mma / Reports

411’s UFC 224 Report 5.12.18

May 13, 2018 | Posted by Robert Winfree
Amanda Nunes UFC

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 224. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening, relaying all of the action to you just as I see it. Before we get going here I’m going to have to beg your indulgence for a moment. I’m likely to be a little rusty as it’s been a few weeks since I’ve done this and I’ve been fighting a cold for a few days now, so if the quality isn’t up to my usual standard I hope you’ll be patient with me. Besides that though it’s good to be back, I hope you’ve all been doing well.

UFC 224 isn’t a great card on paper, but there are a couple of fights worth paying attention to. The main event is a women’s bantamweight title fight where reigning champion Amanda Nunes goes for her third title defense against Raquel Pennington. If Nunes wins here there’s a good chance she’ll wind up moving up to featherweight for a title fight with Cris “Cyborg” Justino as women’s bantamweight isn’t exactly robust right now. There’s a likely title eliminator bout in the co-main event when Kelvin Gastelum takes on Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, my personal favorite fight on the main card is a bantamweight clash between John Lineker and Brian Kelleher, and there’s some nostalgia when Vitor Belfort fights Lyoto Machida. As for the rest of the card, well, it could be good in practice but on paper it’s kind of just there.

UFC 224 comes to the world from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with the commentary duo of Jon Anik and Jimmy Smith calling the action. As for the rules we have the new rules in effect tonight, 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 downed (or a knee of course), and the language around scoring is clearer.

Markus Perez is coming off of the first loss of his career in his UFC debut, he was mostly bludgeoned by Eryk Anders but survived to see a decision. Perez is trying to rebound from that loss here and get the all important first UFC win. James Bochnivic also lost his UFC debut, and is also trying to get that first UFC win under his belt. The odds are with Perez at -305 to +235 on Bochnovic.

Middleweight Bout: James Bochnovic (8-2, 186 lbs.) vs. Markus Perez (9-1, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Bochnovic has three inches of height and a whopping eight of reach on Perez. They touch gloves, Perez fighting southpaw. Quick offense from Bochnovic and they wind up clinched on the fence. Perez is able to snap him down with a front head lock and then spins to the back, only one hook in though. They scramble back up along the fence and resume clinch fighting. A few knees go back and forth then Perez gets to the back and hits a mat return then begins working from the ride position. Bochnovic tries to roll through, Perez reads it and gets on top in half guard. There’s some hand fighting, Bochnovic lands a bit of an elbow then gets full guard. Perez postures up and lands a right then moves to side control and is looking for a d’arce choke but he can’t finish the grip and instead moves to the ride position again. Now full back mount for Perez and he’s after the choke, it’s along the jaw rather than under the chin but he’s really starting to crank on it as Bochnovic pushes the arm over his head. Another choke attempt but Bochnovic is hand fighting, he keeps trying but eventually has to tap as Perez tightens the choke.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Markus Perez via Submission, rear naked choke, at 4:28 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Perez for his work this evening. Mic time for Perez, he says he worked really hard for this fight and feels this fight is a better representation of what he can do as a fighter as opposed to his debut. He talks us through the finish then says he wants to fight soon, even being willing to fight again tonight if necessary.

Alberto Mina is undefeated including being 3-0 in the UFC, he’s trying to move from prospect towards contender here and remain perfect while doing so but hasn’t fought in just about two years so ring rust might be a factor. Ramazan Emeev is on a five fight winning streak and just won his UFC debut over Sam Alvey, he’s looking to continue his winning ways and start moving towards contender status as well. Emeev is a -200 favorite to +160 for Mina.

Welterweight Bout: Ramazan Emeev (16-3, 171 lbs.) vs. Alberto Mina (13-0, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Mina is two inches taller and has an inch and a half of reach on Emeev. They touch gloves to get us going. Mina circling, Emeev lands a leg kick. Solid overhand right from Emeev lands, Mina recovers but that got his attention. Body kick from Emeev, Mina returns it. A couple of jabs from Emeev then they trade rights. Leg kick from Emeev, Mina isn’t getting his left hand back to defensive position after pawing with it. They clinch up and Emeev gets a takedown, lands a few punches then Mina is back up as Emeev holds a rear waist lock. Mina is holding a double wrist lock, Emeev slams out of it and they scramble a bit before separating with a left hook from Emeev. More pressure from Emeev, he lands a jab and Mina is looking a little out of sorts. More jabs from Emeev, he’s disrupting Mina pretty consistently. Bit of a knee tap from Mina, he then tires for a knee bar but Emeev spins free and is looking to get on top. Mina looking to switch to a heel hook but has no control over the knee line as Emeev pulls free and settles into the guard of Mina. Mina rolls under for a knee bar again, can’t secure it at all and Emeev stands over him, lands a couple of punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Emeev

