Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Elves Brenner
In the opening round Tukhugov calms out calmly and takes his time. He allows Brenner to walk forward and throw some unanswered offense for a while before he decides to finally plant his feet and start throwing. Once Tukhugov starts to throw he also becomes the fighter who is now walking forward and starting to control the cage. Each fighter lands some nice shots and although the round is close, it is Tukhugov who suffers a significant cut by the end. The first half of the second round is a much more measured affair. Each fighter is mostly just boxing with the jab being the most prevalent weapon. However, the second half of the round is when the heavy hooks, kicks and straight punches start to surface. Both fighters are doing well and as the round ends it is another very close one. In the final round both fighters have been instructed to look for a finish since neither side knows how they are doing on the score cards. About 90 seconds in Tukhugov finally makes his first attempt at a takedown but it is denied due to the good defense of Brenner. About 30 seconds later Tukhugov tries again but this time is content to just clinch and control along the fence while peppering in some occasional clinch strikes. The round is close again but appeared to be won by Tukhugov. Surprisingly enough though, two of the three judges end up giving the fight to Brenner. The commentators and crowd seemed surprised by this but it was a close fight regardless. Brenner picks up a very huge win. Brenner by split decision.
Blake Bilder vs. Shane Young
The first half of the opening round is an all-striking affair. Young presses forward while Bilder hops around on the outside and looks for opportunities to counter. Each fighter lands a few strikes and things are mostly even until about three minutes into the round. This is when Bilder finally decides to grapple. He secures a quick body lock and lands a takedown with authority. From there he utilizes heavy top pressure to control Young for the remainder of the round while landing some decent ground strikes. This may have been enough to steal the round for him. In the second round the fighters continue to circle each other and exchange punches with occasional kicks. With about 90 seconds left in the round it is Young who attempts a takedown this time. Bilder goes down for about two seconds and is quickly back up again. In the final minute Young finds some momentum and in the final 20 seconds Bilder takes it right back. It is a much closer round this time. In the final round Bilder tries a takedown much sooner this time but Young sprawls and defends nicely. As the round plays out Bilder really starts to land and find some momentum. Young tries to fight back but Bilder is now starting to put it together. As the fight comes to an end it feels like Bilder has just won the final round and likely the fight. The judges agree. Young by unanimous decision.
Loma Lookboonme vs. Elise Reed
This fight is an intriguing matchup as we have a skillful kickboxer versus a skillful muy thai champion. In the opening minutes the fighters trade strikes and are mostly even but about three minutes in Lookboonme lands a devastating blow and has Reed’s nose bleeding profusely. Lookboonme then lands a nice takedown but is reversed shortly thereafter. The final minute is spent with Reed on top and dripping blood heavily all over the place. A close round but may have been edged by Lookboonme due to damage. In the second round Lookboonme lands another quick takedown but this time she takes the back and secures position. She is punching from behind then out of nowhere she slips the arm under the neck and is quickly squeezing with all her might. Reed tries to hang on, but the arm is under the chin and is being squeezed with so much force that Lookboonme is trembling. Reed has no choice but to tap out. A huge win for Lookboonme and she is ecstatic as it is her first official finish in the UFC. Lookboonme by second round submission.
Jack Jenkins vs. Don Shainis
In the first round of this fight, it is Shainis who is taking it to Jenkins using heavy pressure. Jenkins appears to be overwhelmed for a bit but after he just waits calmly for the onslaught to die down and then begins his attack. The second half of the round is more Jenkins catching fire. He starts landing devastating calf kicks, beautiful body strikes and heavy punches to the face. Shainis tries to hang tough, but all the momentum is now switching to Jenkins. This was likely a winning round for Jenkins despite the early pressure from Shainis. In the second round Jenkins continues with his heavy striking and then lands a nice takedown. From there Jenkins uses heavy top pressure to control Shainis and land a few nice ground strikes. Shainis eventually works his way back to the feet and for the remainder of the round it is all fireworks. The fighters take turns switching ground control and constant momentum swings. By the end of the round the crowd is electric and louder than it has been all night. In the final round Jenkins starts to enjoy the spoils of tiring Shainis out in the first two rounds. He secures a takedown and lands ground strikes while simultaneously stalling out most of the offense from Shainis. The entire third round is mostly won by Jenkins. This is likely enough to win him the fight. The judges agree. Jenkins by unanimous decision.
