Fight Of The Night: Billy Quarantillo vs Gabriel Benitez
Quarantillo was able to find early success on the feet, knocking Benitez down and badly injuring “Moggly”. Although he wasn’t able to finish the fight after that knocked down, Billy Q continued to put the pressure on with his grappling attack. At the start of the final round Benitez hurt Quarantillo badly but Quarantillo was able to scramble his way out of danger and then get his wits about him.
That’s when Quarantillo took Benitez back and locked in another body triangle, this time however, he wasn’t going to let Benitez escape. Quarantillo started dropping bombs on a bloodied-up Benitez, forcing the referee to call an end to the bout.
It was an impressive performance for Quarantillo who improves to 4-1 inside the Octagon.
Performance of the Night: Mateusz Gamrot
Mateusz Gamrot wanted to make a statement at UFC Fight Night: Makhachev vs Moises. Submitting UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens in just 65 seconds with a kimura definitely did the trick.
Gamrot went for a takedown early, secured it and when Stephens threatened a kimura, Gamrot flipped the script and finished Stephens in a flash. It was a brilliant performance for the Polish lightweight and sets him up for higher profile bouts in the near future.
Performance of the Night: Rodrigo Nascimento
For Rodrigo Nascimento, it was the tale of two fights. The first round of his heavyweight clash with Alan Baudot didn’t go as expected, with the Brazilian taking some damage and having difficulty finding his rhythm. The second rough however, went perfect. The jiu jitsu player let his hands do the talking, busting open Baudot with powerful shots until Baudot had to cover up and hit the deck.
It was the perfect bounce-back performance for Nascimento, who improved his record to 3-1 in the UFC.
Performance of the Night: Rodolfo Vieira
Coming off on the wrong side of big upset is never easy to deal with, but Rodolfo Vieira wasn’t about to let himself fall into a similar situation at UFC Fight Night: Makhachev vs Moises. The Brazilian middleweight knew he was in for a tough test against Dustin Stoltzfus but he was able go back to his bread and butter.
Tied with a round a piece heading into the final round, Vieira took Stoltzfus’ back while standing and then launched his back to the canvas. He did so while simultaneously sinking in a rear naked choke that forced Stoltzfus to tap immediately. It was a very impressive finish and exactly how Vieira wanted to get back on track.
Performance of the Night: Miesha Tate
Welcome back Miesha Tate! After five years away from the Octagon, the former UFC bantamweight champion returned with a stellar performance against Marion Reneau. Tate’s third round TKO win was the first time that Reneau suffered a defeated by being stopped in her UFC career.
Talk about a magnificent way to start her climb back to the top.
Fight of the Night: Sean O’Malley vs Kris Moutinho
Stepping in on short-notice, UFC debutant Kris Moutinho gave rising bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley all he could handle for the better part of three rounds in the opening bout of the main card.O’Malley looked sharp early, cracking Moutinho with creative combinations and heavy strikes, but the Massachusetts-native kept walking forward undeterred. It seemed like O’Malley finally was going to get the first-round stoppage when he connected with a big right hand before the horn, but Moutinho survived the rest of the frame.
The second and third round were much of the same. Moutinho marched forward, O’Malley circled, countered and peppered him with endless shots and an efficient clip, and there was a sense of growing frustration on O’Malley’s face about his inability to end the fight.As the final minute ensued, O’Malley continued his dominant form. Despite being bloodied and bruised, Moutinho never stopped advancing. Eventually, though, O’Malley’s flurries were too much, and Herb Dean saw enough to stop the fight with less than 30 seconds left in the final round.
Performance of the Night: Dricus Du Plessis
In his second UFC bout, South African middleweight prospect Dricus Du Plessis earned his second knockout win in the Octagon over Trevin Giles.Du Plessis pressed the action to begin and managed Giles’ strong counter-punching approach. He made adjustments along the way, implemented some grappling, and in the second round, De Plessis saw a window to starch Giles with a big right hand that ended the fight.
Performance of the Night: Tai Tuivasa
Tuivasa said all week he knew the fight would end early and figured he’d be the man who ended up on top, and the Australian was spot on as he scored a first-round knockout over Greg Hardy.Tuivasa peppered Hardy with leg kicks to start, and after Hardy appeared to connect with a big shot, “Bam Bam” launched a nuclear left hand to end the fight. Naturally, he followed with a celebratory and patented “shoey.”
Fight of the Night: Raoni Barcelos vs. Timur Valiev
Had there been five more seconds at the end of round 2, the outcome would have been markedly different, but Timur Valiev made the most of his opportunity in the third round and escaped with the majority decision in an epic battle with Raoni Barcelos.
The final scores of 28-28, 29-28 and 29-28 paint a picture of how close the contest was, with both men fighting their hearts out. Valiev survived an absolute onslaught from Barcelos late in the second with an almost unexplainable, zombie-like to continue back to his feet.
“I expected a hard fight against this guy, he would say following the win. “I knew he would cut my head off, but I was prepared. I trained hard, this probably was my best camp, and I think on my next fights, I’ll look even better. I’m starting to feel this cage, this atmosphere, being part of the UFC… I’m so happy. Win, loss or draw, I knew I fought well. I made my coaches and family proud, that’s the most important part, but I thought that it would maybe be a draw or I would win. It’s the only results I’d accept.”
In an event filled with stunning standout performances, there was no peer for Fight Of The Night.
Performance of the Night: Kennedy Nzechukwu
If you haven’t paid any attention to UFC light heavyweight Kennedy Nzechukwu, it’s time to start. With back-to-back bonus worthy performances, Nzechukwu is officially on the map.
At UFC Fight Night: Gane vs Volkov, Nzechukwu was behind on two of the three judge’s scorecards heading into his third round with Danilo Marques. He opened up the first 20 seconds of the third round with a flurry of strikes that didn’t stop until the referee was forced to call the fight. Nzechukwu’s ability to dig deep and push through adversity is one of the biggest reasons that he is someone to keep an eye on at light heavyweight.
The 29-year-old Nzechukwu is 9-1 overall (3-1 in the UFC) and hopes to make the walk to the Octagon again in 2021.
