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411’s UFC Fight Night 96 Report 10.01.16

October 2, 2016 | Posted by Robert Winfree

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC Fight Night 96. I’m Robert Winfree, your host for the evening, and I’ll be calling the action for all of you just as I see it. This has certainly been an odd event up to now with several fights being changed due to injuries and then three fighters missing weight. That might be a record, I’ll have to double check the last time this many fighters missed weight for a single event. Among those missing the mark is one half of the main event, John Lineker missed weight a record setting fifth time for his clash with former two time flyweight title challenger John Dodson. I honestly can’t recall any other fighter missing weight this many times while with the UFC, even Anthony Johnson “only” missed three times before being cut back in 2012 and one has to imagine if the UFC weren’t still in the market for exciting fighters at flyweight and bantamweight he’d have gotten his walking papers a long time ago. I’m still looking forward to that fight though, both Dodson and Lineker bring tremendous power into the cage and should match up very well. The co-main event also saw a fighter miss weight, the linear Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks looks to continue his run up the UFC ranks against Alex Oliveira who missed weight by a whopping five and a half pounds. Oliveira has fought at both lightweight and welterweight for the UFC and this is his first time missing weight, but one has to imagine he’ll be encouraged to stick to welterweight from now now. Elsewhere on the card the surging Louis Smolka looks to claim a top spot at flyweight against late notice replacement Brandon Moreno, who now has the biggest opportunity of his life against the number nine contender in the division. This event comes to us from the Moda Center (I lived outside of Portland for five years so it’s still the Rose Garden to me) in Portland, Oregon. On the mic tonight are Jon Anik and UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, Cormier is filling in for Kenny Florian who’s still not traveling much after his brother’s passing. Cormier actually made his commentary debut at UFC 197 when he called the Fight Pass prelims and main event with Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg, his bias showed rather quickly during that fight so let’s hope this time around is a better outing for him.

Kelly Fasholz lost her UFC debut but she replaced an injured fighter on short notice and still looked pretty good, now with the benefit of a full training camp behind her she’s looking to show her full arsenal and come away with the all important first UFC win. Kelen Vieira is undefeated as a professional fighter and making her UFC debut tonight, she’s trying to announce herself in a big way and start climbing the ranks at bantamweight. The odds are identical, standing at -115 for each fighter.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Kelly Faszholz (3-1, 134.5 lbs.) vs. Ketlen Vieira (6-0, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Vieira has an inch of reach on Faszholz. Touch of gloves to get things going. Faszholz circling early, both women range finding. Faszholz lands a body kick and Vieira clinches her into the fence. They trade some body work then break as Vieira misses a left hook. Faszholz lands a straight right. Vieira hits an inside leg kick. Faszholz lands an oblique kick, misses a high kick and eats a bit of a counter right from Vieira. Faszholz lands a right then catches a leg kick and gets the clinch on the fence. Faszholz lands a couple of short elbows before Vieira hits a judo throw and lands in the guard of Faszholz. Not much going on, Faszholz doing a good defensive job and Vieira isn’t landing much of anything or threatening to pass. Faszholz tries to set up an armbar, Vieira avoids it and passes towards half guard but Faszholz gets her feet on the hips. Vieira lands a couple of lefts and passes to half guard as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Faszholz

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Faszholz lands a leg kick. Faszholz lands a jab then a left body kick. Faszholz lands a body kick but Vieira catches it and trips her down, landing in her guard. Faszholz trying to set up rubber guard, bails on that and gets a body triangle from the bottom. Vieira stands, eats a couple of up kicks that don’t have a whole lot on them as she stands over Faszholz. Vieira goes back into her guard then passes to half guard for a moment, Faszholz to full guard again. Vieira stands again, tries to pass but can’t secure position and winds up back in the gaurd of Faszholz. The ref stands them up after they had kind of stalled out so we’re back on the feet. They trade rights, Faszholz lands a knee to the body and they trade rights again. Faszholz again lands a body kick but again it’s caught and Vieira trips her down again. Faszholz has closed guard again and the ref stands them up quickly as they stall out. Faszholz misses a couple of punches. They trade a bit in close then circle the last few seconds away.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Vieira, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Another touch of gloves for the last round. Faszholz lands a right, Vieira fires back with a couple of punches. Faszholz pushing forward a lot this round, lands a couple of hard left hooks. Vieira just circling, Faszholz lands a right to the body. They trade lefts, Faszholz is walking Vieira down. Faszholz lands a combination and they clinch on the fence. Faszholz lands some knees to the body and a couple of rights. They break and trade rights. Faszholz back on the attack, lands a couple of punches and Vieira gets the clinch. Vieira just killing time here, Faszholz avoids a throw then lands a right as they break apart. Faszholz lands a right, Vieira lands a left hook. Faszholz lands another straight right, Vieira in full retreat. Faszholz lands a couple of knees to the body then tries one to the head but Vieira timed that one and got a takedown into the guard of Faszholz. Faszholz onto her knees, Vieira gets one hook in but Faszholz sits on the fence to block her taking the back. Vieira into half guard and just holds on until time expires.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Faszholz, 29-28 Faszholz overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ketlen Vieira via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

I stand by my score, Vieira did nothing in the first but hold top position. No interview for the winner.

Curtis Blaydes lost his UFC debut when he ran into the freight train that is Francis Ngannou but was unbeaten before that, tonight he looks to rebound from that loss and prove himself as a legitimate heavyweight prospect. Cody East also lost his UFC debut in a one round brawl with Walt Harris, he’s in a similar position of looking to bounce back and prove that he deserves his spot on the roster. Blaydes is a relatively significant favorite at -230 while East’s comeback pays out at +180.

