Sergey Morozov vs. Journey Newsom
In the opening round of this fight Morozov takes his time and evades some heavy lunging shots from Newsom. Eventually Morozov sees his chance and blasts in for a double leg. He gets Newsom down and starts wearing on him with heavy pressure and control. Newsom stays calm but is being controlled and slowly feeling his energy drain. Morozov spends the last couple minutes in complete control while peppering in shots. This should be enough to win him the round comfortably. In the second round Newsom starts on the feet and is lunging shots again. Morozov is once again slick with evading and awaiting his chance to grapple. He eventually finds his opening and shoots in to take control. Once Newsom is in the grasp of Morozov it is almost impossible to shake him. Morozov continues to control and pepper shots in. He appears to have won another round comfortably. In the final round the same order of events take place. Newsom continues to lunge and is hoping to find that one shot to turn things around. Unfortunately for him that never happens. Morozov once again finds control and is able to dominate Newsom once more with his superior grappling. This wins him the round and allows him to cruise comfortably to another nice win. Morozov by unanimous decision.
David Dvorak vs. Manel Kape
The first round of this bout is a wild one. Both fighters start off aggressively and Kape throws a wild head kick that comes inches from landing flush. Eventually the grappling begins and Kape does a nice job giving Dvorak heavy pressure. However, Dvorak stays smart and is able to evade, eventually reversing a couple times which causes some wild scrambles. In the final ten seconds Kape gets a nasty kimura locked up and has Dvorak grimacing badly. Dvorak is doing everything he can to hold on and not tap. After ten seconds of hell, he is somehow able to survive and escape the round. In the second round Kape starts catching fire. He begins to land flush and has Dvorak in trouble. In the final couple minutes Dvorak is completely in defense mode. Kape has him hurt and is pursuing him heavily while Dvorak is running away nonstop and trying to survive. He does this all while throwing almost nothing in return to hold off Kape. The dominance of Kape wins him the round easily and may have even been enough to be a 10-8 round. In the final round Dvorak tries to turn the momentum around but he never is able to take control. Despite this, he at least is more competitive and no longer is getting completely dominated. The two fighters box it out for most of the round and Kape ends the fight feeling confident that he has done more than enough to win. The judges agree. Kape by unanimous decision.
Bryan Battle vs. Rinat Fakhretdinov
The opening round of this fight is a one-sided affair. It takes only a matter of seconds before Fakhretdinov initiates the grappling and starts to take over. Not only does he land an emphatic takedown but then the level of control and heavy strikes that follow are even more of a sight to behold. Fakhretdinov dominates for the entire round while constantly pinning the posting arm of Battle. He blasts full powered punches and elbows and lands repeatedly. It is a very dominant and violent round that leaves Battle bleeding heavily. The dominance felt like it could easily be in a conversation for a 10-8 round. In the second round it is more of the same. It once again takes only seconds before Fakhretdinov is locked on and dominating with heavy pressure and even heavier strikes. It could have easily been another 10-8 round. Going into the final round Fakhretdinov is in completely control and Battle has had almost zero offense the entire fight. In the first minute of the final round Fakhretdinov lands flush while on the feet and drops Battle violently. Fakhretdinov chases after him and once again assumes top position where he has lived the entire fight. The dominance continues and poor Battle just continues to suffer. The fight comes to an end, and it is complete and utter dominance by Fakhretdinov. A couple of the judges scored the fight 30-25. What a performance. Fakhretdinov by unanimous decision.
Maheshate vs. Rafa Garcia
In the first round of this bout Maheshate gets right to work. He starts throwing his signature knees right up the middle and is even grazing with a few of them. Maheshate is also throwing sniper punches and is basically giving Garcia all that he can handle. Garcia eventually tries to initiate the grappling, but Maheshate defends nicely. Garcia never gets discouraged but it is a clear winning round for Maheshate. In the second round Maheshate lands a brutal shot early in the round that opens up Garcia badly. As the round progresses there is blood pouring out like a faucet. It ends up painting his entire torso. Then the fight hits the ground and Garcia finds some nice moments for himself. When the two fighters stand back up Maheshate is now painted in blood as well. There is blood all over both fighters and all over the canvas. Going into the final round it will be interesting if all the blood loss starts to fatigue Garcia. Early in the final round Garcia lands an early takedown. The blood is once again pouring everywhere but Garcia is now in control. Maheshate stays patient and finds his way back to the feet, but Garcia is now starting to gain some momentum. As the fight ends Garcia appears to have won the final round. The fight will likely come down to the second round. After a very bloody and competitive fight the judges felt that it was Garcia who had done enough. Garcia by unanimous decision.