Performance of the Night: Marcin Prachnio
What a turnaround for Marcin Prachnio. After starting out 0-3 in the UFC, Prachnio has responded perfectly with his back was against the wall. The Polish light heavyweight earned his second win in a row at UFC Fight Night: Gane vs Volkov, becoming just the third light heavyweight in the UFC’s modern era to earn a KO/TKO by body kick.
Prachnio drilled opponent Ike Villanueva with 17 leg kicks in the first round, so he decided to aim higher at the beginning of the second frame. The strike found its mark and folded Villanueva over on the canvas putting an end to the fight.
With two wins in 2021, Prachnio looks to continue building on his momentum before the end of the year.
Fight of the Night: Marlon Vera vs. Davey Grant
The second bout between Marlon Vera and Davey Grant finished with "Chito" avenging his 2016 loss to Grant with a tough, violent unanimous decision victory. Grant got things going early, switching up his attack with kicks and winging punches, but Vera walked through the fire and continued to methodically work on his own attack. They scrambled on the ground and tested each other there, but when they returned to the feet, Vera started cashing in a few leg kicks.
In the second round, Grant kept up the pace, but Vera's offense started to have more impact. In a clinch situation, Vera connected with several elbows to Grant's forehead, opening up a cut on his foe. They returned to the mat, where Vera looked for a variety of submissions. Grant nearly locked in a guillotine choke of his own while Vera countered with a leg lock, and the two exchanged strikes until the horn sounded.
The final frame saw Vera stuff a Grant takedown and fish for submissions. Grant connected with a few heavy shots when they got back to their feet, but Vera landed a flush knee and took Grant down. From there, Vera continued to land heavy ground-and-pound and came close to a submission before the fight came to an end.
Performance of the Night: Matt Brown
Matt Brown made it a point to remind everyone of his status as a 40-year-old after scoring an emphatic one-punch knockout of Dhiego Lima in the second round of their fight.
The first round saw Brown going through some adversity, eating several leg kicks and struggling to find much of a rhythm in the fight. It seemed like more of the same in the second round until Brown bit down on his mouthpiece, hit Lima to the body and then feinted the same shot before coming over the top with his right hand. Lima's lights went out almost immediately, and "The Immortal" tallied another iconic finish.
Performance of the Night: Seungwoo Choi
Korea's Seungwoo Choi put himself on the map as a name to watch after knocking out Julian Erosa in the first round.
Choi found his rhythm and distance quickly, but Erosa ate the shots well before continuing his forward pressure. In another exchange, Choi scored another big shot, landing a left hook that sat Erosa down on the canvas. His follow up shots forced the referee to stop the fight less than two minutes into the fight.
Fight of the Night: Drew Dober vs Brad Riddell
The UFC’s lightweight division continues to deliver as one of the most exciting in the sport. This time around, it was a thrilling performance from both Brad Riddell and Drew Dober to close out the UFC 263 prelims.
For three rounds, the two talented strikers exchanged powerful blows, with neither Riddell or Dober faltering an inch. The first round went to Dober, as he scored the biggest moment of the round with a strike that forced Riddell to go for a takedown while he looked to recover from the blow. In the second, Riddell flipped a switch and started connecting with his laser overhand right, finding success nearly every time he threw it.
That opened up the door for Riddell to take control as Dober began to fade down the stretch of the third round. Riddell applied the pressure and hurt Dober bad in the final minute of the bout. Riddell’s strong finish to the fight earned him the nod in the final frame. The win puts Riddell in a perfect spot to start his rise in the division's top 15 and as we've seen with each of Riddell's performance's thus far, they're not going to be match-ups you'll want to miss.
Performance of the Night: Brandon Moreno
Mexico officially has its first native-born UFC Champion.
The rematch between Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo lived up to the hype that's been built over the past six months as Moreno made history and earned the flyweight title in one fell swoop, submitting Figueiredo with a rear naked choke in the third round. Moreno was on fire right from the beginning, catching Figueiredo off guard with a jab with under two minutes left. Figueiredo bounced back in the second round this time taking Moreno down; however, Moreno’s solid defense allowed him to turn things around once again to pin down his opponent.
The flyweights continued to battle in the third, but once Moreno got his takedown there was no going back, forcing Figueiredo to tap at 2:26 of round three. Moreno leaves Gila River Arena donning a shiny new belt and $50,000 richer.
Performance of the Night: Paul Craig
After weeks of back and forth on social media following a postponement of their bout originally scheduled for March, Paul Craig delivered on the promises he made to outclass Jamahal Hill on the ground, handing Hill his first loss in mixed martial arts.
After a minute of getting familiar with each other inside the Octagon, Craig clinched with Hill, pulling him to the ground and nearly locking up Hill’s arm on the way down. Hill was able to escape for a brief moment before Craig secured an armbar, injuring Hill in the process. Refusing to tap, the 14th-ranked light heavyweight fired off a few hammer fists to Hill’s head, forcing the referee to stop the fight just before the two minute mark and earning Craig his sixth performance of the night bonus in 12 UFC fights.
Fight of the Night: Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Miguel Baeza
The audience was the true winner of the welterweight slugfest that commentator Brendan Fitzgerald dubbed an “instant classic” at the conclusion of a brutal back-and-forth fifteen minutes. The scorecards pointed towards “The Argentine Dagger,” when it was all said and done, but so close was the action that no outcome was likely to be controversial.
With 3-rounds Santiago Ponzinibbio and Miguel Baeza cast their names in the race for fight of the year. What started out as a dominant first round for the rising Baeza slowly started to turn halfway through round two with Ponzibbio taking control of the match. Both fighters left it all in The Octagon.
"I feel so good," Ponzinibbio would say backstage. After 26 months I came back and took the worst loss of my career. I could have beaten this guy. The guy didn’t beat me in 15 minutes. It was just a lucky punch. That was very tough. Today, I had to work with all these feelings. My first round was to figure out who I am. It was a little slow. The second and third round I came on strong. That was the real Santiago Ponzinibbio."
