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411’s UFC Fight Night Report: Grasso beats Araujo

October 16, 2022 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC on ESPN+ 70 Image Credit: UFC

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET)
#5 Alexa Grasso (125.5 lbs.) vs. #6 Viviane Araujo (126 lbs.)
Jonathan Martinez (135.5 lbs.) vs. Cub Swanson (135 lbs.)
Dusko Todorovic (186 lbs.) vs. Jordan Wright (185 lbs.)
Raphael Assuncao (136 lbs.) vs. Victor Henry (136 lbs.)
Misha Cirkunov (206 lbs.) vs. Alonzo Menifield (205.5 lbs.)

Brandon Davis (136 lbs.) vs. Mana Martinez (136 lbs.)
Jacob Malkoun (185.5 lbs.) vs. Nick Maximov (185.5 lbs.)
Lucas Alexander (145.5 lbs.) vs. Joanderson Brito (146 lbs.)
Sam Hughes (115 lbs.) vs. Piera Rodriguez (115.5 lbs.)
Tatsuro Taira (126 lbs.) vs. CJ Vergara (129 lbs.)*
Mike Jackson (170 lbs.) vs. Pete Rodriguez (170.5 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 70, I’m Robert Winfree and I’m your host per usual. Tonight we’re kind of just marking time ahead of next weeks UFC 280, but there are a few hidden gems here. The main event has a chance of crowning the next title challenger for women’s flyweight when Alexa Grasso battles Viviane Araujo. We lost the two most interesting fights on this card during the last couple of weeks when Neil Magny vs. Daniel Rodriguez had an injury issue, and then during fight week there was a weight issue with Askar Askarov and his fight with Brandon Royval is off. Ultimately our co-main event now is MMA veteran Cub Swanson making his bantamweight debut against Jonathan Martinez as Martinez tries to move from prospect to contender. Beyond that Raphael Assuncao tries to halt a pretty terrible losing streak when he fights Victory Henry, rising flyweight prospect Tatsuro Taira is back in action, and if you’re into the weird/sad side of things Mike Jackson is fighting again when he takes on Pete Rodriguez.

UFC on ESPN+ 70 comes to us from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. As for the broadcast we’ve got Brendan Fitzgerald alongside Dominick Cruz and Paul Felder with Charly Arnolt doing the roving reporter thing. Our rules here in Nevada are most of the newer set but you still only need one hand on the mat to be downed, plus we’ve got the use of instant replay plus an official outside of the cage who can request it be used, and a fight can be restarted after replay is used if that’s applicable. Do keep in mind we’re in the 25 foot diameter cage instead of the more usual 30 footer.

Mike Jackson is coming off of his first official win when he got a disqualification call over Dean Barry back in April of this year, now he’s looking for a more definitive win and his first ever winning streak. Pete Rodriguez suffered his first professional loss in his UFC debut when he ran into top prospect Jack Della Maddalena, now he’s trying to bounce back with a win and avoid his first ever losing streak. Rodriguez is the biggest favorite on the card at -660 while the +490 payout on Jackson might tempt a few degenerate gamblers out there.

Welterweight Bout: Mike Jackson (1-1 1 NC, 170 lbs.) vs. Pete Rodriguez (4-1, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Jackson is five inches taller with three inches of reach advantage, he’s also 12 years older. They touch gloves to get us going. Rodriguez shows the jab and leg kick as we get to circling. Inside leg kick from Rodriguez, and he’s showing some stance switches. Front kick from Rodriguez, then a hard right to the body that drops Jackson. Rodriguez gets on top, lands some hammer fists then Jackson scrambles up but eats some elbows in the clinch before he gets free. Rodriguez lands some more body shots in close. Jackson lands a left. Left hook then a right hand from Rodriguez, and a follow up knee ENDS Jackson and we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Pete Rodriguez via KO, punches and knee, at 1:33 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Rodriguez for his work this evening. Mic time for Rodriguez, he feels he has to prove his point and puts over his prior UFC opponent for making him come back from the dead. He thanks his coaches and family, and warns you that if you’re just starting to know about him it’s too late. He talks us through the finish and again puts over his coaches for talking him through the position and calling for the knee in that spot.

Rolling under hooks is a good idea, it’s a pretty fundamental bit of boxing training/drilling. It’s more dangerous in a sport where kicks or knees are allowed, and Jackson goes to rolling too often allowing for a read and an incredibly well timed and placed knee to end the fight.

Tatsuro Taira is undefeated including a successful UFC debut earlier this year, now he’s back and looking to cement his status as a blue chip prospect. CJ Vergara has gone 1-1 in the UFC but he’s coming off of a win, but he missed weight here and needs a win to help smooth over that particular gaff. The odds are with Taira at -260 to +220 for Vergara.

