UFC 268 ‘Usman vs. Covington 2’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

By: Jay Pettry
Nov 6, 2021
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Ode Osbourne (125.2) vs. C.J. Vergara (127.4: Missed Weight)

Round 1

For the second week in a row, the UFC is offering a pay-per-view-level card to its fans, but unlike last week, this one comes with a $70 price tag. Fourteen fights will stuff the bill in Madison Square Garden, with a pair of championship rematches on tap in New York City to end the night. We kick things off with what should be a fast-paced, violent affair that was once scheduled at flyweight, but Vergara (9-2-1, 0-0 UFC) missed weight by 1.4 pounds ahead of his debut against Osbourne (9-4, 1 NC; 1-2 UFC). The relative UFC vet pays it no mind as he elects to touch gloves while powerful referee Mike Beltran watches on, and let the festivities begin! Osbourne reaches out with a right hand to find his range, swatting a few times out as Vergara looks to close in on him. Both men keep very side stances and stand in front of one another swinging hands, until Osbourne jumps in the air with a flying knee. Vergara is able to get out of the way, and land an inside leg kick on the way back. Osbourne sets up a right hand counter as Vergara appears to need to jump forward to attack, and he preemptively counters Vergara on the way in. A big left hand from Osbourne pounds into the chin of his opponent, but the newcomer wears it well and defends a level change in the center of the cage. Osbourne flashes out a one-two as Vergara is struggling to get his bearings, not quite able to find the distance to land flush. Vergara does pop an advancing Osbourne with a right hand, but it is one-and-done as Osbourne is well out of the way in time for any additional strikes. They clash together as they are playing the range-finding game still, and a solid left hand from Vergara makes Osbourne nod at him. He paws with another to get Osbourne’s attention, and this makes “The Jamaican Sensation” bite down on his mouthpiece and throw hammers. Another big jump knee from Osbourne collides off the guard, and he stops with a kick to the knee after he lands. Vergara tries to defend against a low single, and he grabs the fence to get his balance, which draws loud admonishment from the mustached referee. He is able to remain upright and get separation, where he chips at the longer legs of Osbourne with a few calf kicks. Vergara pressures his opponent with forward movement, and they land single strikes to decent effect. Osbourne snaps Vergara’s head back, and Vergara comes back with a surprising head kick that is barely blocked in time. The close round ends after that exchange.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The fighters meet in the center of the cage, and Osbourne is there to fling up a head kick that does not land. He does, however, get off a right hand on the ear, and Vergara shakes it off. Vergara dips down with several punches to the chest, and a right hand from the three-fight UFC vet draws swelling on the left eye of Vergara. There is a clinch that leads nearly to a body lock, but it is pushed away before anything can come from it. Vergara goes back to targeting the lower half of his opponent’s torso, and Osbourne stands firm and clubs him with a stern right hand. Vergara is able to walk through it and come back with a left hook, only for him to be countered by the longer reach of his opponent. This frustrates Vergara enough to lead into a furious striking exchange, with defense out the window as they throw hammers. Both men absorb some shots and keep on trading until they take a minute to catch their breath. Osbourne lands with a few lefts from afar to open the nose up of the newcome, and blood trickles down Vergara’s chest. Although Osbourne hits a takedown, the scrambling of Vergara allows him to not be grounded for long. Osbourne walks through a body kick to land a few punches, and he gets Vergara to backpedal as he is aiming strikes. “The Jamaican Sensation” sticks and moves, eating a single punch every so often, but his volume is much higher. Two punches to the body from Vergara lead into an open-handed slap, and Vergara’s body shots are successfully connecting when he lets them go. Osbourne backs off and lines up a one-two, and busts Vergara up a little more as another such combination lands. Vergara lands a jab and chains it into a head kick, but Osbourne pushes through it to bowl Vergara over and take Vergara’s back. Osbourne lands a few punches in this quasi-back control until the round concludes.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

Meeting in the middle to start off the last round, Vergara throws first with a head kick that is narrowly blocked in the nick of time. Sensing he might be down on the scorecards, Vergara starts loading up on shots, with looping hooks and big power punches. Vergara looses a heavy body kick, and Osbourne clocks him with a right hand to back him away. Vergara does not let him off the hook, swarming him with punches and bullying Osbourne into a clinch to knee him repeatedly. Osbourne backs off as Vergara is pressing the action aggressively, and his hands drop as he shoots in for a takedown. Vergara staves it off, lands a few punches, and then stops another takedown try with ease. Vergara targets a kick to the body, and he steps in with a knee to the liver. The knees keep coming until Osbourne pushes him away, and Osbourne may be gassing but he is still throwing hands. The punches appear to be more arm punches, and Vergara is swinging for the fences. A knee from Vergara makes his opponent attempt a takedown possibly in desperation, and Vergara throws him to his back so that he can climb on top. In his opponent’s closed guard, Vergara starts landing some punches, but the tight guard of Osbourne is holding him from doing much damage. Vergara continues to land ground-and-pound, doing enough to stay in this position, and he keeps Beltran at bay by nailing Osbourne with elbows. Osbourne scoots his way back to the fence, and this is when Vergara steps over to half guard. Seconds tick off the clock as Vergara lands unanswered shots, and time expires while Vergara is smacking his opponent in the body.

Sherdog Scores

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

The Official Result

Ode Osbourne def. C.J. Vergara via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Melsik Baghdasaryan (145.4) vs. Bruno Souza (148.4: Missed Weight)

Round 1

Just like the last fight, a newcomer trying to introduce themselves to the promotion misses weight, as Souza (10-1, 0-0 UFC) clocked in at 148.4 pounds for his featherweight tilt against Baghdasaryan (6-1, 1-0 UFC). The young man out of Glendale Fighting Club will undoubtedly try to make the Brazilian pay for coming in heavy, but there is still a slight sign of respect when they touch gloves. Referee Todd Anderson takes charge of the cage, and Baghdasaryan starts off with a sweeping leg kick. The two strikers get back to kicking range, with Baghdasaryan swiping out low with leg kicks. Souza leads off with a right hand and ducks away before getting countered. The Brazilian lets loose with a body kick, and he loudly kiais after throwing it. Baghdasaryan targets the calf of his opponent with a thudding kick, and he ducks when Souza swings a right hand at him. Baghdasaryan calmly walks towards his opponent, making the newcomer circle around the cage as the crowd is not enjoying the lack of action. Out of nowhere, Souza leaps in the air with a flying knee, and it gets blocked and he returns to circling away. As Souza throws a body kick, Baghdasaryan counters him with a clean left hand. Baghdasaryan’s advancement has led to him dropping his hands, not afraid of what Souza throws at him. Baghdasaryan gets off a single punch to the body, and he just misses with a high kick. Souza fires a pair of kick at his opponent to back him away, but Baghdasaryan continues stalking him and slings a spinning back kick. “The Gun” shoots off a leg kick, and Souza’s lead leg is showing some serious damage. A big leg kick from Baghdasaryan makes Souza shoot in for a single, and he picks Baghdasaryan’s leg up in the air while Baghdasaryan tries to defend with a choke attempt. Souza ties his foe’s leg up but he cannot hit the trip he is seeking, and instead eats a few knees for his effort. Baghdasaryan gets away with a fence grab, and Anderson slaps his hand away from it to let go. This forces them to break apart, and Souza scores a stabbing body kick and a right hand on his way outside. Souza spins with a wheel kick, and although it gets blocked, the impact of the strike knocks Souza into the wall as he stumbles back. Souza gets back up and lands a body kick, and he fires a right hand that misses. Baghdasaryan slaps him in the face – open-handed strikes are so hot right now – and the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

