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411’s UFC 232 Report 12.29.18

December 30, 2018 | Posted by Robert Winfree
Jon Jones UFC - Chael Sonnen

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 232. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for this event, relaying all of the action to you just as I see it. This is the last UFC event of the year, and boy did this one get crazy over the last week or so. This was supposed to take place in the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA but the UFC moved it last Sunday to The Forum in Los Angeles, California after one half of the main event couldn’t get licensed to fight in that state. The entire situation around the rematch between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson has been a mess, but as of this writing it’s still on and is still the main event.

Putting aside the controversy around Jones’ failed drug tests and the discussion of the science of drug testing it’s spawned the fight itself is a great one. The first encounter between Jones and Gustafsson in 2013 produced the best light heavyweight fight ever, it’s a shame that between Jones’ issues and Gustafsson’s injuries it took this long to get a rematch. The co-main event is one of the better women’s fights that you can make right now as women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes moves up to featherweight to challenge Cris “Cyborg” Justino for the featherweight title, which gives Nunes a chance at multiple layers of history. Nunes would become the first woman to win multiple titles in the UFC, the first woman to win titles in multiple weight classes, and the first woman to hold two titles at the same time.

As for the rest of the card there’s a few sleeper fights, Chad Mendes vs. Alexander Volkanovski is a very relevant featherweight bout between old guard and rising contender, and there’s some nearly guaranteed bantamweight violence between Douglas Silva de Andrade and Petr Yan. For those into elder abuse BJ Penn is fighting again, at least he’s back at lightweight instead of undergoing the partial embalming process he used to reach featherweight.

Before we get any further I hope you’ll indulge me just a bit. 2018 is coming to a close and I’m working on putting together my year end awards. Unfortunately I lost my list of candidates for the big awards, Knockout of the Year, Submission of the Year, Fight of the Year, and Worst Fight of the Year specifically. While I’m almost certain of the top spots for those categories, pending the results of this event, I’m not entirely positive on a full top five list. So if you’ve got the time and inclination, I’d appreciate your input on possible candidates I might have forgotten below.

Also is there even any interest in me doing that kind of piece?

As mentioned above the venue has changed, UFC 232 comes to the world from The Forum in Inglewood, California. On commentary we have Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Dominick Cruz. That’s been a hit and miss trio so hopefully everything clicks for them tonight. As for the rules, we’re under the new rule set so you need both palms or fists flat on the mat to be considered downed (or a knee of course), the scoring language is clearer and more encouraging of 10-8’s, and extending fingers towards your opponent can be considered a foul regardless of contact being made. We also have the use of replay but it can only be used on a fight ending sequence and once used the fight cannot be restarted.

Brian Kelleher has gone 3-2 in the UFC with a couple of impressive wins, but he’s also lost at key junctions as well. Kelleher is coming off of a loss to John Lineker and he’s trying to avoid his first UFC losing streak. Montel Jackson suffered his first professional loss when he debuted in the UFC, now he’s looking to avoid a losing streak and get the all important first UFC win under his belt. It’s worth noting that Jackson missed weight, and going 0-2 to start your UFC run while also missing weight once almost certainly results in being shown the door. Jackson is your -155 favorite against +145 for Kelleher.

Bantamweight Bout: Brian Kelleher (19-9, 135 lbs.) vs. Montel Jackson (6-1, 137* lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Jackson is four inches taller and has a whopping nine and a half inches of reach on Kelleher. They touch gloves, Jackson fighting southpaw and lands a body kick early. Kelleher looking to circle and do some stance switching, good God there are already “woo’s”. That’s a bad sign. A couple of rights land for Jackson, he’s got a much better feel for the range as Kelleher is struggling with it. Another body kick from Jackson, Kelleher bulls into the clinch but eats an elbow and crumples to the mat. Jackson looks to pounce, he wraps up a d’arce choke and forces the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Montel Jackson via Submission, d’arce choke, at 1:40 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Jackson for his work this evening. Mic time for Jackson, he says he can’t feel good after this fight because he missed weight. He thanks the fans for being here despite the hiccups associated with the event and says without the fans they wouldn’t be here. The over/under on that sentiment being expressed this evening is set at 8. To close he talks us through the finish.

Speaking of the finish, here it is. Jackson just lands a well timed short elbow as Kelleher forced a clinch and never lets him back into the fight.

Curtis Millender is on an eight fight winning streak including two wins in the UFC, he’s looking to keep that streak alive and begin making the difficult transition from prospect towards contender status. Siyar Bahadurzada has won his last three fights and finished all of those, he’s trying to derail Millender and prove he can still be a force in the division. The odds are with Millender at -145 to +135 for Bahadurzada.

