UFC on ESPN 30 ‘Barboza vs. Chikadze’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

By: Jay Pettry
Aug 28, 2021
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Guido Cannetti (135.5) vs. Leomana Martinez (140: Missed Weight)

Round 1

At least in part, the UFC is back again on the ESPN airwaves with a fight night card that provides a pair of “The Ultimate Fighter” finals matches, as well as a headliner that makes striking aficionados salivate. We kick these off in a catchweight contest at 140 pounds, when the struggling 41-year-old Cannetti (8-5, 2-4 UFC) welcomes the significantly more youthful knockout artist Martinez (8-2, 0-0 UFC) to the promotion. Sixteen years separate these two fighters, and the younger Martinez apologizes his weight miss by offering a touch of gloves. In front of referee Chris Tognoni, Cannetti accepts, and now the fun begins! Cannetti begins with a high kick that gets blocked, and he is subsequently warned for outstretching his fingers. The Texan absorbs a heavy leg kick as he marches forward, and “Ninja” sits down on a thumping liver kick. Martinez takes it like a champ and backs off, where Cannetti follows after with a sweeping leg kick. Martinez stays in front of Cannetti but he has not thrown a strike, instead measuring Cannetti – Cannetti measures him back with fingers pointing at his target, and Tognoni again implores him to close his fists. Cannetti sits down on leg kicks and another body kick, before reaching out with a left hand that makes Martinez shake his head. Martinez looks to finally get his offense going with a punch, and he pierces the midsection with a front kick. Like a switch was flipped, Martinez goes for broke with a lengthy punch assault, blasting his opponent to the head and body as Cannetti shells up against the fence. “Ninja” sneaks in a right hand counter as the two start swinging wildly, bloodying Martinez’ nose up. As Martinez backs off to catch his breath, he suddenly shoots in for a takedown. On the way down, Cannetti reverses the position and ends up on top, where he scores some solid strikes from on top. Martinez kicks off, and he gets tagged a few times that cut his cheek and produce some instant swelling. Martinez checks a heavy leg kick, and Cannetti takes a funny step when he recoils it. Both men clash kicks at the same time, and the Argentinian lunges forward with a kick that collides with the cup. Tognoni registers the strike and asks if Martinez needs to take a pause, but he waves it off and is ready to start throwing again. Cannetti thanks him for this with a few thudding body kicks, and he hacks at the lead leg to force Martinez to switch stances. Martinez wades forward and catches a front kick, but he sets it down before doing anything with it. Cannetti keeps him at bay with another push kick up the middle, and he slaps a leg kick and a body kick home right before the bell.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The fighters touch gloves to clock in the second round, and Martinez takes the center of the cage but gets kicked in the shins walking forward. Cannetti spins but does not release anything, and when he turns about, Martinez responds in kind with a heavy kick. The two trade single kicks, and Cannetti rushes in with a trio of big left hands. Martinez cannot score an effective counter, but after Cannetti kicks at him, he delivers a stern calf kick that makes Cannetti grimace. Cannetti throws a kick so hard that he may have hurt it when blocked, as he awkwardly steps down after the strike. Martinez rides the wave of strikes while chipping away at the calf, without overextending himself with anything of merit. Cannetti sits down on another leg kick, and “Manaboi” pays him back with a looping body shot. Martinez catches another kick, and like the previous round, lets it go and lets Cannetti off the hook. A fierce one-two from Martinez makes Cannetti nod at him, and Martinez chains together a few more punches before Cannetti leaps in the air with a knee. A checked leg kick from Martinez makes Cannetti trip and stumble across the cage, before finding his balance and walking right into an oncoming calf kick. Martinez pushes past the guard to land a left hand, and he rips the body after swatting away a kick that comes his direction. Cannetti rolls with it and escapes on the edge of the cage with his fingers pointed straight at his opponent to draw yet another warning. Cannetti has another kick checked, leading to a funny step as he sets it down. Martinez plods forward to attack, ripping the body with a single strike and backing away before the counter finds its home. Cannetti gets off an audible body kick just as the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

The gloves are touched to begin the final frame, and Cannetti ducks a strike to scores a sneaky right hand. Cannetti gets off a pushing leg kick, forcing Martinez to once again change stances. As the pace in the first minute of the last round, Cannetti pokes at him with another leg kick. Suddenly, Martinez explodes in a flurry that begins and ends with a flying knee, although many of the strikes bounce off his foe’s guard. Cannetti wears the strikes well, gets some space and looses a head kick that is barely blocked in time. Martinez gets off a few calf kicks and one to the breadbasket, with that kick followed Martinez pointing that it landed. Cannetti dodges a looping uppercut to score a leg kick, and Martinez tries to deliver some damaging blows. Cannetti slips a punch and fires back, and Martinez swarms him with a quartet of strikes. Cannetti’s leg kicks are his most effective strikes in the round, and Martinez walks forward with a front kick and a few punches. Cannetti shakes his head and beckons Martinez to continue to attack him, so the latter obliges. Cannetti shrugs it off and fires back with his own salvo, including a stabbing front kick to the body and a kick to the lead leg. Martinez winds up with a left hand that connects squarely into the chin, but Cannetti does not budge and instead lets Martinez to throw hands at him. The Texan resets and strides forward, where he unexpectedly changes levels and hits a takedown to put Cannetti on his back. “Ninja” rolls to his knees, but Martinez starts blasting him with elbows and punches. Cannetti tries to throw up a triangle from his back, and Martinez is wise to it and pushes the legs off. As the 10-second clapper sounds, Martinez lets his opponent get back to his feet so they can wage one more short brawl. The fight comes to an end, and Martinez is understandably emotional after the first hard-fought battle since his coach’s unfortunate passing. After the decision is read, the victor needs a minute to compose himself, with an outpouring of emotion after all he’s been through lately.