Flyweight Bout: Tatsuro Taira (11-0, 126 lbs.) vs. CJ Vergara (10-3-1, 129 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Taira is an inch taller and has two inches of reach advantage, he’s also nine years younger in addition to Vergara missing weight. Vergara comes out jabbing and looking to push the pace. Taira shows a head kick. Jab from Vergara. Bit of a knee from Taira. Right hand then a left hook from Taira, he tries a takedown and settles for a mat return from the back into side control. A few short elbows from Taira, he goes for mount then tries to attack the neck as Vergara defends and he winds up in north-south. Vergara is trying a head scissors but he’s not around the neck and bails on it. Some body shots from Taira as he moves to side control, then he lands an elbow. Taira moves to mount, but Vergara is able to time a bridge and scramble up. Head kick from Taira then he gets another clinch on the fence. Knee from Taira then a trip takedown and he moves to full mount right away. Vergara quickly hip escapes to half guard. Vergara grabs the head of Taira, but Taira moves to side control threatening a Von Flue choke and Vergara bails on holding the head. Some elbows to the body from Taira as he’s in side control. Vergara hits a sweep and attacks an arm triangle choke in transition, he’s a bit high on the grip but he’s on top now with knee on belly. Some knees to the body from Vergara. Taira scrambles up and lands a knee to the head then a right hook that seems to stun Vergara as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Taira

ROUND TWO: Vergara lands a jab to get us going, Taira responds with a hard calf kick. Bit of a head kick from Taira, then he tries a takedown but Vergara defends. Taira is getting a little wild and fighting from too far out, he needs to get dialed back in. They trade jabs, then Taira lands a knee. Vergara defends a single leg, but they hit the fence and Taira gets the back then trips Vergara down and gets the back with a full body triangle locked in. Taira keeps going for the choke, he’s getting closer and closer with each attempt and Vergara is struggling to keep up the hand fighting. Taira is mostly across the jaw, and can’t find the right grip or squeeze to make it work so he bails to restart the attack. Another choke attempt from Taira, this one is closer but Vergara is able to hand fight and prevent the attack. Taira grabs at an armbar, Vergara stands but Taira extends the arm and Vergara has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Tatsuro Taira via Submission, armbar, at 4:19 of Round 2

Mic time for Taira and his translator, he starts with some English to say he’s super happy then goes back to Japanese to talk about focusing on this fight for months and express his joy again at getting the win. He knew he’d better on the ground but puts over Vergara’s toughness and knows how talented the division is. To close he says he’d like to become the first Japanese UFC champion and remain undefeated.

Armbar attacks from the back are criminally underused in MMA, fighters are too afraid of giving up the position. Here Taira shows off a bit of how dangerous and effective they can be.

Piera Rodriguez is undefeated including getting a win in her UFC debut back in April, she’s looking to remain perfect and establish herself as a prospect of note. Sam Hughes has gone 2-3 in the UFC but she’s on a two fight winning streak and could draw her UFC record to the .500 mark with a win tonight. This one is relatively close but the odds tilt towards Rodriguez at -170 to the +145 underdog Hughes.

Strawweight Bout: Sam Hughes (7-4, 115 lbs.) vs. Piera Rodriguez (8-0, 115.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Hughes is two inches taller with half an inch of reach advantage. Some circling to start, Rodriguez shows the jab. Bit of a calf kick from Rodriguez. Another calf kick from Rodriguez. Hughes lands a jab. Bit of a right from Hughes. They split a few jabs while still circling. Rodriguez lands a right hand. A doubled up left hook from Hughes lands as Rodriguez lands a couple of body shots. Hughes with a front kick. Right hand from Hughes. Rodriguez lands a body shot and tries a double leg, they wind up clinched and trade body work then Rodriguez lands a knee a they break. Rodriguez blocks a combination. Calf kick from Rodriguez. Rodriguez hits a double leg into full guard. Hughes kicks her off quickly and stands then breaks out of a clinch. Hughes starts pressing the action right away and lands a right hand. Rodriguez tries a double leg, Hughes defends and separates. Jab from Rodriguez. Bit of a left from Hughes. Hughes lands a right hand. They get close and Hughes lands a combination while Rodriguez lands a knee. More pressure from Hughes and she lands a front kick. A left hook from Hughes ends the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rodriguez but a close one

ROUND TWO: Rodriguez with a body to head combination to start the round. Hughes keeps pressing forward and they trade left hooks. Body kick from Hughes. Rodriguez hits a single leg into full guard, Hughes wall walks right away and lands knees. Knees from Rodriguez then she spins free. Hughes gets back to pressure. Front kick from Hughes, but she’s still following Rodriguez rather than cutting her off. Rodriguez lands a front kick. Hughes defends a single leg and they hit the fence, Rodriguez finishes the takedown but Hughes kicks her off and stands into another clinch. They trade elbows then break. Hughes is bleeding from the bridge of the nose now. Rodriguez lands a calf kick. Bit of a combination from Hughes. Hughes lands a right hand then a left hook in close. Rodriguez avoids a front kick. They trade lefts then Rodriguez lands a calf kick then hits a takedown. Hughes scrambles up with Rodriguez on her back and they fight in the clinch. Knees from Rodriguez then they break. More pressure from Hughes, and she has a head kick blocked. They trade in close, then Rodriguez lands another calf kick. Hughes jabs in close then they trade in the clinch, more knees from Rodriguez land before they break. They split jabs to close the round.

