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411’s UFC on ESPN 14 Report: Whittaker Wins

July 26, 2020 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC on ESPN 14

#1 Robert Whittaker (186 lbs.) vs. #5 Darren Till (186 lbs.)
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (206 lbs.) vs. #15 Mauricio Rua (206 lbs.)
Alexander Gustafsson (240 lbs.) vs. #14 Fabricio Werdum (242 lbs.)
#7 Carla Esparza (116 lbs.) vs. #9 Marina Rodriguez (115.5 lbs.)
Gadzhimurad Antigulov (206 lbs.) vs. Paul Craig (206 lbs.)
Alex Oliveira (171 lbs.) vs. Peter Sobotta (171 lbs.)
Khamzat Chimaev (171 lbs.) vs. Rhys McKee (170.5 lbs.)

Jai Herbert (156 lbs.) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (160 lbs.)*
Nicolas Dalby (171 lbs.) vs. Jesse Ronson (171 lbs.)
Tom Aspinall (248 lbs.) vs. Jake Collier (264 lbs.)
Movsar Evloev (146 lbs.) vs. Mike Grundy (146 lbs.)
Tanner Boser (235 lbs.) vs. Raphael Pessoa (264 lbs.)
#13 Bethe Correia (136 lbs.) vs. Pannie Kianzad (136 lbs.)
Ramazan Emeev (171 lbs.) vs. Niklas Stolze (170.5 lbs.)
John Castaneda (136 lbs.) vs. Nathaniel Wood (136 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN 14. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host, relaying all of the action to you good people just as I see it. Tonight the UFC brings us their biggest card since UFC 2, a 15(?!?!?!?!?) fight event. I don’t know what prompted that insanity, but here we are. At least the main event is a good fight on paper, former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker is back for the first time since losing the belt and will battle Darren Till who had a successful middleweight debut not too long ago. It’s not entirely clear if the winner is next in line for the title, some of that will depend on how Adesanya vs. Costa plays out, but they’ll certainly be right in the mix. The co-main event is just sad at this point, a third fight between legends Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Their first fight, an all time classic, took place around 15 years ago and their rematch 5 years ago wasn’t exactly all that interesting. Alexander Gustafsson is back from a brief retirement, and trying his hand at heavyweight against former champion Fabricio Werdum. Beyond that it’s just a question of how much of the sport you watch in terms of you recognizing anyone. So let’s hope we get good fights in practice at least.

UFC on ESPN 14 closes out (for the moment) the UFC’s run in the Flash Forum in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. John Gooden Dan Hardy, and Paul Felder will be on commentary for the event while Karyn Bryant does the reporting bit. The rules are the typical hybrid that the UFC seems to favor, adopting most of the changes but fighters still need only one hand on the mat to be considered downed and instant replay will only be available for a fight ending sequence.

Nathaniel Wood just had an eight fight winning streak broken by John Dodson in February, now he’s trying to avoid his first ever losing streak while rebuilding some of the hype he used to have. John Castaneda is stepping on on fairly short notice here as Wood’s original opponent pulled out to mourn the passing of his uncle (Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov) but could score a very big win over a fighter most of us still see a ton of promise in. Wood is your -460 favorite to a +370 comeback on Castaneda.

Bantamweight Bout: John Castaneda (17-4, 136 lbs.) vs. Nathaniel Wood (16-4, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Castaneda has two inches of reach over Wood. Both men come out looking to kick, southpaw for Castaneda. Wood lands a long right. Left hook from Castaneda. Both men land punches in close, Castaneda is pressing the action so far. Wood lands a couple of close quarters uppercuts. Wood doubles up on his straight right then lands an inside leg kick. Castaneda catches a front kick and lands a right hook. Wood lands a jab. Shifting left from Castaneda. Wood is moving well, neither man has a real great feel for each other yet. A fair number of leg kicks are still being exchanged, they’re trying to get reactions to play off of. Glancing right from Wood and they clinch up, Wood lands a left hook as they break. Castaneda tries a takedown, they hit the fence and Wood trips him down then lands a couple of punches as they get up, and Castaneda lands a punch of his own. High kick from Castaneda, partially blocked but that seems to have at least woken Wood up a little. They feint away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Wood but a competitive one

