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Tagir Ulanbekov (126) vs. Bruno Silva (125.5)
Round 1We begin this deceptively solid Fight Night event in the lowest men’s division, as Ulanbekov (12-1, 0-0 UFC) makes his long-awaited UFC debut against Brazil’s Silva (10-4-2, 1 NC; 0-1, 1 NC UFC). Drawing the assignment for this flyweight matchup is referee Lukasz Bosacki, and the two men respectfully touch gloves to check in the fight card tonight. Silva immediately slams his shin into the calf of the newcomer, and he does this again as Ulanbekov recoils. The Russian walks forward with a jab and a high kick, but the kick gets blocked. Silva attacks the lead leg again, and he steps back out of the way from a front kick. The primary attack from the Brazilian so far is this low leg kick, and he spins himself around trying to connect with one. He drills Ulanbekov’s lead leg again, and the Russian bites down on his gumshield and scores a right hand. Silva dances out of the away and cracks the calf again, and Ulanbekov is already showing signs of discomfort. They come together and brawl, and Silva covers up and backs off. When Ulanbekov ducks down to punch the body, Silva spins with a wheel kick that goes over his opponent’s head. Silva jacks up the lead leg of his opponent with more kicks, and Ulanbekov is already lifting his leg up out of concern from eating those shots. When he does, Silva snipes him with a right hand that staggers the Russian. Silva gets countered with a right hand but walks through it to attack the leg again, and he falls over when it gets checked. Ulanbekov does not take advantage of this in the moment and allows Silva to reset, only to be greeted by a takedown attempt. Silva bowls his opponent over, but Ulanbekov springs back to his feet and the two clinch up on the fence. From there, Ulanbekov uses a body lock takedown to drag Silva down, and he tries to set up the Dagestani handcuff as he traps Silva’s legs beneath his own leg triangle. The Brazilian powers out and pops back up, where he strides forward to slug it out. When Ulanbekov answers him, Silva nearly kicks the lead leg out from beneath his opponent. Ulanbekov tries to give one back to him, but “The Bulldog” slides out of the way in time. Ulanbekov dips and scores a right hand, and ducks a spinning back fist to land right. Both men land single clean right hands, and Silva wings a spinning back kick that glances off the torso. The two bantamweights swing it out to the bell.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Silva
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Silva
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Silva
Round 2A glove touch opens this round, and Ulanbekov is a man on a mission as he stalks Silva down. The Brazilian absorbs a few heavy punches, including one that opens a cut on the corner of his right eye, but he commits to a nasty leg kick that makes Ulanbekov stumble. Ulanbekov backs off to land a few jabs, and Silva takes them all flush as his nose reddens up. Ulanbekov keeps sticking out a piston-like jab and Silva gets frustrated, swinging a leg kick as they close distance. Ulanbekov grabs him and tosses him down, where he is already in half guard. Locking down Silva’s legs and preventing the Brazilian from escaping, Ulanbekov gets off a few stiff right hands as Silva scoots to the fence. The Brazilian manages to make his way back up momentarily, but Ulanbekov trips him back down. When Silva again powers back up, Ulanbekov tries to slide over the top and snatch up a submission. He falls to the ground and Silva leaps down, but he cannot do anything with the position as the Russian muscles his way back to his feet. Ulanbekov jams Silva into the fence, and uses the placement to drop down for a double leg takedown and land it. Silva sits on his backside until he regains his posture and stands up, and he pushes his opponent back to the other side of the cage. The Brazilian elevates his opponent and puts him down, but Ulanbekov springs right back up as the round ends.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ulanbekov
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Ulanbekov
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Ulanbekov
Round 3Shortly after the two touch gloves, Silva restarts his assault of the lead leg. Ulanbekov tries to make him pay for it, but his more effective strikes are his jabs. Silva stands in front of him and kicks him in the body, but he takes a one-two as a response. Silva winds up on a power right hand but comes up short, and Ulanbekov is able to keep his range with long left hands. When Silva reaches with a right hand, Ulanbekov shoots from a distance for a double, but the Brazilian sprawls and stuffs it in the center of the cage. Silva loads up on a right hand but gets jabbed and disrupted a few times, and Ulanbekov follows one jab with a solid right hook that snaps the head back. Ulanbekov tries to turn the damage into a takedown, but Silva sees it coming and stays upright. Silva walks forward as Ulanbekov attempts to rest, and Silva shoves him over and dives on top. Ulanbekov kicks his way free from the position, and the two are back on the feet. Silva tries to punch his way in but Ulanbekov grabs him into a clinch, so Silva works him to the body as they are both bent over while Silva protects himself from a potential takedown. Ulanbekov scrambles around to take Silva’s back, and he hits a quick takedown when he pushes Silva to the fence. Silva spins about and gets to his knees, and when he stands up, Ulanbekov takes his back. Silva is warned for grabbing the glove, and Ulanbekov pursues a takedown but gets reversed as Silva winds up on top for a moment. Ulanbekov stands up with ease, and his subsequent attempt is stuffed as Silva turns the tables on him by attacking a double of his own. The Brazilian transitions to a single, and Ulanbekov keeps his balance as he hops around on one leg, before breaking the grip and getting free. Silva unloads with a right hand, and the two men clinch up for a moment to take deep breaths. This brief respite is for a purpose, and when they separate, they swing wildly and constantly like two tornadoes clashing together. Silva lands the cleaner of the shots but they both score and keep trading right to the final horn.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ulanbekov (29-28 Ulanbekov)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Ulanbekov (29-28 Ulanbekov)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Ulanbekov (29-28 Ulanbekov)
The Official ResultTagir Ulanbekov def. Bruno Silva via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Tracy Cortez (136) vs. Stephanie Egger (135.5)