Sherdog Scores

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

The Official Result

Leomana Martinez def. Guido Cannetti via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Jamall Emmers (145.5) vs. Pat Sabatini (145.5)

Round 1

Fast-paced featherweights enter the Octagon next as Emmers (18-5, 1-1 UFC) tries to blunt the momentum of Sabatini (14-3, 1-0 UFC). The third man in the cage is referee Mark Smith, who observes a touch of gloves to get things going. Emmers is the first to engage with a couple kicks, one of which clacks off directly into Sabatini’s cup. Sabatini somehow needs just 15 seconds to recover before he is good to go, and when the round begins again, Emmers is not discouraged from throwing kicks. He scores a kick up the middle, and tags Sabatini with an uppercut. Sabatini is wobbled and hurt, and Emmers cracks him once more as Sabatini’s legs give way beneath him. Emmers jumps on top of him, and as Sabatini rolls to try to survive on autopilot, he inadvertently gives up his back. Emmers searches for a rear-naked choke, but he cannot get it and recovers the position. Sabatini grabs hold of a leglock, and he latches on with the heel hook as Emmers dives down to break it up. In a 50-50 position, Emmers hunts for a toe hold while Sabatini keeps a tight, deadly grip on the heel hook. Emmers’ toe hold is nothing more than a pain move, while Sabatini suddenly has his opponent is grave danger. One last torque is all Sabatini needs to shred Emmers’ ligaments like overtuned guitar strings. Emmers screams out and taps at the same time, and Sabatini releases it a split-second before Smith intervenes. Emmers writhes on the ground in pain, and he will need assistance to get out of the cage as doctors attend to him. Sabatini appears crestfallen with his victory, clearly upset with him that Emmers is badly hurt from the slick maneuver.

The Official Result

Pat Sabatini def. Jamall Emmers R1 1:53 via Submission (Heel Hook)

J.J. Aldrich (125) vs. Vanessa Demopoulos (125.5)

Round 1

The lone women’s bout on this card comes in the flyweight division, when Aldrich (9-4, 5-3 UFC) aims to break a streak of split decisions against UFC newcomer Demopoulos (6-3, 0-0 UFC). There is no touch of gloves before referee Chris Tognoni to start things off, and instead Demopoulos is ready to throw strikes. She comes up short to the longer Aldrich – Aldrich sports an eight-inch reach advantage – and Aldrich is easily able to get out of the way from most of the blows. When Demopoulos closes the distance, she eats a solid left hand counter. Demopoulos triples up on a jab into a right hand, and when she overextends herself, her momentum is her greatest foe as Aldrich hits a clean double leg and puts the newcomer on her back hard. Demopoulos maintains a closed guard to try to keep her foe at bay, and uses a leg-scissor guard to try to crush the ribcage before throwing her legs up high for a triangle choke setup. When none of those materialize, she opts to slash from the bottom with elbows. The closed guard of Demopoulos is keeping Aldrich from getting off much in the way of impactful strikes, and she uses it to sit up but gets bowled over. Aldrich sneaks over a few punches as Demopoulos keeps looking to change her leg position, and when a right hand finds its home, she goes back to a standard closed guard. Aldrich hammers her with more ground-and-pound, and Demopoulos is stuck with no way up as she tightens a body triangle that only serves to get her punched in the face. Aldrich pours it on as she lands punishing blows, forcing Demopoulos to attempt to use a rubber guard before kicking off. Aldrich lets her back up, and she backs away when Demopoulos wings a looping punch. The relative UFC veteran times a few left hands and a front kick to the body to catch Demopoulos off-guard, and she pushes off when Demopoulos tries to tie her up. As the 10-second clapper sounds, Demopoulos grabs hold of a clinch, and the two spam knees until the bell.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

Aldrich rushes out of her corner to attack, but it is Demopoulos who throws first before pursuing a takedown. Aldrich easily tosses her aside, utilizing a clear size and power advantage to her benefit. Aldrich walks through a few low kicks to land some crisp punches, and she blocks a head kick but gets popped with an overhand right. The punches from Aldrich start to mark up the nose of her opponent, landing successfully and getting out of harm’s way when the responsive strikes come towards her. A left hand split the guard, and Demopoulos’ eyes look bewildered as she absorbs a few heavy blows. The two come together and clash heads, but there is no apparent damage from it. Demopoulos closes the distance, pressing her opponent into the wire, but she cannot keep her there. Aldrich gets separation and scores a couple right hands, forcing Demopoulos to fire back and land some of her own. Aldrich lowers her hands and dings Demopoulos with a left hand, and “Lil Monster” tries to pressure her and shove her into the fencing. Aldrich gets off a few short strikes on the inside, with knees to the body and slapping right hands. Aldrich gets a break, and Demopoulos drops her hands and gets clocked with a right hand. Demopoulos shakes it off and takes a solid left hand to the chops. The newcomer backs away to get kicks off, and as she lands a pair of body kicks, she inspires Aldrich to do the same. A liver kick from Aldrich stuns Demopoulos, and Aldrich pours it on while Demopoulos is in the danger zone. Aldrich takes it to her with a few more punches, but Demopoulos grits it out, backs off and sets up a kick to the midsection. She lands a few more punches before the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

The flyweights meet in the center of the cage for the last round, and they measure one another for the first 30 seconds of the round. Aldrich gets off a leg kick, and Demopoulos crashes forward to take the fight down. Aldrich stuffs it against the fence, and Demopoulos turns it into a single leg takedown but comes up short. The relative vet pushes her down to the canvas with ease, where she climbs into Demopoulos’ guard to land some blows. Aldrich rains down left hands, pinning Demopoulos’ right arm to the mat beneath her legs. Posturing up with elbows, she keeps the arm trapped and pounds on Demopoulos. After absorbing serious punishment, Demopoulos kicks her off and manages to scramble back to her feet. When the two get standing again, Demopoulos rushes forward with a punch combination, but Aldrich sees it coming and counters her with an uppercut. The two trade blows simultaneously, and Aldrich’s land more heavily when Demopoulos retreats and twirls around to find her footing. Aldrich sits down on a left hand that pierces through the guard, and she follows it with a side kick to the torso. Demopoulos practically runs at her to clinch up and pursue a takedown, but the strength of Aldrich allows her to stay standing without much concern. When they break, Aldrich rings Demopoulos’ bell with a front kick right on the chin. Aldrich slips and marks Demopoulos up with a few right hands, and she follows one with a one-two and a head kick. Demopoulos is forced to resort to single strikes, while Aldrich puts short combinations together until she is forced to fight off a takedown try. Aldrich avoids the knees to her head, as they cannot quite reach her, but she cannot get away from the clubbing elbows from the newcomer. The two fighters break, and the fight comes to a close.