ROUND TWO: Castaneda comes out quickly, eats a bit of a right but lands a couple of kicks. They trade power hand punches. Wood is looking to pivot off of the fence, Castaneda pulls back and lands a counter punch. Castaneda lands a left. Wood with another inside leg kick then a front kick to the body. Castaneda lands a jab. Wood lands a left hook, when he angles out of the pocket he does it a lot to his own right, cutting off part of his attack angle. Castaneda lands a left, and they clinch up then break without anything really happening. Wood lands a one two. Combination of punches from Wood land. Wood lands a right, bit of a right from Castaneda but he’s falling behind on the punch count. There’s a cut on the right eyebrow of Castaneda from those punches. They clinch, Wood gets a trip but Castaneda wall walks instantly. A few uppercuts from Wood before they break, then he lands a couple of inside leg kicks. Combination from Wood, Castaneda lands a left but he’s starting to wilt a little under the pace and volume. Wood lands a left hook, and more inside leg kicks. Some stance switching from Castaneda now, he lands a right. A Wood jab closes out the round.

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

ROUND THREE: Wood is back to chopping at the legs. Castaneda is pushing forward looking to make something happen. Wood with a one two, Castaneda lands a chopping right. Left from Castaneda, Wood settles him down with a body kick and a couple of punches. Wood with more inside leg kicks, he gets a clinch and lands an elbow. Castaneda with an elbow of his own as they break. Wood lands a right. Castaneda digs body shots in close, Wood lands a right as they break. Some knees from Wood off of a quick Thai clinch and they separate again. Castaneda is still just getting out worked as a general rule. Wood still kicking the legs, then lands a left hook. More jabs and inside leg kicks from Wood, they clinch up again and hit the fence. A trip from Wood, Castaneda back up and free just as the clock runs down.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Nathaniel Wood via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Given the pacing they’re having to operate at I’m curious as to who’s going to get an interview. Well at least Wood won’t be getting an interview. Wood looked pretty good, bounced back nicely from that loss to Dodson and he kept a high pace and work rate.

Ramazan Emeev has gone 3-1 in the UFC but is coming off of that loss, he’s trying to rebuild some momentum and prove he’s still a force in the welterweight division. Niklas Stolze took this on somewhat short notice but could derail a very promising fighter and announce his existence to the UFC audience in a big way with a win. Emeev is your -400 favoirte to +320 for Stolze.

Welterweight Bout: Ramazan Emeev (18-4, 171 lbs.) vs. Niklas Stolze (12-3, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Stolze has three inches of height over Emeev but Emeev holds the reach edge at two inches. They touch gloves to get us going. Stolze feinting a lot, and lands an early leg kick. Emeev lands a right, gets a double leg along the fence. Stolze back up quickly, eats a few punches but is able to separate. Bit of a right from Emeev, he grabs a single leg and gets Stolze down. Stolze looks to work his guard but winds up eating a right. Stolze works himself to the fence. Emeev grabs a modified guillotine, it’s more of a wrestlers grovet actually. Stolze back up and gets his head free but he’s still in the clinch. Knees from Emeev, he’s looking to get another takedown. Stolze is able to spin free after a bit. Double leg from Emeev, Stolze sells out for a guillotine attempt. Emeev gets his head out, Stolze mostly gave up on that after he felt he wouldn’t get it. Elbows from Emeev. Stolze back up, eats a body kick but lands a head kick that seems to have wobbled Emeev just a bit as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Emeev but could go the other way

ROUND TWO: Stolze jabbing as the round starts. Emeev lands a calf kick. Stolze lands a calf kick of his own. Emeev lands a right to counter a jab that staggers Stolze for a second. Stolze avoids a takedown attempt. Another counter right from Emeev partially lands. Things are slowing down now, both men are hesitating and waiting a bit. Stolze lands a right. Emeev blocks a high kick. Neither man has a good read on the defense yet, they’re kind of probing and only going half speed. Clubbing right from Emeev. Stolze lands a calf kick. Emeev lands a jab, he’s backing Stolze up again then lands a right as they’re along the fence. Another jab from Emeev and they’ll feint away the final seconds.

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

ROUND THREE: Emeev jabbing again, he tries a takedown and they hit the fence. Now Emeev gets the back standing, he lands a knee to the head and then tries a choke but Stolze gets free then eats another knee. Stolze lands a one two. Emeev with a bit of a right, Stolze gets a low single leg into the guard of Emeev. Butterfly guard for Emeev, he kicks Stolze off and is back up. Emeev eats a knee to the body but gets the back standing again. They get chest to chest again, Emeev working knees while seeking opportunities for takedowns. Emeev to the back on the other side now, still working knees to the thigh and head. Stolze down to a knee to defend his head, then back up once he’s out of that particular danger. Emeev still working those knees, Stolze is kind of stuck in the position. Stolze gets chest to chest, Emeev after a takedown again. High crotch attempt from Emeev, he gets the leg up and switches to a double leg, Stolze tries one more guillotine as time runs out.