They think to touch gloves, but instead, Baghdasaryan is ready to throw a kick at him. This allows Souza to preemptively tag him in the face with a right hand and wobble his legs. Souza pushes through a kick to knock Baghdasaryan on his back, but he lets him up instead of pursuing any ground strikes of merit. A kick from Baghdasaryan makes Souza take several steps back, as if he is hurt, but the Brazilian is quick to get back to his active movement and circling. The strategic nature of Souza’s style has grown ire from the crowd, as the lack of engagement is boring to their eyes. The chess match continues as Souza keeps circling and taking potshots, while Baghdasaryan swings and misses. A low kick grazes into Souza’s cup, but he does not want to slow down. Instead, he swarms Baghdasaryan with punches, and Baghdasaryan greets him with a right hand counter to stop that salvo in its tracks. They come together, and Baghdasaryan just misses with a knee. Baghdasaryan continues to sporadically target the lead leg with kicks, and Souza’s leg appears badly damaged. One kick from “The Gun” makes Souza’s knee buckle, and he falls forward to try to take the fight down. When it is not there, he hops back and is limping. Baghdasaryan crashes the pocket, and he gets stopped when Souza defends with a standing guillotine choke. They resume distance kickboxing range, and Baghdasaryan clips his opponent with a left hand after Souza misses with strikes. Souza boots the body with his shin, and he sticks out a sharp jab to intercept a kicking Baghdasaryan. They both kick at the same time, and Souza lands and gets off a straight right hand. Baghdasaryan has his fingers outstretched, and Anderson has gotten tired warning him for it. This lights a fire under Souza, who starts throwing caution to the wind and tagging Baghdasaryan. The Californian by way of Armenia returns fire and staggers Souza with a right hand, but he does not follow it up and lets Souza get himself back in the fight. The round ends as Baghdasaryan retreats.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

Anderson gives Baghdasaryan one final warning for outstretched fingers before the start of the round, and they get after it. Souza throws kicks with body legs, and he eats a left hand and starts grinning. Two heavy punches slam into Baghdasaryan’s chin from a one-two, and Souza backs away before counters can reach him. Baghdasaryan goes over the top with a kick, and he misses by an inch. Souza chips away with leg kicks and stays elusive, as fans and Baghdasaryan are similarly frustrated by his approach. Souza darts in, lands a punch, and backs off. Suddenly, he sneaks in with a takedown try, but Baghdasaryan stops it standing and pushes him away. A big leg kick from Baghdasaryan draws a visible reaction out of his opponent, and Souza chomps on his gumshield to sling a pair of wide hooks. Baghdasaryan targets the lead leg again, and Souza takes it back before returning to southpaw for more punishment. The Brazilian steps in with a knee, and they exchange hands, with Baghdasaryan answering with a knee after they trade. Souza blitzes forward with punches, and they hit nothing but air. Baghdasaryan swings a kick to the body, and when it misses, Souza returns fire with one that connects. Souza is able to block a head kick, and he counters a subsequent kick try with a left hand over the top. Souza stays on his bike away from the more dangerous strikes that come at him, ducking and dodging strikes before ducking into a single. Souza lifts his foe’s leg up, but he cannot ground him, with Baghdasaryan hopping out of harm’s way and returning to the middle of the Octagon. Souza swings wildly, and Baghdasaryan sees the blows coming and avoids them. The number of inaccurate strikes by both men has drawn unease from the crowd, as they are giving it to them during inactive stretches. Souza swings a high kick and tags Baghdasaryan with a right hand, only to get nailed with one of his own on the way out. Souza eats a punch and returns with one of his own, and when the final horn bells and they hug it out, the crowd rains down boos.

Sherdog Scores

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

The Official Result

Melsik Baghdasaryan def. Bruno Souza via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

John Allan (205) vs. Dustin Jacoby (203.6)

Round 1

In this next fight at light heavyweight, the resurgent Jacoby (15-5-1, 3-2-1 UFC) puts his six-fight unbeaten streak on the line against a man searching for his first win inside the Octagon in Allan (13-6, 1 NC; 0-1, 1 NC UFC). Drawing the assignment between two 205-pounders that hold knockout rates just under 70% each is referee Marc Goddard, who hopes to keep a lid on a fight that could end in an instant. They touch gloves before throwing down, and Allan strikes first with a kick below the knee. Jacoby wades forward with a jab and a low kick, and the two men start trading kicks to the calf. Jacoby dodges a left hand and counters with his own, and Allen backs off to land a thumping body kick. Jacoby is not flustered, doubling up on a jab before unloading with a right hand. Allan’s high guard protects himself from the strikes, but this allows Jacoby to kick at his legs undefended. Jacoby absorbs a stiff leg kick to land a right hand, and another on the other side makes Jacoby take a funny step. Jacoby sits down on a leg kick and preemptively raises his own to check one that comes, but it does not. Instead, Allen tags Jacoby with a right hand, and he flicks out a jab to keep Jacoby at bay. The American scores yet another calf kick, and Allan gives it right back. Jacoby pushes off with his hand, and a finger slides into Allan’s eye. Jacoby allows Allan to clear his eye before Goddard steps in, aware of his possible infraction. When they get back to it, the pace of kick-for-kick and punch-for-punch continues. When Jacoby’s strikes pierce the guard, he starts to showboat, throwing one hand above his own head before throwing the other down the pipe. Allan eats a few punches on the chin and retreats, with Jacoby signaling his success each time he connects. Allan shrugs off a high kick so that he can kick low, and the tense kickboxing standoff continues as neither man takes a step back. Allan looks to counter Jacoby coming in, as Jacoby marches after him and is feeling himself. A head kick pounds into Allan’s guard, and a low kick slaps on the ankle. Allan grits his teeth and swings for the bleachers with looping hooks, but it is a straight right hand from the Brazilian that gets Jacoby’s attention. Two punches lead into a spinning back elbow from the former kickboxer, but the elbow just misses the mark as the bell sounds.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The light heavyweights rush out of their corners to touch hands, and Jacoby gets back to business with a steady diet of jabs. He follows one jab with a right hand, snapping Allan’s head back, but the Brazilian is ready to throw back with a big right hand of his own. Jacoby tries to check kicks, and Allan sees when he does this and times kicks when Jacoby puts his leg down. Jacoby splits the guard with a right hand, and Allan is frustrated as he swarms him and throws back. Two jabs from “The Hanyak” pierce through the guard, and once he lands a leg kick, Allan loads up with a heavy right. At the end of a combination, Allan connects with a snapping left hand, and Jacoby backs away to gather his thoughts. The ex-kickboxing takes a few kicks to his lead leg, and Allan swings hard right back at him only to swipe at air. Jacoby is more accurate and throwing straighter strikes, allowing him to keep Allan at a safe range and not get tagged. Jacoby has a lead leg kick get through, and when he targets another, Allan comes at him with long left hands. Jacoby jabs out a few times, and Allan is incensed as he pushes forward to engage. Jacoby ignores a leg kick to throw a one-two, and when Allan checks a kick, Jacoby stumbles. Jacoby gets off a right hand, and Allan counters him back harder to momentarily wobble “The Hanyak.” Jacoby keeps a stiff upper lip as he walks Allan down, raising his right arm in the air every so often for his own version of “look the other way.” Jacoby suddenly lets loose a head kick, and even though it gets blocked, Allan feels it. Allan string a combination together, and he ends it with a pounding left hand to the liver. Jacoby, who tries to break up a punching exchange, jams his finger into Allan’s eye socket. Allan instantly protests and Goddard sees it and calls a halt to the action. After a 45-second pause, Jacoby is all apologies, and Allan understands and touches gloves. Jacoby jumps forward with a switch kick, and he swings a leg kick as Allan swats at him with punches. The round ends with Allan backing off.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

Between rounds, Allan complaints to his corner that “my teeth is broken.” Whether he means multiple teeth, or one tooth, it is not certain, but the fight still continues as his corner totally ignores him. They get right back after it, with Allan coming out aggressively after thinking he might be down two rounds. Jacoby looks to back him off with chipping leg kicks and long single punches, and Allan loads up more heavily. Jacoby has a jab countered with one from Allan, and Jacoby does not like this so he suddenly unleashes a head kick. Allan blocks it, walks through a leg kick and throws a pair of punches. Jacoby beats him to the punch when advancing, as Allan gets jabbed repeatedly while trying to close the distance. A stiff right hand from the Brazilian dislodges Jacoby’s mouthpiece, and Goddard replaces it. Allan notices his strikes are doing some damage, and Jacoby responds in kind with a pair of thudding hooks. Jacoby connects with punches and leg kicks, and Allan’s pace is waning as he resorts to single blows. Jacoby keeps a jab going in Allan’s face, and Allan surges forward with a four-piece of punches. “The Hanyak” continues his success with jabs, and rumors of his fatigue appear to be greatly exaggerated. Jacoby stays loose as he walks after Allan, with the Brazilian slinging huge, inaccurate blows. Allan rips the body with a left hand, and Jacoby answers him with a short string of punches. Another solid combination comes from the American, who lands cleanly while Allan just stares at him. Allan tries to catch him on the way in with a looping right hand, but Jacoby shrugs it off right before the round concludes.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Jacoby (29-28 Jacoby)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Jacoby (29-28 Jacoby)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Jacoby (30-27 Jacoby)