Sherdog Scores

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

The Official Result

J.J. Aldrich def. Vanessa Demopoulos via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Dustin Jacoby (203.5) vs. Darren Stewart (204.5)

Round 1

In an odd bit of matchmaking, a surging Jacoby (14-5-1, 2-2-1 UFC) and his five-fight unbeaten streak come against the skidding Brit known as “The Dentist” Stewart (12-7, 2 NC; 5-6, 2 NC UFC) at light heavyweight. Action could be at a premium in what could be a slugfest, and referee Jason Herzog is prepared for it. The gloves are touched ahead of the melee, and they take the center of the cage. Jacoby reaches out with a left hand and chains it into a head kick, and the Brit answers with a takedown to put the kickboxer on his back. Jacoby climbs back up to his feet, and he times a knee as Stewart tries to take him back down. “The Dentist” drags him back down to the canvas with a double, sucking Jacoby’s legs out beneath him with Jacoby’s back to the fence. When Jacoby again springs up, Stewart meets him with a knee to the chest. The two light heavyweights jockey for position against the fence, and Jacoby pushes off to land a punch and a front kick. “The Dentist” drills him back with a straight left hand on the jaw, and the two begin to trade. Jacoby sweeps with a leg kick, and a one-two is subsequently ducked just in time. Jacoby catches Stewart coming forward with a left hook, and Stewart gets tagged with a right hand that wobbles his legs. Stewart flails with a back fist as he tries to get his footing, and he recovers to give Jacoby a right hand on the bow. Jacoby rocks his opponent with a few big punches, and Stewart falls against the fence and tries to swing back at him with lobbing hooks. Jacoby unleashes a flurry of right hands and a knee up the middle, and Stewart is possibly out on his feet and fighting back with instinct. Stewart continues to throw inaccurate hammers, and “The Hanyak” snipes him with a left hand that almost shuts Stewart’s lights out. As the Brit falls forward, even though he is able to catch himself before tumbling to the ground, Herzog has seen enough and calls an end to the beating. Don’t look now, but Jacoby has won three of four inside the Octagon on this second run, with the lone blemish a contentious draw against Ion Cutelaba.

The Official Result

Dustin Jacoby def. Darren Stewart R1 3:04 via TKO (Punches)

Sam Alvey (185.5) vs. Wellington Turman (185.5)

Round 1

A job may be on the line for the two middleweights who have struggled in recent memory in Alvey (33-15-1, 1 NC; 10-10-1 UFC) and Turman (16-5, 1-3 UFC). This striker vs. grappler affair draws officiating from referee Chris Tognoni, who clocks them when Alvey shows no interest in touching gloves. Turman walks in with a right hand and a leg kick, and Alvey smiles when he absorbs a front kick to the chest. Alvey skirts around the outside until Turman charges in, and he catches the Brazilian coming in with a left hand but he cannot stop the forward movement. Turman trips his foe’s leg out briefly, and Alvey climbs back up and stays with his back pressed against the fence. Alvey locks his hands around the top as he bends Turman’s neck down to turn him around in an unorthodox but effective turn. Alvey gets off a few short rights hands until Turman bails on the position, and he backs off as Alvey jabs at him. Alvey checks a kick, and Turman spins with a kick to the body. Alvey gets off a one-two, and he clips a ducking Turman with a short left hand on the way forward. This time, he surprises Turman with it, and he plays the matador to Turman’s bull. Turman reaches out when he resets and scrapes Alvey’s eye and forces a break. The doctor comes in to check Alvey’s eye, and Alvey is ready to go after less than a minute of recovery. Alvey prepares a counter as Turman wades forward, but the Brazilian surprises him with a big overhand right. Turman reaches out with his fingers again, and Tognoni warns him for this. Turman ducks down and again pursues a takedown, and Alvey darts out of the way and turns Turman into the fencing. Alvey’s hands go over the top, and he is warned for this, so he pulls them back in and stomps on Turman’s toes. The two twist and turn against the wire, trading shoulder bumps and foot stomps to little effect. Alvey tries to set up a Thai clinch, but Turman lands a few shots to break them up. Turman spins with a back elbow, and when they come together, they clack heads. Whether the strike or the head clash caused a giant cut under Alvey’s eye, it starts to bleed quickly. The round ends in the clinch.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The cut on Alvey’s cheek is massive and deep, although the cut team is able to close it between rounds. Turman starts off the second frame with a few punches and a spinning back fist that bangs into Alvey’s head. Turman comes in with a kick, and when it misses and Alvey steps out of the way, his knee awkwardly bounces into Turman’s cup from behind. Turman has to recover from the bizarre groin shot, and when they resume, he wants to take the fight down. Turman cannot get the fight down, and Alvey defends himself and sticks his tongue out at the camera as he keeps upright. Alvey slams several elbows to the side of his foe’s head, and Turman is able to ground him for a moment. The American hops back up, and after a brief clinch, Alvey scores a solid right hand to break off. Turman swats at him with a few strikes, and Alvey counters with more that land cleaner. Turman spins and misses, and he tries for a leg kick when turning about. Alvey gets off a right hand, blocks a potential takedown attempt and surprises Turman with a left hand. An uppercut from Alvey forces Turman into a spinning back kick, and Alvey sees it coming, steps out of the way and gets off a stiff left hand. Alvey backs off and connects with a right hand, and a Turman finger reaches out and appears to jab into the cut on Alvey’s face. Alvey protests, but nothing comes of it, so they keep fighting. Turman goes after a head kick, and Alvey partially takes it and comes back with two punches. Alvey hops back with a right hand, and Turman’s head snaps back but he races forward to eat another. Alvey steps forward after eating a front kick, but he weaves back to avoid a spinning strike. Alvey cracks Turman with a left hand, and he ignores a head kick to attack. The middleweights come together as Turman pursues a spinning kick, and Alvey topples over but is able to clear himself before anything comes of it. Seemingly energized, Alvey attacks with a string of punches into a chopping leg kick right before the bell.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