Heavyweight Bout: Curtis Blaydes (5-1, 265.5 lbs.) vs. Cody East (12-2, 261 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Blaydes has an inch of height and six of reach on East. They touch gloves to get us going. Blaydes lands an inside leg kick and a right then East blocks a takedown. They trade leg kicks. Blaydes hits a double leg but East kicks him over and regains his feet then they clinch on the fence. They break without incident. East lands a counter right. Blaydes gets a double leg against the fence and lands a few short rights while East gets to guard. Blaydes passes to half guard and lands a few body shots. Blaydes lands some short elbows. Blaydes lands a right, East regains his feet and rocks Blaydes with a right. Blaydes wobbles but hits a double leg into full mount but East scrambles back up quickly and gets a single leg trip takedown. Blaydes back up quickly and they’re still clinched. Blaydes pushes East all the way across the Octagon to get him on the fence then trips him down and lands in the guard of East. Blaydes working short elbows again, East is bleeding from the nose. Blaydes passes to half guard. The ref actually stands them up, not sure I agree with that but we’re back up. East lands a hard counter right. East lands a combination, they trade some more and East gets a low single leg takedown into the guard of Blaydes to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Blaydes

ROUND TWO: These two are visibly tired just to start the second, and they trade hard rights. More punches traded, Blaydes hits a double leg into the guard of East. Blaydes lands a couple of short elbows as he gets East to the fence. East is bleeding from a small cut on the forehead. East able to kick Blaydes off and get to his knees on a single leg attempt, Blaydes lands elbows to the body and head, a vicious series of elbows to the head from Blaydes prompts the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Curtis Blaydes via TKO, elbows, at 2:02 of Round 2

Mic time for Blaydes now. He says the game plan was what happened, pressure and takedowns into elbows from the top. He thinks the fight went great and he’ll be working on his positional jiu-jitsu and get a first round finish next time. He talks about having a camp this time and fighting in the States instead of Europe, asked who he wants next he just says someone ranked higher than him.

In case you missed the finish, here it is again.

Jonathan Wilson is 1-1 in the UFC and is coming off of the first loss of his professional career, he’s trying to get back on the winning side of things. Wilson is trying to prove himself one of the few legitimate prospects in the somewhat talent starved light heavyweight division and needs a win here to accomplish that. Ion Cutelaba lost his UFC debut to Misha Cirkunov but had been on a seven fight winning streak before that, a win here over Wilson gets him back on track and sets him up as someone to pay attention to in the division. Cutelaba gets the favorite treatment at -140 to the +110 on Wilson.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Ion Cutelaba (11-2 1 NC, 206 lbs.) vs. Jonathan Wilson (7-1, 205 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Wilson is an inch taller but these two have the same reach. Wilson is fighting southpaw, and they touch gloves. Cutelaba usually fights southpaw as well but comes out orthodox here. Cutelaba lands a couple of hard rights and they trade in the pocket. Wilson lands a body kick. They clinch and Wilson gets Cutelaba on the cage. Cutelaba lands a knee to the body and they break. Cutelaba moving forward, lands an uppercut in close and a knee to the body. Cutelaba doing well from the quick clinch exchanges with uppercuts and knees to the body. Wilson lands a flush straight left. Wilson lands the left again, Cutelaba still pressuring him. They clinch again then break without incident. Cutelaba lands a right, they clinch agian and break off of an elbow from Cutelaba. Cutelaba lands a spinning elbow then a right to the body. Cutelaba lands a right and an uppercut then a body kick. They clinch up, Wilson gets Cutelaba on the fence. Cutelaba lands a right and a left as they break. Wilson lands a left. Cutelaba lands a spinning back fist and a left follow up. Cutelaba lands a hard inside leg kick. Another hard inside leg kick from Cutelaba. Wilson lands a hard straight left into a leg kick. They trade again, and the round ends in the clinch.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Cutelaba

ROUND TWO: Cutelaba opens up with an inside leg kick that hits the groin of Wilson so we’ve got time for him to recover. That was a pretty bad one, full on foot to cup. Wilson is down on his knees trying to recover, he’ll have up to five minutes if he needs it. Wilson back to his feet to the cheers of the crowd, not ready to fight again but being upright is a good sign. No point deduction but Cutelaba got a stern warning and was told if that happens again he will take the point. Wilson actually takes the full five minutes to recover but we’re good to continue. They touch gloves and Wilson has a high kick blocked. Cutelaba lands a bit of an overhand right. Wilson lands a counter left. Cutelaba lands a couple of inside leg kicks. Wilson lands a left. Cutelaba has a spinning back fist blocked, tries to follow up with a wheel kick that misses. Wilson tries the high kick again, just blocked. Cutelaba misses a high kick then lands an inside leg kick. Cutelaba lands a left and a right, then a flurry along the fence. Wilson is backing up, eats a spinning back fist. Cutelaba still pressuring, now in the clinch but Wilson is able to circle free. Cutelaba lands a couple of rights. Wilson lands a left but the pressure of Cutelaba is getting to him. Cutelaba backs Wilson into the fence and lands a quick combination. Cutelaba with another inside leg kick. Cutelaba landing short uppercuts in close. Wilson lands another straight left but eats a couple of counters. Cutelaba lands a straight right and a few follow up blows. Cutelaba tries a double leg, not much on it and Wilson blocks it. Wilson lands a straight left. Wilson moving forward, lands another straight left. They trade straight power hands, Cutelaba is bleeding from the nose. They trade again and the round ends with a knee to the body from Cutelaba.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Cutelaba, 20-18 Cutelaba overall

ROUND THREE: Wild fight so far, and the last round starts with a touch of gloves. Wilson lands a straight left. Wilson moving forward this round, Cutelaba circling. Wilson blocks a right, Cutelaba lands a left hook. Wilson has a high kick blocked. Cutelaba lands a straight right. Wilson still moving forward this round. Wilson lands a leg kick. Another leg kick from Wilson lands. Cutelaba lands a couple of elbows in close, Wilson backing up now. Wilson might have been poked in the eye, Cormier on commentary tells me that it was in fact an eye poke. Cutelaba back to forward pressure and lands a combination of knees and elbows. Wilson tries the high kick again, again it’s blocked. Cutelaba lands an overhand right, he’s back to moving forward now. Wilson lands a hard body kick. Cutelaba lands a straight right, and another one. Wilson lands a left. Wilson misses a high kick. Cutelaba lands a straight right then misses a high kick follow up. Cutelaba lands a right, his technique is going but he’s still throwing. They stare the last couple of seconds away.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Cutelaba, 30-27 Cutelaba overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ion Cutelaba via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Fun fight. No interview for Cutelaba though.

