Davey Grant def Martin Day via KO – (Round 3, 2:38)
A fun first round on Fight Island as the two Bantamweights both striking well with each other and landing. Day lands a big right hand that cracks the chin of Grant and drops him, but the Scotsman survives and gets back to his feet. The knockdown the biggest influencer of the first round and it goes to Day. 10-9.
Second round and Grant is being very aggressive. He’s looking to end it early but Day is evading well. Some big shots land but nothing significant really lands. Grant takes the round based purely off his aggression. 19-19.
Third round and Grant is being aggressive again. Day is begin to get tired and is evading less and less. He’s throwing wildly and Grant is doing well to keep the pace up. Both fighters go for a big shot and Day hits nothing but air. Grant hits a nice body shot and follows up with a vicious left hook that flattens Day and knocks him unconscious! Unbelievable punch and a brutal knockout win!
Grant tells Dana White after the fight that he broke his jaw in the first round. I’m assuming it was the knockdown punch, so kudos to him for fighting through it and getting a knockout of his own.
Karol Rosa def Vanessa Melo via Unanimous Decision (30-26 x2, 30-27)
Two Brazilian women competing in a catchweight bout after Melo missed weight by 5lbs. Rosa starts strong and fast, landing big volume of strikes while Melo tries to feel her out. Both fighters landing shots and Rosa loses balance a few times but generally is getting the better of the standing exchanges. She ends the round with a takedown and some ground and pound.
Second and third round are much more of the same. Rosa completely dominant on the feet and landing takedowns at will. Melo has been completely outclassed and while there are no significant highlights from this fights, it’s as dominant as you’re likely to see on the card tonight.
Raulian Paivia def Zhalgas Zhumagulov via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)
The classic striker vs grappler battle sees a very even first round. Paivia is taking the centre of the Octagon well and Zhumagulov is attacking the legs as expected. Lots of takedown attempts but Paivia does very well to stuff them and land counters, but they don’t look particularly powerful. Zhumagulov lands a takedown very late that could have stolen him the opening round. 10-9 Zhumagulov.
Second round is more of the same but Zhumagulov seems to have warmed up a bit. He’s more aggressive coming forward and landing with shots a bit more but Paivia doing his best to keep his distance. More back and forth action with each Paivia using his length well to land jabs and keep away. Zhumagulov ends the round with another takedown very late but this round is likely his anyway.
Third round starts with a bit more urgency from Paivia as he starts throwing combinations. Zhumagulov doesn’t change tact though and continues with haymakers and takedown attempts. Paivia though stuffs them all but then lands an accidental groin strike to cause a pause in the action. The fight resumes and Paivia stuffs three big takedown attempts before the round comes to an end. I scored it 29-28 to Zhumagulov, but the judges go the other way.
Marcin Tybura def Maxim Grishin via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)
A very, very slow fight this one with not a lot of action.
Tybura pushed forward for the first two rounds and landed late takedowns with neither fighter landing anything significant whatsoever. In the third, Tybura got the takedown earlier and in the end did more than enough to secure a dominant win.
The less said about this fight though, the better.
Leonardo Santos def Roman Bogatov via Unanimous Decision (29-26 x3)
Opening round is a fun one, with Santos landing some nice strikes and Bogatov showing unrelenting pressure and he looks for the takedown. Lots of unorthodox movement from the Russian and spinning attacks to go with it but nothing significant lands from either fighter. 10-9 Bogatov for the pressure.
Second round starts with Bogatov a bit more aggressive than the first. Actively shooting for takedowns now but Santos is calm and composed. Santos lands a huge straight right hand, then another, then another to rock Bogatov. Santos is looking for the finish but Bogatov is still standing. A huge head kick drops Bogatov and Santos goes for the ground and pound but Bogatov is responding to referee Marc Goddard’s calls for him to fight back. Santos has punched himself out now and Bogatov ends up on top against the cage. The round somehow ends with Bogatov landing bombs of his own on top of Santos. 19-19 for me but Bogatov saved himself a potential 10-8 round there.
Probably the craziest round you’re likely to see, ever. The round begins with both men completely exhausted. A takedown attempt by Bogatov against the cage ends with a knee to the groin and Santos is in agony. After taking the full five minutes to recover they get back into it and Bogatov once again is attacking the body and going for takedowns. He lands ANOTHER groin strike and Goddard gives him a stern warning, that he’ll take points from him if there are any other fouls in this fight. Santos is still absolutely exhausted and Bogatov gets him against the cage looking for a takedown. Inexplicably though, Bogatov lands a huge knee flush to the face of Santos while he has a knee on the ground causing Goddard to pause the bout again with a minute to go. The referee deducts TWO points from Bogatov and that’s enough to give Santos the decision win.
