UFC on ESPN 22 ‘Whittaker vs. Gastelum’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

By: Jay Pettry
Apr 17, 2021
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Tony Gravely (135.5) vs. Anthony Birchak (135.5)

Round 1

The UFC soldiers on with another offering on the ESPN network, with 10 fights ranging from the lightest to heaviest divisions in the promotion. We kick things off in the bantamweight division, as Gravely (20-6, 1-1 UFC) tries to earn his second win inside the Octagon at the expense of Birchak (16-7, 2-3 UFC). The glove touch before referee Mark Smith starts the night, and away we go! Gravely opens up with a body kick, and when he whiffs on a low kick, Birchak counters back at him with a salvo of punches. Gravely backs off and slings another body kick, and Birchak blocks it and fires back, scoring a solid right hand on the jaw. Gravely comes up short when pursuing his own counteroffensive of punches, and these two are swinging early. Gravely dings Birchak with a solid right hand that makes Birchak slip on the corner of the cage, and “El Toro” charges in like a bull for a takedown only to get reversed. Gravely is able to not only prevent the takedown, but flip Birchak around and put him on his back. Birchak squirms his way back up to his feet by walking up the fence, and Gravely heavily pressures him on the wire. Birchak grinds his elbow on Gravely’s face, but Gravely backs off and rocks Birchak with a picture-perfect right hand. Birchak clatters to the canvas, and Gravely dives on but is overzealous in his attack. Birchak still retains his wherewithal and flips Gravely around, climbing into top control. Gravely looks to sweep him, and Birchak pulls guard to set up a tight guillotine choke. Gravely flirts with tapping out, but he steels himself and wrenches his neck out of danger. With Gravely on top, he starts slamming his fist into the side of Birchak’s head. Birchak scampers back to the corner of the cage, but Gravely chases after him and lays into him with thudding left hands. The damage starts to mount and Smith takes a close look at the action, but Birchak does just enough to defend himself and get back to his feet. Gravely keeps control of the position as Birchak gets up, and he slams Birchak right on his head as they hit the ground again. Birchak scrambles to the wall only to give up a mat return after eating a flush knee to the chin. Gravely redoubles his effort to keep Birchak down to end the round, but they separate and brawl right to the bell to end this wild first round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Gravely
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Gravely
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Gravely

Round 2

The two bantamweights are amped up to start throwing down immediately, and Gravely ducks a strike to charge in to take the fight down. When he bullies Birchak into the fencing, “El Toro” counters with a sharp elbow that gives Gravely pause. Gravely gathers himself and shoots in low for a double, where he eventually succeeds in planting Birchak on his backside. Gravely bowls Birchak over and starts loosing right hands, allowing Birchak to rise to a knee and then back to his feet. Birchak gains separation and the two trade kicks at the same time. As Birchak tries to get off a body kick, Gravely clips him with a short but lethal left hand, and it snaps his head back and sends Birchak crashing down to the ground. Smith cannot stop the fight fast enough, as Birchak is barely clinging to consciousness while hammerfists rain down on him. What a way to start the night!

The Official Result

Tony Gravely def. Anthony Birchak R2 1:31 via TKO (Punches)

Dakota Bush (155.5) vs. Austin Hubbard (156)

Round 1

Shifting gears to lightweight, Hubbard (12-5, 2-3 UFC) aims to lift his UFC record above .500 against the debuting, fantastically nicknamed “Hairy” Bush (8-2, 0-0 UFC). Announcer Bruce Buffer skips over the nickname entirely and breaks the hearts of hardcore fans everywhere, and referee Keith Peterson is none the wiser and also none the nonsense. The two 155ers touch gloves, and the fight begins. Hubbard eats a hard jab early as he throws a naked leg kick, and he gathers himself and kicks the leg. Bush tags Hubbard a few times with left hooks, and he slams his shin on the inside of Hubbard’s calf repeatedly. Bush lands a leg kick, spins around and has a spinning back fist bounce off the dome. Bush lets go with leg kicks and a body kick as “Thud” slowly walks him down while reaching out with jabs. Bush is reckless, on the other hand, charging with punches and eating a nasty left hand to the liver. Bush takes a breath and throws back, but Hubbard beats him to the punch and knees him in the side. Both score punches at the same time, and they connect with loud right hands simultaneously. “Hairy” Bush drills the body with a kick, and when he fires off a subsequent calf kick, Hubbard bears down on him with punches. Bush reaches a high kick but he is out of range, and Hubbard lands a left hand and a calf kick that makes Bush nearly turn about. Bush gets off a body shot, and the two swing wildly and at least one finger if not two jam into Bush’s eye socket. Bush turns away in pain, and the doctor is quick to come in an assess the damage as Peterson watches over him. The newcomer takes a minute to regain his sight, and he comes out swinging. The two trade wildly again, and Hubbard dodges and weaves as looping punches and a head kick zoom past him. Bush spins with a back kick, and it connects with Hubbard’s hip without issue, as Hubbard plods forward and scores a right hand. When Hubbard commits to a kick to the body, Bush sees it coming and nails Hubbard with a spinning back fist. Hubbard wears it well and the power differential is stark, but Bush is throwing everything he has into his strikes while Hubbard is largely content to touch him. One such calf kick makes Bush nod at him, and he throws another to not elicit that reaction again. Bush kicks the inside of Hubbard’s rear leg, and Hubbard responds with a knee and a quick takedown attempt that succeeds, allowing him to conclude the round on top.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Bush
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Bush
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Bush

Round 2

The second round begins with Bush attacking early, throwing up a head kick and slinging a heavy right hand that gets Hubbard’s attention. Hubbard counters with a right hook, and a follow-up leg kick is met with a thudding right hook. Bush crashes forward to take the fight down, and Hubbard keeps a leg upright and stuffs the attempt. Bush tries to make him pay for stopping it with a left hand, but Hubbard is away from harm. Bush throws heavy, single strikes, but they are already more labored as his hands drop to his waist after a spinning back fist and a subsequent power punch. Hubbard is easily able to close the distance and take the fight down, where he plants a rapidly fatiguing Bush on his back and climbs into half guard. “Thud” releases some thumping elbows and left hands, and Bush is stuck without a way up. Hubbard does enough while Bush is down to not prompt any sort of comment from Peterson, landing sporadic shots and attempting to take superior position. Bush gets frustrated as he turns to his side, and he starts elbowing his opponent in the side of the head. This allows Bush a moment to power back to his feet, but the relative UFC vet drags him back down and climbs into mount like a hot knife through butter. He pounds on Bush for a time, and with 10 seconds left, Hubbard attacks a two-on-one wrist lock. Bush rolls to his stomach to survive to the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hubbard
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Hubbard
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Hubbard

