Victor Altamirano v. Daniel da Silva
This fight was an all action affair that was perfect to start off the event and set the tone for the evening. In the opening minute Silva starts picking up momentum and lands a flush shot which instantly drops Altamirano. From there Altamirano activates his Mexican fighting spirit and immediately starts fighting for survival. He works his way back to the feet and both fighters start trading with furious intensity. The crowd begins to erupt and Altamirano eventually lands a devastating knee to the body of Silva that drops him in agony. Altamirano stands over him and starts raining down ground and pound. Da Silva tries his best to survive but he is taking nonstop punches and elbows. The referee gives him every chance to survive but eventually the onslaught is just too much and the fight is called off. Both fighters’ durability were tested as were their cardio but after a nonstop all action battle, Altamirano comes out on top. Altamirano by first round TKO.
Aoriqileng v. Jay Perrin
The opening round of this bout is a very competitive one. For the most part the fighters stay on their feet and are content to trade strikes. Each fighter has their moments but about halfway through the round Aoriqileng lands a flush shot that drops Perrin instantly. Perrin is able to scramble and survive but the crowd is now fully engaged. Once Perrin gets back to his feet the fighters get right back to trading. The remaining portion of the round is competitive and Perrin is able to land a nice takedown at the very end of the round. Despite this, the knockdown for Aoriqileng should have been enough to win him an otherwise close round. In the second round Perrin gets an early takedown and seems determined to make this round a more grappling centered one. Aoriqileng works his way back to the feet and once again lands a flush. This shot drops Perrin once again but he hops right back up. The trading continues and Perrin has a couple moments, especially at the end of the round. Unfortunately for him, the strike that dropped him may have once again cost him the round. In the final round Aoriqileng continues landing flush on Perrin. The durability and heart of Perrin continues to show as he often just smiles after being hit flush. Perrin lands more takedowns but Aoriqileng is just too strong and Perrin is never able to hold him down for long. The round is once again competitive and the final minute is all action which the crowd feeds off of. The final ten seconds are the best seconds of the fight for Perrin as he lands flush at least 5 times. Aoriqileng is somehow able to survive but this may have been enough to steal the round for Perrin. In the end though, the judges felt that it was Aoriqileng who did enough to win the fight. Aoriqileng by unanimous decision.
Amir Albazi v. Francisco Figueiredo
This fight was yet another short lived affair. The fighters start off somewhat measured and respectful of each other. Eventually Albazi starts to clinch and is demonstrating his clear power advantage in the grappling. Figueiredo lands some beautiful kicks straight up the middle to the body of Albazi. Eventually the two fighters are clinching along the fence and Albazi grabs a body lock which he then uses to force Figueiredo to the ground. From there he lands some nice ground strikes and is eventually able to work to the back of Figueiredo. It doesn’t take long before Albazi is eventually threatening submissions. Eventually he is able to get under the chin of Figueiredo and has a rear naked choke which he is squeezing tightly. Figueiredo tries to hang on but the pressure is just too tight and he is left no choice but to tap out. Another very impressive win for Albazi to keep him surging up through the division. Albazi by first round submission.
AJ Fletcher v. Ange Loosa
The opening round of this round went way differently than people may have expected. Instead of Fletcher using his usual wrestling approach, he instead chooses to strike with Loosa. Unfortunately for Fletcher he pays the price. He gets hit flush on several occasions and is even wobbled at one point. The more the round goes the more Fletcher is falling behind. Then in the final ten seconds, just to add emphasis to his case, it is actually Loosa who lands a takedown. This was a clear cut round in the favor of Loosa. In the second round Loosa continues to do good work until he finally starts showing subtle signs of fatigue. Fletcher suddenly seems to sense this and out of nowhere just starts pouring it all out to try and overwhelm Loosa. This onslaught starts melt Loosa and the flush strikes start landing one after another. Fletcher continues to blitz throwing nonstop haymakers and Loosa is rocked and wobbling all over the cage. The fight looks like it is seconds from being stopped but for some reason the referee allows the madness to continue. Loosa somehow is still conscious and then out of nowhere Fletcher now hits a brick wall. He is completely exhausted and goes for a double leg that is not even close to being successful. He just stays on the ground holding onto both legs but is very clearly completely out of gas. He probably did enough to win the round but is now completely compromised going into the final round. As the third round begins to play out the fight hits the ground and Fletcher is on the bottom. He is so tired that he never tries to get back up. The final minutes of the fight are spent with Loosa laying on top and both fighters being completely exhausted. In the end the judges felt that it was Loosa who had done enough to edge out two of the rounds. Loosa by unanimous decision.