Makwan Amirkhani def Danny Henry via Submission (Anaconda choke) – (Round 1, 3:15)
A sleeper for fight of the night here as these two lock horns in the centre of the Octagon. Henry looking to feel his way into range with his boxing but Amirkhani looks razor sharp. A flying knee lands clean for Mr. Finland and he follows it up with a takedown. He takes the back and has a hook in immediately before switching to a modified Anaconda choke. Henry is fighting the choke but Amirkhani has it locked in strong. Referee checks the arm of Henry and it’s completely limp. He’s out cold! Impressive victory for Makwan Amirkhani.
Muslim Salikhov def Elizeu Dos Santos via Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
A very touchy, feely first round between two top strikers. Both fighters feeling their way into this one and it takes a few minutes before we see them opening up. Salikhov lands a nice spinning back kick and Dos Santos replies with a spin kick of his own. Dos Santos lands a heavy right hand that hurts Salikhov and he goes for the finish. Salikhov ducks the next punch and lands a takedown, but Dos Santos ends up on top landing ground and pound as the round ends. 10-9 Dos Santos.
Second round more of the same again. Dos Santos happy to stand and strike with Salikhov interestingly, despite his advantage on the ground. Spin attempt from ‘Capoeira’ sees Salikhov throw him to the floor but he waits for him to get back up. Seconds later, Dos Santos lands another big right hand that rocks Salikhov but once again the Russian lands a takedown to recover. Both fighters attempt some spinning attacks and land some good strikes to see out the round, but the big right that rocked Salikhov has likely won Dos Santos this round too. 20-18.
Broadcast tells us that between rounds both corners told their respective fighter that they believed they were 2-0 up. Predictably then, the third round starts with a bit more conservative energy. Dos Santos using his reach well and landing jabs but Salikhov is throwing kicks freely. Neither fighter looks like they want to commit to trying to get a finish, likely working off the advice from their corners. Not a lot of output from either fighter as we enter the final minute, with both happy to see this go to the judges. Salikhov’s round for the extra pressure but nothing in it. 29-28 Dos Santos for me.
Jiri Prochazka def Volkan Oezdemir via Knockout – (Round 2, 0:49)
An interesting first round begins with Prochazka almost talking to himself to hype up. Oezdemir throwing his left hand but Prochazka looking to walk through it. Lots of feints and Oezdemir lands a big left hook that wobbles the debutant! Prochazka fights through it though and continues to swing with his own punches but his hands are so low and he’s very open to counters. First round ends but it was very, very entertaining. 10-9 Volkan.
Second round begins with more of the same strange movements from Prochazka. Oezdemir lands a nice left hand but Prochazka follows it up with a low kick and then a head kick that lands clean. Oezdemir is wobbled and Prochazka marches forward. He fakes the flying knee to back Oezdemir against the cage, then lands a flush one-two down the pipe to knock Volkan out cold. What a knockout. What a debut!
Amanda Ribas def Paige VanZant via Submission (Armbar) – (Round 1, 2:21)
VanZant steps out in the first round already emotional from her walk out. Ribas lands a leg kick and they engage in a clinch. Ribas clearly much physically stronger and she gets a head and arm throw against the cage. RIbas lands some nice strikes before transitioning to take the back. Ribas locks in an armbar, goes belly down and despite VanZant’s attempts to escape she’s forced to tap. That’s a wrap for VanZant’s UFC career.
Rose Namajunas def Jessica Andrade via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
A fun first round starts off with Rose taking the centre and using her huge reach advantage to land jabs, much like their first bout. Andrade is bouncing around a lot, moving her head off the centre line and not charging forward nearly as much as before. Rose isn’t afraid of the wild exchanges and her precise techniques landing her clean shots but she’s not completely avoiding damage. Andrade engages in a clinch but Rose throws a lovely knee into the chin as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Namajunas.
