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411’s UFC 248 Report: Adesanya Wins

March 8, 2020 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC 248

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view)
Champ Israel Adesanya (184.5 lbs.) vs. #3 Yoel Romero (185 lbs.) – for middleweight title
Champ Zhang Weili (115 lbs.) vs. #4 Joanna Jedrzejczyk (115 lbs.) – for women’s strawweight title
Beneil Dariush (156 lbs.) vs. Drakkar Klose (156 lbs.)
Li Jingliang (171 lbs.) vs. Neil Magny (171 lbs.)
Max Griffin (170.5 lbs.) vs. Alex Oliveira (171 lbs.)

Sean O’Malley (135.5 lbs.) vs. Jose Quinonez (135.5 lbs.)
Austin Hubbard (154.5 lbs.) vs. Mark Madsen (156 lbs.)
Saparbek Safarov (186 lbs.) vs. Rodolfo Vieira (186 lbs.)
Gerald Meerschaert (185 lbs.) vs. Deron Winn (185.5 lbs.)

Polyana Viana (116 lbs.) vs. Emily Whitmire (117.5 lbs.)*
Jamall Emmers (145.5 lbs.) vs. Giga Chikadze (146 lbs.)
Danaa Batgerel (136 lbs.) vs. Guido Cannetti (135.5 lbs.)

* Whitmire fined 20 percent of her purse; fight will continue

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 248. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be covering all of the action for you good people, from sign on until sign off. After the rash of sub-par cards over the last few weeks, UFC 248 is a breath of fresh air. The main event isn’t perfect, in an ideal world either Paulo Costa or Jared Cannonier would be getting the title shot, but since neither of them are available we’ll just have to make do with the violence potential that is middleweight champion Israel Adesanya going for his first title defense against Yoel Romero. Again, not ideal, but a great fight on paper. The co-main event will see former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk trying again to become the first woman in UFC history to regain a title after losing it when she takes on newly minted champion Weili Zhang. There are still a lot of unknowns around Weili but if she can take out the former champion it will be a big mark in her favor. The rest of the card is pretty darn solid, now let’s all just hope this is one of those events that is great on paper and in practice.

UPDATE, the Whitmire vs. Viana fight is off as Whitmire was hospitalized earlier today. As a result the start time for the event is pushed back by about 30 minutes.

UFC 248 comes to the world from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. On commentary we have Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Daniel Cormier while Megan Olivi will be doing sideline reporting. Nevada uses a hybrid rule set (as though we needed that kind of extra confusion) where you only need one hand down to be downed but they use the new scoring criteria as well as having the use of instant replay for fight ending sequences.

Danaa Batgerel dropped his UFC debut last year in an engaging fight, now he’s looking for his first UFC win. Guido Cannetti has been trading wins and losses while going 2-3 in the UFC, he’s been out of action since being submitted by Marlon Vera in 2018 and is now looking to avoid his first ever losing streak. The odds are with Batgerel at -145 to +115 for Cannetti.

Bantamweight Bout: Danaa Batgerel (7-2, 136 lbs.) vs. Guido Cannetti (8-4, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Batgerel is an inch taller and has two inches of reach, Cannetti is also a full ten years older. They touch gloves, Cannetti fighting southpaw. Some kicks early, Batgerel is backing Cannetti towards the fence. Hard right from Batgerel lands to counter a kick. Both men land punches as Cannetti’s back is on the fence. Another right from Batgerel to counter a kick, he’s got the timing on those kicks down. Cannetti lands a kick and barely avoids a counter uppercut. Bit of a right from Cannetti. Cannetti lands a left to the body. Batgerel backs Cannetti into the fence and lands a couple of more punches. Left then a right from Batgerel. Sliding left hook from Batgerel clobbers Cannetti to the mat and this one is over.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Danaa Batgerel via KO, punches, at 3:01 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Batgerel for his work this evening. For what it’s worth, I believe that’s the first Mongolian victory in UFC history. Mic time for Batgerel and his translator, he mentions how hard he trained for this fight and thanks everyone. He talks us through the finish, feeling that he was always going to get the knockout.

Take a look at this. Batgerel steps to get outside foot position, then slips back inside as Cannetti steps to throw his left so Batgerel intercepts with a slightly weird punch but it lands flush as he ducks to slip the punch of Cannetti. Really solid stuff from Batgerel.

Giga Chikadze had a successful UFC debut last year when he bested Brandon Davis and earned a three fight overall winning streak, he’s hoping to keep that momentum going and start making waves in the division. Jamall Emmers brings a four fight winning streak into his UFC debut, and he could make a good first impression by taking out a decorated kick boxer in Chikadze. Emmers is the favorite at -185 to a +155 comeback on Chikadze.

