UFC on ESPN 26 ‘Makhachev vs. Moises’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

By: Jay Pettry
Jul 17, 2021
Sherdog's live UFC on ESPN 26 coverage will begin Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.

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Alan Baudot (246) vs. Rodrigo Nascimento Ferreira (259)

Round 1

Just seven days after what may end up being the largest card of the year, the UFC returns to ESPN airwaves with a lighter offering that now brings just 10 fights to the table after a late COVID scratch. We kick this evening of combat off with a heavyweight clash as the knockout-inclined Baudot (8-2, 0-1 UFC) tries to keep a firm grip on his picnic basket against “Yogi Bear” Nascimento (8-1, 1-1 UFC). The classic stylistic matchup of striker vs. grappler draws oversight from referee Chris Tognoni, and the two big men that clock in at a combined 505 pounds touch gloves. When Baudot sticks out a jab, the Brazilian goes low with a kick. Baudot keeps him honest with his own leg kick, and he gives Nascimento pause with a left hand. The big men chip away at one another’s legs with kicks, but it is “Yogi Bear” that is marching his man down to set something up. Baudot finds his range and stings his man with a few overhand rights, but Nascimento does not flinch. Two big punches crash right off Nascimento’s chin, leading to Nascimento clinching up and fishing for a trip of some sort. The heavyweights lean against the fence as Nascimento turns him around and aims for a single leg takedown, but the Frenchman keeps his balance as he hops around. Nascimento embraces the grind against the fencing, pushing his full body weight on his opponent without landing a single blow, instead aiming for an outside trip. Baudot peppers him with sporadic short uppercuts as he keeps on his feet, until Nascimento sells out for a double leg takedown. As he tries to take the fight down, he instead falls to his back and pulls Baudot into full mount, where the Frenchman smashes him in the face with a few ferocious punches. Nascimento may have gone out for a second but he comes back online, pushes Baudot off and manages to scramble back to his feet. The Brazilian pursues a double again, and Baudot slams his elbow into the side of Nascimento’s head until Nascimento is forced to abandon it. They separate, and Baudot clips Nascimento with several looping shots. Nascimento tries to pay him back with a few uppercuts, and he walks through a kick to the cup before Baudot crashes forward to clinch until the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The doctors check on Nascimento’s condition between rounds for an undetermined reason, but the Brazilian is cleared to continue. Baudot thanks Tognoni and the doctors for allowing the fight to go on by nailing Nascimento with a big right hand. As Nascimento looks to chop down his inside leg when Baudot advances, his foot careens square into the Frenchman’s cup, causing a halt to the action for 40 seconds. They touch gloves to get back to it, and Baudot ducks down with a pair of looping punches that bounce off Nascimento’s shoulders. Baudot’s punches land to a degree as Nascimento plods forward, but the Brazilian walks through them and starts putting left jabs on his opponent. Baudot’s face gets busted up from punches, and Nascimento suddenly turns the tide and is damaging Baudot with every heavy punch. Baudot ricochets off the cage wall as Nascimento drills him with long combinations, teeing off on Baudot until Baudot turtles up leaning down against the fence. The punches from “Yogi Bear” continue to mount until Tognoni is forced to step in, and in the process, Nascimento notches his ninth career finish in nine wins with the standing TKO.

The Official Result

Rodrigo Nascimento def. Alan Baudot R2 1:29 via TKO (Punches)

Francisco Figueiredo (125.5) vs. Malcolm Gordon (125.5)