Round 3

Hubbard is far the fresher fighter as we enter the final round, and he shows this with a high volume early with a varied smattering of kicks high and low, as well as some quick punches. Bush loads up on single power shots, and he gets Hubbard’s attention with a blistering overhand right. Both men engage in a torrid slugfest for the span of about 10 strikes, and Bush circles around to take Hubbard’s back and drag him down. Hubbard is not concerned as they slide to the canvas, as he twists around to take top control and land a few punches. Once more, Hubbard is comfortably able to secure full mount, and his left hands begin to rain down. “Thud” postures up and drops some thudding elbows on the chin, and Bush tries and fails to kick off the chain links. When Bush manages to reverse the position and get on top, Hubbard throws his legs up for a triangle. Bush sees it coming and breaks the leg grip, where he allows Hubbard to get to his knees as Bush tries to sweep him. Hubbard pushes him over and shucks off a potential guillotine choke attempt to step back into his foe’s half guard, and he delivers some ground-and-pound to an irritated Bush. The newcomer is pinned to the cage floor in this position, and Hubbard resists all the sweep and reversal attempts to keep him there. With seconds to go, Bush desperately bucks Hubbard off of him, only to give up his back and then full mount. Hubbard drills Bush repeatedly as the fight comes to a close, but he cannot get the finish he was seeking.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hubbard (29-28 Hubbard)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Hubbard (29-28 Hubbard)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Hubbard (29-28 Hubbard)

The Official Result

Austin Hubbard def. Dakota Bush via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Gerald Meerschaert (185.5) vs. Bartosz Fabinski (184.5)

Round 1

Up next at middleweight, submission specialist Meerschaert (31-14, 6-6 UFC) locks horns with “The Butcher” Fabinski (15-4, 3-2 UFC). Drawing the assignment is referee Herb Dean, and there is a sporting touch of gloves before the two throw down. Meerschaert attacks first, with a quick left hand. Fabinski comes right back at him swinging, and the two land a few shots before they clinch up. “GM3” pins Fabinski against the fence for a second before the Polish fighter turns him around, and the grind has already been embraced in less than a minute. The two jockey for position against the cage wall, and neither can do anything to gain dominant position or secure any sort of takedown. Fabinski steps back and lands a knee, and he changes levels to attack a takedown. Meerschaert sees it coming and jumps guard for a guillotine choke, where he rolls Fabinski over into full mount with the choke locked in. Meerschaert squeezes the grip as tight as he possibly can, and he torques the neck as well to put Fabinski out before he even realizes he should be tapping. Dean realizes that Fabinski is now switched off, and he leaps in to halt the contest. That’s now 24 submissions for the 32 career wins for Meerschaert, who snaps a losing streak by landing his third technical submission in the UFC.

The Official Result

Gerald Meerschaert def. Bartosz Fabinski R1 2:00 via Technical Submission (Guillotine Choke)

Jessica Penne (116) vs. Lupita Godinez (116)

Round 1

The first of two women’s matches tonight comes in the strawweight division, when former title challenger Penne (12-5, 1-3 UFC) makes her first appearance in almost four years when she faces “Loopy” Godinez (5-0, 0-0 UFC). Overseeing this 115-pound matchup is referee Chris Tognoni, who watches the two touch gloves before coming out swinging. Penne opens up with a few range-finding jabs, and none are anywhere near the target. Penne keeps sticking out jabs and a front kick or two, until Godinez charges in to land a few punches. A left hand catches Penne on the nose, and it might have already damaged it as Penne touches it a few times. Godinez jumps in and out to land strikes, and circles away when Penne lands a few strikes. Godinez grabs hold of the former Invicta champ to take the fight down, and Penne climbs on to her back only to get shoved into the wall. When the fight hits the ground, Penne threatens with an armbar off her back to force Godinez to react and climb back to her feet. Penne gains her range and lands a few straight punches, before closing in to knee Godinez in the face. Godinez pushes her down to the ground, and does not follow her up this time. Penne stands up, ands he tries to clinch up to deliver some high knees on the brow. The newcomer sees this coming and backs away, but eats a body kick on the way out. Penne lands a stiff right hand, and the clinch that follows is once more rebuffed by the younger fighter. Godinez bites down on her gumshield and cracks Penne on the chin with an overhand right, but Penne is not faced and goes back to the well with a body kick. Godinez catches the leg, lifts Penne up and tosses her down like a 115-pound sack of potatoes. Penne looks surprised, and Godinez again backs away to let Penne stand back up. Godinez scores a right hand, and when she tries to trip Penne down, Penne slips around and sneaks in to take Godinez’ back. Penne fishes for a standing rear-naked choke when “Loopy” muscles her way back to her feet, as Penne is riding her like a backpack. Penne elbows Penne in the thigh to break up the body lock, and every time Godinez tries to do this, Penne aims for a choke to make Godinez defend it. All the while, Penne lands strikes from around the side, and the elbows are not having the effect of breaking the grip. Godinez keeps Penne leaned up against the fence as to not expend energy holding up another person with her, and Penne trips her leg out from beneath her as the round expires.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Penne
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Penne
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Penne