Said Nurmagomedov vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov
The first round of this fight is a wild one. Kakhramonov comes out extremely aggressively and throws a winging punch right out of the gate and lands it. Nurmagomedov quickly locks up a guillotine while still standing that looks very tight. Where he makes a mistake is he decides to pull guard with that choke which often backfires on fighters. The choke is tight, but Kakhramonov eventually escapes. He is now in top control and throwing shots from top. Nurmagomedov eventually escapes and there are nonstop scrambles for a majority of the round. The fight is back and forth but the explosive efforts of Kakhramonov are giving Nurmagomedov all that he can handle. The sheer explosiveness and relentless offense is likely enough to win the round for Kakhramonov. In the second round Kakhramonov gets right back to work. He once again is exploding with huge movements and constantly forcing Nurmagomedov to be on the defensive. He appears to be winning the round once again, but Nurmagomedov finally sees his chance. He locks up a very tight choke during a scramble, which he had done several times before but this one is different. Kakhramonov tries to escape but eventually realizes there is no escape. The choke is too tight and Kakhramonov is forced to tap out. A very wild fight and a huge win for Nurmagomedov but he absolutely had to earn it. Nurmagomedov by second round submission.
Jake Matthews vs. Matt Semelsberger
In the opening round the fight is fairly competitive for the first half. Both fighters land some nice kicks and throw some good jabs with occasional hooks. Eventually Semelsberger lands a flush shot that drops Matthews violently. Semelsberger stands over him and quickly throws heavy shot after shot looking for the finish. Matthews is in all kinds of trouble but is able to evade just enough to grab on and somehow find his way back to the feet. He is still wobbled but surprisingly recovers quickly. The round is a good one but that heavy offensive moment for Semelsberger will no doubt him the round. In the second round the fight is once again competitive. This time Matthews lands a flush one that now hurts Semelsberger. He doesn’t drop but the shot clearly bothers him. As the round progresses it appears that Matthews is now winning this round. However, Semelsberger lands another bomb late in the round that once again drops Matthews. He finds a way to survive once again but this is unfortunate for Matthews because he appeared to be clearly winning the round. It is unclear as to whether or not that will be enough to steal the round for Semelsberger. In the final round Semelsberger once again lands a flush right that drops Matthews yet again. This time it happens early in the round, but Matthews somehow is able to recover again. It is very impressive the durability and heart that Matthews is showing. Matthews once again pulls ahead in the striking numbers for the final round but after being dropped yet again it will be hard to know if it was enough. In the end the judges felt that it was
Cheyanne Vlismas vs. Cory McKenna
For the first half of the opening round Vlismas is edging out the striking exchanges. She is landing nice leg kicks and jabs while utilizing footwork to evade most of the returning shots from McKenna. However, late in the round McKenna lands a nice takedown and is able to accrue of control time at the end. She lands a couple of ground strikes but nothing too significant. It will be interesting to see if it is enough to win her the round. In the second round McKenna tries to get back to grappling. She clinches and forces Vlismas against the cage while searching for takedowns. Vlismas does a nice job at defending but McKenna stays clinched up and controls Vlismas against the cage for the entire round. McKenna peppers some occasional shots but more importantly she is stifling the offense of Vlismas. This is likely a clear-cut round for McKenna. In the final round McKenna pursues the grappling again right away. Vlismas locks up a choke that looks fairly close, but McKenna stays patient and escapes. Once she escapes, she is in top control again where she now controls Vlismas again.
Cody Brundage v. Michal Oleksiejczuk
This one fight is short lived but all action while it lasted. As the fight begins Brundage immediately shoots across the cage and starts to use his high pedigree wrestling. He gets a quick takedown and immediately starts to control and dominate Oleksiejczuk. However, Oleksiejczuk stays calm and waits for his moment to explode. He gets back to the feet, but Brundage takes him back down quickly. During a grappling sequence Brundage tries to lock in a choke but it leaves him in an odd position if he is not able to secure it. Oleksiejczuk recognizes this and quickly explodes to spin out and end up on top. From there he gets right to work. He starts throwing heavy shots from top control and eventually starts landing some good ones. After a sequence of heavy offense, he finally lands the good one. Brundage appears to be out, but Oleksiejczuk lands a couple more for good measure. The referee stops the fight immediately and Oleksiejczuk finds a way to make the fight-saving comeback. Oleksiejczuk by first round KO.
Drew Dober vs. Bobby Green
The opening round of this fight is all Bobby Green. As he usually does, he looks elite in the standup while being evasive and taunting his opponent. Green’s speed and slick boxing in the first round is always a sight to behold. He lands flush shots with laser precision and lightning-fast speed. The more the round goes on the more busted up the face of Dober becomes. However, as per usual in a Dober fight, he is undeterred and continues to press forward. He is having trouble finding the target when firing at Green, but he keeps pressing forward and backing him up against the cage. In the second round Green continues to taunt and land flush. However, as fights progress, fighters always lose a fraction of a second of speed. This appeared to be the case because despite Green looking absolutely flawless the entire fight, he eventually gets too comfortable, and Dober finally is able to land the big one. He drops Green instantly and only needs one or two more shots to end the fight. It is a hard loss to watch after Green had looked so absolutely flawless. It is just another reminder that Dober has next level durability and power. He is never a fighter to be overlooked or counted out. Dober by second round KO.