Round 1We now shift gears to the women’s bantamweight division, as Cortez (7-1, 1-0 UFC) tries to stave off powerful newcomer Egger (5-1, 0-0 UFC). The Octagon ranger is referee Kevin Sataki, and the action is preceded by a glove touch. Egger reaches out early with a jab, and steps out of the way of a leg kick. The Swiss fighter slaps her foot off Cortez’ thigh, and the two back off to find angles. Egger fires off another low kick, and Cortez’ response is nowhere near the mark. Egger catches Cortez standing still with a right hand, and slaps away the counter strikes that come her way. Egger swings and misses with an overhand right, and Cortez catches a subsequent kick to clinch up and consider a takedown. Egger stops it, and the two come back to the center of the cage. Egger lets loose a body kick, and a crisp counter right hand drops her down to the canvas. She is not hurt and likely knocked off-balance, as she gets right back up and narrowly avoids a foot flying by her face. Cortez closes the distance and lands a trip takedown, where she lands hard in full guard. Egger closes the guard for a moment before opening it to threaten with something off her back, and Cortez maintains heavy pressure but is not striking out of concern that something could come from it. As soon as Cortez postures up, Egger throws up her legs to hunt for an armbar, and Cortez rolls through it and an omoplata attempt as well to circle around and take Egger’s back. Cortez cinches up a body triangle as she fishes for a rear-naked choke, but Egger is unconcerned as she signals to the referee to stand them up. There is no such response as Cortez has back control, so Egger takes matters into her own hands by spinning around and getting on top. Cortez wants nothing to do with this as she powers back to her feet, and Egger presses her to the fence as she stands up. Cortez spins her about and thwarts a hip toss to stay on top in an unusual scramble situation until the round closes.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Cortez
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Cortez
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Cortez
Round 2The two women’s bantamweights touch gloves again, and both start off with kicks. Egger goes to the body, while Cortez strings a few together to the body and lead leg. Egger steps forward with a body kick, and as she backs off to avoid the counter, Cortez follows her. The American latches on to her and hits a takedown, where she is quickly in half guard as Egger twists and turns. Cortez slams down a few punches and considers a brabo choke as Egger tries to sit up, and Egger leans back to hunt for a leglock. She cannot secure anything as Cortez pulls her leg free, and Cortez lords over her opponent on top. Cortez rains down punches, and when she stands up, she gets booted in the side of the head with an upkick. Cortez shakes off the cobwebs as she stops Egger from taking top position, by electing to wade into Egger’s full guard. The Swiss fighter flails her legs around to get any sort of submission, but Cortez ignores it and elbows her in the back of her thigh. Egger attempts to roll through the position but finds herself giving up her back again, as Cortez locks in a body triangle like the previous round. This time, Cortez starts softening Egger up with short punches, and Egger manages to get Cortez so her back is on the fence and not able to get any leverage on a possible choke. Cortez thanks her for this by punching her in the body several times, and Egger winces and grabs hold of the wrist to tie Cortez up. Egger keeps two-on-one wrist control to stop any potential choke but she cannot break the body triangle, and the round ends as Cortez clings on like Saran wrap.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Cortez
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Cortez
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Cortez
Round 3The final round opens with a glove touch, and Egger starts winging kicks. Cortez backs out of the way of most of the concussive blows and tries to respond with similar strikes, but she is not long enough to reach her opponent. Egger shoots in low for a takedown, and Cortez defends by grabbing the fence and is admonished for it. The American gets grounded briefly but manages to leverage her way back up standing. The two lock up in the clinch, and Cortez is quick to turn her around as she gets off a few short knees. Egger attempts a trip but is unsuccessful, so she drops down for a double leg takedown. Cortez defends the position and lands a few punches in the process, before fighting her way out to go after an inside trip takedown. Egger stays on her feet but the second effort from Cortez puts her down, where Cortez instantly swirls around to take Egger’s back. The Swiss woman muscles her way to her feet and tries to trip Cortez, but Cortez reverses the maneuver and stops the attempt. As she presses Egger to the fence, Cortez changes levels and hits her own takedown. Egger turns around and gives up her back, so Cortez punches her in the face a few times while Egger tries to roll through. Cortez snatches up back control again, and the body triangle gets set up almost instinctually. Egger rolls to her stomach and gets on her knees, where Cortez slams more fists on the side of her head. Cortez stops a sweep and the two are trapped against the fence until time expires.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Cortez (30-27 Cortez)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Cortez (30-27 Cortez)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Cortez (30-27 Cortez)
The Official ResultTracy Cortez def. Stephanie Egger via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Giga Chikadze (146) vs. Omar Morales (145.5)
Round 1Moving now to the 145-pound weight category, the recently nicknamed “Ninja” Chikadze (10-2, 3-0 UFC) looks to become the first man to beat the hard-charging Venezuelan Morales (10-0, 2-0 UFC). This interesting striker vs. grappler stylistic matchup will be overseen by referee Marc Goddard, and the two men have no interest in touch gloves to clock in their fight. Both stay at a distance to find their range in the early going, letting off heavy but sporadic kicks at the body while Chikadze attacks the calf as well. Morales closes in to land a few punches, and Chikadze fires back with some blazing fast kicks. The unbeaten fighter again lands a couple punches and breaks away, and Chikadze spins with a back kick to plant Morales on his backside. The Venezuelan fighter springs back up and engages, but Chikadze is the one to land in the exchange. Morales dodges a spinning strike and walks forward to clinch up, but Chikadze pushes off to gain a separation a few seconds later. Chikadze attacks the calf again and points at it to admire his work, and he goes after it again. Chikadze stomps the canvas a few times to draw a reaction, and winds up with another heavy low kick. Morales’ calf is swelling up already, and he walks forward and gets clipped with a right hand. When Morales kicks his opponent's leg, Chikadze laughs at him and taunts him to kick it again. Chikadze winds up and fires off a body kick that lands with an audible thud, and the two brawl it out for a moment. Another leg kick from Chikadze ends this tense round.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Chikadze