ROUND TWO: Another touch of gloves for the second round. Bit of a leg kick from Mina but he’s still on the back foot as Emeev is the one dictating the pace. Emeev punches into the clinch and has Mina on the fence. Rear waist lock now from Emeev and he’s landing knees to the thigh and drags Mina down to the mat. Emeev lands a few punches then has the waist lock again as Mina regains his feet and keeps him on the fence. They trade in the clinch as Mina gets chest to chest but Emeev keeps him pinned on the fence. Another transition to the back from Emeev, Mina is able to spin free this time after taking a knee to the body. Emeev lands a right. Emeev gets the back standing and gets Mina down then punches him in the face a few times. Mina trying for a heel hook but there’s not much going on there and Emeev is punishing him for the attempts. Full guard now for Mina but he’s still a bit behind tactically. A few elbows from Emeev sneak through the guard of Mina. Mina goes inverted and Emeev lands a series of rights to punish him and then he’s back into the guard of Mina. A few more punches from Emeev bring the round to a close.

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

ROUND THREE: Mina has some swelling and bruising around his right eye, not gonna stop the fight but it bears watching. They touch gloves for the last round. Leg kick from Emeev. Emeev lands a bit of a right, Mina swings wild with a right and misses. Mina’s just been a step or two behind this whole fight. Emeev is fighting safe this round, jabbing and avoiding the offense from Mina mostly. Another right from Emeev lands. Bit of a right from Mina, then Emeev gets the clinch and has Mina on the cage again. A few knees to the body from Emeev and he lands a series of punches as Mina is able to get free. Mina misses a punch and eats a counter right. Bit of a left from Mina and a leg kick behind it but Emeev is still smooth. Rolling thunder kick from Mina misses and Emeev jabs him in response. Emeev lands a couple of counter punches as the fight comes to a close.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ramazan Emeev via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Methodical and efficient performance from Emeev, solid stuff but nothing that will turn a lot of heads, and he gets no interview.

Thales Leites is a longtime veteran of the sport, but he’s just 2-3 in his last five fights and is coming off of a loss to Brad Tavares. If Leites wants to remain relevant as his career starts winding down he needs to avoid a two fight losing streak here. Jack Hermansson just had a two fight winning streak snapped by Thiago Santos, he’s trying to avoid his first UFC losing streak and take out a former title challenger. The odds favor Hermansson at -155 against +125 for Leites.

Middleweight Bout: Jack Hermansson (16-4, 186 lbs.) vs. Thales Leites (27-8, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Leites has half an inch of reach advantage. Hermansson comes out quickly, lands an inside leg kick and a couple of short punches. Leg kick from Hermansson, both inside and outside. Body kick from Hermansson, he’s pushing a hard pace early and looking to fluster then overwhelm Leites. Body kick from Hermansson but Leites catches it and pushes him into the fence. Leites really after the takedown, he’s able to sweep one of the feet out from under Hermansson but he can’t get him to the mat fully. Leites is finally able to force this to the mat along the fence and Hermansson is back up and hits a high angle hip toss to land on top of Leites. Knee to the body from Hermansson as Leites regains his feet and they’re still in the clinch. Hermansson reverses a trip attempt and get on top of Leites again. They fight a bit and are back up, Leites holding a body lock from a hip and looking to hit a mat return. Hermansson is keeping this upright so far. Another step over hip toss from Hermansson and he’s on top again in the guard of Leites. Short elbows from Hermansson land to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hermansson

ROUND TWO: Quick jabs from Hermansson to start the second round. Hermansson lands a right, Leites tries a double leg against the fence and gets it but he hurt something on Hermansson when he did. I think his right shoulder got caught in a bad spot, commentary tells me it’s the left leg of Hermansson that got jacked up. Leites is in full mount now looking for an arm triangle. Hermansson trying to defend but that choke is pretty tight and Leites moves to side control to cinch it up. Leites wont give up on this choke despite the survival of Hermansson, he’s trying to adjust to really tighten this thing down but Hermansson is doing just enough to survive and finally gets out of the choke. Half guard now for Hermansson. Yeah, there’s something up with Hermansson’s left leg, you can see something off around his knee. Leites is trying to set up another arm triangle attack, winds up in north-south though and is after mount. There’s mount for Leites, he tries another arm triangle attack, can’t get it and settles for elbows as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Replay shows the awkward angle that Hermansson’s left knee took on that takedown, he’s bouncing a bit on it now though. Flying knee attempt from Hermansson, Leites clinches up and Hermansson grabs a guillotine attempt as they fall tot he mat. Leites is moving to side control but he’s on the dangerous side and Hermansson still could hit an angle and finish this. Leites is able to pull free and we find ourselves with Leites holding a front head lock and rolls for an anaconda choke. The arm position isn’t quite right yet and Hermansson is able to walk on the mat and wind up in the guard of Leites and lands an elbow. 3/4 mount, now full mount for Hermansson and he’s landing lefts and rights to Leites. Hard rights from Hermansson keep coming and finally prompt the stoppage. Impressive to get that after the knee injury.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jack Hermansson via TKO, punches, at 2:10 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Hermansson for his work this evening. He’s in a lot of pain on the stool after the finish, his knee could be seriously jacked up. Yeah, he needs help to stand as the decision is announced and Jon Anik brings him a stool to sit on for his interview. He says he broke a rib in the first round, which is incredibly painful. Hermansson puts over his guillotine, the one he tried to get Leites with in the third, as key to unsettling things. He puts over his ground and pound as the best in the world, specifically his ability to finish with it, to close the interview.