Round 1

From the heaviest men’s division in the last fight to the lightest for this matchup we go, as Figueiredo (12-3-1, 1 NC; 1-0 UFC) and Gordon (12-5, 0-2 UFC) collide at the flyweight division. The third man inside the Octagon is referee Mike Beltran, and there is a sporting touch of gloves to start things out. Gordon charges ahead as soon as their hands meet with a takedown attempt, and he presses Figueiredo against the fencing as the Brazilian keeps his balance and turns him about. “Sniper” gets sniped with a right hand, and he catches Gordon on the way in with a right hand to make the Canadian stumble. Gordon sprints after his foe when he gets his bearings to try to take the fight down again, and he manages to put Figueiredo on his back but is reversed practically immediately. Figueiredo climbs into half guard as he cannot quite secure mount, and is intent on advancing position before doing any damage. Figueiredo sneaks into three-quarter mount momentarily before being dragged back to half guard, and he keeps heavy shoulder pressure but still is not letting loose with any strikes. Gordon tries to kick off but his neck slides into guillotine choke danger, so he sits back down to get away from it. In the ensuing scramble, Gordon recovers guard and gets elbowed in the face a few times in the process. Gordon aims for an armbar setup as he throws his legs up, and Figueiredo pounces to break through and pass his guard. Figueiredo winds up with a huge elbow that clatters off the Canadian’s face, and Gordon looks flustered as he is stuck on his back taking hellacious single strikes. Gordon scrambles, but he falls into a leglock. The Brazilian locks up a heel hook, and Gordon manages to break the grip with some punches. A surprised Figueiredo winds up on his back as Gordon attacks with ground-and-pound, working him over with hammerfists and elbows until the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The fast-starting Gordon comes out of his corner like his hair is on fire, chasing Figueiredo down and grabbing hold of him to pursue a takedown. Figueiredo defends on one leg in the middle of the cage by hopping around before getting his footing again, and he evades the strikes that follow. Gordon scores a few punches in a long combination, but Figueiredo is elusive and moves his head as he aims a big counter. Gordon does not let this counter land, ducking down into a takedown attempt and scooping up Figueiredo’s right leg. The Brazilian sees the attempt coming and breaks up the grip to free himself and gain separation. Gordon slips in a left hand, and Figueiredo dances around on the outside with his hands down. “Sniper” tries to snipe Gordon with a front kick up the middle, and Gordon races after him throwing looping, wild punches. Gordon has another takedown stuffed, but he uses an exchange to pop Figueiredo a couple times. Figueiredo is not making Gordon pay for any of these reckless advances, instead dodging and weaving, playing matador to the Canadian bull. Figueiredo sticks out a sharp jab to catch Gordon coming in, and “Malcolm X” changes levels for a takedown that comes up short. He does manage to ding Figueiredo with a straight right hand, and Figueiredo lets him throw at the air as he ducks and dodges. Gordon telegraphs his distant shots, allowing Figueiredo to tag him with left hands that hurts Gordon. Figueiredo steps in to score an elbow, and a knee to the body makes Gordon double over for a moment. Keeping a stiff upper lip, Gordon defends against the fence as Figueiredo starts to put it on him, with quick combinations where he aims his shots carefully. Gordon gathers his thoughts, rushes in with a body lock, and hits a takedown to put the Brazilian on his back. Figueiredo looks for a sweep, but Gordon does not let him off the hook until the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

Beltran is forced to wipe Figueiredo down at the end of the second round, to ensure he is not overly slippery to start the final frame. Gordon pushes forward, and Figueiredo aims a counter flying strike that misses the mark. As Gordon is still advancing, he knocks Figueiredo’s mid-air body down to the ground, where he climbs into top position. Figueiredo pushes Gordon off of him and nearly hits a sweep, but Gordon manages to thwart it and put Figueiredo back down again. As Gordon’s control time starts to rack up, Figueiredo again tries to explode out, and Gordon stops it before Figueiredo can achieve it. Beltran asks for Gordon to keep working, as he is not doing much other than holding Figueiredo down. Figueiredo scoots himself to the fence, and he rolls to his knees where he gets punched in the side of the head by Gordon. Figueiredo suddenly bursts up to his feet, where he is in partial back control and threatens with a one-armed rear-naked choke. Gordon protects himself with two-on-one wrist control until the attempt is abandoned, and he sells out for a low takedown that forces Figueiredo to hop from one side of the cage to the other. As the two are clinched up, Figueiredo trips his foe’s legs out beneath him and puts Gordon flat on his back. Figueiredo steps over to three-quarter mount with ease, and he lands a few punches before threatening with a mounted triangle into an armbar. Gordon slides out of both of the attempts to power his way back to his feet, and Figueiredo chases him down to drag him back to his knees. A series of short, light hammerfists from Figueiredo on top end the close fight, and the scorecards could be all over the map here.

Sherdog Scores

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

The Official Result

Malcolm Gordon def. Francisco Figueiredo via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Anderson dos Santos (135.5) vs. Miles Johns (135.5)

Round 1

The fight was canceled on Saturday afternoon after Dos Santos contracted COVID-19. The news was first announced by Johns on his Instagram.

Sergey Morozov (135) vs. Khalid Taha (135.5)

