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411’s UFC 219 Report 12.30.17

December 31, 2017 | Posted by Robert Winfree
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Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 219. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening, relaying all of the action to you exactly as I see it. I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday season, whatever your particular observance happens to be. I do need to give you all a bit of warning about the next few months, I really genuinely hate the period of time post Christmas until about Easter. Without going into too much detail I just wanted to warn you all that if my coverage dips in quality or I seem unduly snarky, morose, apathetic, and so on it’s a temporary thing and I beg your forgiveness.

Now as for UFC 219, this is the big year end show for the UFC in a year where they’ve really had a serious down turn in business. Please feel free to read Dan Plunkett’s column on that topic here for more detail. The main event is about as good a women’s fight as the UFC can put on when featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” takes on former bantamweight champion Holly Holm, and the co-main event is a great lightweight fight between top contenders Khabib Nurmagomedov and Edson Barboza with the winner likely fighting for a title. No one is sure if that will be the interim title or the actual title, but such is the state of any division hosting Conor McGregor. Also Carlos Condit returns to action against Neil Magny in what should be a telling encounter for both men.

UFC 219 comes to us from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA with Jon Anik, Dominick Cruz, and Joe Rogan on commentary. In the rules update, the Nevada State Athletic Commission has not adopted the changes to the (formerly) Unified Rules of MMA so anything other than the soles of your feet on the mat makes you grounded and the language around scoring is more nebulous. There is the limited use of replay though, as usual once replay is used by the referee the fight can’t be restarted.

Tim Elliott has had a rough stretch recently, he’s just 1-2 since returning to the UFC and is coming off of a forty nine second submission loss. Elliott needs a win pretty badly as a two fight losing streak could find him out of the UFC for the second time, he’s hoping a move up to bantamweight will breathe life into his career. Mark De La Rosa is undefeated coming into his UFC debut, this represents a significant step up in competition for him but a win over a respected veteran like Elliott would be a big way to start off his UFC career. The odds are with Elliott at -225 against +175 fir De La Rosa.

Bantamweight Bout: Tim Elliott (14-8-1, 135 lbs.) vs. Mark De La Rosa (9-0, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Elliott is an inch taller and has an inch of reach on De La Rosa. They touch gloves to get us going. Elliott showing lead leg kicks early, he gets a single leg and spins De La Rosa down but De La Rosa holds the head to threaten a guillotine, then he loses the position and Elliott settles into half guard. De La Rosa gets guard and is fishing for an armbar, he’s got the legs in position and is working to extend the arm, Elliott has a grip on his own bicep to keep that arm from extending. Elliott elevates and slams but De La Rosa holds the arm through it and we’re back at square one. Another slam from Elliott, this time he gets the arm free and moves to the ride position, landing some punches as they start to scramble. After the scramble Elliott is still on top as De La Rosa gets guard back. A few short punches and elbows land for Elliott. More consistent blows from Elliott as De La Rosa keeps trying to spin his hips for an armbar but Elliott is keeping with his hips and moves to half guard. Elliott grabs for a d’arce choke, he adjusts to a guillotine and really sits back for it, then rolls into mount with it and bails to land offense. De La Rosa gives up the back, Elliott can’t keep control though and De La Rosa sweeps to get on top then Elliott sweeps him back and the round ends with Elliott on top.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Elliott

ROUND TWO: Elliott opens with a front kick to the body then De La Rosa catches it and they wind up on the mat again. Elliott threatens an anaconda choke that he uses to initiate a scramble and get the back looking for a twister. De La Rosa blocks it and Elliott winds up on top in half guard. Guard recover from De La Rosa, Elliott content to stay busy with offense. Triangle attempt from De La Rosa, Elliott rolls through and grabs an anaconda choke that forces the submission.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Tim Elliott via Submission, anaconda choke, at 1:41 of Round 2

Elliott needed that one, he’s on the mic now and is visibly emotional as this was his first fight since the loss of his coach Robert Follis. He just thanks his current coach and tells Follis that he loves him then walks away from the mic.

Here’s the finish. Another anaconda set up from the position Ben Askren calls “The Assassin”, he thinks about the guillotine then adjusts to the anaconda when De La Rosa tries to roll through and gets the finish. Nice set up and finish from Elliott.

That’s it for Fight Pass prelims, in theory we’re on Fox Sports 1 but there might be some college football games going long so check the Fox Sports Go website if you’re on a bowl game.

Louis Smolka has had some serious ups and downs during his time in the UFC, he had some serious momentum after winning four fights in a row but has since gone on a three fight losing streak and could be out of the promotion if he gets to 0-4 here. Matheus Nicolau is on a five fight winning streak including being 2-0 in the UFC and he’s coming off of a big win over John Moraga, he’s looking to get into the top rankings with another big win tonight. The odds are with Nicolau at -230 against +180 on Smolka.