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Chikadze
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Chikadze
Round 2The two men pick up where they left off with the intensity, trash talking each other as they unload loud kicks. Morales closes in on him and hits a sudden takedown, and Chikadze looks surprised as he sits against the fence until deciding it is time to stand up again. When they get to their feet, Chikadze considers keeping the dominant position in the clinch but pushes off and fires a low kick. The two duck down to sling big overhand rights, and practically every strike is a home run shot as they put everything they have into their offense. Morales rushes in and his leg gives out, but he is able to stand back up as Chikadze stares at him from afar. “Ninja” swings and misses with a head kick, and he hops backwards and lands a right hand. Chikadze dances and hops around, and dodges a right hand from Morales to crack Morales with a huge left hand. When Morales swings and misses as a response, Chikadze goads him on to keep it coming. Chikadze slips in and out with shots, able to close the distance and disengage before absorbing any counter. Chikadze retreats as Morales gets in a one-two, and Chikadze makes him pay with a heavy right hand that bloodies the bridge of the undefeated fighter’s nose. Morales kicks Chikadze’s lead leg, and slams a body kick off Chikadze’s arm. Chikadze dips and wings a right hand, and his head movement helps him avoid the counter as he hammers home two nasty body kicks. The round ends as Morales gives chase.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Chikadze
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Chikadze
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Chikadze
Round 3The two featherweights come charging out of their corners to unload big right hands, but they close the distance too quickly to connect. Chikadze backs away to chip away with a few kicks, and Morales follows after him. Chikadze obliges his opponent chasing him by zinging a head kick that just misses the mark. Instead of just walking straight towards Chikadze like earlier in the match, Morales tries to circle around but only manages to land a few jabs. Chikadze dances out of the way from the barrage of strikes that come from his undefeated adversary, and he sneaks in a quick leg kick. Morales is hobbled with his left leg swollen and bloodied, and Chikadze cracks him to the body with a kick as Morales walks in. Chikadze tries to follow the kick with two booming hooks, but Morales is barely able to get out of the way in time. Chikadze stings the body again and slings a left hand that catches Morales on the chin, but Morales eats it like a sandwich. Chikadze winds up with a huge right hand and puts Morales down hard, where the kickboxer leaps on top and starts raining down heavy shots. Morales takes everything on the chin and fights his way back to his feet, so Chikadze kicks him to the body again. Morales is on wobbled legs as Chikadze just misses a head kick. Chikadze looks away and slings a left hook, and the punch blows the hair back but comes up shy of the mark. Chikadze catches a kick and lets it go, before letting loose with an axe kick. Morales gets energized and starts throwing, but he cannot land flush with anything of note. Chikadze backs away and fires off a rolling thunder kick that clatters off the guard of his foe, and Morales stands over him until the final horn ends the fight and likely ends Morales' undefeated record.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Chikadze (30-27 Chikadze)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Chikadze (30-27 Chikadze)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Chikadze (30-27 Chikadze)
The Official ResultGiga Chikadze def. Omar Morales via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ali AlQaisi (136) vs. Tony Kelley (136)
Round 1The next bout comes between two men trying to earn their first win in their second UFC fight as AlQaisi (8-4, 0-1 UFC) takes on Kelley (6-2, 0-1 UFC). The third man inside the Octagon is referee Lukasz Bosacki, who watches the two touch gloves before they come out swinging. Kelley opens up with a slapping low kick, and AlQaisi responds in kind. The two men try to find their distance, and Kelley fires up a head kick but gets caught and put on his back. Kelley keeps his leg high to threaten with a triangle choke off his back, all while locking down AlQaisi briefly, but he bails on it. AlQaisi sits up and Kelley attacks with it before turning into an armbar, and AlQaisi fights them all off but allows Kelley to get to his knees. AlQaisi latches on with a guillotine choke, but Kelley stays patient and AlQaisi gives up on it, instead kneeing the American in the side several times. Bosacki asks for more action as AlQaisi stays above Kelley on his knees, working the thighs and legs as well. Kelley sits up and AlQaisi attacks the neck, snatching up the exposed neck and taking mount position. AlQaisi falls to his back and squeezes with everything he has, and this fight could be over. Miraculously, Kelley waits patiently and explodes out to get up, and AlQaisi bowls him over and falls into an unorthodox triangle choke. Kelley has his left leg wrapped around AlQaisi’s neck, and Kelley aims for a straight armlock from the other side while keeping his leg tight. Kelley sits back as he keeps the triangle position to pull for an armbar, and AlQaisi’s arm extends but does not hyperextend, allowing him to survive to the bell.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Kelley
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Kelley
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Kelley
Round 2They touch gloves, and Kelley jabs his man in the face before landing a leg kick and spinning around. AlQaisi chops down the leg from a distance, and jabs back a few times. The two trade leg kicks until Kelley wings a right hand, and AlQaisi backs off. The Jordanian kicks the body and sneaks in a left hand, but takes another leg kick for his effort. A left-right to the body connects for AlQaisi, who darts out of the way before Kelley can reply. Kelley kicks the leg and AlQaisi drops down for a single leg takedown, but he abandons it when Kelley stuffs it to pursue a guillotine choke, and Kelley breaks the posture and pushes off. AlQaisi clips Kelley with a left hand, and Kelley walks through it to crack AlQaisi with a right hand and a vicious knee. Both men are hurt, and Kelley goes after a takedown and AlQaisi looks to counter it, but Kelley fights through it and steps over to take top position. Kelley drops down a few punches but is more interested in advancing position, and AlQaisi springs out mid-transition. Locked together against the cage, AlQaisi pursues a trip that does not succeed. “The Royal Fighter” redoubles his effort and hits the takedown he is seeking, landing in side control. Kelley pushes off and gets his toes interlocked in the fence, and Bosacki is quick to warn him to knock it off. Kelley speedily throws up his legs up for a triangle as he regains guard position, but this time AlQaisi is ready for it and does not let the leg get too high. AlQaisi hunts for one last guillotine choke, but time expires before it is close.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Kelley