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

ROUND THREE: Hughes is back to pressure, she tries a single leg but Rodriguez defends and they wind up trading knees in the clinch. More knees from Rodriguez as they break. Rodriguez lands a right hand. Right hand from Hughes then she gets a clinch on the fence. Rodriguez is able to spin free. Bit of a right hand from Hughes. Takedown from Rodriguez, Hughes scrambles up quickly and they trade punches in the clinch then break. More pressure from Hughes, who lands an uppercut. Rodriguez is starting to fade a bit. Hughes keeps coming forward, lands a front kick. Rodriguez avoids a right hand and clinches, Hughes lands short uppercuts as Rodriguez lands a knee then they break. Hughes just wont stop coming forward but her offense isn’t quite hurting Rodriguez. They trade rights. Hughes with a few lefts in close, Rodriguez lands an uppercut. Rodriguez tries a single leg and Hughes defends and gets back to pressure. Front kick from Hughes. Another clinch that hits the fence, Hughes lands a knee then they break. Rodriguez lands a right hand. Hughes pressures forward, and they tie up then trade in close before breaking. Combination from Hughes lands, then a body kick. Calf kick from Rodriguez hurts but Hughes guts through it. They clinch up and end the round there.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hughes, 29-28 Rodriguez overall but it hinges on the first

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Piera Rodriguez via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Mic time for Rodriguez, she felt she got the job done and knew this was going to be a tough grindy fight and she had to monitor her cardio this fight. She wasn’t trying to control Hughes on the mat but rather to score points and make Hughes work. Asked about the third round she puts over Hughes in that area again and talks about working her own cardio a lot in camp and she’s excited for the future.

Joanderson Brito has gone 1-1 in the UFC and he’s coming off of a win over Andre Fili, now he’s trying for his first UFC winning streak. Lucas Alexander brings a five fight winning streak into his UFC debut, and he’s looking to make a good first impression to the UFC audience. Brito is the -380 favorite while an Alexander win pays out at +310.

Featherweight Bout: Lucas Alexander (7-2, 145.5 lbs.) vs. Joanderson Brito (13-3-1, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Alexander is three inches taller with one inch of reach advantage. Pressure from Brito right away, Alexander lands a calf kick. Brito keeps pressuring, he avoids a head kick and jumps on the back standing then hits a powerful mat return. Alexander bounces up right away but Brito is still on his back. Some knees to the leg from Brito then another mat return and he jumps to the backpack position as Alexander stands. Body triangle from Brito and he starts looking for the choke. Brito lands some hammer fists then grabs the choke and Alexander taps as they fall to the mat.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Joanderson Brito via Submission, rear naked choke, at 2:02 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Brito for his work this evening. Brito and the translator get an interview after that, he calls himself an entertaining fighter who comes to fight and wants to fight Dan Ige in Rio. That’s a pretty gutsy call out but I can dig it. He says he always rewards the fans for spending money on his fights. To close he talks about becoming a father again soon, then puts over his team and promises there are more fighters like him coming up.

Brito does a good job of fighting side to side with his choke attempts, he added in some strikes to fully open things up and he locks the choke up very quickly once the opportunity presents itself.

Nick Maximov is coming off of his first professional loss, now he’s trying to avoid his first losing streak and prove he’s still a viable prospect at middleweight. Jacob Malkoun has gone 2-2 in the UFC but he’s coming off of a loss and is trying to avoid his first ever losing streak while elevating his UFC record above the .500 mark. The odds are surprisingly close here but lean towards Maximov at -140 to +120 for Malkoun.

Middleweight Bout: Jacob Malkoun (6-2, 185.5 lbs.) vs. Nick Maximov (8-1, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Maximov has three inches of height and reach advantage. Some jabs from Maximov. They split some jabs. A lot of lead hand work from both men thus far. Malkoun lands a series of jabs. Maximov lands a left hook that drops Malkoun to a knee, Malkoun comes up and hits a single leg then Maximov stands and they separate. Malkoun keeps coming forward for a bit. Maximov avoids a few punches. Maximov misses a slow motion wheel kick. Malkoun lands a right hand. More jabs are traded. Malkoun tries a single leg, that hits the fence then he trips Maximov down. Maximov tries to wall walk, he’s up but still clinched and Malkoun hits a mat return. Again Maximov stands, Malkoun is just wearing on him and hitting mat returns over and over again. They break after a bit and Malkoun keeps pressing forward. Bit of a combination from Malkoun. Malkoun lands a right hand, he’s starting to draw out counters from Maximov then make him pay. Right hand from Malkoun. The body language on Maximov is very off, Malkoun keeps pressing him and landing. Single leg from Malkoun then he trips Maximov down. Punches from Malkoun as Maximov stands. Malkoun keeps up the pressure and punches as Maximov just circles away. They trade punches in close. A right hand from Malkoun ends the round, and something is very wrong with Maximov’s right leg.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Malkoun but a close one