Welterweight Bout: Curtis Millender (16-3, 170 lbs.) vs. Siyar Bahadurzada (24-6-1, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Millender has three inches of height and reach on Bahadurzada. A bit of flashing the lead hand from both guys. Millender working straight kicks to the leg, Bahadurzada lands a front kick to the body. More leg kicks and sniping from Millender, bit of a left hook from Bahadurzada. Bahadurzada lands a left body kick. Calf kick from Millender, he’s done a good job of stifling the movement of Bahadurzada. Millender lands a bit of a wheel kick, Bahadurzada just eats it. High kick from Millender is mostly blocked and he avoids the counters. Bahadurzada misses a couple of hooks, which just highlights his struggles with the distance of Millender so far. Millender lands another leg kick but this time he can’t get out of the way of the counter. Bahadurzada is winging punches and missing, in the interim he’s getting picked apart at distance. Millender lands a body kick, Bahadurzada has switched southpaw to help set up his left leg. Bahadurzada is just switching at distance now, mostly orthodox. Bit of a combination from Millender, and more oblique kicks to the knee. That’ll essentially end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Millender

ROUND TWO: Bahadurzada is coming forward this round, they trade a bit before settling at distance again. Millender is getting his jab working again, this time Bahadurzada lands a side kick to the knee. They trade leg kicks, Millender is a little more flat this round. Bahadurzada lands a punch as Millender was thinking about another spin and Millender backs off. Jumping knee from Millender and some follow up offense, Bahadurzada just eats it but he needs an answer to the combination work Millender is showing off this round. They clinch up then break without much happening, Millender goes back to kicking the knee. Neither man lands during some pocket exchanges. Bit of a right from Bahadurzada but Millender lands two or three counters. Bahadurzada is really winding up on his offense, but he ducks under a spinning elbow attempt and gets a body lock takedown into half guard. Some body work from Bahadurzada and a few short elbows. Bahadurzada postures up and lands a couple of rights, Millender seems out of sorts on his back. A few more short elbows from Bahadurzada bring the round to a close.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Bahadurzada but could go either way, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Millender is back to straight kicks at the lead leg of Bahadurzada. Bahadurzada misses some hooks but he’s swinging for the fences. Counter left and right from Millender land. Another left hook from Millender, he’s slipping and countering consistently. Pull back right from Millender badly wobbles Bahadurzada, he shakes it off but his legs aren’t all the way under him. That counter right from Millender lands more, Bahadurzada is on the fence now taking uppercuts and elbows. Bahadurzada shoots a single leg, Millender tries to counter with a crucifix but can’t keep it and Bahadurzada is on top in half guard again. Millender gets to his knees quickly but Bahadurzada spins to the ride position, Bahadurzada’s face is a mess. They’re back up, Bahadurzada gets a mat return and lands punches from the ride position. Millender is back up again and they’re in the clinch on the fence. Bahadurzada is after the single leg again, this time Millender defends but he can’t get free. Millender kicks off the fence and separates then lands a right. Another right from Millender. Millender is jabbing as well now, Bahadurzada lands a haymaker right but Millender just eats it. Double leg from Bahadurzada, they wind up clinched and Bahadurzada gets a trip but Millender sweeps him and ends the round on top in half guard.

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

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

Not a bad fight, and Millender gets an interview. Millender starts out by pimping Rogan’s podcast then says Bahadurzada was tough and promises to keep getting better. Asked about the near finish he says his elbow got messed up blocking one of Bahadurzada’s kicks and he couldn’t throw as hard as he wanted but does want to get better. When Rogan asks what’s next he says he’d like a step up but if no one will fight him he’ll settle for “Michelle Perry”.

Uriah Hall has gone just 1-4 in his last five fights and has been finished in three of those losses, he’s trying to avoid another losing streak. Bevon Lewis is undefeated and coming into his UFC debut on the back of two wins on Dana White’s Contender Series, and while Hall might not have panned out as a top talent he’s still a UFC veteran at this point and a win over him means something. Lewis is a slight -120 favorite against +110 for Hall.

Middleweight Bout: #14 Uriah Hall (13-9, 185.5 lbs.) vs. Bevon Lewis (6-0, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Lewis is three inches taller but Hall has half an inch of reach on him. Both men showing kicks early, Lewis is landing rights and leg kicks, he’s pressing Hall hard early. Front kick to the face from Lewis, and a right then knees in a clinch. Hall is just covering up as Lewis lands on him along the fence. Lewis is coming forward but he might have burned a bit too much energy in that early flurry. They trade jabs a few times. Hall is biting on the feints of Lewis, he misses a comically bad spinning back kick. Lewis working front kicks again then a right. Inside leg kicks going back and forth now, Lewis is backing Hall up pretty consistently but he’s not forcing him to the fence just yet. Hall avoids a high kick. Lewis lands a front kick to the chest. Elbow in close from Lewis after he caught a kick. Bit of a high kick from Lewis then a right in close. Missed high kick from Lewis but he converts it to a side kick to the chest as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lewis, arguable 10-8

ROUND TWO: Lewis opens the round with a front kick then a right and a calf kick. Hall can’t find his rhythm, and Lewis is countering his jab with a straight right pretty consistently. Leg kick from Hall then he misses follow up kicks. A few leg kicks go back and forth, Hall is on the losing side of all these exchanges so far. Lewis lands a right then a high kick. Hall is biting on fakes and feints again, it’s letting Lewis catch him in awkward spots. They clash on a few more kicks, Hall slips on a high kick and Lewis punches him then get’s a rear waist lock on the fence. Knees to the thigh and butt from Lewis, a few of those nearly went between the legs to the groin of Hall but Lewis adjusts them to be more legal. Stomps to the calf from Lewis before Hall finally spins into him on the fence. Hall avoids an elbow as they break then blocks a high kick. A few jabs from Hall now, but Lewis lands a right. Front kick to the body from Hall, he’s starting to pressure forward and lands a spinning back kick to the body. They split jabs as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Lewis based on numerical supremacy, 20-17 Lewis overall