Performance of the Night: Marcin Tybura
When his fight against Walt Harris began, it sure didn’t look like Marcin Tybura was going to come away with a win. But that’s the beauty of MMA, and by the time the dust had settled, Tybrura had claimed his 5th consecutive victory and tied Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane for the longest active UFC win streak in the heavyweight division. Only 7% of the fighters to ever compete in the UFC have won five consecutive UFC fights.
Referee Mark Smith gave Harris every opportunity he could to fight his way out of Tybura’s cyclonic ground-and-pound, but at 4:06 of the first round, enough was enough. If he had flown under the radar previously, Tybura may find it impossible to do so now.
“I was really surprised that my opponent didn’t learn that the storm doesn’t work with me anymore,” he told Heidi Androl following the big win.
Performance of the Night: Jairzinho Rozenstruik
“Bigi Boy” made it 11 finishes out of 12 professional fights with a devastating TKO of Augusto Sakai just as time expired in the first round. Proving once again that his fists are nothing short of dynamite when he chooses to let them fly, the pride of Suriname continues to hover in among the elites of the heavyweight division.
“I’ve become more of an MMA fighter than a kickboxer,” he said of his evolution during his last camp. “I’m not afraid of guys taking me down anymore.”On that note, he mentioned wrestling ace Curtis Blaydes as a potential next opponent. “If he wants it, and he’s ready? Let’s go.”
Fight Of The Night: Justin Tafa vs Jared Vanderaa
These big boys came to fight. Both Justin Tafa and Jared Vanderaa gave it everything they had inside the Octagon. For 15 minutes did everything they could to take out the man standing across from them, but in the end, it was Vanderaa who left the UFC APEX with his first career UFC win.
Vanderaa’s activity and variety of attacks helped him keep the powerful Australian from landing a knockout blow. Vanderaa suffered a really bad cut on his forehead, but despite the blood running down his chest, the Team Quest product remained unfazed and earned the victory.
Performance Of The Night: Bruno Silva
If you want to get the attention of UFC brass and fight fans alike, back-to-back KOs is a good way to do it.
Flyweight Bruno Silva’s one minute highlight reel KO of Victor Rodriguez earned the Brazilian his second performance bonus award in a row and has him in an excellent position to be moving up the flyweight latter.
Don’t be surprised if Silva’s performance either puts a number by his name or earns him a shot at a ranked flyweight.
Performance Of The Night: Carla Esparza
The inaugural strawweight queen continued her dominance at UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt.
Carla Esparza extended her win streak to five, after dominating nearly every second of her co-main event showdown with Yan Xiaonan. Esparza took the fight to the mat and then she went to work, connecting with 169 total ground strikes which is the second highest total in UFC strawweight history. In the second round Esparza was able to force Yan into the crucifix position and finish the fight. It was just the eleventh UFC finish by KO/TKO in the crucifix position ever.
What a performance from Esparza, only big fights loom for her now. Including a potential rematch with champion Rose Namajunas.
Fight Of The Night: Shane Burgos vs Edson Barboza
When it was announced that Shane Burgos would face Edson Barboza, the fans knew exactly the type of fight they were in for. It was Barboza's explosiveness versus Burgos' toughness, and in the end, the Brazil won the war.
Heading into the third round it was a close fight, one that featured plenty of big moments for both fighters. But Barboza caught Burgos with a right hook to the temple that had a delayed effect, not really causing damage until a few seconds have passed. That's when Burgos stumbled backwards into the cage and Barboza charged in for the finish.
It was an amazing performance and absolutely worthy of FOTN.
Performance Of The Night: Charles Oliveira
Charles Oliveira is the UFC lightweight champion.
Let that sink in for a moment. "Do Bronx" became the 11th man to hold the UFC lightweight belt and he did it in spectacular fashion. Oliveira has finished 8 of his last 9 fights, and his second round knockout of Michael Chandler gives him 17 finishes for his UFC career. That's the most in UFC history.
The TKO came after Oliveira faced plenty of adversity from the powerful Michael Chandler and for a moment, it looked as if Chandler was going to walk away from the Toyota Center in Houston with the title. But Oliveira came out strong to start the second round, dropping Chandler right off the bat and finishing him in under 20 seconds.
Congratulations Charles, you earned it.
Performance Of The Night: Christos Giagos
Christos Giagos picked up his second win in a row, submitting Sean Soriano via a D'arce Choke. It was Giagos' first finish victory since 2015 and it came after Soriano came out strong in the opening frame.
Giagos moved to 19-8 with the victory and sets himself to get start a real run in a packed lightweight division.
Fight Of The Night: Deigo Ferreira vs Gregor Gillespie
Ranked lightweights went to war at UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez Vs. Waterson. Both Diego Ferreira and Gregor Gillespie absolutely put the pedal to the metal in the first round of their bout, scrambling and fighting for positions for nearly the entire five minutes.
It was non-stop action and for the most part it seemed as if Ferreira was able to come out in the better position after each scramble. Neither inflicted a ton of damage in the first round but both fighters seemed to empty the tank trying to get the upper hand.
That’s at least how it appeared, but New York’s Gillespie turned on the jets in the second round. Beating Ferreira with his relentless wrestling and his ability to be a step ahead. With time ticking away in the final minute Gillespie overwhelmed Ferreira and starting firing away shots as Ferreira turtled up. That was enough for ref, as he called the fight in the final seconds of round two.
It was a triumphant and emotional moment for Gillespie, who improved to 14-1 and regained his footing in the stacked lightweight division.
Performance Of The Night: Alex Morono
Fighting Donald Cerrone on a week notice is not an easy task, but it’s one that Texas’ Alex Morono couldn’t have been more excited for. Morono opened the fight wasting no time, charging the 37 UFC fight veteran. Morono kept that pace the entire time, pushing the action and walking Cerrone down.
Morono’s deadly right hand continued to find its mark and eventually it sent Cerrone backing up to the fence. That’s when Morono let out a barrage of strikes and knees that busted Cerrone up even worse and forced the referee to call an end to the fight inside of the buzzer.
What a night for Morono, who earns the biggest win of his career and leaves Las Vegas with an extra $50,000 that he plans to use to buy his wife a new car.