ROUND TWO: We get a replay, and you can see Maximov’s knee get tweaked on a step. The doctor checks on Maximov, who just stalks around and says he can fight. Malkoun gets back to pressure. Single leg from Malkoun and he trips Maximov down into full guard. Elbows from Malkoun as Maximov tries to move his guard high. Maximov is struggling to use his right leg at this point, he can’t base on it as he’s trying to work his guard. Malkoun lands a few punches while looking to pass, and he gets to half guard. More punches from Malkoun as he keeps Maximov on the mat. Maximov can hip escape to full guard, but Malkoun passes again back to half guard. Maximov is able to finally hip up and stand free but Malkoun is back on him right away. Bit of a right from Malkoun, he’s drawing and countering pretty well thus far. Malkoun lands another right hand. The lack of body work from Malkoun is a bit of an issue, Maximov uses a high guard with impunity right now. Right hand from Malkoun lands. More jabs and rights from Malkoun, he’s being calculated but relentless. Right to the body from Malkoun. Commentary remarks on the lack of leg kicks, Malkoun obliges the request and lands a calf kick. Maximov lands a left to the body. Malkoun ends the round with a right hand.

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

ROUND THREE: Malkoun jabs then hits a single leg and gets Malkoun down right away. That right knee of Maximov just wont let him defend that single leg. Maximov goes for a rubber guard, Malkoun postures through it and lands more strikes. Malkoun lands body to head punches. Maximov tries to set up a wall walk, he’s up but Malkoun is able to land punches before he gets away. Leg kick from Maximov. Malkoun jabs the body, then gets a clinch and moves to the back and lands punches as they break. Jab from Malkoun. They trade some jabs, then Malkoun hits a single leg into half guard. Malkoun lands some short elbows while Maximov gets full guard. Next Malkoun passes to half guard again and lands punches, then lands a knee as they stand. They trade jabs then Maximov lands a left hook. Malkoun hits the single leg again and gets on top in half guard. Some short punches from Malkoun, Maximov fights to his knees and Malkoun uses a front headlock to control him. Malkoun just hangs onto the position as the round ends.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jacob Malkoun via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Mic time for Malkoun after the win, he talks about working on his jab because every striker needs a good jab. He jokes that Australians can wrestle now. Asked about the injury to Maximov he knew he was hurt but he’s not comfortable kicking much yet and didn’t want to open himself up to counters.

Brandon Davis suffered a loss in his return to the UFC a year ago, now finally back in action he’s trying to get his first UFC win since 2019 and get a little job security along the way. Mana Martinez has gone 1-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a loss, he’s trying to avoid his first losing streak with a win over a veteran like Davis. Martinez is your -150 favorite to +130 on Davis.

Bantamweight Bout: Brandon Davis (14-9, 136 lbs.) vs. Mana Martinez (9-3, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Davis has two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Martinez with jabs and front kicks early. Inside leg kick from Martinez, who has begun to switch stances. They trade front kicks, and Davis kicked Martinez in the groin so we’ve got a time out. Martinez is good to continue after a little under 40 seconds and we’re back to fighting. Martinez lands a front kick then checks a calf kick. Davis blocks a body kick. Inside leg kick from Martinez. Martinez weaves inside and lands a left. Davis with a blitz attack that’s mostly blocked. A lot of activity from Martinez. Davis lands a right hand. Bit of a one two from Davis. Martinez misses a combination then lands a front kick, and as Davis looks to counter Davis takes an eye poke so we’ve got another time out. Replay confirms the poke, but Davis looks like he wants to continue after clearing the eye. We’re back to fighting after 47 seconds. Bit of a left from Martinez. Martinez lands a front kick then an inside leg kick. Davis lands a combination, then Martinez counters with a clubbing right hand. Davis lands a leg kick. Another leg kick from Davis. Martinez punches into a clinch, they trade there then break. Left hook from Martinez stuns Davis and Martinez looks to follow up. Davis seems to have recovered and they trade punches. Body kick from Davis. Martinez lands a spinning back kick. Davis shoots into a clinch as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Martinez

ROUND TWO: Martinez gets back to pressuring with front kicks. Inside leg kick from Martinez. Martinez lands a body kick then a left hook to follow up and Davis is backing up. Some punches from Martinez, and Davis forces a clinch to recover. Martinez spins free and they reset. Both men land punches at distance. Leg kick from Martinez. Davis lands a right hand to counter a leg kick. Inside leg kick from Davis. Martinez lands a one two. They trade front kicks, then Davis lands a calf kick. Davis lands an inside leg kick. Calf kick from Martinez then a left hook. Another leg kick from Davis. Martinez lands a right hand. Superman punch from Martinez. Davis lands a front kick. Left hook from Davis, he seems to be having more success this round. Davis lands a right hand in close. Martinez lands a left hook but Davis is starting to land combinations. Martinez checks a leg kick. Left hook from Martinez lands, then a spinning back fist drops Davis. Martinez unloads and drops Davis again but the round ends and saves Davis.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Martinez based on the near finish, 20-17 Martinez overall