Round 2

Penne begins the round with a few crisp punches to back Godinez against the fence. Godinez gathers herself and chops the led before pushing Penne into the fencing, and Penne sneakily acquires her back before trying to lock her legs around Godinez on the fence. Godinez pushes away to let Penne put her feet down, and they separate before coming to this position where they rode out most of the last round. Penne takes the backpack position, and bails on it while keeping partial back control standing up. Godinez goes back to elbowing the thigh with near 12-6 elbows, and she grabs the wrist to try to wrench Penne down with an unorthodox kimura. The former Invicta champ does not bite or go down, and instead climbs aboard to ride the back of a standing Godinez. Penne returns to her sporadic attempts of a choke, and as Godinez bucks and twists, Penne is forced to let go and have her back pressed into the fence. Godinez shoves her away and lands a left hand, and her nose is showing some damage now as well when Penne lands a response. Penne lands a few strikes on the way in, but Godinez is not willing to oblige her in a clinch situation. Instead, Godinez lands two solid punches, catches a Penne body kick and throws her down emphatically. “Loopy” does not want to play on the ground, and steps back to allow Penne back up so she can punch her again. She does just that, landing a few power punches including a stiff left hand that draws a reaction from Penne. Penne returns fire, and Godinez bullies her into the wall. The two hit the mat, but neither can officially get the takedown as they both land on their knees. When they wriggle around, they trip back down and Penne throws up her legs for an inverted triangle choke. They get back up, and press together in the clinch to ride out the round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Godinez
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Penne
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Penne

Round 3

The strawweight touch gloves to clock in the last round, and Penne reaches out with punches only to get countered with a left hand. Penne rushes in to clinch, and the newcomer turns her around and exerts her full body weight on her taller foe. Penne attempts and fails to trip Godinez down, and both are looking to muscle the other down all while Penne aims to sneak around the back like the last two rounds. The two separate, and a trio of punches score for Godinez to back Penne off. When she lands again, Penne charges in for a possible takedown attempt, only to get stood up and turned around. Penne pulls guard for a high triangle choke, and Godinez laughs it off by lifting Penne up higher and throwing her on her back. Godinez celebrates her work as she backs off, and she lands a few shots while Penne is trying to glom on to her. Penne looks to pull guard again, and once more, the younger Godinez casts her aside. Penne is able to spring back to her feet, where she engages in the clinch she is seeking even if she does not get the takedown she wants. Godinez eventually gains separation, but Penne does not let that happen for long as she advances simply to grab hold of her opponent. Penne pulls guard for a triangle setup as they are pressed against the cage, and instead of Godinez slamming her down and falling into submission danger, she lifts Penne up high and complains about her eye. Penne lets go of the body lock, and the grueling, closely contested match ends in the clinch.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Godinez (29-28 Godinez)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Godinez (29-28 Penne)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Godinez (29-28 Penne)

The Official Result

Jessica Penne def. Lupita Godinez via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Alexander Romanov (264) vs. Juan Espino (257)

Round 1

From the lightest division of strawweight to the largest now at heavyweight, we change gears completely for a “King Kong” vs. Godzilla matchup. The appropriately nicknamed “King Kong” Romanov (13-0, 2-0 UFC) will put his undefeated record on the line against “TUF 28” winner Espino (10-1, 2-0 UFC), and referee Mark Smith will have his hands full for as long as this lasts. Before the cage integrity is tested, the two offer a sporting touch of gloves to close out the prelims. Espino is circling out on the outside early, and reaches low to try to grab a leg kick but misses. The Moldovan throws a front kick that glances off the chin, and Espino reaches out with a jab but is well shy of his intended target. When Espino throws a right hand with all of his might, Romanov grabs him and throws him down to the canvas. “El Guapo” quickly gets to a knee without eating any additional strikes or otherwise coming under fire, and climbs back to his feet. Romanov lands a few knees up the middle as they remain clinched up, and Espino escapes and gains some distance. Romanov bears down on him with a left hand before clinching up again, and he returns to delivering knees to the breadbasket. Espino hits a trip on the inside to drop Romanov hard to the cage floor, where he is already in side control as the cage shudders. With his hands above his head, Romanov keeps two-on-one wrist control of Espino, but the Spaniard elects to instead take full mount without much resistance. “King Kong” holds tight to the head before simply muscling out and back up, although Espino is able to trip his legs out once more. Romanov powers back to standing, where he presses his man into the fence. Smith asks for them to do something, and Romanov backs off to spin. Espino sees it and lands a right hand that wobbles Romanov at the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Espino
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Espino
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Espino

Round 2

The big men touch hands to start off the second round, and Espino jabs his way forward but it is Romanov that tries to grab hold. Romanov swings and misses with wild power strikes, and Espino is well aware of the danger and retreats. Both men start brawling, and Romanov gets clipped and gets angry, where he starts throwing harder and hurts Espino. The Spaniard backs off, and he gets grabbed and pushed into the wire. Espino tries to pull guard for a guillotine choke, but there is nothing doing as Romanov instead just pushes him over and lords over him in full guard. Romanov lands some heavy strikes in the guard position, forcing Espino to think about throwing his legs up for a triangle and then bail on it after eating some more. “King Kong” starts dropping down some Kong-esque hammerfists, slamming his fists on Espino’s face and doing some serious damage. Smith alerts him that he needs to protect himself, so Espino locks Romanov down and then rolls to his knees. Romanov lets him get to this position so that he can land a few right hands, and he tries to lift up his Spanish adversary only to abandon it to knee the thigh repeatedly. Espino rolls through to attempt a single, and he gives his neck up and nearly falls into submission danger. Espino pushes through it to stand and press Romanov into the cage like a cheese grater. There is a stalemate against the fence until Romanov decides to break off and start throwing bombs, where Espino backs away and defends a subsequent takedown attempt with a fence grab. Romanov abandons a takedown attempt to back off, and he looks at his corner before realizing the fight is not yet over. The horn sounds soon after.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Romanov
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Romanov
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Romanov

Round 3

There is one final show of respect in the form of a glove touch, and Espino lumbers forward to loop a massive right hand. Romanov takes it partly on the chin before shooting in for a takedown, and Espino is able to reverse him and hit his own. “King Kong” explodes back up, but Espino still has his hands clasped behind his back as if to take the fight back down. Espino knees up the middle, and one ricochets off the cup to drop Romanov down to his knees and halt the action. Both men practically collapse to the ground partially out of exhaustion, as they take a much-needed respite. Romanov is in a bad, bad way, even if the commentary booth does not totally buy that it was such a damaging blow. This appears to be a fight-ending sequence, and should that indeed be the case, it would go to a technical decision where the final round is scored up to the stoppage. Smith waves the fight off, and we do go to the judges for an incredibly rare technical decision – there have been just a few throughout the UFC’s long history. It's anyone's guess how the lone minute of this round will be scored.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-10 (29-29)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Espino (29-28 Espino)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-10 (29-29)