The Official Result

Dustin Jacoby def. John Allan via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Chris Barnett (263.8) vs. Gian Villante (260.6)

Round 1

Up next, two goliaths built out of steel and solid muscle go to battle in a contest that weighs 524.4 combined pounds, when New York’s own Villante (17-13, 7-10 UFC) lines up against Barnett (21-7, 0-1 UFC). Referee Dan Miragliotta will hope not to suffer any errant blows as both men prefer the knockout, and the victor will right the ship to get back to the win column in this one. There a respectful glove touch before these two combat-starved gladiators go at it. A swing and a miss for the first strike of the fight, when Villante throws a kick at his midsection. Villante targets it again with a few more kicks, and they do land. Meanwhile, “Beast Boy” returns fire with kicks above the knee. Villante loose a head kick that is easily blocked, and he just as easily blocks two looping punches that come his way. Barnett chops down the lead leg of Villante, while Villante is aiming head kicks and missing. Villante checks a kick, and the Floridian stumbles backwards. Barnett gathers himself and jumps forward with a superman punch like a superhero, and his foe blocks it and continues to pepper the body with front kicks. Barnett loads up with a kick to the body, and Villante takes it flush and slaps a pair of hard kicks to Barnett’s leg. Kicks are the primary weapons of both these trim athletes, as the punches largely collide with the guard when they are loosed. Villante aims a left hand that partly lands, and Barnett returns fire with an overhand right. A three-strike combination ending with a body kick comes from “Beast Boy,” and Villante is able to dodge the brunt of the damage. Villante sits down on a kick to the torso, and Barnett tries to counter with an uppercut but only grazes the chin. When the crowd starts to turn on these two heavyweights, Barnett turns on the jets and attacks with a long combination. After finishing one salvo, Barnett spins with a back kick, and it partially lands to the body. They tie up, which is where the round ends. Both men appear to be breathing hard.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

They clap hands to start off the second round, and Barnett appears confused for a moment but waves it off and they start fighting. The commentary booth is so enthralled by this masterful striking battle that they devolve into a conversation about not understanding NFTs. In the meantime, Villante lands a jab, and he ducks out of the way when Barnett goes after a spinning tornado kick. Villante irritates his foe with a chopping low kick, and Barnett tries to smash him in the face with a big right hand. When the punch does not land, he pursues a kick to the thigh. Villante’s head kick gets blocked, and a few responsive leg kick from Barnett come up short of the mark. Villante times a front kick when Barnett rumbles towards him, but this does not slow him down. The 264-pound 5-foot-9 man known as “Beast Boy,” out of nowhere, swings a spinning wheel kick that collides into the side of Villante’s head. Villante goes down in a heap, and Barnett knows he has his man in the danger zone as he leaps down to finish the job. Villante is on his knees, and Barnett starts slamming his fists into Villante’s head. With Villante turtled up, Miragliotta gives him every opportunity to survive and get out of the position, but it gets waved off after enough unanswered strikes land. Barnett officially the victor, he flips in the air to celebrate his win, and sticks the landing! In his post-fight interview, the man known as “Huggy Bear” gives it up for Villante, telling the crowd to celebrate their local fighter and cheer for him. Barnett is officially on the map as a presence in the heavyweight division.

The Official Result

Chris Barnett def. Gian Villante R2 2:23 via TKO (Spinning Wheel Kick and Punches)

Ian Garry (169.6) vs. Jordan Williams (170.6)

Round 1

In this welterweight tilt, “The Future” Garry (7-0, 0-0 UFC) will try to prove that he is the future of his division as he makes his first UFC appearance against Dana White’s Contender Series vet Williams (9-5, 1 NC; 0-2 UFC). Watching on to see if Garry stays undefeated or if Williams springs the biggest betting upset of the day is referee Mike Beltran, and the two 170ers touch gloves to seal the cage around them. Garry lands first when they finally engage after 20 seconds of inaction, but Williams crashes forward after taking the leg kick to land a few punches. Williams continues to press his foot on the gas, marking Garry’s face up with long, straight punches. Williams ignores a head kick so that he can continue busting the Irish fighter up, and Garry’s nose is bright red less than 90 seconds in. “Bomaye” beats Garry to the punch with a right hand, and he blocks a head kick that zooms towards his face. Walking Garry down, Williams shows no fear and throws so hard he falls to his knee. Turning this possible mistake into a single, he pressures the unbeaten fighter into the wall and grinds on him. Garry powers his way off the fence and turns Williams around to knee him in the body, but Williams is quick to leverage him back into the wall before ducking down for a double. A short left hand surprises Garry when up close, and Garry tries to turn his man around and knees Williams in the face. When Garry cannot get a takedown of his own, he pushes off and lands a clean right hand. Garry backs away and he smacks Williams in the face with his foot, but Williams absorbs it without issue. It is Garry who is starting to really wear it, with sharp punches from the American bloodying his nose. Garry backs away, and Williams gives chase and drills him with a looping punch. When Gary keeps retreating, Williams chains together a salvo of punches and lands at the end of the last one. A confident Williams charges in when he hears the 10-second clapper, and he wings a long left hand to try to hurt Garry after blowing a head kick. The Irish fighter slips the punch and blasts Williams in the face with a right hand, and Williams’ knees betray him as he crumbles to the ground. One additional follow-up blow as Williams is on his way down seals the deal, and Miragliotta sees that Williams’ eyes are rolling around in his head and stops the fight. The undefeated 23-year-old then confidently walks over to the closest camera and exclaims, “the future is here.”

The Official Result

Ian Garry def. Jordan Williams R1 4:59 via KO (Punches)

Nassourdine Imavov (184.6) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (185.4)

Round 1

Looking to right the ship after a pair of tough losses, and aiming to win for the first time in nearly two years is “The Golden Boy” Shahbazyan (11-2, 4-2 UFC). The Glendale Fighting Club rep will be squaring off against a tough middleweight out of renowned MMA Factory team in France, Imavov (10-3, 2-1 UFC). The fists and feet are sure to fly, and referee Keith Peterson accepts no nonsense for the next 15 minutes if we go that far. They decide to touch gloves, and they are quick to engage after as Imavov reaches out with a few punches. Imavov keeps his opponent honest with jabs, and Shahbazyan is unable to get much offense going in the first minute other than a pair of leg kicks. Imavov walks his man down and slugs him in the face with a pair of punches, and he follows it with a one-two that backs Shahbazyan off. Imavov has a punch to the body knock Shahbazyan into the wall, and he ignores a leg kick that counters. Shahbazyan goes back to the calf with a few more kicks, and one draws a reaction out of his opponent. Imavov does not take his foot off the gas, drilling Shahbazyan in the face with a right hand. The punch forces Shahbazyan to clinch up, where he pressures the Frenchman into the wall. While clinched up, Imavov covers his foe’s mouth, and strike before the clinch must have opened a cut on the inside corner of Imavov’s eyebrow. Shahbazyan ducks down for a single, and Imavov hops across the cage only to fall victim to the takedown. Imavov defends with a guillotine choke on his back, and it is briefly tight before “The Golden Boy” explodes out of the position and frees his neck to get on top. Imavov scrambles and pushes off the back of Shahbazyan’s neck to stand back up, and as soon as he stands, he makes Shahbazyan pay with a sharp left hand and a knee to the body. Imavov stays close, not letting Shahbazyan breathe for long, and he clips Shahbazyan with a looping right hand. Using the punch to tie the Californian up, they jockey for position against the fence. Imavov separates thanks to a vicious elbow, and he follows it with a high kick that just gets blocked in the nick of time. Imavov stops a takedown setup so that he can mash Shahbazyan into the wire, and he winds up a solid elbow right across the bow. Shahbazyan complains about a low blow, but it is not called and the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The middleweights clap hands to begin the second frame, and the commentary booth relays the information that the bleeding above Imavov’s eye came from an eye poke and not a legal blow. Imavov does not appear concerned by it, and he starts off by busting Shahbazyan in the chops with several powerful punches. Bullying Shahbazyan into the wall, he lands a few punches on the way in, but Shahbazyan turns him around and changes levels for a single. Imavov locks up a standing guillotine choke suddenly, and Shahbazyan is big trouble as he turns himself around to try to break the grip. The choke appears to be quite tight, but instead of succumbing to it, Shahbazyan grits through and pops his neck out. Shahbazyan continues to pursue the takedown, and gets pushed to his knees as Imavov pursues the same choke again. Pushing Shahbazyan down to claim a partial north-south position, Imavov comfortably locks the choke up and has it very tight. Shahbazyan once more stays calm, and without fear he wrenches his neck free and stands up somehow. Imavov is quick to follow him by pursuing the standing guillotine choke again, and this one is not nearly as dangerous as the last two as Shahbazyan turns his neck to slide his head out. As they stay pressed against the fence, suddenly Shahbazyan jumps guard for a guillotine choke and drags the Frenchman down to try to submit him. Imavov does not appear remotely concerned, sneaking his neck out and immediately delivering nasty ground-and-pound that slashes Shahbazyan’s face open with elbows. Shahbazyan is positively gushing blood down his face, and Imavov fights off an explosion from his foe so that he can remain on top and lock down a crucifix. The blows continue to rain down from Imavov, who secures Shahbazyan’s arm beneath his knee. Imavov hammers down unanswered elbows, and Peterson is taking a close look at the position. The elbows do not stop, and Shahbazyan is battered and bloodied and taking major damage as he cannot get out. Peterson steps in when noticing that Shahbazyan is doing nothing but getting destroyed, and he calls the fight. France’s Imavov just announced himself to the division with an impressive knockout over a ranked opponent.