ROUND THREE: Both men show punches as the round starts. Leg kick from Martinez. Davis lands a right hand. Davis lands a calf kick. Bit of a left hook from Martinez. They clinch up and hit the fence, Davis lands a couple of knees before they break. Davis lands a right hand. Martinez lands a right. Davis lands a body kick then avoids a spinning attack. Martinez lands a front kick, but he’s bleeding from the nose and might be slowing down. They clinch, and Martinez gets a takedown against the fence. Davis fights his way up but Martinez is still on his back. They break after a bit. Combination from Davis, he’s coming on as the fight keeps going. Davis lands a right hand. Both men land punches in close. Martinez lands a right hand. Spinning back fist from Martinez is blocked. Both men miss punches. Davis blocks a double leg and hits one of his own against the fence. Martinez closes his guard, he’s just looking to stall and burn clock here. Davis lands a few elbows. Martinez is threatening armbars but Davis defends and the round ends on the mat.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Davis, 29-27 Martinez overall

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

Not sure I agree with the split, you get hurt that bad and you lose the round. Mic time for Martinez, he gives glory to God then puts over Davis as a tough opponent. He talks about holding back a bit in the cage and feels he needs to be more aggressive and plans on fixing stuff with his coach.

That’s it for the prelims, onto the main card.

Misha Cirkunov looked like a rising prospect for the light heavyweight division back in 2016, but now he’s on a three fight losing streak while being 2-6 in his last eight fights. Cirkunov needs a win to get his career back on track as a loss could send him out of the promotion. Alonzo Menifield has gone 3-3 in his last six fights, he’s coming off of a win though and is looking to build another winning streak and hopefully start a legitimate run towards the top of the division. Menifield is your -190 favorite while the +160 comeback on Cirkunov might tempt a few bettors out there.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Misha Cirkunov (15-8, 206 lbs.) vs. Alonzo Menifield (12-3, 205.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Cirkunov is three inches taller with one inch of reach advantage. They get swinging right away, Cirkunov fighting southpaw. Menifield lands a right hand. Cirkunov avoids some punches and tries to clinch but Menifield separates. Jab from Cirkunov. Both men swing wide and clinch, then break without incident. Cirkunov is cut around the left eyebrow, now sure if it was from a punch or a clash of heads as they keep banging into clinches. Left hand from Menifield, then a right shovel punch to follow up that sleeps Cirkunov and we’re done here.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alonzo Menifield via KO, punches, at 1:28 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Menifield for his work this evening. Mic time for Menifield, he feels good and puts over Cirkunov before calling fighting a war that he loves. He thinks we’ll see more of this from him and he’s looking forward to showing more of what he can do. Asked about the future he says he’ll fight whoever is willing to sign on the dotted line then puts over some sponsors and his family.

You don’t need great precision when you’ve got power like Menifield, his left hand slips over the shoulder and lands clean to wobbly Cirkunov then the follow up under the arm is a nice way to close the show.

Raphael Assuncao used to be one of the very best bantamweights in the world, but that was about four or five years ago and he’s currently on a four fight losing streak with three of those being pretty brutal finishes. Assuncao hasn’t fought since December of last year and needs a win badly just to avoid further talk of retirement. Victor Henry scored an upset win in his UFC debut back in January, now he’s looking to extend his two fight winning streak at the expense of the most recognizable name he’s faced. The slide of Assuncao is represented in the odds where Henry is a -410 favorite to the +330 comeback on Assuncao.

Bantamweight Bout: Raphael Assuncao (27-9, 136 lbs.) vs. Victor Henry (22-5, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Henry has an inch and a half in height and reach over Assuncao. They touch gloves to get us going. Some early stance switching from Assuncao. Henry pushes forward, lands a bit of a right hand. Both men show long range weapons, then Henry lands a body kick. Assuncao lands a left hand. They trade calf kicks. Front kick from Henry then a follow up body kick. Assuncao lands a right hand. Henry lands another body kick. Single leg from Assuncao, Henry defends but eats a couple of punches along the way. Assuncao forces a clinch on the fence, but Henry spins free quickly. Front kick form Henry. Henry misses a right hand, Assuncao gets a clinch and they hit the fence again. They trade knees then break. Assuncao lands a right hand. Henry lands another front kick, then has a head kick blocked. Assuncao blocks another head kick and lands a right hand. Henry keeps coming forward, he’s started switching a bit and lands a left to the body, Assuncao counters with a right to the head. Bit of a right from Henry closes the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Assuncao