Jamie Mullarkey vs. Francisco Prado
The first minute of this bout the fighters are trading but Prado lands the best strike of the exchanges. Shortly thereafter Mullarkey lands a very nice takedown and does a nice job controlling Prado for a majority of the round. He not only stifles the offense of Prado but is landing some nice ground strikes and likely does more than enough to win the round. In the second round the fight plays out entirely on the feet. The fighters mostly just box with an occasional leg kick thrown here and there. The round is much closer this time, but it is Mullarkey who lands the better of the punches. In the final round Prado knows that he may need a finish to pull off this victory. Despite this he still tends to be waiting and not showing much urgency. Late in the round Mullarkey lands another takedown and once again controls Prado. He lands some more decent strikes and has now done more than enough to secure the win for himself. The judges agree. Mullarkey by unanimous decision.
Kleydson Rodrigues vs. Shannon Ross
This fight was a very short-lived affair. Rodrigues comes out hyper aggressive and starts throwing heat immediately. Ross is not only shell shocked and forced onto the back foot, but he is failing to throw anything back in order to defend himself. The more Rodrigues pours it on the more Ross begins to melt and shell up. A final flurry by Rodrigues has Ross shelled up along the fence and after a continued series of no offense from Ross, the fight is called off. Ross didn’t appear to throw a single shot for the entire short-lived fight. Rodrigues by first round TKO.
Joshua Culibao vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
The opening round is a tale of absolutely devastating kicks. The fighters mix in a few punches but the number of kicks and the insane power they are thrown with is what leaves a lasting impression. Each fighter lands hard shots but at the end of the round Baghdasaryan lands a devastating low blow to the groin. This strike is thrown as a spinning kick so there is so much torque that it leaves Culibao in bad shape. The fight is paused but the damage from this kick will likely be felt later into the fight. In the second round the fighters quickly got right back to it. Culibao then lands a nice shot that has Baghdasaryan stumbled and during the commotion Culibao quickly jumps on the back. Even more impressively, he throws the arm under the chin with absolute lightning speed. The crowd erupts and Baghdasaryan is caught slipping before he can even realize what happened. He tries to fight the hands, but the choke is deep and locked up tightly. There is no other choice than to tap out. Culibao by second round submission.
Tyson Pedro vs. Modestas Bukauskas
In the first couple minutes of this bout Bukauskas is getting the better of the exchanges. He seems to have a speed advantage and is making the right shot selections to keep Pedro confused. However, about halfway through the round Pedro lands a nice takedown and is able to now start scoring some points of his own via ground strikes and control. In the final 30 seconds Bukauskas finds his way back to the feet but Pedro appears to be gassed now. It is a close round and could have gone to either fighter on the score cards. In the second round Pedro comes out and still appears to be fatigued. He wisely stays at distance for the opening minutes so he can pick his shots carefully and get his lungs back. The entire second round is more of a chess match but is once again a close round that could have gone to either fighter on the score cards. Going into the final round it seems as though it’s anybody’s fight. The fighters continue to trade in the third and each finds their moments of momentum. Pedro tries his best but the fight is always close and he struggles to ever truly dominate like he normally does in his fights. As time expires it feels as though Bukauskas may have done enough to edge out the win. The judges agree. Bukauskas by unanimous decision.
Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield
The opening half of the first round is all Crute. He lands an early takedown and is all over Menifield with grappling pressure. Each time Menifield stands back up he is once again taken down shortly thereafter. This is quickly draining the power bar of Alonzo Menifield. However, late in the round Menifield starts landing left hooks. He has Crute wobbled and begins to pour on the violence. Crute is in all kinds of trouble and Menifield has now completely turned this fight around. Crute survives the round but he took a lot of damage late in the round. In the second round Menifield continues to pour it on. He has Crute wobbled and extremely close to being done on several occasions. The referee was waiting for one more shot to call off the fight. This kept happening but somehow Crute was able to barely survive. Then later in the round Crute gets a takedown and starts to come back. He finds his own momentum now and the crowd erupts. What a round. In the final round it’s anybody’s fight. Crute tries to grapple early but both fighters are exhausted now. He eventually lands the takedown, and this is the beginning of the end for Menifield. He is just too exhausted to get back up. Crute stays on top for the remainder of the round and peppers shots while controlling. This may have been enough to squeak out the victory. It is a wildly exciting fight with so many momentum swings but in the end, the fight ends up being even. This fight is a majority draw.