Round 1

Moving right along to the bantamweight division, two speedsters come to blows when the finish-minded Taha (13-3, 1 NC; 1-2, 1 NC UFC) battles Kazakhstan’s Morozov (16-5, 0-1 UFC) with a chance to right their UFC records to .500. Drawing the assignment is referee Herb Dean, and this classic matchup of Germany vs. Kazakhstan begins with a respectful glove touch. Taha paws out a few jabs and a round kick, but Morozov is well out of the way of the advancing German. Taha throws caution to the wind with a glancing right hook, and a leg kick nearly makes Morozov spin around. Taha bites down on his gumshield and throws a right hand, only to get countered by the Kazakh fighter. Both men bite on one another’s feints, and Taha marches forward to land a right hand on the side of Morozov’s dome. Taha whiffs on a low kick as he tries to reach his foe, and the bantamweights are keeping a healthy range from one another until one blitzes. Morozov is the first man to strike after a cautious period, crashing in, changing levels and taking Taka down. Morozov spins around, plants Taha on his back on the way down, and he comfortable sits in half guard. Morozov considers an arm-triangle choke as he keeps his full body weight pressed on his opponent, but above all he keeps Taha trapped on the canvas. Morozov looks to pass guard, threatening with a brief kimura so that he can keep Taha guessing. Taha looks to sit up, and Morozov smacks him a few times with a left hand before threatening with a guillotine choke. Taha lowers himself back down to the ground to get out of that position, and he allows Morozov to stand up so that he can throw up a leglock. He nearly sweeps Morozov from beneath him, but the Kazakh blasts him in the face with several loud punches that make Taha turn over. Taha turns to grab a heel hook from the other side, and he uses an upkick to irritate Morozov before the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The bantamweights touch gloves to clock in the second frame, and Taha leads the dance with an advancing flurry that hits nothing but air. Morozov sees the strikes coming, and he rolls with them and evades the brunt of a second effort as Taha is throwing with bad intentions. Taha fires off a high kick and a few leg kicks, and one down low gives Morozov pause for a moment. Morozov sits down on a huge left hand that staggers Taha, and he strides forward to plant an uppercut on the German’s chin. Taha is rocked but keeping a solid poker face, and he steels himself to throw hands with the Kazakh fighter, nailing him with shots. Morozov shakes out the cobwebs and absorbs a few leg kicks from a distance as Taha looks to find his way in. As Taha gets a little reckless, Morozov times a right hand and chains it into a takedown attempt. Lifting Taha off his feet, Morozov drops Taha to his knees against the corner of the cage and the floor. Morozov gets off a solid knee that makes his corner simultaneous erupt into cheers, and he puts Taha back down for a second before Taha springs back to his feet. A few seconds walking up the cage are wasted when Morozov hits a mat return by tripping his man on the outside. Morozov’s pressure is forcing Taha into a defensive mode, intent only on getting back to his feet while Morozov knees him several more times. Morozov embraces the grind up against the wire, with effective short knees until he trips Taha down. Taha gets to his feet, but in the process, Morozov hops on to take his back. Taha tries to buck him off, but Morozov is able to keep the position until Taha lowers himself to the ground. Morozov begins to work him with short punches to make Taha defend his head, and the round ends in this position.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

There is a final glove touch to check in the last round, and Taha is ready to throw hammers. He staggers Morozov for a moment, and Taha gets clipped with a counter that surprises him right back. Taha slings a head kick that is easily blocked, and the Kazakh fighter pins a three-punch combination on the chin while Taha loads up on a front kick. Taha has several hands bounce off his foe’s guard, and Morozov hops away when Taha swings with a big leg kick. Taha throws a high kick so hard that he falls over, and Morozov realizes that he should take the fight down. As soon as Taha hops back up, Morozov is on him, dragging him to his knees and to the ground. Taha turns into him so that he can walk with his back against the wall, and he successful does so momentarily until a mat return follows swiftly. Morozov lets him get back up so that he can take him back down again, and Taha is playing a yo-yo game of being dragged down and blasting back up. All the while, Morozov is kneeing Taha again and again – the strikes may not be damaging, but they are adding up and irritating Taha. A few knees lead to a trip that slams Taha down, but the German is not beaten as he gets right back up. Morozov breaks free, gathers himself, ducks a pair of punches and hits a low takedown. Taha sighs and powers back standing again, but Morozov is on him like a bad penny. Morozov backs off to drill Taha with a right hand, and Taha takes the moment to circle away and gain some space. Taha swings with everything he has, throwing flying knees and looping punches, and Morozov is crisper and catches Taha coming in. Morozov ducks and leans back, allowing Taha to slam his shin into his thigh. Taha chases Morozov down all the way to the final bell, and shrugs off a spinning back elbow so that he can try to mount punches. The round ends as Morozov evades blows.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Morozov (30-27 Morozov)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Morozov (30-27 Morozov)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Morozov (30-27 Morozov)

The Official Result

Sergey Morozov def. Khalid Taha via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Amanda Lemos (115.5) vs. Montserrat Ruiz (113.5)

Round 1

Up next at strawweight, the 500th women’s bout in UFC history takes place as heavy favorite Lemos (9-1-1, 3-1 UFC) will look to spoil “Conejo” Ruiz’ (10-1, 1-0 UFC) sophomore Octagon appearance. Referee Chris Tognoni will supervise the proceedings, and the two women do not touch gloves before getting after it. Lemos walks Ruiz down and blasts her to the body with a kick, and then swats away Ruiz when Ruiz charges at her. Lemos lands a few punches to tag Ruiz on the way in, and a crisp right hand shakes Ruiz up. A looping left and a crushing right from the Brazilian knock Ruiz off of her feet before she tumbles to the ground. Lemos dives down to smash her fallen foe with a deadly right hand out of the Dan Henderson playbook, and Tognoni leaps in to intervene while “Conejo” rolls across the cage. The Mexican fighter jumps back up and puts her hands up to signal that she is ready to continue, but the fight is over. Tognoni holds on to Lemos so that she does not land strikes after he called it, as others go to tend to Ruiz. There is confusion in the cage, as Ruiz looks like she wants to keep fighting, but she may need some help standing up as she could be still hurt. Some may look back and question the stoppage itself, but Lemos’ power is undeniable as she scorched her opponent – handing Ruiz her first stoppage loss in the process – in just over 30 seconds. Lemos, with aid of the fired up Wallid Ismail, says that she will be the champion and wants to fight again on Fight Island in October.