ROUND TWO: Henry gets back to pressure as the round start. Both men land front kicks. Spinning back kick from Henry lands. Assuncao misses a wheel kick. Henry lands an inside leg kick. More long range kicks from Henry, he’s just poking at Assuncao and looking to make him react. Bit of a right from Assuncao. Assuncao ducks under a wheel kick and gets on top as Henry slips. Full guard for Henry, he tries for an armbar but Assuncao is defending and landing hammer fists. Henry rolls to his knees, and he’s up but eats a head kick as they break. More pressure from Henry, he lands knees in close. Bit of a left from Assuncao. Leg kick from Henry. Henry lands a left hook. They trade rights, then Henry lands a follow up left hook. Assuncao lands a trio of rights then tries a double leg and gets it against the fence. Henry tries another armbar, then looks to transition to a triangle choke but Assuncao defends and moves towards north-south. Henry is cut around the left eyebrow, can’t see specifically where though. Some body shots from Assuncao, Henry then tries to invert for a leg lock but there’s not enough time and instead Henry wall walks then eats a punch as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Both men work the jab as Henry gets back to forward pressure. They trade left hooks, Assuncao has superior power it seems. Assuncao lands a right hand. Henry lands a right that seems to wobble Assuncao. More pressure from Henry, he lands a combination but Assuncao returns fire. Single leg from Assuncao and he gets Henry down. Henry is threatening a triangle choke, but Assuncao defends and they scramble back up and reset. Both men land rights. Assuncao lands a right hand. Henry lands an elbow in close. Front kick from Henry, Assuncao looks for a takedown off of it but Henry defends and separates. They trade elbows in close, Henry is just doggedly determined. Assuncao lands a right hand. Jab from Assuncao. Henry lands a right hook. Another right from Henry lands. Henry lands a body kick then a couple of punches and they clinch. Nothing comes of the clinch and they break. One two from Assuncao, then he tries a single leg against the fence but that’s stalling out. Henry keeps defending but Assuncao is holding the takedown attempt and burning clock. They break and Henry hits a spinning back kick. A right from Henry lands to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Henry, 29-28 Assuncao overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Raphael Assuncao via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

I don’t object to Assuncao getting the third. Mic time for Assuncao, he’s emotional and thanks everyone who’s supported him through the tough times in his career and personal life. He puts over his team and mentions he’s thinking about retirement and wont make a decision now but knows it’s close. He talks a bit about wanting to get back to countering because he likes that style.

Dusko Todorovic has gone just 2-3 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a pretty brutal knockout loss earlier this year and now tries to salvage his year with a win. Jordan Wright has gone just 1-3 in his last four fights and is on a two fight losing streak with both of those being finishes, he needs a win pretty badly to get a bit of job security. The odds are with Todorovic at -210 against a +180 payout for Wright.

Middleweight Bout: Dusko Todorovic (11-3, 186 lbs.) vs. Jordan Wright (12-3 1 NC, 185 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Wright is an inch taller with three inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Todorovic pushes forward right away, then tries a takedown which stalls out on the fence. Wright defends and spins Todorovic into the fence. Todorovic is fighting for a guillotine, but Wright gets a takedown off of the fence and into full guard. Wright passes to half guard and lands a few punches. Todorovic works his half guard to try and off balance Wright but he can’t shake his base and instead rolls for a heel hook but Wright rolls through and lands punches. Another kneebar attempt from Todorovic, then he looks for a heel hook but Wright lands punches to dissuade him. More punches from Wright as they stand then he mat returns Todorovic and lands more punches. Todorovic is trying to wall walk again, Wright lands some knees to the body as Todorovic stands. Single leg from Wright and he lands more punches from top position. Arm triangle attempt from Wright, it’s mostly used to get full mount and Wright lands punches. Todorovic tries a heel hook, and uses the motion to stand and they wind up on the fence. Wright hits a double leg then lands a few blows to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Wright

ROUND TWO: Todorovic pushes forward and lands a right hand. Wright fires back and we get a bit of a brawl. Both men are landing punches in close, Todorovic lands body to head punches and he’s starting to break down Wright. More punches from Todorovic then an elbow. Wright tries a takedown, Todorovic steps over his body and lands punches while standing over Wright. Todorovic lands body shots in close, Wright tries a single leg but Todorovic defends and gets back to slugging. A knee from Todorovic lands, they both land punches in close but Todorovic is drowning Wright in the striking. More punches from Todorovic, a few knees to the body, Wright is trying to clinch and forces things to the fence. Todorovic is bleeding from the nose now, he rides Wright down to the mat with a front headlock then gets on top and unloads with punches and elbows from full mount. There’s still two minutes left as Todorovic starts posturing up and landing punches. More elbows from Todorovic and Wright isn’t defending himself to the satisfaction of the refeee and we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Dusko Todorovic via TKO, punches and elbows, at 3:12 of Round 2

Todorovic gets an interview, he knew he struggled in the first round so he decided to weather the storm in the first and come back stronger in the second round. He puts over his new head coach and knew the fight would be tough wherever it took place.

Some nice ground and pound here for the finish, it helps that Wright is too tired to fight the mount so the posture of Todorovic is basically unchallenged.