Alex Caceres vs. Julian Erosa
This fight was another short-lived affair. As the round begins Caceres is throwing jabs and kicks looking to find the distance. Erosa is evading for the most part and throwing back when he sees opportunities. Eventually Caceres starts to find his range though. He begins to land several shots and once he finds his range, he always becomes dangerous. Eventually he throws a punch that barely misses but right after the punch he follows it with a head kick that Erosa never sees coming. The kick lands flush and drops Erosa instantly. Erosa hits the ground with a thud and Caceres lands a couple of follow-up shots that finish it off. A very impressive win for Caceres with an explosive and violent exclamation point. Caceres by first round KO.
Amir Albazi vs. Alessandro Costa
In the beginning of this fight both fighters show a high amount of respect for each other’s striking power. They circle each other for most of the round and only throw single and double strike combinations. When Costa throws his two-punch combination the second shot is the right hand that looks extremely powerful and dangerous. He comes close to landing it several times and gets the attention of Albazi. The round is close and could have gone to either fighter in the eyes of the judges. In the second round Albazi lands flush early and drops Costa. From there he controls for the remainder of the round while landing heavy ground strikes. This round is a clear-cut round for Albazi. In the final round Albazi continues to chip away at Costa. Costa hangs tough but eventually Albazi lands the most beautiful uppercut you will ever see. It lands flush and drops him violently. Albazi lands a couple follow-up shots, and the fight is quickly stopped. Another impressive win for Albazi as he continues to surge through the division. Albazi by third round KO.
Arman Tsarukyan vs. Damir Ismagulov
The opening round of this bout is a competitive one. Both fighters trade shots on the feet for the first minute and then Tsarukyan decides to explode. He blitzes in for the takedown and lands it with authority. Ismagulov eventually finds his way back to the feet and later lands his own takedown. Tsarukyan only stays on his back for a matter of seconds before he explodes back up showing his incredible core strength. The round is close and could have gone to either fighter. In the second round Tsarukyan gets right back to work with heavy explosive moments that are constantly testing the strength and cardio of Ismagulov. Tsraukyan attempts takedown after takedown and is constantly forcing Ismagulov to work. The round is another close one but this time it appears to have been won by Tsarukyan. In the final round Tsarukyan continues with his relentless pressure. The explosiveness and constant tenacity of Tsarukyan leaves Ismagulov no choice but to just constantly be on the defensive. His cardio continues to be tested and Tsarukyan keeps adding to his takedown count. By the end of the fight Tsarukyan has at least seven takedowns. Ismagulov does a nice job at surviving, but he is just completely overwhelmed by the pressure and power of Tsarukyan. The judges agree. Tsarukyan by unanimous decision.
Jared Cannonier vs. Sean Strickland
In the first round both fighter’s circle and feel each other out. Strickland utilizes his usual boxing style where his hands are low, and he throws jabs from there making them come from an unusual place. Cannonier stalks forward and is looking for the big shot. Eventually there is a grappling exchange and Strickland lands a nice takedown. Cannonier stays patient and works his way back to the feet fairly quickly. Strickland continues with his jabs that slowly add up. In the second round Strickland continues with the lulling place and lands his jabs over and over. Cannonier continues to stalk and is still looking for the knockout shot. Although he is not finding it, he is landing some heavy leg kicks repeatedly. Leg kicks that are this heavy can add up very quickly and cause a lot of problems. Both fighters have their moments, but the round appears to be once again edged out by Strickland. In the third round the fighters continue at the same pace. For the most part they are staying in phone booth range and continuing to mostly box. Cannonier still throws occasional leg kicks, but the jab of Strickland continues to find a home. The round is close but once again feels like it is likely edged out by Strickland. In the fourth round Cannonier continues with his same stalking tactics despite falling behind in the fight thus far. Strickland continues to jab away and throw occasional hooks and straight rights. Cannonier finds a tiny bit of success late in the round but other than that it is a predominantly Strickland round. In the final round Strickland starts to sit down on his punches a little more. His coach scolded him in between rounds which seems to have lit a fire up inside of him. The final round ends up being the most exciting as both fighters are going hard and leaving it all out there. Both fighters land some good shots which make for a nice grand finale on the night. Although the fight was competitive, the judges somehow felt that it was Cannonier who won by a large margin. Extremely surprising. Cannonier by split decision.