The Official Result

Amanda Lemos def. Montserrat Ruiz R1 0:35 via TKO (Punches)

Preston Parsons (169.5) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (171)

Round 1

Capping off the preliminary card is a welterweight tilt as the hard-hitting Rodriguez (14-2, 4-1 UFC) welcomes short-notice replacement and submission artist Parsons (9-2, 0-0 UFC) to the promotion. The betting line that this fight does not go to decision is high (-250), and referee Mike Beltran and his mustache will need to be on their game as soon as it begins. The fighters do not touch gloves, and Rodriguez instead walks forward to throw hands. Parsons backs him off with a head kick, and he crashes in to pursue a single leg take down early. “D-Rod is not concerned, as he spins around, drops to a knee and breaks away. Parsons touches him with a left hand, and Rodriguez eats it and backs off. Parsons lands another, and Rodriguez gathers himself and starts to get off a few thudding leg kicks. Rodriguez rips the body with a kick and sprawls when Parsons tries to take him down. The California native walks Parsons down to kick him in the lead, and the shin lands with an audible pop. Parsons walks through it to ring home a straight right hand, and he throws kicks from each leg before Rodriguez ties him up. The welterweights trade single punches, and Rodriguez goes to the calf with a kick. Parsons whiffs on a trio of jabs, and he eats a left hand as he tries to find that range. Rodriguez’ leg kicks start adding up, so Parsons looks to give a few back and has two checked. A stinging one-two rings home from Rodriguez, and Parsons stands before him and fire back hard. Parsons gets off a big right hand, and a responsive right hand cracks Persons in the eye and makes Parsons bend over in pain. He backs off, blinking his eye from the punch, and Rodriguez pours it on with heavy punches. Rodriguez shrugs off a takedown, gets off a few heavy punches, and hurts the newcomer again. Parsons bites down on his gumshield and throws heavy leather, but Rodriguez ignores the oncoming fire and continues to tee off on an increasingly damaged Parsons. The legs give way beneath Parsons as the damage keeps mounting, with a pair of left hands sending Parsons down to the ground. “Pressure” cannot quite handle the pressure of the blows, as Rodriguez lays on one final barrage of punches until Beltran has seen enough. The victory puts “D-Rod” on a two-fight win streak, and he earns his eighth career knockout by pounding out a game Parsons.

The Official Result

Daniel Rodriguez def. Preston Parsons R1 3:47 via TKO (Punches)

Gabriel Benitez (146) vs. Billy Quarantillo (145.5)

Round 1

The main card, which remains on ESPN, commences with a featherweight scrap between action fighters as Benitez (22-8, 6-4 UFC) tangles with Quarantillo (15-3, 3-1 UFC). Referee Mark Smith is ready, keeping a watchful eye on the proceedings as the two 145ers touch gloves. Quarantillo swats out a long front kick, and “Moggly” strides forward to deliver a nasty leg kick immediately. The sound is not a slap as much as it is a thud, and Quarantillo wears them well and leans into a huge right hand that shakes Benitez up. Both men trade furious leather, and a massive right hook sends Benitez crashing to the canvas in big trouble. Benitez defends himself with an armbar attempt as Quarantillo pounds on him, and Quarantillo lifts Benitez in the air and slams him down hard to break the grip. Quarantillo sits up and blasts Benitez with vicious ground-and-pound, opening up a cut and forcing Benitez to turn around and give up his back. Quarantillo locks up a body triangle and hunts for a rear-naked choke quickly, but Benitez keeps two-on-one wrist control to keep himself safe. Quarantillo smacks him upside the head repeatedly to break the grip, and Benitez continues to bleed as he twists and turns in the body lock. Quarantillo softens Benitez up with more punches, and the Mexican fighter decides he will start throwing back with punches behind his own head. Quarantillo lumps up Benitez on the damaged eye with several punches, opening the cut even more and forcing Benitez to protect his face. Quarantillo snatches on to a rear-naked choke when Benitez is flustered from taking punches, but Benitez has the wherewithal to defend himself. Quarantillo ignores no-look punches from Benitez and smashes him with a few elbows, forcing Benitez to explode and break the body lock to stand up. Both featherweights bang it out, each landing on the chin of the other, until Quarantillo changes levels for a takedown. Benitez defends with a guillotine choke, and he falls into a heel hook from Quarantillo. The American lets go and ends up in a precarious position when Benitez pursues a leg lock. Quarantillo pushes free, and he presses Benitez over to deliver punches from above until the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