The Official Result

Alexander Romanov def. Juan Espino R3 1:05 via Technical Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Luis Pena (155) vs. Alex Munoz (155.5)

Round 1

Our main card opener comes at lightweight, when “Violent Bob Ross” Pena (8-3, 4-3 UFC) tests his mettle against Munoz (6-1, 0-1 UFC). The third man inside the Octagon is referee Herb Dean, and there is no touch of gloves as the cage seals behind them. Pena jumps forward with a pair of punches, and Munoz is ready to counter but falls short. Pena sticks out a jab, and he bobs and waves as Munoz sits on a right hand. Munoz catches Pena coming in, but “Violent Bob Ross” pays it no mind as he lands several leg kicks. One kick results in Munoz partly checking it, where Munoz elects to take the fight down in the center of the cage. Pena rolls to his knees and stands back up, where Munoz squeezes him into the wire and hits a mat return. Pena powers his way standing again, and defends a double attempt and a single that follows to gain separation. Pena breaks off and throws a high kick, a left hand and another high kick. None of these land flush, but he does have Munoz fighting on his back foot as he circles around the edge of the cage. Both swing and miss with right hooks, and Pena steps in with a thudding left body kick. Munoz scores a one-two that makes Pena’s afro shake, and Munoz winds up with a leg kick that makes Pena lift his leg up. As soon as Pena puts his leg back down, Munoz hits it again. Pena shakes it off and reaches out with a left hand, and then a right. Munoz digs to the body with a straight right hand, and Pena leaps at him out of nowhere to knee Munoz on the chin. Munoz still keeps his bearing to grab the mid-air Pena even after eating the strike, and he bullies Pena into the cage. Pena is able to circle away, and Munoz scores a left while Pena is reaching out at him. Munoz lands a pair of punches, catches a body kick and throws Pena to the ground dramatically. Pena cracks Munoz with a fierce right hand, and then both grin at one another and back away. Pena misses with a front kick to the torso, and he absorbs a left hand right before the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Munoz
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Munoz
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Munoz

Round 2

Pena is quick to take the center of the cage to start off the round, and he connects with a few right hands before Munoz is able to return fire. Munoz chops down Pena’s lead leg again, and Pena keeps a good poker face as it digs deep below the knee. The end of a left hand stings Munoz, and Munoz retreats and takes a left hand to the body. Pena avoids a few responsive punches coming his way, lands a body kick and dances out of harm’s way when Munoz throws at him. When Munoz commits to a calf kick, Pena is ready with a left hand, but it still gets his leg. Pena’s head kick is too high, as Munoz ducks it and is out of danger. Pena knees Munoz, and Munoz cracks him with a few punches before shooting in for a takedown. Pena sprawls, tries to set up knees, and gets taken down in a subsequent effort. “Violent Bob Ross” looks to escape out the back door, and he climbs back up partially thanks to a fence grab. Dean admonishes him, and the two trade in the center of the Octagon. Both trade single strikes to the head and body, and a shovel uppercut pops Munoz on the chops as Munoz aims a leg kick. The two land jabs at the same times in rapid succession, and Pena follows one with a head kick that is barely blocked in time. Pena uses his range to jab out a few times, and Munoz catches a body kick but cannot capitalize on it as Pena is peppering him with short punches while his leg is in the air. Munoz sets it down and backs away to garner his distance, but Pena is following him and trying to close the range with a big elbow. When he misses, Munoz returns with a calf kick, and Pena wears it well. Pena lands a right hand and then a one-two, but Munoz is unconcerned as he chases after Pena. “Violent Bob Ross” slings a head kick that just skims the top of Munoz’ head, and the two trade punches until the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Pena
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Pena
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Pena

Round 3

Pena once more rushes out to engage and start the fight, and he sticks his jab in Munoz’ face early. Munoz ducks and rips the body with a right hand, and both bestow one another with heavy, chopping leg licks. Munoz gets off a one-two, and Pena starts kicking at him until Munoz nearly barrel rolls away. Munoz recovers his position and gets jabbed in the face, and he steels himself to start landing heavier punches. Pena drops his hands and bobs his head forward, and clacks Munoz on the jaw with a flying knee with little setup. Munoz motions that it hit his chest and he isn’t afraid, so Pena fires a one-two at him. Pena shucks and moves with his hands down, landing jabs and avoiding the counters while feeling his rhythm. Munoz hacks at him with a leg kick, and when Pena responds with a few punches, he jaws at Munoz too. He lands a few punches, and he blocks a kick to land a right hand that hurts Munoz. Munoz walks through a few punches, ignores a body kick and plants Pena on his back. “Violent Bob Ross” scrambles to get back up, and the two start trading leather. Pena reaches him with several crisp jabs, and when Munoz starts responding with the same strikes, Pena knees him in the chest. Munoz catches it and pushes Pena into the wall, but Pena grooves and dances out of the way. Pena start marking up Munoz with punches in bunches, and punctuates a stern combination with a knee on the chin. Munoz has a chin on him, but Pena is teeing off on him from distance. Munoz reaches and lands a trio of punches while Pena backs away, and Pena lands a one-two only to take one flush on the way back. Munoz absorbs a flush head kick without batting an eye, and he lands a bomb of a left hand while the two engage in one final flurry. The strikes are frequent and furious, and the fun fight ends with both men celebrating.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Pena (29-28 Pena)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Pena (29-28 Pena)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Pena (29-28 Pena)

The Official Result

Luis Pena def. Alex Munoz via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Tracy Cortez (126.5: Missed Weight) vs. Justine Kish (125.5)