Performance Of The Night: Carlston Harris
Earning a bonus in your UFC debut is a power play and it definitely goes a long way in getting you noticed. That’s exactly what Carlston Harris accomplished by securing an anaconda choke submission against Christian Aguliera.
The 33-year-old welterweight became just the 19th UFC fighter to ever complete the submission inside the Octagon.
Fight Of The Night: Dominick Reyes vs Jiri Prochazka
As advertised, Jiri Prochazka and Dominick Reyes delivered in their high-stakes, heavy-handed chess match to determine the next potential light heavyweight title challenger.
Reyes, making reading Prochazka's unorthodox style and movement look easy, set the pace with the stand-up and ground game early on in the first round, before being tagged with a few hard shots by Prochazka. The two-time title challenger and the Czech engaged in a slugfest before being broken up by the bell at the end of the first round.
Prochazka was humbled by a left hand midway through the second round that eventually led to a guillotine attempt by Reyes. Unfazed by the dangerous position, Prochazka threw some strikes of his own on the ground before returning to the feet and eventually ending the fight by way of a spinning left elbow. In just his second UFC fight, Prochazka extended his professional win streak to 12 in a big way, and his knockout streak to ten.
Performance Of The Night: Giga Chikadze
Georgian fighters were a perfect 2-0 in the Octagon this night when Giga Chikadze joined Merab Dvalishvili in the win column via a short and sweet TKO victory over veteran Cub Swanson. A savage, perfectly-placed kick to the liver started the sequence that would end Swanson’s night, finishing him with some ground-and-pound just over a minute into the fight. His sixth straight win is now good for the third-longest streak in the featherweight division.
Performance Of The Night: Jiri Prochazka
It was only the third spinning back elbow KO in UFC history in only his second trip to the Octagon, and already Jiri Prochazka is hearing his named mentioned as a potential contender for light heavyweight gold. Despite eating any number of shots that would have put away most other opponents, Prochazka was able to drop bombs at will throughout the near two rounds he shared with Dominick Reyes, finding his range early and often. But the elbow that sent Reyes spilling to the canvas is one we’ll see for years to come on UFC “best of” highlight reels…and rightly so.
Fight Of The Night: Jeffery Molina vs Aoriqileng
A pair of debuting flyweights set a high standard early and each walked away with a Performance Bonus for their 3-round war at UFC 261.
After Jeffery Molina and Aoriqileng exchanged early, Aoriqileng tallied a takedown. Molina responded quickly and got back to the feet, but Aoriqileng kept the forward pressure heavy. The second frame was more of the same until Molina scored a flash knockdown, and Aoriqileng responded with one of his own. At the end of the round, though, Molina countered a kick with a flush right hand that sat Aoriqileng on the canvas.
In the third, Molina stood his ground more and met forward pressure with his own, getting the best of most of the exchanges en route to scoring a unanimous decision win.
Performance Of The Night: Kamaru Usman
"The Nigerian Nightmare" proved once again why he is the king of the welterweight division. Welcoming Jorge Masvidal to the doorstep once again, Usman took Masvidal's best shots and responded with another dominate title defense, this time via a second-round knockout win.
Although Masvidal appeared confident in the second round, Usman was the one with the last laugh after connecting with a cracking right hand that dropped Masvidal. The follow-up shots put an end to a memorable night, and Usman once again proved his greatness.
Performance Of The Night: Rose Namajunas
"Thug" Rose Namajunas became the first woman in UFC history to recapture her title, and she did so in stylish and emphatic fashion. Early in the first round, Namajunas threw a front-side leg kick to Zhang Weili's head, dropping the Chinese champion and finishing the fight before it ever really got started.
It was a beautiful finish for Namajunas, who allowed the emotion to pour out from her in the Octagon after the fight. It starts yet another title reign for the 28-year-old, and she seems to be still coming into her prime.
"No matter who my opponents are, I want to defend this as many times as I can," Namajunas said. "But what I really want to do is to use this to build MMA academies in a couple different locations, so that’s the idea and vision that I had this week. I always knew an idea of what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how to work it into my career and so that’s my plan, I still have to go hash it out, but that’s my vision."
Fight Of The Night: Robert Whittaker Vs Kelvin Gastelum
Top ten middleweights Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum justified the hype behind their heavily anticipated fight. The two men went the five-round distance, with “The Reaper” controlling the action the entire way.
The former middleweight champion connected with 150 significant strikes, the second most ever landed in a 5-round middleweight fight and the fourth most in the middleweight history overall.
Whittaker’s movement and speed advantage was on clear display as he peppered Gastelum while mixing in some takedowns as well. Gastelum was able to land nearly 75 significant strikes himself, making the contest interesting despite the Whittaker’s impressive performance.
The win was Whittaker’s third in row and a rematch with UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya seems to be what’s next up for “The Reaper”.
Performance Of The Night: Gerald Meerschaert
It was the pride of Wisconsin's sixth UFC submission, a new UFC middleweight record that surpasses the likes of Demian Maia and Thales Leites. The extra cash will no doubt come in handy as the Meerschaert clan plans to welcome a new baby imminently.
"Any day now, I’m going to be a brand new dad so I have to get back and do that. Perfect-case scenario, I get back home, spend some time with the family and hopefully come back one more time before the end of the year."
Performance Of The Night: Tony Gravely
Tony Gravely was ready to make his mark delivering his first finish in The Octagon after knocking out Anthony Birchak.
Known for his wrestling, Gravely wanted to put the 135-pound division on notice and show off his more complete skills as a fighter. Birchak mounted his defense but with relentless pressure, Gravely was able to maintain control setting up the 2 round finish.
Julian Marquez Finishes Sam Alvey Via Submission | UFC Fight Night: Vettori Vs Holland
Julian Marquez Finishes Sam Alvey Via Submission | UFC Fight Night: Vettori Vs Holland
Fight Of The Night: Sam Alvey vs Julian Marquez
Julian Marquez has quickly made up for lost time in the Octagon, earning bonuses in back-to-back performances. At UFC Fight Night: Vettori Vs Holland, the Dana White’s Contender Series grad stepped in on relatively short notice to face veteran light heavyweight Sam Alvey.