Benitez is quick to start up leg kicks, but Quarantillo is there to blast him in the face with punches and a subsequent flying knee. When Quarantillo lands, he changes things up to hit a takedown, and Benitez scrambles only to give up back control again. Quarantillo quickly cinches up a body triangle, and he snakes his right arm beneath Benitez’ neck to fish for a rear-naked choke. Quarantillo pounds Benitez to the body to force him to think about strikes again, and once more, the choke attempt is soon to follow. Benitez scoots them both up to the fence, where he uses the angle to turn about, get to his knees and stand up. Quarantillo doggedly pursues another takedown, but Benitez keeps his balance thanks to a guillotine choke try. Quarantillo pulls his neck free and goes after another takedown, but when it fails, he gets off a shin to the torso. Quarantillo walks Benitez down from one side of the fence to the other, landing shots before taking “Moggly” down with ease. Benitez begins to absorb heavy punches from above, as Smith asks for Benitez to fight back while Quarantillo slams elbows and fists on to the hurting Benitez. The toughness of Benitez is on full display, who sneaks up to a knee and upright before taking a knee to the chest. Quarantillo aims for a takedown, and he bails when Benitez goes after a guillotine choke. Both featherweights appear fatigued after the ferocious pace, but Quarantillo pushes forward to land a big right hand on the busted eye of Benitez. Quarantillo drops down to take him down, and Benitez stops him with a guillotine and then a knee to the liver for good measure. Quarantillo stands up, rocks Benitez with a right hand and lands a cup kick. On the stoppage, Smith calls in the doctor to investigate the rapid swelling of Benitez, who says he can still see and does not have a headache. Smith clears him to continue, and Quarantillo bullrushes him with a barrage of bombs. Benitez tries to counter him with powerful strikes of his own, but Quarantillo doubles and triples him up with a vicious salvo of punches. Benitez backs Quarantillo off with a few punches, but Quarantillo gathers himself and rocks Benitez with a brutal right hand. Quarantillo pours it on with a salvo of punches and body kicks, and the bell saves Benitez.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Quarantillo
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Quarantillo
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Quarantillo

Round 3

Once more, the doctor is required to come in and check Benitez’ eye, and Smith warns Benitez to fight back or the fight will get stopped. Quarantillo knows his man is on the ropes, and when the third round begins, Quarantillo is right there to headhunt on the busted face of his foe. When Quarantillo charges him, Benitez stands firm and blasts Quarantillo in the face with a right hand that sends Quarantillo falling to the ground. Before Benitez can get off many damaging shots from above, Quarantillo throws his legs up to threaten with a triangle and make Benitez stand up. Benitez eats an upkick and backs off, and Quarantillo springs to his feet energized to attack. The American marches forward with strikes, catching Benitez flush on the chin a few times with jabs and big right hands, before ducking down to hit a double leg takedown. Benitez takes a slashing elbow across the forward bow as Quarantillo lays into him, and when Benitez sits up, Quarantillo instantly circles around to take his back and lock up a body triangle. A bloodied Benitez struggles to fight off a rear-naked choke attempt, and Quarantillo lands a strike that may have gone to the back of the head. “Moggly” rolls around to fight off the body lock, and Quarantillo is right there following him and hunting for chokes while landing punches. Benitez flails to break the grip several times, even as blood flows into his eyes, but he keeps his neck safe. Quarantillo thumps Benitez up with an audible elbow to the side of the head, and Smith tells Benitez he will have to fight back or the fight will be over. Quarantillo hears this and pours everything he has left into several hammerfists while Benitez is trapped taking punch after unanswered punch. The swarm of short punches is enough for Smith to end the fight, as the strikes are working over the eye that has nearly swelled shut. With his win, Quarantillo successfully bounces back from his first UFC loss in emphatic fashion.

The Official Result

Billy Quarantillo def. Gabriel Benitez R3 3:40 via TKO (Punches)

Dustin Stoltzfus (185.5) vs. Rodolfo Vieira (185)

Round 1

It’s grappler versus grappler in this middleweight fight next, as Vieira (7-1, 2-1 UFC) tries to rebound from the first loss of his MMA career and his first submission defeat in a decade against crafty threat Stoltzfus (13-2, 0-1 UFC). Referee Herb Dean will be minding his P’s and Q’s for this one that may not last that long, and although Vieira offers a glove touch, Stoltzfus is not having it and would prefer to get on with the scheduled violence. Vieira takes the center of the cage and sticks out his left hand a few times, but follows one with a right hand that catches Stoltzfus right on the chin. Stoltzfus returns fire with a leg kick and a straight left hand, and Vieira blocks the strike that comes after. The Brazilian dings his man with a left hand right on the nose, and he has his guard up in time as his foe responds with a trio of strikes. Both land right hands at the same time, and it is Stoltzfus who pushes forward after with a few jabs. Vieira sneaks in a right hand as he dodges and moves, and he digs the thigh of his opponent with a heavy kick. Stoltzfus is content to jab out with several punches, and the powerful strikes from Vieira have busted the nose of the American. A left hand makes Stoltzfus spin around, but Stoltzfus comes back with a vengeance as he charges with a flurry of punches. Vieira largely stays out of the way and elusive as he circles out, but Stoltzfus splits the guard with a left hand. Stoltzfus fires off a spinning kick to the thigh as if he were Andy Hug, and Vieira absorbs a few jabs that have his right eye swelling up quickly. Stoltzfus strides forward with a combination, and he punctuates it with a solid kick. Vieira fires back, only to absorb an overhand right at the end of a few punches. Vieira snaps out a jab to the damaged nose of his opponent, and Stoltzfus may be bloodied from them but he is right there to throw back. They both fire off nasty strikes in close proximity, and Vieira goes back to the jab that is starting to cause a bend in Stoltzfus’ nose. Stoltzfus looks to pressure him, but Vieira stays on his bike and circles away. Stoltzfus follows him and kicks him in the face with a spinning back kick, and Vieira looks surprised but not hurt. Both men have done some damage with jabs, and Stoltzfus sprints ahead with a flying knee that knocks Vieira off-balance as the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