Nate Marquardt has been fighting for a long time and has a fairly distinguished career but is clearly on the downside of it, he’s just 2-6 in his last eight fights with those two wins coming against CB Dollaway and James Te Huna and is coming off of a loss to Thiago Santos. Marquardt desperately needs a win here to prove he’s still a viable fighter at the UFC level. Tamdan McCrory is 1-1 since returning to the UFC, he submitted Josh Samman but lost his last fight against Krzysztof Jotko and is looking to get back to the winning side of things as a win over a veteran like Marquardt would be a huge boost to his career. McCrory has the odds makers favor at -140 while Marquardt’s comeback is at +110.

Middleweight Bout: Nate Marquardt (34-16-2, 186 lbs.) vs. Tamdan McCrory (14-4, 185 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: McCrory has four inches of height and reach on Marquardt. Touch of gloves to get us going. Both men range finding with the jab early. Marquardt lands a leg kick. McCrory lands a bit of a high kick. Marquardt misses an overhand right. Marquardt lands another leg kick. Another one from Marquardt. McCrory lands a double jab. Marquardt lands a right then has a leg kick checked. Marquardt hits a double leg but landed in a guillotine choke. Marquardt quickly breaks that grip, I’m not even sure he got his hands together, and starts working from the guard of McCrory. McCrory setting up a triangle attempt, Marquardt pulls out of it but can’t pass the guard. McCrory after another submission attempt, settles for rubber guard but Marquardt has some posture. McCrory switches towards a triangle but Marquardt passes to side control, gets a front head lock but McCrory falls back to his guard. Marquardt sneaks in a few blows from the top position. Marquardt lands an elbow then a shoulder strike to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Marquardt

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. McCrory lands an inside leg kick. Marquardt lands a jab to the body. They clinch up, Marquardt lands a knee to the body and separates. McCrory lands a left body kick and just slips a couple of counters. Marquardt lands a left body kick then a jab to the body. They split jabs, Marquardt doing well at range here. Marquardt lands a bit of a leg kick. McCrory lands a left hook and a body kick then gets Marquardt on the fence in the clinch. Marquardt quickly spins him and trips him down landing in the guard of McCrory. Marquardt lands an elbow. McCrory just kind of holding on from bottom here, his head’s against the cage which limits his offensive options. McCrory gets along side the fence and tries to get his hips engaged, Marquardt blocks that motion and lands an elbow. McCrory’s defense is good enough to earn a stand up now. Marquardt lands a right, McCrory is wobbled, Marquardt lands a left high kick that floors McCrory and he pulls a Mark Hunt walk off for the finish.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Nate Marquardt via KO, head kick, at 4:44 of Round 2

Big win for Marquardt there, who’s on the mic now. He puts over God first and foremost then says that a lot of what he trained for happened. He says he was caught off guard by just how good McCrory was off of his back and his experience helped him navigate those situations. He talks us through the finish then closes with a “praise God”.

That’s it for Fight Pass, the remainder of the prelims will be on Fox Sports 2 if you’ve got that channel.

Keita Nakamura is another longtime veteran of the sport, he’s 2-1 in his current UFC run and coming off of a win over Kyle Noke. Nakamura is looking to capitalize on that momentum and begin a run up the welterweight ranks, and to that end needs a win here to earn a step up in competition next time. Elizu Zaleski dos Santos is 1-1 in the UFC and scored an upset win over Omari Akhmedov in his last fight, he’s looking to capitalize on that momentum here and prove his worth to the UFC and get his UFC record over the .500 mark. The odds favor Nakamura by a margin of -130 to the +100 of dos Santos.

Welterweight Bout: Keita Nakamura (32-7-2 1 NC, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (15-5, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two have identical height and reach measurements. Touch of gloves, Nakamura fighting southpaw. Dos Santos lands a high kick and Nakamura is in on a takedown and gets dos Santos down against the fence. Dos Santos sitting on the cage looking to regain his feet. Nakamura mounts the legs, dos Santos fights that off and gets to a knee on the cage. Dos Santos back up but still clinched. Nakamura pushes dos Santos over and gets the back. Just one hook in right now and he’s sitting on the fence but Nakamura is looking to get the choke. Nakamura gives up the hook for a moment, now it’s back in. Dos Santos defending his neck well but he’s eating punches from Nakamura. Nakamura gets both hooks in now and pulls dos Santos away from the fence. Nakamura tries a neck crank, dos Santos defends then gives up mount. Nakamura lands a few punches before dos Sanots bucks him off and gets full guard. Nakamura lands some punches along the way, now dos Santos just holding on trying to control the posture of Nakamura. Dos Santos kicks Nakamura off but Nakamura is back on him in half guard. Nakamura almost has the back, dos Santos is sitting on the cage to stop that. Dos Santos tries to sweep with a double wrist lock but Nakamura reads that and gets back on his back with one hook in. Dos Santos back up and lands a right as they break. Dos Santos swinging hard, lands an inside leg kick and a body kick. Dos Santos lands a quick flurry to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Nakamura