Round 1

The lone catchweight contest of this evening and the second of two women’s bouts is officially at 126.5 pounds as Cortez (8-1, 2-0 UFC) missed weight before taking on Kish (7-3, 3-3 UFC). Our referee is Keith Peterson, and the nonsense level in the arena just dropped to dangerously low levels. There is no glove touch offered or exchanged, and Cortez takes the center of the cage to engage. It is Kish that lands the first offense, with a barrage of punches leading to a head kick and a follow-up takedown attempt. Cortez stuffs the try, and the two muscle one another around on the fencing. Both score short knees, and Kish aims for a trip only to get reversed and put on her back. Cortez postures up and stands up in high guard to blast Kish in the face with heavy hands. Kish arches her back to try to tie up Cortez or set up a submission off her back, but Cortez ignores it and slams her in the face with repeated fists and elbows. Kish aims for an armbar, and Cortez breaks it up with stern ground-and-pound. This same situation happens again, and Kish cannot get the leverage nor the angle to set up any serious submission. Instead, Kish hacks with elbows from her back, all while Cortez busts her in the face. When Cortez stands up to rain down shots, Kish nails her in the face with an upkick but Cortez darts back down to take top position. As Kish scrambles, she returns to her knees and gives up her back, and Cortez gets both hooks in. Kish defends with two-on-one wrist control all while trying to break the body lock that Cortez takes, and Cortez keeps the body triangle tightly secured. Cortez flirts with a choke attempt and gets punched, and the round ends in this position.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Cortez
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Cortez
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Cortez

Round 2

Cortez rushes out of her corner to begin the second frame, and both trade single jabs early. They commit to body kicks, and Kish sits down on a right hand to back her foe off. Kish aims another kick, and Cortez wades forward with a combination. Kish returns fire, and they close the distance but Cortez cannot grab her. Cortez sweeps with a kick, and blocks low to aim to take the fight down. Kish gives up her back in an exchange, and Cortez drags her down to set up the body triangle like she ended the previous stanza. Kish throws no-look punches, and she breaks the body lock to burst out of the position, on top, and then back up. Kish slashes at her with a standing elbow, and Cortez replies with a solid right hand. Two punches from Kick get off, Cortez does not let her off the hook, and they continue to trade one after the other. Both get off leg kicks, and they reach out with jabs. A low kick turns into a hook kick for Kish, and Cortez avoids the latter. Cortez marches forward with a one-two, and the head kick that comes after it gets blocked. Kish stings Cortez with a one-two, and she lands to the body with a punch and a few kicks. When Cortez aims her own kick to the body, Kish is there with an overhand right counter. Kish lands an inside calf kick when Cortez comes at her, and Kish avoids the strikes that flow towards her. Kish takes a leg kick and comes up short of her intended target. A pair of leg kicks from Kish conclude the round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Kish
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Kish
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Kish

Round 3

When Cortez starts the round aggressively, Kish is there to greet her with several punches and a leg kick. Cortez pursues a takedown, and Kish sees it coming and staves her off. A right hand connects to the jaw for Kish, and Cortez counters her effectively. Cortez leaves a kick out too long, which allows for Kish to nail her on the jaw with a right hand. Kish shrugs off a front kick to smack Cortez with a few right hands, and she follows them with two lefts. Cortez rushes in to clinch up and hit a body lock takedown, and on the second effort, she gets Kish down to her back. Cortez sits up to land strikes, and Kish pushes off and may have gotten away with a upkick with Cortez’ knees down. As Kish rolls to her knees, Cortez nails her with heavy ground-and-pound. Kish scrambles and gives up her neck, and as they stand up, Cortez grips on to a guillotine choke. Kish does not panic, and instead wriggles her neck free. Kish thanks her by landing a few punches, and they go body kick for body kick. Kish attempts a standing back fist, but she misses. When Cortez throws a body kick, Kish times a huge right hook that plants her square on her backside. Kish does not want to play on the ground, so she allows Cortez to get up. Cortez thanks her for this by landing a few punches when she gets her feet beneath her again. Kish eats an uppercut to score a right hand counter, and she catches a body kick but cannot make Cortez pay for it. Cortez shoots in to take the fight down, and Kish stuffs it, eats a knee up the middle and scores a few right hands. Kish paws out with punches, landing another right as Cortez throws a naked body kick. A few more from Kish end this very close fight.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Kish (29-28 Kish)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Kish (29-28 Kish)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Kish (29-28 Kish)

The Official Result

Tracy Cortez def. Justine Kish via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Abdul Razak Alhassan (185.5) vs. Jacob Malkoun (185.5)

Round 1

Up now, we try to snap the streak of four split decisions with what should be a middleweight banger, as Alhassan (10-3, 4-3 UFC) comes to blows with fellow slugger Malkoun (4-1, 0-1 UFC). Referee Chris Tognoni needs to keep his head on a swivel for this one, and there is a glove touch before fists start flying. Alhassan lets go with a head kick that gets dodged, and the Aussie quickly drops down low for a single leg takedown. He puts Alhassan on his back, and Alhassan kicks around to get to the fence and back to a knee. Malkoun considers a guillotine choke as he has Alhassan pressed against the cage, but Alhassan stands up anyway. “Judo Thunder” begins to unload with vicious elbows to the side of the head, and Malkoun is hurt but still able to pursue a takedown. Malkoun tries to take the fight back down when they separate, but this time, Alhassan stuffs it and starts to wing bombs. Malkoun keeps his composure and pursues a takedown, and he trips Alhassan’s leg out beneath him. The Texan climbs back up with assistance from a fence grab, and Malkoun trips him back down again. Once more, Alhassan angles to stand up, and there is a near-successful mat return for the Aussie. Malkoun is content to grind Alhassan up against the fence to fatigue the ferocious striker before tripping the leg out and putting Alhassan on his back. As Alhassan tries to climb up, Malkoun’s pressure is overwhelming and he plants Alhassan back down one more time. Alhassan gets his hips suck out from beneath him as soon as he is standing, and “Judo Thunder” looks irritated as he continues to get grounded. Alhassan finally gets back up and breaks the grip, where he lets loose a pair of slapping body kicks. The two trade jabs, and Tognoni warns them for outstretched fingers. Alhassan targets the body a few more times with his kick, and a head kick misses the mark before the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Malkoun
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Malkoun
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Malkoun