This round, when Vieira offers a glove touch, Stoltzfus obliges him. Vieira takes the center of the cage, and he runs ahead to take the fight down. With a powerful force, he scoops Stoltzfus off the ground and slams him down hard. Stoltzfus scoots his way to the fence and stands up, and he defends his back as Vieira tries to take it. Stoltzfus breaks the grip and pushes the Brazilian off of him, where they begin to jab at one another again. The American lands at the end of a one-two, and Vieira shakes it off and times a leg kick as Stoltzfus advances. Stoltzfus goes after a similar combination, and this time, Vieira sees it and stops it. Stoltzfus tries to crowd him with a right hand in close range, and Vieira rolls with it and swats away a follow-up body kick. Vieira clubs Stoltzfus with a right hand on the way in, and he surprises Stoltzfus with a left hand. The jabs from Vieira have Stoltzfus guessing and stuck when he tries to step in, and when Stoltzfus looks to power through it, Vieira chops down his lead leg. The jab continues to find its home until Stoltzfus shoots low for a takedown, and Vieira laughs it off and gets back to his piston-like jab. Blood begins to trickle and then stream out of Stoltzfus’ nose as the jab continues to find its home again and again, and Vieira is able to easily get out of the way when Stoltzfus charges him a few times. “The Black Belt Hunter” hunts Stoltzfus with a left hook as Stoltzfus comes forward, and he clips Stoltzfus with a right hand. Vieira eats a cracking right hand that sends him staggering back, and Stoltzfus tries to do more damage with a knee but the Brazilian is able to get his bearings and retreat in time. Vieira’s jab is in full display, busting open the cheek of his foe as he mixes up punches with leg kicks. Stoltzfus stings Vieira with a right hand, and he shoots low for a takedown but is stood right up. Vieira presses his foe into the fencing until the bell rings.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

The gloves are touched to begin the final frame, and both men are ready to throw hands. Stoltzfus reaches him with a right hand, and right as Vieira is about to counter, he ducks down and charges in to grab Stoltzfus and take him down. The successful takedown allows Vieira to land in half guard, and Stoltzfus defends with a kimura to nearly sweep him. Stoltzfus lifts his whole body with one arm, and as he climbs back to his feet, Vieira is there to target a double. Stoltzfus defends with a guillotine choke, and Vieira easily pulls his neck out. The American muscles his way to his feet again, and like a coiled snake striking, Vieira leaps in the air and snags standing back control. “The Black Belt Hunter” snatches up the neck in an instant, and he wrenches it with all of his might as Stoltzfus is in grave danger. Stoltzfus topples over to the ground from this position, and he surrenders in a panic as soon as the middleweights hit the floor. This was a statement performance for the Brazilian, who bounced back from a hard loss to prove he can manage his energy and secure a late finish over a man that had never before been stopped.

The Official Result

Rodolfo Vieira def. Dustin Stoltzfus R3 1:54 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)

Mateusz Gamrot (155.5) vs. Jeremy Stephens (156)

Round 1

The Octagon experience between Stephens (28-18, 1 NC; 15-17, 1 NC UFC) and Gamrot (18-1, 1 NC; 1-1 UFC) is a chasm of 31 bouts, although Gamrot did serve as a two-division KSW champion prior to joining the UFC in 2020. The lightweights will toe the line before referee Mike Beltran, who knows a firefight may erupt before his very eyes. The intensity is palpable as there is no touch of gloves, and instead the two men race to the center of the cage to establish dominance. Gamrot shoots in low for a leg to take Stephens down, and after the Iowan hops around, Gamrot quickly puts him on his back. Stephens rolls to his side, and Gamrot threatens with a kimura but he winds up in kimura danger of his own. Gamrot spins around and takes an inverted triangle position, and he resecures the two-on-one wrist control to wrench the kimura. “Gamer” torques the arm behind Stephens’ back with everything he has, and Stephens has no choice to tap out lest his shoulder get ripped to shreds. What an impressive performance for the Polish fighter, who becomes the first man to tap out “Lil Heathen” since Joe Lauzon in 2009 at UFC Fight Night 17.

