UFC on ESPN 20 Prelims: Ricky Simon Arm-Triangle Submits Gaetano Pirrello

By: Brian Knapp
Jan 20, 2021

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Former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Ricky Simon submitted Belgian newcomer Gaetano Pirrello with an arm-triangle choke in the second round of their featured bantamweight prelim on Wednesday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Simon (17-3, 5-2 UFC) drew the curtain 4:00 into Round 2, scoring his first submission in nearly three years.

Pirrello (15-6-1, 0-1 UFC) did not enjoy his first UFC experience. Simon closed the distance, delivered repeated takedowns and methodically wore down the Osman Gym representative. He struck for his final takedown late in the second round, advanced immediately to full mount and framed the choke in half guard. After a brief struggle, Pirrello capitulated.

Simon, 28, will head to his next assignment on the strength of back-to-back victories.

Surging Mudaerji Handles Asashev

Fast-rising Tibetan prospect Su Mudaerji utilized his superior height and reach in capturing a unanimous verdict against Zarrukh Adashev in a three-round flyweight scrap. Mudaerji (14-4, 3-1 UFC) carried all three scorecards: 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

Adashev (3-3, 0-2 UFC) had his moments but failed to successfully navigate the physical disadvantages with which he was confronted. Mudaerji fought mostly at a comfortable range, chipped away with clean jab-cross combinations and used smooth lateral movement to avoid unnecessary danger. He dropped Adashev to a knee with a check right hook in the second round, moved in for potential finish and settled back into a more relaxed pace once it became clear the Uzbekistan-born kickboxer was not going to break.

Mudaerji has pieced together a three-fight winning streak since his Octagon debut resulted in a submission loss to Louis Smolka in November 2018.

Lungiambula Outmuscles Replacement Perez

Overpowering takedowns and damaging ground-and-pound carried Xtreme Couture export Dalcha Lungiambula to a unanimous decision over former LFA champion Markus Perez in a three-round middleweight encounter. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Lungiambula (11-2, 2-1 UFC).

A short-notice replacement for Isi Fitikefu, Perez (12-5, 2-5 UFC) had issues with the South African’s brute physicality. Lungiambula bullied him to the mat more than once across the first 10 minutes, steered clear of the Brazilian’s submissions and punished him with short punches and elbows, one of which opened a cut in the second round. Perez enjoyed some success in the clinch in Round 3 but could not dig himself out of a hole on the scorecards.

Lungiambula has won seven of his past eight bouts.

Debuting Figueiredo Tops Rivera

Jungle Fight veteran Francisco Figueiredo — the younger brother of reigning flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo — made a successful Octagon debut, as he laid claim to a unanimous decision over Jerome Rivera in a three-round confrontation at 125 pounds. Figueiredo (12-3-1, 1-0 UFC) swept the scorecards with matching 29-28 marks from the judges.

Rivera (10-4, 0-2 UFC) struggled to get in gear through the first two rounds. Figueiredo peppered him with sneaky left hands over the top but made his biggest gains in close quarters, as he secured repeated takedowns and paired them with stifling control and effective ground-and-pound. Rivera did his best work in Round 3, where he slammed punches and knees into the fatigued Brazilian before landing a takedown of his own. However, the finish he needed failed to materialize.

The 31-year-old Figueiredo owns a 3-0-1 record over his past four appearances.

Davis Outlasts Undefeated Jones

American Top Team’s Mike Davis leaned into efficient punching combinations, blasted away with well-disguised calf kicks and mixed in a few takedowns, as he took a unanimous decision from former two-division Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Mason Jones in an attritive three-round lightweight battle. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28 for Davis (9-2, 2-1 UFC).

Jones (10-1, 0-1 UFC) was outstanding in defeat. The Welshman marched forward behind multi-punch bursts, stayed in Davis’ face with merciless pressure and forced the Dana White’s Contender Series graduate to dig deep into his reserves. Bleeding from multiple cuts, Jones showed signs of deterioration late in the bout. Davis made the most of his opportunities down the stretch, as he met the organizational newcomer’s aggression with close-range elbows to the head and knee strikes to the body.

Davis has rattled off four wins in five outings.

Unbeaten Nurmagomedov Throttles Morozov

Umar Nurmagomedov kept his perfect professional record intact, as he put former M-1 Global champion Sergey Morozov to sleep with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their bantamweight pairing. Morozov (16-5, 0-1 UFC) lost consciousness 3:39 into Round 2, closing the book on his five-fight winning streak.

The undefeated Nurmagomedov (13-0, 1-0 UFC) flexed his skills in all phases. He zeroed in on Morozov with kicks to the body, legs and head, swooped in for opportunistic takedowns and progressed to more advantageous positions with stellar offensive grappling. Nurmagomedov stunned his counterpart with a head kick inside the first 10 seconds of the middle stanza, swarmed with punches and eased off the accelerator when a finish failed to materialize. He executed another takedown later in the second round, advanced to the back, snaked his arms in place for the choke and squeezed until Morozov went limp.

Nurmagomedov has finished seven of his 13 opponents.

Newcomer Fiorot Squashes Leonardo

Manon Fiorot dazzled in her promotional debut, as she put away Dana White’s Contender Series alum Victoria Leonardo with a head kick and follow-up punches in the second round of their women’s flyweight clash. Leonardo (8-3, 0-1 UFC) bowed out 4:08 into Round 2.

It was a comprehensive beatdown from start to finish. Fiorot (6-1, 1-0 UFC) set the tone with an overwhelming start, as she unleashed side kicks to the body, crisp punching combinations, standing elbows and clinch knees in a dominant first round. Leonardo fared no better in the second. There, Fiorot continued her standup assault, incorporated a takedown and ground-and-pound, reset herself on the feet and blindsided the Louisianan with the head kick. Leonardo buckled and retreated to the fence, where the Frenchwoman cut loose with punches until the job was done.

Fiorot, 30, has won six fights in a row, five of them finishes. Advertisement
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