Round 2

The middleweights march to the center of the cage, greet one another with jabs, and it is Malkoun that makes Alhassan take a step back when he shoots in for a low single. He hits the takedown with ease, but he does not hold Alhassan there. When the Texan pops back up, Malkoun slams him back down in half guard. Alhassan defends with a guillotine choke, and as he tries to tighten it with his other hand, Malkoun slips his neck out. With no way for Alhassan to walk up the fence as they are square in the middle of the Octagon, Malkoun drops down a few punches. Alhassan circles his way around and tries to pop back up, and Malkoun pulls guard for a choke. Alhassan falls to his back as he survives the choke, and Malkoun repositions himself to return up on top. Once more, Malkoun rolls through for a guillotine choke attempt, and Alhassan defends it like before. Alhassan scrambles to his knees, and he falls into a potential anaconda choke. Alhassan breaks the grip and winds up giving up side control, and Malkoun lands a few shots before Alhassan scrambles once more. Malkoun drops down with the guillotine attempt to put Alhassan back down, and Alhassan is able to avoid the choke danger by grabbing his foe’s shorts and standing up. Malkoun does not give him a moment to breathe, pursuing a single leg takedown and then just pressing Alhassan into the cage. When they separate, Alhassan’s legs are wobbly possibly from fatigue, but he still wings power punches and huge head kicks. Malkoun stands him up with a pair of crisp punches, and he has Alhassan stuck against the fence before shooting in for a takedown. The Aussie cannot get the takedown before the horn blares.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Malkoun
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Malkoun
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Malkoun

Round 3

The middleweights decide to touch gloves to begin the final round, and Malkoun slaps the leg with a kick. Alhassan takes a few punches on the chin, and one right hand snaps his head back. Alhassan overextends himself with a left hand, which puts him right in position to have to defend a takedown. Alhassan shucks it off, and Malkoun backs away to pursue a different angle. The Aussie crashes forward with his takedown, and this time, it puts Alhassan flat on his back. Malkoun sits comfortable in half guard, where he works on the spent Alhassan with right hands and elbows. Alhassan looks to sit up, and he rolls to a knee into the guillotine choke where Malkoun has tried before. Alhassan lifts Malkoun in the air to get out of the choke, and Malkoun lets go and chases him with big punches. “Mamba” squeezes Alhassan into the cage wall, but he cannot keep him trapped for long. Malkoun gives Alhassan a few seconds to reset before charging in for a takedown attempt, lather, rinse, repeat, but he cannot quite trip the leg. Malkoun circles around to take the back standing, and Alhassan keeps his balance. Malkoun tries to break the posture with foot stomps and knees up high, and Alhassan pushes him away and slips back into the fence. Malkoun follows him there, where he slings Alhassan to the canvas with a single. Malkoun decides to let go with ground-and-pound now that Alhassan closes his guard around him, and Alhassan decides it would be in his best interest to throw back instead of escape this position. Alhassan scoots into the corner of the fence and the floor, where he uses the angle to stand back up. Malkoun takes him from behind and looks to elevate him and slam him down, but he circles around to drop low for a single. When it fails, Malkoun drops down for one last takedown, and Alhassan pushes him away and tries to decapitate his foe with a diving right hand in the last seconds. Unlike Dan Henderson on Michael Bisping, the booming shot misses the mark, and the grind of a fight is mercifully over.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Malkoun (30-26 Malkoun)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Malkoun (30-26 Malkoun)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Malkoun (30-26 Malkoun)

The Official Result

Jacob Malkoun def. Abdul Razak Alhassan via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Andrei Arlovski (250.5) vs. Chase Sherman (251)

Round 1

Heavyweights rule the cage for the final time tonight, as former UFC king Arlovski (30-20, 2 NC; 19-14, 1 NC UFC) faces off against ex-BKFC champion Sherman (15-6, 3-5 UFC). The Octagon will be graced by referee Keith Peterson’s presence, which is a blessing to keep the nonsense to a bare minimum. The heavyweights respect this approach and one another, touching gloves before going to battle. Sherman leads with a few jabs, but they are to gauge distance and not land. He follows one with a left hand and surprises Arlovski, but Arlovski comes right back at him with a strong right hand. Sherman chops at the lead leg with a kick, and Arlovski may have gotten poked in the eye as he comes in to throw. Arlovski blinks it off and swarms Sherman with a flurry, but the Mississippi native shrugs off most of the strikes. Arlovski rushes in to clinch, and Sherman pushes him away. Arlovski sticks Sherman at the end of a left hand after reaching to the body with a right. Sherman ignores the strikes and blocks a head kick so that he can bear down on Arlovski with big shots. Arlovski catches him on the way in, and Sherman counters him back with a left hook. Arlovski chops at the lead leg with a kick, and the two reset before Arlovski crashes in to clinch. Sherman pushes off and looks to throw looping shots, but Arlovski is wise to it and backs away in time. Arlovski partly checks a leg kick and stays defensive when Sherman backs him into the fence, and the former champ blocks the oncoming strikes. As Arlovski circles away and pursues him, Sherman is able to preemptively counter him with a check left hook. Sherman chops at the leg with a kick, and he cannot keep Arlovski back against the wall. Arlovski is able to jab his way out of danger, and he sticks Sherman with a stiff left hand. Arlovski’s toes glance off the chin when he flips a kick up high, and Sherman laughs it off and is ready to brawl. Sherman starts lobbing huge shots, and he hurts Arlovski and bullies Arlovski against the cage. Arlovski complains that he ate a low blow, and it is not called, so he rushes in to attack. Sherman gets tagged but he is ready to throw back in kind. Arlovski gets off a right hand, and a head kick is blocked at the tail end of the round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Sherman
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Sherman
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Sherman