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

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

Emeev is still a little raw but has a lot of ability, no interview though.

Bethe Correira is coming off of a win, her first since beating Jessica Eye back in 2016, and is looking for her first winning streak since 2014. Pannie Kianzad has gone 1-1 in her current UFC run, but could get a notable win over a former title challenger as well as securing her first UFC winning streak. Kianzad is a slight -160 favorite while Correia’s comeback sits at +140.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: #13 Bethe Correia (11-4-1, 136 lbs.) vs. Pannie Kianzad (12-5, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Kianzad has two inches of height and reach over Correia. They both come out trading jabs, Kiazad adds a left hook to the mix. Bit of a right from Kianzad. Correia grabs a single leg, but can’t finish and Kianzad separates. Leg kick from Kianzad. They trade lefts a few times. Kiazad lands a right. Bit of a combination from Kianzad. They trade rights, but Kianzad lands a left hook to follow. Knee from Kianzad in close. Some jabs from Kianzad working now. Bit of a left from Correia. Kianzad grabs a Thai clinch and lands knees, Correia tries punches but winds up having to force the break. Correia lands to the body a few times. Kianzad lands a right. Another right from Kianzad lands. Correia’s eyes are swelling up a little, not bad yet but she’s not moving her head a lot. Leg kick from Kianzad. Correia thinks the 10 second clapper was the end of the round, she turned her back and Kianzad tags her a few times before the actual end of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kianzad

ROUND TWO: Kianzad jabbing again, and then lands a stiff one two. Right from Kianzad then knees in close but she slips and Correia gets on top of her in the full guard. Armbar attempt from Kianzad, doesn’t quite get going yet. Some hammer fists from Correia but she’s not going much more than that. Correia back up, not sure what happened there but we’re on the feet again. Body shots from Correia when Kianzad reaches for a Thai clinch. Kianzad lands a jab. Left hook from Kianzad. Correia lands a couple of body shots again. They trade again, Kianzad lands a leg kick on the exit. Another clash of punches, both women landing now. Kianzad lands a left hook. They’re kind of just crashing into each other with the same combinations each time. Kianzad lands a left hook. Leg kick from Kianzad. Correia misses a combination, she’s slowing down a lot. Leg kick from Correia, Kianzad lands a couple of punches to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kianzad but that takedown muddies the water, 20-18 Kianzad overall

ROUND THREE: Both women jabbing early again. Kianzad lands a left, then a couple of leg kicks. Correia isn’t moving much at this point, Kianzad is the one circling around and finding angles. Correia misses a right, and eats a left hook. They clash on left hooks again. Kianzad lands a left hook again, Correia’s right eye is swelling a little more now, as is Kianzad’s. Kianzad lands a right in close. Again they clash close, Kianzad lands a left hook. Combination from Kianzad lands, Correia dives for a single leg but can’t get it and Kianzad forces her to the feet. Correia’s left eye is kind of a mess now. Kianzad avoids a couple of hooks and lands a right. Right and a left from Kianzad. Three punch combination from Kianzad. Correia lands a bit of a left hook. Double leg from Correia, they hit the fence though and Kianzad gets free. Single leg from Correia, Kianzad gets full guard and is going to just stall the final five seconds.

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

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

Not a bad win for Kianzad, losing to Bethe Correia at this point would have been a really bad indicator of her future.

Tanner Boser has gone 2-1 in the UFC and scored a violent knockout win just under a month ago, he’s trying for his first UFC winning streak while proving himself a potential force in the heavyweight division. Raphael Pessoa has gone 1-1 in the UFC, he’s could likewise prove himself a fighter of note in a division constantly searching for more top end talent. The odds are with Boser at -250 to a +210 payout on Pessoa.

Heavyweight Bout: Tanner Boser (18-6-1, 235 lbs.) vs. Raphael Pessoa (10-1, 264 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Pessoa is an inch taller, has two and a half inches of reach, and is thirty odd pounds heavier. They touch gloves to get us going. Boser is moving around early, trying to feint Pessoa. Some stance switching from Boser now. Leg kick from Boser. Pessoa has misses a couple of kicks. Boser lands a leg kick, Pessoa tries to counter but his punches are blocked. Pessoa doesn’t really have anything, he’s getting picked at but isn’t doing anything. Boser lands another leg kick. Boser misses a right. Leg kick from Boser. Bit of a left from Boser. Pessoa with a spinning back kick, Boser kicks his legs again. They feint/stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Boser