Flyweight Bout: #13 Louis Smolka (11-4, 126 lbs.) vs. Matheus Nicolau (12-1-1, 125.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Smolka is three inches taller and has two and a half inches of reach on Nicolau. There’s a touch of gloves to get us going. Smolka lands a left body kick. Looping left hook lands for Nicolau. They both miss rights then Smolka lands a left to the body. Hard counter right lands for Nicolau, Smolka needs to move his head when he closes distance because he’s leaving his head wide open and Nicolau is starting to time it. Nicolau digs the body with a left, they exchange in close and Smolka drops after eating a left and Nicolau gets on top. A bit of a scramble and Nicolau winds up holding the back for a bit. Side control from Nicolau, he lands a knee to the body but Smolka seems to have recovered his wits and they wind up back on the feet. Smolka lands a body kick. Straight right then a left hook from Nicolau drop Smolka again, Nicolau is on top in half guard setting up an arm triangle. Nicolau is still in half guard but Smolka can’t keep him there, Smolka spins free and is up but eats a knee. More body shots from Nicolau. That straight right then counter left hook wobble Smolka again, Nicolau blasts him to the mat again and follows him down. Smolka is bleeding from the forehead, the round comes to a close on the mat.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Nicolau

ROUND TWO: Smolka needs to make some serious adjustments after that round. They touch gloves again for the second round. Smolka lands a couple of leg kicks, Nicolau is still circling well. Nicolau wobbles Smolka with another left hook. Leg kick from Nicolau then a jab to the body. Some solid body jabs from Nicolau, there’s redness on the body of Smolka and he’s setting up the hook off of that motion. Smolka lands a straight right. They trade left hooks, Smolka lands a right as well. Nicolau might have punched himself out a bit in that first round, Smolka lands a body kick. Lefts to the body go back and forth. Straight right then left hook from Nicolau land but he doesn’t have the same heat on them. Nicolau lands a left to the body then a left hook. The hand speed from Nicolau is impressive, he’s visibly faster than Smolka. Another body kick from Smolka and then they trade right hooks. They clash one final time and trade evenly as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Nicolau, 20-17 Nicolau overall

ROUND THREE: Another touch of gloves for the final round. Nicolau back to the left hook, Smolka lands a bit of a leg kick. Smolka digs a left to the body, Nicolau returns it. Nicolau catches a kick and sweeps the rear leg then gets on top in half guard. A few body shots land then Nicolau stands and lands leg kicks before Smolka gets up. Leg kick from Smolka. They trade body work again, Nicolau ducks a punch and gets a double leg into half guard. Smolka is able to get guard, Nicolau stands and lands a leg kick then Smolka regains his feet. Hard left to the body from Nicolau then he grabs a single leg but Smolka gets away from him. Straight right then left hook from Nicolau land, Smolka lands a left hook of his own. Body kick from Smolka, he’s coming forward but Nicolau lands a foot sweep to get on top in side control. Smolka to his knees, they switch a few times and Nicolau winds up on top in the ride position. Nicolau gets the back and is after the choke, he’s only got one hook in though. Both hooks in now, Nicolau is after it but Smolka gets his shoulders to the mat and spins free, they scramble again as time runs all the way down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Nicolau, 30-26 Nicolau overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Matheus Nicolau via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26 x2)

Big big performance from Nicolau, I can see the third being 10-8 as well even if I disagree with it. Nicolau on the mic, he puts over Smolka as a tough guy and talks about taking out the body of the taller man. Asked about the durability of Smolka he says he was surprised at his recovery after the first round but he stuck to the game plan and got the victory.

A few highlights, the first round was a nice case study on straighter punches getting to the target faster than looping ones.

Marvin Vettori is 2-1 in the UFC and his only loss in the promotion is to the surging Antonio Carlos Junior, he’s after his first UFC winning streak tonight and looking to make a run towards being ranked. Omari Akhmedov is 2-2 in his last four fights and is on a two fight winning streak, he’s returning to the middleweight division for the first time since 2013 in hopes of truly excelling as opposed to simply treading water at welterweight. The odds favor Vettori at -235 to a +185 comeback on Akhmedov.

Middleweight Bout: Marvin Vettori (12-3, 185.5 lbs.) vs. Omari Akhmedov (17-4, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Vettori has an inch of reach on him. Vettori fighting southpaw, Akhmedov lands an inside leg kick. Vettori plodding forward, both guys pawing with lead hands. Bit of a left lands for Vettori. Hard body kick from Akhmedov. Vettori responds with a solid body kick of his own. Short left lands for Akhmedov. Stepping knee lands for Vettori. They trade power hand punches, Vettori is backing up and Akhmedov lands a couple of looping hooks. Vettori is on the fence now and Akhmedov is looking to tee off. Akhmedov avoids a bad single leg attempt and lands a sort right. Akhmedov lands a right then takes a knee to the head. Straight left lands for Vettori, he’s at distance again and is being successful. Double leg attempt from Akhmedov, they hit the fence and he can’t finish it so they separate. They basically stare away the final fifteen seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Akhmedov

ROUND TWO: Let’s see which of these two gasses harder after that first round. Akhmedov lands a couple of hard inside leg kicks then a right. Another inside leg kick from Akhmedov, Vettori coming forward now but his leg is getting chewed up. Vettori misses a knee and they clinch, Akhmedov gets a takedown as Vettori holds a double wrist lock and tries to adjust to an armbar. Vettori now has a triangle from the side, looking to tighten things up. Akhmedov has a hand in the triangle that basically saves him as Vettori squeezes for all he’s worth, Vettori bails on it and Akhmedov is on top now. Vettori kicks Akhmedov off and we’re back on the feet. Vettori lands a left then takes a knee to the body. Bit of a spinning back fist from Akhmedov. Akhmedov lands an inside leg kick and Vettori lands a body kick. They wind up clinched again and Akhmedov is on the cage, then quickly spins Vettori. Vettori spins him back and then they disengage. Left hook lands for Akhmedov. Vettori misses an elbow and they’re on the cage again. They break as Vettori misses an elbow. They waste the last fifteen seconds again.