More of the same in the second round and Rose is looking comfortable. Andrade throwing leg kicks as Rose goes for a big flying knee but misses. Huge body shot lands by Andrade but then Rose lands a big hook of her own. Andrade starting to throw wild hooks but Rose is moving away well. Namajunas goes for a flying knee again and misses, ending up on her back but she pops up again well. Nice one-twos landing from Rose as Andrade engages in a clinch, but Rose throws an elbow on the break to get away unscathed. Fight ends with both exchanging in the pocket. 20-18 Rose.
Final round and both fighters believe they’re up on the scorecards. Andrade throwing a lot of left hooks but Rose using her jab well and staying at distance to avoid damage. Andrade lands a right hand to draw blood from Namajunas’ nose and she’s starting to get hit more than the previous rounds. Andrade lands a left hook that rocks Rose and then she grabs a takedown. Rose threatens with an armbar and a triangle choke before pushing Andrade off and bouncing back up without taking any more damage. Both women landing power shots as we enter the final minute as Andrade presses forward with powerful strikes again. Rose shoots in for the takedown and gets it but Andrade reverses the position immediately before popping back up to her feet. Both women land one more big shot each before the buzzer goes. Andrade round but Rose should get the decision. 29-28.
Petr Yan def Jose Aldo via Knockout – (Round 5, 3:24)
Both fighters showing respect to each other in the first round as they try to claim control of the centre of the Octagon. Both guys throwing out jabs but the first big punch is landed by Yan, who throws a right overhand that lands flush on Aldo’s chin. The Brazilian returns with a heavy calf kick that sends the Russian to the ground but he bounces back up immediately. Aldo shoots for a takedown towards the end of the round but Yan scrambles and earns top position, then lands big ground and pound. Aldo looks hurt and shells up as Yan lands some bombs but he survives the round. 10-9 Yan.
Aldo throwing a lot more leg kicks in the second round, troubling Yan. The Russian isn’t scared to stand in the pocket with Aldo though and is landing some nice punches in the exchanges. Aldo landing more jabs now and starting to make Yan miss but not much action in the second round. 19-19.
Jose Aldo working the body really well in this third round. Ripping left hooks into body constantly, Yan is struggling to make anything land. Aldo lands a nice knee to the head but Yan walks straight through it without any problems. Yan being forced to fight southpaw because of the damage his leg has taken but the strikes are beginning to land now. Yan lands a nice combo and a big elbow on Aldo as the Brazilian starts to fade into the final minute of the round. Round ends with a big land by Yan in a very close round. Despite that, I’m giving the round to Aldo but it could have gone either way. 29-28 Aldo.
Yan looks fresher coming into this round and he lands a nice body kick early in the round. Aldo lands a big body shot but Yan responds immediately with a one-two on the chin of the Brazilian. Clinch in the centre and both fighters throw out knees and body strikes before Yan attempts a sweep to take Aldo down, but he manages to keep his balance. Yan starting to hunt Aldo down across the Octagon, with Aldo constantly retreating and covering up. Big shots from Yan and he sweeps the legs of Aldo and gets him down. Yan standing over a grounded Aldo and just landing big shots but the round comes to an end before he can finish it. Without doubt a Yan round. 38-38.
Fifth round starts and Yan lands a huge one-two immediately that drops Aldo! More ground and pound and Aldo is hurt. Yan has a crucifix position against the cage and is landing big punches and elbows on Aldo. Amazing ground and pound from Yan, Aldo is in huge trouble. Heavy, heavy shots to the head going unanswered but the referee is giving him every chance to fight back. Yan continues to land, Aldo is done but the referee won’t call it. More big elbows and punches and the referee finally steps in to call it. Petr Yan is the world champion!
Alexander Volkanovski def Max Holloway via Split Decision (48-47 x2, 47-48)
Very, very cagey first round from both competitors in this rematch. Volkanovski has landed a few leg kicks but Max is moving well and avoiding most punches. Holloway lands a nice one-two and Volkanovski gets wobbled and instead of jumping on it, Blessed mocks him instead! A flying knee attempt from Holloway missed before a head kick lands right at the end of the round and drops Volkanovski. He pushes the pressure but the horn goes. 10-9 Holloway.
Second round starts calmly, with Holloway using kicks very well in this fight. Max lands a big combo to the body and head that forces Volkanovski to acknowledge it with a nod. Volkanovski pushing forward but he’s swinging wildly and being outclassed at the moment. End of the round approaching and Holloway steps in and lands a big uppercut that drops Volkanovski once again. Big punch from Max and it gives him the round once again. 20-18 Blessed.
