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Ciryl Gane’s approach was undeniably effective, but it lacked the wow factor for which many had hoped.
The impressive Frenchman kept his perfect professional record intact and moved another step closer to a shot at the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title with a tepid unanimous decision over Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the UFC Fight Night 186 headliner on Saturday in Las Vegas. All three cageside judges saw it the same: 50-45 for Gane (8-0, 5-0 UFC).
Rozenstruik (11-2, 5-2 UFC) struggled to pull the trigger for five full rounds, one of his cornermen slapping the canvas in frustration at one point in the middle of the fight. Perhaps the most compelling exchange between the two heavyweight contenders took place in the second round, where Gane tossed “Bigi Boi” off-balance and briefly threatened with a standing rear-naked choke before releasing his grip and retreating to the safety of open space. Gane was otherwise content to play matador on the outside, and he did so brilliantly. He switched stances throughout the 25-minute encounter, piled up points with jabs from both hands and darted in and out of danger, avoiding Rozenstruik’s notoriously heavy hands.
Burgeoning Ankalaev Stymies Krylov
Akhmat Fight Team star Magomed Ankalaev extended his latest winning streak to six fights with a unanimous decision over former Fight Nights Global champion Nikita Krylov in the three-round light heavyweight co-main event. Ankalaev (15-1, 6-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28 marks from all three judges.
Krylov (27-8, 8-6 UFC) enjoyed some initial success in the first round, where he dragged his counterpart to the canvas and later cracked him with punch-kick combinations. However, Ankalaev remained resolute with his approach, pushed the Ukrainian backward and grinded away in close quarters. The 28-year-old executed takedowns in the second and third rounds, applied steady ground-and-pound and employed a suffocating clinch whenever they returned to their feet.
The setback was Krylov’s third in five outings.
De La Rosa, Silva Battle to Draw
“The Ultimate Fighter 26” quarterfinalist Montana De La Rosa and Chute Boxe’s Mayra Bueno Silva fought to a majority draw in their three-round women’s flyweight feature. Judge Eric Colon scored it 28-27 for Silva, while Derek Clear and Sal D’Amato each saw it 28-28.
Referee Jerin Valel took a point from Silva (7-1-1, 2-1-1 UFC) for a blatant fence grab in the first round, providing the difference on the scorecards.
De La Rosa (11-6-1, 4-2-1 UFC) could not match the Brazilian’s firepower, but she answered with a dogged clinch game and a relentless pursuit of takedowns. The Elevation Fight Team rep did her best work late in Round 2, where she grounded Silva, climbed to mount and threatened with an arm-triangle choke. Those efforts fell short. Silva responded with brutal close-range knee and elbow strikes that resulted in significant damage to the American’s left eye and nose.
Munhoz Avenges Rivera Loss
American Top Team export Pedro Munhoz put the brakes on a two-fight losing streak and avenged a 2015 defeat to Jimmie Rivera, as he took a unanimous decision from the former Cage Fury Fighting Championships, King of the Cage and Ring of Combat titleholder in their long-awaited rematch at 135 pounds. All three judges scored it for Munhoz (19-5, 9-5 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Calf kicks were the difference. Munhoz targeted the lower leg with a fervent ferocity, compromising his opponent’s base inside the first five minutes and forcing him to rethink his approach. Rivera (23-5, 7-4 UFC) cut loose with power punching combinations to the head and body but failed to move his lower extremities out of harm’s way, paying a steep price with each kick he absorbed. He switched stances late in the bout, but by then, the deficit was too great to overcome.
Rivera, 31, has lost three times in his past four appearances.
Caceres Aces Croom Test
Precision punches, sublime takedown defense and superior conditioning carried “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 quarterfinalist Alex Caceres to a unanimous decision over Kevin Croom in a three-round featherweight showcase. Scores were 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27, all for Caceres (18-12, 13-10 UFC).
Croom (21-13, 0-1 UFC) whiffed on one takedown after another and bled his gas tank dry as a result. Caceres picked his shots on the feet and flexed his skills on the ground, threatening with a tight triangle choke in the second round. Croom survived but was visibly exhausted by the time the third round began. Caceres scrambled into top position, advanced to the back and secured his position with a body triangle before alternating rear-naked choke attempts with ground-and-pound.
Caceres has rattled off four straight victories, tying the longest such streak of his 12-year career. Continue Reading » UFC Fight Night 186 Prelims: Davis Denies Prospect Mazo