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

ROUND THREE: Vettori opens up with a body kick. Akhmedov misses a couple of hooks, he’s visibly winded. Vettori lands a couple of punches and a knee, he goes off in the pocket but Akhmedov eggs him on. Knee from Vettori lands. They clinch up and wind up jockeying for position on the cage. They break and Vettori lands a bit of an elbow. Vettori fades a couple of punches and lands a left, Akhmedov lands an inside leg kick. Another clinch situation that hits the fence then they break. Vettori lands a couple of punches, he eats a counter. Another stepping high knee from Vettori, Akhmedov responds with a spinning back fist. We get a bit of a brawl then Vettori kicks the body. They clinch, spin a few times and break without incident. Vettori lands a straight left. That high kick/knee from Vettori lands again and wobbles Akhmedov a bit. Akhmedov lands a right, not much on it at this point though. Akhmedov tries a double leg, there’s not drive and Vettori pushes him over to get on top in half guard. Vettori to the other side, he’s landing a few elbows but wont get the finish.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Vettori, 28-28 DRAW overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Majority DRAW (29-28 Vettori, 28-28 x2)

Well that was certainly something, a way to kill a bunch of time. Nothing of note though.

Myles Jury just broke a two fight losing streak as well as a significant lay off when he defeated Mike De La Torre, he’s trying to defend his top ranking tonight against a rising contender in the division. Rick Glenn is on a two fight winning streak since returning to featherweight, in fact he hasn’t lost in that division since 2014 and if he can extend that winning streak here he’ll likely find himself ranked and looking at a bigger opportunity for his next fight. Jury is your favorite at -185 against +150 for Glenn.

Featherweight Bout: #15 Myles Jury (16-2, 146 lbs.) vs. Rick Glenn (20-4-1, 145.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Glenn is two inches taller while Jury has two and a half inches of reach on him. Glenn fighting southpaw. Body kick from Glenn. Jury going with a few leg kicks, they close up and wind up clinched on the fence. A bit of jockeying for position along the fence then they disengage. Body kick from Jury. They trade lefts, Glenn was off balance when he got hit and had to adjust. A few more body kicks from Jury. Glenn takes a kick and gets a takedown, Jury rolls through and gets on top in half guard but Glenn quickly gets full guard. Jury postures up, Glenn is able to threaten an ankle pick and they wind up on the feet. Another body kick from Jury, those are money so far. Jury lands a right. Another right kind of lands for Jury, Glenn is struggling at distance. They trade body kicks. Hopping knee lands for Jury then a right behind it. Glenn pushes into a clinch where the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jury

ROUND TWO: Jury lands a short counter right as Glenn is coming forward, then a bit of a left as well. Glenn pushes into the clinch and has Jury on the cage. Jury lands a knee to the body and spins free. Straight right then a left from Jury, Glenn is persistent but he’s walking right into the punches. Jury lands a body kick and they wind up clinched again. Jury spins to the back standing, he’s got one hook in as they move on the fence. Glenn gets the hook free and pushes for a double leg. Glenn tries a takedown, Jury uses a tight whizzer to negate it and they resume fighting in the clinch. Knees to the body go back and forth, Jury is able to get the back and hit a takedown into half guard. Jury moves to full mount and is after an arm triangle, Glenn to a hip to avoid most of that but Jury threatens to get the back. Glenn keeps the second hook from getting in and on the roll he gets full guard back. They trade elbows and Jury lands a right as the last relevant blow of the round.

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

ROUND THREE: Glenn has some swelling around his left eye. They trade power hand punches then Jury lands a knee to the body. Jury lands a right and a bit of a knee, he’s moving well as Glenn pushes in a straight line. Glenn gets the clinch on the fence, they break without incident. Jury lands a right uppercut. We’re in the clinch again, Glenn lands an elbow. Jury spins free again. Another clinch, another quick escape from Jury. Glenn lands a couple of inside leg kicks. Body kick from Glenn, Jury lands a knee to the chin. Knee to the body from Jury. Jury blocks a high kick and lands a straight left. Jury lands a bit of a knee after catching a kick. Front kick to the body from Jury, Glenn still pushing forward. Another clinch, Jury lands a knee to the body then they break. Knee tap from Jury and he’s on top in the guard of Glenn. Jury lands an elbow. Time runs down with a cradle from Jury.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jury but there’s a Glenn argument, 30-27 Jury overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Myles Jury via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Solid win for Jury, no interview for him though as there might be time constraints ahead.

