UFC 263 ‘Adesanya vs. Vettori 2’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

By: Jay Pettry
Jun 12, 2021
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Jake Collier (264.5) vs. Carlos Felipe (262.5)

Round 1

Fight fans in Arizona and around the world will be getting quite a treat tonight with UFC 263, which brings a card that has a little something for everyone. We kick things off with the obligatory heavyweight slobberknocker, but instead of it being placed on the main card, it is the event opener. Felipe (10-1, 2-1 UFC) and Collier (12-5, 4-4 UFC) will throw down in a battle of deceptively quick big men, and referee Al Guinee will be on top of the action. The night begins with no glove touch, and away we go! Collier flings up a pair of kicks quickly, and the Brazilian is barely able to block them in time. Collier continues to work on the outside with kicks low and high, and his striking is giving “Boi” pause out of the gate. A sharp combination from Collier gets in, and he dances out of the way when Felipe reaches out with a single strike. Collier has a kick caught, and when he sets it down, the two start trading. The crowd goes wild when the heavyweights start banging, and both get off big shots but neither appears the worse for wear. Collier sneaks in a kick to the liver and a jab, and Felipe crashes in to throw big shots. The Brazilian aims punches to the body, and when he backs off, Collier is there to kick him in the head. Felipe slips and rips a left hand to the liver, and both start throwing windmilling shots recklessly. Collier wings a looping shot and follows it with a head kick, and both are blocked just in time. Collier takes a deep breath as he backs off, but before Felipe can capitalize, Collier reaches out with a head kick. Felipe aims more strikes to the body as Collier headhunts, with a right and a left that rings off Felipe’s dyed blonde head. Felipe is more content to touch than load up with these strikes, and he walks through a leg kick to load up with a left hand that glances off the temple. Collier flicks out a jab, and one of his left hands has started some fast swelling under the Brazilian’s right eye. Felipe does not appear concerned, as he and his foe trade jabs from afar. Collier swings and misses on some hooks, and Felipe stands firm and kicks him in the leg. A looping left hand collides off the midsection of Collier, and the two look one another in the eye and start to trade thunderous leather. They both land flush as their grins grow wider, and the round ends after a fierce exchange.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Collier
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Collier
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Collier

Round 2

Felipe shouts and laughs to the crowd between rounds, getting the fans fired up before they start to swing again. Collier is more composed, pushing out several jabs and following them with head kicks that keep him out of range of the counter. Collier gets off a pair of jabs and a right hand, and Felipe follows him with a power strike that is guarded against. Felipe keeps his head safe when Collier fires at him, but the sheer impact of the strikes knock him back. Collier surprises many with a sudden spinning back kick, and the crowd erupts as the two begin to brawl. Felipe motions to him that they should throw bombs, and Collier gets drawn into it momentarily. A strike from Felipe dislodges Collier’s mouthpiece, and Guinee pauses the fight for a second to retrieve it. When they start off again, Felipe is on him, digging left hands to the body and swinging overhand rights. When Collier looks to throw back, he is much more labored and fatigued from his strikes. Felipe clips him with an overhand right, and Collier eats it like a steak and tries to kick at his foe’s lead leg. Collier regains his composure with a power jab, and a follow-up right hand collides with Felipe right on the nose. The Brazilian laughs at him and goads him into a wild striking battle, where Collier eats a few and walks off with his hands held low. Collier’s combination is easily avoided as Felipe is light on his feet, and a right hand nearly gets through the guard as Felipe is far fresher. Collier’s jab is still effective as he flicks it out to disrupt the forward movement, but Felipe marches forward to thump a left hand on the body. Both men throw home run strikes and miss, but Felipe is accurate with his body shots. Collier tries to get one back with a kick to the liver, and Felipe shrugs it off and tries to take his head off with a left hook. Three punches from Collier get Felipe to back off for a moment, but the Brazilian paces forward and lands a few strikes before the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Felipe
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Felipe
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Felipe

Round 3

The heavyweights meet in the center of the cage and touch gloves, but Felipe is ready to push him back by throwing power strikes. Collier backs away and scores a jab and a body kick, and he weaves when a looping punch zooms past his head. Collier scores leg kicks and jabs as Felipe is trying to march him down, and he scores with a right hand as Collier retreats. A jab and a right hand from Felipe hurts Collier, and the American bites down on his mouthpiece to throw bombs. The heavyweights brawl for a moment, and with Collier on the receiving end of more strikes, he shoots for a takedown. Felipe easily stuffs it, and when Collier stands up, his mouthpiece flops out. The crowd rains down boos at this sign of fatigue, and Felipe is ready to unload on him as soon as it is replaced. He lands a few punches and backs Collier off, and when Collier tries to come back at him, he is ready with a big left hand. Felipe’s jab has now started to come together as Collier’s pace has waned, and when Collier reaches out with a jab of his own, Felipe shrugs at him. “Boi” stalks him down with a few jabs and a kick, and Collier’s response is much lighter and less impactful. The looping shots from Collier are largely telegraphed, and Felipe can duck them well in time and try to counter. One such right hand comes shortly after Collier throws a naked leg kick, and the Brazilian gets off an uppercut when Collier tries to return fire. Felipe slings jabs, and Collier steps in with a knee to the body only to get countered with a right hand over the top. Both big men load up with big strikes, and they barely miss. Collier throws a punch so labored that he looks to back fist on the way back from a punch, and Felipe laughs it off. Felipe is fired up, and he lands several more punches to back Collier into the cage. When Felipe gets close, Collier shocks him with a spinning back elbow that may have landed more with the forearm, and Felipe barely registers it. The two throw down right to the final bell, and this fun slugfest will be a close one.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Felipe (29-28 Felipe)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Felipe (29-28 Felipe)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Felipe (29-28 Felipe)

The Official Result

Carlos Felipe def. Jake Collier via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Luigi Vendramini (155.5) vs. Fares Ziam (156)

Round 1

Switching gears to the lightweight division, two finish-happy fighters that have gone 1-1 in the UFC will toe the line as “Smile Killer” Ziam (11-3, 1-1 UFC) tries to kill the smile of Brazilian-Italian prospect Vendramini (9-1, 1-1 UFC). Drawing the assignment is referee Mike Beltran, who observes the two touching gloves before throwing down. Looking to find his range early is a Ziam, who has the frame to utilize his jab effectively – he does so. Vendramini crashes in to clinch and take the distance away, and Ziam shoves him away and gets back to a jab that has already marked up the nose fast. Ziam’s fakes and feints are freezing Vendramini, but the Italian successfully scores a kick to the knee. “Smile Killer” pierces the guard with a few jabs, breaking up a combination and getting out of the way of looping shots in time. A quick leg kick from Ziam lands, and Beltran tells Ziam he needs to close his fingers when striking. Vendramini looks for a left hook to counter, but Ziam sees it coming and is ready with a few jabs to the head and body. The crowd grows restless as the two measure one another from afar, and Ziam walks through a kick to get in several jabs and a quick left hook to follow. Ziam makes his opponent walk into a right hand, and a kick to the thigh follows suit as Vendramini is unable to get in his rhythm. Vendramini tries to win shots at him, but Ziam is light on his feet as he hops back out of danger. Ziam’s jab continues to get the job done as Vendramini is attempting to power through and throw big strikes, but those strikes come up hitting nothing but air. Ziam kicks the leg and gets popped in the nose, but he responds in kind with a sharp jab up the middle. A high kick glances off Ziam’s shoulder right before the round ends, and Ziam is proud of his work early on.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ziam
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Ziam
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Ziam

Round 2

The Frenchman picks up where he left off with several jabs, and Vendramini is changing his approach as he rushes forward to throw bombs. When Ziam backs away, he slips up a front kick that collides off Vendramini’s chin, and Vendramini falls forward into a takedown attempt. Ziam stuffs he and circles away against the fence, before the two return to the center of the cage. Vendramini attacks with a single leg takedown, and Ziam stifles it and wings an elbow that is inches shy of his intended target. Ziam keeps his jab going intermittently, and Vendramini has decided to stop eating them and charge like a bull. This plays into Ziam’s hands, who darts out of the way and counters on the outside. A left hand high and a one to the body come together, and Vendramini is taking damage as Ziam’s left hand is poking holes in him. Vendramini scores a single inside leg kick, but Ziam ignores it to get off a pair of punches in response. Vendramini has a leg kick checked, and Ziam absorbs a second one. The range of Ziam is allowing him to land strikes from afar, and his head movement protects him from harm as Vendramini is selling out to throw bombs. A few big punches from Vendramini turn into a double leg takedown attempt, and Ziam impressively shucks him off after getting driven into the cage. When the two separate, Vendramini wants to do some damage, with several wide shots that all come up short. Ziam sticks him with jab after unanswered jab, and he changes it up with a stomp kick to the knee as the crowd is getting bored. The Frenchman does not notice the unrest and does not change up his gameplan, with his jabs flowing right to the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ziam
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Ziam
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Ziam

