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Perhaps now Lerone Murphy has everyone’s attention.
The unbeaten Manchester Top Team export established himself as a prospect worth watching in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s featherweight division, as he took care of Ricardo Ramos with punches in the first round of their featured UFC on ESPN 13 prelim on Wednesday at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Ramos (14-3, 5-2 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:18 into Round 1.
Murphy (9-0-1, 1-0-1 UFC) surprised the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with a takedown, waylaid him with elbows and had him ducking for cover with brutal standing-to-ground punches. Ramos turned away from the incoming fire and ate a few more punches before referee Rich Mitchell stepped in.
Debuting Chimaev Routs Phillips
Allstars Training Center prospect Khamzat Chimaev kept his perfect professional record intact, as he submitted former British Association of Mixed Martial Arts champion John Phillips with a brabo choke in the second round of their undercard clash at 185 pounds. Phillips (22-10, 1-4 UFC) raised the white flag 72 seconds into Round 2.
A short-notice substitution for Dusko Todorovic, Chimaev (7-0, 1-0 UFC) was flawless. He executed a double-leg takedown after connecting with a body kick, briefly achieved full mount and settled in the top ride—a position from which he cut loose with a merciless barrage of ground-and-pound. Phillips absorbed hammerfists, elbows and punches, then returned to his corner between rounds with a sense of resignation surrounding him. Chimaev struck for another takedown inside the first 20 seconds of Round 2, peppered the SBG Ireland representative with punches and cinched the choke for the finish.
The 26-year-old Chimaev has finished all seven of his opponents inside two rounds.
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Bukauskas Elbows Vanquish Michailidis
Former Cage Warriors champion Modestas Bukauskas disposed of Andreas Michailidis with a volley of elbows in their preliminary light heavyweight affair. Referee Daniel Movahedi declared Michailidis (12-4, 0-1 UFC)—a late replacement for Vinicius Moreira Castro—unfit to continue and called for the stoppage between the first and second rounds.
Bukauskas (11-2, 1-0 UFC) exchanged power punches and low leg kicks with the EFL Academy representative throughout a competitive first round. As the period drifted towards its conclusion, Michailidis shot for a takedown and unwittingly wandered into danger. Bukauskus braced himself along the fence and uncorked a burst of rapid-fire elbows to the side of the head, leading to the anticlimactic finish.
The 26-year-old Bukauskas has rattled off seven consecutive victories.
Gordon Dominates Reeling Fishgold
Takedowns, top control and bruising ground-and-pound carried Roufusport standout Jared Gordon to a clear-cut unanimous decision over Chris Fishgold in a three-round undercard confrontation at 145 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-26 for Gordon (16-4, 4-3 UFC), who rebounded from his Nov. 16 knockout loss to Charles Oliveira.
The overweight Fishgold (18-4-1, 1-3 UFC) was a non-factor outside of a few passes at guillotine chokes. Gordon moved to dominant positions in all three rounds, bled time off the clock and exploited the holes in his opponent’s game. The former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder upped his aggression in the third round, where he sprawled on an attempted takedown from Fishgold, advanced to the back of the kneeling Englishman and sent punches and elbows sweeping across both sides of his head.
Fishgold, 28, has suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in his career.
Jojua Armbar Dismisses Belbita
Onetime Fight Nights Global titleholder Liana Jojua submitted Diana Belbita with an armbar in the first round of their preliminary flyweight tilt. Jojua (8-3, 1-1 UFC) prompted the verbal tapout 2:43 into Round 1, as she won for the sixth time in seven outings.
Belbita (13-6, 0-2 UFC) backed up the Akhmat Fighting Club export with punches at the start, then made a costly tactical error by closing the distance and delivering a takedown against a superior grappler. Jojua went to work in full guard, shifted her hips and locked in the armbar. After an extended struggle, she pushed Belbita’s limb beyond its bounds and forced the stoppage.
The 25-year-old Jojua now has six submissions to her credit, five of them by armbar.
Shore Choke Submits Phillips
Former Cage Warriors champion Jack Shore submitted Aaron Phillips with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their undercard pairing at 135 pounds. A short-notice replacement for Anderson dos Santos, Phillips (12-4, 0-3 UFC) capitulated 2:29 into Round 2 and saw the door close on his five-fight winning streak.
The unbeaten Shore (13-0, 2-0 UFC) tore into the Headkicks MMA representative with close-quarters knees to the body and head, struck for repeated takedowns and applied his ground-and-pound. In the second round, he executed another takedown, softened Phillips with elbows and advanced to the back, at which point he snaked his arms in place for the choke.
Shore, 25, has delivered 12 of his 13 career victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.