ROUND THREE: Lewis lands some leg kicks to start the round, Hall working inside leg kicks but just trying to set stuff up with them. They clinch up on the fence, Hall has his back on the cage. Lewis working some body shots and short elbows, just staying busy in this position. Elbow from Lewis on the break lands. Hall lands a body kick before they go back to landing leg kicks. Lewis misses a right, Hall gets the pull back counter right and Lewis drops like a rock.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Uriah Hall via KO, punch, at 1:32 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Hall for his work this evening. Shame for Lewis who was looking great. Hall gets an interview, he thanks the crowd and says the UFC did what they had to do to keep this event together. He says he saw Lewis getting tired and found his timing eventually, puts over Lewis as nearly putting him down, then dedicates the fight to his sister who’s battling depression. He talks about his many failures on the big stage but he took her advice about standing up and says the world wouldn’t be the same without her. When talking us through the finish he mentions he struggled with the range, and that once he got angry he fought better, and tells Lewis to keep his head up.

Here’s the finish. Lewis just gets a little sloppy with his punches as he gets tired, Hall steps back to avoid the right, Lewis gets way too far out over his lead leg, and Hall smashes him with the counter right to the jaw.

Andre Ewell is on a five fight winning streak including a big win in his UFC debut when he bested former champion Renan Barao, now he’s trying to extend that streak and take out another rising prospect. Nathaniel Wood has a six fight winning streak going including a successful UFC debut, he’s trying to solidify himself as the next prospect to watch at bantamweight as well. The odds are with Wood at a slight -120 against +110 for Ewell.

Bantamweight Bout: Nathaniel Wood (14-3, 135.5 lbs.) vs. Andre Ewell (14-4, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Ewell is two inches taller and has a whopping six inches of reach on Wood. They touch gloves to get us going, Ewell fighting southpaw. Both men miss leg kicks, Wood lands a bit of a right. Wood is struggling with the range so far, Ewell lands a left to the body. A couple of rights from Wood in close drop Ewell, Wood winds up on top in half guard. Ewell back up quickly but he got hurt in that exchange. They trade lefts, both men definitely felt that. Wood has Ewell on the fence, Wood lands a right. They trade in close, Ewell is going to the body now that Wood seems to be slipping his punches. Both men miss counter power hand punches, they’re drawing stuff out and countering but both are slipping the counters. They trade power hand punches, then Ewell digs the body. Wood lands a front kick to the body then sweeps the legs from Ewell with an inside leg kick. Ewell’s lead leg is a little hurt, he’s wobbled on it and Wood kicks it again. A couple of rights from Wood land then a jab. Another right from Wood along the fence. Wood punches into a clinch and has Ewell on the fence. A few body shots from Wood in the clinch, and the round will end in that spot.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Wood

ROUND TWO: Wood opens with a few leg kicks then rights in close from a collar tie and Ewell returns them. Another inside leg kick from Wood off balances Ewell then Wood gets a body lock takedown into guard. Body to head punches from Wood. Ewell isn’t doing much off of his back, Wood is content to beat him up at a solid enough pace to keep things from being stood up and burn the clock. Wood moves to half guard and resumes body to head punches. Ewell hip escapes to full guard, Wood just hits him for the effort. Hard body shots from Wood and to the head, he put some heat on that last series of blows. Wood hand cuffs one of Ewell’s ars for a moment and lands punches before Ewell gets it back. More rights to the kidney from Wood and he moves to half guard where the round will end.

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

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Wood working the lead leg, he’s definitely hurt the mobility of Ewell. Right from Wood lands and they clinch up on the fence. Some knees to the leg from Wood and he swings Ewell to his back with a body lock. Wood landed in side control, he lands punches as Ewell gets full guard. Back to body to head punches from Wood as Ewell closes his guard. Wood throwing to the body while Ewell tries to get control over his posture. More body shots from Wood, Ewell tries to kick him off but gives up his back and Wood has a body triangle locked in, gets the choke and forces the tap after Ewell fights for as long as he could.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Nathaniel Wood via Submission, rear naked choke, at 4:12 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Wood for his work this evening. Mic time for Wood, he says he’s more of a striker but once he felt that Ewell had nothing for him on the mat he kept it there. He addresses the crowd booing a bit but he had to win, he says he missed Christmas with his family and in compensation he’d like to be on the upcoming London card. He talks us through the finish to close out his mic time.

Here’s the finish. We don’t see the scramble here but Ewell was too slow getting up and Wood spun to his back just before this starts and got the body triangle very quickly. From there Ewell tries to fight the grip but winds up belly down having to tap.

That’s it for Fight Pass, on to Fox Sports 1 for the last time.

BJ Penn is a true legend of the sport and a former two division champion, sadly that was quite some time ago. Penn hasn’t won a fight since he beat a washed up Matt Hughes in 2010 and is on a five fight losing streak that spans the last seven years. On the plus side for Penn he’s back up at lightweight and is hoping for a win to justify his roster spot and stave off talk of him being over the proverbial hill. Ryan Hall is riding a six fight winning streak including two wins in the UFC, but he hasn’t fought since December of 2016, he’s looking to take out a legend of the sport here and keep a more active schedule going forward. The odds are with Hall at a significant -420 to a +375 comeback on Penn.

