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411’s UFC Fight Night 123 Report 12.09.17

December 10, 2017 | Posted by Robert Winfree
Brian Ortega UFC Fight Night 123

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC Fight Night 123. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening, relaying to you good people all of the action just as I see it. The top couple fights on this card are pretty solid as the main event sees long time contender Cub Swanson take on rising contender Brian Ortega, plus Jason Knight is fighting and he’s never in a boring fight. Also we’ve got a relevant bantamweight scrap as Marlon Moraes steps in on short notice to take on Aljamain Sterling. As for the rest of the card, well it could always be good in practice so let’s hope for that.

In the regularly schedule rules update the California State Athletic Commission has adopted the changes to the unified rules of MMA, so extending fingers towards your opponent is a foul regardless of contact being made, you need both palms or fists flat on the mat to be considered down, and the scoring language is a little clearer around 10-8 rounds. We’ve also got limited use of replay tonight, but once it’s been invoked the fight cannot be restarted. UFC Fight Night 123 comes to us from the Save Mart Center and marks the UFC’s debut in Fresno, California, USA with Brendan Fitzgerald and Paul Felder on commentary. To the best of my knowledge this is the first time I’m hearing Fitzgerald on the UFC broadcast proper, I believe he’s done some work on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series though.

In this new feature I’m trying out I’ve got a question for all of you reading if you feel like answering. I’d love your thoughts on the Georges St-Pierre vacating the middleweight title, some of mine can be found in the comments section and I’ll be going into more detail on the podcast tomorrow. Please respect differing opinions and keep disagreements civil.

Antonio Braga Neto has gone 1-1 in the UFC and he’s coming off of a loss, but more interesting is the significant layoff, that fight was in June of 2014. Neto is trying to display the improvements he’s made to his game during that hiatus and establish himself as a player at middleweight. Trevin Giles is undefeated and had a successful UFC debut earlier this year, he’s moving back to middleweight now and trying to continue his winning ways. The odds are notably with Giles at -270 to a +210 comeback on Neto.

Middleweight Bout: Antonio Braga Neto (9-2 1 NC, 185.8 lbs.) vs. Trevin Giles (10-0, 184.8 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Neto is three inches taller and has three inches of reach on Giles. They touch gloves to get things going. Giles opens up quickly with a couple of punches, Neto avoids one and they wind up clinched. As they jockey in the clinch Giles gets free and lands a solid uppercut before they break fully. A couple of jabs land for Giles then Neto lands a leg kick. They’ve slowed down a bit now, Neto lands another leg kick but we’re not at the break neck pace anymore. Double jab then a right from Giles, he’s got fast hands that are troubling Neto thus far. We’re clinched up again and Neto is after a trip, he hits an outside reap and is on top in half guard. Giles is already looking to wall walk but Neto is attacking his posting hand to keep him on the mat. Neto is trying to pass but he’s not really able to finish it. A hard knee to the chest from Neto lands, Giles is starting to get a little more hurried and he winds up giving up mount. Neto lands an elbow but Giles scoots to the fence and winds up sitting on it again as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Neto

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round then Neto lands a leg kick. Stiff jab from Giles. Another solid jab from Giles then a left hook. They trade left hooks but Neto is getting worked over when they’re at boxing range. Jab to left hook again for Giles, he’s doing a much better job of distance management this round and lands a hard right then a leg kick as well. Neto is coming forward now but Giles is staying diligent with his movement to keep this at distance. A few body shots go back and forth but Giles is still getting the best of this. Giles off balances himself on a right, he then avoids a rush from Neto and lands a hard right hook that stuns Neto. Straight right then a left from Giles, Neto is almost a punching bag. That jab from Giles is money, he’s going head to body with it now and he lands a follow up leg kick. Another couple of jabs from Giles and a right behind it. Hard straight right from Giles, Neto’s face is a mess as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Giles, 19-18 Giles overall

ROUND THREE: Giles is back to jabbing and moving. Neto is pushing forward to start but those stiff jabs are deterring him quickly. Neto pushes for a takedown that stalls out on the fence. Quick outside reap from Neto and Giles is needing to wall walk. Neto tries to take the back too quickly and Giles shakes him off then makes him stand back up. Overhand right lands for Giles, then another one. Neto may have emptied the last of his gas tank on that takedown. Another straight right lands for Giles, Neto is getting battered and the ref warns him about fighting back. One more hard right puts Neto out on his feet.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Trevin Giles via TKO, punches, at 2:27 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Giles for his work this evening. I was incredibly impressed with the jab and hand speed of Giles, looked really good for a guy with only ten fights. Giles on the mic now. He says this went just as he visualized it and that winning feels great. He says that while he wanted to finish this quickly Neto’s success early got him to adjust and play the long game knowing that Neto would get tired. Giles talks us through the finish then asks for a bonus and notes that he’s still growing as a fight and he’ll be a problem for the division for a long time to come.

Here’s the finish, this was text book boxing with jabs to disrupt the defense of a tired opponent and then lowering the boom with the power hand. Solid stuff from Giles.

Chris Gruetzmacher just had a twelve fight winning streak snapped in his second UFC fight, he’s trying to get back on the winning side of things and get his UFC record above .500. Davi Ramos lost his UFC debut up at welterweight, he’s trying to establish himself at lightweight after taking that bout on relatively short notice and show the full breadth of his skills. Ramos is a nearly prohibitive -450 favorite while the +325 payout on Gruetzmacher has to tempt a few gamblers out there.