Warlley Alves just snapped a two fight losing streak in a real do or die fight. Alves is trying to prove he’s made the necessary adjustments to go on another big run and move towards the title. Sultan Aliev is 1-1 in the UFC and hasn’t fought since December of 2016, he’s trying to get his first UFC winning streak up and running. Alves enjoys favored status at -260 against +200 for Aliev.

Welterweight Bout: Sultan Aliev 14-2, (171 lbs.) vs. Warlley Alves (11-2, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Aliev has two and a half inches of reach advantage. There’s a touch of gloves to get us going. Inside leg kick from Alves lands. Aliev is landing a few blows with his lead hand, Alves lands a body kick. A couple of rights from Alves land. Two body kicks from Alves land, Aliev gets to the clinch and has Alves on the fence. Full body lock from Aliev, Alves is able to spin him into the fence and lands a few knees to the body and thigh while fighting for position. More knees to the body from Alves, these are nasty shots. They trade a few punches in close but Alves is getting the better of this position. Elbow from Alves, then they punch as they break. Leg kick from Alves. Bit of a left from Aliev lands. They punch into the clinch again then Aliev lands a combination of punches as they disengage. They’re back in the clinch on the fence, and that’s where the round will end as Aliev throws Alves to the mat.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Alves

ROUND TWO: There’s a touch of gloves for the second round. Alves misses a combination of punches, lands a bit of a body kick though. Aliev lands a jab. Bit of a counter right from Aliev as Alves pushes into the clinch, then Alves finds himself on the fence. Alves is able to spin Aliev, Aliev gets off the fence for a moment but Alves pushes him back to the cage. They trade knees to the body and thigh, Alves is winning the head position battle here and it’s helping him control Aliev. Aliev is able to spin Alves into the fence but Aliev has some swelling around his right eye, not sure if it’s from punches or head pressure or both but it’s swelling up visibly and quickly. Aliev slips behind Alves but Alves is back up from his knees though still on the fence. The ref breaks them up after they stall out a bit. Body kick from Alves, Aliev lands a right. Both men miss rights. that swelling on Aliev’s eye might stop this thing between rounds. They trade a couple of punches as the round ends, both men bleeding after that exchange, Alves from the forehead and Aliev from around the swelling on his left eye.

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

ROUND THREE: Man that eye kept swelling between rounds and Aliev couldn’t see out of it at all, it was swollen completely shut and the doctor calls the fight.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Warrley Alves via TKO, doctor/corner stoppage, at 5:00 of Round 2

Mic time for Alves, that is a gnarly bit of swelling around Aliev’s eye. Alves gets the crowd to sing a bit in Portuguese then does his own translation, saying he trained hard and fought hard then thanks his coaches and family for their support. He says some stuff that went untranslated, but I heard him call out Colby Covington which is odd because he already beat Covington. Minor adjustment to the stoppage, apparently the corner of Aliev called it off and good on them if that’s true because that eye was a mess.

That’s it for Fight Pass fights, the rest of the prelims are going to be on FX. And in case you didn’t see the eye, check it out.

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos is one of the more under appreciated fighters at welterweight, he’s on a four fight winning streak and his lone loss in the UFC was a hotly contested split decision. Dos Santos is trying to extend his winning streak to five and possibly get a top ranked opponent for his next bout. Sean Strickland is 6-2 in the UFC and those losses are to top contenders Santiago Ponzinibbio and Kamaru Usman, he’s coming off of a win and is looking to get a winning streak up and running. The odds are close but favor dos Santos at -130 to a +100 comeback on Strickland.

Welterweight Bout: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (18-5, 171 lbs.) vs. Sean Strickland (19-2, 170 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Strickland is an inch taller and has three inches of reach on dos Santos. Touch of gloves to get things going. Dos Santos is circling around the outside, both men probing with inside leg kicks. Bit of a right from dos Santos lands. Neither man having a lot of success thus far, they’ve got clearly studied each other and are avoiding the big offensive offerings. Bit of a left from dos Santos. Strickland catches a body kick and lands a right. Strickland blocks a takedown attempt and lands a couple of punches. Leg kick from dos Santos, his follow up offense is falling just a bit short as he plants his feet instead of moving them to close distance. Dos Santos lands a spinning kick, capoeira style, and floors Strickland then he swarms him on the mat and puts him out with hammer fists to the jaw.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos via KO, wheel kick and punches, at 3:12 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. dos Santos for his work this evening. Big finish for dos Santos there, and he’s on the mic now. He says this was important for him and puts him in a good place going forward. When talking us through the finish he puts over capoeira as a martial art then closes by thanking everyone and wishing the women in his life a happy mothers day.