Round 2

The heavyweights show a sign of respect again with a glove touch, and Arlovski winds up and clocks Sherman with a right hand. “The Vanilla Gorilla” wears it well and crashes forward, but Arlovski is there to keep him at bay with a stiff left hand. Sherman’s right eye is showing some damage with strikes, and the two trade combinations one after the other. Arlovski digs a right hand to the body and a left over the top, and Sherman greets him with a few stern leg kicks. “The Pit Bull” hops forward with a left hand, and he finds his way into a brief clinch until he eats a few body shots. Sherman plants his shin on Arlovski’s midsection, and Arlovski is there to put his hands in Sherman’s face right after. A long jab finds its home on Sherman’s face, and he lands a few more and a leg kick as well while Sherman advances. Arlovski pushes him away with a front kick, effectively using his range while Sherman plods towards him. Arlovski walks through a leg kick to jab, and three punches come from the former champ shortly thereafter. Arlovski doubles up on the jab, and a right hand is a follow-up strike that similarly connects. Arlovski does a little damage with a leg kick, as Sherman steps gingerly on it. Arlovski uses this moment to clinch up and grab a body lock, where he uses it to push his younger foe into the cage wall. Arlovski sneaks in a few short knees and an elbow on the break, as Sherman looks to the clock. Arlovski times this look with a body shot, and a front kick of his splits the guard to surprise Sherman. Sherman charges in a barrage, but Arlovski catches him on the way in with a calf kick to make Sherman stumble. Arlovski targets it a few more times, and a near superman punch dislodges Sherman’s mouthpiece. Arlovski dances on the outside with distance strikes until the round concludes.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Arlovski
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Arlovski
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Arlovski

Round 3

The final glove touch checks in the last round, and Arlovski is on his bike jabbing and planting his foot on Sherman’s chest. Sherman’s leg is clearly bothering him, and Arlovski notices and kicks it. When “The Vanilla Gorilla” comes at him, Arlovski dances away and tattoos Sherman with a stream of punches. Sherman’s counters are more labored, and Arlovski’s volume is starting to wear on Sherman. The jab of Arlovski sets up a few strikes, and Sherman unloads with an overhand right to put a stop to it. As he does this, he lifts his knee up and clanks off Arlovski’s cup. The Belarusian yelps out in pain and Peterson notices the foul, where he gives Arlovski ample time to recover. Less than 45 seconds is all Arlovski needs to recover, and they come back and start trading. Arlovski lands leg kicks and punches, and Sherman loads up on shots and may have cracked Arlovski’s badly busted nose. The former champ tweaks it, and Sherman loads up on a leg kick. The two start brawling, and Sherman motions for Arlovski to throw down more. Arlovski obliges him, and then backs away to start chopping at the leg more. Sherman drops his hands, and Arlovski thanks him for doing this with four crisp punches. A leg kick from Arlovski wobbles Sherman’s compromised lead leg, and Arlovski does not let this last as a single strike as he works the body. Sherman marches him down but gets tagged on the way in. Arlovski ducks down with an overhand right, and he hops away when Sherman tries to make him pay for it. Arlovski doubles up on a left jab, and he follows suit with a big left hand. Arlovski checks a leg kick, and he hops on his bike to dig to the body and head. A calf kick from the former champ makes Sherman pick his leg up, and he winds up with a right hand to tag Sherman on the jaw. “The Pit Bull” is keeping Sherman guessing, and he chips at him with calf kicks. Sherman points to the center of the cage to have one final brawl, and Arlovski does not decide to risk it and instead backpedals with a jab. There is no Max Holloway vs. Ricardo Lamas final throwdown, as Arlovski would rather coast to what he believes is a victory without risking a sudden knockout.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Arlovski (29-28 Arlovski)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Arlovski (29-28 Arlovski)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Arlovski (29-28 Arlovski)

The Official Result

Andrei Arlovski def. Chase Sherman via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Jeremy Stephens (156) vs. Drakkar Klose (156)

Round 1

The bout was canceled on Saturday evening after Klose suffered an injury, with the news first coming from the UFC on ESPN 22 broadcast.

Robert Whittaker (185.5) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (185)

Round 1

In a fight years in the making, Whittaker (22-5, 13-3 UFC) will finally meet fellow “TUF 28” coach Gastelum (16-6, 1 NC; 11-6 UFC) in the middleweight division. This intriguing matchup and potential title eliminator will draw oversight from referee Herb Dean, and there is nothing more to be said about these two men. The fighters show clear respect for one another with a glove touch. Whittaker hops forward and away with a few kicks to the knee, but Gastelum is out of range for them. When Whittaker lands a right hand, Gastelum winds up with a big kick that makes Whittaker do a pirouette. Whittaker lands a few short shots as Gastelum bears down on him, and Gastelum sets up the heavy leg kicks. Whittaker lands a few strikes backing away while Gastelum is advancing towards him, and the start slinging heavy shots. Gastelum gets off a left and a right, and a one-two followed by a head kick from the former champ put Gastelum on baby deer legs. Whittaker does not pounce on this, and instead lands a few shots while finding his angle. Whittaker prances forward, gives him another head kick to think about, and then steps out of the way. Gastelum gathers himself and checks Whittaker’s chin with a right hand. Of the two, it is Whittaker who decides to take the fight down, where he puts Gastelum in his back in half guard, where he rains down shots from above. Gastelum is flat on his back as “Bobby Knuckles” keeps him pinned down, thwarting Gastelum’s attempt to sit up. Whittaker’s shoulder pressure keeps Gastelum stuck, as he flirts with an arm-triangle choke before slashing down with a few elbows. Whittaker postures up every so often to elbow his foe in the face, staying busy enough to not merit any referee intervention. Gastelum scoots his way near the fence, to his knees, and back up as Whittaker blasts him in the face with a right hand. Gastelum comes up short with a spinning shot, and Whittaker plants his foot on his opponent’s chest to end the round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker

Round 2

Gastelum comes out of his corner energized, and Whittaker greets him with a leg kick and a string of punches to get Gastelum’s attention. Whittaker sees a takedown coming and stuffs it without issue, while also watching an overhand left zoom past his face when he sets his foot down. Gastelum misses with a huge hook, and Whittaker jabs at him with a fist and a foot. A left jab stops Gastelum in his tracks for a moment, and the front kick for Whittaker similarly keeps his man at bay. Gastelum loads up on a left hand, but Whittaker blocks it and chips at his lead leg. Whittaker chains a right hand into a body lock trip, and Gastelum does not fight it off as he instead rolls right to his knees and back up. Whittaker backs away and jabs at him, and as Gastelum tries to walk through it, Whittaker is there with a left hook. A one-two combination with the head kick follows suit, and Gastelum is able to block the kick this time. When he does, Whittaker beans him with a left hand. Gastelum is not fazed, as he loads on a right hook that clubs his adversary. Gastelum snatches down for an ankle pick, and Whittaker lifts his leg up and evades the setup shot. Gastelum takes several jabs that bloody his face up, and he is almost exclusively throwing power shots. He fires off a leg kick, and Whittaker checks it and makes him pay with his own kick. Two big punches catch Gastelum careening towards him, and Whittaker snaps up a fast head kick. Gastelum blocks it and has to defend against another shortly thereafter, but he pays them little mind as he is ready to throw hands. Whittaker notices he is trying to push the pace to possibly take him down, and he shoves him back. Gastelum redoubles his effort and clinches up to grind Whittaker against the fencing, and Whittaker breaks free and kicks Gastelum in the side. Like before, Whittaker checks a kick and gives one back to his foe to end the round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker

Round 3

The middleweights touch gloves to start off the third, and Whittaker is fast and loose on the outside. Whittaker chases him down and fires off a left hook. A few punches land, including a big left hand, but an inside leg kick comes up high and bounces off Whittaker’s cup. The former champ does not need more than a few seconds to shake it off, and he thanks Gastelum by booting him in the head. Gastelum escapes, throws his own head kick, and chases Whittaker down to plant his fists in his face. Whittaker backpedals after taking a few on the chin, and Gastelum chases after him to do some damage but finds himself hitting air. Whittaker mixes up his striking game with jabs, hooks, head kick and even stomp kicks to the knee, and Gastelum is stuck guessing and charging wildly. The blitz from Gastelum leads to him coming up short again, and Whittaker can jab at him all along the way. One such jab snaps the head back, while simultaneously disrupting the movement and allowing him to dodge a huge left hook. Whittaker digs to the body with a heavy kick, and he does not get out in time to avoid a few punches. Whittaker nearly kicks Gastelum’s leg out from beneath him when Gastelum is advancing, but Gastelum regains his footing and continues to throw. Whittaker lands a few punches and a body kick, and is out of danger before anything reaches him. The jab breaks up Gastelum’s rhythm again and again, and the American is content to throw fastballs while Whittaker is comfortable touching him up. A solid one-two leads to a body kick, and a subsequent leg kick makes Gastelum take a funny step back. Whittaker rips the body with another kick, and he catches a responsive kick from Gastelum to land a right hand and put Gastelum on his back. The former champ lets him up without issue, so that he can continue to strike and mark up Gastelum. The round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker

Round 4

The glove touch in the fourth frame is offered and accepted, and Gastelum subsequently shoots in for a single only to get caught with an uppercut. Whittaker lands a body kick, and an elbow and an uppercut makes Gastelum do a quick count of his teeth. Whittaker stuffs another single leg attempt without much effort, and he hacks at Gastelum’s inner thigh with a brutal shot. Whittaker leaps in the air with a knee, and it bounces off his adversary’s chest. Gastelum does not take so much as a back step, and leads into right hands and overhand lefts that largely come up shy of the mark. Whittaker pounds on the lead leg, forcing Gastelum into a strange crouching stance for a moment as if Gastelum were assessing the damage. Gastelum stands back up only to have another shin clatter off his lead leg. Three crisp punches from Whittaker snap Gastelum’s head back like a pez dispenser, and Gastelum’s ear has begun to bleed. Whittaker slings up a few high kicks, and they are blocked but still have impact when they are defended. Whittaker marks up his foe with left jabs, and the high kick is soon to follow. Gastelum wades forward, ducking down into the melee, and he clips Whittaker at the end of a left hand. Whittaker’s nose is busted open from the strike, but he pays it no mind as his rhythm is hardly disrupted. The favored one-two head kick combination of Whittaker finds its home in part, and as soon as Gastelum blocks the head kick, Whittaker soars an unblocked leg kick at him. Gastelum shoots in deep for a double, and Whittaker squirms away as soon as his backside hits the canvas. “Bobby Knuckles” slips the punches to land strikes of his own, and he is able to dodge and counter effectively. Whittaker pounds the lead leg and nails Gastelum with an uppercut, and Gastelum can only follow him around until the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker

Round 5

There is one last glove touch to open the last round of the night, and Whittaker kicks him the head and leg. Gastelum charges in with a swarm of looping power punches. Whittaker rolls with them to return fire with a one-two. A double jab from Whittaker breaks up Gastelum’s advancement, and he shoots in for a double only to get reversed and pushed into the fence. The two break apart, and Whittaker keeps range while he jabs. The effective one-two into a high kick lands with the punches, and the kick is blocked. The next strike from Whittaker is a leg kick on the outside, and the former champ is hopping around on the edge of the cage. Gastelum tries to sit down on counters while Whittaker jabs at him, leading to Whittaker throwing a few power shots. Three punches from Gastelum make Whittaker bounce off the fence, and Whittaker nearly has a Lyoto Machida-Randy Couture or Anderson Silva-Vitor Belfort moment when a front kick blasts Gastelum square on the chin. Gastelum eats it like a sandwich and plods forward. The overly aggressive nature of Gastelum in this final round, with the fighter likely searching for a finish, is his undoing. Whittaker drops down to shoot in for a takedown, and he catches Gastelum with his pants down and puts Gastelum hard on his back. In half guard, Whittaker quickly drops down with his shoulder pressure to squeeze with an arm-triangle choke. Whittaker may be using this position to take mount, and Gastelum explodes out of this position at this moment. Whittaker circles around to take his back, and the two wildly scramble. When Gastelum tries to somersault to freedom, Whittaker keeps a hook in on the back and he retains back control. With seconds to go, Whittaker slides into his foe’s guard and lands a few shots. This was largely one-way traffic for the former champion, who impresses as he likely bests his friendly foe over five fun rounds of combat. With that, the surprisingly long 10-fight card is now in the books, and the MMA community has to take a deep breath because next week’s UFC card is a big one. We will be there, and we hope you join us along the way!

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker (50-45 Whittaker)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker (50-45 Whittaker)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Whittaker (50-45 Whittaker)

The Official Result

Robert Whittaker def. Kelvin Gastelum via Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
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