Lightweight Bout: Chris Gruetzemacher (13-2, 154.8 lbs.) vs. Davi Ramos (6-2, 155.8 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gruetzemacher is two inches taller but Ramos has two inches of reach on him. We’ve got a touch of gloves and then they both start throwing lefts. Gruetzemacher lands a bit of a right then eats a knee to the body and a leg kick. Ramos misses a double leg attempt then lands a bit of a knee. Gruetzemacher lands a low leg kick. A few rights miss for Ramos, neither guy has a feel for distance or timing yet. Gruetzemacher lands another low leg kick, Ramos slips to the mat and Gruetzemacher follows him down then gets free when Ramos tries to set up some submissions. Ramos lands a right uppercut then takes another leg kick. Hopping knee lands for Ramos, Gruetzemacher just eats it and lands another calf kick. Gruetzemacher has a serious chin on him. Ramos catches a kick and takes Gruetzemacher down, he lands in half guard and immediately starts going to work. A few short punches land for Ramos, the ref is already warning them for inactivity which I feel is unwarranted at the moment. Ramos nearly passes, they wind up in leg drag position and Ramos nearly passes again before Gruetzemacher gets half guard back. Elbows from Ramos land to the body and head. This is some impressive control from Ramos on the mat, which is where the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ramos

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Gruetzemacher lands a calf kick but eats a couple of punches. Ramos drops Gruetzemacher with a right but Gruetzemacher is back up. Gruetzemacher lands a knee but Ramos gets a double leg off of it and lands in half guard again. The ref warns him to work again, this ref hates grappling as he stands them back up after less than forty seconds on the mat. Both men miss some more punches, Ramos has a combination of hooks blocked then Gruetzemacher lands a body shot. Ramos might be gassing a bit, Gruetzemacher blocks a double leg and lands a knee to the chest. Gruetzemacher lands a right, Ramos is definitely slowing down. Another takedown attempt is blocked by Gruetzemacher. That calf kick from Gruetzemacher sweeps the legs from Ramos for a second, Ramos swings some hooks that miss. Ramos hits a double leg and lands in guard but Gruetzemacher kicks him off and regains his feet almost immediately. Power punches go back and forth. Ramos lands a stiff jab then a right, Gruetzemacher responds with a right of his own then a knee to the body. Another takedown lands for Ramos but they’re both just kind of hanging out here as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gruetzmacher, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Gruetzemacher comes out quickly and we’re back to fighting. Ramos tries a double leg, can’t get it but he ducks under and comes up on the back as they hit the fence. Ramos elevates and gets the back in transition, he locks up a lightning fast rear naked choke that Gruetzemacher tries to fight but it’s mechanically locked in and he has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Davi Ramos via Submission, rear naked choke, at 0:50 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Ramos for his work this evening. Boy that was a quick choke, beautiful transition. Ramos on the mic now along with his translator. He says the plan was always to get this to the mat, he notes this is his first lightweight bout in the UFC and it took some time to get his feet under him. He switches to English for a bit, says he feels better after this one since he had time to prepare for the fight then says he’ll keep getting better and he came here to become a champion. Still in English he thanks everyone for coming out, thanks the UFC for making his dream come true and promises to come back better each time.

Here’s the finish, Ramos locked in that choke during a half back take off of a mat return. That man has serious grappling, that was incredibly quick.

Alejandro Perez has only lost once in the UFC and is on a four fight unbeaten streak, tonight would be the biggest win of his career against a recognizable and respected MMA veteran. Iuri Alcantara is a longtime staple of the bantamweight division but he’s just 2-2 in his last four and is coming off of loss, he needs to win here to avoid the first losing streak of his professional career. Alcantara is a slight -200 favorite to +160 for Perez.

Bantamweight Bout: Iuri Alcantara (35-8 1 NC, 135.4 lbs.) vs. Alejandro Perez (18-6-1, 135.6 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Alcantara is three inches taller and has four inches of reach on Perez. Alcantara is fighting southpaw, and they touch gloves to get things going. Perez circling early, both guys pawing with their lead hands. Bit of a leg kick from Alcantara lands. They trade power hand punches, neither seems to badly off after. Again they both miss looping hooks, Perez is ducking a bit obviously while Alcantara is leaving his chin up in the air. Another attempt at power hand punches, this time they both miss. We’re into staring territory now guys, neither one wants to make a big error. Solid body kick from Alcantara then a leg kick. Perez counters a body kick with a leg kick. Alcantara has a high kick blocked. Another body kick from Alcantara lands. They miss, clinch, then Perez slips free before they hit the cage. Alcantara tries a jumping knee, they both miss punches after that fails to find the target.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Alcantara

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again, and Alcantara lands a leg kick. Bit of a right from Perez lands. Alcantara lands a front kick to the body but Perez catches it and lands a leg kick that drops Alcantara to his seat for a second. Neither of these guys wants to be the first to engage, they’re looking to counter but neither will make that first commitment. Alcantara lands a bit of a left. Perez blocks a high kick and lands an inside leg kick. Body kick from Alcantara lands. Perez catches a kick and lands a glancing right. Another front kick to the body from Alcantara lands. Straight left lands for Alcantara after Perez missed badly on some hooks. Perez decides to try southpaw, they trade leg kicks then clinch up on the fence. Perez is after a takedown, he can’t get it and they separate. Leg kick lands for Perez but he eats a couple of counters for the effort. Alcantara can’t get a late takedown and the round comes to a close.

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

ROUND THREE: Both guys showing the jab to start the final round, and Perez misses a one two combination. Some more missed punches, I really wonder what each guy is waiting for. A bit of a left lands for Perez. Alcantara lands another body kick. They trade rights and Alcantara slips a bit but nothing comes of it. Another instance of missed power hand punches. Body kick from Perez, Alcantara tries to get him down but can’t and they wind up clinched on the fence. Perez is after a takedown, he can’t get it and settles for a body lock where he can land knees to the thigh. They break without incident with about a minute left. Alcantara lands another body kick but Perez sweeps the legs with a leg kick. Alcantara coming forward now, Perez avoids a punch and wobbles him with a glancing left. They both trade and get close, they clinch but nothing really comes of it as time expires.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Perez, 29-28 Alcantara overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alejandro Perez via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Not sure about that 30-27, but I can’t complain too much as that was pretty awful to sit through.