ROUND TWO: More movement from Boser, he lands an inside leg kick. Calf kick from Boser. Pessoa still plodding, Boser still content to glide around the outside and chop at him. Both men miss rights in the pocket. Pessoa eats a leg kick, forces a clinch but neither man does much with it before they separate. More kicks from Boser. Left hook from Boser cracks the eye of Pessoa, Pessoa is down and Boser swarms him along the fence to force the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Tanner Boser via TKO, punches, at 2:36 of Round 2

Boser gets our first finish of the evening and is rewarded with an interview. Boser jokes he has to be mobile against a guy the size of Pessoa, then mentions using the leg kicks to slow his opponent down and set up openings for himself as the fight goes on. He talks us through the finish, then when asked about what’s next he calls out Maurice Greene again.

Check the left hand of Boser as it swipes closed fist into the eye of Pessoa, from there he pours on pressure as Pessoa crumbles.

Movsar Evloev is undefeated including two wins in the UFC, he’s hoping to maintain that momentum and set his sights further up the rankings after another win here. Mike Grundy is on a notable nine fight winning streak including his UFC debut a little over a year ago, he’s trying to knock off another rising prospect and earn a step up in class. Evloev is your favorite at -190 to a +170 comeback on Grundy.

Featherweight Bout: Movsar Evloev (12-0, 146 lbs.) vs. Mike Grundy (12-1, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Evloev has half an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Bit of an inside leg kick from Evloev. Glancing right from Evloev. Grundy catches a body kick and gets a takedown into half guard. Evloev to his knees, Grundy gets a front headlock and looks to keep Evloev there. Evloev up and hits a counter, they’re up and trading in the clinch before they break. Double leg from Grundy, Evloev looking to wall walk now. Evloev kicks him off but Grundy gets the front headlock again. Grundy with a d’arce attempt, that’s tight but Evloev is able to kick his hips free then spins out and they’re back up. Evloev lands a right. One two from Evloev. Grundy might have gassed his arms a bit on that attempt. They clinch up but break quickly. Right from Evloev in close, Grundy is wobbled a bit. Grundy’s left eye is swelling up. Evloev with another combination, Grundy lands a body kick. Grundy avoids a spinning back fist, tries a takedown as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Grundy but could go either way

ROUND TWO: Some circling to start, Grundy misses a right. Evloev avoids a double leg and they trade lefts. Both men working the lead hand now. Grundy misses a right, dives for the legs of Evloev but they stall on the fence. Evloev works short rights and then separates. Jabs from Evloev. Another clinch that hits the fence. Evloev with short uppercuts as they break. Grundy gets a double leg, but has no control and Evloev is back up immediately. Punches from Evloev. Open space clinch, Evloev with knees before they break. Grundy is falling way behind on the pace and Evloev is breaking him down. Evloev lands an inside leg kick, he’s flowing very well on the feet thus far. Double leg attempt from Grundy, Evloev defends and methodically gets back to his business. One two from Evloev. Grundy gets a double leg, Evloev granby rolls through and forces things back up. Both men land rights in close. Evloev with jabs to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Evloev, might be a 10-8 argument in there numerically, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Evloev back to his pace, lands an inside leg kick. Head kick from Evloev partially lands. Punches from Evloev. Grundy is trying to stay busy but Evloev’s pace is killing him. Jabs from Evloev. Evloev with a bit of a left hook, and avoids another takedown attempt then jabs Grundy. Evloev’s jab is really disrupting Grundy. Grundy gets a double leg, he gets the ride position but Evloev is back up and breaks his grip to get free. Stepping knee from Evloev, Grundy doesn’t have much on the feet at this point. Jab then a right uppercut from Evloev. Body kicks then a jab from Evloev. Grundy gets a takedown along the fence and looks for the d’arce as Evloev stands. Evloev gets his head free and lands elbows in the clinch. Knees from Evloev in close. Evloev breaks the clinch and lands a jab. Evloev avoids a series of punches. Grundy eats a one two, misses a knee. Evloev takes a bit of a right just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Evloev but numerically another total blowout, 29-28 Evloev overall

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

I can see Evloev stealing the first, but that d’arce was really tight and I thought Grundy should have probably edged that round. No finish, so no interview.

This is Evloev’s d’arce escape in the first. If you see this same position on pretty much anyone else it’s over, I’d take that position Grundy is in to finish a fight at pretty much any point, Evloev is just barely able to get free.

