UFC on ESPN 26 Prelims: Daniel Rodriguez Picks Apart Short-Notice Foe Preston Parsons

By: Tristen Critchfield
Jul 17, 2021

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Daniel Rodriguez didn’t allow Preston Parsons even a glimmer of hope in his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut.

Rodriguez won for the fifth time in six promotional outings at UFC on ESPN 26, as he picked Preston Parsons apart with precision punches en route to a technical knockout stoppage 3:47 into the opening round of their bout at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Parsons, a late replacement for Abubakar Nurmagomedov, saw a four-bout winning streak snapped.

Rodriguez looked every bit the part of the Octagon veteran as he blended kicks to the legs and body with straight punches early against Parsons, who was denied on his attempts to get the fight to the canvas. Rodriguez (15-2, 5-1 UFC) put Parsons (9-3, 0-1 UFC) on the defensive when he landed a hard left to the eye, and from there, the 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu standout product patiently hunted for the finish. Eventually, Rodriguez connected with a clean 1-2 combination that forced Parsons to cover up against the fence, and “D-Rod” continued to hammer away with punches as his foe fell to his knees and then rolled to his back before the bout was halted.

Related » UFC on ESPN 26 Round-by-Round Scoring

Lemos Scores Quick TKO of Ruiz

Amanda Lemos raised her stock in the strawweight division with a quick first-round knockout of former Invicta Fighting Championships talent Montserrat Ruiz. The Marajo Brothers Team export brought the show to a close just 35 seconds into Round 1, making it the second-fastest finish in the history of the 115-pound division. Lemos has won four straight Octagon appearances.

Ruiz (10-2, 1-1 UFC) rushed forward from the opening bell, and Lemos (10-1-1, 4-1 UFC) forced her Mexican opponent to pay for her heedless aggression. Lemos made the Kings MMA representative stumble forward with a crisp right hand and dropped her with a follow-up left hook to the jaw. The Brazilian landed one final hammerfist on the canvas before referee Chris Tognoni dived in to rescue a dazed Ruiz.

Morozov Grappling Wears Down Taha

Former M-1 Global champion Sergey Morozov used his grappling to carry him to a unanimous decision triumph over Khalid Taha in a bantamweight affair. The Kazakhstan native swept the scorecards by identical 30-27 tallies for his sixth victory in his last seven professional outings.

While Morozov held his own on the feet behind a solid lead left hook, it was his combination of takedowns, pressure and positional control that ultimately won the day. Morozov (17-5, 1-1 UFC) secured multiple takedowns, shoved Taha (13-4, 1-3, 1 NC UFC) into the fence and took his opponent’s back during a grinding performance. Taha was able to separate for one final assault in the waning moments of Round 3, but Morozov avoided taking any serious damage.

Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream the UFC, PFL and “The Ultimate Fighter” live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.

Gordon Edges Figueiredo, Earns First UFC Win

Malcolm Gordon secured his first promotional triumph with a competitive three-round verdict over Francisco Figueiredo in a flyweight encounter. All three cageside judges submitted tallies in favor of Gordon: 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. The Adrenaline Training Center representative had suffered first-round defeats in his first two UFC appearances.

Gordon (13-5, 1-2 UFC) fought with a sense of urgency throughout the contest, as he consistently pushed the pace and hunted for takedowns. While he struggled during exchanges with Figueiredo, the 31-year-old Canadian was able to assume top position in each stanza while occasionally attacking with ground-and-pound. Gordon’s best work came in Round 3, when Figueiredo (12-4-1, 1 NC, 1-1 UFC) slipped on a flying knee at the outset of the stanza, allowing his opponent to dictate the action from above and in the clinch for the majority of the final frame.

Nascimento Rallies for TKO Win Over Baudot

It was a tale of two rounds for Dana White’s Contender Series alum Rodrigo Nascimento, who rallied for a technical knockout victory against former Heat two-division champion Alan Baudot at heavyweight. The American Top Team representative ended the contest with a barrage of punches on his defenseless foe 1:29 into Round 2.

Baudot (8-3, 0-2 UF) set the tone in the opening stanza, landing jabs, lead left hooks and right hands on his Brazilian adversary standing while also punishing Nascimento with ground-and-pound during a brief sequence on the canvas. Nascimento (9-1, 2-1 UFC) sharpened his striking in Round 2, and he had Baudot reeling in a short period of time. Nascimento tagged Baudot with punches to the head and body near the fence until the fatigued Frenchman covered up due to the punishment, forcing referee Chris Tognoni to step in on his behalf. Advertisement
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