Khalil Rountree is on a two fight winning streak after going 0-2 to start his UFC career, if he can get to three in a row in a division in as much disrepair as light heavyweight he could find himself ranked and looking at a bigger name opponent next time. Michal Oleksiejczuk brings a nine fight winning streak into his UFC debut, he was supposed to debut against Ion Cutelaba last month before Cutelaba’s possible doping violation, and he’s looking to establish himself quickly as a prospect to watch with a win. The odds are with Rountree at a significant -340 to +260 for Oleksiejczuk.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Khalil Rountree (6-2, 205 lbs.) vs. Michael Oleksiejczuk (12-2, 203.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Rountree is an inch taller and has two and a half inches of reach on Oleksiejczuk. Oleksiejczuk fighting southpaw. They trade briefly, Rountree seems to have much more fire power. Left lands for Oleksiejczuk. Rountree lands a couple of leg kicks after going orthodox and is back to southpaw now. Both men miss winging punches, technique is not a factor just yet. Oleksiejczuk catches a leg kick and is after a single leg, they hit the fence though and stall out. Oleksiejczuk sticks with it and hits a single leg, Rountree elevates and tries to sweep but Oleksiejczuk sweeps him back and gets a loose half guard against the fence as Rountree looks to wall walk. The wall walk from Rountree is successful but he’s still on the fence. Rountree after a standing guillotine, Oleksiejczuk blocks it and they start swinging in the pocket. Rountree lands a left but he’s already breathing heavy from the mouth, both men also bleeding around the eyebrows. Stiff jab from Oleksiejczuk then a bit of a left. Oleksiejczuk lands a couple of lefts then a body kick, Rountree is trying to get his wind back but he’s getting hit. Oleksiejczuk lands a couple of body shots then a left and an uppercut. Body kick from Oleksiejczuk. Oleksiejczuk digs another left to the body and a left to the head as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Oleksiejczuk

ROUND TWO: Rountree has some bounce in his step but he eats a left uppercut then a straight left. Another straight left from Oleksiejczuk lands. Rountree lands a left but he might already be gassing himself out again. Right hook lands for Rountree. Oleksiejczuk lands a front kick to the body. Body kick from Oleksiejczuk lands. Another left to the body from Oleksiejczuk, Rountree is backing up and trying to conserve energy. Leg kick from Oleksiejczuk, and another one. Stepping knee to the body from Oleksiejczuk after he took a short uppercut. Body shot and a leg kick from Oleksiejczuk then a left uppercut. We’re slowing to a crawl here guys, Oleksiejczuk lands a couple of leg kicks. Another left to the body from Oleksiejczuk. Bit of an uppercut from Rountree but nothing to follow it up. Bit of a knee from Rountree but he eats a hard punch to the body. Body kick from Oleksiejczuk. A couple more shots to the body, Rountree just eats them as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Oleksiejczuk lands a bit of a left. Leg kick from Oleksiejczuk. Rountree lands a couple of uppercuts, he’s after the finish but he might have already blown out his arms. Oleksiejczuk gets a single leg takedown into the guard of Rountree. Things have gotten so bad that commentary is talking about the UFC performance institute to kill time. Oleksiejczuk lands a couple of punches, commentary now talking about different conditioning methods and Cruz’s technical insight into that is more interesting than anything happening in the cage. A few elbows from Oleksiejczuk land. Oleksiejczuk passes to side control. Rountree to his knees, Oleksiejczuk has his back now and pulls him back flat. Oleksiejczuk lands an elbow. Rountree is on a hip, to his knees but Oleksiejczuk pushes him back over and is in half guard now. Lefts to the body and head from Oleksiejczuk but as winded as Rountree is he should have finished this. The fight comes to an end in that spot, mercifully the suffering of the audience is over.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Michal Oleksiejczuk via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

That was awful.

Carlos Condit is one of the premier welterweights, and in my estimation he should have been UFC welterweight champion after his fight with Robbie Lawler, but he’s on a two fight losing streak and hasn’t fought in over a year when he was submitted quickly by Demian Maia. Condit needs a win here badly to reestablish himself as a player in the division. Neil Magny has been establishing himself as an elite level welterweight, but he’s just 1-2 in his last three fights with that lone win being over Johny Hendricks and he was last seen being run over by Rafael dos Anjos. Magny can’t afford a losing streak here if he wants to be taken seriously as a top level fighter and possible title contender. Despite the layoff the odds are with Condit at -165 to a tempting value payout of +135 for Magny.