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Kelley
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Kelley
Round 3The glove touch precedes an early brawl, as both men swing it out until clinching up. AlQaisi gets the body lock position and takes Kelley down, but only for a moment as Kelley gets to his knees and stands up. AlQaisi lands a left hand when they stand again, and barely misses with a head kick. Kelley smashes him in the face with a knee just like the last round, and AlQaisi is in the danger zone and topples over to his back. Kelley follows him down and slams down some punches and elbows, but stops the ground-and-pound to line up a guillotine choke that turns into something more akin to an anaconda choke. AlQaisi is able to get his bearings back and stands up, where he smacks Kelley in the jaw with a fierce right hand. Kelley eats it like a cheeseburger and walks forward, and AlQaisi strings together a few punches and a slapping kick. When AlQaisi lands a right hand, Kelley stings him with a short right uppercut. AlQaisi shoots in for a takedown, and Kelley greets him with a knee to the body to stop it. AlQaisi stands up and wings a spinning back fist, clipping Kelley on the chin and nearly felling “Primetime.” Kelley manages to stay on his feet as AlQaisi pours it on, but Kelley fires back to stop the blitz. AlQaisi kicks the leg and lands a jab, and ducks a one-two to shoot in for a takedown. The counter knee from Kelley this time comes up short, and his rising foot careens off the cup, and AlQaisi buckles in obvious pain. When the fight is paused, AlQaisi only takes less than a minute to recover, so Kelley thanks him for it on the restart by landing a front kick. AlQaisi lands a few low kicks, and Kelley points at him before leaping forward with a flying knee. AlQaisi backs off and regathers himself, but Kelley is quick to follow with a right hand that makes AlQaisi retreat. “The Royal Fighter” crashes in for a takedown, but Kelley sees it coming and shoves him aside like a matador to a bull. Kelley takes the brunt of an overhand right and motions for AlQaisi to keep swinging, but instead AlQaisi takes him down. Kelley stands back up and kicks him in the leg, and the time is up. Even though the horn blares, the fight does not stop, as AlQaisi comes at Kelley and shouts at him while shoving him. Thankfully, he does not throw a strike like Paul Daley against Josh Koscheck, and Bosacki as well as UFC officials intervene to separate the two. They quick squash their beef after the fight, and the bad blood appears to dissipate.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Kelley (30-27 Kelley)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 AlQaisi (29-28 Kelley)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Kelley (30-27 Kelley)
The Official ResultTony Kelley def. Ali AlQaisi via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Impa Kasanganay (185.5) vs. Joaquin Buckley (185.5)
Round 1Making a quick return from his debut at the end of August, Kasanganay (8-0, 1-0 UFC) comes back to face Buckley (10-3, 0-1 UFC) at middleweight. Referee Kevin Sataki is in charge of the cage, and the two men have no interest in touching gloves before getting things started. The two men clash together and swing hard, and Buckley lands a quick left hook and avoids a right head kick. Buckley charges at him like a man possessed, cracking Kasanganay and making the unbeaten fighter back up to the cage and defend himself. Buckley changes levels for a single leg takedown, but Kasanganay stuffs it and gets the two separated. Buckley come at him swinging heavy leather and a head kick that all come up shy, but a follow-up leg kick connects heavily. Kasanganay responds with his own leg kick, and he steps back to avoid the overhand left aimed at his face. Kasanganay cracks Buckley with a left hand as Buckley crashes in, and Buckley takes it full-on without issue and kicks Kasanganay away with a side kick. Buckley loads up on several hooks and dings up Kasanganay, leading into a takedown. On top, Buckley lands a few elbows, but Kasanganay is firing back at him. “Tshilobo” fights back to his knees and then stands up, and Buckley clinches him tight to the fence before a left hand knocks Kasanganay’s mouthpiece out. Kasanganay bears down with a right hand, and then another, but both do not connect. A third cracks Buckley on the chin, but “New Mansa” ignores it. The two come together with opposing flurries, and Buckley lands heavier but does not crack the chin. Kasanganay ducks away when Buckley charges him with a stream of punches, and he lands a heavy leg kick that makes Buckley stumble. Buckley fires up a head kick that glances off the mohawk, and one with his opposite leg collides with the guard and still manages to stagger Kasanganay. The unbeaten fighter strides forward and fakes a spinning strike, and Buckley greets him with a flying knee when Kasanganay turns about. This hard-hitting round ends.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Buckley
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Buckley
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Buckley
Round 2Both men swing and miss to begin the round, and the first landed strike is a leg kick from Kasanganay. Buckley comes back at him but hits nothing but air, and the two each let loose a pair of punches at one another. Kasanganay ducks a leaping punch and kicks the lead leg again, and Buckley reacts as it hits him. Buckley stings Kasanganay with two hooks, and Kasanganay tries to throw a front kick to the body but it clicks off the cup. There is no pause, and instead Buckley rages forward but gets caught with a counter flying knee. Buckley snaps the head back with a few ferocious hooks, and Kasanganay keeps his composure to circle out and gather himself. Buckley throws up a head kick and Kasanganay blocks and catches it, and Buckley jumps to spin and blasts Kasanganay in the face with his other foot like a ninja! Kasanganay is out before he hits the ground, falling over in a manner similar to Terry Etim when Edson Barboza – who fights later tonight – starched him with a spinning wheel kick. Whatever the nominees were for “Knockout of the Year,” they don’t hold a candle to what Buckley just pulled off inside the Octagon. Buckley celebrates as Kasanganay comes to, and this is the kind of knockout that will live on in highlight reels for years to come. Incredible.