Lightweight Bout: B.J. Penn (16-12-2, 156 lbs.) vs. Ryan Hall (6-1, 154 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Hall is an inch taller and has half an inch of reach on Penn. They touch gloves, Hall fighting southpaw. Penn is coming forward, Hall circling and landing side kicks to the body. They clinch up on the fence, nothing comes of it and they separate. Hall slips on a kick, stays on his back and looks for a leg entanglement as Penn stands over him. Penn is working a few leg kicks, Hall with some straight kicks to the knee. Hall is still fishing for the legs but nothing is coming of it so the ref stands them up. Penn blocks a high kick. Hall misses a few more kicks then lands a leg kick. Imanari roll from Hall, he grabs an inside heel hook and Penn taps immediately.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ryan Hall via Submission, inside heel hook, at 2:46 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Hall for his work this evening. That’s the first time Penn has ever been submitted in MMA. Hall’s non plussed face is the best. Hall on the mic now, he says competing against Penn is surreal and calls Penn one of his heroes, says that if he can do 1/10 of what Penn did in MMA he’d be happy. He talks us through the finish, mentions blending kicking to leg entanglements as a big thing and then says Penn kicked him very hard. He says Penn is dangerous, that this was an honor and hopes to train with Penn at some point in the future as Penn taught him so much.

Here’s the finish. Penn winds up on one leg and Hall dives into the Imanari roll when his mobility is compromised, from there it’s Hall’s world and Penn actually rolls into the heel hook trying to defend.

Douglas Silva de Andrade is one of the many underappreciated up and coming bantamweights in the UFC, he’s 3-2 in the UFC overall and is coming off of a win. De Andrade is after his second UFC winning streak here while taking out another rising prospect. Petr Yan is a similarly hot prospect, he’s on a five fight winning streak with two dominant wins in the UFC and his lone professional loss is a controversial split decision that he avenged. The winner of this bout takes a big step towards legitimate contender status. The odds are with Yan at a surprisingly high -315 against a tempting payout of +285 for de Andrade.

Bantamweight Bout: Petr Yan (10-1, 135.5 lbs.) vs. #14 Douglas Silva de Andrade (25-2 1 NC, 134.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Yan is half an inch taller while de Andrade has an inch and a half of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men showing the jab, de Andrade lands a leg kick. Left hook from de Andrade and Yan responds with a left high kick. Yan showing some stance switches now, just looking for angles and reads. Right to the body from Yan. Yan lands a right. Leg kick from Yan. De Andrade avoids a combination then takes a right to the body. Left body kicks are traded. Yan catches a leg kick and trips de Andrade down then punches while standing over him. De Andrade back up but eats a couple of lefts for the effort. Left then a right from Yan, and an inside leg kick for good measure. De Andrade lands an uppercut then eats a side kick to the body. Yan lands a right. bit of a right from Yan, his volume is troubling de Andrade just a bit. De Andrade lands a couple of left body kicks. Quick three punch combination from Yan lands. Leg kick from Yan and he checks the counter. De Andrade lands a right. Yan misses a high kick and avoids a single leg. Stiff right from Yan and a couple of follow ups. Yan is getting to de Andrade consistently, he hits a double leg after avoiding a right and lands lefts from top position as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Yan

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Yan lands a leg kick. Body kick from Yan, de Andrade lands an inside leg kick. One two from Yan lands, then a counter left. Straight right from Yan, he’s slowly increasing the pace and drowning de Andrade. De Andrade lands a body kick. Bit of a left from de Andrade, Yan lands a leg kick. Body kick from Yan, he’s slipping just away from de Andrade’s offense and countering him. Yan gets a front headlock and lands a left to the body that hurts de Andrade. More lefts from Yan then a front choke and knees. Yan gets the snap down into side control and lands elbows. De Andrade is bleeding a bit from the nose, he gets half guard but eats elbows along the way. Yan slips around to the ride position and lands rights but they scramble and Yan has another front headlock into the ride position. Knee to the body from Yan then punches as he hits a mat return. Yan is drowning him with body work and pace. Rights from Yan, de Andrade tries to drop for a sweep but loses the leg control. Morel elbows from half guard from Yan, de Andrade’s face is a mess and he’s bleeding from around the left eyebrows. Yan just tees off from full guard as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: De Andrade’s corner stopped the fight between rounds 2 and 3.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Petr Yan via TKO, corner stoppage, at 5:00 of Round 2

I’m not complaining about that corner stoppage, Yan mauled him the entire round essentially and his face was a mess as that round ended. Mic time for Yan and his translator, he starts with English to thank Los Angeles but it falls apart a bit after that and he goes back to Russian, he mostly said he thought de Andrade had a good first round but would fade after that. He talks us through the finish, then when asked who he’d like next he says he just wants a tough opponent before saying he’d love to fight John Lineker. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but just hook that to my veins.

Cat Zingano just broke a three fight losing streak and is looking to get her first winning streak since 2014. Megan Anderson just had a four fight winning streak snapped in her UFC debut when she dropped a decision to Holly Holm, she’s trying to get back on track here and avoid her first ever losing streak. Zingano is your -145 favorite against +135 for Anderson.