Justin Tafa vs. Parker Porter
This fight was another one that was over quickly. As the opening round begins, Porter is trying to out box Tafa while Tafa is mixing in kicks and other things. Porter lands a couple nice shots but appears to be loading up too much as opposed to just touching. He quickly has to pay for this. He rushes in to throw a heavy shot but Tafa beats him to the punch on his entry. The punch lands flush on the chin and drops Porter immediately. He never gets back up.
Randy Brown vs. Jack Della Maddalena
The fights are starting to produce fireworks now. This is another one that is over very quickly. Brown comes out and is looking locked in and deadly. He starts firing with speed and a laser focused intent. The size advantage of Brown is stunning and this is the first time it looks like Maddalena might be in over his head. Brown is picking him apart from the outside and Maddalena is having trouble closing the distance in order to land. However, Maddalena keeps pressing forward and is clearly trying to corner Brown against the cage. Brown is staying elusive but for just one instance he doesn’t keep the same urgency to respect the distance. Maddalena backs him against the cage and quickly rushes in to close the distance. He throws a leading punch to distract Brown from the heavy right hook that is to follow. He lunges in with the right hook and lands flush. Brown is still standing but then starts to do the chicken leg dance and falls flat on his face. It takes only a couple follow-up shots before the referee is forced to stop the fight. The crowd erupts for their local hero. Maddalena by first round TKO.
Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett
The first couple minutes of the opening round is Rodriguez outclassing Emmett on the feet. Rodriguez throws a wild variety of unorthodox strikes while Emmett is plowing forward carelessly and loading up with every shot. Rodriguez lands nice punches and absolutely deadly body kicks. Emmett looks confused early but then lands a takedown late in the round to finally get some momentum of his own. This results in a fairly close round. In the second round Rodriguez continues to butcher the body with deadly kicks. Each time they land Emmett is clearly wounded. Rodriguez then starts going up top with the kicks and is now landing beautiful lead elbows. Each time Emmett enters the pocket he is having to pay with something vicious. He continues to plow forward but is paying every time. Eventually the fight hits the ground after a jump knee lands from Rodriguez but is caught afterwards. Emmett is on top trying his best to land some sort of violence but Rodriguez is extremely active from bottom and eventually sees his opportunity. He throws up a triangle with lightning speed and after a couple moments of squeezing Emmett has no choice but to tap. What a master class. Rodriguez by second round submission.
Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski
The opening round of this title fight is a chess match. Makhachev stalks forward while Volkanovski bounces on the outside and looks for his moments. The two fighters trade strikes and each has their moment. Surprisingly, Makhachev is not immediately using his heavy wrestling as he normally does. Volkanovski lands a straight punch down the middle that catches Makhachev off guard and wobbles him backwards. The second round is more chess match fighting. This round we finally see Makhachev grappling. He has his moments of control but Volkanovski does an amazing job of resisting the onslaught. In fact, he does a better job than any other fighter we have seen before him. The round is close which is amazing in itself. In the third round we see Makhachev get some control time, but we also once again see Volkanovski wobble him. These two fighters are extremely close in skill and the fight is neck and neck with momentum swings. In the fourth round Makhachev gets the most control thus far and likely wins the round despite not landing much damage from this control. In the final round Volkanovski has his most success of the fight. He once again lands flush and drops Makhachev to the canvas. Volkanovski makes the mistake of hopping into top control rather than stepping back and making a wobbled Makhachev continue to fight on the feet. Despite this, he lands some nice ground strikes that are significant and better than any Makhachev landed during his control times. As the fight comes to a close the crowd is electric and louder than they had been all night. Volkanovski has not only lasted the full time but made the fight extremely competitive. In the end, the judges felt that it was Makhachev who had done just enough to edge out the fight. Nonetheless, it was an absolute war that we likely will see again. Makhachev by unanimous decision.
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