Third round opens up with more of the same as Holloway is controlling the range brilliantly with his kicks. Some nice punches from both and then Volkanovski shoots in deep for a takedown. Holloway defends it well and it leads to a clinch against the cage. Holloway shows his strength to stave off any attempts before letting off a knee on the break. Volkanovski leads with a strong left hook but Max looks totally composed in this fight. Alexander lands some jabs and leg kicks but as the round comes to an end it’s hard to see him winning this on the scorecards. 30-27 Holloway.
Volkanovski landing a lot of leg kicks in the fourth and the bruising on Holloway’s thigh is very obvious. Alexander using jabs and left hooks to close the distance but Holloway just returns fire every single time. Clinch in the centre and Volk trips Max and gets the fight to the floor. He steps over the guard of his opponent but Holloway gets his back against the cage and manages to get back to his feet very quickly. Volkanovski landing more shots now and he has Max thinking about the leg kicks again. End of the round, Max gets on the board. 39-37 Holloway.
Final round but it could easily be 2-2 on the scorecards and the fighters know it. Holloway lands a nice left hook that Volkanovski acknowledges but then he comes back with some shots of his own. Volk clinches and pushes Max against the cage but once again ‘Blessed’ gets away relatively easily. Halfway through and both fighters still look good for cardio. Both fighters exchanging strikes and eating heavy punches, then Volkanovski shoots in for a takedown and secures it. Once again, Holloway gets his back to the cage and gets back to his feet almost immediately. Volk lands a nice left hand as we enter the final round and then he shoots for a takedown again, but Holloway stuffs it. Final seconds of the fight and Volk finally gets a takedown and lands a strike on the ground before the buzzer goes. I have it 3-2 to Holloway, 48-47. What a fight.
Kamaru Usman def Jorge Masvidal via Unanimous Decision (50-45 x2, 49-46)
First round starts with Masvidal landing lots of kicks to the leg of Usman, who swings a wild right hand and misses. Masvidal throws a body kick that Usman catches and sends him to the floor and gets on top. Usman lands a big elbow but Masvidal smiles and eventually gets back to his feet without any more damage. Masvidal is winning the striking exchanges on the feet with his speed advantage. 10-9 Masvidal after Round 1.
Second round starts with Usman going straight for the leg of Masvidal looking for a takedown. Masvidal stuffs it yet again. Usman lands a nice right hand as they break, which sees Gamebred respond with a hook but Usman ducks and initiates another clinch. Lots of body work from both fighters in the clinch, but it seems like Usman is just simply trying to wear Masvidal out. 19-19 after 2.
Third round is more of that same, with Usman clinching but not able to get the takedowns. Masvidal is defending superbly against the cage though, forcing Usman to just really use foot stomps. More body work from both and Usman hits Masvidal a bit too low for the referees liking and there’s a pause in the action. On the restart there is some jostling and Masvidal goes for that switch-stance punch that KO’d Darren Till, however Usman reads it and shoots for the takedown. ‘Gamebred’ gets back up but Usman shows his strength advantage and drags him back down. Usman gets into Masvidal’s guard and starts landing big elbows as the round comes to a close. 29-28 Usman.
Start of the fourth and Usman lands a big body kick before shooting for another takedown. Masvidal stuffs it against the cage again and the clinch ensues, with Usman landing foot stomps and shoulder strikes. They separate briefly but Usman goes back in for the takedown, forcing Masvidal to give up his back as they get back to their feet. ‘Gamebred’ spins back into a clinch and it’s more of the same offence. Masvidal explodes with strikes and forces the separation, but Usman goes straight back in for a clinch. Usman lands a big right hand on the chin before engaging in yet another clinch with foot stomps and shoulder strikes. Masvidal is visibly tired now but still looks dangerous when they engage, it’s just not often enough.
Round 5 starts with both men squaring off and Usman lands a nice jab. Usman goes for the takedown once again and manages to turn the corner to complete it this time. Usman sitting on top of Masvidal as he tries to get out but ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’ is just too strong. Usman tries to advance to mount but ‘Gamebred’ explodes out. Usman holds him in a front face lock as we enter the final minute. Masvidal manages to get back to his feet but Usman too strong in the clinch and lands more body blows. Masvidal giving it everything in the last 30 seconds, moves for the flying knee but Usman avoids it. The klaxon goes and the two exchange words at the end but it should be nothing but an Usman unanimous decision win.