The Official ResultJoaquin Buckley def. Impa Kasanganay R2 2:03 via KO (Spinning Back Kick)
Rodrigo Nascimento Ferreira (265) vs. Chris Daukaus (227)
Round 1Heavyweights are up next, as big submission specialist Ferreira (8-0, 1-0 UFC) tries to stay perfect and maintain his 100 percent finish rate against Philadelphia knockout artist Daukaus (9-3, 1-0 UFC). These two have only reached the scorecards once in their 20 combined fights, and referee Marc Goddard may have his hands full in this one. They touch gloves, and the community is still reeling from the knockout from the last fight. Daukaus tries to shake us of that memory by landing a right hand, and a huge left hook puts the legs out from the Brazilian. Daukaus chases him down and smashes him in the face with a few elbows, and loads up with hellacious ground-and-pound. Ferreira tries to fight back up to his feet, and Daukaus does not let him off the hook as he clobbers “Ze Colmeia” with a left and a right to put Ferreira down for the count. Goddard rushes in to save the destroyed Brazilian, and this was a statement performance from Daukaus, who becomes the first man to beat the American Top Team prospect and does so in devastating fashion.
The Official ResultChris Daukaus def. Rodrigo Nascimento Ferreira R1 0:45 via KO (Punches)
Tom Breese (186) vs. K.B. Bhullar (186)
Round 1Headlining the preliminary portion of this all-ESPN+ event is a middleweight scrap between Tristar Gym rep Breese (11-2, 4-2 UFC) and unbeaten newcomer Bhullar (8-0, 0-0 UFC). Overseeing the Octagon is referee Lukasz Bosacki, and the two men do not touch glove as Breese springs towards his man. The two land jabs at the same time, and Breese unleashes a heavy leg kick. The Brit jabs from a distance and throws another leg kick, and stumbles as he backs away. Bhullar takes advantage of the slip by crashing towards Breese, and he lands his own leg kicks. Breese circles out and cracks Bhullar with a big left hand, and he nails Bhullar with another as the Canadian is reeling. Bhullar clinches up briefly and gathers his thoughts, before separating to let fly a kick. Breese snaps out a jab with his right hand, and Bhullar crumbles like a demolished building. Breese jumps on top to slam down a barrage of hammerfists until Bosacki has seen enough, and we now have back-to-back 8-0 fighters losing by first-round knockout in exciting fashion.
The Official ResultTom Breese def. K.B. Bhullar R1 1:42 via TKO (Punches)
Youssef Zalal (146) vs. Ilia Topuria (146)
Round 1Opening the main card is a featherweight clash as Zalal (10-2, 3-0 UFC) tries to earn his fourth UFC win this year all while looking to hand Topuria (8-0, 0-0 UFC) his first career defeat. Sealing the cage is referee Kevin Sataki, and there is a respectful glove touch to commence the violence. Zalal reaches out with a head kick but pulls it back when Topuria advances towards him. Zalal jumps forward with a knee, and Topuria counters him with a left hook in the air. Topuria scores a one-two, and Zalal tries to respond with a looping left hook but misses the mark. Topuria starts headhunting with a few wild right hands, and Zalal keeps his distance with front kicks. Zalal aims one strike and Topuria fires three back at him, so Zalal continues to circle around the cage. They come together and Zalal ducks strikes, and kicks Topuria in the body. When Zalal reaches out with a right hand, Topuria shoots in for a takedown. Zalal defends it with a guillotine choke, and Topuria protects his neck by grabbing the fence. Topuria grabs and throws Zalal with a powerful suplex, where he lands in dominant position and takes mount quickly. Zalal rolls to his knees when Topuria attacks an arm-triangle choke, and Zalal twists and turns and gets to his feet. Topuria powers him right back down with pure muscle, and Topuria locks up an anaconda choke from his back. Zalal walks across the cage to escape, and Topuria climbs back on top. When Zalal returns to his knees, Topuria snatches up a guillotine choke. Zalal fights through it and rolls, but Topuria transitions into an anaconda choke. Zalal kicks off the fence and may have pulled on it with his toes, but he somehow manages to survive the tight choke. Zalal returns to his feet, and Topuria is on him in an instant with a few heavy punches that lead to a takedown attempt at the bell.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Topuria
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Topuria
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Topuria
Round 2After the glove touch, Zalal kicks the lead leg. “The Moroccan Devil” grabs hold of his opponent’s leg and pursues a takedown, and although he does not land it, he bullies the newcomer to the fence. Zalal considers a double leg takedown, and Topuria lands a few strikes to the back of the head and is promptly warned. Zalal repositions and switches to a single, forcing Sataki to call for Zalal to work as he cannot get the fight down. Topuria lands a few more potentially illegal strikes to the back of the head and apologizes to Sataki when admonished. Zalal shrugs them off and mashes his opponent into the fence, but Topuria is able to separate and clubs Zalal with a left hook. Zalal comes up short with two flying knees, as Topuria is able to counter him in time. The undefeated fighter tags Zalal with a left and then a right, and he hits a takedown as Zalal grimaces. The relative veteran flirts with a guillotine choke off his back, and when Topuria steps over, Zalal pursues a triangle choke. Topuria ignores it as well as he hops over into mount, where he grabs hold of a mounted guillotine choke. Both fighters hook their toes in the fence to lock it in and oppositely defend against it, and Topuria steps into a high mount with the guillotine choke. Zalal again survives it as he turns to his stomach, and Topuria takes his back but slides off. Zalal pops back up and takes Topuria’s back, and he too slips off before getting anything off. From his back, Zalal grabs a heel to force a heel hook or pursue a kneebar, and Topuria gives Sataki a thumbs-up and the round ends.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Topuria