Marquez and Alvey battled in a fun first round which featured moments for both fighters. Marquez applied the pressure as Alvey used his sharp counterstrikes to inflict damage upon the Glory MMA product.
In the second round Marquez’s hands found their target, stumbling Alvey. That’s when Marquez poured it on, throwing hammer fists at his turtled-up opponent. Marquez switch tactics, sinking in a deep rear naked choke while Alvey was on his knees and putting an end to fight.
It was fast paced, and it was fun. Marquez moves to 9-2 and has his 2021 off to a great start.
Performance Of The Night: Mackenzie Dern
Mackenzie Dern is on fire.
The jiu jitsu world champion showed her evolution as a striker in her last fight against Virna Jandiroba and she showed her killer instinct at UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs Holland.
Welcoming Nina Nunes back to the Octagon after nearly two years, Dern pushed the pace early in the fight. She used her strikes and forward pressure to set-up a takedown. Once she was able to get Nunes to the canvas she slowly but surely maneuvered herself into position to attempt an armbar.
It took a few moments but once she was able to fight off Nunes’ hands, the tap came almost simultaneously with the extension of Nunes’ arm.
That’s four in-a-row for Dern and the win puts her right in the top five of the always tough UFC strawweight division. Dern (11-1) has shown she is a true contender and it will be interesting to see what is next for her.
Performance Of The Night: Mateusz Gamrot
If you didn’t know who Mateusz Gamrot was before UFC Fight Night: Vettori Vs Holland, you should start paying attention. At 18-1, 1NC there is no question that Poland’s Gamrot is someone to keep an eye on.
Gamrot fell victim to a close decision bout on UFC Fight Island in his UFC debut, but showed that he wouldn’t let that loss derail him by knocking out lightweight veteran Scott Holtzman.
It was a perfectly placed 1-2 that stunned Holtzman, with some follow-up strikes from Gamrot to close the show.
Vicente Luque Post-Fight Interview | UFC 260: Miocic v Ngannou 2
Vicente Luque Post-Fight Interview | UFC 260: Miocic v Ngannou 2
Fight of the Night: Tyron Woodley vs. Vicente Luque
In the biggest fight of his career, Vicente Luque showed he was capable of beating the best the division has to offer after knocking out Tyron Woodley in the first round. People wondered what version of Tyron Woodley would come out against the all-action Luque, and the former champ looked as dangerous as ever after suffering a trio of losses.
Woodley came out hot, unleashing his patented overhand rights, even stumbling the Brazilian midway through the round. Luque dug in and fired back as he always does, though. The two slugged it out in explosive flurries, and eventually, Luque had "The Chosen One" rocked badly. Although Woodley fired winging punches back, Luque evaded well and eventually got the fight to the ground. There, he quickly locked up the submission and announced himself as a true welterweight contender.
Performance of the Night: Francis Ngannou
The new heavyweight king captured his throne in typically emphatic fashion. Francis Ngannou showed the years of work he put after his first fight against Stipe Miocic, stuffing takedowns, showing patience and eventually earning another stunning knockout win. With a bevy of options awaiting, Ngannou's era as the Baddest Man On The Planet begins, and he appears primed for that responsibility.
Performance of the Night: Sean O’Malley
The Sugar Show found his flow against Thomas Almeida and got back into the win column with another knockout win. O'Malley nearly finished the fight in the first round after a head kick and punches, but "Sugar" got to get a couple more rounds of work in before finishing the fight in powerful fashion in the third round. It was a nice return to form for the young bantamweight, and so, the show rolls on to the next fight.
Performance of the Night: Max Griffin
Right now is a good time to be Max Griffin. The welterweight veteran has fought the who's who in the division and he stepped up in a big way during the event's co-main event.
Griffin's bout with Song Kenan didn't last long, with Griffin finding a power right cross as Kenan kicked. The strike made Kenan stumbled back against the Octagon, where he was greeted by a furious combination from Griffin that dropped Kenan face down on the canvas. It was a nasty finish, that Griffin called "stone cold" in post-fight interviews.
Griffin has momentum and he's feeling it, that makes him a must watch going forward.
Performance of the Night: Adrian Yanez
What's better than getting a performance bonus in your UFC debut? Getting one in your sophomore performance.
That's just what Adrian Yanez did, he took care of business against Gustavo Lopez and is starting to get some real attention as a top prospect in the stacked bantamweight division. Throughout the fight it was clear Yanez had the advantage on the feet, he was consistently out-striking Lopez and landing powerful shots time and time again. Finally, Yanez hit the home run shot, landing a laser right in the second round that would end the night for Lopez.
Yanez is a breath of fresh air on the mic as well, full of energy and truly enjoying the process. He is living the dream and that's part of his success.
Performance of the Night: Grant Dawson
The last time that Leonardo Santos lost a fight Grant Dawson was 15 years old. Let that sink in.
Well, Grant Dawson ended Santos’ impressive streak in style, knocking out Santos with just one second left in their lightweight bout. Up to that point, it was a close fight and Dawson was hunting a finish. We often hear the phrase “don’t let it go to the judge’s scorecards” and Dawson wasn’t about to let it do that.
So with 10 seconds remaining he starting reigning down massive hammer fists that sent Santos’ mouthpiece and consciousness into orbit. It was a fantastic display for the lightweight prospect, who now has won 8 straight.
Performance of the Night: Bruno Silva
In the last fight on his UFC contract, flyweight Bruno Silva picked up an emphatic first win in the Octagon with a second-round TKO of UFC debutant JP Buys. A longtime training partner of Henry Cejudo, "Bulldog's" grappling and ground game were put to the test against Buys, who made his start in combat sports in wrestling. The Brazilian prevailed in a big way, scoring three knockdowns en route to his victory, which ties the single-fight UFC flyweight record.
With sights of his first UFC victory now in the rear-view, Silva looks to return to the Octagon as soon as it'll have him.