In case you missed the finish, here it is again. Dos Santos fakes a bit to get Strickland locked up then spins with the kick as he was open for it.

Davi Ramos is coming off of his first UFC win after losing his debut up at welterweight, he’s looking to get a winning streak up and running at lightweight and start making waves in the division. Nick Hein is on a three fight winning streak and his only loss in the UFC is to James Vick, he’s trying to make a bid for a ranked opponent next with another win here. Ramos is favored to win at -155 to +125 on Hein.

Lightweight Bout: Nick Hein (14-2 1 NC, 155 lbs.) vs. Davi Ramos (7-2, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Ramos has three and a half inches of reach on Hein. Hein fighting southpaw, Ramos pushing forward early. Ramos lands an inside leg kick. Hein lands a counter left that drops Ramos, but Hein isn’t willing to go to the mat with Ramos and he makes him stand back up. Bit of a head kick from Ramos. Right then a left from Ramos, Hein lands a bit of a left. Quick takedown from Ramos and he’s in half guard. Ramos is working some body shots as he looks to pass the half guard of Hein. Double wrist lock from Ramos, he’s looking to use it to get the back and does so. That was incredibly slick and now he’s got both hooks in and is after the choke as Hein stands then winds up back on the mat after a failed attempt to throw Ramos off. Ramos is after the choke, he’s over the jaw but really cranks down on it and forces the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Davi Ramos via Submission, rear naked choke, at 4:15 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Ramos for his work this evening. Ramos gets an interview after that, he puts Hein over as having hit him hard but his jiu-jitsu wound up being the difference. He talks us through the finish and reiterates that he’s a complete fighter then calls out Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Aleksei Oleinik is a journeyman heavyweight, I mean just look at the number of fights he’s had, but he’s coming off of a loss to Curtis Blaydes and is looking to rebound and defend his top ten spot here. Junior Albini was poised to make a splash at heavyweight after his stoppage win over Tim Johnson, then he went out and had a dismal outing against Andrei Arlovski. Albini needs a win here to reclaim a bit of the hype he had as a young up and coming heavyweight prospect. Albini is favored to do just that at -160 to a +130 comeback on Oleinik.

Heavyweight Bout: #14 Junior Albini (14-3, 266 lbs.) vs. #10 Aleksei Oleinik (52-11-1, 235 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Albini is an inch taller but Oleinik has six inches of reach on Albini, the other difference is weight where Albini is thirty one pounds heavier. They touch gloves to get us going. Albini circling early, they clash and trade some rights. There’s a clinch and Albini is on the fence. Oleinik can’t keep control and we separate. Bit of a right from Albini and he stuffs a takedown, Oleinik is already cut under the right eye. They clinch up and Oleinik is trying for an ezekiel choke as Albini lands in half guard, he adjusts his arms a bit and forces the tap despite being cur around both eyes. He’s got the only two ezekiel choke finishes in UFC history.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Aleksei Oleinik via Submission, ezekiel choke, at 1:45 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Oleinik for his work this evening. Mic time for Oleinik now, he thanks his coaches and his camp, then thanks Brazil and his opponent before telling Dana White that Albini is a good fighter he’s just a little better.

Cezar Ferreira is coming off of a win and is 4-1 in his last five fights, he’s hoping to move towards an official ranking or at least a ranked opponent with an impressive win here. Karl Roberson is undefeated and scored an important win in his UFC debut, he’s trying to stay perfect here and take out a known opponent. The odds have this one a -115 pick ’em affair.

Middleweight Bout: Cezar Ferreira (13-6, 186 lbs.) vs. Karl Roberson (6-0, 185 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Ferreira has four and a half inches of reach on Roberson. Both men are southpaws, and we get a touch of gloves. Leg kick from Roberson, Ferreira lands a body kick. Double leg attempt from Ferreira hits the fence and he powers Roberson down with a body lock and lands inside control. Ferreira tries to mount but winds up in half guard. Full guard now for Roberson and he’s moving to the fence to wall walk. Roberson is back up but Ferreira takes him down again immediately and is in his guard again. Elbow lands for Ferreira which allows him to move to half guard. Full mount for Ferreira and he’s looking to set up an arm triangle but can’t get it and instead lands punches as Roberson tries to control his posture. Another arm tiaingle set up for Ferreira, this one’s locked up and Roberson goes to sleep.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Cezar Ferreira via Technical Submission, arm triangle choke, at 4:45 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Ferreira for his work this evening. Mic time for Ferreira because we’ve got fifteen minutes to kill before the PPV starts. He thanks everyone for the support and then has some words of praise for his wife. When talking us through the finish he puts over Roberson then thanks his coaches, and when asked who’s next for him he calls out Paulo Costa.