Alvey is fired up between rounds, and Tognoni acknowledges this and admonishes Turman for eye pokes. He does not channel this energy into an immediate barrage as the round begins, and instead Turman leads the dance with a few punches. Alvey counters, sending Turman stumbling back, but the Brazilian gathers his thoughts and shoots in for a double. “Smile’n Sam” stops him in his tracks and backs off, where he can get off a straight left hand. A trio of punches connect for Alvey, who times a right hook when Turman presses forward. He does this two more times in rapid succession as Turman cannot see it coming, but the fourth leads to Turman getting wise to the strike. Alvey sticks out a few jabs, and Turman winds up on power punches. A trio of strikes from Alvey force Turman to shake it off, and he advances and is forced to fight off a trip attempt when he closes the distance. The two trade knees after a grueling clinch exchange, and Turman slashes Alvey in the eye with swiping fingers. Tognoni deducts one point from Turman for repeated eye pokes, and Turman protests but Tognoni told him he warned him. Turman presses the pace when the fight resumes, and he throws a front kick. Turman then swipes out with outstretched fingers and catches Alvey in the eye again, and Tognoni once more takes a point. Alvey clears his vision, and Turman is mad and he starts throwing heavy leather when the fight clocks back in. Alvey meets him with a few punches, but Turman hurts Alvey with right hands. Alvey takes a flush superman punch, and he backs away trying to counter but gets tagged by the suddenly heavy hands of the Brazilian. Alvey steels himself and looks to brawl for a moment, but he turns it into a clinch and presses Turman into the wire. They break, and the fight ends with a brief but torrid brawl. Judges are going to have their hands full here.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 9-8 Alvey (28-27 Alvey)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 9-8 Alvey (28-27 Turman)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 9-8 Alvey (28-27 Alvey)

The Official Result

Wellington Turman def. Sam Alvey via Split Decision (28-27, 27-28, 27-28)

Abdul Razak Alhassan (185.5) vs. Alessio Di Chirico (185.5)

Round 1

It’s all hands on deck for a middleweight battle that could end violently in an instant, when Alhassan (10-4, 4-4 UFC) and his 100 percent knockout win rate come against the iron-chinned Italian slugger Di Chirico (13-5, 4-5 UFC). These lead-fisted 185ers decide to touch gloves, and referee Herb Dean will need to keep his head on a swivel for this contest. The Italian fighter starts off with a kick, and he retreats towards the fence. Alhassan chambers a ballistic missile in the form of a head kick with his massive right leg, and Di Chirico makes the worst mistake of his career as he ducks down. The shin crashes squarely into the chin with a frightening sound, and Di Chirico is communing with his ancestors as he falls lifelessly into the cage. Alhassan does not even remotely consider any follow-up punishment, instead walking away knowing his night is over. “Judo Thunder” celebrates with a picture-perfect back flip, and puts an end to a losing streak in about as violent of a way as it could be, all while becoming the first man to finish “Manzo” with strikes. Wow.

The Official Result

Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Alessio Di Chirico R1 0:17 via KO (Head Kick)

Gerald Meerschaert (185) vs. Makhmud Muradov (184.5)

Round 1

Once more tonight, our classic overmentioned matchup rears its head again as the dangerous submission skills of Meerschaert (32-14, 7-6 UFC) come up against the high-flying Muradov (25-6, 3-0 UFC). This middleweight battle most expect will end inside the distance receives oversight from referee Mark Smith, and gloves are touched before violence is waged. Meerschaert rushes ahead and connects with a solid left hand, forcing Muradov to back off. “GM3” slams a high kick on the chest, and in the melee, Meerschaert’s finger jabs into Muradov’s eye. Muradov needs less than 30 seconds to recover, and Meerschaert is apologetic as they get back to business. Meerschaert surprises his foe with a right hand, and Muradov cracks him in response to hurt Meerschaert. Meerschaert falls to the ground, and he looks to set up a leg lock. When there is nothing there, Muradov tells his foe to stand back up. Muradov stings his man with a right hand when he gets back up, and Meerschaert again goes to the canvas to consider submissions. This too is ignored, when Muradov backs up to tell him to get up. Muradov times a crisp head kick that rocks Meerschaert, and Smith tells him to fight back. Meerschaert shoots in for a desperate takedown, and he is several feet away from landing it as Muradov signals for him to stand back up. Muradov continues to tee off on Meerschaert on the feet, and a leg kick from “GM3” slides up to bounce off the cup. Meerschaert just dodges a spinning kick by inches, and he comes in to attack and pops Muradov with a solid left hand. Meerschaert gets off a high kick, and Muradov catches the leg and fires a similar kick to the pectorals. Meerschaert lunges in with long punches, and he follows it with a few leg kicks. One such kick clacks right into the bottom of the cup, and Muradov collapses to the ground in pain. No points are deducted for multiple fouls, although Meerschaert is sternly warned to own his weapons and not let any more happen. Once more, Meerschaert offers an apologetic glove touch, and Muradov accepts it. Meerschaert presses forward, and he nails Muradov with a left hand. Meerschaert connects with a clean head kick, and Muradov shakes it off and then eats another one right on the button. Muradov fires back with his own salvo of strikes, and a clubbing right hand from Muradov nearly sends Meerschaert falling to the ground. A blistering left hand from the American sends Muradov falling back towards the cage, and Meerschaert dives towards him to go after a takedown that he lands. Meerschaert looks for a submission but there is nothing to be found, so he exerts heavy pressure on his foe’s back until the round concludes.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The action resumes right where they left off, with Meerschaert crashing forward and getting dropped. “GM3” gets back to his feet, where he pursues a low single, and there is nothing to be had. The two middleweights start trading recklessly, and Meerschaert pushes the pressure and scores a single left hook. Meerschaert catches a kick and sends Muradov to the ground, but Muradov springs back up when he kicks off the chest. Both men drill the other with big punches, and Meerschaert scores the best of the exchange with a huge right hand. Meerschaert puts everything he has into a left hand, and Muradov takes it on the chin and fights back. Meerschaert skillfully trips Muradov’s legs out and drags him to the ground, where he instantly takes Muradov’s back. “GM3” gets one hook in, and he snags hold of a rear-naked choke in the blink of an eye. The forearm of the American slides underneath the chin, and Muradov is in big, big trouble. Meerschaert knows he has his man where he wants him, and as he wrenches the choke, Muradov can resist no longer and taps out on the top of Meerschaert’s head. What a huge win for Meerschaert, earning his 25th career submission victory and scoring the biggest betting upset of the night as he snaps Muradov’s 14-fight win streak.