Round 3

Ziam picks up right where he left off with sharp jabs, and Vendramini is not playing around anymore as he surges forward with enormous punches that catch Ziam standing tall. Vendramini sprints ahead, throwing everything he has into these strikes, and a few of them manage to connect and send Ziam flying. Vendramini’s foot firmly on the accelerator, Ziam can do nothing but run away, and Vendramini catches up with him. As Ziam retreats, he stumbles, and Vendramini blitzes forward and tackles him to the ground. Quickly and methodically, Vendramini climbs on top and advances his position. “The Italian Stallion” steps over to half guard and then mount, all while landing strikes from above, Ziam gives up his back for a second to regain his position, but Vendramini backs off and returns to half guard. As Ziam sits up, Vendramini snags his neck and tries to hook up an arm-in guillotine choke. When Ziam defends it, Vendramini recaptures mount and slams his fist into the side of Ziam’s head. Ziam manages to get his foe back to his guard, and he tries to sit up against the fence. Vendramini postures up when he does this and smashes his elbow into his opponent’s face. Ziam is shocked as he tries to kick off, and with a sudden explosion, he powers back to his feet and shoves Vendramini away. Ziam appears no worse for wear as he sticks out his jab, keeping Vendramini at bay. Ziam is fully on his bike, escaping from any time Vendramini charges recklessly. Ziam takes a punch when circling away, but Vendramini locks him down against the fence and blasts him in the face with a few punches. Ziam bounces off the fence and continues to strafe back and forth, fully in survival mode as his offense has dwindled almost to nothing. Vendramini tries one last-ditch effort to attack, but Ziam ties him up and holds on tight until the final bell. It will be interesting to see how judges score this round, and as a draw is not outside of the realm of possibility.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Vendramini (29-28 Ziam)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Vendramini (29-28 Ziam)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Vendramini (29-28 Ziam)

The Official Result

Fares Ziam def. Luigi Vendramini via Majority Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-28)

Chase Hooper (145.5) vs. Steven Peterson (148.5: Missed Weight)

Round 1

We move things along to the lone catchweight contest of the night, when the youthfully exuberant Hooper (10-1-1, 2-1 UFC) takes on the heavy Peterson (18-9, 2-3 UFC) – the latter came in 2.5 pounds above the featherweight limit. Watching on to see if this will have any adverse effect on “Ocho” will be referee Herb Dean, and there is an apologetic glove touch offered and accepted for this. Peterson comes out of his corner a man possessed, winging a few big punches right at his foe. Hooper meets him in the center of the cage with a few of his own, and Peterson lands flush with a stern right hand. “Ocho” fires off a one-two, and a kick may have caught Hooper as the younger fighter wants to clinch up. Peterson walks him down and shoves him over, where he hops to side control and elbows Hooper in the head repeatedly. Peterson backs off when Hooper looks to set something up, but as soon as Dean allows Hooper to stand up, Peterson shoots in for another takedown. He hits it, and Hooper falls to his back and ties Peterson up. As they scramble, Hooper manages to get the upper hand and both stand up. Hooper pulls guard and Peterson springs up, but Hooper is on him like Saran wrap as he looks to take Peterson’s back and get a hook in. Peterson spins around and falls to his knee, but he manages to circle around and push Hooper over. Hooper hangs on tight until Peterson blasts him with elbow after elbow right on the head, and a mouse has developed under the youngster’s right eye. Hooper rolls around to follow Peterson and bring him back down when Peterson stands, but Peterson is not having it. A few punches from Peterson connect, and Hooper crashes forward with a takedown. Peterson pulls for a guillotine choke, and Hooper allows it so that he can get himself in position. Hooper suddenly rolls for a kneebar, and Peterson stands up but gets dragged back down as Hooper has his heel. When Peterson continues to scramble, Hooper latches on to a heel hook. Peterson’s leg is still tied up but it is not in danger, and he smacks Hooper upside the head several times to break the grip. Peterson drops down for his own heel hook, and after a brief 50/50 position, Hooper bowls him over and climbs on top. Hooper stands up, avoids an upkick, and drops down for another heel hook. Peterson sees it coming and separates, but as he sits up, he gets nailed in the face with a punch. The thrilling round ends as Peterson is pushing off.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Peterson
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Peterson
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Peterson

Round 2

Peterson is ready to strike when he comes out of his corner, and Hooper kicks him in the body and sneaks in a left hand. Peterson returns fire with a body kick, and the crowd starts changing “Hooper” when Hooper connects with a left hand. A head kick from Hooper leads into a takedown attempt, and Peterson stuffs it and turns him against the cage. The two jockey for position against the wire, with both attempting takedowns of their own. Peterson turns him about and mashes him into the fence, where he elbows the young fighter in the face to force a desperation takedown. Peterson drops down to pull for a guillotine choke, but his hooks are not in and Hooper escapes. Peterson backwards somersaults to get out of the position, but Hooper follows him and pulls guard to drag the fight back down. Peterson sits comfortably in the guard, where he eventually postures up and lands a solid left hand. His fingers outstretch and they go into Hooper’s eyes, and Dean admonishes him. Peterson apologizes but quickly strikes with an elbow on the already damaged eye of Hooper, and Peterson works the body and head until Hooper throws his legs up. Hooper fishes for an armbar setup and then a triangle, but “Ocho” is unconcerned as he continues to drill Hooper with ground-and-pound. Peterson sits up in guard and falls into an armbar, but the Texan laughs it off and eats some hammerfists from the bottom. Peterson sneaks in a short elbow when Hooper is scrambling, and the two wind up briefly in north-south position. Peterson sits on his side, and he finishes the round by pummeling “The Dream” with surprisingly heavy strikes.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Peterson
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Peterson
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Peterson

Round 3

The fighters reach to touch gloves, and Peterson leaps forward with a superman punch that may have been a little less than sporting. Peterson lands a few thudding punches, and Hooper fires off a kick and drops down for a takedown attempt. “Ocho” stands him up and presses him into the fencing, where he keeps a heavy grind as he nullifies the dynamic grappling threat. Peterson looks to break with an elbow, but Hooper holds tight as he absorbs the blow. Peterson knees his man in the stomach, and he looks for a high crotch lift that he turns into a double leg takedown. Hooper is able to remain upright from both tries, but Peterson doggedly pursues it to plant Hooper on his back. Peterson is already in half guard as he hits the ground, where he introduces his right hand an elbow to the younger fighter’s jaw. The elbows continue to mount for Peterson as he embraces the grind, and he pops “The Dream” several times with his shoulder to make matters worse. “Ocho” remains comfortable in this position, stifling Hooper and getting some strikes off before hopping over to the side. Peterson cinches up with an arm-triangle choke, but Hooper wildly scrambles to wrench his neck free and threaten to take Peterson’s back. The two walk up the fence, and Hooper manages to get Peterson’s back, where he drags his adversary to the ground with a minute to go. Hooper hooks in the body triangle, and the fighters begin to converse with one another in this position as Hooper attacks the neck. Peterson tries to turn into the body triangle, and he manages to twist far enough to survive any submission opportunity and ride out the round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Peterson (30-27 Peterson)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Peterson (30-27 Peterson)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Peterson (30-27 Peterson)

The Official Result

Steven Peterson def. Chase Hooper via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Matt Frevola (155) vs. Terrance McKinney (155.5)

Round 1

At lightweight, Frevola (8-2-1, 2-2-1 UFC) will welcome short-notice newcomer and a man with an interesting backstory of “T.Wrecks” McKinney (10-3, 0-0 UFC) to the Octagon. McKinney won one week ago inside the LFA cage, and is stepping in for the unexpectedly injured Frank Camacho. Referee Jason Herzog will be on top of what is sure to be a torrid first round at least, but there is a sporting glove touch before the scheduled violence. McKinney strides out of his corner as if he knows something we don’t, and he marches forward with bad intentions. When they meet in the center of the cage, a jackhammer of a one-two comes from the newcomer, with a right and a left hand that puts Frevola down like a sack of bricks. Frevola may be out, and McKinney dives down to smash him with hammerfists as Herzog cannot intervene fast enough. Celebrating what should be one of the quickest knockouts in company history is McKinney, who climbs the cage and leaps off. When “T.Wrecks” lands on the ground, he jams his knee and may have blown it out. McKinney falls over in pain, and he manages to get to his feet thanks to his corner, and he hops over to his stool. Tears in his eyes, McKinney soaks in the moment of what is easily the biggest win of his career, although he does mar it with a potential knee injury.

The Official Result

Terrance McKinney def. Matt Frevola R1 0:07 via KO (Punches)

Alexis Davis (134.5) vs. Pannie Kianzad (135.5)

Round 1

The first women’s match of the evening comes at bantamweight, when longtime vet Davis (20-10, 7-5 UFC) squares off against TUF Season 28 finalist Kianzad (14-5, 3-2 UFC). The Octagon will be graced by the presence of referee Marc Goddard, who clocks the women in as do not touch gloves. Kianzad tries to emulate the success of the last fight, throwing hands early and catching Davis unaware. Kianzad comes out swinging, and Davis returns fire with her own salvo. “Ally-Gator” sneaks in a left hand that backs Kianzad off, and some strikes from Kianzad have already marked up Davis’ nose. The two bantamweights clinch up, and Davis gets the better of the exchange with a few uppercuts. A minute in and Kianzad has already slowed down considerably, as the two swing and miss at one another. One lands, the other scores, and they take turns to land blows one after another. Davis gets off a few punches, takes a kick, and spins with a back fist that is just blocked in time. Kianzad scores a few punches and Davis smiles at her, but she doubles up on them and continues to land flush on Davis’ nose. The Swede interrupts Davis’ forward momentum with a leg kick, and she follows it with a big left hand. Kianzad’s strikes are sharp, and they have blooded up Davis’ nose and started some swelling. The jabs and left hooks from Kianzad keep coming, and Davis takes them flush and tries to counter with overhand rights. Davis crashes into clinch, but Kianzad meets her first with a few strikes and shoves her off. The Canadian gets off a solid leg kick, and she weaves through a few punches to plant her fist on Kianzad’s temple. Davis eats a big left hand without issue and walks through it, and Kianzad thinks about clinching but bails on it before anything comes. Davis plants her shin on Kianzad’s side, and Kianzad circles out and lands punches. Both women trade right to the horn, and both have some damage on their faces.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Kianzad
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Kianzad
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Kianzad