That does it for Fight Pass, to Fox Sports 1 for the rest of the prelims.

Frankie Saenz had some steam behind him after going 3-0 to start his UFC run, but he’s on a three fight losing streak now and in desperate need of a win to keep his job with the UFC. Merab Dvalishvili is on a six fight winning streak and was featured not too long ago on Dana White: Lookin’ for a fight when he blasted his opponent in quick fashion, he’s making his UFC debut tonight and is trying to impress the UFC audience at large. Dvalishvili is favored here at -190 to +155 on Saenz.

Bantamweight Bout: Frankie Saenz (11-5, 135.6 lbs.) vs. Merab Dvalishvili (7-2, 135.6 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Dvalishvili has two inches of reach on him, the biggest difference is age as Saenz is eleven years older. They touch gloves to get us going. We get a missed Dvalishvili wheel kick, they both land rights and clinch up. Dvalishvili pushes Saenz into the fence and they trade knees to the body. A couple of elbows land for Dvalishvili. Saenz lands some knees to the body and one of them hurt Dvalishvili, he tries to switch to a double leg and hits a single leg that Saenz rolls though, we wind up standing with Dvalishvili holding the clinch still. Dvalishvili is cut around the right eyebrow from those knees, he hits a trip but Saenz is immediately back up. Another takedown from Dvalishvili, Saenz back up again. Another couple of knees from Saenz before they separate. Both men missed rights, commentary tells me the cut is from a headbutt. They clinch up again, Dvalishvili is after a double leg against the fence and he’s able to finish this one. After the takedown Dvalishvili steps over towards mount, Saenz wall walks but eats some lefts as he does so. Short elbow from Saenz and they break. Left to the body from Saenz lands. Dvalishvili catches a kick and gets a takedown in open space to land in the guard of Saenz. Saenz starts scooting to the fence, he gets there and is back up but still clinched. They end the round in the clinch.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Dvalishvili but there’s a Saenz argument in there

ROUND TWO: Dvalishvili quickly gets a clinch and has Saenz on the fence, they break with an elbow from Dvalishvili. Some rights to back and forth then Saenz lands a knee to the body. Saenz is in full body work mode, he’s trying to suck the energy from Dvalishvili and drown him later. We’re back in the clinch, they trade some punches then Saenz lands another knee to the body. Another couple of knees from Saenz then Dvalishvili drops for a double leg. He gets the takedown but Saenz is looking to wall walk immediately. They’re back up and trading knees then Saenz lands an elbow as they disengage. Some sloppy punching now, both men landed rights. Dvalishvili ducks a right and is after a double leg, he can’t finish it though. Saenz lands a knee to the body again. Another clash ends with a takedown from Dvalishvili, he’s in half guard this time and Saenz is trying to scoot to the fence. The ref stands them up, a little soon from where I sit. Both guys are slowing down now, and Dvalishvili avoids a takedown attempt. They both land to the body. Dvalishvili trying for a knee tap, they wind up on the fence where the round ends after a double leg from Dvalishvili.

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

ROUND THREE: There’s a touch of gloves for the final round. Saenz pushes forward, lands a knee that opens up a bloody cut on Dvalishvili. Dvalishvili gets a takedown as commentary tells me it was another headbutt. They’re on the fence and Dvalishvili lands a few lefts as Saenz is trying to wall walk, he’s up but Dvalishvili drags him back to the mat. Saenz back up again but he’s still got Dvalishvili stuck to him like glue. They break and Saenz lands a bit of a right. There’s some blocked offense from Dvalishvili, he lands a body kick but takes another hard knee to the body and Saenz pushes close where they trade before getting chest to chest. Dvalishvili gets a single leg to a knee, Saenz is still kneeling against the fence and is back up. They jockey for position then break with an elbow from Saenz. Saenz lands a knee to the body then sprawls away from a takedown attempt. Dvalishvili has a head kick blocked and then takes an uppercut. We wind up clinched again, Dvalishvili is after a double leg and he gets Saenz to a knee. Saenz is back up and lands a couple of knees to the body before they break. Uppercut from Saenz wobbles Dvalishvili, they wind up clinched again where time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Saenz, 29-28 Dvalishvili overall

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

A little surprised by that but I think 29-28 for either man is justifiable. No interview for Saenz.

Carls John de Tomas lost his UFC debut and is trying to rebound here to get his first UFC win. Alex Perez is on a five fight winning streak and was successful on an episode of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, this is his UFC debut and he’s trying to get his UFC career off on the right foot. It’s worth noting this was supposed to be a flyweight bout but during the week leading up to the event the CSAC were concerned with de Tomas’ weight cut and moved the bout up to bantamweight, something worth paying attention to. As for the odds, they’re with Perez at -400 while de Tomas’ comeback sits at +300.