Featherweight Bout: Jamall Emmers (17-4, 145.5 lbs.) vs. Giga Chikadze (8-2, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Chikadze is two inches taller but the reach is identical. Chikadze misses a spinning back kick, and now showing some stance switches. Emmers is pressing forward. Calf kick from Chikadze. Emmers walks onto a right and is stumbled, Chikadze follows up with a couple of body kicks before Emmers circles free. Chikadze lands a body kick. Leg kick from Emmers, but he does eat a counter right. Emmers avoids a few body kicks. Bit of a body kick from Chikadze. Right body kick then a right from Chikadze. Another body kick from Chikadze then Emmers avoids a few punches. Tornado kick from Chikadze misses. Chikadze lands a leg kick. Bit of a front kick from Emmers. They both try spinning attacks that don’t really land just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Chikadze

ROUND TWO: Chikadze comes forward early, and avoids a right. Emmers misses a jumping knee. Bit of a right from Emmers. Emmers lands a knee to the body. Chikadze lands a front kick to the body. Combination from Chikadze lands, Emmers then hits a double leg into guard then passes to half guard quickly. Emmers is working a knee slice towards mount but can’t quite finish it. Chikadze bump sweeps to get on top in the guard of Emmers. A right from Chikadze then another as Emmers fights up and they break. Emmers complains of an eye poke and we get time. Replay shows there was a bit of a finger to the eye on a post from Chikadze, Emmers can continue and we’re back to fighting. Chikadze avoids a takedown and lands a right. Body kick from Chikadze. Left hook from Chikadze stumbles Emmers but Emmers clinches up to buy himself time. Emmers has a body lock and lands a knee to the body while forcing things to the fence. Chikadze pummels a hand to get to a 50-50 position and then they break. Emmers is pressuring forward, Chikadze lands a calf kick and they wind up clinched. Emmers lands a knee to the body and they break. Right from Emmers in close but Chikadze lands a bit of a head kick. The round ends with a blocked Emmers high kick.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Chikadze but a close one, 20-18 Chikadze overall

ROUND THREE: Some leg kicks from Chikadze early, he’s trying to score and snap them off. Chikadze lands a left, Emmers tries a takedown but is shrugged off. Bit of a right from Emmers. Both men are avoiding some punches this round. Emmers lands a right in close, then another at distance. Chikadze lands a couple of straight lefts and Emmers is backing up and away. Emmers is working his jab now. Chikadze’s pace has waned visibly at this point. Now it’s Emmers coming forward and pressuring Chikadze towards the fence. Chikadze lands a chopping right but then eats a left. Emmers lands a right. Counter right from Emmers then he hits a takedown into the guard of Chikadze. Some blows land for Emmers as the round closes.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Emmers, it’s gonna come down to the scoring of round 2, 29-28 Chikadze overall

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

Close fight, and that near knockdown in the second likely sealed it for Chikadze. Mic time for Chikadze, he puts over Emmers as a great opponent. He notes he’s from the country of Georgia and speaks some Georgian I think for them, and says he’s working hard to put over how great Eastern Europe can be. He also says that he’s here for the women as Women’s Day is coming up and he wants to support them as a lot of women have had a hard time lately. As usual he puts over his coaches and notes he’s been working for five years to get better at all aspects of MMA, and notes he took this fight on very short notice so he can’t wait to show what he can do with a full camp behind him.

That closes out the early prelims, there’s a college basketball game running a little long on ESPN but the prelims will start there once that’s over. I think you can still use ESPN+ as well if you prefer that platform.

Gerald Meerschaert is just 2-3 in his last five fights, though in fairness two of those were split decisions that could have gone his way. Meerschaert is hoping to get back on the winning side of things at the expense of an up and coming prospect. Deron Winn suffered his first professional loss in his last fight, he’s hoping to prove that was a learning experience and that he’s ready to resume moving up in the world. Winn is a slight favorite at -140 to +110 for Meerschaert.

Middleweight Bout: Gerald Meerschaert (29-12, 185 lbs.) vs. Deron Winn (6-1, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Meerschaert is seven inches taller and has seven and a half inches of reach over Winn. Southpaw for Meerschaert as we get going. Body kick from Meerschaert lands. Meerschaert fires a body kick but it winds up hitting the groin so we’ve got time. Replay shows it might have been more of an inside leg kick but it definitely rode up into the cup area. Winn takes a bit of time but is able to return to action. Meerschaert apologizes on the restart. A few long lefts from Meerschaert fall a little short but the size disparity is very evident. Another body kick from Meerschaert, Winn with a lunging left hook and they clinch but Meerschaert is able to shuck him off. A bit of a left from Meerschaert and they clinch again but Winn hits a foot sweep and lands on top but decides to stand and make things come back up. Winn bulls forward with punches and lands a couple of them. Meerschaert lands a left, he’s showing the one two constantly. Left from Meerschaert lands. Winn misses a head kick but he got his leg very high on that attempt. Meerschaert lands another long left. Bit of a right from Winn but it was partially blocked. Meerschaert lands a left. Knee to the body from Meerschaert. Meerschaert’s left is finding the target but Winn has faster hands and he lands a couple of punches. A hard couple of lefts land for Meerschaert. Winn tries a high kick that’s blocked. Winn lands a right. Bit of a left from Meerschaert will be the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Meerschaert but probably went to Winn

