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Uruguay on Saturday played host to an Ultimate Fighting Championship event for the first time, as the promotion touched down with UFC Fight Night 156 at Antel Arena in Montevideo. It was headlined by flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, who put her title on the line against the woman responsible for her first career defeat: Liz Carmouche. A rematch a little less than a decade in the making was not worth the wait, as “Bullet” easily picked apart Carmouche in a lackluster, low-output affair.
While the crowd was not pleased with how the main event played out, bloodthirsty fans bore witness to all the violence they could handle in the welterweight co-headliner between Vicente Luque and Mike Perry. They exchanged fists and various other weapons for the entirety of the 15-minute battle, with both men sustaining significant damage. In the closing minutes of the match, the Brazilian struck Perry in the face with a perfectly timed knee that shattered his nose and resulted in one of the more gruesome injuries in recent memory. Blood gushed all over the two combatants and the canvas, reminiscent of kill scene in a Hollywood slasher movie. Luque won by split decision.
Perry, who was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment, appeared to be in good spirits despite winding up on the wrong side of a decision and suffering a substantial injury. Shortly after the event, the Fusion X-Cel rep posted a picture of his blood-covered face and disfigured nose on Instagram with a caption: “It was a tasty knee.” Perry and Luque were awarded $50,000 “Fight of the Night” bonuses for their efforts.
“FOTN!. It takes 2! Thanks for the bonus, you didn’t have to do my face like that tho sheesh,” Perry wrote on Instagram. “Cursed with this chin, should’ve had my guard up like you. Ko or not one significant strike can do the job. When I’m healed we’ll train so you can beat these wrestlers. Congrats @luquevicente!”
Luque has won 10 of his last 11 bouts, including six in a row. The Hard Knocks 365 standout could soon find himself in the Top 10 at 170 pounds, and he believes his latest performance has earned him a step up in competition.
“I think I deserve a Top 10 [opponent] right now,” Luque said on the ESPN+ post-fight show. “I don’t see it any other way. I don’t know, maybe [Stephen] ‘Wonderboy’ [Thompson]. He wants a fight at the end of the year. I think that is possible for me. I feel healthy. Just need some ice on the face and some ice on my legs because of the kicks. After that, I will be ready to go.”
‘NO TIME’ LIKE THE PRESENT
One of the more anticipated pairings on the main card matched Volkan Oezdemir against Ilir Latifi. “No Time” battered Latifi before dispatching him with punches 4:31 into the second round. The win snapped a three-fight skid for Oezdemir, who entered the cage on the heels of back-to-back-to-back losses to Daniel Cormier, Anthony Smith and Dominick Reyes, the latter by controversial split decision in March.
After he knocked out Latifi, Oezdemir expressed a desire to rematch Reyes or face former KSW champion Jan Blachowicz. Reyes has been booked opposite former middleweight champion Chris Weidman in the UFC on ESPN 6 main event, scheduled for Oct. 18 at the TD Garden in Boston.
“The most logical one would be for me to go with Jan Blachowicz,” Oezdemir said. “It’s the next step for the belt and stuff like that, but in my heart, it’s to avenge that loss. Every time I go online, I have people talking to me. I read a lot of stuff. Everyone knows I won that fight [against Reyes]. I feel the same.”