Bantamweight Bout: Alex Perez (18-4, 135 lbs.) vs. Carls John de Tomas (8-1, 135.8 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: De Tomas has a full six inches of reach on Perez while Perez is an inch taller. De Tomas fighting southpaw, and they touch gloves. Perez opens with an inside leg kick, then lands another after they both miss punches. Looping punches miss and de Tomas lands a bit of a right hook. Perez tries a double leg, can’t get it and they separate. Short right lands for de Tomas. Perez is still working those inside leg kicks, de Tomas responds with a left to the body. Left lands for de Tomas now. Perez tries a double leg, blocked by de Tomas and he gets Perez on the fence. Some positional jockeying, Perez gets a front head lock and snaps de Tomas down, he’s after an anaconda choke now. Perez adjusts his grip but de Tomas scrambles back to his knees, Perez adjusts to a power guillotine but he can’t really lock it in and goes back to holding the position. De Tomas back up and they scramble, de Tomas winds up on his knees again and Perez gets the front head lock. Perez is showing a lot of different attacks from this position, he loses the head and they’re up and on the cage again. A few elbows from Perez land then he basically pushes de Tomas over and lands an elbow as he goes into guard. The round comes to a close in that spot.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Perez

ROUND TWO: Another touch of gloves. Perez has a high kick blocked then gets a quick single leg and moves to side control immediately. Short elbow from Perez lands. De Tomas gets half guard but rolls and now Perez is in the ride position landing some rights to the head. Good knee to the body from Perez, he’s overwhelming de Tomas in this spot. Perez now locks up the anaconda again, he gets his chest on the head this time and walks his legs into de Tomas to force the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alex Perez via submission, anaconda choke, at 1:5 of Round 2

Solid work from Perez on the mat, he gets an interview as well. He plays with the crowd a bit, he’s a native of the area, and says he feels that he should have been in the UFC a while ago and plans on returning to flyweight for his next bout. He talks us through the finish and puts over his coaches then says fighting on this stage in front of his family feels incredible.

Here’s your finish, lovely folk style transition from the ride. I believe Ben Askren calls that move the assassin, Perez hits the roll then switches to the choke to get the finish.

Luke Sanders is coming off of the first loss of his career when he succumbed to a kneebar from Iuri Alcantara after dominating the first round, he’s trying to rebound from that setback and potentially earn a shot at a ranked opponent next. Andre Soukhamthath has gone 0-2 in the UFC, both were split decisions but he knows that at some point you do have to win in the UFC to keep your job and he’s looking to do just that here. The odds are with Sanders at -270 to a +210 comeback on Soukhamthath.

Bantamweight Bout: Andre Soukhamthath (11-5, 136 lbs.) vs. Luke Sanders (11-1, 135.6 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Soukhamthath has three inches of height and reach on Sanders. Sanders fighting souhtpaw. Some feinting and circling from both guys, just getting a feel for each other. Sanders lands a bit of a left. Left then a right and a bit of a combination from Sanders. Soukhamthath lands a counter left hook. Power hand punches are traded but Sanders landed better. Body kick from Sanders lands, he’s moving forward applying pressure to Soukhamthath. Sanders lands a left then a body kick, Soukhamthath is on the back foot mentally as well as physically. An exchange of punches leads to a clinch and Sanders has Soukhamthath on the fence. Elbow from Sanders lands, he’s got a body lock now as well. Soukhamthath is bleeding from the nose, not badly but it’s worth keeping an eye on. Another elbow from Sanders, and another. Sanders is just mauling Soukhamthath in this position. Sanders just misses an elbow as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Sanders

ROUND TWO: Sanders is back to pushing forward with punches to start this round, Soukhamthath is throwing back now though. They both miss, they’re starting to force the punches more now. Soukhamthath lands a wicked counter right that drops Sanders, he follows him down and pounds him out on the mat. Sanders is protesting but that seemed fair to me.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Andre Soukhamthath via TKO, punches, at 1:06 of Round 2

Soukhamthath on the mic now after that impressive finish. He feels blessed to be here after going 0-2, despite those being split decisions he needed the win and asks for a life changing bonus. Felder asks him about how soon he wants to come back, he says both Boston and I think Charlotte sound good. He switches to Laotian to tell his brothers back home to love and respect each other.

Sanders stopped moving his head while exchanging, he ducked into the punch but as he returns to the center line he’s wide open for that right.

Alexis Davis (18-7) has traded wins and losses while going 2-2 in her last four fights, she’s hoping a drop to flyweight will reinvigorate her career despite coming off of a win. Liz Carmouche (11-5) is on a two fight winning streak but hasn’t fought in over a year, she’s trying to avenge an earlier loss to Davis and establish herself in the newly minted flyweight division. Given how lackluster Davis’ last fight was the odds are with Carmouche at -140 to +110 for Davis.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: Alexis Davis (18-7, 125.8 lbs.) vs. Liz Carmouche (11-5, 124.8 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Davis has two inches of reach on Carmouche. Carmouche comes out jabbing, Davis looking to land a counter right. Davis catches a kick and gets a clinch, she’s got Carmouche on the fence. They trade some body work. More knees to the body, Davis now trying for a single leg but she can’t finish it. The ref separates them after they stall out a bit. Another punch into a clinch, this time Carmouche hits a trip and lands in side control. Davis to her knees, Carmouche into the front headlock position and lands a knee to the body. Davis wall walks, she only had one hand down there but Carmouche didn’t see that the knees to the head would have been legal. Carmouche gets another takedown against the fence, Davis has a high guard going but she’s stuffed against the cage. Davis switches to an armbar, she’s got the angle but there’s not a lot of room for her to straighten and finish. Carmouche pulls from the fence, she’s trying to stack on Davis but Davis still has the arm and is cranking on the armbar but Carmouche holds on until the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Davis based on the close armbar

ROUND TWO: Both women probing with punches to start the second, Carmouche does some stance switching then takes a leg kick. Body kick from Carmouche but Davis catches it and trips her then gets on top in guard. Davis already looking to pass, Carmouche fighting to keep her full guard. A couple of decent rights land for Davis, Carmouche is trying to control her posture and stall out for the stand up. Another pass attempt from Davis, this time she gets to half guard and lands an elbow. Davis lands some body shots, Carmouche tries to roll but can’t get up, she does get her guard back though. Carmouche goes to rubber guard now, they trade some punches and elbows then Davis postures through the guard. Butterfly guard for Carmouche now, Davis lands a right but Carmouche is trying to get her legs in play, Davis reads it easily and avoids it. The ref stands them up, not sure I agree but hardly the worst stand up of the evening. Rights go back and forth, Carmouche lands a front kick to the body. Solid right lands for Carmouche, Davis lands a leg kick and they clinch again. Knees to the body from Davis as she gets Carmouche on the fence. The round ends with a muscled trip from Carmouche.