Women’s Featherweight Bout: Megan Anderson (8-3, 146 lbs.) vs. Cat Zingano (10-3, 144 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Anderson is six inches taller and has four inches of reach on Zingano. Zingano doing stance switching and circling on the outside right now. Calf kick from Zingano. Anderson doing stance switching now as well. Bit of a high kick from Anderson catches Zingano in the eye, that’s legal and the ref stops it quickly as Zingano covers up along the fence and Anderson swarms her. The ref is going to review this I think.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Megan Anderson via TKO, eye injury, at 1:01 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Anderson for her work this evening. The replay showed the big toe of Anderson landing to the eye of Zingano, unfortunate but legal. Mic time for Anderson, she talks us through the finish and says Zingano is welcome to a rematch if she wants it. She puts over Zingano as a durable opponent, then talks us through her preparation and knows she’s a better fighter now. Asked about the hard time finding fights because there aren’t many featherweights she agrees and hopes the UFC will sign some featherweights in 2019.

Just a quick GIF of the injury.

To kill time we get some hype for Cyborg vs. Nunes, then a replay of Kelleher vs. Jackson.

Andrei Arlovski just keeps plodding along for some reason, he’s on a two fight losing streak and is an abysmal 2-7 in his last nine fights. Arlovski is trying to break his current losing streak and postpone talk of his retirement. Walt Harris is 3-2 in his last five fights and a win here would be the biggest name on his resume despite Arlovski’s slump. Harris is you -185 favorite against a +150 comeback on Arlovski.

Heavyweight Bout: #13 Andrei Arlovski (27-17 1 NC, 245.5 lbs.) vs. Walt Harris (11-7, 258.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Harris is two inches taller but they have identical reaches. Harris fighting southpaw. Both men feinting a bit with the upper body, and Harris misses a high kick. Bit of a right from Arlovski lands. They clinch up, Harris lands a couple of knees to the body as they hit the fence. Arlovski spins him into the cage and lands a knee of his own then looks for an outside reap. Harris avoids the attempt and separates. Bit of a calf kick from Arlovski. Right from Harris lands, and a bit of a left behind it. Another right from Harris on the break of a clinch. They clinch up, Harris lands to the body and they break. Arlovski lands a body kick but misses the follow up hooks. Body kick from Harris and a right hook from Harris lands. Arlovski lands an inside leg kick but eats a right hook then a straight left. The right hook from Harris lands again, he’s got a read on that punch now and is countering Arlovski consistently. Bit of a right from Harris, inside leg kick from Arlovski and that will bring the round to a close.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Harris

ROUND TWO: Arlovski lands a bit of a right, he complains of an eye poke but Harris is landing punches. Another clash and this time Harris did poke him so we’ve got time for him to recover. Arlovski can continue, the replay confirmed the eye poke, and we’re back to fighting. Right from Arlovski lands then he has a head kick blocked. Harris gets a takedown into the guard of Arlovski and moves to half guard immediately. Arlovski back up and avoids a knee on the way. Things slow down a bit, as one would expect halfway through a low level heavyweight fight. Harris misses a few punches. Left from Harris lands, Arlovski lands a leg kick. Another left from Harris lands. Arlovski avoids a takedown attempt and lands a right. Side kick to the body from Arlovski, Harris lands a body kick of his own. Bit of a left from Arlovski and Harris misses a right hook. Arlovski lands a body kick. They stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Arlovski, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Harris coming forward this round, Arlovski misses an ugly wheel kick. Both men miss punches, Harris lands a bit of a right then a straight left that stuns Arlovski. Arlovski lands a right, Harris is coming forward still. Harris pushes forward and both men mostly miss power hooks. Well those few moments of excitement were just a prelude to more staring. They clinch then break without incident. Even as staring contests go this is pretty bland. Arlovski lands a right to the chest, normally I wouldn’t note that but something happened and I wanted to document it. That’ll bring the round to a close after more staring.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Walt Harris via split decision (27-30, 29-28 x2)

Well that sucked, and a horrible scorecard of 30-27 Arlovski to cap it off as well. No interview for Harris.

There’s something mildly poetic about the last FS1 fight ever being poorly paced and boring. That’s it for Fox Sports 1, to PPV for the main card. Oh good Lord, we get the throwback to Joe Rogan and Dana White yelling into microphones to lead into the PPV. This time they do more thanking of the people at FOX as opposed to telling you to buy the PPV.

Chad Mendes just returned from a two year suspension and broke a two fight losing streak with a first round TKO win over Myles Jury, now he’s after his first winning streak since 2013 while securing his spot near the top of the featherweight division. Alexander Volkanovski is one of the brighter featherweight prospects in the UFC right now, he’s won his last fifteen fights including going 5-0 in the UFC. A win here would vault Volkanovski from rising contender to legitimate contender, and would naturally be the biggest win of his career. Mendes is a slight -140 favorite to +130 for Volkanovski.