ROUND TWO: Meerschaert opens the second round with a left. Another left from Meerschaert. Winn lands an inside leg kick then a couple of body shots. Meerschaert lands a body kick. Winn lands a jab, there’s some damage round Meerschaert’s right eye that he might be targeting. Meerschaert lands a body kick then a left. Another straight left from Meerschaert. Now Meerschaert is getting his jab working, Winn responds with an inside leg kick. Left from Meerschaert stuns Winn, and prompts him to shoot but he can’t finish the takedown. Another left from Meerschaert then a body kick. Meerschaert is really coming on strong at the end of his reach right now. Inside leg kick from Winn but he whiffs on the follow up punches. Meerschaert lands a left to the body then another one. Winn didn’t like those body shots. Back to the body from Meerschaert then a left to the head. Meerschaert is stalking Winn as time goes on, he lands a body kick then a knee. Winn eats another body shot but he lands a counter right. Meerschaert kicks the body then a knee to the body that’s partially blocked. One more body shot from Meerschaert closes the round.

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

ROUND THREE: Meerschaert comes out jabbing, and the “woo’s” are starting. Bit of a left from Meerschaert and he avoids a rush from Winn. Meerschaert lands a left. Body shot from Meerschaert. Winn lands a right in close. Another right from Winn wobbles Meerschaert but he’s struggling to follow up. Winn lands a right but then eats a body shot. Now Winn is hurt from a right hook and Meerschaert is pressuring him looking to finish. Winn goes down, Meerschaert grabs a front headlock and drags him down then looks to spin to his back. Meerschaert on the back now with both hooks in, he’s got the choke locked up and he adjusts and squeezes until Winn taps.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Gerald Meerschaert via Submission, rear naked choke, at 2:13 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Meerschaert for his work this evening. Mic time for Meerschaert, he mentions they both traded insults on the internet but then puts over Winn as a tough opponent. He says he was definitely hurt there in the third but he recovered quickly enough. He talks us through the finish, noting that even though he wasn’t under the chin he had enough of a squeeze and position to know it was going to finish things. He notes he’s coming home with two checks to close. Meerschaert is now tied for the most submission wins in UFC middleweight history at five.

Here’s the striking portion of the finish, Meerschaert times a straight left that clips Winn straight on the chin and he never recovers.

And here’s the finish. Meerschaert isn’t under the chin but he’s got everything else locked up fully and you can adjust how you squeeze to force the jaw back into the carotid arteries for the same physiological effect.

Rodolfo Vieira is undefeated in MMA and is one of the finest jiu-jitsu practitioners of the last decade, he won his UFC debut last year and is now looking to remain perfect while proving himself in the UFC. Saparbek Safarov has gone 1-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a win, but is now moving down to middleweight and hoping to find some more longevity and success down a weight class. Vieira is the biggest favorite on the entire card at -700 while Safarov would payout at +475.

Middleweight Bout: Saparbek Safarov (9-2, 186 lbs.) vs. Rodolfo Vieira (6-0, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Safarov is an inch taller and has five inches of reach over Vieira. Safarov is circling early, both men feinting. Vieira is trying to work Safarov to the fence. Safarov with a front kick to the face that hurts Vieira but Vieiera gets a takedown. Safarov whizzers and separates but Vieira shoots again and has him down on the fence. Vieira takes the back with one hook in. Punches from Vieira, Safarov is grabbing the inside of Vieira’s glove and gets warned by the ref. Safarov grabs at the fence but still can’t get up. Vieira gets the back fully now and rolls Safarov away from the fence. Vieira is floating over Safarov, he’s in full mount now and lands an elbow. Arm triangle attempt from Vieira, he moves to side control with it and Safarov has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Rodolfo Vieira via Submission, arm triangle choke, Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Vieira for his work this evening. Somewhat lucky for Vieira there, his right eye is swollen completely shut after just that one kick and the fight probably would have been stopped due to that between rounds. Mic time for Vieira, whose right is still swollen shut, he talks us through the finish saying that jiu-jitsu is the strongest part of his game and notes he’s still a beginner at the other aspects of MMA. Asked who he’d like next, he says he’ll fight anyone, I think he joked about wanting the fiftieth ranked guy in his division.

Here’s the finish. Look at how Vieira scoops the right arm of Safarov with his left to set up the choke, that’s a thing of beauty. I mean Vieiera’s jiu-jitsu game is just top notch all the way round.