The Official Result

Nassourdine Imavov def. Edmen Shahbazyan R2 4:42 via TKO (Elbows)

Chris Curtis (186) vs. Phil Hawes (185.4)

Round 1

At long last, “The Action Man” Curtis (26-8, 0-0 UFC) has joined the UFC roster, but in his first outing, he will be receiving an incredible tough test in the form of “Megatron” Hawes (11-2, 3-0 UFC). The two were considered for a booking in October, but Hawes determined that taking a fight against a drastically differently styled opponent on a day’s notice would not be in his best interest. The fight now taking place nearly a month later; referee Todd Anderson draws the charge, and the two are happy to compete as they touch gloves to start off. Hawes is quick to throw a left hand and a front kick to the body. He walks Curtis down and scores a one-two. Curtis backs away and gets kicked in the body, and Hawes targets that area as he fires off a few more. Hawes follows a trio of front kicks to the body with a few punches, and he is overwhelming “The Action Man” early with any striking he wants. He lets his hands and feet go, and he fakes a takedown to make Curtis bounce of the wall. Curtis returns fire with a right hand, but Hawes is there to throw four right back at him. A stomp kick to the knee lands cleanly for Hawes, and a three-punch salvo and a body shot hurt Curtis. Hawes swipes out with a left hand, and Curtis’ face is showing damage less than two minutes in. Hawes walks forward without regard for his safety by winging a huge right hand, and Curtis can do little but absorb the blow and then get his knee kicked hard. “Megatron” stings Curtis with a right hand and another big kick to the knee, and he chains a few punches and knees together to great effect. Curtis is barely able to get any offense off of his own, as when he lands a punch, Hawes ignores it and nails him with a right hand straight down the middle and a knee to the chest. Curtis keeps Hawes honest with a quick right hand, but Hawes does not relent as he punches and kicks. Hawes uses a takedown entry to get Curtis to defend, which allows Hawes to punch his man in the face. When they briefly clinch up, Curtis lands a few punches to the body, but Hawes does not register them as he kicks Curtis’ knee. Curtis rips the body again, and a kick to the same area makes Hawes slow down briefly. Curtis sits down on a left hand that connects squarely on the chin, and Hawes is now unexpectedly hurt badly. Curtis sees that Hawes is on the ropes, and a few more punches and a knee from “The Action Man” make Hawes’ knees buckle and he falls to the ground. Whether from serious damage or because his equilibrium is gone, Hawes hits the canvas and he might be out. Curtis dives on top and makes sure it's over as he unloads a short barrage of strikes, and Anderson sees that Hawes is done and halts the fight. He did it! Chris Curtis has scored a stunner of a comeback, losing most of the round only to rebound and end Hawes’ long win streak in incredible fashion!

The Official Result

Chris Curtis def. Phil Hawes R1 4:27 via KO (Punches)

Bobby Green (155.2) vs. Al Iaquinta (155.8)

Round 1

Some might be surprised this fight had not already happened, but Iaquinta (14-6-1, 9-5 UFC) is back for the first time in over two years to take on “King” Green (27-12-1, 8-7-1 UFC) in the lightweight division. Before the hands are traded in volume, referee Marc Goddard claps them in, and they do touch gloves. Iaquinta quickly hand-fights, grabbing Green’s gloves to try to move them out of position to punch him in the face. Green yanks his hand out so that he can smack Iaquinta once, and then he kicks the knee when Iaquinta closes the distance. Green sticks and moves, putting a jab in Iaquinta’s face as “Raging Al” attacks and misses. Both lightweights whiff with big hooks, and Green has his lead leg kick out from beneath him and nearly falls over. Green keeps his balance and lands a hard one-two, and Iaquinta eats it like a meatball sub and throws a left hand over the top. Green is elusive and able to avoid most of the biggest blows that come his way, and he slips a big punch to score a right hand across the bow. Green moves enough to let Iaquinta punch him in the shoulder, and he points at it and shrugs it off in typical Green fashion. Green’s hands are down by his waist, and he comfortably lands at range. A lightning-quick one two from Green splits the guard, and Iaquinta falls to the ground to his knees. Green smells blood, and he bowls Iaquinta over to his back and then his side as he rains down blows from atop. “King” Green crowns himself as the victor as hellacious ground-and-pound mounts for him, and he pummels Iaquinta right until Goddard pulls him off of the New Yorker. Green has successfully broken a streak of 10 straight fights that went the distance, while earning his first finish in exactly eight years over a man that had never been stopped with strikes.

The Official Result

Bobby Green def. Al Iaquinta R1 2:25 via TKO (Punches)

Andreas Michailidis (185) vs. Alex Pereira (185.8)

Round 1

After a lengthy preliminary series, the headliner of the prelims is upon us when former two-division Glory kickboxing champ Pereira (3-1, 0-0 UFC) makes his UFC debut against the hard-nosed Greek striker known as “Spartan” Michailidis (13-4, 1-1 UFC). Referee Dan Miragliotta is ready for however this battle shakes out, and the gloves do not get touched before they swing for the fences. Pereira opens up with a leg kick, and he bounces around light on his feet and is well out of the way when Michailidis kicks at him. Pereira aims another leg kick, and once more evades a retaliatory kick. Pereira unloads a quick one-two, and when this comes up short, Michailidis ducks down for a takedown try. The Brazilian stands tall against the fence, but his opponent redoubles his effort and hits the single he is looking for to put the kickboxer on his back. Pereira is quick to move himself towards the wall, and when he gets to his knees and on his feet, Michailidis grinds on him with his full body weight before wrestling him back down to a knee. Michailidis has a hook in around Pereira’s back, pressing down and keeping Pereira from any range striking. Pereira looks frustrated as he is getting grinded out in this posture, and Michailidis hangs on for dear life when Pereira stands back up. Pereira uses a two-on-one wrist lock to turn Michailidis around, and the Greek fighter elects to keep chest pressure to mash Pereira into the wire. While keeping to his feet, Pereira gets a little space to land short punches on the jaw, and a knee for good measure, but Michailidis clings to him until Miragliotta breaks them apart. Pereira goes after a one-two, and Michailidis immediately dives into a body lock to bully Pereira into the fence. Pereira tries to throw hands to stop this from succeeding, but his Greek adversary fights smartly and holds on. Michailidis gets away with a few fence grabs to pin Pereira to the cage wall, and he holds on right to the bell.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The fighters are amped up to start the second round, and Pereira fires off a high kick to start things off. Michailidis blocks it, and Pereira takes a step back to find the right angle. “Poatan” leaps forward with a flying knee that gives Jason Wilnis flashbacks (check their Glory kickboxing match) and it collides squarely into Michailidis’ jaw. Michailidis falls lifelessly to his back, with the back of his head bouncing off the ground. The Brazilian newcomer believes his work here is done, and he briefly walks off to celebrate. Despite the attempted walk-off, because Michailidis sits up and may have woken himself up when his head hit the ground, Miragliotta decides not to call it yet. Pereira strides over and lords over his fallen foe to deliver a pair of punctuating punches to finally force referee intervention. What a knockout from the former kickboxing champion, capping off a violent preliminary card with style points.