That’s it for prelims, on to PPV for the main card.

Vitor Belfort is coming off of his first win since 2015 when he edged out Nate Marquardt last year. Belfort is nearing the end of his career and he’s looking for a big win here to possibly end it all on, or at least end his UFC tenure. Lyoto Machida just snapped a three fight losing streak by winning a somewhat dubious split decision over Eryk Anders, he’s trying for his first winning streak since 2014 and is also closing in on the end of his career. The odds are with Machida at -235 while Belfort would pay out at +185.

Middleweight Bout: #9 Vitor Belfort (26-13 1 NC, 184 lbs.) vs. #12 Lyoto Machida (23-8, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Machida is an inch taller but these two have identical reaches. Both guys are southpaws, and we get a touch of gloves to start things off. Circling from both guys, very patient start from both guys. Front kick to the body from Machida. Leg kick lands for Machida. Very sedate pace here, Belfort misses a couple of punches. Hook kick lands for Machida and Belfort is backing up. Body kick from Machida, he’s fighting orthodox now. Machida misses a head kick and returns to southpaw. Body kick from Machida. Another body kick from Machida, Belfort lands a bit of a right to counter. A couple more front kicks to the body from Machida, he’s content to pick and snipe at Belfort from distance while Belfort is unable to reliably close distance. A couple of kicks from Machida then a bit of a counter punch from Belfort close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Machida

ROUND TWO: Touch of gloves for the second round. Bit of a left from Machida lands. More of the same from both guys, Machida kicking the body at distance and Belfort struggling to close distance. Left front kick to the face from Machida a la Anderson Silva ENDS Belfort with one blow.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Lyoto Machida via KO, front kick to the face, at 1:00 of Round 2

That was great from Machida, picked at the body with the lead leg all fight then feinted with it and came with the rear leg front kick to the face and made Belfort forget math. Mic time for Machida now, he puts over Belfort as a legend and wishes a Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there. He talks us through the finish and notes that he was the better man tonight. Asked what’s next for him he tells Michael Bisping he’s still waiting for him. I’m still down for that fight.

We move to Belfort for an interview as Anik tees up the retirement speech. He puts over Machida and his team, thanks his own team and family and fans before saying he thinks he’s come to the end of his MMA career and leaves his gloves in the Octagon. He thanks the fans again and believes it’s time for him to focus on his family and his other pursuits. I’ve joked at the expense of Belfort a fair bit, and probably will in the future, but the man was a pioneer and is a legend and deserves the accolades he has.

Here’s the finish, another left foot to the chin of Belfort and he drops to the mat.

John Lineker is coming off of a win and his only loss at bantamweight is to current champion TJ Dillashaw. Lineker is trying to defend his top ranking here and maybe earn a date with a ranked opponent next time. Brian Kelleher is on a two fight winning streak that now has him facing a ranked opponent, a win would certainly find him with a number next to his name in the near future and would be the biggest win of his career. Lineker is the favorite here at -260 against +200 on Kelleher.

Bantamweight Bout: Brian Kelleher (19-8, 136 lbs.) vs. #6 John Lineker (30-8, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Kelleher is three inches taller but Lineker has an inch of reach on him. Circling to start from both guys, Lineker a little bit on the back foot then lands a counter right that has Kelleher backing up. Kelleher is doing some stance switching, Lineker lands a leg kick. Another leg kick from Lineker, and another. Lineker is coming forward now looking to back Kelleher into the fence. Body to head hooks from Lineker, Kelleher lands a left hook that definitely got Lineker’s attention. Kelleher fails on a double leg and they trade punches. Another right to the body from Lineker then a combination of hooks drops Kelleher and Lineker is on top in the guard of Kelleher. Body shots from Lineker, Kelleher seems to have his wits back about him and he wall walks but is still in the clinch. They break without incident and Lineker is back to pressuring forward. Right to the body then a left hook from Lineker. another failed double leg from Kelleher, he’s way too far outside to make those work at the moment. That right to the body from Lineker is money, he punches into the clinch and catches Kelleher with a left before they tie up along the fence. They break without incident. More pressure from Lineker, lands a left hook as the final blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lineker