Welterweight Bout: #8 Carlos Condit (30-10, 170.5 lbs.) vs. #12 Neil Magny (19-6, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Magny is an inch taller and has four and a half inches of reach on Condit. Magny coming forward early, Condit lands a leg kick. Condit lands another leg kick but Magny catches it and gets a takedown. Condit after a leg while Magny is standing, Magny is able to get his leg free and get on top in the guard of Condit. Magny can’t keep him down and they’re fighting in the clinch. Magny tries to elevate, he gets a body lock and has Condit on the fence. They trade some knees to the body as they jockey for position, Magny lands a bit of a right as they separate. Another leg kick from Condit but Magny lands a couple of lefts to counter. Condit lands a leg kick. Magny misses a right. Right to the body from Magny, Condit definitely looks rusty. Condit lands an uppercut, they clinch up and Condit lands an elbow. Magny avoids an elbow as they break. Left to the body and a leg kick from Condit. Condit lands a spinning back kick to the body as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Magny but that was close

ROUND TWO: Magny back to forward pressure, Condit lands a leg kick. They trade leg kicks then Condit lands a left to the body then a leg kick. Bit of a body kick from Magny. We’re back in the clinch, Condit is on the fence. Magny has a body lock, he works a few knees to the thigh while trying to set up a trip. Slam from Magny but Condit is immediately after a leg as Magny stands. Magny has his leg free and moves to half guard on the mat. Condit gets guard back and is after a double wrist lock. Magny gets his arm back, Condit wall walks and we’re still hanging out in the clinch. Condit lands an elbow as they break. Left to the body from Condit, he’s coming forward now. A right lands for Condit and we’re back in the clinch. Magny is able to spin him, Condit spins him back but Magny has a body lock and gets Condit down again. Condit back up, Magny holding a rear waist lock then turns the corner to hit a double leg into the guard of Condit. Armbar attempt from Condit but he’s got no arm control, he switches for a leg as time runs out.

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

ROUND THREE: Condit probably needs a finish. Some forward pressure from Condit, Magny lands a leg kick and a side kick to the body. Body kick from Condit. Bit of a right and left from Condit. Magny catches a leg kick and pushes into the clinch then spins to hold a rear waist lock. Condit has a double wrist lock and is looking to break the grip, Magny adjusts and they separate. Long right lands for Magny then a leg kick. Big of a left from Condit but he can’t corral Magny to get into the range he wants. Condit lands a combination. Right lands for Condit and Magny responds with a leg kick. Another leg kick from Magny, he’s slowly pulling away in the score from Condit. Condit misses a combination. Left to the body and head from Condit, he’s pushing hard now but he can’t reliably find the target. Magny gets a clinch and hits a trip takedown into the guard. Condit throws his legs up, Magny passes, they’re back up but Magny circles away for the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Condit, 29-28 Magny overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Neil Magny via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x3)

Condit’s done, he looked slow and really off of his game. Magny on the mic now. He says this feels amazing and thanks the fans for coming then his coaches for all the work they put into him. He brings up Condit’s historical weakness to wrestling and how he was able to exploit it, then he gets asked about who’s next and he just wants a top five guy.

Cynthia Calvillo has had a busy and successful year, she’s 3-0 in the UFC this year and is looking to cap it off by taking out a former champion and firmly establishing herself as the present and future of the division. Carla Esparza has gone 3-2 in the UFC and was their inaugural strawweight champion, she’s coming off of a win and is after her first UFC winning streak while possibly re-inserting herself into the title picture now that there’s a new champion. Calvillo is a notable -230 favorite against +180 on Esparza.

Strawweight Bout: #6 Cynthia Calvillo (6-0, 116 lbs.) vs. #9 Carla Esparza (12-4, 115.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Calvillo is three inches taller and has an inch of reach on Esparza. They trade some rights, neither woman has good striking technique. Both women are throwing the straight right after jabbing, Calvillo is pawing with an open hand. Esparza lands a leg kick and eats a counter right. Calvillo ducks a right and hits a takedown into half guard. Some serious shoulder pressure from Calvillo right now as she keeps Esparza flat on her back. Bit of an elbow from Calvillo. Esparza is able to get full guard, and promptly eats an elbow. Armbar attempt from Esparza, her legs are in place and she straightens it out but Calvillo quickly gets the arm free and moves to side control. They trade some elbows, Calvillo looking to move to knee on belly or full mount. Calvillo lands a few knees to the body and another short elbow. Esparza walks up the fence with her feet but Calvillo reads it and retains side control. Lefts from Calvillo, Esparza tries to stand but Calvillo is on top, nearly gets the back but doesn’t secure hooks and Esparza is on top as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Calvillo

ROUND TWO: They trade rights to start the round, head movement clearly not a priority from either woman just yet. Leg kick from Esparza. Counter right from Calvillo lands, both women are lunging to close the last bit of distance while they just hang out a bit outside of kicking range. Esparza lands a couple of leg kicks. Solid right lands for Esparza then a leg kick. They clinch up, Calvillo lands a left hook as they separate. A right lands for Calvillo. Another exchange or rights, Calvillo landed better this time. Esparza tries a double leg, can’t get it and Calvillo lands a knee to the body as they break. Esparza lands a right but eats a counter. Calvillo defends a takedown attempt. Another exchange of rights, and another. Esparza hits a single leg but she can’t get on top and Calvillo is back up immediately. Esparza gets another single leg, Calvillo back up and takes a leg kick. The round ends as Esparza tries a takedown that doesn’t develop.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Calvillo but I could see this going to Esparza, 20-18 Calvillo overall