Performance of the Night: Ryan Spann
UFC light heavyweight Ryan Spann bounced back in a big way when he defeated Misha Cirkunov at UFC Fight Night: Edwards Vs Muhammad. The Texas native found a home for a big straight right that put Cirkunov on the mat early in the first, but he showed great patience in letting Cirkunov stand back up. From their the writing was on the wall and "Superman" Spann dropped Cirkunov once more, this time following it up with a flurry of hammer fist punches.
The win puts Spann in a great place, and likely earns him a top 10 ranked fight in the thick of the light heavyweight division.
Performance of the Night: Dan Ige
It took Dan "50K" Ige just 22 seconds to earn his 50K bonus this time. It was one straight punch that turned off the lights on Gavin Tucker. It was a satisfying performance for the 9th ranked featherweight, who hasn't fought since his main event bout on UFC Fight Island last July. The knockout was the sixth fastest in UFC featherweight history.
Ige proved once again that just because he changed his name from "Dynamite" to "50K" that he can't be both. Up next for Ige is the birth of his first child. What a start to 2021 for one of Hawaii's finest.
Performance of the Night: Davey Grant
It's been tough for Davey Grant to get in the Octagon. That's why he knew he had to make the most of his opportunity against tough bantamweight Jonathan Martinez.
In the first round, Grant was dropped by a massive strike from Martinez. He was able to get his wits about him and survive the round and get reminded by his coaches that he's comeback from worse. That remark prompted a laugh from Grant and then he delivered in round two by knocking Martinez out with a massive looping hook.
It was madness and it was exactly the moment that Grant wanted to follow up his recent knockout of Martin Day.
Performance of the Night: Matthew Semelsberger
Who says second impressions can't be better than firsts? Matthew Semelsberger's first fight out didn't result in a finish, so he made sure to get one in the first 16 seconds of his welterweight bout with Jason Witt. It was a very impressive showing for Semelsberger who earned the seventh fastest welterweight finish in UFC history with the knockout.
2-0 in the UFC and riding the momentum, it's a good time to be "Semi The Jedi".
Fight of the Night: Kennedy Nzechukwu vs. Carlos Ulberg
Kennedy Nzechukwu and Carlos Ulberg had an all-out slugfest, one that featured several momentum swings and ended with an emphatic knockout.
Ulberg stormed Nzechukwu right away and rocked him with a high kick. After Nzechukwu weatered Ulberg's ensuing swarm, he started to gain some traction with his own strikes. Eventually, he rocked Ulberg and then the war truly started. A body-focused attack from Ulberg seemed to nearly earn the stoppage, only for Nzechukwu to return with a spicy 1-2 followed with his own flurry. He was the fresher fighter in the second round, and while Ulberg never backed down, Nzechukwu was slightly more sharper. In one such exchange, Nzechukwu took advantage of Ulberg's low guard and landed a cracking right hand to start the finishing sequence.
Performance of the Night: Uros Medic
Contender Series alum Uros Medic shot out of the canon in his UFC debut, earning a stoppage win in less than two minutes. Aalon Cruz came out hot, but Medic remained calm and rocked Cruz with a check hook. After Cruz attempted to grapple, Medic caught Cruz with a left hand and unleashed a flurry of unanswered ground strikes to get the win.
Performance of the Night: Kai Kara-France
Kai "Don't Blink" Kara-France earned his nickname after earning a walk-away knockout over Rogerio Bontorin.
Bontorin took Kara-France down early and threatened several submissions for most of the first round. Soon enough, though, Kara-France got the fight back to the feet. There, Kara-France unleashed three powerful right hands that sent Bontorin face-first to the canvas. The finish was Kara-France's first of his UFC career and was an emphatic way to get back into the winner's circle.
Fight of the Night: Pedro Munhoz vs Jimmie Rivera
Almost six years after their first epic meeting, bantamweight contenders Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera gave an encore that did their initial bout proudly. Munhoz took the commanding unanimous decision win, cementing his place among the best of the division and evening the score with Rivera.
Both men threw heat as soon as the fight started, eating shots and delivering bigger ones as soon as the fight started. Munhoz found some traction via leg kicks, leaving Rivera in pain and hobbled, but "El Terror" bit down on his mouthpiece and stayed in the fight. Rivera tried to mix things up as the fight went on, but Munhoz shucked off his takedowns and looked for the seminal blow. Munhoz continued to pour on the painful pressure toward Rivera's legs as the fight grew, but Rivera countered well with haymakers up top.
The two didn't let up from bell to bell and shared great respect for each other at the end of the bout. The scores were 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Munhoz, and most left the bout feeling like a trilogy bout would be in order in the future.
Performance of the Night: Ronnie Lawrence
UFC debutant Ronnie Lawrence showed off a well-versed, well-rounded skillset in his win over Vince Cachero. He got to work quickly in the first round, scoring a strong right hand late in the frame. He showed off his ability to mix things up, racking up a trio of takedowns and doing damage to Cachero's legs and body. Lawrence continued a relentless pace, upping the tempo in the third round in which featured a suplex and a barrage of ground-and-pound to get the finish midway through the third round.
Performance Of The Night: Derrick Lewis
The KO king reigned supreme once again at UFC Fight Night: Blaydes Vs Lewis. Derrick Lewis waited for his opportunity to land a massive uppercut in the second round that completely shut the lights off for Curtis Blaydes. This type of fight is what we've grown accustom to from "The Black Beast". He waits for his moment and knocks out his opponent and then leaves the Octagon with a win and an extra $50,000.
Performance Of The Night: Chris Daukaus
Chris Daukaus's rise deserves attention. He took out two tough guys early in his first two UFC appearances, so the UFC gave him a step-up in competition. They gave him the ultra dangerous Aleksei Oleinik and what did Daukaus do? He passed with flying colors, doing exactly what he had done in his first two fights. He picked Oleinik apart and he made it look easy.
Daukaus landed heavy strikes and poured on combos, nearly prompting the fight to be stopped on more than one occasion. With Oleinik covering up against the fence, Daukaus didn't stop throwing haymakers and forced the referee to call it before the first bell rang.
Big things are on the horizon for Daukaus, who will find a shiny number next to his name next week.