The Official Result

Mateusz Gamrot def. Jeremy Stephens R1 1:05 via Submission (Kimura)

Marion Reneau (136) vs. Miesha Tate (135)

Round 1

A retirement and two children could not make former champion Tate (18-7, 5-4 UFC) leave the sport for good, although she will be returning from over four and a half years away against elder stateswoman Reneau (9-7-1, 5-6-1 UFC). The latter will be engaging in her retirement bout, win or lose, and referee Mark Smith will make sure that nothing goes awry. There is nothing but respect between these two bantamweights, who touch gloves before handling their business. Reneau takes the center of the cage and swipes out several punches, but none are anywhere close to the mark. Tate aims a leg kick and is similarly inaccurate, as both women try to measure their distance with the other. Tate rushes in with a pair of punches, and Reneau blocks them and aims a kick to the knee. Tate pushes past a kick to fire off a right hand, and she stings Reneau with an overhand right. “The Belizean Bruiser” scores a single leg kick, and Tate walks through it to jab and follow it with a one-two. Reneau steps in with a right hand that glances off the side of Tate’s head. Both women kick at the same time, and Reneau slips in a pair of right hands that surprise the returning Tate. The calf kicks continue to mount for Reneau, who is targeting the kicks to the same spot as Tate walks her down. Tate shrugs off a punch to change levels and pursue a double leg takedown, and Reneau quickly stands her up only to get pressed against the wire. Reneau fights it off with a few knees up the middle, and Tate responds with some thumping body shots. Tate continues to grind on her opponent until Reneau has had enough, and she pushes off and sticks Tate with a right hand. Tate reaches out a few more jabs and a couple right hands that land flush on the nose, and the two women suddenly get into a close quarters brawl. This flurry from both allows Tate to duck down and take the fight down, where she plants Reneau on her back. Reneau quickly puts her legs up in search of a triangle choke, and the former champ pushes past the upkicks to climb down and take half guard. Tate stays heavy and squeezes her shoulder on Reneau’s face until the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

There is no touch of gloves to begin the round, and instead Reneau throws out a front kick that lands right on Tate’s face. Tate shrugs it off and plods forward to throw hands, and Reneau is able to evade most of the strikes but cannot avoid a front kick on the chest. Both land stern left hands at the same time, and Reneau is the one that takes a back step as they connect. Reneau fires off a single right hand that catches Tate flush, and another comes as Tate tries to close the distance on her. Tate walks into a small swarm of punches as she pursues a level change, and she continues to press forward and paw out left hands to close in. Tate scoops her up with a double leg takedown and lifts Reneau in the air, but Reneau grabs the fence to stay on her feet. “Cupcake” redoubles her effort, slamming Reneau to the ground away from the cage wall. Reneau quickly threatens with a kimura off her back when Tate takes half guard, using the submission to sweep Tate. Tate ignores it and elbows Reneau in the side repeatedly, with strikes to the body doing enough to make Reneau bail on it. Reneau grabs her toes in the fence to get better position, and Tate has to stand up. The ex-champ eats a couple upkicks as she drops back down to climb back into Reneau’s half guard, and the ground-and-pound rapidly mounts as Tate elbows her foe repeatedly. A few of these strikes of bloodied the nose of the 44-year-old, who finds herself flat on her back taking damage as Tate is busting her up with blows. When Tate tries to put more into her strikes, Reneau kicks her off and tries to flail with upkicks. Tate avoids the blows to climb back down into the guard, and the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

Reneau swats at an advancing Tate, as the latter comes out of her corner ready to engage and press the older woman into the fence. Tate walks through strikes to land a few punches, rocking Reneau with a left hand as she does some damage. Reneau wobbles back to the chain-link fence, and Tate drops down low with a double to drag Reneau down. The takedown succeeds, but Reneau hooks her arm underneath Tate to nearly reverse her – the attempt has Tate struggling for a moment, but she spins around and climbs on top. Reneau sits up into the fence, and Tate slides her leg around to get a hook in and partially take Reneau’s back. As Reneau is stuck on her side, Tate slams her fists on the side of Reneau’s head repeatedly. Tate claims mount without much effort, locking her legs up with a body triangle from above and smashing “The Belizean Bruiser” with constant punches. Reneau’s face starts to pour blood as Tate lays into her with right hands, and after the umpteenth unanswered strike, Smith rescues Reneau from taking any more punishment. This is a triumphant return to form for Tate, who laughs in the face of “cage corrosion” – some call it “ring rust”—and earns her first stoppage due to strikes since she kicked Sarah Oriza in the head in 2009. It may be an inglorious end to the career of Reneau, getting finished for the first time in her final fight, but the MMA game can be cruel.

The Official Result

Miesha Tate def. Marion Reneau R3 1:53 via TKO (Punches)

Islam Makhachev (155.5) vs. Thiago Moises (156)