ROUND THREE: Another exchange of rights, then Esparza lands a leg kick. They trade rights again and Esparza is backing up. Esparza tries a single leg, Calvillo blocks this one and drives Esparza into the cage. Elbow from Calvillo as they break. Esparza is trying to land blitz attacks, mostly they’re wind up trading rights. Leg kick from Esparza. I’m really surprised Calvillo hasn’t tried to get this to the mat again, she had a ton of success in that position in the first. They trade rights and then Calvillo lands a stiff jab. Calvillo catches a leg kick and drives Esparza into the cage. Esparza threatens a standing guillotine then lands a left as Calvillo has to separate. Esparza lands a right then a bit of a left. Left from Calvillo lands. Single leg from Esparza but Calvillo rolls her over and they have to resume striking. Bit of a counter right from Calvillo lands. Some flailing from both women as time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Esparza, 29-28 Calvillo overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Carla Esparza via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

I’m a little surprised by that, but the second and third rounds were so bad I can’t complain. Seriously, that striking made me sad. Esparza on the mic now and says she knew she had a tough opponent and worked very hard on her scrambling game. She mentions the leg kicks taking a toll on Calvillo as her time runs out.

Dan Hooker has been trading wins and losses in the UFC, but he’s coming off of a big win in his return to lightweight when he violently knocked out Ross Pearson. Hooker is after his first UFC winning streak and looking to cement himself as a relevant player in the division. Marc Diakiese has gone 2-1 in the UFC, he had a significant amount of hype but is coming off of a loss and needs to get back on the winning side of things or risk not only his first ever losing streak but the hype that has surrounded him to this point. Diakiese is the -200 favorite against +160 on Hooker.

Lightweight Bout: Dan Hooker (14-7, 155.5 lbs.) vs. Marc Diakiese (12-1, 155.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Hooker has two inches of height and reach on Diakiese. Both men with some feinting to start while they’re on the outside. Hooker lands a bit of a body kick. Diakiese showing side kicks to the thigh, distance management seems key for both guys. Diakiese tries a spinning back kick to the body that misses. Calf kick from Hooker lands, Diakiese immediately switches his stance. Hooker is baiting out the offense of Diakiese, Diakiese is biting on the fakes pretty hard. Stiff jab from Hooker. Bit of a leg kick from Hooker and he avoids a counter right. Deeply sedate round this far. Body kick from Diakiese, then he misses a wheel kick. Hooker lands a front kick to the body. They trade inside leg kicks. Body kick from Hooker, they clinch up and wrestle then Hooker gets a takedown against the fence. Diakiese looking to wall walk as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hooker

ROUND TWO: Diakiese coming forward now but he’s still missing thus far. Hooker lands a leg kick. Bit of a left from Diakiese, Hooker kicks his leg again and Diakiese is switching his stance again. Body kick from Hooker. Diakiese seems to have taken the first slower so that he wouldn’t gas in the second, he’s opening up but Hooker has a pretty good read on him now. Hooker lands a right and avoids a double leg, they wind up clinched on the fence. Diakiese is on the fence, Hooker has good head position and is controlling him. Lefts from Hooker and he’s after a double leg now. Hooker bails on the takedown and they wind up separating. Diakiese lands a couple of calf kicks. Knee to the body from Diakiese, but he’s breathing harder now. Hooker lands a right then gets a double leg against the fence. Diakiese to his knees and Hooker spins to the back. Diakiese tries to buck him over the top, Hooker keeps the position and gets a body triangle locked in. The ref wants Hooker to start working, he’s got full back mount with a body triangle locked in this is ridiculous. Hooker is trying to dig for the choke, the ref threatens to stand them up. Again, ridiculous as Diakiese is hoping to be saved from the worst position in the sport. Hooker tries to adjust the body lock, Diakiese explodes and spins into him to end the round on top in his guard.

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

ROUND THREE: I missed the finish, thanks Comcast. Replay shows Diakiese tried a desperate double leg and Hooker hit a solid power guillotine to force the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Dan Hooker via Submission, guillotine choke, at 0:42 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Hooker for his work this evening. Hooker on the mic, says he wants on the upcoming Perth card which takes place in six weeks. He says he won the first and second then finished his opponent in the third, doesn’t feel there’s much more he could do. He walks us through the finish to close out his interview.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is undefeated as a professional, and likely would have fought for the title by now if he’d been able to stay healthy. He’s looking to cement a title shot here, be that against interim champion Tony Ferguson or actual champion Conor McGregor, by taking out another ranked opponent. Edson Barboza is on a three fight winning streak and scored a possible knockout of the year in his last bout with a flying knee finish of Beneil Dariush, Barboza is similarly looking to get a title shot by taking out the highly regarded Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov is a heavy -315 favorite, but if you don’t mind live long shots the +245 payout on Barboza is incredibly tempting.