ROUND TWO: Nakamura lands a left to open up the second round. Nakamura lands a body kick. Dos Santos lands a body kick then just misses an uppercut. Nakamura lands a glancing counter right. They clinch again then break without incident. Nakamura lands a straight left. They both land rights. Dos Santos lands another body kick then an inside leg kick. Dos Santos lands a knee to the body but Nakamura catches it and takes him down. Nakamura quickly mounts the legs, dos Santos sitting on the fence. Nakamura gets the back again, just one hook though. Nakamura likes something about that one hook position while he’s looking for the choke. Nakamura working short blows as dos Santos gets to half guard. Nakamura lands some rights, he’s clearly the better grappler. Dos Santos to his seat, Nakamura gets one hook in on the hip again. Dos Santos back up and they trade in the clinch then break. Dos Santos lands a couple of elbows in close. Dos Santos lands an inside leg kick. Dos Santos lands a right hook, Nakamura has a heck of a chin. Nakamura lands a jab. Dos Santos misses a right hook then a high kick to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 dos Santos, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Dos Santos lands a straight right, then a right. Nakamura ducks a jab and tries a takedown but can’t finish it and they break as both men land punches. Nakamura lands a bit of a high kick then a straight left. Nakamura tries an inside leg kick that hits the groin, dos Santos doesn’t want a break so we’re still going. Nakamura lands a body kick. Nakamura ducks a jab and gets a double leg takedown. Dos Santos on a hip in half guard, Nakamura lands a couple of punches. Nakamura passes towards mount, dos Santos forces a scramble then hits a German suplex during a scramble and tries to grab an arm triangle from empty half guard. Nakamura gives up his back to avoid the choke and dos Santos lands a punch but Nakamura rolls free and tries to get a single leg but dos Santos goes for Peruvian necktie. He’s not perpendicular to Nakamura though and Nakamura gets his head free then takes the back in a scramble. Nakamura back after the choke now. Dos Santos slips free and lands some punches on the mat as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 dos Santos, 29-28 dos Santos overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Elizu Zaleski dos Santos via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Not a bad fight to kick off this part of the prelims, no interview for dos Santos.

Shamil Abdurakhimov is 1-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a win over Anthony Hamilton, if he can get another win here and build a winning streak in the UFC he could begin making a case for himself as a legitimate contender in the heavyweight division. Walt Harris is 1-1 in his second UFC stint, he was cut after going 0-2 his first time with the promotion, and finally got the all important first UFC win his last time out. Harris is trying to stay in the company’s good graces and needs a win to get a little job security and prove himself as a consistent fighter for the UFC. The odds are with Abdurakhimov at -130 to the +100 comeback on Harris.

Heavyweight Bout: Shamil Abdurakhimov (16-3, 256 lbs.) vs. Walt Harris (8-4, 254 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Harris is two inches taller and has an inch of reach on Abdurakhimov. Touch of gloves, Harris fighting southpaw. Abudrakhimov and Harris both miss kicks. Abdurakhimov lands a right then Harris blocks a takedown. Abdurakhimov slowly backing Harris towards the fence, both men being very cautious. Abdurakhimov catches a kick and takes Harris down landing in side control. Harris eats some elbows and punches but is able to regain his feet and separate. Harris lands a body kick. Abdurakhimov misses a couple of punches, Harris misses a few counters. They clinch, Abdurakhimov gets Harris on the fence. They trade body shots then separate. Abdurakhimov gets the clinch again and has Harris on the cage. Abdurakhimov working the body with knees and punches, Harris lands a knee to the head as they break. Harris lands a body kick, Abdurakhimov lands a leg kick. Abdurakhimov lands a couple of rights. They get close and both land hooks. Abdurakhimov has a cut on the back of his head. Abdurakhimov lands a spinning back fist. Abdurakhimov lands a couple of inside leg kicks and they stare away the final ten seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Abdurakhimov

ROUND TWO: Harris circling to start this round, trying to keep a bounce in his stance. Abdurakhimov lands an inside leg kick then dodges a body kick. Another inside leg kick from Abdurakhimov lands, then another. They trade jabs. Abdurakhimov hits another inside leg kick. Abdurakhimov slips on a spinning attempt and Harris grabs a front head lock in transition. Harris has a near ninja choke from side control while Abdurakhimov is on a hip. Abdurakhimov back up and they trade while they break. Abdurakhimov ducks a high kick and lands a right hook. Abdurakhimov lands an uppercut. Lots of staring going on here, though statistically Abdurakhimov has landed twice as many blows as Harris. Abdurakhimov lands a spinning back kick to the body. Abdurakhimov lands a straight right. Harris lands an inside leg kick. Harris lands a hard one two counter to an inside leg kick. Harris lands a front kick to the body. Abdurakhimov lands a straight right as the final blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Harris, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Abdurakhimov moving forward this round, both men posturing. Abdurakhimov lands a right. Abdurakhimov lands an inside leg kick. Harris lands a jab. Abdurakhimov again with the inside leg kick. Abdurakhimov lands a couple of rights, Harris lands a bit of a left. Abdurakhimov lands a front kick to the body then a right. Abdurakhimov lands another doubled up right then avoids a right from Harris. Abdurakhimov ducks a left and tries a double leg that Harris avoids. Abdurakhimov lands an overhand right. Abdurakhimov again lands that right hand lead. They trade lead hand hooks. Abdurakhimov lands a jab. They clinch up and Abdurakhimov gets Harris on the fence. They trade elbows, Harris lands a knee as they break. Abdurakhimov lands a right and a left. Abdurakhimov lands a knee to the body in close, Harris tries to get a brawl going for the last five seconds but Abdurakhimov wont bite on that.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Abdurakhimov, 29-28 Abdurakhimov overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Shamil Abdurakhimov via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

That fight is everything I dislike about heavyweights. No interview for Abdurakhimov, probably for the best because that fight sucked.

Hacran Dias missed weight for this fight, never a good thing, and is 3-3 in the UFC. Dias is trying to defend his top fifteen ranking and get a little job security, as the combination of missing weight and losing the fight tends to result in a fighter getting their walking papers. Andre Fili took this fight on short notice when Dias’ original opponent, Brian Ortega, pulled out with an injury. Fili has been trading wins and losses while going 3-3 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a spectacular loss to Yair Rodriguez and is hoping that the win-loss pattern holds here as it’ll mean the biggest win of his career. Dias is a notable favorite at -165 while the short notice replacement fighter Fili’s win pays out at +135.