The Official Result

Gerald Meerschaert def. Makhmud Muradov R2 1:49 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)

Micheal Gillmore (184) vs. Andre Petroski (185.5)

Round 1

The first bout determining which fighter from their season of TUF 29 is offered a UFC contract is up now at middleweight, between the finish-minded Petroski (5-1, 0-0 UFC) and “The Gentleman” Gillmore (6-3, 0-0 UFC). While neither competed past the semifinals, the victor will likely stick around for a few more outings, and referee Jason Herzog is on top of the action. There is nothing but respect between these TUF castmates, who touch gloves before getting down to business. Petroski advances quickly, charging across the cage, only to get popped with a short right hook. Petroski wings a body kick, but it is one-and-done as he resets from a distance. Gillmore looks to counter on the outside, and Petroski charges him on a takedown that looks more like a tackle. Gillmore sees it coming and looks for a smashing right hand, but it breezes past Petroski’s beard. Petroski attacks, winging a huge right hand that connects right on the chin, and he may not even have realized the damage he caused as he commits to a takedown. Petroski lifts his foe up in the air, walks him towards the middle of the cage, and slams him down like a bag of potatoes. Petroski easily takes side control as he looks to get a few strikes off or set up a submission, and he elects to land a few right hands until Gillmore scrambles. Petroski takes an unusual one-quarter mount position as he pushes Gillmore’s leg over to trap him down, and he starts hammering down with ground-and-pound. The elbows and punches begin to mount, and Gillmore manages to kick off to get himself back to surrendering side control. Petroski sits up and aims an elbow, but Gillmore walks to his knees and stands up. Petroski elevates him immediately, slamming Gillmore down and taking his back with both hooks in. Petroski slides his arm on the face, and he crushes Gillmore’s jaw with a neck crank. Gillmore toughs it out and survives by shaking his neck free, but he still has his back taken with a minute to go. Petroski decides to soften his foe up with a few strikes to the side of the head, and Gillmore pushes a hook off and scoots his way back to the fence. Petroski punches Gillmore in the side a few times until the horn.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The middleweights touch gloves to begin the second frame, and Gillmore begins with a head kick that is blocked in time. Gillmore swipes with a left hook that is similarly inaccurate, and the two crash together with strikes that miss. Gillmore works the leg with a kick, and he chains it into a head kick. When Gillmore backs away, Petroski follows him but does not pursue a takedown. Gillmore gets off a one-two that shakes the beard of his foe, and he again chops at the wrestler’s lead leg. Petroski jumps in the air to check a kick, and he suddenly snaps up a head kick that Gillmore eats like a steak. Gillmore lands a kick to the groin, and Petroski groans and waves it off to keep fighting. The two start brawling, and Petroski sinks a body kick under the guard that forces Gillmore to drop his hands. Petroski shoots for a takedown, and when he misses, Gillmore counters with a sharp uppercut. Petroski rolls his eyes as a leg kick comes his way, and he shoots in for a takedown from far away. The try gets stuffed, and he fires off a high kick that is blocked so that he tumbles to the ground. “The Gentleman” has no interest in playing on the ground, so he lets Petroski up. Petroski throws wild, labored punches, and all the while he absorbs frustrating leg kicks. Petroski once more lands a stern body kick, and he backs off just enough to avoid a couple of winging hooks. Gillmore sits down on a leg kick that forces a grimace out of his opponent, and both land big shots at the same time. Petroski tries to follow it with a right hand, and he has another glance off the forward bow. Petroski shoots in to take the fight down, ducking a punch and hitting it to plant Gillmore on his back. Petroski slices to side control like a hot knife through butter, and he presses his knee on his opponent’s belly to tire Gillmore. With seconds to go, Petroski claims mount and unleashes a few heavy punches, but the bell sounds before a finish can materialize.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

The gloves are touched to begin the round, and Petroski darts in with a left hand. Petroski charges ahead to take the fight down, and he scoops Gillmore’s legs out beneath him and hits an emphatic takedown. Gillmore defends with a feeble guillotine choke as his back is against the cage with no leverage to seek a submission, all the while Petroski practically walks into full mount. Gillmore leans his shoulder against the fence to gain a better angle, but Petroski flattens him out and starts to drop left hands on him. Gillmore turns and surrenders his back momentarily, but he decides against it and turns back into full mount to try to wall-walk off the wire. Gillmore kicks off the cage successfully, only for Petroski to get back to a three-quarter mount as he hammers his foe with elbows. Gillmore sits up against the fencing, but Petroski drags him back down and starts to punish him with elbows. Petroski pours it on as he looks to Herzog for a stoppage, and when there is none, he keeps slamming his fists and elbows into the side of Gillmore’s noggin. Eventually, Herzog has seen enough, calling a halt to the fight and saving Gillmore from any more punishment. With the stoppage, Petroski maintains his 100 percent career finish rate, all while introducing himself to fans and the rest of the UFC brass with a finish.