Round 2

The bantamweights meet in the center of the cage to slug it out right where they left off, and Davis backs off to scores a low leg kick. She chops at the calf again when Kianzad rushes forward, and Kianzad absorbs the kick and counters with a straight right down the pipe. The punches from Kianzad appear to have slightly more impact as they knock Davis’ head back, but Davis seems to have the volume advantage as they keep swinging. Kianzad stings her foe with a right hand, and Davis is no worse off as she resets. Davis ignores a punch up top when she kicks Kianzad in the side, and Davis is ready to brawl as Kianzad scores. Two big punches from Davis land flush on the chin, who grins and bears down on Kianzad while landing a few more on the way in. A naked kick from Davis gets countered, and Kianzad follows it with a thudding right hook. Davis’ face may be damaged and swelling fast, but she does not register them as she scores a few calf kicks and punches in bunches. Kianzad is there to greet her with her own combinations, all while her calf gets worked again and again. Kianzad walks face-first into a knee, and a few more kicks from Davis have caused some problems for her opponent. Kianzad has to switch stances, and she takes funny steps because her lead leg may be compromised from the kicks. Davis sticks out several jabs, and Kianzad stands firm and smacks her with a left hand. Davis continues to chip away at the leg, and a few punches that follow from Davis have opened up a cut on Kianzad’s eye. The two stand in the pocket and trade, and Davis breaks up her punching combinations with kicks to the body and leg. Kianzad crashes in to clinch, and the two may have clashed heads and do not land much of note. When they separate, Davis is the one advancing, and she plants her foot on Kianzad’s lower leg. Kianzad’s punches still come but are not nearly as powerful, and Davis can practically ignore them as she bears down on her. Davis kicks the leg, and turns it into a trip as she throws Kianzad to the ground. When Kianzad falls to her back, Davis starts punching Kianzad in that hurt calf until the bell sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Davis
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Davis
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Davis

Round 3

Neither woman shows any ill effects from their 10-minute brawl as they meet in the middle, and Davis flicks out a jab and lands a pair of low kicks that give Kianzad instant pause. Kianzad tries to string together punches, but Davis is there with striker of her own that bust up Kianzad’s nose. Both get off jabs at the same time, and Kianzad sits down on a few punches and catches Davis unaware. Davis hops back and re-engages with a few crisp jabs, before ducking down to avoid a looping shot from the Swede. Davis spins around to think about taking Kianzad’s back, but she pushes off when Kianzad catches on. The Canadian goes after the calf again with kicks, and she thumps the ball of her foot on Kianzad’s torso. Kianzad flicks out a few jabs as she gets her leg chopped down on the inside, and Davis circles away while targeting the kick again. Kianzad tries to counter the leg kick, but Davis is too squirrely to absorb many of the flailing punches. Davis jabs her way in and blocks the counters, before kicking Kianzad in the side. Kianzad lands a few punches in rapid succession, and Davis walks through them but is not throwing back with the same volume. A stern jab from Davis pushes Kianzad back, and Kianzad fires back and a right hand makes Davis reconsider her approach. Kianzad just misses with a huge right hand, and Davis is picking her shots and suddenly rushes in to clinch. Davis lands an uppercut, a knee to the body and a jab on the way out, and the blood continues to flow out of Kianzad’s eye. Kianzad strings together a line of punches, and Davis interrupts her with a sharp jab before she can get nailed with an overhand right. Kianzad doubles down on this strike, and she catches Davis at the end of a right hand. Davis pushes in to clinch, and these women are trading furiously. Kianzad scores a combination, and Davis walks in to get off an uppercut and a body kick. Both land one single punch, right before the horn, and this razor-close fight has now concluded. It’s anyone’s guess who gets their hand raised.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Davis (29-28 Davis)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Davis (29-28 Davis)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Kianzad (29-28 Kianzad)

The Official Result

Pannie Kianzad def. Alexis Davis via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Hakeem Dawodu (145.5) vs. Movsar Evloev (145.5)

Round 1

Opening up the four-fight ESPN prelims is what should be a featherweight thriller between the “Mean” Dawodu (12-1-1, 5-1 UFC) and the unbeaten Evloev (14-0, 4-0 UFC) with a possible place in the top 10 for the victor. The third man inside the cage is referee Mike Beltran, who bears witness no glove touch before a bout many are considering the dark horse “Fight of the Night.” Evloev changes levels and wings a right hand, and Dawodu has to shake it off as it lands flush. The two featherweights stick out jabs at the same time, and Evloev follows through with a left hand that knocks Dawodu back. Evloev connects with a leg kick and they trade jabs again. Evloev ducks a jab to shoot in for a low single, and he hits it after an exciting move to put Dawodu on his back. The Canadian rushes to the wall to walk up, and Evloev is relentless as he pursues it. Dawodu gives up his back in the process, and Evloev has his arms locked around his back as he lifts Dawodu in the air. Evloev slams him to the ground, and Dawodu scrambles right back up to his feet thanks to the fencing. Dawodu falls victim to an emphatic mat return, and Evloev gets his hooks in and takes Dawodu’s back. The Russian quickly snatches on to a choke that turns into a neck crank, and he stars squeezing it even though he does not have a choke locked in. Dawodu survives it and turns to free himself a little, but Evloev is still there with control. Dawodu punches behind his head, and a few punches land dramatically, even starting a little swelling around Evloev’s eye. Evloev responds by punching his opponent in the armpit, softening him up as he hunts for the neck. Evloev continues to smack Dawodu on the side of the head repeatedly as he has the back, but Dawodu is proficient in fighting the hands. Evloev sits back and drill his foe with several hammerfists, and Dawodu blasts out of the bad position up to his feet. Evloev cannot drag him back down, and the two fight hands on the fence until the round concludes. The only question of this round is whether the judges thought it was a 10-8 for Evloev.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Evloev
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-8 Evloev
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Evloev

Round 2

Dawodu opens up in the second frame with a few kicks, one to the leg and one to the body. Evloev walks through both to pressure his foe, where he grabs hold of him and wrests him to the ground. It does not take long for Dawodu to get back up, and Evloev happily follows him so that he can slam him back down harder. Dawodu scoots to the fence but surrenders his back in the process, and Evloev gets his hooks in to the same position as much of the last round took place. The crowd turns on Evloev as he sits in this position, and as if empowered by the fans, Dawodu explodes up. The Russian allows him to stand for a moment before ripping his legs back out, where he plants Dawodu on his face on the ground. In this position, Evloev wrenches his arm around Dawodu’s face for a crank, seemingly not even looking for the neck. Evloev whacks his man with punches to the head and body to distract Dawodu enough to give up an even worse position, but Dawodu ignores the blows as he tries to keep control of Evloev’s wrists. Dawodu stays defensive as he keeps absorbing punches and hammerfists, and Evloev has his way with him as he keeps punishing him. Dawodu tries to slug it out from this position, and he bursts through to break the posture and spin around, only for that to fail and him to be stuck in this position for longer. Dawodu scrambles, and he turns to his knees and is nearly flattened out as Evloev pounds on him. Dawodu turns back around to be stuck with his back taken, and Evloev slugs it out until the horn blares.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Evloev
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-8 Evloev
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Evloev

Round 3

The featherweights meet in the center of the cage to throw jabs, and Dawodu reaches out with a kick. Evloev decides not to take the fight down, and he jabs from a distance when Dawodu closes in. The Canadian scores a solid calf kick after a body shot, forcing Evloev to clinch up for a moment. Dawodu pushes him away and dings him with a left hand, and Evloev darts out of the way to take another low kick. Evloev meets him in a quick clinch with an uppercut, and Dawodu escapes to score a single punch to the body. Both trade single strikes over the top, and a glancing blow makes Dawodu stumble back. Evloev tries to follow it up with a takedown, and Dawodu stuffs it and stands back up. Dawodu swings with a wide punch that blows Evloev’s hair back, and Evloev looks to counter but is similarly inaccurate. Dawodu strings a few punches together, and Evloev slips them and rips back. Dawodu hops forward with a kick to the body, and he throws everything he has into a leaping left hand. Evloev tries to rush in for some offense, and Dawodu sees it coming and pushes him away. Dawodu takes a leg kick and gives one back, and he scores a right hand as Evloev turns around. Dawodu hurts Evloev with a punch, and the crowd goes crazy for Dawodu. Evloev motions to the crowd that the strike did not hurt that much, and Dawodu follows it up with one that rings Evloev’s bell and stumbles the Russian. Evloev crashes forward to take the fight down as he is wobbled on his feet, and he scores it, much to the chagrin of the fans in the building and the commentary booth. Evloev takes Dawodu’s back, and he rides out the position to the last horn, all while the crowd rains down boos.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Dawodu (29-27 Evloev)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Dawodu (29-26 Evloev)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Dawodu (29-26 Evloev)

The Official Result

Movsar Evloev def. Hakeem Dawodu via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)

Joanne Calderwood (125) vs. Lauren Murphy (125.5)