Sean Woodson v. Luis Saldana
The first round of this fight was an incredibly wild affair. The two fighters are trading on the feet and it is competitive for the first couple minutes. Then out of nowhere Saldana lands a beautiful left hook that drops Woodson instantly. He looks completely out of it and all it would have taken is Saldana to run over and land another shot that would have ended the fight immediately. Instead Saldana just stays on the other side of the cage and watches him get up slowly. Woodson is still very out of it so when he walks over to engage again he is now dropped with a simple jab. Saldana now sprints over to follow up but he makes the terrible mistake of blasting a knee to the head of Woodson while he’s still clearly down but trying to get up. The fight is quickly paused and Saldana is running around the cage thinking he won. He hops on top of the cage and is raising his arms to the crowd. He eventually finds out that the fight is not over and even worse, he is now being deducted a point. He is lucky the fight is not just altogether called off but Woodson is a soldier and chooses to continue. The round eventually comes to an end and it could very well have been a 9-9 despite all the damage and dominance that Saldana displayed. In the second round the fighters continue to exchange on the feet and for the most part the round is close. In the final minutes the fight hits the ground and Woodson gets Saldana in a buggy choke. The choke is very tight and Saldana looks very concerned but he is somehow able to survive to the end of the round. A very interesting fight thus far and despite all the damage that Woodson sustained, he could be up by a round now after the buggy choke attempt in the second. In the final round the two fighters are fatigued but continue to press on. Each fighter has their subtle moments but neither ever do much to emphatically steal the round. Woodson gets in top control on the ground briefly and with the round so close something as simple as that could have been enough to sway the judges in his favor. Going to the judges the audience and commentators have no clue what to expect. The fight was entertaining but very weird. However, in the end, the judges declare this fight a split draw.
Jared Gordon v. Leonardo Santos
Despite the extreme grappling prowess of Santos this fight was a mostly all striking affair. In the first round the two fighters exchange punches and kicks and have zero grappling attempts. The exchanges are fairly competitive until late in the round when Gordon starts to pull away slightly. In the second round Santos finally starts trying to grapple but Gordon does a great job at sprawling and defending any takedown attempts. Gordon continues to edge out the striking exchanges out in the open and lands some good strikes in the clinch along the fence as well. Going into the final round it appears that Gordon is up two rounds to zero. In the third round Santos continues to try to get the fight to the floor but Gordon does great with his takedown defense. The fight stays on the feet and Gordon keeps his lead in the striking. By the end of the fight there were never any truly electric moments but Gordon does enough to coast his way to a fairly comfortable win. Gordon by unanimous decision.