The Official Result

Alex Pereira def. Andreas Michailidis R2 0:18 via TKO (Flying Knee and Punches)

Michael Chandler (155.2) vs. Justin Gaethje (155.6)

Round 1

Strap in, fight fans, the “Just Bleed” fight of the year is upon us: Gaethje (22-3, 5-3 UFC) and Chandler (22-6, 1-1 UFC) are about to throw down. Referee Mike Beltran doesn’t know what to do with his hands, he’s so excited for what is about to happen before our very eyes. Needing no further introduction, the lightweights touch gloves and come out swinging. Gaethje opens with a leg kick, and Chandler is right there to throw bombs. Another successful leg kick for Gaethje scores, and Chandler is aiming his left hook. The leg kick continues to do damage for Gaethje, who rolls from the power punches and measures his own right. Gaethje scores a right hook, ducks a right hand counter and scores a heavy leg kick. They both start throwing caution to the wind, and they start slamming their fists into one another’s chins just as everyone had hoped. Chandler starts getting off his own leg kicks to surprise Gaethje, and these two are throwing everything they have in their punches. There is no feeling-out process, and even Chandler’s jab is a power punch. Gaethje walks through a huge right hand as if it were never there, and he sits down on another leg kick as Chandler starts to pop out a jab. Chandler has a jab countered with a calf kick, and he meets Chandler with a huge left hand that stuns the former Bellator champ. Chandler measures himself and throws a huge right hand that hurts Gaethje. They are blasting each other, and no fear is shown between the two. Gaethje gets rocked with a flying knee and a few punches, and he stings him with punches and forces Gaethje to back up wobbled to the fence. Gaethje might be slightly out on his feet, but he still bites down on his mouthpiece and nails Chandler right back. Chandler is throwing power punches that are nearly making him fall over, and both men are damaged but still throwing. This is insanity! The punches begin to mount as Chandler’s face is busted up, and he spits out some blood. Gaethje gets off a few uppercuts and a leg kick, and Chandler shoots in for a takedown but gets stuffed. The leg kick from Gaethje makes Chandler switch stances briefly, and he chains it together with a couple punches. Chandler spits out blood and fires right back in a round that is instantly in contention for “Round of the Year.” The action goes right to the bell, and they touch gloves after a ridiculous five minutes of combat.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The second round begins and they meet in the center of the cage. Chandler is flinching from possible leg kicks, and he hops back when Gaethje fakes to throw one. A right hand from Gaethje makes Chandler wag his finger at him, and Gaethje smashes his shin into Chandler’s calf. Chandler may be hobbled but he is still winding up with haymakers. Gaethje scores a pair of right hands, and Chandler returns fire only to have his lead leg kicked hard. Gaethje stings Chandler with a right hand, and then a left hand on the temple sends him reeling. Gaethje clips him with an uppercut, and Chandler backs off to recover. Gaethje lets him do this, and he times a crisp uppercut. A second uppercut sends Chandler flying to the ground, and Gaethje pounces to try to finish the job. Beltran lets them fight on as Chandler survives. A desperation takedown try from Chandler lets him get his wits about him, as he pursues a low single that is stuffed without any concern at all. Gaethje rips the body with right hands as they are both on their knees, and he flirts with an anaconda choke setup before opting to circle around and take Chandler’s back. Instead of going after submissions, he backs off to let Chandler stand back up. Chandler’s face is a bloody mess but he is still game and in this fight, nodding when Gaethje lands cleanly on him. Chandler tags his opponent with his own uppercut, and then he shoots in for a takedown that gets stuffed. Gaethje steps in with an uppercut, and Chandler reels and reacts with a right hand that knocks Gaethje back. Gaethje reintroduces his shin to Chandler’s leg, and the former Bellator king’s leg is jacked up but he is able to remain on his feet. Gaethje takes a deep breath as Chandler attacks, and Chandler assaults the body with a short barrage of blows. Gaethje aims for his uppercut, but Chandler nails him with a right hand and then gets off an eye poke. Beltran does not know what to do, so he lets Chandler punch Gaethje in the face once before intervening. Beltran gives Gaethje a brief respite and asks if he is good, and then they resume. A few more punches land from both men before the horn sounds, and Gaethje complains to Beltran about the poor handling of the eye poke.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

The gladiators touch gloves to clock in the third round, and Gaethje leads off with a nasty calf kick. Gaethje flicks out a jab and then hits Chandler in the leg so hard that Chandler spins around. Chandler is forced to switch stances because of the clear pain in his face, and Gaethje lands a few punches and then kicks the leg when Chandler goes back to orthodox stance. Chandler gets off a huge right hand, and Gaethje eats it like a steak and fires right back. The former Bellator champ aims a massive right hand that connects with the side of the head, but Gaethje rolls through it. Chandler gives chase and digs punches to the body a few times, and the body shots are getting reactions out of Gaethje. Gaethje chops down the leg, and an uppercut and a left hand snap Chandler’s head back. Gaethje cannot believe that Chandler is still standing, so he kicks the leg hard enough to nearly buckle Chandler’s legs. Chandler grabs hold of Gaethje, and although he picks Gaethje up and slams him to the ground, as soon as they hit the mat, Gaethje gets on top. Gaethje rips a few right hands that hurt Chandler for the umpteenth time, but Chandler is incredibly tough and fights through it to get back to his feet. When they get back to striking range, Chandler waves Gaethje on and starts throwing everything he has left. He manages to rock Gaethje with a few punches, and Gaethje wobbles but still manages to sling back a right hand that would have felled a bull moose. Gaethje blasts his opponent with a right hand, and Chandler drops his hands and is somehow still on his feet. Gaethje does this again, and he follows this one with a leg kick as Chandler is barely on his feet. Having switched stances from the damage of the kicks, Chandler signals to the crowd to get pumped up as if they were not already on their feet for the last 14 minutes. They take a moment to measure themselves, and Chandler leaps in the air with a jumping switch kick that is nowhere near the mark. Gaethje calmly, comfortably stalks Chandler down, and Chandler’s hands are down by his waist as he springs back and forth. Chandler jumps with a punch, and Gaethje kicks him in the chest. When the bell sounds, this absolutely incredible slugfest comes to a shocking end, and they hug it out and high five after the most obvious “Fight of the Night”-winning battle this year. It would behoove you to watch this fight as soon as you can, if you have not seen it yet reading this play-by-play – the sheer ferocity of this battle could not quite be captured in all of its grandeur.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje (30-26 Gaethje)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje (30-26 Gaethje)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Gaethje (30-26 Gaethje)

The Official Result

Justin Gaethje def. Michael Chandler via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Shane Burgos (145.6) vs. Billy Quarantillo (145.4)

Round 1

From one potential “Fight of the Night” candidate to another we go, as hometown favorite Burgos (13-3, 6-3 UFC) will clash with the wild-swinging Floridian Quarantillo (16-3, 4-1 UFC) in what should be a great one. Referee Keith Peterson is on call for whatever happens next – there will be no nonsense, we can assure you of that – and the respectful glove touch precedes the looming violence. It may be hard to follow Gaethje vs. Chandler, but these featherweights are already trying. Quarantillo slings leather, with a few big left hands and short uppercuts to surprise Burgos right out of the gate. Burgos backs away to land a leg kick, but Quarantillo comes right at him and rips an uppercut. Burgos accidentally kicks the groin, and he apologizes for it. Burgos lands a few leg kicks when they continue fighting, and he walks through an uppercut so that he can push Quarantillo up against the fence. Several “old school” foot stomps are successful for Burgos, who smashes the toes of his opponent with his heel until Quarantillo breaks apart. Burgos eats a left hand, and he rolls but get clipped with a right hand counter. They land punches at the same time, and Quarantillo flicks out several jabs that bloody the nose of Burgos. Burgos continues to do damage with his leg kicks, and he just evades an uppercut so that he can nail Quarantillo with a right hand. Quarantillo wears it well and continues to pepper Burgos with jabs. Burgos gets tagged with a right hand and a knee, and he walks into a few jabs but can land a solid leg kick in response. Quarantillo tries to jab but gets cracked with a right hand over the top, and this happens a second time before Quarantillo has to gather himself and reset. Quarantillo does not stop jabbing, and they close in and start throwing bombs. One lands, the other connects, and they trade blows until Quarantillo decides to tie “Hurricane” up against the wire. When Burgos turns him around, he stomps the toes again, and Quarantillo does not like this so he pushes him away. Burgos scores a leg kick that deadens Quarantillo’s lead leg, and Quarantillo drops to a knee. Burgos aims punches when Quarantillo stands back up, and he smashes him in the face with a right hand. Quarantillo recovers and continues to touch Burgos, but Burgos is landing the power punches. The round ends as they wind up in the clinch. This one was a close one.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