Featherweight Bout: #12 Hacran Dias (23-4-1, 148.5 lbs.)*** vs. Andre Fili (15-4, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Fili has three inches of height and five of reach on Dias. Touch of gloves for the first round. Fili flashing the right, Dias shows the counter right. Fili switching his stance and moving a lot early, Dias lands a body kick. Dias lands a leg kick then a jab. Fili with an inside leg kick. Dias lands a couple of punches. Fili lands a couple of lefts. Fili lands another left. Dias tries a single leg, Fili limp legs out of it. Fili lands a counter left hook that drops Dias, Fili all over him on the mat but Dias keeps his composure and tries a single leg but Fili grabs the fence to stay upright. Dias has Fili on the fence looking for a takedown. He can’t finish the double leg, but the second effort spins Fili down and Dias lands in side control. Fili tries to bridge, Dias just rides that motion and keeps side control. Dias tries to mount but Fili uses that to bridge out and regain his feet. Fili lands a left body kick. Dias lands a left hook, eats a counter left. Fili lands a bit of a left. Fili blocks a takedown, they clinch and Fili lands a knee to the body. The round ends in the clinch.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Fili, borderline 10-8

ROUND TWO: Touch of gloves for the second round. Dias misses a high kick. Fili back moving forward, lands a left body kick. Dias lands a counter right then a bit of a left. Fili jabs the body. Dias gets the clinch and tries for a trip but Fili keeps his balanc so Dias reverses direction and gets a takedown into side control. Fili tries to roll but Dias sticks with him and puts himself into half guard. Dias with some punches to the body. Fili is able to explode back to his feet. Fili blocks a takedown then eats a jab. Dias in on another double leg attempt, this one hits the fence and Fili hits a trip to land on top in the guard of Dias. Dias climbs up for an armbar, it got close and Fili has to spike him to escape. Fili lands a couple of leg kicks while Dias is on his back. More leg kicks from Fili while Dias is hanging out on his back. Dias lands an up kick and regains his feet. Dias lands a combination of punches. Dias moving forward now, lands a right and a left. Fili hits a lateral drop from the clinch to end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Dias, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Touch of gloves for the last round. They trade in close with hooks. Fili misses a couple of jabs. Fili blocks a takedown attempt, eats a left then blocks another one. Fili lands a straight left. Fili tries a single leg, Dias blocks it. Dias lands a right. Dias hits an inside trip and lands in the guard of Fili. Dias lands some punches to the body and head. Dias lands a couple of hard rights. Dias lands a couple of more rights as he postures up. Fili gets to his feet but Dias is all over him and trips him back down this time landing in side control. Dias looking to mount, Fili is blocking it. Dias fighting towards something, Fili explodes to top position and will end the round landing elbows from the guard of Dias.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Dias, 29-28 Dias overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Andre Fili via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

I’ll have to watch this one back when I’m not live blogging it, though Fili winning rounds 1 and 2 is probably correct. Fili on the mic now, he jokes that he’s not good at math but on three weeks notice he made weight and took out the number 12 guy and says he should be in the top fifteen now. He says he’s not happy with the third round but he’ll be better next time and wont get taken down at all. He says he wants to play with his new puppy and eat pizza but wants to fight on the upcoming Sacramento card.

Luis Henrique da Silva won his UFC debut when he defeated Walt Harris and is unbeaten as a professional, he’s looking to further prove himself on the UFC stage and a second consecutive win would give him some momentum and prove he’s a fighter to watch at light heavyweight. Joachim Christensen brings a five fight winning streak into his UFC debut here, and if he can bounce da Silva from the ranks of the undefeated he’ll begin his ascent up the ranks of the division in style. Da Silva is the favorite here at -130 while the comeback on Christensen is +100.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Joachim Christensen (13-3, 205 lbs.) vs. Luis Henrique da Silva (11-0, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while da Silva has half an inch of reach advantage. The biggest difference is age, Christensen is a full ten years older than da Silva. Touch of gloves to get us going. Da Silva lands a leg kick. Christensen lands a short left hook. Da Silva lands an overhand right and a leg kick. Christensen punches his way into the clinch and gets da Silva on the cage. Da Silva lands some knees to the body and spins Christensen. Christensen lands a couple of short uppercuts. They trade knees to the body and some uppercuts. Da Silva getting the better of these exchanges. They break and da Silva lands a body kick. Christensen lands a left body kick. Da Silva lands a body kick. Christensen lands a double jab. Da Silva lands a right and a left, Christensen is wobbled. Christensen drops to his back, da Silva is just standing over him and the ref makes Christensen stand up. They trade again, Christensen landed a stiff right. Da Silva lands an overhand right, Christensen lands a counter right. They trade inside leg kicks then da Silva kicks the body. Christensen lands a right elbow and a leg kick. Da Silva lands an overhand right. Christensen working the jab, da Silva lands a body kick. They clinch again and trade, da Silva lands a high kick but Christensen catches it and gets da Silva on the fence. They jockey for position as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 da Silva

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Christensen fades a right and lands a three or four punch combination. Da Silva lands an overhand right, Christensen lands some jabs and da Silva digs a couple of rights to the body. They clinch again, both working elbows. Da Silva lands a knee to the body then a spinning elbow as they break. Christensen lands some more jabs as da Silva gets the clinch. They break without incident. Christensen lands a couple of hard punches then a knee to the head that drops da Silva. Christensen into his guard now and postures up. Christensen lands some rights and lefts. Da Silva trying to control his posture, Christensen being methodical with his offense now. Christensen with some more punches, da Silva just kind of hanging out on his back trying for wrist control. Da Silva tries for a sweep, Christensen out hustles him and lands a right as he returns to the guard of da Silva. Christensen passes to half guard. Christensen trying to set up a choke from there, da Silva kicks him over and gets on top in half guard. Da Silva into full mount now and lands some punches, Christensen gives up his back and da Silva grabs an armbar that forces the submission from Christensen.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Luis Henrique da Silva via Submission, armbar, at 4:43 of Round 2

Not a bad fight there, good way to end the prelims. Mic time for da Silva and his translator now. He puts over Christensen as tough but he trained hard and got the win. He jokes that this is the first time he’s ever won by submission and is happy to have shown off his jiu-jitsu skills. That does it for the prelims, to Fox Sports 1 now for the main card.

