Irwin Rivera def Ali Al-Qaisi via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
Fight pass issues mean I didn’t get to see this one in it’s entirety. The final minute of the second round and whole third round however were razor close and the commentators weren’t even sure about who won. Both fighters landed heavy punches, big kicks and were able to secure takedowns but it was ‘The Beast’ who got the nod from the judges.
Youssef Zalal def Peter Barrett via Unanimous Decision (30-26 x2, 30-27)
Fun first round in the books as the Moroccan opens the fight with a low calf kick and follows it up with a huge spinning back kick that catches Barrett flush in the face and knocks him down. Zalal sprints over and lands a barrage of ground and pound trying to put him away. Barrett recovers though and uses his wrestling well, but Zalal is staying out of range and enjoying the striking exchanges. 10-9 Zalal.
A second round that is majority grappling as Zalal shows his skill level is just a notch above Barrett’s. A lovely throw from Zalal takes the fight to the ground and he immediately takes the back. The rest of the round is Zalal looking for a rear-naked choke but Barrett is very tough and avoids it throughout to get through to a third round. 20-18 Zalal.
Third round is excellent fight management from Zalal. He gets the fight back down to the ground and controls it once again staying out of danger and looking for chokes throughout. A comfortable win for the Moroccan Devil.
Gavin Tucker def Justin Jaynes via Submission (Rear Naked Choke), Round 3 (1:43)
What a round! Both guys come out with a similar game plan to throw straight punches, high kicks and to control the octagon. It’s a razor close round and Jaynes lands a huge uppercut that drops Tucker. Jaynes runs in for some ground and pound but Tucker does well to survive before turning it around and getting back to his feet. A few more punches land from Jaynes before Tucker shoots for a single leg that Jaynes turns into a guillotine attempt. Tucker escapes, losing his shorts in the process, and manages to reverse the position to an arm-triangle choke! Jaynes survives the round still in the choke. 10-9 Tucker for me, despite the knockdown.
Second round seems like Tucker was woken up and angered by the knockdown in the first. He’s hunting Jaynes down and stalking him across the octagon, landing heavy punches and kicks. He’s mixing up strikes from head to body to legs and Jaynes is visibly tiring as the round goes on. A super round for Tucker that is unquestionably his. 20-18 for me.
Jaynes comes out swinging for the fences in the third but Tucker lands a beautiful knee that would have dropped Jaynes if not for the fence holding him up. Jaynes is wobbling and shoots for the takedown but Tucker sprawls well and turns a tired and hurt Jaynes over and takes his back. He locks in a body triangle, finds the rear-naked choke and secures the tap. Big win for Tucker.
Andrew Sanchez def Wellington Turman via Knockout, Round 1 (3:46)
Turman comes out aggressive in the first and looks to take Sanchez down immediately, tying him up in a clinch but ‘El Dirte’ defends well and keeps it on the feet. Both men start striking and landing some heavy blows, but Sanchez seems to be landing cleaner and harder shots. Turman goes for a head kick but Sanchez evades the kick and lands a lovely right cross counter that stuns Turman. He steps forward and lands a jab followed by another heavy right hand that drops Turman out cold. He follows up with two more hammer fists but the referee stops it immediately. Huge win for Andrew Sanchez.
Nasrat Haqparast def Alex Munoz via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)
A tense first round between these two lightweights that starts off with an immediate takedown from Munoz. Haqparast gets back up quickly and Munhoz lands a low blow against the cage as they clinch which causes a pause in the action. Following that though, Haqparast seems to go up a level with his striking. He starts landing a nice uppercut and hooks, while reading Munoz’s level changes well. Towards the end of the round Munoz starts to mix it up a bit more but Haqparast is comfortable and takes the round. 10-9.
Haqparast is turning up the heat in this second round. Heavy shots land and more stuffing of Munoz’s takedowns have him in complete control of this fight. There’s a clear speed and power advantage for Haqparast and he shows it with a big one-two that staggers Munoz! He presses forward for more shots but Munoz avoids flush strikes for a while and recovers. More damage lands and cuts open Munoz below his right eye and a clash of heads opens up a cut on Haqparast’s head too but it’s another round for Baby Gastelum. 20-18.
Final round and it’s more of the same. Haqparast out-boxing Munoz and allowing absolutely nothing in terms of takedowns from Munoz. He’s landing at will and cutting up the face of Munoz and not taking much damage himself. Round ends with Haqparast on the attack yet again and Munoz well and truly beaten. 30-27.
Kevin Holland def Joaquin Buckley via Knockout, Round 3 (0:32)
Fireworks! Buckley has come to take Holland’s head off with huge hooks and Holland is looking for something spectacular too. Buckley is throwing big, powerful combinations to the body but Holland is looking to throw elbows whenever he gets inside. Buckley is loading up way too much and Holland is reading the shots easily now and lands a crisp right straight that drops Buckley! The debutant recovers quickly and gets back to his feet and the round ends. Holland’s round but Buckley is in this fight. 10-9.
An interesting second round, where Buckley was the aggressor but the reach disadvantage really stopped him landing anything significant. Holland wasn’t as active but ensured he countered successfully and probably landed the bigger shots of the round. 20-18 Holland but could go the other way.
Well…. that close round didn’t matter. Holland comes out in the third round and lands two body kicks, avoids a looping hook from Buckley, readjusts and then lands a sniper-like right straight that knocks the mouthpiece out of Buckley’s mouth and lands him a walk off knockout. What a punch, oh my goodness.