Performance Of The Night: Tom Aspinall
England's Tom Aspinall started off the main card in a big way. He, like Daukaus, took out his first two opponents with ease and then was given a veteran heavyweight. In Aspinall's case, he was given former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski and he went out there and showed he absolutely is a prospect that people should keep their eyes on.
Aspinall hurt Arlovski early, causing Arlovski to protect himself up against the cage. That's when Aspinall turned on the jets and unleashed a flurry of strikes that nearly ended the bout in the first round. But Arlovski was able to survive the round and make it to the second. It was there that Aspinall switched up his attack, successfully taking Arlovski down with a beautiful double leg where he quickly transitioned to Arlovski's back and sunk in a rear naked choke.
It was very impressive and it should be very interesting to see who Aspinall matches up with next.
Performance Of The Night: Aiemann Zahabi
What a win for Aiemann Zahabi. After dropping his first two UFC contests he knew he needed a win and he knew he needed to do it in impressive fashion. He accomplished just that by connecting a masterful straight shot that sent Drako Rodriguez to the canvas. It was a clean knockout and it was a huge moment for the Canadian.
Polyana Viana locks in the arm bar to win | UFC 258: Usman vs Burnsf
Polyana Viana locks in the arm bar to win | UFC 258: Usman vs Burnsf
Performance of the Night: Kamaru Usman
When you pass the great Georges St-Pierre for most wins at welterweight, you’ve created your own rarified air, and the reigning champion did it in style against former teammate Gilbert Burns. Weathering a first round that saw him eating some huge shots, Usman stormed back in the second, rocking from the Brazilian with some wicked strikes that paid homage to new coach Trevor Wittman and training partner Justin Gaethje. But the performance was vintage Usman, who needed all of 34 seconds of the third round to finish the deed with a TKO.
Despite another stellar outing, the win at the expense of his longtime friend proved bittersweet.
""This one was hard for me. It's hard to come in without all the emotions. Gilbert is a guy that I've known from the start. I love him. This one was tough for me to deal with."
Performance of the Night: Julian Marquez
31 months removed from his last Octagon appearance, Julian Marquez made the most of his return with an anaconda choke of Maki Pitolo. Down on the scorecards heading into the final frame, “The Cuban Missle Crisis” dug deep to complete the long comeback from the injury that sidelined him.
“This fight explained everything that happened on that road,” Marquez agreed. “Everybody is counting you down, people start letting go of you and your belief in coming back and returning. You’re taking a lot of hits, you’re coming up and down, there are some good moments, some bad moments, and at the end of it all, you came back with stunning fashion, you shocked the world and you probably got a performance bonus. That’s exactly how that happened.”
Performance of the Night: Anthony Hernandez
The betting experts had an Anthony Hernandez submission vs Rodolfo Vieira at a whopping +3000. Anyone who might have placed that bet likely went home nearly as happy as Hernandez himself, as he became the first man to defeat the Brazilian with a wild guillotine choke in the second round.
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“I’m not afraid to fight anybody,” he said backstage following the fight. “At the end of the day I know my coaches and my team will get me prepared. It’s plain and simple. I got into this sport because I knew I could be the best and just because he is 7-0 doesn’t mean he’s unbeatable…I love to beat people at their own game, because then it’s just like ‘where did you beat me at?’, because if you beat them at their best, they have no excuse, so I wanted to give him no excuses.”
Performance of the Night: Polyana Viana
This is the odd outing where it was actually impressive that Mallory Martin lasted more than three minutes again Brazilian submission ace Polyana Viana. Controlling every aspect of the tilt from the opening bell, it seemed to never be a matter of “if” but “when” she would cement the victory that came at 3:18 of the first round with a clinical and brutal armbar.
“I’m really happy. Another submission win showing how sharp my jiu-jitsu is, but my standup game is on point too. I wanted to show it a little bit more, but the submission came and I’m happy with that. I didn’t think she would give me the opportunity to put her down so fast, but that was also part of my strategy.”
Cory Sandhagen Gets Flying Knee Knockout | Fight Night: Overeem vs Volkov
Cory Sandhagen Gets Flying Knee Knockout | Fight Night: Overeem vs Volkov
Fight of the Night: Beneil Dariush vs Diego Ferreira
The lightweight division continues to deliver. Both Beneil Dariush and Diego Ferreira entered their UFC Vegas 18 showdown with lengthy win streaks and hopes to make a serious push to the top of the division. The three-round bout was tightly contested, much like their first showdown back in 2014. Dariush's relentless pace forced Ferreira to make adjustments, with both talented ground technicians having moments in entertaining scrambles. Ferreira's strong third round nearly helped him steal a decision, but in the end, it was the pressure of Dariush and his accurate striking that earned him the victory over the Brazilian.
Performance of the Night: Alexander Volkov
Alexander Volkov is back in a big way. Since his disappointing loss to Curtis Blaydes, "Drago" has been on a mission, taking care of Walt Harris and Alistair Overeem in back to back knockout victories. Volkov's power was evident, as the Russian battered Overeem with pin-point strikes until the legendary heavyweight couldn't take any more damage. The win puts Volkov in a perfect spot heading into the rest of 2021. He gets to sit back and watch Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou duke it out for the second time and see who emerges from Blaydes vs Derrick Lewis.
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Performance of the Night: Cory Sandhagen
Second-ranked bantamweight Cory Sandhagen made an astonishing statement with his Performance of the Night knockout victory over former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. Sandhagen scored the second-quickest flying knee knockout in UFC history, stopping the fight just 28 seconds into the first round, and adding a second viral knockout to his highlight reel. With the bantamweight title on the line at UFC 259 between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling, Sandhagen made it clear with his words and performance that he believes he deserves the next shot at the belt.
UFC 257: Dustin Poirier Octagon Interview
UFC 257: Dustin Poirier Octagon Interview
Performance of the Night: Dustin Poirier
The “Diamond” rose to the occasion in the rematch, weathering a strong first round from Conor McGregor to score a second-round knockout win in Abu Dhabi.