Featherweight Bout: #5 Chad Mendes (18-4, 146 lbs.) vs. #10 Alexander Volkanovski (18-1, 145 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Volkanovski has a significant five and a half inches of reach on Mendes despite them being the same height. They touch gloves to get us going. Mendes stalking forward, Volkanovski circling. Both men probing with leg kicks, just looking for openings to exploit. Volkanovski has Mendes more along the fence now but both men are missing punches when they engage so far. Neither man lands in close but they’re both getting a read on each other. Calf kick from Volkanovski. Mendes lands an uppercut but misses the follow ups. Bit of a head kick from Volkanovski. Volkanovski blocks a takedown attempt. A few jabs from Volkanovski land. Right from Volkanovski lands. body kick from Volkanovski and more jabs to the body and head. Mendes lands to the body but Volkanovski jabs him again. Knee tap from Mendes, Volkanovski quickly wall walks but eats an uppercut on the way. Left to the body from Mendes, he’s countering well so far. Volkanovski lands a knee to the body. High kick from Volkanovski is blocked as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Mendes but a competitive one

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. Volkanovski is coming forward again, lands a body kick. The pressure from Volkanovski is impressive, he’s got Mendes backing up most of the time, but he’s not doing much with it yet. Another body kick from Volkanovski, and a right in close. They trade inside leg kicks, Volkanovski lands a couple of rights that definitely got Mendes’ attention. Mendes gets a takedown in close but Volkanovski bounces back up quickly. Both men are bleeding, Mendes from the nose due to the jabs and Volkanovski from around the left eye. More jabs from Volkanovski, he’s breaking Mendes down. Single leg from Mendes and he spins to the back quickly but only gets one hook in. Both hooks in for Mendes now, but Volkanovski gets back up and lands a body kick that hurt Mendes. More body work from Volkanovski, elbows and knees as Mendes is sitting on the fence. Volkanovski is a dog that wont go away, he’s getting to Mendes, drops him with a right and this is over.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alexander Volkanovski via TKO, punches, at 4:14 of Round 2

Big win for Volkanovski, it’s hard to over state how big a deal finishing Mendes is. Volkanovski hurt Mendes to the body late in the first and at the start of the second, when he went back to it he crumpled Mendes along the fence. Mic time for Volkanovski, he says he just wants to fight the top guys and despite Mendes being one of the best he knew a win would vault him up the rankings. He puts over Mendes as one of the greats, then calls himself one of the more dangerous guys in the division as he can do anything and feels he’s Max Holloway’s worst match up, then puts over Holloway hard but feels he matches up well with him. To close he puts over the crowd.

Here’s the finish. Mendes just struggles with the pressure and against the fence, Volkanovski keeps an insane pace and finally varies up his offense to the body and head as Mendes is looking for breathing room and Mendes winds up dropping under the barrage.

Ilir Latifi might be flying under the radar but he’s 5-1 in his last six fights and is coming off of a win over Ovince Saint-Preux, if he can get to three in a row for the second time in his UFC run he could find himself in a title eliminator bout next. Corey Anderson has gone 2-2 in his last four fights but is on a two fight winning streak and is similarly trying to position himself for a top level fight with a win tonight. The odds are with Latifi at -135 against +125 for Anderson.

Light Heavyweight Bout: #5 Ilir Latifi (14-5 1 NC, 205.5 lbs.) vs. #10 Corey Anderson (11-4, 204.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Anderson is five inches taller and has five and a half inches of reach on Latifi. They touch gloves to get us going. Anderson with some feints. Both men miss rights. Latifi lands a couple of solid calf kicks, Anderson lands one but his left foot is a little compromised already. They clinch up and Latifi is after a high crotch but can’t get it, then he misses a right as they separate. Right uppercut from Latifi in close wobbles Anderson but he separates and seems to have his legs back under him. Front kick to the body from Anderson, then a left body kick. Another clinch, Latifi lands a left hook as they break that stuns Anderson for a moment. Anderson has a high kick blocked then lands a right, Latifi lands a calf kick. Short left hook from Latifi to counter a kick, Anderson is too immobile and Latifi is using that to get into the pocket and land on him despite the physical differences. Calf kick from Latifi but he eats a counter right. They clinch up, Latifi lands a left on the break and that’ll be the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Latifi

ROUND TWO: Anderson is pushing forward now, lands a body kick. Both guys are a bit fatigued but Latifi is the more tired party right now, and Anderson is finally fighting long. Calf kick from Latifi but he’s eating more stuff at range now. They trade rights then clinch up and hit the fence. Latifi is after a double leg, switches to a high crotch but can’t finish it. Anderson lands a knee to the body as they break. Anderson tries a double leg, Latifi stuffs it and turns him into the fence then they break. More body kicks from Anderson, Latifi is fatigued and Anderson is coming on strong but he’s leaving his chin open on clinch breaks. Anderson kicking the body, and lands a left but Latifi lands hooks in close for his burst of the round. Now Latifi is more tired and Anderson is stalking forward, even commentary is calling for body work. Anderson lands to the body and head with punches, Latifi is still trying to get his wind back. They clinch up again, Anderson with some knees to the body. Latifi lands a couple of lefts as they break then Anderson lands a right. A left from Anderson will bring the round to a close.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Anderson, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Anderson decides a spinning back kick is a good idea to start the third round, it misses badly. Latifi blocks a high kick, both guys are really tired but Anderson looks better by comparison. Latifi lands a left and a right off of a clinch attempt but Anderson just eats it. Anderson has forward pressure on his side but he’s not making Latifi work enough to really capitalize on it. High kick from Anderson is blocked. Right to the body from Anderson. Anderson lands a right and they clinch then break. Latifi lands a wheel kick but nothing comes of it. Body kick from Anderson then a left to the body. Latifi lands a calf kick. Left hook then a straight right from Anderson both land. Bit of a trade of rights as the round ends.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Corey Anderson via unanimous decision (29-28 x2)

Well that sucked. Anderson on the mic, he puts over Latifi as a beast, then gives glory to God and thanks his family for their support especially his pregnant wife. Asked who he wants next he says Anthony Smith, who’s on the analyst desk for this event, to get himself into title contention.

