Armen Petrosyan brought UFC president Dana White out of his seat. His next step was all but inevitable.
Petrosyan made short work of Kaloyan Kolev in a light heavyweight affair, winning via knockout in the 4:27 mark of the opening stanza on Week 8 of Dana White’s Contender Series at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Tuesday night. All six of the Armenian fighter’s professional triumphs have come via knockout or technical knockout.
Petroyson was one of four fighters who received a UFC contract after the event, joining Caio Borralho, Jonny Parsons and Piera Rodriguez on the Las Vegas-based promotion’s roster.
Kolev (10-1) started quickly, as he landed a takedown within the bout’s first 15 seconds and smothered his adversary against the fence. When Petrosyan (6-1) was able to create space, he tagged the Bulgarian with a hard kick to the body and a left hook before Kolev secured another body lock. This time, however, Petrosyan was able to separate much more quickly, and he began hurting Kolev with punches to the head. During the finishing sequence, Petrosyan wobbled Kolev with a right hand and put him on his seat with a left high kick. He then landed four — mostly unnecessary — follow-up punches on his unconscious foe before the fight was called.
Earlier, Borralho left nothing to chance in his second Contender Series appearance in three weeks. The 28-year-old Combat Club representative authored an emphatic first-round stoppage of Jesse Murray, winning via technical knockout at the 1:41 mark of Round 1. Borralho was denied a UFC contract after a decision win over Aaron Jeffery on Week 5 of the Contender Series on Sept. 28.
Borralho began in his customary karate stance, throwing kicks at different levels and angles. The tide shifted, however, when he backed Murray (8-4) up with a pair of straight left hands. Sensing blood in the water, Borralho (10-1, 1 NC) forced the issue and dropped his adversary with a right hook behind the ear. A barrage of hammerfists and punches on the canvas sealed the deal for the Brazilian, who is unbeaten in his last nine professional outings.
Parsons captured a somewhat contentious split-decision triumph against Solomon Renfro in the evening’s featured contest at welterweight. Two judges submitted 29-28 tallies in favor of the Syndicate MMA product, while a third saw it 29-28 for Renfro. Parsons (7-3) has won his last five outings dating back to December 2019.
Renfro appeared to be on his way to making it a short night when he staggered his opponent with a short right hand in Round 1 and then followed up with an extended flurry of offense during a furious sequence near the fence. To his credit, Parsons absorbed everything Renfro (8-2) had to offer. From there, it was Parsons’ standup that made the difference, as he attacked with a variety of straight right hands, uppercuts and kicks to various levels. He also did well denying his adversary’s attempts to take the fight to the canvas in Round 3. While Renfro did some solid work to the body over the final two rounds, it wasn’t enough to get the nod from the judges.
In the evening’s penultimate bout, Rodriguez captured a unanimous decision victory against Valesca Machado in a competitive strawweight affair. All three cageside judges submitted 29-28 scorecards in favor of the Legacy Fighting Alliance queen.
Rodriguez (7-0) clipped Machado (8-3, 1 NC) with a short right hand early in Round 1 and later tagged her Brazilian foe with a flurry of punches near the fence. Machado responded by cutting “La Fiera” with an elbow strike late in the period. Though Rodriguez was consistent with tight punching combinations, Machado held her own in exchanges down the stretch, finding the range on multiple straight right hands. Ultimately, it was Rodriguez who left a lasting imprint thanks to multiple takedowns and clinch work in the final 10 minutes. The Panama-based fighter concluded the fight landing punches from mount in the waning seconds.
Earlier, Nova Uniao product Pedro Falcao got stronger as the fight progressed against James Barnes, earning a third-round knockout victory in a bantamweight affair. Falcao put his opponent away with punches and hammerfists from mount at the 3:55 mark of Round 3. Falcao has won four consecutive bouts — three inside the distance.
After a slow-paced opening round that was contested primarily in the clinch, Falcao (15-3) began to impose his will. He landed multiple takedowns against Barnes (14-5) over the final 10 minutes, advanced to dominant positions and threatened with an arm-triangle choke in the second stanza. Falcao made his final move in Round 3 when he stuffed a Barnes takedown and powered into top position. From there, he advanced from half guard to mount while gradually increasing the intensity of his ground-and-pound until referee Mike Beltran was forced to intervene.