Louis Smolka was supposed to fight Sergio Pettis here, but an injury to Pettis forced a change in opposition. Smolka has a four fight winning streak going and his only loss was a controversial split decision, if he can run that streak to five he’ll be knocking on the door of title contention and have defended his top ten spot against a promotional newcomer. Brandon Moreno replaced the injured Pettis here and brings an eight fight winning streak into his UFC debut, a win over a top ten opponent like Smolka would easily be the biggest win of his career and would get his UFC career off to a roaring start. Smolka is the biggest favorite on the card tonight at -500 while Moreno’s +350 will attract some value bets if nothing else.

Flyweight Bout: #9 Louis Smolka (11-1, 126 lbs.) vs. Brandon Moreno (11-3, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Smolka has two inches of height but the reach advantage goes to Moreno by two and a half inches. Touch of gloves to get us going. Smolka comes out swinging, Moreno fires back with hooks to the body and head. Smolka switching his stance frequently, lands a left body kick but Moreno gets a body lock takedown into half guard. Smolka gets to full guard and lands a couple of elbows. Moreno trying to work lefts to the head. Smolka with some elbows from his back. Moreno lands a couple of punches but Smolka rolls to his feet and gets a single leg takedown into a guillotine attempt from Moreno. Moreno really on that guillotine and Smolka fights as long as he can but has to tap. Big upset there.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Brandon Moreno via Submission, guillotine choke, at 2:23 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Moreno for his work this evening, and reminds the Final Round Finish Club that they are waiting on an official response to the legal documentation they sent over. Mic time for Moreno now, he says he’s happy and doesn’t quite believe that happened. His translator is here now for the rest of the interview, asked about being an underdog but still going for it he says that he’s Mexican. Asked about the finishing sequence he says his strategy was patience and get Smolka to react then beat Smolka where he’s best, in this case the grappling. He closes by saying this is magical, a feeling beyond description and putting over Portland for the Mick Foley cheap pop.

Joshua Burkman was scheduled to fight Bobby Green here, Green got injured and had to be replaced. Burkman is in the midst of his second stint with the UFC, and is an abysmal 1-3 with 1 No Contest during that time. Burkman needs a win here in the worst way as a loss to an unknown short notice replacement fighter would almost certainly earn him his second set of walking papers from the promotion. Zak Ottow is replacing the injured Bobby Green, and is riding a four fight winning streak coming into this fight. A win for Ottow would be impressive, taking out a veteran of the sport and getting his first UFC all in one night. The odds favor the UFC veteran Burkman at -235 but the +185 payout on Ottow will likely draw some action.

Welterweight Bout: Josh Burkman (28-13 1 NC, 170 lbs.) vs. Zak Ottow (13-3, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Ottow has an inch of height on Burkman but they have the same reach. Touch of gloves to get us going, Burkman fighting southpaw, as is Ottow. Ottow switching his stance, as is Burkman. Ottow has a high kick blocked. Burkman lands a leg kick. Ottow lands a right, and an inside then an outside leg kick. Ottow lands a right to the body. Ottow lands a leg kick. Ottow lands a bit of a right and a leg kick. Burkman tries a high kick that’s blocked. Burkman lands a counter left. Ottow tries an inside leg kick that goes into the groin of Burkman. Burkman will have up to five minutes to recover. Burkman is good to continue and we’re back to fighting. Burkman lands a bit of a right and a left. Ottow lands a leg kick. Ottow lands a bit of a body kick. Ottow lands a body kick then an overhand right. Burkman lands an inside leg kick. Ottow lands a short right. Ottow with another left body kick then a right. Burkman lands a right to the body. Ottow lands a right then lands an elbow. Ottow lands another leg kick. The round ends as Burkman misses a right hook.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ottow

ROUND TWO: Touch of gloves for the second round. They quickly trade rights. Ottow lands a couple of rights, Burkman lands a leg kick. Ottow hits a leg kick. Burkman lands a left body kick. Leg kicks traded. Ottow misses a high kick. Burkman lands a counter right hook. Burkman lands a body kick and eats a counter hook. Ottow lands a body kick, these two are brutalizing each other to the body and legs. Ottow lands another leg kick. Burkman lands a left while moving away from a possible takedown attempt. Burkman lands a couple of body kicks. Burkman tries a spinning back kick, very little on it. Burkman lands a body kick. Ottow digs a body kick then a leg kick. Burkman lands a jab but eats a counter right. Ottow again with a leg kick. Ottow lands a left and a right then a body kick. Burkman tries a high kick that’s blocked. Ottow lands a quick couple of hooks that land and Burkman fires back a counter right. Burkman lands a body kick to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ottow but a close round, 20-18 Ottow overall

ROUND THREE: Touch of gloves for the final round. Burkman has a high kick blocked. Ottow tries a takedown, Burkman grabs a headlock to get Ottow to bail on that attempt. Ottow lands a body kick, Burkman lands a couple of inside leg kicks. They trade rights after Burkman blocked a high kick. Ottow lands a leg kick. Burkman just misses a right hook. Ottow lands a right to the body then a leg kick. Burkman lands a bit of a right hook, Ottow responds with a right and a leg kick. Ottow lands a left, tries a double leg but Burkman stuffs it and pushes Ottow into the fence. Burkman with some knees to the thigh and starts looking for a trip but Ottow remains upright. Burkman adjusts his position and hits a trip to land in side control. Ottow into the empty half guard position. Ottow able to slide out and land a right. Ottow lands a body kick. Burkman lands a straight left. Ottow lands a body kick then tries a single leg that succeeds. In a quick scramble Ottow dives on a rear naked choke attempt but he can’t finish it before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Burkman, 29-28 Ottow overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Zak Ottow via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

Seems about right, a competitive fight. No interview for Ottow, might be time related as the fight didn’t suck.