Lightweight Bout: #2 Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0, 155.5 lbs.) vs. #4 Edson Barboza (19-4, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Barboza is an inch taller but has a whopping five inches of reach on Nurmagomedov. Circling from both men, Barboza lands a couple of hard inside leg kicks. Nurmagomedov coming forward, looking to get Barboza on the fence. They both miss punches, but Barboza is landing more of those inside leg kicks. Barboza avoids a takedown attempt but Nurmagomedov is still pressuring him backwards. I’m also having a Comcast night apparently, so if I miss things or this slows down updating I apologize in advance. We come back with Nurmagomedov on top of Barboza looking to pass the guard. They’re against the fence and Nurmagomedov is landing hard punches as Barboza is pushed against the fence. Nurmagomedov moves to side control, lands a hard right as he’s looking to mount. Nurmagomedov has mounted the legs and lands punches them moves up to the full mount. Barboza sitting on the fence but he’s getting mauled badly with uppercuts. Hard lefts from Nurmagomedov as Barboza tries to wall walk but Nurmagomedov is attacking the posts and keeping him flat. Full mount now, hard lefts and elbows from Nurmagomedov as Barboza gets half guard. Solid body work from Nurmagomedov, he just keeps mauling Barboza as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Nurmagomedov based on what I saw

ROUND TWO: Barboza breathing heavy. Nurmagomedov coming forward again, lands a leg kick. Body kicks from Nurmagomedov, he’s keeping Barboza backing up. Hopping knee from Nurmagomedov lands and he lands some jabs as well. They both wing some rights and Nurmagomedov lands a head kick then gets in and gets the clinch. Short lefts to the body and head from Nurmagomedov as he’s got Barboza pinned on the cage. Barboza is able to push free then slips on a kick attempt. Nurmagomedov just wont stop coming forward, Barboza lands a couple of body shots but Nurmagomedov wont stop. A combination lands for Nurmagomedov then he’s after a single leg against the fence. Barboza trying to limp leg but he fails on his knees and Nurmagomedov is on him again. Barboza technically has half guard but Nurmagomedov is starting to pound him again with lefts. Barboza’s face is a mess, Nurmagomedov has the legs mounted and is abusing Barboza. Lefts to the head from Nurmagomedov, and he drags Barboza away from the fence.More punches from Nurmagomedov as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Nurmagomedov, 20-16 Nurmagomedov overall

ROUND THREE: More forward pressure from Nurmagomedov, Barboza circling. Right lands for Nurmagomedov and he checks a leg kick. Hard couple of rights land for Nurmagomedov, he’s clubbing Barboza on the feet as well now. Nurmagomedov after a double leg against the fence, he’s got Barboza to a hip and has a body lock now. Lefts from Nurmagomedov, Barboza back up but he’s still being pinned on the fence. Nurmagomedov switches to a single leg but Barboza stays upright. Credit to Barboza for staying upright but he can’t get free. Barboza finally gets free but Nurmagomedov chases him down and resumes punching. Bit of a wheel kick from Barboza lands but Nurmagomedov just eats it. That’s insane. They clinch up again and Nurmagomedov drags Barboza to the mat. More lefts from Nurmagomedov, he’s in a loose half guard. Nurmagomedov lands more lefts while holding an ankle to keep Barboza on the mat. Barboza gets free and separates, he lands a bit of a knee but Nurmagomedov still after him. The fight comes to an end on the feet.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Nurmagomedov, 30-25 Nurmagomedov overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Khabib Nurmagomedov via unanimous decision (30-24, 30-25 x2)

That was a wipeout for Nurmagomedov, shockingly one sided. Nurmagomedov on the mic, he thanks God first and foremost then mentions his son was born earlier today and asks the crowd to bear with his English. He says that if he’s not injured he can fight with anyone in the world, says he can fight with Tony or Conor easily then puts over Barboza as the best striker in the division. Nurmagomedov thanks his coache and calls him a real Mexican gangester. Asked about cMcGregor and Ferguson he says he doesn’t think about them, he’d prefer to fight Ferguson as Ferguson has a ten fight winning streak and notes that McGregor has a lot of money and wont fight until he’s spent it all then closes with some Russian for his team back home.

Holly Holm just snapped a three fight losing streak by knocking out Bethe Correia she’s a former bantamweight champion and this is her second shot at the featherweight title, she lost a controversial split decision for the inaugural belt early this year, and is trying to further cement herself as an all time great by becoming the first woman in UFC history to hold titles in two different weight classes. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino is the reigning featherweight champion and hasn’t lost a fight in over twelve years, this represents the best opponent she’s faced in many years and she’s also trying to establish her legacy as one of the best women to ever compete in MMA. Justino is the biggest favorite on the main card at -360 to a +270 comeback on Holm.

