UFC 234 Prelims: Devonte Smith Annihilates Dong Hyun Ma Down Under

By: Brian Knapp
Feb 9, 2019

Devonte Smith has begun to mark out territory in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division.

The once-beaten Factory X prospect disposed of Dong Hyun Ma with punches in the first round of their featured UFC 234 prelim on Saturday at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Ma (16-9-3, 3-3 UFC) bowed out 3:53 into Round 1, his three-fight winning streak having run its course.

Smith (10-1, 2-0 UFC) kept the South Korean judoka off-balance with speed and technique. A blinding one-two set Ma on skates, as his adversary gave chase. A left hook was followed by another one-two that drove him to all fours. Smith then cut loose with hammerfists and punches to the side of the head until referee Herb Dean had seen enough.

The 25-year-old Smith has posted six straight wins, all of them finishes.

Related » UFC 234 Round-by-Round Scoring

Young Denies Sikjitsu’s Arnett

Pressure, output and accurate punching combinations carried City Kickboxing’s Shane Young to a clear-cut unanimous decision over Austin Arnett in a three-round featherweight affair. Young (13-4, 2-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks across the board.

Arnett (16-6, 1-3 UFC) countered effectively at times and did visible damage but had no answer for the volume his opponent brought to the table. As a result, he spent much of the fight moving backwards. Young uncorked three-, four- and five-punch bursts at opportune times, stayed in the Sikjitsu rep’s face and punctuated his performance with a knockdown in the final seconds of the third round, a short right hand dropping Arnett to his knees.

Young, 25, has won seven of his last eight fights.

Kara-France Edges Newcomer Frazao

City Kickboxing standout Kai Kara-France pushed his winning streak to seven fights with a split decision over Raulian Paiva Frazao in a competitive three-round clash at 125 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Garth Harriman for Paiva, Derek Cleary and Christopher Shen for Kara-France.

Frazao (18-2, 0-1 UFC) was effective in spurts, particularly with his low kicks and relentless forward pressure; he also threatened with a tight guillotine choke in the waning moments of Round 2. Kara-France (19-7, 2-0 UFC) answered with clean left hooks and thudding overhand rights, one of which opened a cut near the Brazilian’s left eye in the second round. With the outcome still in doubt, the Kiwi struck for a takedown in the final seconds of the third to seal the deal and spoil Frazao’s Octagon debut.

The loss snapped Frazao’s 12-fight winning streak.

Kang Choke Sleeps Ishihara

Former Road Fighting Championship titleholder Kyung Ho Kang rendered Teruto Ishihara unconscious with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their preliminary bantamweight pairing. Ishihara (10-7-2, 3-5-1 UFC) went limp 3:59 into Round 1, as he suffered his third consecutive defeat.

Kang (15-8, 4-2 UFC) nearly unraveled after eating a counter left hook but managed to recover and turn the tide in his favor. Ishihara walked into a close-quarters knee strike, then engaged the South Korean in a firefight for which he was ill-prepared. Kang rocked the 27-year-old with hooks and uppercuts before executing a takedown, moving to the back and cinching the rear-naked choke for the finish.

Kang has rattled off four wins across his last five outings.

Turner Wrecks Replacement Potter

Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series alum Jalin Turner wiped out Callan Potter with punches in the first round of their encounter at 155 pounds. A short-notice substitution for the injured Alex Gorgees, Potter (17-8, 0-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 53 seconds into Round 1.

Turner shook the Aussie’s equilibrium with a pair of right hooks, followed with a left body kick and then floored him with a sweeping left uppercut to the chest. Potter hit the deck, where he was met with a series of jackhammer left hands that knocked him unconscious and spoiled his short-lived organizational debut.

The 23-year-old Turner has won four of his past five bouts.

Martinez Outduels Reeling Buren

Legacy Fighting Championship veteran Jonathan Martinez won for the third time in four appearances, as he laid claim to a unanimous decision over Wuliji Buren in a three-round bantamweight tilt. All three cageside judges scored it for Martinez (10-2, 1-1 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Buren (9-6, 0-3 UFC) executed three takedowns and threatened with a deep armbar but failed do enough on the ground to counteract his opponent’s considerable advantages in the standup department. Martinez leaned on a heavy kicking game throughout the fight but did his best work in the third round, where he moved into top position and alternated between full mount and the back for several tense moments.

The 28-year-old Buren has lost three fights in a row.

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