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Topuria
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Topuria
Round 3The two featherweights greet with a final glove touch, and Zalal flicks out a jab and lands a leg kick to keep his advancing foe at bay. He does not keep the Spaniard away for long, as he takes Zalal down with relative ease. The American rolls for a potential submission but the two men scramble, and Topuria gains control of Zalal’s back. Topuria sets up a rear-naked choke, but Zalal slides his neck free, breaks the position and returns to his feet. When standing again, Zalal delivers a knee to the midsection. Topuria does not want to stay upright for long, so he shoots in for a distance and gives his neck up. Zalal latches on to a guillotine choke and jumps guard to get it, but a calm Topuria again gives a thumbs-up to anyone watching and pops his neck free, where he is now in top position. Topuria rapidly advances to half guard, and holds on tight as Zalal wriggles. “The Moroccan Devil” manages to kick him off for a moment, but Topuria shifts and takes Zalal’s back, where he instantly aims for a rear-naked choke. Zalal pays it no mind and spins out, where he forces his way back up. Topuria appears very fatigued as Zalal stalks him down, and the Factory X product kicks Topuria in the face. Zalal is not much fresher, as a spinning back fist he lands does not have enough on it to do any damage. Topuria goes after a double leg takedown, and Zalal sprawls it and defends against the fence. Topuria changes to a single, but Zalal bucks him off. Zalal jumps for a knee, and Topuria catches him in the air and slams him to the canvas. The newcomer holds on tight and lands a single elbow before the horn ends the round. Unless we see some judging irregularity, Topuria will be the first and only unbeaten fighter to keep his perfect record intact after five different bouts tonight.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Topuria (30-27 Topuria)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Topuria (30-27 Topuria)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Topuria (30-26 Topuria)
The Official ResultIlia Topuria def. Youssef Zalal via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Alan Baudot (254) vs. Tom Aspinall (252)
Round 1At heavyweight, two sluggers toe the line as France’s “The Black Samourai” Baudot (8-1, 0-0 UFC) makes his debut the day that the first major MMA promotion headed to his home country (Bellator Paris), and he draws fellow banger Aspinall (8-2, 1-0 UFC). Fourteen knockouts in 16 wins combined for the two, and referee Lukasz Bosacki will need to make sure not to get smacked by an errant blow. There is a touch of gloves, and Aspinall is fired up as he walks forward and catches a jab on the chops. Baudot swings and misses with a left hand, and spins into a back fist that also comes up short. Baudot lands a few punches and ducks out of the way from the surging Brit, and Baudot feints and makes Aspinall bite a few times. They both land leg kicks, and Aspinall steps in and cracks his French opponent with a right hand. Baudot tries to get off a step-in elbow in a close distance, and a short brawl leads to a takedown from the Brit. Aspinall climbs to mount and starts raining down punishment, and Baudot turns to his side and is already in trouble. Aspinall pours it on with several more left hands until Bosacki realizes that Baudot is no longer intelligently defending himself, and he stops the fight. Aspinall still has a 100 percent finish rate, taking out a short-notice opponent in just over 90 seconds.
The Official ResultTom Aspinall def. Alan Baudot R1 1:35 via TKO (Punches)
Markus Perez (186) vs. Dricus Du Plessis (186)
Round 1We are now treated to a classic middleweight matchup of Brazil vs. South Africa as Perez (12-3, 2-3 UFC) greets Du Plessis (14-2, 0-0 UFC) inside the Octagon. While “Maluko” has gone the distance in six of his 15 career bouts, Du Plessis has never before reached the scorecards. Will this be the first time? Like referee Kevin Sataki, we will find out soon. Perez is amped up but still offers a glove touch, and the Brazilian lands swings a left hand that Du Plessis blocks. The South African lands a few leg kicks but gets kicked to the body, and Perez responds to a kick with a left hand. Du Plessis keeps spamming low kicks, and he considers a superman punch off the cage a la Anthony Pettis, but Perez backs out of range. Perez fires off a few kicks as Du Plessis circles away, and one lands low. The action does not pause, and Perez cracks him in the liver with a kick. Du Plessis charges at him with a stream of punches that fall short, and both trade leg kicks. Du Plessis kicks the calf, and Perez reaches with a right hand to the body. Du Plessis kicks the inside calf and scores a left hand, before rushing forward to throws at Perez. “Maluko” ducks out of the way, and he checks a leg kick as Du Plessis stumbles forward throwing a right hand. They crack each other with leg kicks again, and Perez jumps forward with a switch kick but comes up shy of the mark. Du Plessis again blitzes forward with a line of punches that all miss. Perez takes a body kick, catches it, and responds with a powerful left hand. Perez targets the body again with a right hand, and a few leg kicks do some damage. Perez fires back at him with a left and a right, and Du Plessis rushes forward with a punch stream that gets blocked or does not connect. Du Plessis throws a high body kick and closes the distance. The Brazilian attempts to spin with an elbow, and mid-spin, “Stillknocks” blasts him with a short uppercut right behind the ear, short-circuiting Perez and sending him face-down to the ground. A few follow-up punches are completely unnecessary as Perez is out like a light, but Du Plessis slams them down them anyway to seal the deal. What a way to make your Octagon debut, becoming the first man to finish Perez with an impressive performance.