Tim Means def Laureano Staropoli via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Fight starts off with a fast pace and Means gets an early takedown. Staropoli jumps up to his feet quickly and the two start exchanging body shots as Means looks for the clinch and knees. Both fighters throwing similar shots and landing at a similar rate. A thumb to the eye from Means causes a short pause in the action but following that both guys get right back to it. Close round but I’m giving it to Means. 10-9.
Second round starts with a huge spinning elbow by Staropoli as Means runs in for a takedown. Means eats it though and holds on to a body lock to recover. More exchanges from both guys and Means lands a huge kick that drops Staropoli! He rushes in for the ground and pound to finish the fight but Staropoli defends well and recovers. Lots of body shots from Means as Staropoli is visibly beginning to tire now. Means closes the round out looking for a takedown against the cage before landing a heavy elbow. 20-18 Means for me.
Third round is excellent wrestling from Tim Means. The veteran used his wrestling well to keep the fight at a safe distance and had him up against the cage for a large portion of the round. The referee separated them at one point due to a fence grab but Means did well to land punches and then take it straight back. Excellent fight management. 30-27 Means for me.
Beneil Dariush def Scott Holtzman via Knockout, Round 1 (4:38)
Big body kick by Dariush opens the fight but almost immediately after Holtzman accidentally puts a thumb in his eye. They get back to it and Dariush lands a glancing low blow and then Holtzman with another eye poke, all within the first 60 seconds. Dariush now goes for a takedown against the cage but Holtzman reverses against puts Dariush against the cage. They engage in a clinch and Dariush lands a huge knee to the face. Dariush pushes forward looking for a finish but Holtzman recovers well. Dariush continues to push forward, throws a nice body kick then fakes the jab and lands a huge spinning back fist! Walk off knockout! Oh my God! Wow!
Yana Kunitskaya def Julija Stoliarenko via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)
Aggressive start from Stoliarenko but Kunitskaya turns it around and gets a clinch against the cage. She lands some nice knees to the body and is showing that he’s physically stronger right now. Stoliarenko attempts to pull guard with a guillotine but Kunitskaya defends well and gets the fight back into the previous position for the remainder of the round, landing knees and the odd punch. 10-9 Kunitskaya.
Second round starts off exactly as the last round ended, with Kunitskaya overpowering Stoliarenko and getting the fight to the cage in a clinch and landing knees. Stoliarenko is desperate to get this fight to the ground but Kunitskaya defending it perfectly and keeping the fight exactly where she wants it. Countless body shots with the knees really taking their toll on Stoliarenko and she pulls guard again. This time Kunitskaya stays there and lands a big elbow but Stoliarenko eats it and throws up her patented armbar. It’s closing to getting locked in but the cage position saves Kunitskaya and she manages to hold out for the end of the round. 20-18.
Third round goes straight back to the clinch exchange against the cage to open the round, but Stoliarenko manages to get it down to the mat much quicker this time around. She attempts to throw up a rubber guard but there’s just not enough space to do anything with it. Referee stands them up and it’s more of the same before the round and fight comes to an end. 30-27 Kunitskaya but it’s not a fight anyone will remember.
Darren Stewart def Maki Pitolo via Submission (Guillotine), Round 1 (3:41)
A tense start to the fight sees both men circling the octagon throwing out short combination punches but nobody really landing anything. Pitolo lands a nice right hand that seems to stun Stewart but he shakes it off and continues to come forward himself. Pitolo shoots for a single leg takedown but Stewart slides an arm under the chin and locks in a guillotine choke. He adjusts the grip to tighten it up and secures the tap. Huge win for The Dentist!
Chris Weidman def Omari Akhmedov via Unanimous Decision (29-27 x2, 29-28)
Weidman comes out bouncing on his toes before shooting immediately for a takedown. Akhmedov avoids the first few attempts but Weidman relenteless in his search. Akhmedov lands a nice right straight that stuns Weidman, but he recovers well and goes back to his search for the takedowns. Akhmedov shoots for his own takedown but Weidman holds him down and eventually ends up in top position, controlling but not landing much damage. 10-9 Weidman.
Second round starts with Akhmedov landing a takedown of his own. He hits some nice ground and pound but Weidman gets back to his feet and now it’s almost a complete reverse of the first round. Akhmedov is getting more and more aggressive and persistent with his takedown attempts and Weidman is exhausted. Akhmedov lands more takedowns but Weidman is getting up pretty quickly. 19-19 going into the third in a stalemate of a fight.
Round 3 and Weidman flies out for the takedown to open the round. He drives Akhmedov against the cage, before a beautiful trip gets Weidman into a dominant position. Weidman attempts for a variation of a ‘Suliev Stretch’ but it’s not quite working so he transitions himself to the back and then into full mount. He attempts for an arm triangle but doesn’t quite have the squeeze so starts dropping big elbows to close out the round. 29-28 Weidman for me.
Derrick Lewis def Alexei Oleinik via Knockout, Round 2 (0:21)
Lewis starts the fight with a high kick and starts throwing bombs. Oleinik weathers the storm and engages the clinch, but Lewis literally throws him to the ground and goes for ground and pound strikes. Oleinik does well to ride it out and takes control on the ground, reversing positions and dominating the grappling. Oleinik attempts to go for a scarf-hold but while he’s not close to securing a tap he’s definitely making Lewis uncomfortable. The round ends with Oleinik very close to securing a key-lock submission. 10-9 Oleinik.
Second round starts and Lewis charges out with a flying knee to the chest and huge right hand! Oleinik falls and Lewis pounces with the ground and pound for the finish. 3 wins in a row for The Black Beast.