Round 1

The final fight of the night comes in the form of a lightweight top-10 contender bout as vaunted Dagestani wrestler Makhachev (19-1, 8-1 UFC) squares off against Brazilian submission talent Moises (15-4, 4-2 UFC). The victor moves one step closer to the logjammed top of the 155-pound division, and everyone in the building including referee Herb Dean knows that this fight is fairly significant for its pecking order. In the polar opposite of last week’s main event, there is no bad blood between these two headliners, who touch hands to seal the cage. Makhachev slowly advances, blocking a head kick and a big, looping punch that comes his way. He responds with a head kick that is similarly blocked, and the lightweights feint and fake their way in but do not land anything of merit for the first minute. Makhachev lands a low inside calf kick, and Moises does not like this so he counters with an overhand right. Moises slaps a kick up that barely gets blocked in time, and Makhachev responds with a front kick to the same area. Moises runs forward, tired of waiting, and throws a pair of punches, but does not get anything out of it. Moises initiates the clinch, pressing the Dagestan native up against the fence, and grinding him out. Makhachev peppers him with short knees and punches until Moises breaks off, and Makhachev stalks him down to land a body kick. When Moises pulls back on a front kick, Makhachev fakes a takedown and lands a left hand that rattles Moises. Makhachev ties him up with a Thai plum to work his body with knees, and Moises drops down to go after a single but is easily rebuffed. The short knees to the body start to pile up as Makhachev defends himself against the fence, and he turns Moises around and takes the Brazilian down. Moises puts up a high closed guard, and Makhachev is comfortable in this position delivering punches and elbows from above. A hacking elbow or two from Makhachev have opened up a cut on Moises’ nose, and the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The lightweights touch hands before getting things started, and Moises takes a step back and delivers a kick to the side of his foe. Both men reach out with opposing hands at the same time, and Moises manages to sneak in a left hand over the top. Makhachev slowly plods forward, and Moises tries to back him off with a big right hand. Makhachev ignores it as he continues to push the pace, with a few short punches that have caused some blood to flow beneath Moises’ left eye. Moises gets tied up against the fence but turns his man around, and Makhachev is constantly busy with minor but scoring offense in the form of little punches, short knees or other frustrating strikes. Moises ducks down for a double, and he elevates the Russian and slams him down to the ground. Makhachev scrambles, and he gives up his back, so the Brazilian fighter takes it and looks for something. Makhachev shimmies Moises off of him without missing a beat, and he slithers around to take Moises’ back. Moises gets to a knee and is not concerned about submission danger, so Makhachev knees him in the thigh several times. Makhachev gets one hook in, and Moises defends himself from a possible choke but eats a few solid right hands along the way. Makhachev gloms on to Moises, not letting him breathe by putting his full body weight on his opponent, and he starts to load up on right hands. Moises looks to stand up, and Makhachev keeps tripping him out again to drop him back to his knees. Moises rolls, and he gives up his back, where Makhachev follows him and secures a body triangle. Makhachev starts to mark Moises up with heavy punches, and he takes mount with seconds to spare. A few elbows and punches get off, and Makhachev rolls for an armbar right at the horn.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

There is a glove touch to begin Round 3, and Makhachev claims the center of the cage and reaches out his right hand again and again. Moises answers with a matching left, but the hands just bump together as they extend them at the same time. This stalemate continues for the good part of a minute, until Moises charges in with a right hand. Makhachev blocks, counters, and takes a body kick. Moises tries to follow it with a head kick, and it bounces off Makhachev’s arms, as Makhachev sets up a stiff right hand counter. Makhachev marches ahead without fear, putting his hands on Moises’ chin repeatedly until Moises ties him up. Makhachev tries to use Moises’ pressure against him with a hip toss, but Moises lands on his knees and is able to pop back up and put Makhachev against the wall again. A few short body shots land with popping sounds as Moises tries to stay active, firmly embracing the grind, before dropping down for a double that turns into a single. Makhachev easily turns him around and knees him in the face, and tries to do the same again. Moises sells out for a takedown, only for Makhachev to reverse him, take his back and get both hooks in. The Brazilian scrambles, kicking off to get in a better place, and he instantly attacks a heel hook. Makhachev grabs the cage to defend himself as Dean warns him, and he turns partially through the leglock to punch Moises repeatedly. Moises holds on to the heel for all his worth, and he turns it in to a toe hold when there is no torque. He continues to twist until the bell.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 4

The fourth round once more begins with a glove touch, and Moises gets marked up wit ha few punches as he tries to advance. He does manage to connect a loud inside leg kick, but it is one-and-done as Makhachev walks him down into the fence and throws a head kick up. The Russian dives in for a single leg takedown, and he lifts Moises in the air like a small child and tries to slam him down. Moises craftily latches his legs on to a triangle position, threatening Makhachev to slam himself into submission danger. Makhachev feels this happening and he gently places Moises down to the mat, where he is in guard without a care in the world. Makhachev opens up with a few punches from above, and an elbow and a left hand score flush. Moises turns to his knees, and Makhachev is there in the blink of an eye, clinging to Moises’ back and getting off right hands. Moises takes several punches on the chin, and without any hooks in, Makhachev sneaks his arm beneath Moises’ chin. The rear-naked choke, which materialized out of nowhere, is suddenly lethally tight and not going anywhere. Moises rolls to his side, and there is no way out, so he is forced to give up for the first time in his career. This was one-way traffic for the Russian mauler Makhachev, who finds himself on an eight-fight win streak over increasingly difficult competition. In his post-fight interview, Makhachev asks commentator Paul Felder why no one will take a fight with him, and he calls out Rafael dos Anjos with a classic line of “you can run, but you can’t hide.” We’re here for it, just like we will be here for next week’s ESPN event. We hope you are too.


The Official Result

Islam Makhachev def. Thiago Moises R4 2:38 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
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