Will Brooks is one of the best lightweight fighters in the world and recently made his UFC debut with a win over Ross Pearson. Brooks is riding a nine fight overall winning streak and looking to extend that here and earn a top ten ranking in the stacked lightweight division. Alex Oliveira missed weight by a whopping five and a half pounds for this fight. Oliveira is is 4-2 in the UFC and coming off of a win over James Moontasri, a win here over the highly respected Brooks would be massive for his career even with the specter of having missed weight looming over him. Brooks is a substantial favorite at -325 while the comeback on Oliveira is at +250.

Lightweight Bout: #11 Will Brooks (19-1, 156 lbs.) vs. Alex Oliveira (15-3-1 1 NC, 161.5 lbs.)**

ROUND ONE: Oliveira has an inch of height and four and a half of reach on Brooks. Circling to start, both men feinting and Oliveira lands leg kick. Brooks returns the leg kick. They clinch up and Oliveira lands a knee to the body as he gets Brooks on the fence. Oliveira landing some knees to the thigh while he and Brooks fight for position. Oliveira lands a couple of knees to the body. Brooks lands a knee to the body. Brooks defends a takedown attempt then lands a knee to the body. Oliveira with some more knees to the thigh and body. Brooks lands a knee to the body then blocks another possible double leg. Brooks able to spin Oliveira and drops for a double leg and gets Oliveira down landing in half guard. Oliveira is sitting on the fence and now wall walks up but is still in the clinch. They trade more knees to the body. Brooks defends a single leg attempt and lands knees to the body. Brooks tries a takedown, Oliveira eats a knee as he remains upright. Brooks gets Oliveria on the cage and gets Oliveira down again. Brooks passes into mount, Oliveira holds a guillotine position to stall out the last of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Brooks

ROUND TWO: Oliveira lands a leg kick. Brooks tries a single leg, takes a bit but he gets a trip into side control then immediately mounts Oliveira. Brooks looking to posture up now, Oliveira fighting to control his posture. Brooks lands a short elbow, Oliveira tries to explode but gives up the back and Brooks has the backpack position and is going for the choke. Oliveira defending so far, Brooks lands some rights then bails on that position and eats a knee to the body in the clinch. More knees from Oliveira who then gets a double leg against the cage but Brooks is back up quickly and Oliveira has the back standing. Brooks able to spin into him, Oliveira tries another double leg and gets Brooks down against the fence. Brooks closes his guard and tries to get his hips turned for an attack. Oliveira lands a couple of elbows. Brooks able to spin to his feet but is still in the clinch. Brooks gets the back standing and hits a suplex then gets the back again and it turns into the backpack position. Brooks after the choke again, Oliveira fighting to defend and gets Brooks off of him and Brooks is after another takedown now. Brooks can’t quite finish a takedown before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Brooks, 20-18 Brooks overall

ROUND THREE: Brooks opens up with a couple of hard leg kicks. Oliveira lands a counter right as Brooks was off balance, they wind up clinched again. Oliveira with some knees to the thigh, Brooks tries a sacrifice throw but Oliveira lands on top. Brooks is in serious pain here, he apparently popped a rib in the first round and is still fighting through it. Brooks back up, in visible pain here but still fighting. Brooks with some knees to the body. Oliveira lands a knee to the body then one to the head. Oliveira holding a single leg, Brooks defending well. Oliveira drops and gets a double leg into half guard. Oliveira lands some lefts. Oliveira with some elbows to the body. Oliveira lands some lefts, Brooks just turtles up and actually goes out for a moment and the ref stops this.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alex Oliveira via TKO, punches, at 3:30 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Oliveira for his work this evening, and would like to inform the First Round Finish Club that their documentation can be found in the local sewer. Oliveira and Brooks got into a little after the fight, lots of bad blood still remains. That’s the third consecutive underdog to pay off on the main card. The crowd is booing Oliveira loudly as he gets on the mic. He says the win is big as Brooks is a ranked fighter, he apologizes for missing weight but says that Brooks insulted him yesterday leading to his response. Asked about welterweight next he says he’ll be there for the future, he says again that Brooks insulted him and he now trains with American Top Team and respects everyone. He closes in Portuguese that isn’t translated.

John Lineker might be on a five fight winning streak and ranked in the top five for the bantamweight division, but he just missed weight for a record setting fifth time. Lineker needs this win not just to protect his top spot and theoretically get closer to title contention, a loss after that many times missing weight could easily cause the UFC to simply throw up their hands and be done with him. John Dodson twice challenged for the flyweight title, losing both times, but those are the only losses during his UFC tenure and he’s unbeaten at bantamweight with the promotion. Dodson is trying to knock off a top five opponent to vault himself towards title contention in a second weight class, which would put him with some pretty elite company. The odds give a slight edge to Dodson at -135 to the +105 of Lineker.

Bantamweight Bout: #3 John Lineker (28-7, 136.5 lbs.)* vs. #10 John Dodson (18-7, 135 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Lineker has an inch of reach on Dodson. Dodson fighting southpaw. They both do some range finding with leg kicks early. Lineker lands a right to the body. Dodson lands an outside leg kick. Lineker lands an inside leg kick. Dodson lands a body kick, very cautious start from both men. Dodson lands a leg kick. Dodson lands a couple of leg kicks. Dodson lands a front kick to the body and avoids a counter right hook. Dodson lands a left body kick. Dodson slips a right and lands a left counter. Lineker lands a right to the body. Lineker still trying to back Dodson into the fence, Dodson circling well. Lineker avoids a couple of lefts. Dodson lands a head kick, Lineker just eats it. Man that guy has a chin because that was flush. Lineker lands a bit of a right to the body, he’s starting to get Dodson closer to the fence. They trade, Lineker landed the right to the body then left to the head combination. Dodson catches a kick and trips Lineker down but Lineker is back up. Dodson lands a front kick to the body. Lineker tries a flying knee that’s blocked as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Dodson

Here’s that head kick if you missed it.

