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It was gruesome enough to inspire widespread dry heaves.
Former Tachi Palace Fights champion Max Griffin prompted an injury stoppage against Ramiz Brahimaj in the third round of their UFC on ESPN 17 welterweight prelim on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, as he nearly took off the Fortis MMA rep’s left ear with a well-placed elbow strike. Brahimaj (8-3, 0-1 UFC) was declared unfit to continue 2:03 into Round 3, then likely sought out the nearest plastic surgeon.
Griffin (16-8, 4-6 UFC) spent most of the first two rounds burying jabs into his opponent’s face, opening multiple cuts and leaving visible damage to both of his eyes. Midway through the third, he dazed Brahimaj with an overhand right, reset and then moved into clinch range. Griffin uncorked an elbow over the tap that left the promotional newcomer’s ear hanging by a thread and necessitated the stoppage.
The victory closed the book on Griffin’s two-fight losing streak.
Giles Buries Reeling Lewis
W4R Training Center standout Trevin Giles disposed of Bevon Lewis with punches in the third round of their middleweight clash. Lewis (7-3, 1-3 UFC) succumbed to blows 1:26 into Round 3, as the Dana White’s Contender Series alum lost for the third time in four starts.
Giles (13-2, 4-2 UFC) leaned on superior hand speed and distance management, all while keeping a comfortable pace. He knocked down Lewis with a stiff jab in the first round, continued to string together punches and waited for fatigue to become a factor. By the end of the middle stanza, Giles was in cruise control. He sprawled on an attempted takedown from Lewis in Round 3, scrambled into a more advantageous position on the feet and blasted the Jackson-Wink MMA product with both hands until his body and mind broke.
The 28-year-old Giles will enter his next assignment on the strength of back-to-back wins.
Unbeaten Romanov Sleeps Rogerio de Lima
The undefeated Alexander Romanov kept his perfect professional record intact, as he put Marcos Rogerio de Lima to sleep with a rudimentary forearm choke in the first round of their heavyweight encounter. Romanov sealed the deal 4:48 into Round 1, moving to 13-0 (2-0 UFC) with 13 finishes.
Rogerio de Lima (17-7-1, 6-5 UFC) assaulted the Moldovan brute with low inside leg kicks and power punches but could not maintain a safe distance. Romanov tripped the American Top Team standout to the floor, settled in half guard, unleashed some ground-and-pound and ultimately applied crushing downward pressure on the Brazilian’s neck until he lost consciousness.
A model of consistent inconsistency, Rogerio de Lima has alternated wins and losses in each of his last nine appearances.
Determined Elkins Dismisses GaragorriTeam Alpha Male’s Darren Elkins submitted Luiz Eduardo Garagorri with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their featherweight confrontation. Elkins (25-9, 15-8 UFC) drew the curtain 2:22 into Round 3, as he put an end to a four-fight losing streak and posted his first win since Jan. 14, 2018.
Suffocating pressure and the maniacal pursuit of takedowns carried Elkins to a two-rounds-to-none lead. Still, Garagorri (13-2, 1-2 UFC) had his moments. The Fronteira Fight Team rep connected with repeated jabs and a few early uppercuts before landing a right cross in the third round that appeared to shake Elkins’ equilibrium. However, it was not enough to stymie the efforts of the Portage, Indiana, native. Elkins threatened with another takedown, moved behind the Uruguayan and jumped into the backpack position. From there, he set the choke, forced Garagorri to collapse and elicited the tapout.
Garagorri has suffered back-to-back defeats after starting his career with 13 straight victories.
Lopez Choke Submits Birchak
Xtreme Couture export Gustavo Lopez rebounded from his June 13 defeat to Merab Dvalishvili, as he submitted Anthony Birchak with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their bantamweight pairing. A short-notice substitution for Felipe Colares, Birchak (16-7, 2-3 UFC) raised the white flag 2:43 into Round 1.
Lopez (12-5, 1-1 UFC) stunned his former training partner with clean left hooks right out of the gate, flurried with follow-up punches and executed takedown. After the two men returned to an upright position, he dragged Birchak back to the mat, advanced to the back and cut loose with punches. Lopez then cinched the choke, tightened his squeeze around his counterpart’s exposed neck and forced the tap.
The 31-year-old Lopez has rattled off four wins in five outings.