Burgos sprints out of his corner to engage, and he lands a big right hand but Quarantillo is right there to throw back with bad intentions. Quarantillo tags Burgos with a left hand, and Burgos comes in close and connects with three clean punches. Burgos retreats and takes a leg kick, but he starts to pepper his own jab out. He follows one jab with an elbow, and Quarantillo spins but cannot find his mark so Burgos slugs him in the face. Quarantillo returns with a power punch, but he gets his leg kicked out beneath him. As Quarantillo advances with a string of jabs, Burgos trips him to the ground with an inside leg kick. Quarantillo pops back up so that he can pursue a single, and Burgos stops it and starts pounding on the side of Quarantillo’s head. Burgos turns him around so that he can start attacking the body with knees and stomps to the toes, and Quarantillo punches his way out. Burgos stalks his foe down and ducks a punch so that he can mark up the body, and Quarantillo grabs him by the back of the neck and throws him to his knees. Burgos stands back up and sweeps the leg, but Quarantillo stays upright. “Hurricane” Burgos keeps the storm of strikes going, and he wings a right hand to the head and then one to the body as Quarantillo is trying to find shots of his own. Burgos continues to damage the leg, and Quarantillo keeps a poker face but dives in for a single from afar only to get stood up. Burgos steps in to bust Quarantillo’s nose up with a pair of punches and an elbow, and his jab is now more effective than Quarantillo. “Billy Q” jabs his way into a takedown try, only for Burgos to kick at his lead leg and score with a shoulder strike. Burgos whips a leg kick that hurts Quarantillo, and another makes Quarantillo take a funny step. The two featherweights trade jabs, but Burgos is turning the tide with calf kicks. Burgos rocks Quarantillo with a looping punch, and Quarantillo waves him on but he is on a one-way trip towards the danger zone. As Burgos tees off on him, Quarantillo wobbles back and stays on his feet thanks to the cage at his back, and they wildly brawl it out right to the bell.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

Quarantillo complains between rounds that his leg is badly damaged, but this does not slow him as they start off the third round with a brawl. They both connect with blistering blows, and when they are swinging, a finger goes into Quarantillo’s eye. Peterson checks to see if Quarantillo can continue, and he can, so they get right back to it. Quarantillo is limping from the damage to his leg, allowing Burgos to find his range with a bevy of power punches. The kicks from Burgos knock Quarantillo’s legs out, as it has been brutalized from the assault, but Quarantillo muscles his way through to go after a takedown. Burgos scrambles, gets up, and steps out of a leglock try from Quarantillo. Burgos goes right back to leg kicks, mixing them up in combinations to not let Quarantillo see them coming. Burgos easily stuffs a takedown and knees Quarantillo in the body, and they slow down to catch their breath against the cage. Burgos backs off as he gets his wind back to lay into Quarantillo with punches and elbows, and he adds stomps to the feet for good measure. Burgos has a knee land on the break, and he avoids the brunt of an elbow from “Billy Q.” Burgos stands tall to target multiple uppercuts, and Quarantillo pursues a takedown and manages to get a hook in to partly take Burgos’ back standing up. Burgos trips the leg out and stops Quarantillo from taking him down. They get back to the middle of the cage to throw down, and Burgos greets him with several knees up the middle. Quarantillo doggedly pursues a takedown, and Burgos stops this from succeeding and lands punches in close proximity. They end their 15-minute battle with strikes from each, and the bout that could have been worthy of “Fight of the Night” but for that main card opener.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Burgos (30-27 Burgos)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Burgos (29-28 Burgos)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Burgos (30-27 Burgos)

The Official Result

Shane Burgos def. Billy Quarantillo via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Frankie Edgar (135.6) vs. Marlon Vera (135)

Round 1

The hits keep right on coming, we hope you’re not worn out from what you’ve witnessed the last several fights. Former lightweight champion and multiple-time featherweight title challenger Edgar (24-9-1, 18-9-1 UFC) will answer the call at the age of 40 against furious Ecuadorian striker Vera (17-7-1, 11-6 UFC). Although Vera will clock in 12 years his opponent’s junior, he is not taking Edgar lightly, and referee Todd Anderson will have his work cut out for him in the next 15 minutes. Vera crawls out of his corner like Jon Jones, and because of this, there is no glove touch. Instead, when Vera stands up, they start trading. Edgar walks Vera down and slugs him in the face with a right hand, and Edgar shoots in for a takedown from afar. Edgar lands a left, and then another, and he walks through a leg kick so that he can keep punching. Vera sticks his tongue out as he stalks Edgar, and Edgar greets him with punches. Vera is struggling to find his range as Edgar gets in and out of range in time, popping Vera with strikes and escaping before counters find him. Edgar catches a leg kick, and he dives in for a takedown. When Edgar hits it, Vera defends with a guillotine choke on his back, but with Vera flat on his back, there is no choke set up. Vera bucks Edgar back to his full guard, and he closes it around the former champ. Edgar breaks the posture by pumping up and down, and he slashes with vicious elbows right on the nose. Vera lets rip several elbows from his back to make Edgar honest, and chants for “Let’s go, Frankie” rain down in the arena. Vera defends successfully with hacking elbows, and Edgar sits up every so often to land some ground-and-pound. Edgar fights off a possible armbar setup to land strikes, and when he stands up, Vera starts spamming upkicks. Edgar masterfully dodges most of the strikes before dropping back down into Vera’s guard, and he begins to batter Vera with more elbows. “Chito” has his guard closed for the most part, but Edgar lands strikes from above until the horn sounds. When Edgar stands up, Vera kicks him in the face illegally, and Edgar protests.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

Vera practically sprints out of his corner to engage, but he does not throw much in the first 20 seconds. The Ecuadorian gets off an inside leg kick, and he pops Edgar in the face to draw a little swelling around Edgar’s left eye. Vera is sharp with his hands as he gives chase, and he lands a body kick right before Edgar charges him. When the former champ rushes in, he throws a combination and gets clipped with a counter on the way out, but he is no worse for wear. Vera steps in with a knee, and Edgar’s eyes light up as he grabs his opponent’s leg and throws him down to the canvas. Edgar stacks Vera up in a high guard to keep him from defending or getting any upkicks off, all while slapping him in the face with hammerfists. Edgar comfortably sits down to land strikes, but Vera suddenly somersaults backwards to break the posture and stand back up. When back upright, Vera runs after Edgar to lay into him with strikes. “Chito” throws a kick, and Edgar grabs it but cannot punish him for this strike by taking him down. Vera pulls his leg back, and he takes an uppercut to the chops. Vera eats a few body shots so that he can knee Edgar in the face, and he is making Edgar retreat constantly as he peppers the midsection with front kicks. Vera scores a solid knee to make Edgar do a little flip on the ground to fall down and get back to his feet, and when he gets back up, Vera punches him in the face. Edgar lands a single leg kick, and Vera raises his arms in the air to taunt him, which allows Edgar to kick him two more times down low. Edgar sits down on a right hand, and he swipes with a hook to make Vera take a step back. Vera turns around and lands a back kick, and he blasts Edgar in the face with an elbow to put Edgar on rubber legs. Vera gets off a head kick, and he tries to finish the job, but he cannot because the round ends. Both bantamweights exchange words, and Vera flips him off as Anderson separates them.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

Vera attacks first to start of the final round, with long, rangy punches and front kicks. Vera scores a punch, and Edgar returns fire with a one-two. Edgar has a head kick clatter off the body, Vera is on him to land power shots. Vera stabs the midsection with a kick, and he turtles up when Edgar unloads on him. A leg kick from Vera makes Edgar back off, and “Chito” turns to plant a side kick on Edgar’s torso. Edgar has a takedown stuffed, and he walks into a right hand and an uppercut. Vera lets rip with a leg kick, and Edgar tags him with four punches to the body before retreating. Edgar gets marked up with a sharp uppercut, and Vera is taking it to him and making Edgar constantly backpedal. Vera’s body kick gets through, and Edgar returns fire with a short combination. The power differential is far in the favor of the Ecuadorian at this point, but Edgar is more content to land with volume while Vera is looking for the one-hitter quitter. One punch knocks Edgar’s mouthpiece out, and Anderson runs over to replace it as Vera gives a cheeky look and shrug to the camera. Edgar gets rocked by a left hand, and he catches a rampaging Vera by hitting a takedown and putting him on the ground. “Chito” powers his way back up to his feet in an instant, and he breaks the grip to line up a right hand. They both throw hands in the pocket, and Vera steps back to unleash a front kick reminiscent of Anderson Silva booting Vitor Belfort in the face. Edgar’s legs disintegrate beneath him as he falls face-first to the mat, and Vera gets off a hammerfists or two before Anderson can sprint in to halt the fight. Edgar protests the stoppage, but considering he was out on his feet when he stood up and nearly fell over walking to his corner, it appears to have been the right call. They settle their in-cage beef after the fight concludes, and show some respect to one another after a fun melee.