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Lineker is coming forward again, the man is kind of a tank. Another right to the body from Lineker, those are hurting my ribs just watching them. Body kick from Kelleher but Lineker responds with a right to he body then a left hook and we get a bit of a brawl but Lineker is winning these exchanges. Lineker blocks a takedown attempt and punches Kelleher. One two from Lineker lands. A right to the body hurts Kelleher and Lineker is chasing him down swinging hooks to the body and head. That body work from Lineker is paying off in a big way here. More body to head hooks from Lineker. Right to the had from Lineker lands, Kelleher’s guard is dropping to protect his ribs and his head is open. Kelleher trying to get his jab working to keep Lineker at distance. Lineker lands a leg kick. More lefts from Lineker, he gets a rear waist lock after ducking under a spinning back fist from Kelleher but doesn’t keep it and they break. they trade a few jabs then Lineker lands a hook to the body then a hook to the head. They both miss some spinning attacks to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lineker, might be a 10-8 argument in there, 20-18 Lineker overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Kelleher lands a front kick to the body. Bit of a left hook from Lineker lands. Lineker blocks a double leg attempt, he’s holding a front head lock and might be switching to a front choke, Kelleher gets a takedown into half guard and Lineker is still holding the guillotine before bailing on it. Kelleher lands a few rights to the head as Lineker wall walks. Kelleher tries a guillotine, Lineker gets free and is blocking the double leg from Kelleher then pulls free. Some jabs from Lineker and a right to the body. Kelleher lands some jabs and a bit of a right. Left hook from Lineker lands. Kelleher lands a right, he’s keeping his distance better. And as I type that Lineker lands a right to the body that has Kelleher backing up again. Overhand right lands for Lineker then a body to head combo wobbles Kellher, Lineker is all over him but Kellher is able to circle free for the moment. Lineker is still coming forward and lands a left hook that FLOORS Kelleher and finally ends this.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – John Lineker via KO, punches, at 3:43 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Lineker for his work this evening, and would also like to have the doors of the restroom for this facility investigated as they were locked in for quite some time. Nice stuff from Lineker, and he’s on the mic now. He thanks God and dedicates the fight to a former coach who recently passed away. He says he worked really hard for this fight and says he wants a title fight.

The UFC announces that they’re inducting the first Henderson vs. Rua fight into the Fight Wing of the UFC Hall of Fame. Great choice, that’s a tremendous fight that I can’t recommend enough if you haven’t seen it.

Mackenzie Dern missed weight badly for this fight and will likely find herself up at flyweight in the future if she’s still with the UFC. Setting the weight issue aside for a moment, she’s undefeated as a professional and is one of the better female jiu-jitsu practitioners to make the jump to MMA. Dern needs a win because missing weight that badly along with a loss might see the UFC ship her back to Invicta for a bit. Amanda Cooper has gone 2-2 in the UFC but she’s coming off of a win and is after what would be the biggest win of her career as well as her first MMA winning streak. The odds are with Dern at -240 to +190 for Cooper.

Strawweight Bout: Amanda Cooper (3-3, 116 lbs.) vs. Mackenzie Dern (6-0, 123 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Dern is an inch taller while Cooper has an inch of reach on her, the big difference of course being weight. Circling to start, both women feinting a bit as well. A few jabs are going back and forth but not much happening so far. Both women pawing a bit with the lead hand, still gauging each other. Dern lands a right, I’m sorry guys my feed is stuttering a bit at this point so if I miss stuff I’m sorry. Cooper lands a glancing left. Dern lands a right that drops Cooper and Dern is on top of her now in mount landing bombs. Cooper gives up the back, Dern has the choke and Cooper has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Mackenzie Dern via Submission, rear naked choke, at 2:27 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Dern for her work this evening, and resents the implications by the Final Round Finish Club about locking them in a bathroom. Mic time for Dern now, doing her own translation, and thanks the fans and Brazil and dedicates the win to her father who’s in the building. She says the camp was very hard, not just leaving her old camp but some other things and felt very emotional fighting in Brazil.

Ronaldo Souza is one of the premier middleweights in the world, his only losses in the UFC are to champion Robert Whittaker and top contender Yoel Romero. Souza is closing in on forty though and if he wants to get a title shot, something he still has yet to achieve in the UFC, he can’t afford a loss here. Kelvin Gastelum is coming off of a big win when he knocked out Michael Bisping, he’s looking to move from strength to strength here and take out another top middleweight and simultaneously insert himself into the title picture. The odds are close but lean towards Souza at -150 to a +120 comeback on Gastelum.

Middleweight Bout: #5 Kelvin Gastelum (14-3 1 NC, 185 lbs.) vs. #2 Ronaldo Souza (25-5 1 NC, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Souza is four inches taller and has just an inch and a half of reach on Gastelum. Touch of gloves to get us going, Gastelum fighting southpaw. Gastelum sprawls on a shot from Souza but they wind up clinched trading knees as Souza’s back is on the fence. Souza spins Gastelum and he’s working a throw of some kind but Gastelum is fighting to break the grip. They settle for a 50/50 position and resuming jockeying for position. Knees and body shots from Souza then he tries a single leg but can’t quite finish it and Gastelum punches him as he’s holding the leg. Souza drops for a leg lock, nothing doing but he hits a sweep and is on top in leg drag position. Side control now for Souza and he lands a right. Souza to full mount and lands some punches as Gastelum hip escapes to half guard. Another pass attempt from Souza, he’s back into full mount and looking to tee off on Gastelum. Elbows from Souza now and he’s after an armbar, nearly has it but Gastelum tries to adjust, Souza adjusts as well but he can’t quite extend the arm yet. Souza lands a few punches while trying to extend the arm, the arm is coming out though as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Souza, might be 10-8