Marcin Tybura v. Alexandr Romanov
The opening round of this fight is pure dominance from Romanov. He finally finds a guy that can survive the opening round with him but that does not make his dominance any less. He lands a brutal takedown by picking up the 250 pounds of Tybura and sending him flying through the air. He lands some good shots while in top control. Eventually Tybura works his way back to the feet but it doesn’t take long before Romanov is picking him back up and sending him flying through the air again. This time Romanov stays on his back for the entire remainder of the round. He is clinching along the fence while on the back and landing shot after shot. By the end of the round Romanov has landed nonstop strikes and kept Tybura from landing even a single strike in the first round. A very clear cut round for Romanov. In the second round things begin to go south for Romanov though. He is no longer getting easy takedowns and begins taking some hard shots on the feet. He clearly is fatigued from all the heavy grappling he did in the first round. Eventually Romanov slips and lands on his back and is too tired to rush back to the feet. Tybura jumps on top and is able to control for the remainder of the round while landing ground strikes. Going into the final round the fight could be tied. In the third round Romanov continues to appear fatigued and is no longer wrestling at all. Tybura continues to walk forward and land shots from the outside. Romanov fires back occasionally but his output is just entirely too little. This ends up costing him the round and in turn costs him the fight. Tybura by unanimous decision.
Tyson Pedro v. Harry Hunsucker
This fight went about as expected if you were to look at the odds going into the fight. As the fight begins Hunsucker blitzes across the cage but is easily evaded by Pedro. That was pretty much the climax of Hunsucker’s offense for this fight. As the two circled in the middle Pedro lands a stiff jab that stuns Hunsucker. Pedro stalks in quickly to land shots behind it. He lands another shot that clearly hurts Hunsucker and he now is curling up in the middle of the cage while still standing. Pedro then throws a blistering kick to the body and this one folds Hunsucker over until he falls to the ground. Pedro blitzes after him to land a few follow up shots and the referee rushes in to call off the fight. The fight is over within minutes. Pedro by first round TKO.
Lucie Pudilova v. Yanan Wu
This fight was a mostly grappling affair. In the opening round Wu tries to stay in the middle and exchange strikes but Pudilova insists on forcing the grappling. She eventually gets a takedown and is able to stay on top for a good portion of the round. She lands some occasional strikes but nothing is ever too damaging. Despite this, the takedown and control are enough to comfortably win the round for her. In the second round Pudilova gets right back to the grappling. She blitzes across the cage and is able to land another takedown. This time Pudilova is much more aggressive on the ground. She starts threatening rear naked chokes but Wu is scrappy and is able to survive. She eventually escapes the choke attacks but then Pudilova gets into full mount and sees her opportunity. She starts landing nonstop brutal elbows from top. Wu is covering up but the sheer force and optics of the nonstop elbows are enough to get the referee in quickly to start firing off warnings. The elbows continue to come and eventually the referee has no choice but to stop the fight. A very impressive win for Pudilova to get her back on track. Pudilova by second round TKO.
Jose Aldo v. Merab Dvalishvili
In the opening minute of the first round the fighters are somewhat tentative while trying to figure out who wants to attack first. Eventually Dvalishvilli starts throwing calf kicks and good jabs. Aldo hangs back and appears to be content as the counter striker in this fight. Dvalishvili attempts some takedowns but each time he is denied. Aldo doesn’t have as much volume but when he does decide to throw it’s absolutely vicious. He throws lightning fast hooks and blistering punches to the body. The first round is close but may have been slightly edged by Dvalishvili. In the second round Dvalishvili continues to attempt for takedowns but he is never able to get them. The extremely talented takedown defense of Aldo continues. Dvalishvili stays persistent though and if he cannot land the takedowns he instead forces Aldo to the fence where he then clinches and lands strikes inside the clinch. He does this several times and although Aldo seems frustrated by it, the sequences are still scoring for Dvalishvili. The round was close again but this one seemed a little more clear cut in favor of Dvalishvili. In the final round Dvalishvili has a little more luck with the grappling. He never is able to get into top control but he is at least able to keep ahold of the body clinch and take him down for split seconds at a time. The continued body clinch and control of Dvalishvili is enough to take away any potential offense for Aldo and likely win him another round. The fight was somewhat uneventful and clearly not crowd pleasing but in the end it was Dvalishvili who was doing whatever it took to get the win. Dvalishvili by unanimous decision.
