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Brian Ortega has never looked more comfortable in a combat setting—a frightening development for the rest of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s featherweight division.
The former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion staked his claim as the No. 1 contender at 145 pounds with a comprehensive performance against Chan Sung Jung, as he cruised to a unanimous decision in the UFC Fight Night 180 headliner on Saturday at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. All three judges scored it 50-45 for Ortega (15-1, 7-1 UFC), who bounced back from his December 2018 technical knockout loss to Max Holloway in resounding fashion.
Jung (16-6, 6-3 UFC) was ill-prepared for all the weaponry “T-City” brought to the table. Ortega drew out his opponent’s defenses with feints, cracked his legs with kicks, targeted the head with lunging left hands and threatened takedowns, either through full-on shots or simply by tapping the South Korean action hero’s lead leg. He also landed the single-most impactful strike of the fight when he floored Jung with a perfectly timed spinning back elbow in the second round. Ortega steered clear of danger with superior footwork and lateral movement, his jab becoming more and more of a weapon as the bout drifted into its latter stages.
Andrade Body Shot Buries Chookagian
Former women’s strawweight champion Jessica Andrade shined in her 125-pound debut, as she folded Katlyn Chookagian with a pair of devasting right hooks to the body in the first round of their co-main event. Chookagian (14-4, 7-4 UFC) ran out of rope 4:55 into Round 1.
Andrade (21-8, 12-6 UFC) overwhelmed the Mark Henry protégé with power and pressure, bullying her way into the clinch and securing two takedowns. Late in the first round, she buried her fist into Chookagian’s midsection. The onetime Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder winced in noticeable pain, turned her back and retreated. Andrade gave chase and dropped the “Blonde Fighter” to her knees with another sweeping right hook to the body. By then, referee Lukasz Bosacki had seen enough.
The win put a stop to the first two-fight skid of Andrade’s career and allowed “Bate Estaca” to announce her arrival as a legitimate contender in the women’s flyweight division.
Once-Beaten Crute Waylays Bukauskas
Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Jimmy Crute cut down former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Modestas Bukauskas with punches in the first round of their featured light heavyweight clash. Bukauskas (11-3, 1-1 UFC) bowed out 2:01 into Round 1, his run of seven consecutive victories at an end.
Crute (12-1, 4-1 UFC) softened the Lithuanian with thudding leg kicks, probed for openings and threaded the proverbial needle. He countered a body kick from Bukauskas with a crushing right hand and swarmed with follow-up punches, a right uppercut and left hook sealing the deal before referee Anders Ohlsson could arrive on the scene.
The 24-year-old Crute has rattled off back-to-back wins since he submitted to a Peruvian necktie from Misha Cirkunov at UFC Fight Night 158 a little more than a year ago.
Replacement Krause Ends Henrique da Silva’s 14-Fight, 13-Year Tear
Glory MMA frontman James Krause turned in his seventh victory in eight outings, as he took a unanimous decision from Claudio Henrique da Silva in a three-round welterweight feature. A short-notice replacement for Muslim Salikhov, Krause (28-8, 9-4 UFC) carried all three cards with 30-27 scores.
Henrique da Silva (14-2, 5-1 UFC) entered the Octagon on a 14-fight winning streak and tried to match precision with force and volume. Krause routinely wobbled him with straight rights to the face, invested in body shots and countered attempted takedowns with an effective sprawl. Perhaps more impressively, he fought through an apparent knee injury that resulted from an inside leg kick from Henrique da Silva. Needing a finish, the Brazilian turned up the heat in the third round with leg kicks and power punches, only to see his considerable efforts fall short against the savvy Krause.
The loss was Henrique da Silva’s first since he was disqualified in his Nov. 10, 2007 professional debut.
Martinez Spoils Almeida Return
Factory X prospect Jonathan Martinez put his most significant win to date in the books, as he captured a unanimous decision over former Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder Thomas Almeida in a three-round featherweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Martinez (13-3, 4-2 UFC).
In his first appearance since Jan. 20, 2018, Almeida (21-4, 5-4 UFC) struggled to match his opponent’s output and impact. Martinez fired kicks to the body, head and legs, countered effectively with both hands and mixed in a few of his patented high-velocity knees. Almeida fought well in spurts—he sat down Martinez with a left hook in the second round and staggered him with another in the third—but ran into a fast-rising talent who not only refused to shy away from potentially dangerous exchanges but seemed to welcome them.
Winless since 2016, the 29-year-old Almeida has lost three fights in a row.
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