The Official Result

Marlon Vera def. Frankie Edgar R3 3:50 via KO (Front Kick)

UFC Strawweight Title Fight:
Rose Namajunas (115) vs. Weili Zhang (115)

Round 1

The first championship rematch of the evening comes in the strawweight division, as once again Namajunas (10-4, 8-3 UFC) will have to beat a champion twice in a row in order to keep a firm grasp on her title. She will rematch Zhang (21-2, 5-1 UFC), a woman she kicked in the head in 78 seconds back in April to end the Chinese champ’s reign and 21-fight win streak. Ready to jump in at a moment’s notice is referee Marc Goddard, who observes a solemn but gracious glove touch to commence the five-round fight. Namajunas is the immediate aggressor, but Zhang strikes first with a leg kick. Namajunas takes another quick, powerful leg kick, and she cannot find her range with her jab yet. Zhang once more lands a kick down low, and chants rain down from the arena that sound like “Let’s go Weili” but are not that. Neither woman notices, and Zhang keeps working the leg kick to good effect. Namajunas marches forward to throw hands, splitting the guard and making Zhang back away. Zhang slings a head kick that gets blocked, and she misses a low kick to have Namajunas give her one back. Zhang connects with a left hand, but Namajunas is the more active as she scores several in rapid succession. As Namajunas comes in close, Zhang grabs hold of a body lock and trips the champ down to the ground. Zhang steps over to half guard, only to get dragged back to the full guard when Namajunas looks to set up a submission off her back. Zhang pushes aside an armbar setup so that she can get off some ground strikes, and she gets through with a punch or two before stacking Namajunas up. Zhang lowers herself back into the guard and starts working the body, and she holds on to this position for much of the rest of the round. Continuing to land sporadic strikes while keeping Namajunas on her back, she gives the champ some concern by racking up early control time. Namajunas fights her way back up to her feet, but it is Zhang who continues to push the action. Zhang gets off a few hard leg kicks, and keeps a safe distance and protects herself from the harshest blows coming her way. The round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Namajunas
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Namajunas
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Namajunas

Round 2

The two women bounce around on the outside, with not much offense coming either way in the first 45 seconds. Zhang catches Namajunas with a glancing lead left hook. Namajunas throws a front kick up the middle that falls short. Zhang rushes forward with a trio of hooks, one of which lands solidly. Two minutes in, Namajunas stalks forward and runs into a three-piece. Zhang lands a heavy kick to the lead left leg of Namajunas, who is really showing the damage. Zhang lands another kick to the same leg. Zhang lands a left to an advancing Namajunas that hurts her badly. "Thug Rose" staggers back, and Zhang grabs a single-leg and runs her to the floor. Zhang in Namajunas' full guard. She tries to stack to pass, has to dodge some upkicks, and they return to the feet. A minute left, and the two women clinch. Namajunas trips Zhang to the floor at the base of the fence and passes to mount. The round expires with Namajunas standing over her opponent.

Sherdog Scores

Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Zhang
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Zhang
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Zhang

Round 3

Namajunas is aggressive to start the third round, coming forward with a high kick that barely misses. Zhang answers with another low kick. Namajunas stalks forward, feinting, trying to draw an errant strike from the challenger. 90 seconds in, both women are still looking somewhat tentative. Zhang winds up on a huge right hook that gets nothing but air. Namajunas lands a slapping low kick, then steps in and lands an overhand right. Zhang answers with a low kick, then a body kick. Halfway through the round, Zhang is feinting up and down as Namajunas slides around the outside. Namajunas catches Zhang with a big right hand that knocks her down, off balance more than hurt, but runs Zhang to the fence. There, she mugs the shorter fighter with a couple of shoulder strikes before they disengage. Zhang lands another big leg kick. They exchange punching combinations with both women landing hard shots. Zhang drops levels for an easy takedown, then tries to move to the back. Zhang looking to get her hooks in, Namajunas denies her but gives up mount. Zhang landing from mount as the round expires.

Sherdog Scores

Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Zhang
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Zhang
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Zhang

Round 4

The championship rounds begin with Namajunas once again walking Zhang down as both feint. Zhang lands a left hand on the advancing champ, then another hard low kick. Namajunas answers with a hard right hand. Zhang catches Namajunas' foot and hoists it, running forward and knocking her to the canvas. Namajunas won't concede the takedown, though, throwing wild upkicks and forcing Zhang to let her up. Zhang takes Namajunas' back standing and hauls her to her knees. Zhang gets one hook in as Namajunas fights her hands. Namajunas spins into guard she's on top. Namajunas passes to half guard, denies an escape attempt, but ends up back in full guard. Two minutes left and it's the champ on top, throwing short punches to the body as Zhang controls her posture. Namajunas elevates and drops a couple of harder ground strikes. She tries to pass to side control but Zhang does a good job sticking her back in guard. With under a minute left, the pace has slowed considerably. Namajunas postures up in Zhang's guard, but they end the round chest-to-chest.

Sherdog Scores

Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Namajunas
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Namajunas
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Namajunas

Round 5

They come out to engage, but Namajunas has forgotten her mouthpiece as they are so fired up in her corner. When they replace it, the pace is not nearly as ferocious as before, as they take to the center of the cage and trade single strikes. The chants flood the arena of “Let’s go, Rose,” and they appear to energize her, who sprints forward to land a trip takedown and take half guard in the blink of an eye. Namajunas nearly claims mount, but Zhang manages to keep a high knee up so that she can keep Namajunas from passing it. When Zhang pays attention to the guard pass, “Thug Rose” slugs her in the face with powerful ground-and-pound. Namajunas keeps heavy on top, and she avoids the upkicks when Zhang tries to push her off to land punches from above. Namajunas moves past one of Zhang’s legs to smash her foe in face with a right hand, and Zhang instinctively puts her legs up to set up a triangle. Namajunas does not let this occur, but she does get elbowed in the face trying to gain superior position. Zhang scrambles but cannot buck Namajunas off of her, and precious seconds tick off the clock for a fight that will likely be scored all over the map should it reach the scorecards. With one minute to go, Namajunas rains down punches and elbows, but Zhang is protecting herself from most of the blows. Zhang kicks her off, but Namajunas dives right back down and blasts her in the face with a punch that would make Dan Henderson blush. The crowd goes wild for the champion, who rides out the round on top. They hug it out when the final bell sounds. The rounds were very close, and some are bound to be upset by the decision that is about to be made. When the scores are read, the champion successfully defends her title, and actress Halle Berry places the belt around the waist of “Thug Rose.”

Sherdog Scores

Mike Fridley scores the round: 10-9 Namajunas (48-47 Namajunas)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Namajunas (48-47 Namajunas)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Namajunas (48-47 Namajunas)

The Official Result

Rose Namajunas def. Weili Zhang via Split Decision (47-48, 48-47, 49-46)

UFC Welterweight Title Fight:
Kamaru Usman (169) vs. Colby Covington (169.4)

Round 1

This main event is for all the marbles, with the welterweight belt on the line and a potential 15-fight UFC win streak in the sights for champion Usman (19-1, 14-0 UFC). “The Nigerian Nightmare” met Covington (16-2, 11-2 UFC) back in 2019, and the two went to battle for four close rounds – judges were split on how the rounds transpired – and Usman went on to score the knockout in the fifth frame. Whether he will earn another knockout or fall prey to “Chaos,” referee Dan Miragliotta will be the first one to know. If you thought there would be a touch of gloves, you haven’t been paying attention. It’s time for action. Usman crawls out of his corner and evades a quick early leg kick that soars at him. The first punch is from the champ, with a pawing left jab. He scores another right before Covington can connect with a swiping right, and he scores another that makes Covington back off. Covington lets go with a head kick, and he has a leg kick checked when he sets it down. Covington swings for the fences and misses, with Usman ducking and keeping a forward pace. Covington goes after a single, and Usman throws him around and puts Covington down to his knees. Usman grabs hold of a guillotine defense, and he lets Covington stand back up. Covington wings a wild uppercut that is way off the mark, but a body kick does get in. Usman slaps away a body kick, and he skips his foot off Usman’s leg before they start throwing hands. Covington gets off a left hand and ducks a powerful jab that zips above his head. The chants for Usman overwhelm the arena, and Usman stays composed instead of getting fired up and dodges the oncoming fire. Usman connects, Covington counters with a left, and Colby chants counter Usman’s. When Covington advances, Usman grabs his opponent and takes him down to the mat with ease. Covington gets back up without much concern, although Usman follows him and rips a left hand to the midsection. Usman pumps out a jab and tries to follow it with a big right hook, but Covington slips out of the way and works the body. Usman gets off with a big uppercut and a left hand, and Covington takes it on the chin and wears it well. They appear to clash heads and a cut opens beneath Covington’s right eye. The crowd does not like Covington, as they chant expletives followed by his name. Usman targets that cut with a left hand, and then a jab before the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