If you’re curious about Vieira’s right eye, here’s a good look at it. They would have definitely stopped it between rounds, I mean look at the swelling as well as the cut.

Mark Madsen is undefeated including a successful UFC debut, he’s hoping to continue his winning ways and start making a move in a very crowded division. Austin Hubbard has gone 1-1 in the UFC but is coming off of a win and looking for his first UFC winning streak. The odds are with the Olympic silver medalist in wrestling Madsen at -230 against a +195 payout on Hubbard.

Lightweight Bout: Austin Hubbard (11-3, 154.5 lbs.) vs. Mark Madsen (9-0, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Hubbard is two inches taller but Madsen has an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men jabbing, Hubbard with some leg kicks. Madsen is pressing forward. My stream is stuttering constantly guys, my apologies. Madsen gets a takedown and moves to the back while Hubbard looks to wall walk. Hubbard is back up, Madsen hits a mat return. Madsen is riding Hubbard very well so far. Hubbard back up but he can’t get free. Madsen winds up with a front headlock and snaps Hubbard down. There’s a d’arce position now for Madsen, he’s only got his hands gripped instead of gripping his own arm so there’s less pressure at the moment. Madsen winds up in the full guard of Hubbard as Hubbard defends the choke attempt. Punches from Madsen as Hubbard gets up but they’re still clinched up. Hubbard slips free and then they both miss punches then clinch up again. They break just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Madsen

ROUND TWO: Both men moving around to start the second round. Both men land punches then Madsen with a double leg into half guard. Hubbard hip escapes to full guard. Hubbard tries to kick him off but Madsen winds up taking his back in the scramble as Hubbard moves to the fence for a wall walk. They’re back up but Madsen hits a mat return. Hubbard back up again and this time is able to slip free and separate. Another clinch after both men miss punches then Madsen trips him down and gets a ride position. Hammer fists from Madsen now. Hubbard is looking to wall walk, Madsen winds up holding a front headlock. Madsen forces Hubbard back down and is after an anaconda choke but bails on it then Hubbard is able to get free. Madsen lands a left. Calf kick from Hubbard. Bit of a right from Madsen. Hubbard lands a knee. They just stare away the final seconds.

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

ROUND THREE: Hubbard comes out jabbing and lands a left. Madsen lands a right. both men trade in close then Madsen gets a takedown into the guard. Technical get up from Hubbard and they’re at distance again. Stepping knee from Hubbard hurts Madsen but they clinch up and Madsen drives him into the fence. Madsen winds up on the hip, Hubbard is able to spin free but Madsen lands a right. Another knee from Hubbard lands. Hubbard lands a right uppercut. Left to the body from Hubbard. Leg kick from Hubbard but Madsen gets him to the fence and moves to his back standing. Madsen drags Hubbard down to the ground. Hubbard back up to a knee, and to his feet. They wind up separated. Both men land some rights. They punch into a clinch then break. Hubbard misses a flying knee but lands a right. Elbows now from Hubbard and a knee. Hubbard misses a high kick just before time runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hubbard, 29-28 Madsen overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Mark Madsen via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Madsen on the mic, he puts over Hubbard’s LFA record and is glad to have won. He says he had to go through hell to get to this fight, including staph and a ruptured shoulder bu the’s still here doing the best he can. He feels he could become one of the best MMA fighters in the world with the right choices and training then thanks all the Danish fans for their support.

Sean O’Malley is undefeated including two wins in the UFC, but injuries and drug testing issues have kept him out of action for a little over two years. O’Malley is trying to reclaim the hype that surrounded him and prove he’s still a budding superstar. Jose Quinonez has gone 5-2 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a win and could steal some of the shine from O’Malley but besting him in the cage. Despite the long layoff O’Malley is your -370 favorite to a +290 comeback on Quinonez.

Bantamweight Bout: Sean O’Malley (10-0, 135.5 lbs.) vs. Jose Quinonez (8-3, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: O’Malley has three inches of height and reach over Quinonez. Southpaw for O’Malley, who opens with a side kick to the thigh. Front kick to the body from O’Malley drops Quinonez for a moment. There’s some stance switching from O’Malley going on. Leg kick from O’Malley. Quinonez is switching his stance as well now. O’Malley is working body kicks. Leg kick from Quinonez, O’Malley lands a long right then a body kick. Clubbing right from O’Malley then a high kick and Quinonez is on his knees. O’Malley just slams him with hammer fists until the ref has to save Quinonez.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sean O’Malley via TKO, head kick and punches, at 2:02 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. O’Malley for his work this evening. Mic time for O’Malley, he’s visibly emotional at this moment but says this is hard to put this feeling into words. He talks us through the finish sort of, he feels he’s improved a lot over the last couple of years and that now he’s got a lot more to show off in the cage. He puts over Rogan to close his interview.

