the last of his energy to end up on top. From there he is clearly exhausted. He rests for a few seconds then starts landing strikes from top again. He tries submissions again but Argueta is always on point with the defense. A very grueling final round but Jackson had done more than enough in the fight to pull off the win. Jackson by unanimous decision.
Joe Solecki v. Alex da Silva
In the opening round of this fight da Silva lands a flush shot that drops Solecki. From there da Silva hops into top control and starts dropping ground strikes. Solecki remains calm and eventually is even able to force a scramble in which he locks in a choke. Da Silva starts to squirm and is desperately trying to escape as it is very apparent the choke is tight. After fierce desperation, da Silva is able to escape and once again end up back in top control. A pretty exciting first round with a good amount of momentum swings. A tough round to score but it likely went to da Silva. In the second round Solecki is able to quickly land a takedown and secure the back of da Silva. Solecki gets the body lock from behind and is threatening rear naked chokes while also landing good strikes from behind. Da Silva is being warned several times by the referee to stop putting his toes in the cage. Eventually the referee takes away a point which could prove to very devastating for da Silva. Going into the final round it is likely that Solecki is up 19-18 due to the point deduction. The third round plays out much more on the feet than the previous rounds. The fighters trade strikes and da Silva clearly shows he has the advantage in the striking. With about 90 seconds left in the round, da Silva is able to land a very important takedown. He lands some good strikes in top control but eventually elects to let Solecki back up to the feet. Da Silva lands more good shots on the feet and as the fight comes to a close it appears that da Silva has won the round which will likely result in the fight being a draw. In the end, one judge did call the fight a draw but the other two judges felt that it was Solecki who had done just enough. Solecki by unanimous decision.
Felice Herrig v. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
The first round of this bout is an all striking affair. Kowalkiewicz does well from the outside and is landing good jabs and straight rights. Herrig remains scrappy though and is throwing wild combinations during counter situations. Kowalkiewicz appears the more precise striker but the scrappiness of Herrig is making it exciting and giving some problems to Kowalkiewicz. In the final 90 seconds Kowalkiewicz is able to take the back of Herrig while stading and is controlling her from behind. Herrig remains calm though and is able to fight off the takedown attempts. A close first round but it appeared to have gone to Kowalkiewicz by a slight margin. In the second round the fighters continue their very scrappy striking exchanges on the feet. Eventually Kowalkiewicz is able to secure a takedown and quickly locks in a choke that appears very tight. It seems like the fight is about to end but Herrig remains calm and somehow escapes. Kowalkiewicz then gets on top and starts raining down vicious ground strikes. Herrig tries to squirm out of the attack and Kowalkiewicz locks in another choke. This time the choke is even tighter and Herrig is unable to escape. After a few seconds of hard squeezing Herrig is forced to tap out. A very impressive comeback performance for Kowalkiewicz and possibly the final fight of Herrig’s career as she left her gloves in the middle of the Octagon. Kowalkiewicz by second round submission.
Alonzo Menifield v. Askar Mozharov
Mozharov makes his UFC debut in this fight after a very interesting series of events during fight week. Mozharov had a win/loss record of 24-7 going into fight week but it was later determined that some of his wins were not legit. His record then fell to 19-12 which was unlike anything we have ever seen. The fight begins and Menifield blitzes with winging shots just to get Mozharov backing up. Once backing up, Menifield ducks under and quickly secures a takedown. From there he starts landing shots while making sure to stay heavy in top control. Mozharov eventually is able to work his way back to his feet and lands a couple of heavy strikes but his aggression ultimately backfires on him. Menifield is able to duck under once again and land another takedown. This time Menfield is able to secure a crucifix position and starts landing elbows. Mozharov tries to squirm and survive to the end of the round but as the time is ticking away Menifield finally starts landing flush elbows very hard and fast. After a series of crushing, unanswered elbows, the referee is left no choice but to step in and stop the fight. Menifield by first round TKO.
Ode Osbourne v. Zarrukh Adashev
This was another short lived fight. As per usual, Adashev comes out very aggressive with his lightning fast and heavy strikes. For the most part Osbourne is able to evade but the strikes are dangerously close as Osbourne is backing up with his hands down. Eventually Adashev blitzes in again with a heavy combination and Osbourne slides out of the way and lands a beautiful counter right hook. The hook lands flush and drops Adashev instantly. Osbourne quickly rushes over to land a few more follow-up strikes. After a few of them land flush Adashev is now out cold. Osbourne by first round KO.