Cub Swanson is a longtime veteran of the sport, he’s making his bantamweight debut here but he’s 3-1 in his last four fights and could be hoping for something of a late career resurgence down at 135. Jonathan Martinez is on a three fight winning streak and has a big chance here against the highest profile opponent he’s faced to prove to a slightly wider audience just how high his ceiling could be. Martinez is your favorite at -205 while Swanson’s underdog status sits at +175.

Bantamweight Bout: Jonathan Martinez (16-4, 135.5 lbs.) vs. Cub Swanson (28-12, 135 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two have identical heights and reaches, though Swanson is a full decade older than Martinez. Martinez comes out southpaw. Both men with a lot of early feints and showing kicks, just range finding mostly. Body kick from Martinez, then another one but he slips and on recovery has to clinch up. Swanson with some heel strikes to the calf before Martinez pulls free and they reset. Some leg kicks from Swanson then he misses a few punches. Martinez lands a heavy body kick. More kicks from Martinez, Swanson doesn’t like the kicks and hits a takedown then passes towards side control. Martinez with a reversal to get on top and lands elbows, Swanson scrambles to his knees while Martinez has a front headlock. They fight up then separate. More kicks go back and forth. Bit of a right from Swanson. Hard elbow from Martinez then a head kick. Swanson lands a right hand. Both men land punches in close, then Martinez fires a body kick. Both men miss punches then Swanson blocks a high kick. Martinez checks an inside leg kick. Bit of a body kick from Martinez. Swanson lands a right to the body, Martinez responds with a body kick then a left hand. Things get a little chippy and they trade again. A knee from Martinez drops Swanson, he gets on top and looks for a finish but Swanson fights up, then gets dropped by a knee to the body though the round will end before Martinez can pound things out.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Martinez as Swanson might have been saved by the bell there

ROUND TWO: Martinez gets back to pressure and is still throwing those powerful kicks. Punches from Martinez in close, then a few elbows and he trips Swanson down against the fence. Some more elbows from Martinez from the ride position, then he forces Swanson down and gets on top in half guard. Some more punches from Martinez, but Swanson is able to start a wall walk. Martinez lands a few knees to the body as Swanson is on his knees, but Swanson does finish the wall walk and they trade knees then break. Swanson lands a right hand, Martinez responds with a body kick. They trade punches, Swanson is looking to brawl a bit here. Martinez lands another body kick, then Swanson lands a left hand. Hard inside leg kick from Martinez drops Swanson, then another one and Swanson drops to a knee again. Swanson is limping visibly as the reset, Martinez lands a left hand. Knee from Martinez, then a front kick to the body. Swanson lands a right hand but those kicks are adding up. Martinez drops Swanson with another leg kick, and Swanson drops hard, Martinez gets on top with some punches but they’re perfunctory as the ref waves this one off.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jonathan Martinez via TKO, leg kicks, at 4:19 of Round 2

Impressive performance from Martinez, who gets an interview. He says he’s emotional and talks about how hard he’s worked and now he can see it finally paying off. He mentions working kicks and elbows for this one, and he just wants to get better every day. Asked about the kicks he mentions working hard with his teammates on that. He says he had a job to do here. To close he says he knows Dominick Cruz is in here and he’d love that fight. Frankly, I’d be down. Cruz on commentary gives respect to Martinez and encourages him to keep doing what he’s doing.

Inside leg kicks are something of a lost art in MMA, here Martinez demonstrates their benefit. He sat Swanson down with this same kick twice earlier, clearly hurting Swanson’s leg in the process, and this was the final blow that Swanson could take. Martinez has some seriously powerful kicks.

Alexa Grasso is undefeated since moving to flyweight and is on a three fight winning streak, if she’s able to get an impressive win here it could mean she gets the next crack at the champion. Viviane Araujo has gone 3-1 in her last four fights and is coming off of a win, she could likewise make her case for a title shot with an impressive victory here. Grasso is a rather heavy favorite at -215 while that +185 payout for Araujo is a tempting value bet.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: #5 Alexa Grasso (14-3, 125.5 lbs.) vs. #6 Viviane Araujo (11-3, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Grasso is an inch taller while Araujo has two inches of reach advantage. Circling to start, both women showing the lead hand while they range find. Grasso lands a left hook. A couple of jabs from Grasso land. Both women land jabs. Bit of a one two from Grasso. Grasso digs the body with a left hand. Araujo is pumping her own jab out there. Araujo blocks a head kick and lands a calf kick. Grasso lands a left hook. Jab from Grasso but she misses the follow up left hook. They trade punches in close, both women are keeping their composure in the fire thus far. Left hook from Grasso. Araujo lands a right hand. Grasso lands a right to the body. The battle for the jab is real between these two. Grasso avoids a double leg and lands a right hand. They trade rights. Some jabs go back and forth. Araujo lands a jab. Leg kick from Grasso then they trade rights. Araujo lands a leg kick, then they trade rights. Grasso with some double jabs. Araujo hits a double leg, Grasso instantly sweeps and they fight up into a clinch. Some knees from Grasso land, Araujo is just holding on. More knees from Grasso end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Grasso but I’ve got a feeling the judges went the other way