The Official Result

Andre Petroski def. Micheal Gillmore R3 3:12 via TKO (Punches and Elbows)

Kevin Lee (170.5) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (171)

Round 1

Returning to the welterweight division after a one-off appearance in 2019, Lee (18-6, 11-6 UFC) will try to right the ship at the expense of power-puncher Rodriguez (15-2, 5-1 UFC). Referee Herb Dean takes charge of the cage for this intriguing bout, and they do not touch gloves before bringing the ruckus. They reach alternating punches at the other, and Lee opens up with a body kick suddenly. Rodriguez swats at him with a right hand, and he evades the counter. A double jab from Lee forces his foe to back off, and Rodriguez catches a kick and grazes Lee’s chin with a straight right hand. Rodriguez goes after the lead leg with a kick, and Lee slings a head kick right back at him. “D-Rod” targets the body and head with kicks, and he just misses with a heavy right hand. Another Lee head kick gets blocked, and Rodriguez does not commit to his hands and instead gets off a leg kick. Rodriguez continues to work the lead leg with chopping kicks, and he goes up high with a kick as Lee fires off a right hand his way. Lee connects with a head kick, and he turns the forward motion into a takedown attempt that is stuffed like he crashed into a brick wall. Both welterweights trade right hands, and Rodriguez follows it up and hops out of the way before Lee can reach him. Lee turns a punch into a single leg attempt, and he scoops Rodriguez off the ground and puts him on his back. Lee advances to half guard, and he grinds his shoulder on his opponent’s face and tries to isolate Rodriguez’ left arm. Rodriguez frees it and takes some punches, as Lee squeezes his elbow on his face. Lee sits up and slashes down with an elbow, and he maintains this top position until the round ends. A little bit of shenanigans go on after the bell, as Rodriguez tries to get Lee off of him while Dean separates them.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

Cooler heads prevail between rounds, and the second frame begins without issue. Rodriguez starts the round with several kicks high and low, and a one-two shakes Lee up briefly. Lee backs off to gather himself, and he fires off a head kick that collides with Rodriguez’ forearm. Rodriguez aims a single left hand to the body, and then strings a pair of punches into a leg kick. Rodriguez goes over the top with a right hand, leading to Lee ducking down to pursue a takedown. Lee trips Rodriguez’ leg out in a subsequent attempt, and he latches on to the neck with a one-arm guillotine choke to press his adversary flat on his back. Rodriguez rolls to his knees and surrenders his back, and Lee is quick to set up the body triangle. Before “The Motown Phenom” can set it up, Rodriguez shocks him by turning around and taking top position. Rodriguez cannot capitalize on this sudden position change, as Lee walks his way back up the cage to his feet without taking damage. Both welterweights land with successful strikes, and Lee whiffs on a kick that makes him smile. Lee triples up with a jab as Rodriguez walks forward, with “D-Rod” kicking his leg and stopping his momentum. Lee throws caution to the wind with a few wide shots, and Rodriguez is more accurate as he rings Lee’s bell with a right hand. Lee tries to say it did not land cleanly, but Rodriguez does not notice as he instead throws hands. Lee retreats, jumps forward with a big punch, and has his front leg kicked hard on the way in. “D-Rod” clips Lee with a left hand, and once more Lee tries to play it off as if it did not mean much. Rodriguez connects with a slapping kick, and he rocks Lee with a left hand flush on the temple that puts Lee on ice skates. Lee wobbles forward and drops to a knee, allowing Rodriguez to slam his fists in the side of his head, and he holds on tight and rides out the onslaught for a few more seconds until the round timer rescues him.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

Rodriguez knows that Lee is not totally recovered after getting rocked at the end of the last round, and he takes advantage of this by sticking Lee with several punches. Kicks from alternating legs from Rodriguez find their home on Lee’s body and forearms. The two slug it out briefly, and the volume of Rodriguez has increased significantly as he works with combinations as Lee largely throws single big strikes. Lee shoots in from a wide distance, and Rodriguez sees it coming and makes him pay with a huge right hand. “The Motown Phenom” is stung by this as he slides back, and Rodriguez keeps his foot on the gas as he throws punches and kicks to great effect. Lee fires back with a single kick that makes Rodriguez fall to the ground, and Rodriguez makes his way back to his feet just in time for lee to shoot on him. Lee lifts Rodriguez in the air and slams him down, but Rodriguez will not forfeit this position as he slashes at his foe with a sharp elbow. Rodriguez pulls his leg free, allowing him to get to his knees and feet as Lee leans on him. Rodriguez pushes him away, and he sticks out a few jabs to back Lee off. Rodriguez cracks his man with a few booming hooks, and Lee may be busted up and bleeding, but he throws right back with bad intentions. Lee leaps in the air with a counter flying knee, and Rodriguez sees it coming from a mile away and pushes him back down to the ground. Lee pumps out a few right hands, and Rodriguez tattoos his fists on Lee’s face in response. Rodriguez continues to mark Lee up with crisp punches, stringing several together as Lee gathers his thoughts and throws heavy single blows. One such body kick from Lee catches Rodriguez unaware, but Rodriguez plays through the pain and zings a head kick off the dome. Lee marches forward and lands a single kick, but a strike from Rodriguez forces Lee to topple to the canvas. Rodriguez appears surprised by this, and he lets Lee back up so that he can punch him more. Rodriguez blocks a head kick, leaps forward with a superman punch, and the fun fight ends with a few winging punches from both men.

Sherdog Scores

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

The Official Result

Daniel Rodriguez def. Kevin Lee via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

“TUF” Season 29 Batamweight Final:
Brady Hiestand (135.5) vs. Ricky Turcios (135)

Round 1

The first of two TUF finals is up now, with this one at 135 pounds as “Pretty Ricky” Turcios (10-2, 0-0 UFC) comes to blows with “Bam Bam” Hiestand (5-1, 0-0 UFC) for a six-figure contract with the organization. Referee Mark Smith has drawn the assignment for the first TUF final match since late 2018, and the bantamweights touch gloves as they prepare to vie for the TUF crown. Turcios scores a thudding leg kick right after, and Hiestand pushes forward for an immediate takedown. Turcios successfully stuffs the attempt, and Hiestand chases him around the age to go after another. On his third attempt, “Pretty Ricky” gets tossed to his back, where Hiestand lands in side control. Turcios scrambles wildly, and his upkicks off the chest allow him to get some space. One strike in a scramble opens up a cut above Hiestand’s right eye, and he lets Turcios stand back up so that he can charge in like a bull and try for another takedown from a different angle. Turcios once more gets slammed on the ground, and he flails wildly with punches and elbows before tossing his legs up high for a triangle choke setup. Hiestand fights off the choke try and potential armbar to back off, and this allows Turcios to stand back up. When Hiestand goes to take him back down, hits a reversal and lines up a reverse triangle choke from an unusual position. Hiestand is able to break the grip and put Turcios on his back, but it is Turcios who is laying into Hiestand from his back. Several thudding hammerfists force blood to blow from Hiestand’s nose, and Turcios explodes up to his feet. Hiestand fires off a head kick, and although it shakes Turcios’ hair up, the Texan eats it like slow-smoked brisket and sticks his tongue out. The bantamweights throw wildly, landing at will on the other and doing some major damage. A slap-down drag-out slugfest plays out to end the round, with one hitting the other in the face as hard as he can, and the other gives him one right back in alternatingly devastating fashion. The chins both hold up, and the 135ers make it to Round 2.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