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

ROUND THREE: They trade leg kicks to get the round going, Carmouche also lands a right. Another right lands for Carmouche, Davis has some swelling over her left eyebrow, it’s pretty gnarly. Hard combination lands for Carmouche and then she gets a double leg into the guard of Davis. Odd decision, Carmouche was battering Davis and now we’re back on the mat. Davis has a rubber guard going trying to isolate an arm, she’s into a high guard now. Carmouche lands a knee to the butt, Davis after the armbar again. Davis has the angle, she’s working to extend the arm, Carmouche slams her way out of it though and is finally able to pass to side control. A couple of elbows to the body from Carmouche as Davis tries to set up a sweep. Carmouche winds up back in guard. A few body to head punches from Carmouche land. Davis trying for a kimura sweep now, she’s nearly got the double wrist lock and hits the sweep into mount. Carmouche hip escapes to half guard quickly but Davis swarms her with punches as time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Carmouche, 29-28 Davis overall

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

Competitive bout again, Davis on the mic now along with the growth on her head. She puts over Carmouche as a great fighter and hopes the fans enjoyed the fight. They’re booing the decision, she’s asked about the new division and she looks forward to fighting at flyweight and wants to be back in the cage by March or April.

For those who might have missed the hematoma on Davis, here’s a picture after the decision was announced.

That’s it for preliminary action but we’re still on Fox Sports 1 for the main card.

Albert Morales only has one win in the UFC, a controversial split decision, and is coming off of a loss to Brett Johns. Morales needs a win pretty badly here to prove he belongs in the UFC. Benito Lopez is undefeated and was last seen winning on Dana White’s Contender Series, this marks his UFC debut and he’s trying to make it a memorable one. The odds are close, -130 for Lopez to +100 for Morales.

Bantamweight Bout: Albert Morales (7-2-1, 134 lbs.) vs. Benito Lopez (8-0, 135.4 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Lopez is an inch taller and has an inch of reach on Morales. Lopez comes forward quickly and lands a head kick, Morales just eats it and fires back. Lopez is still pushing forward, Morales circling. Body kick lands for Lopez, Morales catches it and gets a brief clinch then separates. Morales staggers Lopez with a ajb, he gets too wild and Lopez rocks him with a flying knee. They get wild and crazy, Lopez lands another flying knee and is after a mounted guillotine. Morales gives the thumbs up for a bit but that’s getting really tight. Lopez switches towards the one armed variant but Morales explodes up and we’re RoadHouse all over again. Lopez gets dropped but is back up and Morales has his back standing. This has been wild. One hook in for Morales, he throws a couple of lefts that are mostly blocked then goes to the body. Lopez is bleeding from the nose, Morales has wrist control and is keeping Lopez pinned against the fence. A few more lefts are sneaking through for Morales and he digs to the body as well. The round comes to a close in that position.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lopez but that could go either way

ROUND TWO: Lopez back to coming forward, they trade some jabs. Lopez seems to be targeting the body with his straight right, he’s gone southpaw now and lands a body kick then goes orthodox. Leg kick from Morales. Another southpaw look from Lopez, he eats a jab and goes back to orthodox. Inside leg kick from Morales lands. Spinning back kick to the body lands for Lopez, then a left body kick and a high kick. Morales is hurt, they trade again but Lopez gets winded from a right to the body and backs off. Leg kick from Morales. Stiff jab from Lopez. Another left body kick from Lopez, he’s targeting the body of Morales. Morales lands a leg kick, Lopez seems to be fading a bit from the pace of this contest. That jab from Morales is starting to do work, and he lands a good leg kick. Another missed spinning attack from Lopez and Morales lands a leg kick. Lopez misses another spinning back kick just as time runs down.

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

ROUND THREE: Another round starts with forward pressure from Lopez. Morales is still tender to the body, he’s keeping that right elbow close to his ribs. Some leg kicks go back and forth, Morales is getting the better of those. Left hook lands for Morales. A couple of body kicks from Morales land, Lopez is still looking for jumping stuff deep into the fight and Morales is starting to make him pay for them. Lopez lands a head kick but Morales just eats it and we get missed uppercuts. Another left head kick from Lopez lands. Right to the body from Lopez. Morales swings a right to the body. Another jab from Morales, he’s keeping a consistent pace and Lopez is looking for big explosions of offense. Lopez misses a spinning back kick then lands a bit of a jumping knee. Hard left hook then a right land for Morales just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Morales, 29-28 Lopez overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Benito Lopez via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

Well it didn’t want for action that’s for sure. Lopez on the mic now, his nose is still bleeding. He dedicates the win to his grandmother. Asked about the decision he says his nose is busted up but he felt he’d done enough to win, that’s a broken nose for sure. Felder asks him about the guillotine in the first, he says it was tight and he doesn’t know how Morales survived.

Here’s some highlights from the first round, it got wild in there for a bit.

Eryk Anders is undefeated and had a successful UFC debut when he stopped Rafael Natal, he’s trying to continue that momentum tonight and prove himself a prospect worth watching in the division. Markus Perez is also undefeated, he’s making his UFC debut and is looking to slow down some of the hype around Anders. In reference to said hype, Anders is a notable -400 favorite to +300 for Perez.