O’Malley’s skills seem to have matured a bit during his time off, he looked like the superior fighter in every way here.

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

Alex Oliveira is on a three fight losing streak but generally has enjoyable performances, even with that fighting style though a four fight skid could easily spell the end of his UFC tenure. Max Griffin is just 1-3 in his last four fights and is coming off of a loss, he likewise needs a win rather badly to justify his spot on the roster. The odds lean slightly to Oliveira at -150 against +120 for Griffin.

Welterweight Bout: Max Griffin (15-7, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Alex Oliveira (19-8-2 1 NC, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Oliveira has half an inch of reach advantage. Griffin comes out firing, Oliveira circling. Bit of a right from Griffin as Oliveira gets off the fence. They clinch up and Oliveira gets Griffin to the fence and begins kneeing him in the body. Griffin is able to circle free and reset at distance. Counter uppercut from Oliveira lands and Griffin is backing off. Griffin lands a right and they clinch up before Griffin gets a body lock takedown into guard. Some lefts to the body and head from Griffin. Half guard now for Griffin as Oliveira starts looking to wall walk. Griffin to the back standing as Oliveira gets up and they’re still clinched. Griffin gets a body lock, Oliveira rolls him iwth a kimura, they stand and there’s a right from Oliveira to end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Griffin

ROUND TWO: Oliveira opens with leg kicks, bit of a jab from Griffin. Another clinch, they jockey for position with Oliveira coming out on top. Some knees from Oliveira, then we get a time out as the doctor wants to look at the cut around the eye of Griffin. The doctor is OK with the fight continuing and we’re back to fighting. Oliveira lands a couple of leg kicks. Stiff right from Oliveira, Griffin is not loving this fight. Another right from Oliveira, Griffin tries a taekdown but winds up pressed into the fence and taking knees to the thigh. Oliveira thinks about a single leg but can’t finish it and then avoids an elbow as they break. More front kicks to the body from Oliveira. There’s a right from Oliveira, then a takedown attempt that stalls out in the clinch as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Oliveira, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They clinch up almost immediately and hit the fence. Some elbows from Oliveira, they break and then Oliveira gets a double leg against the fence. Oliveira is looking for the Dagestani handcuff and is landing lefts to the head. Griffin gets to half guard then lands some elbows. Some elbows from Oliveira, he moves to full mount but Griffin is able to throw him over the top and get on top. Oliveira tries to wrap the head but Griffin elbows him for his efforts. Elbows from Griffin. Oliveira is just going to ride out the last seconds on the bottom.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Oliveira but a close one, 29-28 Oliveira overall

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

The split is to be expected all things considered. Mic time for Oliveira who says he hurt Griffin who was a tough opponent, then dedicates the win to his coaches and fans. To close he thanks the UFC and Vegas for their support then puts over his social project in Brazil.

Neil Magny had a nice winning streak going at one point but is just 2-2 in his last four fights and hasn’t fought since November of 2018 due to a failed drug test, now he’s trying to get back on the winning side of things. Li Jingliang is on a three fight winning streak and is an impressive 7-1 in his last eight fights including his most recent win, an impressive third round stoppage of Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos. Li is hoping to get his second four fight winning streak going and start making a move on ranked opponents next. The odds are with Li at -180 to a +150 comeback on Magny.

Welterweight Bout: Li Jingliang (17-5, 171 lbs.) vs. Neil Magny (21-7, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Magny has three inches of height and eight and a half of reach over Li. They touch gloves to get us going. Leg kick from Li then a bit of a check hook. Magny is looking to establish his jab. They clinch up and Li gets the back standing then looking for Mat returns. Li drags Magny down for a second but Magny is back up. Magny is fishing for a kimura, Li lands a couple of punches as they break. Leg kick from Li, Magny now forces the clinch and then drags Li down to the mat. Li wall walks, Magny is landing some short punches as they are against the fence. They wind up chest to chest, Li gets Magny on the fence. Magny reverses the position and lands some knees before getting spun and they separate. A jab from Magny leads to a clinch but that breaks rather quickly. Bit of a front kick from Li closes out the round.


ROUND TWO: Magny opens the round with a jumping knee, that leads to a clinch. They start jockeying for position. Magny gets the back standing, they wind up chest to chest again. Shoulder strikes from Magny. Magny gets a takedown, moves to the back and lands punches while Li regains his feet. Some punches from Li as they break, and he looks dead tired. Magny misses punches but gets the clinch again. Li is after a double leg, Magny with elbows. Some punches from Magny on the break, he looks to unload along the fence but then goes for a double leg as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Magny, 20-19 Magny overall

ROUND THREE: Li is finally looking to stick and move. Magny looking to jab and move More long range sniping from Magny while Li tries to land a finishing blow. They clinch up again and Magny has Li on the fence. some knees from Magny then he avoids punches from Li. They clinch up and Magny gets a takedown then starts landing some lefts from half guard. More lefts from Magny, Li is trying to wall walk but is getting squashed from the back position. A flurry from Magny as Li stands, they separate and stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Magny, 30-28 Magny overall

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

No interview for Magny, but a return to form after his long layoff.