Carlos Condit is a veteran of the sport and used to be one of the top welterweights in the world, but he’s just 1-5 in his last six fights and is on a four fight losing streak. Condit is just trying to get a win here and possibly hold his head high when leaving the sport. Michael Chiesa is on a two fight losing streak but is hoping a move up to welterweight will reverse his fortunes as lightweight was always a pretty severe cut for him. A win over Condit, faded as he might be, is still a significant name to beat in your divisional debut. Chiesa is your -150 favorite against +140 for Condit.

Welterweight Bout: Carlos Condit (30-12, 171 lbs.) vs. Michael Chiesa (14-4, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Condit is an inch taller and they have identical reaches. They touch gloves, both guys fighting southpaw but Condit has been known to switch. Condit kicking early, mostly blocked and they clinch up. Chiesa gets an inside trip into the guard of Condit, Condit is setting up traps already. Chiesa spins to the back after a failed armbar attempt, they spin again and Chiesa avoids a leg lock and they’re back up in the clinch on the fence. Knees from Condit but Chiesa gets his back on the fence and lands knees of his own. Another takedown from Chiesa, this time from the body lock and he’s on top in half guard. Chiesa lands a few punches as Condit gets full guard. A few blows from Chiesa land but he’s just scoring without doing much damage yet. Condit after an armbar, this one’s tighter and he straightens the arm out but loses his grip on the wrist and Chiesa gets his arm out and they’re up again. They clinch up again and trade knees then Chiesa gets a body lock takedown into side control. Condit rolls under for a leg lock, he’s after a heel hook but he’s struggling to get control over the knee line and Chiesa gets out of danger. They trade punches from 50/50 guard, Condit sits up and gets an inverted triangle attempt as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Condit but probably went the other way

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Both men punching this round and landing, Condit lands a leg kick and avoids a clinch. Chiesa catches a kick and gets a takedown into half guard. Chiesa is after a kimura, he’s got the double wrist lock and is yanking on it, that arm gets way up around the head of Condit before he taps.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Michael Chiesa via Submission, kimura, at :56 of Round 2

That’s the second kimura this year that features the guy applying it basically using the weight of the guy getting kimura’d against them. Chiesa actually finished that one handed, it was pretty cool. Mic time for Chiesa, who regrets not being at welterweight earlier and believes he’s a top fifteen fighter in any division. He puts over Condit as tough but feels stronger than ever now that he’s not cutting that much weight. Talking us through the finish he says he’s used that finish in the gym, puts over his coaches then calls out Neil Magny.

This is a really cool kimura variant. Chiesa gets the arm in position with the standard double wrist lock, then using what must be insane grip strength he pulls the arm higher though it’s straight and then drops his base onto Condit’s chest to apply even more torque to the shoulder.

Amanda Nunes is one of the best women fighting in MMA right now, she’s won her last seven fights which include winning the women’s bantamweight title and defending it twice. Now Nunes is after history, if she can claim the women’s featherweight title here she’ll be the first woman to hold multiple titles in the UFC as well as the first woman to do so in different weight classes simultaneously. Standing in her way is the reigning women’s featherweight champion, and another one of the best women in MMA, Cris “Cyborg” Justino. Justino hasn’t lost since her professional debut back in 2005 and has been to a decision just once since 2008. Justino is looking to further extend her reputation and legend with a win over a current UFC champion. The odds are with Justino at -240 against a +220 payout for Nunes.

Women’s Featherweight Title Bout: (c) Cris “Cyborg” Justino (20-1 1 NC, 144 lbs.) vs. Amanda Nunes (16-4, 145 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height and Nunes has an inch of reach on Justino, despite that Justino looks like the larger woman when they’re next to each other. They touch gloves to get us going. Both women landing punches, Nunes lands a calf kick but Justino catches her, Nunes hurts Justino with punches. Nunes lands a right, Justino is nearly out, Nunes keeps throwing and Justino face plants along the fence.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and NEW UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion – Amanda Nunes via KO, punches, at :51 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Nunes for her work this evening. Nunes is probably the best woman to ever fight in MMA, definitely one of the best resumes. I mean she’s beaten Valentina Shevchenko twice officially (I still think she lost the title fight), Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, Sara McMann, Cris Cyborg, and Germaine de Randamie. That’s a hell of a resume. Nunes on the mic, she thanks the fans and God for all of their support, then says she figured the fight would go this way. She calls herself the greatest and says she should be in the Hall of Fame, hard to argue either of those points. She talks us through the finish, then thanks her coaches, her girlfriend, Dan Lambert, and a few other people who I missed.

Here’s the full fight, because it was so short. Nunes’ just throws straighter punches, and she’s got power already, and recovers when Cyborg does land very quickly. Incredible performance from Nunes.