The Official ResultDricus Du Plessis def. Markus Perez R1 3:22 via KO (Punch)
Ben Rothwell (265) vs. Marcin Tybura (263)
Round 1Back to heavyweight, two burly brawlers square off when crafty veteran Rothwell (38-12, 8-6 UFC) comes to blows with grinding Polish grappler Tybura (19-6, 6-5 UFC). This 528-pound matchup will be officiated by referee Marc Goddard, who stands by as the two men elect to touch gloves. Rothwell leads off with a few punches, and lands a right hand and starts to blitz Tybura with a barrage of punches. Tybura turtles up and backs away, so Rothwell steps in and lands another right hand. Rothwell hits a superman punch and pours it on as Tybura retreats but keeps eating shots. Rothwell pulls off on a combination and gets clubbed in the head with a right hand. Rothwell digs to the body with a left, and Tybura connects with another stern right hand. Rothwell takes his foot off the gas but lets fly a right hand, and Tybura gets Rothwell’s attention with another sharp hook. Rothwell returns fire with a right hook that reddens up the Polish fighter’s eye, and he marches forward to return to his punch combination attack. Tybura springs forward and connect with a left hook, and Rothwell walks through them to land a few shots and ends the combination with a leg kick. They clash together at the same time, and Rothwell gathers himself faster and lands a trio of strikes before Tybura can get back at him. Rothwell rips to the body again, and Tybura is ready to engage with him with fast hands. The two go punch-for-punch across a few salvos, and Rothwell wades forward to keep throwing. Rothwell hurts him with a right hand, and then another, followed by a head kick at close range. Tybura returns fire, and these two are taking turns wailing on each other. Tybura slaps the body with a kick, and Rothwell thanks him and punches him in the midsection. They clinch up and Rothwell lands a few on the inside before breaking off the clinch. Tybura clips Rothwell with a right hand and gets off a body kick to back Rothwell off for a moment, and reaches with a right hand to force Rothwell to reset. Rothwell lunges forward and gets countered on the inside, but Rothwell grabs hold of him with a clinch and starts ripping uppercuts. Tybura responds with a few of his own to bloody the nose up, and Rothwell lands some heavy shots and a throws a head kick that makes him topple over. He hops back up and Tybura lands a left hand on the way up, but “Big Ben” eats it and throws a few more strikes until this fast-paced round ends.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Rothwell
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Rothwell
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Rothwell
Round 2The two big men cordially re-introduce themselves to one another with a sporting touch of gloves, and when Tybura throws high, Rothwell kicks low. Tybura kicks the lead leg, and Rothwell ambles forward while throw punches in bunches. Tybura counters him and the two crash in at the same time. Tybura kicks the lead leg as Rothwell comes towards him, and Rothwell does not acknowledge it as he chases “Tybur” with a series of reaching punches. The two heavyweights clinch up and Rothwell starts to unload with uppercuts, but the clinch leads to Rothwell pressing him on the cage. Rothwell swats down low for a potential takedown, and when it does not land, they separate and throw punches at the same time. Tybura scores as Rothwell lumbers towards him, but the longtime vet targets the body a few more times for good measure. Tybura clinches up with Rothwell and lands his own uppercuts, and when they break apart, the Polish fighter re-engages and scores more. Rothwell cracks him with a right hand, and subsequently slips the punches that whiz by his head. Rothwell slings a head kick but misses by a mile, so he wanders forward and connects with a few punches. Tybura shoots for a takedown, but Rothwell stands like a brick wall and does not budge. Tybura bails on it and kicks the lead leg, and a few more punches from Tybura – the strike totals are shockingly high for a heavyweight brawl – are marking up Rothwell’s face and nose especially. Rothwell gets clipped by a right hand and he throws back at his man, and the two trade heavy leather but neither appear to show any concern for defense. Rothwell rushes in with his hands down as he lunges with punches, and Rothwell stops a takedown and slugs it out until the bell and a little after.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Tybura
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Tybura
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Tybura
Round 3One final glove touch begins the last round, and Tybura appears the far fresher fighter as he snaps out a few jabs. Rothwell absorbs them all on the chin and kicks the lead leg, before winging a right hand. Rothwell wades forward and misses a right hand, so Tybura flicks out a few punches to touch Rothwell. Rothwell chops down the right leg of his opponent, and he strides forward to punch his way in again. Tybura meets him with punches of his own, and “Tybur” dodges and weaves as Rothwell’s punches are slowing. Rothwell takes a right hand across the bow and marches forward to start slinging bombs, and Tybura scores an uppercut before changing levels. The Polish fighter manages to ground Rothwell, and he sits heavy on top while getting off some stern ground-and-pound. Tybura busts up his opponent with elbows and punches while sitting comfortably in guard, and he continues his assault as Rothwell looks stuck in first gear and out of steam. Rothwell throws his legs up for a triangle, but “Tybur” shrugs it off and drops back down into guard. Rothwell does what he can to tie Tybura up, but instead the Polish bruiser breaks the grip and rips him with hacking elbows that spray gouts of blood from “Big Ben.” Tybura keeps punishing Rothwell but the strikes are not of the fight-ending variety, as he works Rothwell over from on top. Rothwell can do nothing but eat them as he is cut on his eye, nose and all over his face. Tybura keeps on the accelerator until the fight ends, leaving Rothwell's face a crimson mask to end the hard-fought bout.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Tybura (29-28 Tybura)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Tybura (29-28 Tybura)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Tybura (29-28 Tybura)
The Official ResultMarcin Tybura def. Ben Rothwell via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Makwan Amirkhani (146) vs. Edson Barboza (145.5)
Round 1The co-main event comes in the form of a featherweight battle as “Mr. Finland” Amirkhani (16-4, 6-2 UFC) aims to put Barboza (20-9, 14-9 UFC) on a four-fight losing streak. This co-headlining affair draws oversight from referee Kevin Sataki, and they get right down to business without a touch of gloves. Barboza takes the center of the cage and fakes and feints but does not throw, and Amirkhani backs away against the fence. Barboza lands a quick leg kick, and Amirkhani ducks out of the way from a body shot. Both men are trying to get one another biting on their fakes, and Barboza wings another leg kick. “Mr. Finland” fakes a takedown attempt and draws out a knee, so he backs away and lets Barboza kick him in the lead leg again. Barboza stabs his toes in the midsection with a teep kick, but the air is very tense two minutes in. Barboza again targets the body with a kick, and follows it by tagging the body with a right hand. Amirkhani lands his first strike of the fight with a right jab after about three minutes into the round, and Barboza continues his surgically precise assault of the body. Amirkhani leaps forward with a knee and his foot extends to pop the Brazilian in the cup, but Barboza does not even flinch. Amirkhani rushes forward to attempt his first takedown, and Barboza stuffs it with style points as he catches Amirkhani on the way up. Amirkhani uppercuts his way in and ties up Barboza for a potential trip takedown, but it is nothing doing again. Barboza slings a body kick and a low kick as Amirkhani is standing before him doing practically nothing. The Brazilian leaps in with a right hand that stuns Amirkhani for a moment, but he does not follow it up. Instead, he kicks the body, and Amirkhani catches it and takes him down. “Mr. Finland” cannot capitalize on the position for long as the horn sounds seconds later.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Barboza