Round 1

For the winner of this flyweight contest, a likely title shot hangs in the balance. For the loser of Murphy (14-4, 6-4 UFC) and Calderwood (15-5, 7-5 UFC) awaits a place among the pack of women that have a long way to go to reach the top. Whether Murphy gets “Lucky” or Calderwood chops down the tree is anyone’s guess, and referee Herb Dean will be the first to know. There is no interest in a glove touch to check in the match, and instead Murphy starts out the aggressor. Calderwood keeps her distance with a low kick as Murphy bears down on her, and the Scot ducks just in time to avoid a looping left hand. Murphy marches forward to throw a big punch, and Calderwood surprises her with a spinning back fist on the way in. Calderwood looks for her range with jabs and front kicks, but Murphy pushes the pace and clinches up to scores a few uppercuts. Murphy absorbs a couple knees to the body while she applies pressure, and a few knees to the head force Murphy to back away. Calderwood follows her with a head kick, and it is barely blocked in time. Calderwood uses jabs and low kicks any time Murphy thinks to advance, but Murphy jumps through them all to sting Calderwood with a left hook. Murphy times another kick to snap Calderwood’s head back with a pair of hooks, and Calderwood tries to get right back at her but misses. Murphy pushes Calderwood back with a punch, and Calderwood chips at her with a slew of calf kicks. “Lucky” shows that luck is not a factor as she strings together a combination ending with a right hand, and Calderwood continues to pepper her with long strikes from afar. Murphy marks up Calderwood’s head, but Calderwood has a varying arsenal with punches and kicks high and low. When the two clinch up, Calderwood gets off several sharp elbows and tries to score a knee on the break. Murphy swings and misses with an overhand right, and her single strikes are largely caught on the way in as Calderwood is more combination-focused. Murphy blocks a few incoming strikes to catch Calderwood standing tall, and she gets off a one-two that rocks Calderwood. Murphy grabs hold of her to take her back, but the round ends before she can do anything with it.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Murphy
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Murphy
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Murphy

Round 2

When the flyweights meet in the center of the cage, it is Calderwood who flings up a high kick. Murphy tries to throw back with heavy leather, but Calderwood backs off and kicks her in the midsection. Calderwood stays in her preferred range with kicks to the leg and body, and she rushes in with a punch combination that gets broken up halfway through. Murphy punches her way into a single leg takedown attempt, and she snags hold of the lead leg but cannot elevate her opponent. Calderwood manages to get her balance, so Murphy changes it to a body lock and she wrenches Calderwood down to the ground. Murphy steps over when Calderwood is stuck against the fence by taking mount, and she starts wailing on Calderwood with right hands. Calderwood looks to defend herself with unorthodox elbows off her back, and she pulls her foe back to a three-quarter mount. Murphy ignores the leg battle as she continues to slam her fists on the side of Calderwood’s head, all while threatening with a potential choke ever so often. Calderwood is on her side in this three-quarter mount position, which has her flat on her side unable to do anything or defend herself. Murphy looks to take her back in the process, so Calderwood kicks off the cage. This change in position allows Murphy to hunt for an arm-triangle choke, and Murphy considers hopping over to the side to cinch it up until abandoning it to land strikes. Murphy pounds on Calderwood’s left thigh several times while in half guard, and she stays heavy to keep the crafty kickboxer stuck on the ground. Any time Calderwood tries to sit up, the American presses her back down and lands a strike or two. Murphy isolates the left arm to pursue a kimura, but she uses this instead to advance her position. Neither happen, so Murphy is content to elbow Calderwood in the head a few times until the round comes to a close.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Murphy
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Murphy
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Murphy

Round 3

Calderwood is the first to push the pace in the final round, with a leg kick and a big right hand that snaps Murphy’s head back quickly. Murphy rushes in to do something, but before she can reach her opponent, Calderwood counters her with an uppercut and backs her off. “Jojo” snaps out a few jabs to back Murphy off, and Murphy loads up on a few right hands but comes up short. A few more jabs from Calderwood make Murphy bounce off the cage, and Murphy’s power strikes are too slow to reach their target. Calderwood is sharper, landing punches that get Murphy’s attention time and time again. After Calderwood lands a body kick, Murphy shoots in to take the fight down, but she decides to instead knee the Scot in the chest. Calderwood does not let her off the hook, landing a body kick on her way out. Murphy gets her bell rung with a left check hook, but she shakes it off and takes a few kicks on the knee. Murphy crashes in for a takedown, but Calderwood sees it coming and stops it. In the process, Calderwood gets her in the clinch to land a knee and an elbow. Murphy again attempts a desperation takedown, but Calderwood sees it coming a mile away. The clinch that follows gives both women some signs of success, as they trade knees and elbows. Murphy may have gotten away with a hair pull on the way out, but Calderwood walks it off and smacks Murphy in the face with a right hand. Any time Murphy gets close enough to clinch, Calderwood greets her with a stern knee to the body. Murphy starts throwing big punches, and although she connects with them, Calderwood is right there to give them right back. A few strikes from Calderwood start an unusual piece of swelling above Murphy’s right eye, and the American responds with a superman punch. Calderwood connects with a long string of punches, and she ends one combination with a spinning back fist. They trade punches right to the final bell, and both raise their arms in victory. This one could go either way.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Calderwood (29-28 Murphy)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Calderwood (29-28 Murphy)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Calderwood (29-28 Murphy)

The Official Result

Lauren Murphy def. Joanne Calderwood via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Eryk Anders (205) vs. Darren Stewart (204.5)

Round 1

For the second time in his career, Stewart (12-6, 1 NC; 5-6, 2 NC UFC) will get an immediate rematch after a no contest ended his fight abruptly – this first occurred when he faced Francimar Barroso in 2016 and then 2017. Three months ago, Stewart met Anders (13-5, 1 NC; 5-5, 1 NC UFC), and the two threw down until an errant Anders knee to a grounded Stewart abruptly halted the contest. The two opted to rematch at light heavyweight instead of middleweight, and referee Jason Herzog will hopefully make sure things stay clean this time around. There is a glove touch, and both heavy hitters are cautious to engage early. Stewart paws out with a kick, and he reaches out with another as Anders walks out of the way. Anders sits down on a left hand counter, and it just misses as Stewart is hopping around light on his feet. Stewart continues to pepper the lead leg again and again, and it is practically the only strike thrown through 90 seconds. Anders reaches out with another long left punch, but it is well off the mark. “Ya Boi” marches Stewart down and punches his way into a clinch, but the Brit turns him around before absorbing a big shot or succumbing to a takedown. Stewart holds Anders tight against the wire, and Anders looks irritated that he is stuck in this position with no way out. The crowd begins to revolt as this clinch battle ensues, and “The Dentist” changes levels for a takedown as soon as the booing begins. Anders stuffs it and turns him around, and he pursues a single only for that to be rebuffed with ease. Anders presses his full body weight on his opponent now, and he takes a knee up the middle for his effort. Herzog asks the two to work, so they jockey around for position and spin the other about. There are knees from both fighter, and a stern knee finds its home on Anders’ chest. Stewart bursts through to take the fight down, and he slams Anders on his back. Anders threatens with two-on-one wrist control, and he scores an elbow and a few hammerfists while Stewart holds on to him. Anders hacks at him from his back with elbows, and the tepid round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-10
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Stewart
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Stewart

Round 2

Anders fires off a left hand to start the round, but he is a foot away from the mark. Anders stalks Stewart down early, and he connects with the single left hand he has been hunting for this whole time. The punch is the only one that lands before they clinch up, and we are right back to where we left off from much of the previous frame. Short strikes from both land on the inside to no effect, and Anders presses heavy and walks Stewart across the cage in this position. Stewart tries to set up elbows and knees, and Anders ignores them as he leans on his foe. Herzog has had enough of the stalemate, and he separates them without warning them. Stewart chips at him with a few leg kicks, and “Ya Boi” charges low for a takedown only to get stood up. They wind up in the clinch again, and the crowd is not thrilled. Anders lands a knee to break up the clinch, and “The Dentist” is not headhunting but calf hunting. Suddenly, a wild brawl ensues, and both men nail the other with big shots. Anders gets the better of the exchange to pin the Brit against the fencing, and Stewart is continually landing short knees to the body. Stewart spins him around and they break, where they both connect with long left hands at the same time. Anders shrugs off a leg kick and avoids a right hand that follows so he can crack his foe with a left hand. He turns this punch to a takedown attempt, but it is to no avail as they tie up against the chain links. Stewart motions frustrated as he gets pushed on the fence, and Anders hunts for a single but cannot land it. The Brit pushes off, and with seconds to go, it is still anyone’s round. The light heavyweights meet in the middle, and Anders puts two uppercuts together to snap the head back right before the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Anders
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Anders
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Anders