Paulo Costa v. Luke Rockhold
This fight was the most exciting fight of the night, hands down. From the very beginning it was nonstop action. Costa was the aggressor early in the opening round and was walking Rockhold down but then the counter strikes start coming back at him. Rockhold starts landing his vicious body kicks and throwing crisp straight lefts to keep Costa back. Rockhold lands a good amount of stinging shots and even lands a takedown. The round is close and both fighters land heavy shots so it will be a difficult round for the judges to score. However, the minute the round is over Rockhold is bent over with his hands on his knees. He looks incredibly exhausted which is a very concerning and bad body language for the judges. From that point on it seems as Rockhold is hanging on by a thread when it comes to the cardio. In the second round Costa walks forward and stalks Rockhold. Despite being incredibly fatigued Rockhold musters up the strength to throw full blast shots in times of need. Costa eventually lands a takedown but Rockhold is able to find his way back up. Rockhold still seems to be hanging on by a thread but he still lands full power shots that clearly wobble Costa at times. The round is close and Rockhold survives. In the final round Rockhold is still struggling to hang in there. Costa keeps walking forward and every time he closes in it feels as though the fight could be moments away from ending. Rockhold somehow is able to evade the big shots and musters up the strength to throw blistering counter strikes. He once again lands flush on Costa as the crowd erupts. Costa lands his share of extremely violent shots as well. As the fight comes to a close both fighters are exhausted. When the score cards are read the judges agree that it was Costa who had done enough to win. Rockhold is emotional as he talks off his gloves and announces that this will be his last fight. It is a sad ending for a very impressive career. Costa by unanimous decision.
Kamaru Usman v. Leon Edwards
In the opening round of this championship fight we finally see the champion truly tested. Usman is walking forward but Edwards stays poised and throws beautiful kicks up the middle to the body of Usman. He then lands nice leg kicks on the champion. Usman throws stiff jabs and initiates the clinch. He eventually is able to get Edwards to the ground but Edwards is slick and is able to work his way back to the feet. Then out of nowhere, during a clinch. It is Edwards who lands a takedown and the crowd absolutely erupts. This is the first time the champion has ever been taken down in a fight. Edwards lands nice strikes from top control and eventually is able to take the back of Usman. From there he threatens rear naked chokes which are never in tight enough to end the fight but are more than enough to win the round for him. In the second round Usman comes back determined. He lands a takedown and starts doing some good work from top. Edwards works his way back up but Usman is stalking him and forcing his back to the cage. Eventually Edwards stops moving his feet and starts eating unnecessary shots along the fence. By the end of the round it appears that Edwards may already be tired. Going into the third the fight is likely tied. In the third round Usman continues with the grappling which is clearly starting to wear on Edwards. The pace and nonstop wrestling mixed with the altitude is making things tough for the challenger. When the fight hits the ground we see Edwards slower and slower to get up. The resistance is no longer what it was earlier in the fight. Another clear cut round for the champion. In the fourth round Edwards has some decent moments early and even takes the back of Usman while standing. He lands some decent clinch strikes but eventually Usman breaks away. It doesn’t take long before Usman walks Edwards back to the fence and lands another takedown. He spends a majority of the remaining time in top control. It appears that this is another round scored for Usman and Edwards will now need a finish to get the win. In the final round the fight continues to play out the same. It feels as though we are seeing the remainder of the fight is a formality. Edwards strikes occasionally but it’s just not enough and doesn’t seem to be with much enthusiasm. Then with less than 90 seconds left in the fight it happens. Edwards throws a fake left punch that gets Usman to dip off to the side. As he dips there is a left high kick coming from Edwards with blistering power and precision. He lands flush and the pound for pound champion falls backwards and is knocked out and staring into the sky. The arena erupts. The welterweight king has been slain. Edwards has finally done it. After all his hurdles in life, after terrible diversity in the fight, he finally finds a way. And new. Leon Edwards by fifth round KO.
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