Jon Jones is arguably the best fighter in MMA right now, or ever. Jones’ is coming off of a No Contest when he knocked out Daniel Cormier but failed a drug test. The only blemish on Jones’ record is a disqualification loss, and he’s trying to win back the light heavyweight title that he never lost. Alexander Gustafsson has twice failed in title bids during his UFC tenure, both Jones and Cormier defended their titles against him, but is riding a two fight winning streak coming into this bout. Gustafsson hasn’t fought since May of 2017 due to injuries but could become the first Swedish UFC champion with a win here. Jones is your -290 favorite against a +260 comeback for Gustafsson.

Light Heavyweight Title Bout: #1 Jon Jones (22-1 1 NC, 204 lbs.) vs. #2 Alexander Gustafsson (18-4, 204.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gustafsson is an inch taller but Jones has five and a half inches of reach on him. Both men start orthodox but Jones will switch as necessary. Jones gets a clinch and lands a knee as they break then lands a leg kick. Another clinch, they trade knees and Gustafsson took one to the groin so they break. Gustafsson is good to continue and we’re back to fighting. Jones lands a thrust kick to the knee. Inside leg kick from Jones. Gustafsson gets a knee to the body to land in close, Jones lands a couple more leg kicks. They trade punches then Jones lands a body shot. A couple of lead hands land for Gustafsson. Stepping elbow from Jones lands then a front kick to the body. Another clinch and knees from Jones before they break. Head kick from Jones is partially blocked, Jones goes for a single leg and they spin then stand and Jones lands a knee to the body. They jockey in the clinch then break without incident. Bit of a right from Gustafsson, Jones lands a counter. Jones mostly playing matador so far, and rather successfully. Body kick from Jones will close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jones

ROUND TWO: Gustafsson is coming forward, Jones lands a body kick. Left lands for Jones then a body kick and an inside leg kick. Left to the body from Jones. Gustafsson ducks under a left hook, then Jones lands an inside leg kick. Jones pushes for a clinch, lands a knee to the body on the break. Gustafsson falls short with a few punches then eats an inside leg kick. Bit of a right from Gustafsson lands. Jones lands a body kick. We get time, Jones took an eye poke which the replay confirms. The doctor comes in to double check Jones’ eye but is good with him continuing so we’re back to fighting. The ref warns both of them about their fingers on the restart, prudent given these two. Gustafsson coming forward, lands a right but takes a body kick. Left from Gustafsson, Jones returns it. Calf kick from Jones, then another leg kick. Gustafsson misses more punches, he’s struggling with the range and Jones’ mobility. They trade some lead hand work. Hard leg kick from Jones buckles the lead leg of Gustafsson. They clinch up and trade knees then break. Gustafsson blocks a high kick then Jones hurts his lead leg with an inside leg kick. Lead uppercut from Jones, Gustafsson’s left leg is a little off. Slight right from Gustafsson, Jones lands a couple of jabs. They clinch up and break with an elbow from Jones. Spinning back kick to the body from Jones ends the round.

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

ROUND THREE: Left hook from Jones to start the round, Gustafsson’s left shin is swollen visibly. Gustafsson is coming forward, Jones gets a double leg with ease and lands elbows from full guard. Half guard for Jones and he’s working a cross face to break his posture. Gustafsson is trying to sit up, Jones keeps him down and lands more offense now in side control. Elbow from Jon, to the back while holding a half neslon to set up the choke. Both hooks for Jones, and punches from the depths of Hell end Gustafsson’s night.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and NEW UFC Light Heavyweight Champion – Jon Jones via KO, punches, at 2:02 of Round 3

Jones and Gustafsson embrace after the fight and share some words then Jones embraces his family before his interview. He says God is good and gives him all glory, then says this is a great feeling and thanks his fiance for her support, his coaches all by name and calls himself the product of the mighty people around him. Asked about the pressure he thanks another coach then talks about the need to maintain and understand distance in the cage and that was the key to his success, he doesn’t think Gustafsson even hit him all that cleanly because he was aware of the distance. He says that while Gustafsson is great at getting up, if he doesn’t get up quickly he tends to just stay on his back and that led to more wrestling in his game here to set up the finish. Asked about what’s next, he says Daniel Cormier has been calling himself “champ champ” but says Cormier just gave up his belt because Daddy came home. He tells DC to come try and take his belt back and prove he’s the champ champ.

Here’s the finish. Jones uses the half nelson from side control to negate the attempted roll from Gustafsson and set up the move to the back, then once he’s there he just unloads on a helpless Gustafsson.

That, ladies and gentlemen, wraps up UFC 232 and 2018 for the UFC. Thank you all for being here and following along, it’s much appreciated. I know just how many places you can get this same product from and am perpetually humbled you choose my work. Baffled, but humbled. Tomorrow on the 411 Ground and Pound Radio Show we’ll be reviewing this action and talking the news of the week, we might even do a quick year end special as I finalize my lists for next week. Be on the lookout for said list, I’m going to try and cobble together the notes that survived and get a list up quickly.

There’s no event until Fight Night 143 when the UFC debuts on the networks of ESPN on January 19th. The bout order is odd, and likely will be given the split between fights on ESPN and ESPN+ but we’ll muddle through as always I suppose. Until then, a slightly belated Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it, stay safe over New Years, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.