They meet in the center of the cage, and it is Covington who throws first with a head kick. Usman blocks it and fires off a right hand, and Covington takes a funny step back. Covington sits down on a kick to the body, and he smiles at Usman after landing. Usman fakes for a takedown and ducks his head back when two punches from Covington comes at him. A single leg kick from “Chaos” leads to a right hand, and Usman is looking to time his jab and a right hand down the pipe. Covington throws caution to the wind with two looping punches that miss the mark, and he clinches up and delivers several knees to the body. Covington has a left hand split the guard, but Usman’s counter is so much harder that Covington smiles at him. Covington flicks out a jab and a leg kick, and Usman swarms him but does not unload with much. A body kick and a swiping right hand partially connect for the champ, and Covington goes up high with a kick that gets blocked. Usman pounds his fists off Covington’s guard, and the challenger counters with a solid right hand that catches Usman off-guard. When Covington ducks down, he drops down for a double, and Usman blocks it. Covington chains it into a single, and there is nothing doing, so Covington stands back up and takes several flush shoulder shots on the chin. Usman breaks free after absorbing a clean knee, and he lands a front kick and a sweeping low kick to show Covington he is not concerned for the potential takedown. Covington wings a left hand, and Usman bears down on him with a salvo of punches. When Covington lands, Usman is there with two or three in response. Usman smashes Covington in the face with an uppercut, and he scores a brutal left hand that knocks Covington off his feet. When he gets back up, Usman connects with blow after unanswered blow. He continues to batter Covington, and Covington pursues a desperation takedown. Usman stops him in his tracks, and he keeps Covington stuck on his knees to blast him in the body repeatedly until the end of the round rescues him.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

Covington is not out of the fight yet, as he slings a quick kick to the body. Usman pushes the action, but it is Covington throwing hands and feet. A high kick just grazes the smooth head of Usman, and he does not notice and blocks a front kick up the middle. Covington winds up with a left hand, and he stings Usman with a two-punch combination. Usman snaps out a jab, and he drops for a fake snatch single so he can connect with a left hand over the top. Covington tries to time a big uppercut, but Usman is not there to be struck by it. Instead, Usman gets off jabs, and Covington answers with his own. Usman unloads with looping hoops, and Covington evades them and kicks the champ in the leg. Usman puts a straight right hand that splits the guard, and he blocks a head kick so that he can keep his jab going. Covington dings Usman with a left hand, and he shoots in for a single and is stopped completely. Usman keeps this position from above so that he can work Covington’s body, and he backs off to let the challenger up. The damage is starting to mount on Covington’s face, but he still is there to throw kicks at the champ. They come together to throw hands, and Usman pushes him off so that he can throw a right hand. Usman counters a pair of punches with a body kick, and Covington grits through it to score a few punches. Usman sticks out a few jabs to keep Covington at bay, but the volume is not there in response towards him. Covington gets off a jab, and they trade ferociously in the pocket. Usman lands a clean right hand, and Covington welcomes this exchange so that he can throw right back. When Usman lands a thudding kick, Covington grins at him, and he gets off three crisp punches. Usman rolls through the dangerous strikes, but Covington changes things up to take Usman down to his knees. Usman keeps his balance for the most part, and grabs the fence, but he may not have actually successfully landed a takedown on the official stats. The round ends with them in this position with Covington holding onto Usman from behind.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 4

The fourth frame commences with jabs from the champ, and Covington answers back with his own. Covington sticks and moves, landing on the champ and dodging the power strikes as his volume begins to increase. Usman takes them all cleanly and goes back to his own jab, and he darts back to avoid two big punches that come his way. Usman has a kick to the body get blocked, and he goes after a jab and a right to the body that are both defended. Covington tries to turn a jab into an uppercut combination, but the uppercut in the styling of “Mortal Kombat” is not accurate. Covington starts landing flush, and Usman gets a little hurt from the strikes as he is not moving as calmly as before. Usman digs a right hand to the body, and Covington backs away to avoid the brunt of it. As Covington is landing punches up top, Usman winds up with a right hand that pounds into Covington’s chin. Covington absorbs a body shot and thinks about a takedown, but Usman stops it before it turns into anything. Covington has a left hand get through, and they stand in front of one another and trade. Usman drills him with a right hand, and Covington reels but gathers himself to push forward and jab at the champ. A body kick from Covington appears to hurt the champ, and Usman takes several big shots and is wobbled. Covington lets Usman off the hook, but he gets off a sharp right hand that bloodies Usman’s mouth. Covington pursues a takedown from afar, and Usman stands him up but gets shoved into the wall. Usman uses shoulder strikes to get Covington to back off, and an elbow appears to bust Covington up a little more. They trade right to the bell, and Covington hurts the champ and makes Usman wobble back to his corner after they grin at one another.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 5

The fight could be up for grabs in this last five-minute span depending on how judges are scoring the fight, and Covington starts off well with a solid left hand. The crowd is now behind the challenger, who has a bit of momentum behind him and appears to be the fresher of the two fighters. Covington scores a body kick, and Usman lands a right hand on the midsection to reply. Covington just misses with a swinging uppercut and gets his chest punched, and he suddenly finds himself hurt from jabs from the champion. Usman score a big right hand, and Covington is right to throw right back. Usman gets staggered from a few punches, with the uppercut Covington’s best weapon, but Covington shoots in for a takedown and is once more defended. Usman defends it well enough to keep his takedown defense rate officially at 100%, and when they stand, Usman sticks out his jab. Usman sways to avoid an uppercut so that he can land a left hand, and Covington is bloodied but still very much in the game. Usman has a head kick blocked, and Covington jams his fist in Usman’s face to possibly hurt him aga. Usman starts smiling at him and throws bombs, but Covington ducks to stay safe. Covington scores a slapping single body kick, and both men slip around on the ground which causes Usman to slide back to the wall. Covington tries to take advantage of this by setting up a takedown entry, and like before, Usman is a brick wall standing tall against the wire. With 90 seconds to spare, the crowd chants Covington’s name to fire him up, and they break as Covington tries to rip an elbow across the bow. Usman throws a jab and a right hand, and Covington whiffs with a winging uppercut. They both land punches at the same time, and Usman pushes off with an eye poke as Covington is very upset about this. Miragliotta checks on Covington and offers to bring in the doctor to check on the eye and give him a little more time to recover. Miragliotta tells Covington that there are 40 seconds left, and he does not want Covington to make a bad decision. Covington accepts this, and Miragliotta begs Usman to not cause any more fouls. After an 80-second break, they are amped up to resume. Covington starts off with a high kick and one to the body, and Usman is more measured and not taking any risks. Usman lets go with a head kick, and it backs Covington up but does not hurt him. Covington scores a few more punches right to the bell, and then they meet face-to-face in the center of the cage and appear to settle their differences. They clap hands and embrace, and Miragliotta eventually separates them to tell them they can kiss later. After three scorecards in his favor, Usman has successfully defended his belt again while cementing his place as the top pound-for-pound fighter right now. He also adds to his incredible win streak, prevailing in his 15th UFC fight in a row. With that, a wild night of fights is in the books, one that will be remembered for quite some time. Next week, the UFC keeps right on rolling with a Fight Night card capped off by a featherweight scrap between Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez. We will be here for it, and we hope you are too. If for some reason you haven’t watched Gaethje vs. Chandler yet, go do it, and thank us later.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Covington (48-46 Usman)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Covington (48-46 Usman)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Covington (48-46 Usman)

The Official Result

Kamaru Usman def. Colby Covington via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)
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