Round 3

The fighters touch gloves to open the last round, and both reach out with jabs that are not accurate. Stewart kicks the lead leg a couple times until Anders leaps at him, and “The Dentist” swats away oncoming punches before they connect. Anders has his leg kicked on the way in, and it makes him off-balance so that he cannot score with punches. Anders swarms forward only to get thrown down by Stewart. The American does not stay here, and instead reverses the position to plant Anders on his back. Anders lords over the downed fighter and punches him in the face while above, before climbing into half guard to put Stewart flat on his back. Stewart wriggles and twists to try to regain guard, but Anders gloms on to him and sporadically pounds away at him. Stewart’s attempts to stand get rebuffed repeatedly, and Anders uses his weight to keep Stewart trapped. Precious seconds tick off the clock for Stewart as he is stuck down on his back, and Anders exerts full control and steps over to three-quarter mount for a moment. Anders climbs to the other side to pursue an arm-triangle choke, and when Stewart sits up, he pursues a rear-naked choke. Stewart defends it, and falls into another choke attempt after he stops it, but that too is unsuccessful. This second effort for Anders allows him to posture up and hammer down with punches. As Stewart fails to scramble, he gets away with a glove grab and gets to his knees. Stewart gets back to his feet, but he is in a bad position as Anders drills him with punch after unanswered punch. Herzog keeps a close eye on the action, but Anders cannot get a stoppage. Stewart breaks free, and Anders guns for him with one final salvo before the horn ends this grueling match.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Anders (30-28 Anders)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Anders (29-28 Anders)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Anders (29-28 Anders)

The Official Result

Eryk Anders def. Darren Stewart via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)

Drew Dober (154) vs. Brad Riddell (155)

Round 1

Before the main event, Riddell (9-1, 3-0 UFC) will try to get one on the board for his team City Kickboxing at the expense of Dober (23-10, 1 NC; 9-6, 1 NC UFC). Keeping tabs on this preliminary card headliner is referee Marc Goddard, and the lightweights touch gloves before handling their business. Both lightweights score big punches seconds into the round, with Riddell catching Dober on the side of the head. Riddell follows it with a kick that nearly sweeps Dober’s leg out from beneath him, and Dober gathers himself and throws right back. A stiff one-two from Dober connects, and Riddell sits down on a body kick. Dober responds with a kick and a punch, and these two are going punch for punch. Dober cracks Riddell with a right hand, and the Kiwi is in serious danger as he shoots for a desperation takedown. Dober cracks him again, and Riddell is still able to keep his wits about him enough to press the double into the fence to protect his chin. Dober sprawls against the cage to keep himself upright, and “Quake” redoubles his effort to get the fight down. Lifting Dober’s left leg in the air, he is able to put Dober down for a second. The American blasts his way back to his feet without issue, and Riddell elbows him once before they separate. Dober slings a head kick that gets blocked, and the sheer force of the blow knocks Riddell back a step. Dober stands right in front of Riddell and bangs it out, and when he catches Riddell again, the Kiwi shoots for a low single. This one does not success, so he abandons it without spending excess energy and gets back to striking range. “Quake” rips the body with a few shots as Dober finds a way in, and three punches from Dober open up a cut on the forehead and rock Riddell again. Riddell fires right back, and a huge shot just bounces off Dober’s square chin. Dober walks into a right hand, and he manages to fire back but gets the worse of the exchange. Riddell sneaks in another overhand right, and he kicks the lead leg. Dober fires off a body kick and has a right hand crack him square on the temple. Riddell’s right hand is continuously finding its mark, and Dober staggers for a second but throws a head kick right back. Riddell blasts his foe with two more big right hands right before the bell, and the lightweights are smiling and laughing as the touch gloves after the bell rings.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Dober
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Dober
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Dober

Round 2

There is a happy glove touch between the two to start the round, and Dober catches a left hand on the chin as he slings a body kick. Riddell cocks back his right hand and ducks a left hook, and he scores it flush on the chin. Dober nails Riddell with a salvo of punches, and Dober gets stung by counter shots but does more damage as he cuts open Riddell’s nose. Riddell shoots for a takedown and gets stuffed, but Dober turns it around and hits his own takedown after a wild flurry. Dober takes Riddell’s back when Riddell gets to a knee and stands up, but the Kiwi manages to turn the tide to pursue a single. Dober hacks at him with elbows and maintains his balance to stay up, but Riddell is obsessed with dragging the fight down where he wants it. Dober continues to work his foe with sharp elbows, until Riddell has to bail on it and let Dober stand up. Riddell wings an elbow on the break, and Dober walks forward to throw a left and a big right. As Dober is marching forward, Riddell catches him and turns his momentum against him by landing an important takedown. Riddell climbs over to half guard and quickly advances to three-quarter mount, but the wild scramble results in both men standing back up somehow. Riddell throws a right hand and a stabbing kick to the body, and Dober tries to counter but comes up short. A fake takedown from Dober leads to a furious flurry of fists, and Dober nearly falls over when swinging with everything he has. Punches from Dober have completely flattened Riddell’s nose, and the Kiwi absorbs a body kick and throws back at the other’s. Riddell scores an overhand right, and they trade body kicks. Two punches glance off Dober’s temple, and Dober replies with a delayed spinning back kick that knocks Riddell back. A few kicks from Riddell end the fun round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Riddell
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Riddell
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Riddell

Round 3

The lightweights clap hands to begin the final round, and Dober swarms forward but gets caught with a right hand that makes the iron-chinned Dober stumble backwards. Dober shakes out the cobwebs and presses forward, right into another thudding right hand that hurts him. A hurt Dober changes levels for a takedown, but when he does not get it, he pushes away before “Quake” can reverse him. Dober lets loose with a body kick, and Riddell is right here to throw one back at him. Riddell clips Dober with his thudding right hand, and Dober tries to slip and rip only to take a leg kick. Riddell targets the body after landing a right hand, and Dober has to back away to gather himself. The American takes one more on the chin, and he leaps forward with a pair of hooks only to duck down for a takedown. The brawlers go kick for kick, and Dober fakes a takedown to dart forward with a punch. Riddell works the body and head as Dober plods forward. A Dober head kick gets through, but Riddell eats it like a steak and stuffs a subsequent takedown effort. On the break, Riddell glances an elbow off the target, and he follows it with a piercing body kick. Dober swings for the fences but Riddell is sharper, and he aims a right hand to the body. Dober clubs him with two punches, and a Riddell head kick leads to him falling over. Instead of pouncing, Dober lets him up and backs off. Dober takes a body kick and tries to loop a left hand, but Riddell counters with a blistering right hand that hurts Dober badly. Dober attempts to keep his composure but nearly falls back, and Riddell charges at him to blast him and put him on his back. A furious scramble ensues as Dober goes airborne to try to escape, and the American subsequently winds up getting his back taken with a crucifix position reminiscent of Gary Goodridge vs. Paul Herrera. Riddell cannot get deadly elbows off like “Big Daddy,” as Dober spins around to take top position. Riddell continues to move, and he manages to circle around on top to land some final punches from above. The last horn blares to end the prelims, and Riddell puts himself on the map with a terrific performance.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Riddell (29-28 Riddell)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Riddell (29-28 Riddell)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Riddell (29-28 Riddell)

The Official Result

Brad Riddell def. Drew Dober via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Paul Craig (204.5) vs. Jamahal Hill (205.5)

Round 1

An all-action light heavyweight scrap kicks off the main card of UFC 263, where the pure finisher Craig (14-4-1, 6-4-1 UFC) tries to win one for Scotland tonight against the undefeated heavy hitter Hill (8-0, 1 NC; 2-0, 1 NC UFC). The betting line of “Fight Doesn’t Go to Decision” is the highest of any match on the card, currently residing at -265, with expectations that this one will be violent and wild. Keeping his head on swivel will be referee Al Guinee, and there is a large amount of bad blood between these two and, predictably, no glove touch. The finishers are cautious to engage in the early going, with Craig trying to keep a wide berth using front kicks. The American plods forward, unconcerned of any kicks that come at him, and he lashes out with a kick to the body. Craig grabs hold of him and pulls guard, but Hill climbs into half guard. Craig clings to an arm under his armpit with an unorthodox armbar torque, and he twists and turns but falls into a brutal armbar. Craig cranks the arm with all his might, and the elbow hyperextends in a horrible way. The camera cuts away after the arm snaps and the shoulder may have dislocated as well, but Hill signals to Guinee that he is not tapping, so the fight unexpectedly continues. Craig looks to Guinee to stop the fight because Hill’s arm dangles lifelessly as Craig recovers the triangle position, but for some reason, Guinee has not intervened. Craig reluctantly smashes Hill with elbows like Anderson Silva to Travis Lutter, and all the while, Hill’s busted arm flops around as Hill has no control over it and cannot even tap with it. Craig continues to tell Guinee that the arm is broken and that the fight should not continue, but the cries fall on deaf ears. Finally, Guinee stops the fight possibly due to the punches and elbows that mount, or possibly because of the clear and unequivocal arm injury. Hill slumps over when they are separated, clutching his wrecked arm and looking around more in surprise than pain after suffering his first career defeat in such a dramatic fashion. How this fight wasn’t stopped far, far sooner is a question that will be asked for quite some time.

Worry not, fight fans, as later on in the broadcast, the UFC team alerted fans that Hill's arm was not broken, just badly dislocated, and it has been put back into place.