ROUND TWO: Gastelum feinting and coming forward this round. Gastelum lands a right, Souza lands a couple of body kicks. Souza misses a takedown and Gastelum lands a left. Gastelum is starting to come on this round, and he blocks a high kick. Souza lands a right then a body kick. Bit of a left from Gastelum. Souza pushes into the clinch but Gastelum is able to pull free. Another body kick from Souza, Gastelum responds with a jab. Souza fakes a takedown and lands a combination then a body kick. Gastelum lands a left then a left to the body. Short left in close drops Souza and Gastelum is on top looking to finish, he can’t though and makes Souza stand back up. More forward pressure from Gastelum, he blocks a high kick but Souza is still throwing and is game. Right to the body from Souza. Gastelum lands a left. Souza lands a left and Gastelum fires back but his offense is blocked. Gastelum to the body but he eats a left hook. A couple of rights from Souza, Gastelum is backing up but doesn’t seem wobbled. More crazy exchanges, this is getting nuts as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gastelum, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Souza clearly the more fatigued party here, as they hug quickly to start the final round. Gastelum stalking forward, lands a clubbing left then a left to the body but eats a counter right. Souza is pushing forward now trying to close distance, lands a right to the face of Gastelum. Gastelum lands a couple of rights, then eats a right. Gastelum avoids a takedown attempt. Uppercut from Gastelum, right from Souza but Gastelum seems to have no issue eating the offense of Souza. Bit of a head kick from Souza, he tries to follow up and is after a single leg in the clinch but Gastelum tries to counter, Souza gets him down but can’t keep him there and Gastelum misses a left as they break. They trade power hand punches, Gastelum lands a one two. Front kick to the body from Souza, Gastelum lands a series of jabs. Another body kick from Souza. They clinch up then Gastelum lands a left as they break, Souza responds with a couple of hooks. Souza tries a double leg, switches to a single as they hit the fence but Gastelum is defending. Souza gets Gastelum down but Gastelum is up and they swing for the final few seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gastelum, 29-28 Gastelum overall but that last round could go either way

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

Crowd boos the decision, they’re partisan it’s to be expected. Gastelum on the mic, he speaks Portuguese to suck up to the crowd and thanks them for their support for the sport. He says Souza hit hard but not hard enough to really hurt him, then notes he got a little tired at the end of the third but knew Souza was tired as well and he kept pushing the pace. Asked who or what is next for him he says the title or anyone else if that wont happen but he wants the winner of Whittaker and Romero in Madison Square Garden later this year. He switches to Spanish to give love to his mother.

Amanda Nunes is the reigning women’s bantamweight champion, she’s proving herself one of the better female fighters in the world and has a six fight winning streak going. She’s after her third title defense here and is looking to remain the undisputed champion. Raquel Pennington is on a four fight winning streak but hasn’t fought since November of 2016, this is her first title opportunity in the UFC and she’s hoping to make the most of it by claiming the belt. Nunes is a big favorite here, -850 while Pennington’s upset sits at +525.

Women’s Bantamweight Title Bout: (c) Amanda Nunes (15-4, 135 lbs.) vs. #2 Raquel Pennington (9-5, 135 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Nunes is an inch taller and has an inch and a half of reach on Pennington. Pennington circling to start, both women feinting a bit. Leg kick from Nunes takes the legs from Pennington and she backs her into the fence. Bit of a right from Nunes then a leg kick. Another leg kick from Nunes then a front kick to the body. Pennington seems a little shell shocked, Nunes kicks her legs out from under her again but she’s back up quickly. Bit of a right to the body from Pennington but Nunes is in full control here. Nunes jabs the body, land s a leg kick then a cracking right but Pennington eats it and lands a right of her own. Another jab to the body from Nunes, if she straightens out her right she’ll land it but she’s looping it right now. They clinch up and Nunes lands a knee to the body then breaks free. Another leg kick from Nunes and Pennington lands a right uppercut. Pennington’s lead leg is visibly swelling up. Right from Nunes then another calf kick. Pennington is doing a good job of slipping now, her countering isn’t working yet but she’s avoiding the punches rather reliably. Another leg kick from Nunes. Pennington tries a takedown but there’s no drive and Nunes shrugs her off. quick exchange of rights and Nunes lands a front kick to the body to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Nunes given the margin she won by