Hiestand comes out of his corner like a man on a mission, and he runs towards his foe and presses him into the cage wall. When he changes levels for an ankle pick, Turcios circles out and lands a three-piece combination. Hiestand grabs hold of a clinch and gets off a single knee up the middle, and he is able to power through to put Turcios down to the ground with his back against the wall and his seat on the ground. Turcios spams punches and elbows from his back until he gains a little space, which allows him to blast back up to his feet. Turcios lands a few elbows to the side of the head until Hiestand backs off, and the two bounce on the balls of their feet as the try to take a few breaths after a torrid seven minutes so far. Turcios lands a big punch, and Hiestand serves up revenge in the form of a huge right hand that wobbles “Pretty Ricky” for a moment. Turcios shakes his head and laughs, and Hiestand surges forward for a takedown attempt. He drags Turcios down to the mat, and as Turcios fights his way back up, Hiestand hits a quick but loud mat return to put the Texan flat on his back. Hiestand steps over to side control, and as soon as he takes it, Turcios recovers back to half guard, full guard, and hits a sweep. Turcios latches on to a guillotine choke, and Hiestand lifts him up in the air and drops him hard on the floor to break the grip and take top position again. Turcios turns around to his knees, exposing his neck for a choke attempt, but Hiestand cannot secure it as Turcios stands up. The clinch leads to Turcios putting on the pressure, landing a few punches on the inside until Hiestand has had enough of them and he shoves “Pretty Ricky” away from him. The finalists nail each other with punches, but neither budges an inch as the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

As Hiestand walks out of his corner, Turcios stands firm and waits for his opponent to engage him. They both pick up right where they left off from where the previous frame concluded, lobbing bombs and not slowing down. Turcios takes one on the chin to give one, and he drills Hiestand with a huge right hand. Seeing that Hiestand may be hurt, “Pretty Ricky” puts everything behind a follow-up right hand, sending Hiestand crashing into the canvas and down to the ground as Hiestand’s mouthpiece flies away. “Bam Bam” shakes off the cobwebs and gets to his feet, where he somehow scrambles around to put Turcios on his back for a moment. Turcios stands, and he elbows Hiestand on the side of the head viciously until Smith pause them in this takedown attempt position, and Smith replaces Hiestand’s gumshield. When they resume, Hiestand bites down on it and muscles Turcios to the ground, but only for a second before Turcios is back up. When Hiestand tries to pull himself up using the fence as his ally, Turcios blasts him in the face with a knee that is inches away from being illegal as Hiestand was just lifting his hand from the mat. Turcios sneaks in an elbow as he leans on Hiestand against the fence, and Hiestand breaks free and kicks Turcios in the head. Both men throw any remaining caution to the wind and simply slug it out, one after the other, with defense an afterthought. Turcios catches his breath as he presses Hiestand into the fencing, and they both start trading again from up close. Hiestand goes after a sudden takedown attempt, and Turcios stops him and another terrific slugfest ensues. The 10-second clapper leads to a ferocious flurry of punches from Turcios, who backs Hiestand into the wall as he lays into him. Hiestand fires back with a vengeance, and these two miraculously reach the final bell in an all-action affair that could easily be considered a bantamweight version of Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar. UFC President Dana White very well may give both fighters a UFC contract, and it would not be out of line.

Sherdog Scores

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

The Official Result

Ricky Turcios def. Brady Hiestand via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

“TUF” Season 29 Middleweight Final:
Bryan Battle (185.5) vs. Gilbert Urbina (186)

Round 1

The second scheduled TUF finale comes at middleweight, although the two rightful finalists are not in it. Instead, Battle (5-1, 0-0 UFC), who won on his side of the bracket, faces late replacement Urbina (6-1, 0-0 UFC) as former finalist Tresean Gore blew his knee out. Battle will look to prove it does not matter who his opponent is to win the contract, while Urbina is gunning for an upset in this unexpected opportunity. Referee Herb Dean is the third man in the cage for the co-main event, and the gloves are touched before violence ensues. Battle paws out several inaccurate punches, and Urbina finds the target with several blows in response. Battle kicks out with several front kicks, and Urbina gives chase and pounds him in the chops with several right hands. Battle stumbles to the fence, where Urbina follows him and drags him on the ground to keep hitting him. Urbina considers a submission before abandoning it to smash Battle in the face with an elbow. Urbina continues to swarm Battle as he takes full mount, briefly thinking about a choke before once more lighting Battle up with ground-and-pound. Battle is in a bad way from this battle so far, but he fights his way back to his feet and eats a clean knee right on the jaw that ejects his mouthpiece. “Pooh Bear” marches forward to get his own offense going, with several kicks at range to keep Urbina at bay. Dean does not recognize that the mouthpiece is gone and Battle is not concerned, as he rings Urbina’s bell with an overhand right. Urbina crashes forward to clinch with him, and Battle keeps his balance and an underhook to thwart a double leg takedown. Urbina redoubles his effort, picking Battle up in the air and trying to toss him down, but a cheeky fence grab allows Battle to stay upright. Battle begins to take punches with no mouthpiece in against the fence, but he turns Urbina around and swings elbows. The two start swinging, and Battle steps in with a right hand to initiate the clinch on his own. Urbina returns fire with punches on the inside, ignoring an elbow on the mouth as the round ends and Battle retrieves his gumshield.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