Middleweight Bout: Markus Perez (9-0, 185.4 lbs.) vs. Eryk Anders (9-0, 185.6 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Anders has two inches of reach on Perez. Both guys fighting southpaw. Anders stalking forward, Perez lands an inside leg kick. Perez is circling but he keeps getting his back on the fence, Anders gets a clinch and has Perez on the cage. Single leg attempt from Anders but he can’t finish it and they resume jockeying in the clinch. A few knees to the body are traded and they break without anything landing. Short right hook stuns Perez and we’re back in the clinch. Interesting game plan from Anders. They trade knees and fight for position. Perez is able to spin Anders into the fence and is after a takedown but Anders is defending. Perez adjusts and gets the double leg into the guard, he immediately moves to half guard. Anders tries to sit up, Perez is after a d’arce choke and he’s squeezing for all he’s worth but the angle is wrong and Anders gets free. They’re back up and Anders lands a knee. Anders coming forward, misses some offense then lands a knee. Left to the body lands for Anders then a left behind the ear. Anders has the back now as they’re standing. Perez puts one hand down, the ref tells him he’s not grounded. Anders lands a glancing left as Perez gets free. They clinch up and Perez gets an ugly trip takedown to end the round on top.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Anders

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Anders coming forward again, he’s chasing a lot when Perez is running along the fence. Left lands for Anders, Perez is fading but still doing flashy stuff. A knee lands for Anders, Perez is rolling with most of these shots. Left uppercut and a combination lands for Anders, Perez just eats it but that landed flush. Perez lands a body kick, and another one. Anders drops Perez with a counter left, Perez is back up. Another caught body kick and counter left for Anders. Knee and a left from Anders land in a glancing fashion. They split lefts but Perez is constantly being backed into the fence, Anders really should have found a shot altering punch by now but he doesn’t have the vocabulary of striking to take advantage of these positions. Anders lands a punch, blocks a takedown and lands a couple of punches. Anders lands a left, Perez is down on a failed double leg and Anders follows him down and starts unloading. Perez to his knees, he tries to roll but there’s no position or energy and Anders smothers then smashes him. Anders nearly has mount and is swinging lefts to the head. Perez to his knees and wall walks but he’s still clinched. Perez tries a kimura, they fall to the mat and Anders nearly has the back as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Anders, 20-17 Anders overall

ROUND THREE: We get a quick hug to start the last round. Perez lands a bit of a left but Anders is still just pushing forward. There’s a slip from Perez after taking a right and Anders has him seated on the fence. Perez back up but Anders forces him to his knees against the fence. Anders lands a knee to the body then one to the head as Perez was getting up. Anders lands a left after fading a punch, he’s looking to tee off on Perez but Perez forces a clinch and Anders takes him down to land in half guard. Both guys are sucking wind. Perez is after a guillotine but there’s nothing there and Anders postures up to hit him a couple of times. This has just gotten sad at this point. Anders lands a few short punches and hammer fists. A couple of short elbows from Anders, Perez is just defending and hoping to survive until time runs down. Anders stands, misses a leg kick and winds up back on top in half guard. A few more punches from Anders, he tries to Donkey Kong for the final few seconds but time runs down before anything comes of it.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Anders, possible 10-8, 30-26 Anders overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Eryk Anders via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25, 29-28)

I can’t fathom which round went to Perez, or how you didn’t give Anders a 10-8 in the first. Anders on the mic, he says the game plan was to finish but things change when you get in here. He puts over his coaches for getting him ready and keeping him well rounded. Asked who he’d like next he says he’d be down to fight Lyoto Machida down in Brazil.

I missed the start of Lomanchenko vs. Rigondeaux for that, I can’t help but feel I made a horrible decision.

They officially announce Francis Ngannou vs. Stipe Miocic as the main event for UFC 220, that’s the best heavyweight bout since the first two Velasquez vs. dos Santos fights and is a good main event should something happen to Cormier vs. Oezdemir.

Scott Holtzman has traded wins and losses while going 3-2 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a win though and is looking to get his first UFC winning streak up and running. Darrell Horcher is 1-1 in the UFC, he lost his debut when he stepped in on short notice to get mauled by Khabib Nurmagomedov, but is coming off of a win and is also looking for his first UFC winning streak. The odds lean towards Holtzman at -135 to +115 on Horcher.

Lightweight Bout: Scott Holtzman (10-2, 155.8 lbs.) vs. Darrell Horcher (13-2, 155.6 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Horcher has an inch of height and reach on Holtzman. Horcher fighting southpaw. Holtzman lands a bit of a blitz attack. Bit of a left from Holtzman who then tries a double leg that stalls out on the fence. Horcher is able to spin Holtzman and they’re trading some knees to the body. Holtzman is able to get an inside trip and lands in the guard of Horcher. Holtzman postures up and lands a couple of punches then eats an up kick and passes to half guard. Horcher is trying to wall walk but he’s getting smothered and hit with lefts. Knee to the body then one to the head from Holtzman but Horcher gets a takedown off of it. Now Holtzman wall walks and they separate. Holtzman slips on a high kick and Horcher is on top now. Holtzman wall walks, we spin a bit in the clinch then Horcher lands an uppercut as they break. Another slip on a high kick from Holtzman, Horcher lands a couple of punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Holtzman

ROUND TWO: Some circling to start things, Horcher lands a bit of a straight left. Left uppercut wobbles Holtzman and Horcher is coming forward on him now. A couple of counter left uppercuts from Horcher land, Holtzman just eats them but he’s getting hit consistently now. Double leg from Holtzman and he’s got Horcher down. Holtzman is in half guard, he’s bleeding from the bridge of his nose and looking to control Horcher. Horcher trying to wall walk, Holtzman trying to hug him to death. Holtzman looking to mount but Horcher is back up and they hang out in the clinch. Holtzman hits an inside trip and he’s back on top in half guard. I missed Lomanchenko vs. Rigondeaux for this, and I don’t feel good about that. Holtzman postures up, misses a couple of punches then lands to the body. Holtzman lands a couple of elbows. The ref actually stands them up, I don’t agree with that at all. They swing in close, Horcher landed but he can’t keep Holtzman off of him and he hits another inside trip to land in guard. Holtzman stands, eats an up kick then comes down into the guard to land a couple of punches and stall out the round there.