The UFC is starting to announce their class for the upcoming Hall of Fame, up first will be something for the Fight wing, it’s Jones vs. Gustafsson 1. That’s still probably the best light heavyweight title fight of all time and an incredibly valid choice.

Beneil Dariush has been a workhorse for the lightweight division over the last few years, he’s on a three fight winning streak currently and could possibly return to the top fifteen if he can get that to four in a row here. Drakkar Klose is on a three fight winning streak as well, a win here would probably be the biggest of his career and could net him a top fifteen opponent next if not a ranking outright. Dariush is a slight -170 favorite to +140 for Klose.

Lightweight Bout: Beneil Dariush (17-4-1, 156 lbs.) vs. Drakkar Klose (11-1-1, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Dariush is an inch taller and has two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves, Dariush fighting southpaw. Bit of a left from Dariush then a body kick. there’s a right from Klose, Dariush fires back and we get an exchange. Dariush in on a double leg and gets Klose down against the fence. Klose wall walks and Dariush jumps to the back with a body triangle into the backpack position. Klose is hand fighting well so far. Dariush keeps going for the choke but not quite getting it. That’s where the round will end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Dariush

ROUND TWO: Inside leg kick from Klose to get the round going. Dariush tries a body kick but it strays low, Klose wants to keep fighting. Klose pushes the action and we get a bit of a firefight for a second. They trade somewhat wildly then Dariush lands a wicked left that ENDS Klose who bounces into and off of the fence.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Beneil Dariush via KO, punch, at 1:00 of Round 2

Wicked punch from Dariush. Dariush gets some mic time, he mentions not being able to finish in the first then dedicates the win to a friend who recently passed away before calling out Robert Whittaker. Odd given they’re in different weight classes. He mentions having to adjust after his legs got a little heavy after the first but wasn’t afraid to throw hands. He talks us through the finish, mentioning he can get sucked into a striking war a bit too easily.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk is a former longtime strawweight champion and former flyweight title challenger, she’s getting her second shot at reclaiming the strawweight title here and could become the first female fighter in UFC history to regain a title after losing it. It would also add prestige to Jedrzejczyk’s already stellar resume. Zhang Weili is on a whopping twenty fight winning streak including her last fight when she stopped Jessica Andrade in less than one minute to become the champion, now she’s looking to carve out her own legacy as champion by taking out an all time great and getting her first title defense. Zhang is the favorite at -230 while the +185 payout on Jedrzejczyk has to tempt the bettors.

Strawweight Title Bout: (c) Zhang Weili (20-1, 115 lbs.) vs. #4 Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-3, 115 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Jedrzejczyk is is two inches taller and has two and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Jedrzejczyk flashing the jab early. Both women working inside leg kicks. Quick combination from Jedrzejczyk then a leg kick. Zhang eats a right and has to reset at distance. Both women miss some blows, Zhang needs a consistent response to Jedrzejczyk. They trade leg kicks then Jedrzejczyk lands a body kick. Bit of a one two from Zhang. Jedrzejczyk lands a leg kick. Jedrzejczyk lands a right. Zhang misses a spinning back kick. Jedrzejczyk lands a leg kick, Zhang is pressing forward and they trade in boxing distance. Jedrzejczyk lands a left. Straight right lands for Zhang. They trade lefts in close. Both women land rights as the round end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jedrzejczyk but a close one

ROUND TWO: Both women come out firing again, Jedrzejczyk lands a straight right. More leg kicks from Jedrzejczyk, both inside and outside, Zhang’s lead leg is taking a beating. They trade rights then trade leg kicks. More leg kicks from Jedrzejczyk, Zhang doesn’t like that and decides to tie up. Jedrzejczyk gets Zhang on the fence and they start trading knees and elbows. More knees are traded and they wind up separating. Forward pressure from Zhang now, she lands a counter right. They clinch in space and Zhang gets a trip but Jedrzejczyk is back up and separates. Zhang lands a leg kick but eats a right. Jedrzejczyk lands some jabs. Zhang eats a jab but lands a counter right. Jedrzejczyk lands a front kick to the body. Another right from Jedrzejczyk. They trade again then Jedrzejczyk lands a leg kick. Another exchange of kicks, they clinch and Jedrzejczyk lands knees to the body, Zhang gets a short trip just as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Both women jabbing again, Jedrzejczyk lands a one two. Bit of a right from Zhang then Jedrzejczyk lands a leg kick. Zhang lands a left hook. Jedrzejczyk lands a leg kick then a left. Jedrzejczyk lands another leg kick, Zhang is getting steadily worn down. Right from Jedrzejczyk and a high kick. Zhang is slowing as Jedrzejczyk is piling up the abuse. Some stance switching from Jedrzejczyk and she lands a right. More sniping from Jedrzejczyk, Zhang lands a leg kick and they clinch up. Both women with knees, Zhang is really after trips but Jedrzejczyk keeps bouncing right back up. Bit of an elbow from Jedrzejczyk as they break. Jedrzejczyk tries to front kick but it’s caught, Jedrzejczyk gets free though. Leg kick from Jedrzejczyk to counter a missed combination. A few long range punches from Jedrzejczyk and Zhang’s nose is leaking like a faucet. Jedrzejczyk lands a leg kick, they clinch up and that’s where the round ends.