ROUND TWO: Lineker lands a couple of body kicks as he’s trying to back Dodson up. Dodson lands a leg kick. Dodson avoids a couple of hooks, his foot speed advantage is clear. Dodson has a high kick blocked. Lineker misses a right hook. Lineker tries to push forward but he’s only hitting air as he chases Dodson. Dodson lands a wicked straight left, Lineker again just eats it but that landed flush. Lineker stops and stands still for a moment and we get some good natured taunting for a moment. Lineker lands a right to the body then a right to the head. They clash, Lineker lands a left but ate a kick to the groin so he’s going to get time to recover. Replay, it was actually a knee aimed at the body that Lineker kind of moved into. Lineker walking it off right now and he’s good to continue. Dodson lands a left but Lineker lands a couple of counters. Lineker lands another left to the head, he’s getting a feel for the timing. Dodson lands a couple of punches, this is heating up. They both land power hand punches. Dodson lands a body kick. Lineker misses a right hook. Dodson lands an outside leg kick. Dodson lands a left uppercut. Lineker lands an inside leg kick. Lineker is starting to catch Dodson as Dodson is circling. Dodson lands a high kick to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Dodson, 20-18 Dodson overall

ROUND THREE: Touch of gloves for the third round. Lineker lands a bit of a straight right. Dodson lands a body kick. Lineker lands a left hook but eats a straight right. Lineker lands an inside leg kick. Dodson with a front kick to the body, he’s clearly trying to tire Lineker for the later rounds. Dodson slips a right hook. Dodson lands a bit of a counter left. Lineker gets close and we get full on RoadHouse for a second or two. Lineker’s brawling skills are very good, his work in the pocket was good there. Dodson back to moving now, lands a couple of straight lefts but eats a counter right. Dodson lands a body kick and eats a bit of a counter right. Lineker again with the body to head hooks, he’s starting to get those to work in close quarters. Dodson slips a bit while dodging a right. Dodson again lands the double straight left. Dodson blocks a high kick. Lineker lands a right that stuns Dodson, Dodson able to circle free but that landed hard. Dodson lands a left to the body. Dodson lands yet another flush head kick that Lineker doesn’t care about. Lineker lands a bit of a right, he’s starting to lunge with those flurries and Dodson is moving around him. Lineker lands a right. They clinch up briefly then disengage. Dodson has a high kick blocked and Lineker lands a right then eats a left to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lineker, 29-28 Dodson overall

ROUND FOUR: Touch of gloves for the fourth round. Dodson lands a left body kick, that got Lineker to react. Dodson lands another body kick. Dodson slips a couple of punches then we get another fire fight for a few seconds. Lineker lands a right to the body. Dodson lands a couple of short lefts. Dodson lands a right then a left after eating an inside leg kick. Dodson lands another left while angling away from Lineker. Dodson slips a couple of hooks and lands a counter. Dodson ducks a right and tries a double leg but Lineker doesn’t go down. Dodson lands another body kick, Lineker digs a couple of hooks to the body. Lineker misses a left hook. Dodson lands an inside leg kick. They clinch and Lineker tees off to the body and we get another wild exchange. Lineker digs a left to the body then head. Dodson pinned on the cage and Lineker tees off again then Dodson lands a hard straight left. Dodson lands another head kick then a body kick. Lineker’s right eye is swelling now. Dodson with another body kick but he eats a left to the body as he circles away. Dodson lands a body kick to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lineker, 38-38 overall

ROUND FIVE: Quick hug to start the last round. Dodson lands a left after eating an inside leg kick. Dodson lands another straight left. Dodson avoids a right and just misses a left. Dodson lands a body kick then a straight left. Lineker lands a bit of a right. Lineker misses some more hooks. Dodson lands a body kick, Lineker lands a couple of hooks to the body. Dodson lands a leg kick. Another leg kick from Dodson lands. Lineker lands a bit of a left. Dodson slips a right and lands a left high kick. Dodson again kicks the body. Dodson lands a short left. Dodson lands a left hook, Lineker doesn’t care. What is that man’s chin made of? They get into another exchange on the fence, Dodson lands a left as he circles away. Another straight left from Dodson lands. Lineker lands a right to the body but a left from Dodson staggers him for a moment. Dodson with another body kick then a couple of lefts. Dodson lands a right then gets a takedown and has the back of Lineker in the backpack position. Lineker calmly walks to the fence. Dodson bails on the position and they separate. Dodson lands yet another head kick. Dodson lands a knee to the body and Lineker lands a couple of hooks as the fight comes to a close.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Dodson, 48-47 Dodson overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – John Lineker via split decision (47-48, 48-47 x2)

I disagree pretty heavily, round 2 likely the deciding one. Lineker on the mic now. He says he came to put on a show for the fans. He says he trained hard to come here and fight for five full rounds and loves to just fight round after round. Asked what’s next for him, he says he’ll fight anyone but thinks he deserves a shot at Dominick Cruz. His inability to make weight consistently says otherwise though.

Here’s a flurry near the end of the fight, crazy stuff.

Well on that somewhat Cluckified note, UFC Fight Night 96 is in the books. We’ll be talking about this event Sunday at 8pm eastern standard time on the 411 Ground and Pound radio show, we’ll also be previewing next weeks UFC 204 when Dan Henderson takes on Michael Bisping for the UFC middleweight title. That show takes live callers at (323) 657-0901 if you’ve got a question or comment you’d like to have addressed on the show. I’ll be back next week for UFC 204, I hope you’ll come back for that one. Until then thanks again for being here and reading, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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