After a measured first round that included a successful takedown, Poirier committed to kicking McGregor’s lead leg, and that strategy quickly paid dividends. Poirier ate McGregor’s counter shots well and waited for his moment to take the center. Once Poirier pushed McGregor to the fence, he poured on the pressure and unleashed a flurry of hooks. Eventually, enough connected and McGregor fell, evening the series at one win a piece and setting Poirier on the fast track to another title shot.
Performance of the Night: Michael Chandler
Chandler announced himself as the real deal and the newest lightweight contender with an emphatic knockout win over Dan Hooker.
The fight started with Chandler implementing pressure right away, and Hooker constantly circled to his right. Soon enough, Chandler leapt in with a right straight to the body followed by a cracking left hook up top that put Hooker to the mat. Chandler followed with a flurry of ground-and-pound and earned the first-round stoppage.
Performance of the Night: Makhmud Muradov
Muradov started quick against Andrew Sanchez in the first round, connecting with calf kicks and sharp punching combinations. As Sanchez turned up the aggression in the second and third round, Muradov tempered the fire and took advantage of the more drastic openings. Eventually, Muradov connected with a right hand to stagger his foe and finished by landing several unanswered strikes to earn the stoppage in the final round.
Performance of the Night: Marina Rodriguez
While plenty of hype surrounded Amanda Ribas, Marina Rodriguez reminded everyone why she was the higher ranked Brazilian in the fight.
After the first round in which Ribas controlled things well with her grappling. Rodriguez started quickly. Her combinations were decisive and crisp, and a right hand found its home on Ribas’ chin. The up-and-comer wobbled to the floor, and it appeared Rodriguez earned the stoppage with her follow-up strikes. As Rodriguez separated, referee Herb Dean waved the fight on, and Rodriguez pounced on Ribas again and landed two right hands that punctuated the win less than a minute into the second round.
UFC Fight Island 8: Umar Nurmagomedov Def Morozov By Submission In His Debut
UFC Fight Island 8: Umar Nurmagomedov Def Morozov By Submission In His Debut
Fight of the Night: Mike Davis vs Mason Jones
A pair of lightweight prospects duked it out over a tough three rounds, with Mike Davis besting UFC debutant Mason Jones via unanimous decision.
Davis got right to work with his hands, showing quick, fluid boxing and mixing in shots to the body as well. He also initiated the first grappling exchange and scored the takedown, but Jones got back to his feet and started to find his rhythm on the feet. All three rounds were relatively back-and-forth, and the two up-and-comers traded flurries of punches. Davis mixed in more grappling, but Jones resisted well and wore on Davis as the fight went on. Overall, Davis landed the more significant strikes throughout the night and earned the tough-fought win.
Performance of the Night: Umar Nurmagomedov
The long-awaited debut of Umar Nurmagomedov delivered as the bantamweight earned a submission win over Sergey Morozov.
Nurmagomedov landed kicks early and evaded the counter shots, and midway through the round, Nurmagomedov shot for the takedown and caused a scramble. The pace continued into the second round with Nurmagomedov rocked Morozov with a head kick, and a couple minutes later, he dipped under a punch to take Morozov’s back. Patient work led to a rear naked choke finish and a loud announcement of his presence in the division.
Performance of the Night: Warlley Alves
Alves stymied the momentum of Mounir Lazzez in the co-main event, putting the pressure on the prospect early. He landed with a fast low kick, a combination of punches and put Lazzez into the clinch. After scoring a few elbows and going for a takedown, Alves hit Lazzez with a body kick that stunned Lazzez and followed with two more to end the fight.
Performance of the Night: Li Jingliang
Most of the narrative around Li Jingliang’s fight with Santiago Ponzinibbio circulated around the latter’s return, but in the end, “The Leech” came away with his hand raised.
As Ponzinibbio probed in hopes of quickly finding his timing, Li took advantage of the countering opportunities provided from Ponzinibbio’s errant strikes. In one such exchange, Li slipped a shot and came over the top with a left hand to the chin that immediately dropped Ponzinibbio and ended the bout.
“I really expected to either knock him out in the first round or Santiago knocking me out because he is such a powerful fighter,” he said. “I would’ve actually preferred to go all three rounds to show off more of my skillset, but it feels great
“Santiago is such an aggressive, intense fighter and we were prepared for him. The coach told me as soon as the fight began to match his level of intensity, to not back down.”
Performance of the Night: Alessio Di Chirico
Coming off a three-fight skid, Alessio Di Chirico bounced back in a big way, knocking out Joaquin Buckley in the first round via head kick.
Di Chirico seemed locked in early, managing distance as Buckley weaved in with power shots. About two minutes into the fight, Di Chirico timed one of Buckley’s dips and caught him with a right head kick to the temple. It was an important performance for the Italian middleweight, who will surely look to follow up on his big performance soon.
Fight of the Night: Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar
In Max Holloway’s first non-title fight in more than four years, the former featherweight king dismantled an incredibly game Calvin Kattar in the first main event of 2021, setting the bar high for any fights that may come to challenge its standard.
Holloway looked as sharp as ever right from the jump, connecting with extended flurries that left Kattar scrambling against the fence and looking to throw one-shot bombs. “Blessed” fired rapid-fire straight punches, leaving few windows for Kattar to respond. The Massachusetts-native took his chances as they came, but Holloway mixed up his rhythm well as the fight progressed into the second round. Holloway also found plenty of success with elbows that opened a big cut on Kattar’s forehead.
The fight seemed like it was going to come to an end at several points, but Kattar got his shots in as well, particularly a heavy uppercut in the third round that paused the onslaught of pressure from Holloway. It was here where Holloway committed to body shots, digging hooks into Kattar’s ribs and working his way up from there to win another lopsided round.
The fourth and fifth rounds were all Holloway, featuring several moments where the fight seemed incredibly close to a stoppage. Kattar showed immense toughness, though, firing heavy shots when it seemed like he was melting against the cage. In the end, Holloway displayed the form that shot him up into the G.O.A.T. conversation and reminded everybody that the 29-year-old is very much still in play to recapture his belt. The final scorecards were 50-43, 50-43 and 50-42 – a true reflection of the dominant form Holloway showed.