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Barboza
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Barboza
Round 2Both men rush out of their corners, and Barboza jumps in with a right hand. Amirkhani responds with an uppercut jab strike that catches Barboza and surprises him. The Brazilian gathers his thoughts and chops at the lead leg, and does it again but nearly stumbles on the way back. Barboza double jabs his way in and retreats to slap a leg kick home. When Amirkhani jabs to the body, Barboza replies with his own strike to the torso. Barboza avoids a front kick and snaps out the jab again, and jabs to the midsection with single strikes. Amirkhani comes up short with an overhand right, and he checks a leg kick but absorbs a heavy right hand to the gut. Barboza springs forward with a right hand and sends Amirkhani crashing to the canvas, where he latches on to an anaconda choke – Amirkhani’s favored move – but “Mr. Finland” is wise to it and gets to his knees. The strike busted up Amirkhani’s nose, as it is leaking scarlet rain on the canvas. Amirkhani pulls himself back to his feet, and Barboza lands the same strike that dropped Amirkhani again with a similar effect. Amirkhani reels and shoots in low for a takedown, but Barboza stuffs it and threatens with a choke again. Amirkhani wriggles his neck out and again stands up, and swings and misses with an overhand right. Barboza cracks him with the same straight right hand again to put Amirkhani down, and Barboza wraps up the anaconda choke once more when leaping on to finish the job. It is tight this time, and Amirkhani somehow manages to free himself from danger and takes Barboza down. The Finnish fighter is only able to get off a few strikes before the end of the round.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Barboza
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Barboza
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Barboza
Round 3The two featherweights again sprint out to greet one another, only to not engage and just look for angles. Both men reach out opposing lead hands and clasp them together, and let go as Amirkhani sneaks in a right hand. “Mr. Finland” attacks for a takedown and gets stuffed with ease, but Amirkhani’s second effort allows him to bully Barboza to the fence and down again. Barboza defends with wrist control as Amirkhani is stuck in an unusual pretzel-like position. Amirkhani breaks the grip and pulls himself out of the spot, where he is on top in Barboza’s guard with time to work. The Brazilian holds on tight and does not allow Amirkhani to get space and throw much in the way of strikes, although Amirkhani grinds down with an elbow. Barboza throws his legs up for a triangle, and Amirkhani senses it and frees himself before it gets set up. Returning to guard on top, Amirkhani gets off a few body shots as Sataki calls for Amirkhani to work. Amirkhani sits up and smacks Barboza with a single elbow to satisfy the referee momentarily, but Sataki is soon back warning Amirkhani to keep working lest he stand the fighters up. Sataki stands them up with a minute left, and Barboza wings a left hook that hurts Amirkhani. “Mr. Finland” shakes it off and takes a body kick to the breadbasket, and then a second one is soon to follow. Amirkhani looks for something like an Imanari roll to get the fight down, and Barboza steps away and lets Amirkhani stand up, where Barboza blasts him in the face. A few more heavy strikes land from Barboza, and with seconds left, the Brazilian walks away with his hands in the air to celebrate his work. The round ends, and Amirkhani lifts his arms up to signal that he thinks he won, although there is not likely much to celebrate on his end. Both men show great respect to one another after the fight, thanking the other for taking the fight.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Barboza (30-26 Barboza)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Barboza (30-26 Barboza)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Barboza (30-26 Barboza)
The Official ResultEdson Barboza def. Makwan Amirkhani via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
Marlon Moraes (136) vs. Cory Sandhagen (136)
Round 1In the lucky 13th fight of the night, we have reached the main event as all-action bantamweights collide. “Magic Marlon” Moraes (23-6-1, 5-2 UFC) will almost certainly attempt to become the first man to knock the durable Sandhagen (12-2, 5-1 UFC) out, and referee Marc Goddard will need to be on his toes for this likely fast-paced battle. The two 135ers touch gloves as Goddard brings them together but not again when the fight is clocked in. Instead, Sandhagen starts off with his own leg kick. Moraes ducks down and wings a huge overhand right that goes way off the mark. Sandhagen attacks the body with a kick and dodges a low kick. Moraes ducks a punch from Sandhagen and lets fly another booming right hand that blows the hair back. When Sandhagen lands a leg kick, Moraes responds with one that is far heavier. Moraes stings him with that right hand, and when Sandhagen is recoiling, Moraes lands another. The American shakes it off and gets back to kicking low. Moraes respond with a similar strike and catches a low kick, before winging his right hand bomb. Sandhagen rips the body with a left hand and ducks the counter, and he leaps in the air with a flying knee. Moraes catches him mid-air and lands a few punches, and Sandhagen touches down and gets off another leg kick. Moraes swings and misses with a head kick, but a follow-up leg kick does connect. Sandhagen spins with a kick and Moraes ducks out of the way, but “Magic Marlon” is quick to follow suit by spinning and cracking Sandhagen with a back fist. Sandhagen gets off an uppercut and looks to follow it with a leg kick, but Moraes checks it. Moraes sprints forward and lands at the end of a right left hand, and Sandhagen backpedals out of the way. Sandhagen again makes Moraes miss with his looping punch, and he evades another. Moraes strides forward and clanks a spinning back fist off Sandhagen’s guard, and Sandhagen responds with a step-in body kick. The two score successful jabs, and Sandhagen commits to the body kick again before stepping in with a knee. Moraes catches him with a counter right hand, but Sandhagen backs off and hits the body with another thudding kick. Moraes catches the leg and tosses Sandhagen down to the ground, but he runs out of time before he can do anything besides land on top.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Sandhagen
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Sandhagen
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Sandhagen