Both men lead off with long, straight punches, and Battle follows one with a head kick. “Pooh Bear” gets Urbina’s attention with a combination, and he plants his shin on Urbina’s midsection. Urbina scores a right hand and shoots in for a takedown, managing to circle around and take Battle’s back standing up. Urbina looks to jump on like a backpack, and Battle stops this and turns about. Urbina drills him in the face with several crisp elbows, and when Battle fires back, Urbina ducks down for a double. Battle stops him, elevates Urbina with his own double leg takedown, and plants Urbina on the canvas. Battle he takes the replacement fighter’s back with a hook in, and he starts searching for a rear-naked choke. Battle snakes his arm on the chin, and he squeezes with all his might as visions of UFC contracts dance in his head. The crushing vice grip of a choke that might actually be on the chin and partially a neck crank torques Urbina until Urbina has to surrender. With an impressive comeback win, Battle finds himself as the middleweight victor of Season 29 of TUF, and he celebrates with a loud f-bomb for his first word on his post-fight interview. Only the coaches' battle of Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega at UFC 266 in September looms to close the book on this rebooted season of the combat reality show.

The Official Result

Bryan Battle def. Gilbert Urbina R2 2:15 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)

Edson Barboza (145) vs. Giga Chikadze (145.5)

Round 1

The moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived, with respect to those participating on the 29th season of TUF. Two powerful, flashy strikers with eerily similar striking stats toe the line when Barboza (22-9, 16-9 UFC) faces Chikadze (13-2, 6-0 UFC). For Barboza, he can cement his place as a contender at featherweight; for Chikadze, he can announce himself to the world as a legitimate top-tier 145er. Referee Jason Herzog is holding down the fort for this one, and gloves are not touched before they are traded heavily and in high intensity. The first strike of the match comes from Chikadze, who lands a leg kick. Barboza returns fire with his own kick, and the featherweights are coiled and ready to strike. Barboza starts to walk Chikadze down, backing him up into the fence, and he is forced to try to check a quick leg kick. Barboza checks a body kick with a high knee, but an inside chopping kick lands. When Barboza fires off a leg kick, it gets checked as well. Chikadze goes high with a kick that brushes past Barboza’s head, and the Brazilian looks surprised as it zooms at him. Chikadze leaps in the air with a check flying knee, and Barboza just sees it coming in time to avoid it. When Barboza has a calf kick checked, he fires off another that does not get blocked. Barboza looks to feint his way in and he blocks a high kick and checks a body kick with his quick reflexes. Barboza wings an overhand left, and Chikadze is barely able to get out of the way lest it lop his head off. Chikadze spins with a kick to the body, and Barboza marches through it and lands a few punches. Barboza trips Chikadze on the way when Chikadze tries to press the action, and he stands back defiantly as Chikadze aims a flying knee. When Barboza connects with a leg kick, Chikadze points at his leg and then fires off two high kicks. Chikadze drills the body with a kick, and he might have Barboza smarting as Barboza chomps down on his mouthpiece and throws winging punches. Chikadze strides after him confidently, landing a few and evading the counters. Chikadze rips the body with a kick, and he targets the liver and points at Barboza. A high kick and an axe kick attempt from the Georgian conclude the kick-heavy round.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 2

The featherweights trade calf kicks initially, and Barboza is the one to try to throw hands as he swings a right hand. He times a Chikadze flying knee to kick him up the body, and he stands tall to score when Chikadze lands. Chikadze circles around the outer edge of the fence to chop at the Brazilian with kicks, and Barboza comes up short when trying to give chase. Chikadze connects with a left hand and a liver kick, and Barboza gives chase as he absorbs a stunning right hand. Barboza shakes it off and keeps pressuring Chikadze, where he lands a trio of punches on the way in. Chikadze lets loose a high kick and a liver kick in rapid succession, and the kick to the side keeps finding its home. Barboza scores a calf kick that makes the Georgian changes stances, and Chikadze whips up a high kick with his lead leg. Barboza rips the body with a right hand, and he checks the vaunted “Giga kick” with a high knee block. The Brazilian continues his assault on the body with big hooks and kicks, and Chikadze backs off right into an overhand right. Barboza plods forward as Chikadze appears to be slowing to a degree, allowing him to cut Chikadze off and set up strikes. Barboza nails the lead leg with a heavy kick, and Chikadze tries to return fire with an axe kick but he gets jabbed for his effort. Chikadze gets off a pair of punches as Barboza walks him down like a Brazilian Terminator, and Barboza keeps on drilling punches to the body. Chikadze spams a few axe kicks that hit nothing but his foe’s guard, and Barboza stabs his toes to the midsection. Barboza sweeps the leg, and Chikadze comes back at him with a single leg kick before the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

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

Round 3

Barboza takes the center of the cage and doubles up on a jab, and Chikadze is ready to fire back but misses the mark when Barboza ducks. Barboza sticks out a few more jabs as Chikadze backs away, and the Georgian scores a kick to the knee when Barboza tries to come at him. Chikadze blasts Barboza with a huge right hand, and Barboza is suddenly on the ropes as Chikadze walks him down to try to do damage. Barboza’s eye is busted up, and Chikadze charges with a barrage of punches. A few right hands knock Barboza back, and Barboza is in trouble and falls over to the ground. Chikadze looks to finish the job as he lands a few punches from on top, and Barboza holds on tight to clear the cobwebs. Barboza looks for a heel hook from his back as he is hurt badly, and when he sits up in it, the Georgian latches on to an anaconda choke out of nowhere. Barboza walks off the cage to break the grip of the choke, and he powers his way to his knees and then back to his feet. Barboza is still on baby deer legs when he gets back up, and Chikadze takes note this and drops the hammer with a trio of punches that sends Barboza crashing back down to the canvas. Herzog has seen enough, sensing that Barboza may be out even if he is able to amble back to his feet. “Ninja” successfully puts himself on the map with a wild performance over a perennial contender, and he thanks his opponent for the opportunity and the tough challenge. In his post-fight interview, Chikadze says he would be glad to fill in if a competitor in the featherweight title fight falls through, but if not, that there is a certain Hawaiian in his sights – Max Holloway. Should that striker’s delight come to fruition, we will be here for it, and we hope you are too.

The Official Result

Giga Chikadze def. Edson Barboza R3 1:44 via TKO (Punches)
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