ROUND TWO: They get right back to fighting, the pace here isn’t crazy but it’s not sedate. Both women avoid some looping punches. Hard one two from Grasso. Grasso lands an inside leg kick. Araujo misses a few punches. Some jabs go back and forth, then they trade rights. Calf kick from Grasso, Araujo didn’t like that. Araujo lands a couple of body shots. Another calf kick from Grasso, Araujo hits a double leg off of it and moves to side control very quickly. Araujo blocks a sweep attempt. Grasso tries to bridge, Araujo looks for mount but Grasso uses that to at least grab half guard. Araujo moves to side control again, Grasso bridges up and separates then lands a knee. Right hand from Grasso, then a body shot. Grasso is looking to get back after being held down for a bit. Hard right from Grasso. Another right from Grasso. Grasso lands a combination. They split jabs but Grasso is landing better at this point. Calf kick from Grasso then a right that sends Araujo back. A one two from Grasso sends Araujo backwards, Araujo tries another takedown as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Grasso because her stuff was more impactful, 20-18 Grasso overall

ROUND THREE: They trade rights to get the round going. Grasso works more jabs. Bit of a right from Grasso. Araujo lands a right hand. More jabs from Grasso then a right to the body. Araujo lands a right to the body, and Grasso counters with a left hook. Grasso lands a leg kick. They split jabs then Grasso lands a right to the body. Araujo fires a combination. Jabs go back and forth, then Grasso lands a right hand. One two from Grasso, then she tries a head kick but Araujo avoids it. More jabs from Grasso, she’s out working Araujo to this point. Grasso lands a left to the body then they trade head kicks. Left hook from Grasso. Grasso with an inside leg kick. Bit of a right from Grasso and a left from Araujo. Some jabs are traded, then Araujo lands a right. Araujo lands a jab. Bit of a right from Grasso. Solid right from Grasso lands then an inside leg kick and another right. Araujo lands a right, then Grasso lands a calf kick and a left hook to end the round.

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

ROUND FOUR: Head kick from Grasso to start the round. Araujo misses a high kick, and Grasso lands a leg kick to counter. Grasso lands some jabs. Grasso lands a left hook. Inside leg kick from Grasso then they trade punches. They trade punches again. Grasso lands a left hook. Another left hook from Grasso. Grasso lands a leg kick, then they both block punches. Araujo lands a right hand. Grasso with a right hand then a left hook. Araujo lands a left hook. Grasso is starting to show stance switches. Right hand from Grasso lands. Another slip and counter one two from Grasso. Araujo is trying to get her jab going again but she’s struggling with the range. Bit of a right from Grasso, Araujo lands a jab to counter. Inside leg kick from Grasso. Grasso lands a right. Araujo has had enough of this and tries a takedown that stalls on the fence. Grasso with some elbows to force Araujo into a clinch. Knees from Grasso in the clinch again. They break and both miss punches. They’ll feint away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Grasso but a close one, 40-36 Grasso overall

ROUND FIVE: They touch gloves for the final round. Both women with some feinting. Grasso lands a right hand. Araujo lands a right. More feints, Grasso misses a right hand. Jab from Grasso, then a right hand to follow up. Bit of a left hook from Grasso. Both women miss punches. Grasso lands a right hand. Araujo tries a takedown, Grasso defends against the fence and lands knees to the body before they break. Araujo not being able to get a takedown could be a bad sign for her. Grasso lands a leg kick. Left hook from Grasso lands. Bit of a left from Grasso as both women are falling short with jabs. Inside leg kick from Grasso, Araujo lands a leg kick in response. Araujo lands a jab. Right hand from Grasso, then another one lands. Araujo is undeterred by the power of Grasso but Grasso is landing cleanly. Some more jabs from Grasso. Araujo tries to reach for the legs but Grasso defends. Grasso lands another jab. Some more jabs from Grasso, now to the body and head before she avoids a double leg attempt. Araujo misses a right. Grasso lands a flurry and Araujo is backing up. Araujo forces a clinch and they hit the fence. Elbows and punches from Grasso in the clinch as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Grasso, 50-45 Grasso overall but I have 0 faith in the judges

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alexa Grasso via unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46 x2)

Hey, the judges didn’t screw it up. Good for them. Mic time for Grasso, she feels she did enough to win and puts over Araujo as a tough opponent who made her train very hard. She worked hard on standing up when taken down in addition to takedown defense, then puts over Araujo as an opponent. Asked about the main event status, she says she could do 5 rounds again. When the future is brought up she puts over the matchmaker instead of calling for the title shot.

Well on that note UFC on ESPN+ 70 comes to a close. We’ll be unpacking all of this on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast tomorrow, plus previewing the upcoming monster PPV that is UFC 280. I’ll be back next week to cover UFC 280 and I hope you’ll be here as well. Until then thank you as always for reading, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.