Poliana Botelho v. Karine Silva
We had yet another quick bout in this one. Silva makes her UFC debut after an impressive performance on the Dana White Contender Series which secured her a contract. Silva was a little more measured than she usually is in the opening rounds of her fights. She stays on the outside and is patient with her counter strikes. Botelho uses good jabs and kicks but Silva stays calm and looks for her openings. As the fighters were exchanging each had subtle moments but eventually Silva lands a flush right hook. As in one quick movement she lands the hook and immediately grabs ahold of the body to get a takedown. Botelho tries to scramble out but Silva is able to lock up the darce choke with only a small amount of time left in the round. As the seconds tick down Botelho is unable to make it to the bell as she chooses to tap out with only a few seconds left in the round. A very impressive win for Silva’s UFC debut. Silva by first round submission.
Mike Trizano v. Lucas Almeida
In the opening round of this bout it is Almeida who is doing the better of the striking exchanges. Trizano is walking forward but he is not throwing much and Almeida is throwing very hard and fast combinations that are appearing to give Trizano some problems. As the round progresses, the coaches of Trizano can be heard urging him to pick up the activity. He still seems somewhat stifled but in the final thirty seconds of the round Trizano lands a beautiful left hook that wobbles Almeida. Trizano then throws a knee up the middle that also catches Almeida sending him wobbling backwards until he falls. Trizano rushes after him and tries to land some follow up strikes but Almeida latches on and is able to survive. In the second round the fighters continue trading strikes in the middle. Both are having their moments but eventually it is Almeida that lands flush and drops Trizano this time. Trizano falls back and Almeida rushes in to assume top control. This time it is Trizano who lays on his back and is able to recover while in guard. Unfortunately, during a striking exchange on the ground, the fighters clash heads which opens up a huge cut above the right eye of Trizano. The blood starts pouring profusely and the referee stops the fight momentarily for the doctor to examine the cut. The fighters are allowed to proceed. The round expires and it appears that the fight may be tied going into the final round. In the third round the fighters get right back to the action with the blood still coming out of the head of Trizano. The fighters trade violently but out of nowhere Almeida lands another flush strike that spins Trizano around until he falls to the ground. Almeida rushes in after him to land several hard follow up strikes. Trizano tries to survive but the strikes are coming too fast and Trizano can’t do enough to convince the referee to let the fight continue. A very impressive UFC debut for Almeida, being yet another fighter finding a victory in their debut after the Dana White Contender Series. Almeida by third round TKO.
Dan Ige v. Movsar Evloev
Ige comes out in the first round and looks very sharp. He utilizes his jab and footwork beautifully. In the opening minute Evloev seems a little caught off guard by the precision of Ige. Evloev remains poised though and starts finding some striking success. As the round progresses Evloev eventually lands a flush knee right to the jaw of Ige which clearly wobbles him. Evloev stalks his injured prey but doesn’t rush anything. Ige eventually recovers but Evloev then ducks under and is able to get Ige to the ground. For the remainder of the round Evloev is controlling in the grappling realm. A competitive round and a nice start but Evloev does the better work and likely wins the round. In the second round Evloev starts landing more solid strikes. About halfway through the round Ige’s face is now showing a lot of significant damage. Evloev continues to stalk his injured prey but Ige is not going anywhere. He stands his ground and lands some good shots of his own. In the final 90 seconds Evloev secures another takedown and starts landing strikes from top control. Another competitive round but it once again looks to be won by Evloev. In the final round Ige comes out aggressive looking for the much needed finish. Evloev makes him pay for his aggression and ducks under to latch onto a body lock. He eventually is able to get Ige to the ground. Ige never accepts the position and constantly tries to escape but he’s having trouble shaking the clinches of Evloev. Ige is now finally starting to show some signs of serious frustration. Evloev finishes the round with heavy pressure and appears to have won every round. The judges agree. Evloev by unanimous decision.
Alexander Volkov v. Jairzinho Rozenstruik
This main event was over much faster than expected. Rozenstruik promised to be more aggressive and active in this fight and he delivered. In the opening round Volkov started picking Rozenstruik apart from the outside as per usual with his fights. Rozenstruik waits for his opportunity and when it finally presents itself he leaps forward with a very heavy combination. He lands flush and slightly wobbles Volkov. Rozenstruik continues lunging forward with more punches but Volkov survives the blitz. Within a matter of seconds after the blitz it is actually Volkov who lands a flush straight shot to the chin of Rozenstruik. He wobbles and shows very bad body language to the referee. Volkov rushes after with follow up shots and the mouthpiece of Rozenstruik then flies out during the flurry. Another bad image for the referee to see. After a couple more punches the referee rushes in to stop the fight. Rozenstruik protests but his body language was not good and it appeared to be a good stoppage. Volkov by first round TKO.