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

ROUND FOUR: There’s an enormous hematoma on the forehead of Jedrzejczyk, and Zhang’s nose is severely compromised though her corner got the swelling around her right eye under control. Both women come out swinging and landing. Jedrzejczyk keeps out working Zhang, they both land punches. Jedrzejczyk is fighting southpaw a lot, she’s found something she likes out of that stance. They keep clashing on kicks, which hurts me just looking at them. Bit of a left from Jedrzejczyk then they trade left hooks. Jedrzejczyk checks a kick and lands a right. There’s knees from Jedrzejczyk off of a brief clinch. Jedrzejczyk lands a leg kick. Right to the body from Jedrzejczyk, I’m surprised she hasn’t hit the body more as Zhang starts to fatigue. Combination from Jedrzejczyk, Zhang lands a left hook. Jedrzejczyk lands a leg kick. Leg kick from Jedrzejczyk, Zhang counters with a right. Elbow from Jedrzejczyk as they clinch up. Both women land knees as they jockey for position, then Zhang swings wild as they break. Left from Jedrzejczyk then a jab. Jedrzejczyk lands a left. A bit of a leg kick from Zhang ends the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jedrzejczyk, 40-36 Jedrzejczyk overall

ROUND FIVE: Some swelling around the right eye of Jedrzejczyk, and her forehead resembles an alien. They hug to start the last round. Jedrzejczyk lands a left hook then a leg kick. Body kick from Jedrzejczyk and they both miss punches. Jedrzejczyk lands a hard leg kick. Another leg kick from Jedrzejczyk then a body kick. Jedrzejczyk lands a long right. Left hook from Jedrzejczyk in close then a leg kick. They trade in close and Zhang lands a left hook. Long range right from Jedrzejczyk. Jedrzejczyk lands an inside leg kick. Stiff left from Jedrzejczyk in close staggers Zhang. Bit of a right from Zhang after she ate a jab. Jedrzejczyk kicking the legs again, they clinch and Jedrzejczyk lands knees to the body. Jedrzejczyk lands a right on the break. Body kick from Jedrzejczyk. Both women with body kicks. Jedrzejczyk lands an inside leg kick. More leg kicks from Jedrzejczyk as they exit exchanges. Jedrzejczyk lands a body kick. Zhang misses a spinning back fist, Jedrzejczyk lands one just about as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jedrzejczyk, 50-45 Jedrzejczyk overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and STILL UFC Strawweight Champion – Zhang Weili via split decision (47-48, 48-47 x2)

Great fight, I disagree with the decision. Mic time for the champion, she mentions how hard it was to get here with the corona virus in China and she gives love and strength to China in the midst of that outbreak. Her translator drops the ball badly, then says Zhang wasn’t sure about the decision given it was a close fight but she wants to express that she’s a role model and is a champion not a tyrant. She switches to broken English and says she’s working on her communication, thanks everyone and closes her time.

Jedrzejczyk gets an interview as well, she feels she should have won but buts over Zhang as a great fighter with good power. She’s happy the fans liked the fight. She doesn’t feel anything was surprising, is proud of the performance and talks about how long she’s been preparing for the fight before thanking her coaches and noting her family is cage side.

Some highlights, it was a great fight even if I think the decision was wrong.

Yoel Romero is getting this title shot as much based on circumstance (the other top contenders not being available) and the desire of the champion for this fight as on his own merits, though his merits are quite good. Romero is on a two fight losing streak, though both were very close decisions (for the record I thought he won both of them) but could capture his first UFC title here. Israel Adesanya is undefeated and the middleweight champion, he’s coming off of a stellar 2019 where he was mostly likely the Fighter of the Year. Adesanya is coming off of a second round stoppage over former champion Robert Whittaker to claim the undisputed title, now he’s trying for his first title defense against one of the scariest men in the entire division. The odds are with the champion Adesanya at -280 while a Romero win would payout at +260.