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

ROUND THREE: There’s some circling, Holtzman lands a body kick. Horcher lands a bit of a left. Double leg from Holtzman, they hit the fence and start jockeying for position. A few knees are traded then an elbow from Holtzman lands, we trade a bit then separate. Horcher really needs to circle but he stands still and when Holtzman tries another double leg they hit the fence and stall out. Hard elbow lands for Holtzman and he tries another double leg but Horcher blocks it. Holtzman hits that inside trip again and moves to half guard. Horcher is trying to wall walk, he’s seated on the fence but Holtzman is still smothering him. The ref actually separates them, I’m shocked at that one. Horcher lands a counter left that wobbles Holtzman but he gets in on a single leg and spins Horcher to the mat. Holtzman into half guard, Horcher trying for a kimura sweep but he’s got no control or room against the fence. Holtzman is after a kimura now, but again the fence is in the way and he bails on it in favor of landing short punches. Horcher is trying to wall walk but he’ll barely get upright before time runs out.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Scott Holtzman via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

No interview for Holtzman.

Marlon Moraes is 1-1 in the UFC but that loss was a highly controversial split decision to top contender Raphael Assuncao, he rebounded with a win over John Dodson and is looking to take out another ranked opponent tonight while making a case for a title shot. Aljamain Sterling is 2-2 in his last four fights, he’s coming off of an important win when he took out former champion Renan Barao and is trying to de-rail the momentum of Moraes while making his own case for a possible title fight. Despite taking this on short notice the odds are with Moraes at -150 to +120 for Sterling.

Bantamweight Bout: #7 Marlon Moraes (19-5-1, 135.4 lbs.) vs. #8 Aljamain Sterling (14-2, 135.6 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Sterling is an inch taller but has four inches of reach on Moraes. Sterling opens with an inside leg kick, then misses a high kick. Moraes lands a left hook then a straight right. Moraes catches a kick and trips Sterling then makes him stand back up. Sterling is going some stance switching while circling. They trade some jabs to the body, Moraes knocks Sterling down with a left and follows him down to punch him, Sterling flails for an arm and Moraes stands free. Moraes then absolutely murders Sterling with a knee to the chin.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Marlon Moraes via KO, Knee, at 1:07 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Moraes for his work this evening. Sterling was down for a long time after that one, that was brutal, he wasn’t standing when they announced Moraes as the winner. Moraes on the mic now, he says he wants to fight soon, thanks Sean Shelby for the chance to be here then hopes Sterling isn’t too hurt because he doesn’t want to seriously injure anyone. Felder asks him about the finish, he says being inside the UFC is different and unbelievable and he’s finally getting his feet under him and plans on being a problem for the division. He walks us through the finish to close his interview.

Good grief, that was something to behold. In case you missed it, here’s Moraes ending Sterling’s night.

There’s been no update from the UFC on Sterling, but Twitter tells me he was moving as they took him out of the cage on a backboard. Come on UFC, you can’t leave the audience at home not knowing how a guy who just got violently knocked out is.

Jason Knight just had a four fight winning streak snapped when he ran into Ricardo Lamas, he’s trying to rebound and defend his top ranking. Gabriel Benitez has traded wins and losses while going 2-2 in his last four fights, he’s coming off of a loss and is trying to avoid the first losing streak of his UFC run. Knight is a significant favorite at -350 against a +265 comeback on Benitez.

Featherweight Bout: #15 Jason Knight (20-3, 145.6 lbs.) vs. Gabriel Benitez (19-6, 144.8 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Knight is two inches taller but they have the same reach. Benitez fighting southpaw, and we’ve got some exchanges already going back and forth. There’s an inside leg kick from Benitez but he’s getting tagged by punches. Body kick from Benitez lands. Knight stumbles Benitez with a right. Benitez gets a front head lock off of a double leg, we get time as Benitez had something go wrong with his hand. We get time and a doctor coming in, still no clarification about what happened but the doctor has no issue with the fight continuing. The ref takes a point from Knight for biting, could have been accidental as Benitez was digging hard for a choke but either way there’s a point taken. Benitez lands a bit of a head kick, Knight still coming forward. Knight lands a bit of a right, he’s getting wide with his punches and Benitez is staying technical. Takedown attempt from Knight, they hit the fence and stall out there. Knight tries a lateral drop but can’t complete it and Benitez is on top now. Benitez trying to posture up and swing but Knight gets rubber guard to control him. Benitez stands free and we’re back on the feet. Inside leg kick from Benitez lands. Stiff couple of jabs land for Benitez. Benitez avoids a combination, Knight really needs to stop following and start cage cutting. Knight tries a double leg, Benitez avoids it and they both land in close. Benitez blocks a high kick as the last bit of notable offense of the round.