Women’s Featherweight Title Bout: (c) Cris “Cyborg” Justino (18-1 1 NC, 145 lbs.) vs. Holly Holm (11-3, 144 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Holm has an inch of reach on Justino. Holm fighting southpaw. Both women feinting, Justino pressuring forward. Right lands for Holm. Justino lands a body kick, they wind up clinched and Holm has Justino on the fence. They separate without incident. Bit of an inside leg kick from Justino. They trade power hand punches, Justino landed cleaner. Holm lands a bit of a left. Right from Holm lands after she took a leg kick. Another trade of power hand punches. Holm lands a left but Justino just smiles. Inside leg kick from Justino then a bit of a right. They trade and clinch up again, Holm gets Justino to the fence. A few knees from Justino go to the body before they separate. Left from Holm lands. Another clinch scenario and Justino is back on the fence. Holm breaks free quickly. Bit of a high kick lands for Holm, Justino lands a right just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Justino

ROUND TWO: Holm has some swelling around the left eye and the bridge of her nose. Justino bleeding from the nose as well, these two clearly came to fight. Justino with more patient pressure, they both land power hand punches. Leg kick from Justino and Holm lands a straight left. Counter right lands for Justino. Body kick from Justino lands. Holm lands a side kick to the body. Justino blocks a head kick. Holm lands a left but takes a slight counter left. They clinch up again and Holm has Justino on the cage. Impressive body lock work from Holm, she’s grabbing that every time they get close to keep Justino from landing on her there. They break without incident. Again those power hands go back and forth. Holm lands a left and clinches again. Elbow from Holm as they break. Another clinch and Justino is back on the cage. A few knees go back and forth, Justino is able to spin Holm this time but Holm spins her back. They break without incident. Justino has a couple of head kicks blocked. Body kick from Justino. Another clinch, Justino lands a knee as she hits the fence and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Holm, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: That swelling on Holm’s left eye is getting worse, it bears keeping an eye on. They both miss kicks, both women fighting smart this round. They clinch up but this time Justino has the body lock and gets Holm on the fence. Holm pummels and separates after a knee to the body from Justino. Holm lands a left, Justino lands a left of her own. Justino just misses a right. Leg kick from Justino lands. Justino lands a right and a knee to the body. Holm has a high kick blocked. Holm lands a right hook, some interesting stuff from both women in terms of shot selection. Another right from Holm then a side kick to the body. One two from Holm lands, then another delayed straight left. Justino lands a knee to the body. Holm lands a leg kick. Hard right from Justino, Holm misses a hook kick and then separates from a clinch. Justino catches a body kick and they clinch, a few knees land then they break. Holm’s clinch breaking has been on point thus far. Body kick from Justino then a hard right. Superman punch from Justino and a flurry to close the round.

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

ROUND FOUR: Both women showing the jab now, Justino pressuring forward. Solid left from Holm lands. Holm lands a left but eats a counter right. Body kick from Justino. They trade rights then Justino lands a body kick. Justino lands another body kick. Holm lands a left but eats a couple of counters. Front kick to the body from Justino. Body kick from Holm. They clinch up and Holm gets Justino on the fence again. They break without incident and Justino misses a high kick. Holm lands a straight left. Right lands for Holm, Justino looked a little off balance but that might have been the camera angle. Justino lands a hard jab. Another jab from Justino and she avoids the counters. They stare away the final few seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Justino, 39-37 Justino overall

ROUND FIVE: Holm opens with a body kick. Justino lands a bit of a left hook and avoids the counters. Justino lands a series of inside leg kicks, Holm lands a glancing elbow and they wind up clinched. Holm spins Justino into the fence. They break and Justino lands a body kick. Another body kick from Justino, Holm returns this one. Bit of a right from Justino lands. Holm lands a left, Justino counters with a right and a body kick. Another right and a body kick from Justino. Solid body kick from Holm. Justino lands a right, they clinch and Justino lands a knee to the body. They trade in close and Justino lands a right. Another couple of jabs from Justino, that’s been a surprisingly effective weapon from her. Justino lands a combination after taking a body kick. Holm lands a left but can’t muster the power to really trouble Justino at this point. Another right lands for Justino. Stiff left from Holm wobbles Justino for a second. They wind up clinched, Justino lands knees before getting smothered on the cage. They break with some knees from Justino, then trade power hand punches as time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Justino, 49-46 Justino overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and STILL UFC women’s Featherweight champion – Cris “Cyborg” Justino via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47 x2)

I have no idea which two rounds could go to Holm, I thought she edged the second but the rest were clearly rounds for Justino. Biggest fight of Justino’s career against the best opponent she’s ever faced and she performed incredibly well showing off new tools. Justino on the mic now, she thanks Holm for the fight and puts her over then thanks God and the fans for showing up. Rogan asks who’s next for her, she brings up Megan Anderson as an opponent possibly in Australia but is willing to fight anyone. When you basically are the division you can afford to fight anyone.

That wraps up UFC 219 and the year of 2017 as far as the UFC goes. There’s nothing for the next couple of weeks, the next UFC event is Fight Night 124 on the 14th of January. No idea why they’re going for a Sunday card, but I don’t schedule things for the UFC. That event is pretty lackluster, but I’ll be here to cover it for you guys. As for the 411 Ground and Pound Radio Show, there will be no show this coming Sunday as it’s New Year’s Eve and there’s no immediate show to preview. We will be back on the 7th of January to unpack this event, plus given the timing of Fight Night 124 and UFC 220 we’ll be giving a double preview of both of those cards. Until then everyone, thank you again for reading. I’m quite aware of just how many other places you could get this service from and how many are better than I am, so sincerely thank you for your support as I do my best not to make a fool of myself doing this basically every week. Stay safe out there over the holidays as people tend to over imbibe on various intoxicants for the upcoming holiday, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.