Middleweight Title Bout: (c) Israel Adesanya (18-0, 184.5 lbs.) vs. #3 Yoel Romero (13-4, 185 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Adesanya is four inches taller, has six and a half inches of reach, and is twelve years younger. Southpaw for Romero, Adesanya does a lot of stance switching. Romero is just standing around, like stock still, and just watching Adesanya. Adesanya is feinting and moving, but I don’t think any official strike has actually been thrown yet. Adesanya is showing feints but Romero isn’t biting on anything. Both men opening up with the feints now but not much coming from it. Romero lands a leg kick. Body kick from Adesanya. Romero avoids a punch and lands a left. Adesanya lands a leg kick. A missed kick from Romero. More feinting and staring, what an odd round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Romero, he landed the only relevant blow of the round

ROUND TWO: Adesanya opens with a front kick to the body. High kick from Adesanya, Romero tries to counter with a left that mostly misses. High kick from Adesanya is only partially blocked. Again that front kick to the body from Adesanya, then an inside leg kick. Adesanya seems to have a read on Romero of some kind and is starting to pick at him effectively. Both men feint high kicks, Adesanya lands a leg kick. Romero tries to blitz, most of his punches miss or are blocked and he thinks better of continuing that flurry. Romero eats a leg kick and misses a punch. Adesanya lands an inside leg kick, then tries a high kick that’s partially blocked. Romero misses a jumping kick, then misses a left and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Adesanya, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Romero walks into a kick to his hip early. Adesanya backing up and circling, Romero decides to back himself towards the fence. I don’t understand this fight. Romero ducks under a head kick. There’s a rolling thunder attempt from Romero that doesn’t do anything. Adesanya lands a leg kick. Front kick to the body from Adesanya, and he evades a looping punch. Calf kick from Adesanya, Romero returns it. Romero avoids a kick. Adesanya avoids a rush. Adesanya lands a front kick to the body. Leg kicks are traded. Adesanya lands a front kick to the face. Bit of a jab from Adesanya, Romero is starting to press forward. The round ends with some more staring.

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

ROUND FOUR: The ref warns both of them between rounds for the lack of activity, the fight hasn’t been great but I’m not sure that was warranted. Adesanya opens with some kicks. Another leg kick from Adesanya, and he avoids some punches then lands another one. Another leg kick from Adesanya. And there’s an eyepoke to Romero so we’ve got time. The doctor is in to check on him, as the replay confirms the poke. Romero hits a takedown on the restart, Adesanya bounces up and circles free. Circling from Adesanya, he avoids a few punches from Romero. Adesanya lands a leg kick. Bit of a left from Romero, Adesanya lands a leg kick. Romero blocks a couple of punches, tries a double leg and decides to land a right when that doesn’t work. Romero ducks under a head kick to close the round.

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

ROUND FIVE: What an odd fight thus far. Romero misses a few jabs. Adesanya lands an oblique kick as Romero tries to rush and that stops his momentum. Adesanya lands a leg kick. Another leg kick from Adesanya. Adesanya lands a right to the body. They clinch, Romero tries a takedown and Adesanya defends then separates. Bit of a left from Adesanya, Romero throws a left, Adesanya leans away and avoids it but does lose his balance for a moment. Adesanya lands a leg kick, Romero catches it and tries to run him down but can’t catch him. Romero whiffs on a couple of punches. Adesanya lands a head kick, Romero just eats it. Leg kick from Adesanya, Romero is trying to goad him into a brawl but he wont bite. Romero lands a left. Adesanya misses a cartwheel kick, Romero with a body kick in close a the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Romero, 48-47 Adesanya overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and STILL UFC Middleweight Champion – Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47 x2)

Really awkward fight. Mic time for the champion, the crowd boos as Adesanya says it was hard and that he did what he had to do and notes he busted up the leg of Romero. He says he picked Romero apart and destroyed his base. He says he expected essentially this kind of fight, and notes that Romero does a lot of bouncing to get you into a false sense of security but he wasn’t going to play that way, he says he could probably fight another five rounds right now. He goes over to see Paulo Costa and mocks him after he’d left ring side, then says he’s had over 100 total fights and says Costa might come forward and he’ll get messed up if he does.

Romero on the mic now, for some reason the crowd loves him, and says the response of the fans is his victory. He says he wanted a fight against a warrior and that he didn’t get it and says a real champion would have stood and fought him like the gladiators of old. He says he expected more exchanging for the fans and reiterates the fans came for a real fight, not for this.

Well we went from a Fight of the Year contender to a Worst Fight of the Year contender really quickly there. On that bizarre note, as commentary tries to build up a potential match between Adesanya and Paulo Costa, we’re going to sign off here. Thanks for being here and following along, we’ll be breaking down all the action from this event on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA podcast. We’ll also be previewing next weeks UFC on ESPN+ 28 when Kevin Lee takes on Charles Oliveira in Brasilia, Brazil. Until next time thanks again for being here, stay safe out here, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.