The Official Result

Paul Craig def. Jamahal Hill R1 1:59 via Technical Submission (Armbar)

Demian Maia (170.5) vs. Belal Muhammad (170.5)

Round 1

This next match at welterweight is a grappler’s delight, as the legendary submission specialist Maia (28-10, 22-10 UFC) will try to become the first man to tap out the durable Muhammad (18-3, 1 NC; 9-3 UFC). Enjoying this fight with the best seat in the house is referee Jason Herzog, and the two have nothing but respect for one another and touch gloves. Muhammad reaches out with several punches, and the Brazilian is right there to greet him with punches. Maia eats a few on the chin and shoots in low for a takedown, but it gets stuffed with ease. Maia comes out with a solid right hand that surprises Muhammad, and he uses this to pursue a single from afar. The grappling legend keeps the left leg elevated as he continues to pursue it, but he has to abandon it when Muhammad sprawls against the fence properly. Maia goes back after the submission, and he rips Muhammad’s knee out from beneath him to secure the takedown. Muhammad’s eyes are wide as he is surprised that this happened to him, and he walks up to his feet to stand back up. Muhammad lifts his leg all the way in the air to break the grip, and he backs away to get his feet from beneath him. Muhammad answers with a solid right hand, and he pushes away a leaping takedown attempt from Maia shortly thereafter. Muhammad has his leg grabbed again, and he hops back to the fence to keep his balance. Maia eats an elbow as he pursues the single, but Muhammad is able to put his leg down for a moment and pull it back. Maia backs away and evades the punches that come his way, but a left hand finds its home on his chin. A stiff jab from Muhammad backs Maia off, and Maia fakes a takedown to draw out a reaction. Maia puts another attempt on Muhammad with the single, and he lifts the leg up high to take Muhammad down but cannot get it. Muhammad hops to and fro with his back on the wire, and Maia sticks to him like glue as he is intent on putting Muhammad on his back. Muhammad is able to put his leg down to the ground again, and he uses the other to sling a head kick that gets blocked right before the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Maia
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Maia
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Maia

Round 2

There is a quick glove touch to start off the round, and Maia follows it with a left hand. Muhammad kicks the lead leg and hops back before Maia can snatch it up. The American gets off a few jabs here and there as he tries to find his range and keep a safe distance, timing uppercut feints and marking up Maia’s nose with strikes. Maia lunges forward with a looping left hand that hits nothing but air, and there is a lengthy stalemate as they look for angles. Maia drops down for a low single, and Muhammad sticks him with punches from far out. Maia turns a punch to a takedown attempt in the center of the cage, and Muhammad sprawls and stops it from happening. Muhammad makes him pay with a right hand after breaking up the attempt, and he swats away a few half-hearted punches from the Brazilian. Maia pursues another takedown, and Muhammad jumps far away to get out of harm’s way. Muhammad stings Maia with crisp punch combinations, and he hurts Maia with a right hand as he is feeling more comfortable to let his hands go. Muhammad paws out several left hands to break up Maia’s forward movement, and he kicks the lead leg hard. Maia tries to take him down, but his attempts are more labored and Muhammad sees it coming from a mile away. “Remember the Name” makes Maia remember his fists as he introduces them to Maia’s chin a few times, until Maia charges in for a desperate single leg takedown. When the Brazilian lifts the leg up, Muhammad keeps his balance and stays upright. When Maia tries for one last takedown, Muhammad defends with elbows on the side of the head until time expires.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Muhammad
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Muhammad
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Muhammad

Round 3

There is one final touch of gloves for the last round, and Muhammad is more comfortable in the center of the cage as he jabs his way out. Maia gets one back, but Muhammad triples up on jabs. Maia dives for a takedown, and Muhammad springs out of danger without much concern. Muhammad gets off a head kick that still does damage even though it is fully blocked, and a right hand hurts the 43-year-old. Maia wings a left hand, but Muhammad’s strikes are more accurate and quicker. There is another head kick from Muhammad, and when it gets blocked, the Roufusport product sticks Maia with a jab. Maia shoots low for a single, and Muhammad does not seem concerned as he stops it once more. Muhammad jabs and continues to redden Maia’s face up, and a clubbing left hand frustrates Maia. Muhammad staves off a feeble single so that he can chain punches together, and he tees off on the fading Brazilian with combinations. Maia can do little but flirt with takedowns, and Muhammad drills him with a shovel uppercut but gets caught with an overhand left. Muhammad pulls his leg back before it gets snagged, and Maia telegraphs these shots every time and does not vary his approach. Muhammad aims a head kick at him, but it too is blocked. Maia crashes forward with a single, and “Remember the Name” posts a stellar takedown defense rate when he stops that one from succeeding. Muhammad protects his leg when Maia latches on to it, punching the Brazilian in the side of the head as Maia lumbers towards him. Muhammad is forced to defend single after single, and Maia lifts the leg but cannot ground him. The gritty fight comes to an end in this position.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Muhammad (29-28 Muhammad)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Muhammad (29-28 Muhammad)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Muhammad (29-28 Muhammad)

The Official Result

Belal Muhammad def. Demian Maia via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Special Non-Title, Five-Round Bout:
Nate Diaz (170) vs. Leon Edwards (170.5)

Round 1

For some unknown reason, Edwards (18-3, 1 NC; 10-2 UFC) vs. Diaz (20-12, 15-10 UFC) will become the first five-round fight in UFC history that was not the main event and did not have a belt on the line at any point. The winner could be on the verge of a title shot – even if it is Diaz – and referee Herb Dean will be serving as the Octagon ranger when the door shuts. There is no glove touch, and instead Edwards feints and fakes his way forward as Diaz throws an inaccurate leg kick. Diaz circles on the outside of the cage, pawing out a kick that is two feet away. Diaz dances around and showboats when Edwards does not engage, and he is trying to taunt Edwards and gets cracked. Edwards does not bite on any of this, and he stings him with a right hand and a leg kick. Another leg kick lands for Edwards, and Diaz nods at him. Diaz looks away and throws a punch, but Edwards is out of the way and able to chop at the leg. Diaz is forced to change stances already, and he hops forward with an unusual punch that is off the mark. Edwards lands a few punches, and Diaz gets one back as the Brit backs off. “Rocky” marches Diaz down and takes a leg kick on the inside and outside of his leg. Edwards fires off a left hand that bounces off the chin, and Diaz taunts him and gets kicked hard on the thigh. Diaz’ leg is reddening up fast, and Diaz reaches out with several jabs and dodges the oncoming fire. Two punches from Diaz land, and he starts motioning to Edwards that he got his number and leaps forward with looping punches. Although they do not connect, Diaz does manage to clinch up. Edwards turns the tables on him, and he pushes Diaz down and partially takes his back. Diaz punches his man from behind, and the strikes do not even register as Edwards gets a hook in. Edwards circles around when Diaz sits down, and he keeps Diaz’ back controlled as he starts to land a few punches. Edwards’ ground-and-pound mounts until Diaz kicks off, and Edwards chops down his lead leg once more before the round ends. The leg kicks did some damage, as Diaz limps back to his corner between rounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Edwards
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Edwards
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Edwards

Round 2

Both welterweights jab at one another as the round begins, and Edwards hacks at the leg with a nasty kick that makes Diaz turn around. Diaz wanders off, looking at the ground, and Edwards does not fall for it and waits for Diaz to come back. Diaz sprints forward suddenly to throw punches, but Edwards is well out of the way of any of them. Edwards rolls with a punch to land a left hand, and he greets Diaz with a right as Diaz is swinging for the bleachers. Diaz puts his hands at his waist, and both clock one another with right hands as Diaz plays possum a little. Diaz gets off a right hand, but Edwards lands a few more and a slapping leg kick. Diaz whiffs on a one-two, allowing Edwards to score a right hand counter when Diaz throws at him. Edwards nails the lead leg to force Diaz to change his stances, and Diaz goads him on. This allows Diaz to trade with him and even land a few punches before Edwards can snag him and tie him up in the clinch. Edwards hits a trip to put Diaz on his back, and he takes half guard comfortable without fear of Diaz’ notorious offensive guard. Diaz suddenly snags a heel hook, and Edwards gets away with a blatant fence grab to stop it. This allows him to get free, and he slams his shin in Diaz’ leg. Diaz keeps a poker face but shows some pain, and he comes out swinging. Edwards clips him with a left hand, and Diaz signals that it was very close. Diaz continues to taunt and toy with Edwards, and he lands a pair of punches. Edwards stands him up with punches, and a leg kick breaks up Diaz when he presses forward. Diaz punches into a clinch, and Edwards reverses the position and tags him with a spinning back elbow before the horn blares.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Edwards
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Edwards
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Edwards

Round 3

Edwards comes out firing, with punches and a knee up the middle. Edwards comes in with an elbow, and Diaz points at his gloves for some reason. Diaz takes a left hand on the chin, and he pirouettes to regain his composure. Edwards wrecks his calf with another kick, and Diaz takes a funny step and tries to press forward. The clinch ensues courtesy of Diaz, who lands a few short knees on the inside. Edwards breaks free before there is an elbow that comes his way, and he jabs Diaz to the body. Diaz just comes up short with a huge left hand, and he lifts his leg anticipatorily at the kick that comes at him. Edwards grabs an advancing Diaz into the clinch, and he trips Diaz down to sit in his half guard. Edwards looks for ground-and-pound with elbows from on top, and he works Diaz with elbows that have slashed Diaz open. The blood instantly starts pouring, and Edwards stands up and lords over Diaz until Dean stands them up. Diaz is cut on both sides of his head, and Dean pauses the fight because Diaz’ cup fell out of his shorts. When they start again, Edwards gets off a right hand and a leg kick, and Diaz crashes in but gets grabbed. Edwards bends Diaz over and trips him out, where he drills Diaz with an elbow before Diaz rolls. Diaz aims for a leglock, for Edwards is well out of harm’s way as he circles around to take Diaz’ back. The Brit cannot keep Diaz down for long, who stands back up after breaking out of the grip. Edwards pops him with a spinning back elbow, and Edwards backs away as the round concludes.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Edwards
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Edwards
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Edwards