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Nunes misses a right. Leg kick from Nunes, Pennington lands a bit of an uppercut but her lead leg is bordering on shot. Front kicks to the body as well from Nunes, she’s playing a long game here trying to soften Pennington up rather than overwhelm her with power. Another leg kick from Nunes. They split some jabs. Pennington ducks a right and tries a takedown but again has no drive and Nunes shucks her off. Pennington lands a bit of a right to counter a leg kick but can’t follow it up. Uppercuts from Pennington from a brief Thai clinch, she’s not given up if nothing else. Nunes blocks a double leg and lands knee to the body. Spinning back kick to the body from Nunes lands. Nunes lands a right but Pennington gets close, eats a few knees but gets a single leg and Nunes bounces back up as Pennington holds a rear waist lock. Pennington gets a takedown into side control. Nunes gets half guard and Pennington lands a couple of short elbows before standing over Nunes. Nunes back up, Pennington misses a right and we get a quick brawl as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pennington, 29-18 Nunes overall

ROUND THREE: Touch of gloves for the third round. Both women flashing the jab, Nunes lands a leg kick. Left lands for Nunes and she disengages from a clinch attempt. Leg kick from Nunes. Bit of a right from Pennington. Leg kick from Nunes, then she gets a double leg when Pennington tried to rush. Nunes in half guard looking to go to work. Pennington able to get full guard, I’m surprised Nunes didn’t try to pass almost at all there. They’re stalling out a bit here, and the ref stands them up because of it. Nunes lands a knee to the body but Pennington catches it and gets her on the fence looking for a single leg, Nunes spins free easily. Body kick from Nunes then a leg kick, they’re both missing punches because they’re not adjusting to their opponent but throwing them where they think they should be. Bit of a flurry from Pennington, Nunes responds with a right. Pennington avoids a takedown, eats a knee to the body though and we’re back on the fence. Nunes is able to disengage and separate. Front kick to the body from Nunes and they trade rights. Another clinch, Nunes lands a knee to the head or chest as the round ends.

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

ROUND FOUR: Pennington seems a little winded to start this round. Both women feinting with the hands a bit, they trade rights. Jab then a leg kick from Nunes. Nunes is backing Pennington towards the fence again, lands another body kick. Pennington lands a couple of lefts but takes a heavy leg kick and a right hand. Nunes blocks a takedown attempt and lands some knees to the body then trips Pennington down and settles into top position. Pennington closes her guard but neither of them is doing a whole lot here. Finally there’s a half hearted pass attempt from Nunes, Pennington back up and Nunes lands three knees to the body before they break. Pennington lands a counter right but there isn’t enough on these or enough of them. Nunes lands another knee, Pennington tries a single leg against the fence but can’t finish it and Nunes lands another couple of knees before pulling free. Pennington avoids a couple of rights, Nunes lands a hard couple of knees from a Thai clinch. There’s a single leg attempt from Pennington but the round will end before anything comes of it.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Nunes, 39-36 Nunes overall

ROUND FIVE: Pennington is bleeding from the nose and had to be talked into continuing by her coach between rounds. There’s a hug to start the last round. Nunes eats a right and lands a leg kick. Left from Pennington but she’s getting walked down and is being bludgeoned. The nose of Pennington is a mess, Nunes should throw an uppercut because Pennington is ducking right into it and covering up anticipating a right. Double leg from Nunes and she’s in the guard of Pennington again. Elbow from Nunes. Nunes postures up and is teeing off, she gets the back and Pennington is gushing blood from the nose as the ref steps in to stop the fight.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and STILL UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion – Amanda Nunes via TKO, punches, at 2:36 of Round 5

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Nunes for her work this evening, and has no idea why the First Round Finish Club left so quickly once event personnel started looking for them. Interview time for Nunes, and Pennington’s face is a mess, she should fire her corner for making her go back out there for the fifth. At a minimum they should have thrown in the towel after that takedown in the fifth. Nunes brings in Pennington and her girlfriend Tecia Torres, she says this is the first time she’s had to fight a friend and that this was the hardest fight of her career because of the respect they all have for each other. She says they’re all still friends and are going to have a beer to celebrate together. She thanks the fans and still represents Brazil despite living in the States now and wishes a Happy Mother’s Day to her mom. Asked who or what is next she thanks everyone who supports her, her coaches, and her family, most of them by name, then thanks the UFC for changing her life.

Alright everyone, that brings UFC 224 to a close. Thank you all for being here and reading, be that live or after the fact I appreciate all of the support you guys give me. The card turned out better than it was on paper, and while that’s a low bar to clear in this case at least they did it. Sunday at 8pm eastern time the 411 Ground and Pound Radio Show will be talking about this event and previewing UFC Fight Night 129 when the UFC debuts in the country of Chile with Demian Maian vs. Kamaru Usman as the main event. I’ll be back for that particular card and I hope you’ll join me when it goes live. Until then thank you again for your support, stay safe out there and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.