In the main event, a contender for “Fight of the Year” took place at welterweight, while in the co-main event, a former UFC champion got back on track.
Yazmin Jauregui defeated Istela Nunes via second-round technical knockout during the preliminary portion of the programme, giving her a 2-0 record in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. After Nunes fell to the ground, the undefeated fighter mercilessly punched and elbowed her, causing significant swelling around her eyes, until the referee intervened. Jauregui pulled off a fantastic victory. When facing Marcelo Rojo, Francis Marshall was on fire.
The ‘Fire’ found a place for a right hand that drove the ‘Pitbull’ to the mat, where Marshall finished off with follow-up blows. Wow, what a way to make your debut! Over Genaro Valdéz, Natan Levy was declared the winner with a score of unanimous decision. To make it five wins in a row, Jonathan Pearce easily dispatched Darren Elkins. Over three rounds, ‘JSP’ was able to outstrike and outwrestle ‘Damage,’ claiming victory in every category. There was a lot of blood in the Octagon, but that’s to be expected given that Darren Elkins was involved.
Like, a lot. Michael Johnson returned to the victory column against Marc Diakiese. In rounds two and three, the “Menace” cranked up the pressure and successfully defended off takedown attempts from the “Bonecrusher,” earning him a unanimous decision. The score of 30-27 was strange, but the right boxer ultimately prevailed.
Clay Guida eked out a split decision over Scott Holtzman, who appeared to hint at his retirement from mixed martial arts after the judges’ scorecards were read. Angela Hill handed Emily Ducote her first UFC loss. You really nailed it with “Overkill.” She landed punches and knees to the body, and “Gordinha” had nothing to counter them with.
First on the main bill was a potential “Fight of the Night” between Phil Rowe and Niko Price, which Rowe won through third-round technical knockout. The “Fresh Prince” almost died, but he pulled through, and now he’s pressing the accelerator to get the “Hybrid” out of danger. And his post-fight speech? Wonderful.
In the second round, Eryk Anders knocked out Kyle Daukaus with a devastating combination of punches. ‘Ya Boi’ knocked Daukaus down many times before referee Keith Peterson stopped the fight when he chased Daukaus and unleashed some ground and pound. Roman Dolidze showed up and out in his short-notice battle against Jack Hermansson, which he finished in the second round. The Georgian utilised a calf slicer (!) to hold the ‘Joker’ in place, take his back and ground-and-pound his way to the TKO.
Dolidze should be a top ten middleweight by Tuesday (Hermansson was No. 8). And he set his sights on Khamzat Chimaev for his next fight. Sergei Pavlovich needed less than a minute to dispatch Tai Tuivasa. WOW! That should get him an extra $50k and a better ranked opponent when he returns (Gane, Blaydes?). Matheus Nicolau flashed his quickness and power against Matt Schnell for a second-round KO. The Brazilian told Daniel Cormier that he is ready for his first post-fight bonus in the UFC, and after a finish like that, he is more than deserving of one. That was the sixth consecutive triumph for Nicolau, who disclosed he competed his current deal with the promotion.
Re-sign him, UFC! In our co-main event, Rafael Dos Anjos submitted Bryan Barberena with a rear-naked choke. ‘RDA’ also made headlines by becoming the first fighter to spend more than eight hours inside the Octagon and becoming the first fighter to win 21 fights in the UFC. Dos Anjos has requested Conor McGregor for his next appearance, since they were meant to fight seven years ago.
The fight between Stephen Thompson and Kevin Holland was intense. A strong start from the ‘Trailblazer’ saw him hurt ‘Wonderboy,’ who recovered and returned fire with some stiff punches and kicks. As the fight went on, it was clear the tide had turned in favour of Thompson, who was now catching Holland often (how he ate some of those shots is beyond me). Holland’s corner chose to stop the bout in the fourth round due to a hand injury, awarding victory by technical knockout to Thompson.