Round 4

The cuts are sealed between rounds, and Diaz signals he is ready to roll out for Round 4. As Diaz presses forward, Edwards kicks him in the body and ducks out of the way from a looping shot. Diaz scores a one-two, and Edwards signals that he got tagged. Diaz turns it up with another solid one-two, and Edwards is there this time to return fire. When Diaz backs off, Edwards puts his hands on his hips to wait for Diaz to come back. Edwards loads up on a bomb of a left hand, and Diaz staggers but does not go down. Diaz signals a thumbs-up when he recovers, and he is no worse for wear as he walks away. Edwards gives chase, kicking his leg and countering with a right hand as Diaz goes to the body. Diaz slaps out a front kick and swipes with a left hand, but it is not effective as Edwards lands a left hand and kicks his leg out. Diaz gets up and congratulates his foe for the successful move, and Edwards acknowledges this and lands a right hand. Diaz walks away, not looking at his opponent, so Edwards kicks him in the lead leg. Diaz turns back around, and Edwards tags him with a left hand as Diaz tries to clinch. Diaz closes in, and Edwards comes up inches short of a monstrous elbow. Diaz’ left eye has begun to start gushing blood and he fires off a left hand that shocks Edwards. Diaz presses into the clinch instead of following up, and Edwards is able to do a quick count of his teeth and separate. Edwards takes a healthy distance and chops down Diaz’ lead leg, and Diaz walks through it and lands a few punches. Edwards winds up on power punches, but a huge elbow from Edwards and opened up another cut on the other side of Diaz’ head. Edwards clubs his man with a punch, and he loads up on another elbow and a left hand. Diaz laughs it off and reaches with a left hand, but it falls short as the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Edwards
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Edwards
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Edwards

Round 5

The corner could not seal the cut on Diaz’ right temple between rounds, so it continues to bleed as the last round begins. Diaz comes out ready for bear, and Edwards lands a one-two and a dump that puts Diaz on his backside. The Californian gets back to his feet, and the other cut on his left eye has opened up and it is bleeding to obstruct his vision. Edwards swings and misses with a few punches, leading to a Diaz clinch and a shoulder strike before separating. Edwards drills Diaz on the side of the head with a left hand, and Diaz reels but recovers enough to take a nasty leg kick. Edwards stays sharp with punches, and Diaz comes up short throwing back at him. Diaz slaps him and lands a left hand, and Edwards is on his bike as he starts taking several crisp punches. Diaz presses him into a takedown attempt, and Edwards stops it from succeeding but absorbs a few short knees. Edwards frees himself and kicks Diaz on the body, and he throws with the other leg. Diaz puts his hands on his waist, allowing Edwards to kick his leg. Diaz dings him with a left hand and points at him, but he does not follow it up. A trio of hard punches land on the button for Edwards, and Diaz laughs at him and motions him to keep it up. Diaz is bloodied but still smiling, and he chases after Edwards and just comes up short with a left hand. Diaz starts talking to him, and a one-two from Diaz hurts Edwards badly. Edwards is in huge trouble, staggering back to the fence and Diaz is taking it to him! Edwards is practically out on his feet, and Diaz pours it on. As Edwards backs off in survival mode, Diaz tags him with a one-two and then a subsequent left hand. Edwards tries to escape as he ducks and moves, and when that does not work, he holds on in the clinch. Diaz smashes him with elbows, and he gives it everything he has left to finish the fight. When the final bell sounds, Diaz is upset that he could not get the job done, but he raises his arms in the air in victory after that final round. What an incredible way to end the fight!

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Diaz (49-46 Edwards)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Diaz (49-46 Edwards)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Diaz (49-46 Edwards)

The Official Result

Leon Edwards def. Nate Diaz via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)

UFC Flyweight Title Fight:
Deiveson Figueiredo (125) vs. Brandon Moreno (125)

Round 1

The first of two championship rematches is on deck, with this one at flyweight between Figueiredo (20-1-1, 9-1-1 UFC) Moreno (18-5-2, 6-2-2 UFC). Their initial meeting in December ended in a majority draw after the champ was deducted a point for a resounding groin shot, and Figueiredo has promised this one will not need the judges – if that is the case, then he would be the first to finish Moreno. Hanging on for dear life will be referee Mike Beltran, and fight fans around the world hope that the sequel will live up to the hype. There is a touch of gloves before the melee begins, and Moreno takes the center of the cage early. Moreno jabs the midsection as he stays light on his feet, aware that Figueiredo may load up on something big. Moreno scores a leg kick as Figueiredo is measuring him, and he sticks out a solid jab that knocks Figueiredo back a bit. Moreno gets off a few punches, and Figueiredo blocks some of them but backs off when the rest score. Moreno sneaks in a left hand, and the champ backpedals without throwing a strike. Figueiredo steps in with a knee, and he tags the champion with several punches in rapid succession. Figueiredo rips the body with a single shot, and Moreno ignores it and gets off a heavy leg kick. Moreno doubles up the jab, and meets him in the middle to strike. Figueiredo is tentative as he absorbs strikes, and he whiffs with a big right hand. When the two clinch up, Moreno is there to knee him in the chest. Moreno’s speed is the difference-maker, and Figueiredo steps in with an up-elbow only to take a left hand on the way out. A left to the body is followed by a right to the head from Moreno, and he leaps in with a left hand and a leg kick as Figueiredo is flustered. Figueiredo comes up with a hook kick and a booming left hand, and Moreno catches him with a piston-like jab and sends the champ crashing to the canvas. Moreno dives after him on the ground, and Figueiredo grabs hold of him to get his wits back, and he sweeps the challenger to get back to his feet. Moreno just misses with a monster uppercut, and Moreno goes back to sticking out his effective jab. Figueiredo dips down with a big right hand, and Moreno sees it coming and moves out of the way with ease. Moreno scores a slapping body kick, and a left hand shakes Figueiredo up right before the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Moreno
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Moreno
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Moreno

Round 2

Moreno is sharp right out of his corner, and Figueiredo gets stuck with a jab that hurts him again. Figueiredo ties him up in a body lock, where he puts the Mexican fighter on his back and takes half guard with ease. Figueiredo holds on tight with a guillotine choke on top as he locks Moreno down, and he is not landing any strikes but would prefer to cinch up the grip. Moreno rides it out and kicks off, but Figueiredo is on him and back to a guillotine choke. Moreno scrambles and gets out of it to put Figueiredo down for a moment, but when they do not stay grounded for long, he presses the champ into the fence and starts kneeing him in the posterior. Moreno scoops Figueiredo up and slams him down, and he gets a hook in to take Figueiredo’s back. Figueiredo twists around and gets his man back in guard, and Moreno is comfortable in top looking for ways to land strikes. Figueiredo defends himself and slashes with an elbow from his back, and the single shot started large swelling on Moreno’s forehead. Figueiredo hammers away with elbows that may have popped the mouse above Moreno’s eye, and Figueiredo kicks off and somersaults to scramble. Moreno is back able to get back on top as he follows the champ back down, and Figueiredo goes back to elbowing him. A few stay-busy hammerfists land from Moreno, but the far more effective blows are Figueiredo’s elbows from his back before the horn.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Moreno
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Moreno
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Moreno

Round 3

The third round commences as both flyweights rush out to meet in the middle, but neither engage in the first 35 seconds. Figueiredo lets loose a body kick, and he barely ducks a punch but eats a jab on the way out. Moreno flicks out several jabs, and Figueiredo sits down on a right hand as Moreno sends a kick to his lead leg. Figueiredo jumps forward with a wild haymaker that is easily seen, and Moreno punches his way into a clinch. Moreno uses the position to take the champ down to the ground, and he swirls around to take Figueiredo’s back. Moreno latches on to a rear-naked choke in an instance, and even if it is not under the chin, Moreno is squeezing with all his might. Figueiredo survives, so Moreno begins to pound on him with left hands as Figueiredo’s head has nowhere to go. Moreno’s body lock is tight around the waist, and Moreno snags the rear-naked choke again. This time, it is firmly under the chin, and there is no way out for “Deus da Guerra.” The Brazilian thinks about his next move carefully, as the choke is lethally tight and he may go out. Before he does, Figueiredo taps out, and thereby suffers his first career stoppage loss. When Beltran intervenes, Moreno is completely overcome with emotion, letting it all out inside the cage. Spectacular performance for the new champion, and a fighter that was cut by the UFC in 2018 after a pair of losses. Figueiredo is anything but upset after the loss, going over to congratulate the new champion and even hoisting him in the air after the belt gets wrapped around his waist. Moreno gets greeted by his wife and infant daughter, and after breaking down in tears, he simply stares at the gold belt in his hands. “The Assassin Baby” is on top of the world, and for good reason – he is now the fourth UFC flyweight champion and the first-ever Mexican-born UFC champ.