SCORECARD: 9-9 after the point deduction

ROUND TWO: Benitez back to sniping from the outside with kicks, Knight is really struggling with the distance. Benitez lands a left. Bit of a combination lands for Benitez, Knight is getting very predictable with his offense and now takes a leg kick. Knight hits a double leg and gets Benitez to the fence, but Benitez wall walks immediately and we’re in the clinch. Knight tries that sacrifice throw again but again Benitez blocks it and gets on top. Rubber guard for Knight, Benitez is trying to push through it, he gets free and separates. Both guys are still throwing but Benitez looks very sharp as they split jabs. Knight is really flat on his feet and Benitez is moving and hitting him with near impunity. Benitez swings a left to the body then complains of an eye poke and we’ve got time again. Replay confirms the eye poke, the doctor is in to check on Benitez and he seems good to continue and we restart. They trade front kicks to the body, Benitez has more heat on his. Solid counter one two from Benitez after Knight missed a one two. Another couple of counters from Benitez land, Knight is walking right into them. Solid series of lefts from Benitez land, Knight is a little hurt from that. Knight tries a right into a double leg but neither land. Inside leg kick from Benitez lands. They both land short uppercuts as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Benitez, 19-18 Benitez overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. They’re both getting after it again but missing a bit thus far. Left to the body from Benitez lands. Benitez lands a head kick that wobbles Knight, Knight responds with a right. Lovely angle from Benitez leads to him slipping on a high kick. Knight has gone southpaw now, and he lands a right hook. Stiff couple of rights land for Benitez, he’s moving really well though Knight’s following him rather than moving well might be emphasizing it. Benitez lands a left. Knight tries a takedown, Benitez tosses him aside and resets in the middle of the cage. Left to the body from Benitez then a bit of a head kick. This is a solid display of fighting and angling on an advancing opponent, Benitez is running away with this technically. Benitez blocks a takedown, lands in side control and then makes Knight stand again. Good one two from Benitez lands. Knight is wading forward and swinging but he’s basically praying with these punches. Another couple of lefts land for Benitez. Left to the body from Benitez lands. Benitez just misses a jumping knee, they clinch and Knight pulls Benitez into mount, Benitez swings at him then Knight rolls for a heel hook but he wont have time to finish it.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Benitez, 29-27 Benitez overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Gabriel Benitez via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-26 x2)

Best performance of Benitez’s career by far, and he’s on the mic now. He dedicates the win to his wife, then tells Dana White that now he knows who he is.

Cub Swanson has been a fixture near the top of the featherweight division for many years now, he’s on a four fight winning streak and his only UFC losses are to Ricardo Lamas, Frankie Edgar, and Max Holloway. Swanson could easily make a case for a title shot with a fifth consecutive win here. Brian Ortega is undefeated as a professional and has finished all five of his opponents in the UFC, a win here would be the biggest of his career and would move him into the title picture. The odds have this one even, a -115 pick ’em.

Featherweight Bout: #4 Cub Swanson (25-7, 146 lbs.) vs. #6 Brian Ortega (12-0 1 NC, 144.8 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Swanson has an inch of reach advantage. There’s a touch of gloves to get us going, both guys aren’t afraid to do some stance switching. Feinting from both men, just looking for a read on the other. Swanson lands a leg kick, Ortega lands an inside leg kick. Another exchange of leg kicks, Swanson has some punches blocked. Ortega slips some offense lands a couple of punches then avoids the return from Swanson. Leg kick from Swanson lands. Bit of a jab lands for Ortega. Swanson blocks a couple of punches then eats a leg kick. Body shot from Swanson then a leg kick. These two are getting into it now, both missing but they’re getting closer. Bit of a right lands for Swanson in close. Counter right lands for Ortega. Right to the body from Swanson. Swanson lands a left hook before they clinch up. They trade some knees to the body, Ortega grabs an anaconda choke standing and looks to lock it up, he’s got it locked but there’s not enough time to really force the choke before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ortega

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. A few more leg kicks go back and forth. Swanson circling around the cage now, both guys still looking for a real read. Low leg kick from Swanson lands then Ortega lands a jab. Right lands for Swanson, he’s moving very well so far and finding angles. Jab to the body from Swanson. Swanson blocks a high kick then digs a left to the body. Right to the body from Swanson, he’s starting to pull away in terms of the striking with his consistent output. Swanson lands a right and Ortega gets the clinch against the fence. They trade knees to the body, Ortega landed better though. Ortega after a single leg, can’t get it then gets another front headlock and jumps for an arm in guillotine. Swanson is standing but Ortega adjusts and Swanson has to tap out.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Brian Ortega via Submission, guillotine choke, at 3:22 of Round 2

Biggest win of Ortega’s career there, Swanson only loses to the best. Ortega on the mic now, he pulls Swanson over and puts him over as a veteran and gangster of the division. He thanks God and gives him the glory. Felder asks him about the grip adjustment, he says Swanson’s neck wasn’t as thick as he thought it was and had to re-wrap but once he did he knew it was over as he’s been doing jiu-jitsu for fourteen years. He says he’s finished all of his fights in the UFC and while he doesn’t talk a lot he says he’s after the attention of anyone with a lot of money so he can give back to charity for kids who are down and out because he was down and out as a kid. Ortega hugs his father and says he’s here because of him, then says he’ll wait for Edgar to fight Holloway for the belt because Edgar’s earned it and then fight the winner of that bout.

That was a beautiful choke from Ortega, Swanson ducks his head into the armpit and Ortega capitalizes then makes a brilliant adjustment while still basically hanging on Swanson’s neck to force the submission.

Alright everyone, that’s it for Fight Night 123. We had some good fights and finishes, and thankfully only a few really dull spots. We’ll be unpacking off of the results from this event Sunday at 8pm eastern standard time on the 411 Ground and Pound Radio Show, and also looking ahead to UFC on FOX 26 when Robbie Lawler and Rafael dos Anjos battle for a possible title shot. I’ll be back for that event next Saturday, because I have nothing better to do with my Saturday’s. I hope you will all come back for that event, it’s a really solid main card, but until then thank you all for being here and keep checking 411mania for all of you pop culture needs.

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