The Official Result

Brandon Moreno def. Deiveson Figueiredo R3 2:26 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)

UFC Middleweight Title Fight:
Israel Adesanya (183.5) vs. Marvin Vettori (184.5)

Round 1

At long last, the last fight of the night is upon us. This one will be a rematch, a championship bout and a grudge match all wrapped in one as Adesanya (20-1, 9-1 UFC) meets Vettori (17-4-1, 7-2-1 UFC) again. Their first encounter came in 2018, and Adesanya captured a split verdict that Vettori claims he won. Referee Marc Goddard will look on over this final battle of the evening, and there is no sign of a glove touch as these middleweights are ready and rearing to go to battle. Adesanya storms out of his corner and kicks the Italian fighter in the leg, and he follows suit with a front kick and another leg kick. “The Last Stylebender” gets off another thudding leg kick and dances out of the way when Vettori rushes at him. Vettori tries to crowd him, backing Adesanya against the fence, but Adesanya is able to chop at his leg a few more times as he circles out. Adesanya kicks the body with dramatic effect, and Vettori catches a leg kick and takes Adesanya down. Vettori lands in the guard, and the champ worms his way back to the fence and pushes off the fence before sitting up on it. Vettori does not let him do this, but Adesanya kicks off and spins with his legs to stand back up. Vettori stays pinned to him against the fence, and he pursues a single but cannot land it as Adesanya pushes off. Adesanya lunges forward with a front kick, and he goes right back to the calf without concern that it will be caught again. Vettori strings a one-two together and Adesanya ducks it, and Vetorri continues to consume leg kicks one after the other. Vettori’s knee is already reddening up, and he pursues Adesanya against the fence and lands a few times. Adesanya channels his inner Anderson Silva by standing with his hands down against the fence, bobbing and weaving and looking to counter. Vettori gets off a left hand when Adesanya circles away, but the champ is not concerned as he chips away little by little at the lead leg. Adesanya goes high and low with the kicks, and he scores a shovel uppercut and slaps Vettori in the face with his foot. Vettori charges like a bull into a strike and tumbles into the fence, and Adesanya points at him and laughs. Vettori begins to bear down on Adesanya, and Adesanya is starting to celebrate his work as he connects with fear of reprisal. One last uppercut gets off for the champ right before the horn.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya

Round 2

Both men paw at one another from range, as Adesanya gets a leg kick off early. When Vettori rushes forward, Adesanya lands on the leg and fires off a head kick that gets through. Vettori lands a right hand, but Adesanya is quicker and lands a few punches. The Italian lands two punches, and Adesanya greets him with a knee and a counter right hand. Adesanya slips a punch to return fire, and both get off single leg kicks. Vettori puts his man into the fence, but Adesanya ducks it and shops the leg once more before countering with a right hand. The lead leg continues to get battered for the challenger, who ducks down for a double leg takedown. Adesanya elbows Vettori on the side of the head again and again, forcing Vettori to lift his head up. Vettori redoubles his effort to drag the champ down, but Adesanya wrenches himself free and shoves the Italian fighter away. Vettori comes up hitting nothing but air as he throws two-punch combinations, all the while Adesanya carries on working his leg. Adesanya looses a head kick that bounces off the guard, and Vettori marches forward to jab his foe a few times. Adesanya slips the jabs and lands a stiff right hand, before kicking the lead leg once more. Adesanya styles with a head kick in short distance, and Vettori eats it like spaghetti as he tries to put his hands on the champ. Adesanya swings low with a big leg kick that lands with an audible thud and not a slap, and he comes in a little too close to get another off. Vettori tries to box him up, and he lands a few punches to press into a double. Adesanya elbows him until Vettori loosens his grip, and Adesanya gives him a hard shove to break the grip. Adesanya comes up a whisker short of the mark with a head kick, and Vettori shakes his head at him and lunges forward with a left hand. Right before the bell sounds, Adesanya launches a head kick that collides with Vettori’s shoulder and dome.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya

Round 3

The third round commences as Vettori throws a huge punch that misses. Adesanya tries to time a knee on the jaw, and although Vettori walks straight into it, he is able to surge through and complete the takedown. “The Italian Dream” manages to secure half guard as soon as they hit the ground, and the crowd reacts negatively to this development. Vettori slowly and methodically works the body with punches, and he holds his hand over Adesanya’s mouth. Adesanya kicks off and scrambles, giving up his back in the scramble and falling into a dangerous choke position. Vettori ties the choke up in an instant, and Adesanya explodes out and spins to wind up on top and break up the submission. Adesanya sits up and lands a punch or two, leading Vettori to pull for a heel hook. Adesanya wriggles out of harm, and when he stands up and Vettori follows him, Adesanya pushes off with his fingers and may have jabbed Vettori in both eyes at once. Adesanya apologizes, and Vettori takes a little time before blinking it out. Vettori lands a jab but catches an uppercut on the jaw, and Adesanya ends the salvo with a nasty leg kick that gives Vettori some pause. Adesanya steps in with another leg kick, and Vettori shocks him with a left hand. Adesanya plays it off as if it di not hurt, and he backs up to the fence and lowers his hands to dodge and weave. Vettori does not play the game and backs off, so Adesanya kicks his leg a few times. Adesanya chains a pair of leg kicks to a question mark kick, and it slaps the face but does not have a full effect. Vettori tries to power his way forward, but Adesanya is there to kick it a few more times. The challenger takes a leg kick flush, and it gives way and he topples to the ground. Although Vettori scrambles back up and motions that he just slipped, it was a clearly damaging move. Adesanya darts in with an uppercut and gets out of the way when Vettori tries to land a booming shot. The Italian aims a right hand, and Adesanya counters ahead of time with a front kick that clacks square into the cup one second before the round ended. Vettori needs a minute to recover, and again, Adesanya is apologetic at this foul. They touch gloves when they resume, and the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya

Round 4

The champ apologizes once more before the round begins about the groin shot, and he offers a glove touch but Vettori is not having it. Vettori charges ahead with two punches, and Adesanya meets him with a leg kick and several arcing punches. When those do not connect, Adesanya settles for a calf kick. Vettori strides forward only to get his lead leg hacked apart by these kicks, and Adesanya is able to slip and counter his strikes when Vettori lunges. A naked double leg takedown attempt from Vettori leads to smashing elbows from Adesanya, and the champ gets dragged down to the ground only to push off the fence and roll on top. When Vettori is on his back, Adesanya stands up and asks him to oblige him. Adesanya batters the leg with yet another piercing kick, and the unflappable Italian surges ahead with a stream of punches that are largely blocked. The champ throws a front kick, head kick and leg kick in rapid succession, and “The Italian Dream” is stuck daydreaming as he absorbs all three. Vettori flicks out a few jabs and lands his own leg kick, and Adesanya stands in front of him as Vettori chains these jabs together. Vettori is able to counter a few strikes before Adesanya can land, and Vettori answers back with a hard leg kick. Adesanya gives him one back, and paints his left hand on Vettori’s face. “The Last Stylebender” stabs the torso with a kick, but he does take another heavy kick. Two punches and a leg kick come from Adesanya, who scores all three unanswered and is out of range when Vettori comes at him. Vettori corners him against the cage, landing a few punches but unable to land anything flush as Adesanya circles out and kicks at his lead leg. Adesanya goes up top with a kick, and Vettori charges with a takedown attempt that the champion easily stuffs. Vettori holds in this position as he tries to isolate a leg, but Adesanya’s defense stays tight as he signals that Vettori is not doing anything. Adesanya spanks Vettori and grabs his foe’s backside right before the horn.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya

Round 5

The final round begins with a jab from Vettori, and he gets sniped with a head kick as he backs away. Adesanya mixes in a right hand with a chopping kick, and Vettori rushes in for a double leg takedown attempt that does not succeed. When they are clinched together, Adesanya slaps him in the face. He does this a few more times when Vettori holds him, and Goddard warns the Italian to do something. Vettori obliges by changing levels for a takedown, but Adesanya staves it off and uppercuts Vettori on the way out. A leg kick and then a head kick both land cleanly for the champ, who escapes from harm in time. Vettori charges with a few punches in a combination, but Adesanya’s head movement keeps him safe. Adesanya wipes the sweat from his opponent’s head with a kick that narrowly misses, and Vettori comes back with a right hand. Adesanya mimes that the strike did some damage, falling back towards the fence and then giving it up when Vettori does not fall for this obvious ruse. Adesanya points and laughs, and he hops out of the way when Vettori looks for jabs. Adesanya bounces off the fence with a superman punch attempt, and Vettori greets him with a short left hand. After Adesanya lands a kick, Vettori changes levels and scoops Adesanya’s legs out from beneath him. Adesanya climbs to a knee and protects his back from this position, so “The Italian Dream” is content to clinch and squeeze the champion on the wire. Adesanya smacks him on the side a few times with his fist, and Vettori holds on for dear life until Goddard splits them up with 45 seconds to go. Vettori paws out a few jabs, but he walks into a hard leg kick and hops back gingerly. Adesanya swings a head kick that gets blocked, and a front kick splits the guard. Vettori rushes to throw hands but opts to tie him up with seconds to go, and the time expires to make UFC 263 among the longest cards in UFC history. It is now the first card that the promotion has ever held that saw 11 decisions throughout the night, setting a dubious record with some frankly less than thrilling performances over seven-plus long hours. When the final horn blares, Adesanya mockingly falls to his knees in tears, before getting up laughing after a dominant performance over a perceived bitter rival. Before the scores were read, a tired Dana White has already wrapped the belt around the waist of the successfully defending champion. The middleweights do not appear to bury the hatchet after the fight, as Adesanya claims in the post-fight interview that Vettori stated that he won the fight. Adesanya dedicates his performance to his fallen friend and teammate Fau Vake, and he challenges Robert Whittaker to a rematch in his home country of New Zealand. Adesanya concludes his dramatic night by loudly proclaiming, “I’m the motherf---ing king, b--ch!” He is tonight. See you next week, fight fans.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya (50-45 Adesanya)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya (50-45 Adesanya)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Adesanya (50-45 Adesanya)

The Official Result

Israel Adesanya def. Marvin Vettori via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
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