Tom Aspinall brings a three fight winning streak into his UFC debut, and he’s hoping to capitalize on the chance to make a good first impression on the audience. Jake Collier has traded wins and losses while going 3-3 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a win though and looking for his first UFC winning streak. The odds like the debuting Aspinall at -330 to a +270 payout for a Collier win.

Heavyweight Bout: Tom Aspinall (7-2, 248 lbs.) vs. Jake Collier (11-4, 264 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Aspinall is two inches taller but Collier has half an inch of reach on him. They touch gloves to get us going. They trade leg kicks early. Aspinall avoids a few punches without much issue. Aspinall lands a right. Collier lands a heavy leg kick. Aspinall lands a hard knee to the body, then a one two and Collier is down with no hope of recovery.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Tom Aspinall via TKO, punches, at :45 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Aspinall for his work this evening. Mic time for Aspinall after that quick finish, he says this is exactly what he was supposed to do but he’s glad to have gotten a win over a 10 fight UFC veteran. He talks us through the finish, then says fighting in the UFC is his dream and he plans on being UFC champion before calling out Serghei Spivac. That’s a fight that could make sense for both men.

Collier comes in ducking his head, runs into a hard intercepting knee to the midsection then eats the one two from Aspinall and he’s done. Nice stuff from Aspinall.

Nicolas Dalby scored a win in his return to the UFC last year, now he’s trying to build on that momentum and get his first ever UFC winning streak up and running. Jesse Ronson is making his UFC return here, and will be trying to upend the old saying about not getting a second chance to make a good first impression. Dalby is your -280 favorite while the +240 payout on Ronson has to tempt a few bettors.

Welterweight Bout: Nicolas Dalby (18-3-1 1 NC, 171 lbs.) vs. Jesse Ronson (21-10, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Dalby is an inch taller and has four and a half inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Ronson. They trade body kicks then power hand punches. Ronson lands a calf kick. Combination from Dalby lands. Body kick from Ronson. Dalby lands a couple of punches, gets a Thai clinch and lands knees to the body before getting things to the fence. Elbow from Dalby then he looks to change levels but Ronson is defending so far. Ronson spins free and they resume trading punches. Both men land calf kicks. Dalby lands a side kick to the body. Ronson lands a counter left hook Dalby is down and Ronson gets on top in side control. Elbows form Ronson, now he’s to full mount and lands more. Dalby gives up his back, Ronson gets the choke and Dalby has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jesse Ronson via Submission, rear naked choke, at 2:48 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Ronson for his work this evening. Have to feel good for Ronson given the murders row that man went through at lightweight and the split decisions that could have gone his way. Mic time for Ronson who’s happy to be back in the UFC and felt that as the fight kept going he had the strength and pace to get through Dalby. He promises better head movement and more angles in the future. Asked about the future he mentions going back to lightweight, but he can do it with the proper time given that he’s older now. When pressed about who he’d like he wants to send 6’3 guys out of lightweight like Luis Pena or Jalin Turner specifically.

The right one two from Ronson is nice, notice how he slightly adjusts his angle so his left takes a straighter path. On the mat he uses elbows to help facilitate his passing, then gets the choke on the roll attempt from Dalby.

Francisco Trinaldo has gone 3-1 in his last four fights and is on a two fight winning streak, he did miss weight for this fight but to his credit it’s his first time ever doing so and the man is a 41 year old lightweight. Trinaldo will be looking for a win to help smooth over the weight gaff. Jai Herbert brings a six fight winning streak into his UFC debut, and he could get a big win right off the bat against a rugged and proven UFC veteran like Trinaldo. The odds are close, -120 on Trinaldo to an even -100 on Herbert.

Lightweight Bout: Jai Herbert (10-1, 156 lbs.) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (25-7, 160 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Herbert is four inches taller and has seven inches of reach over Trinaldo, and of course Trinaldo also missed weight. They touch gloves, southpaw for Trinaldo per usual for him. Herbert looking to work his lead hand early and keep Trinaldo at the end of his reach. Straight right from Herbert lands. Body kick from Trinaldo, then a left to the body. Trinaldo lands a left and clinches up. Some more body work from Trinaldo and he gets a trip takedown into half guard. Short elbows from Trinaldo, but he over commits to an arm triangle attack and Herbert sweeps him to try and scramble. Trinaldo grabs a standing guillotine as they’re on the way up, Herbert is able to get free but is still stuck in the clinch and on the fence. A few knees from Trinaldo, then he trips Herbert down to the mat. Herbert scoots to the fence and looks to wall walk again. Trinaldo threatens the choke, and uses that to force Herbert to his back and then lands some elbows from half guard. Hip escape from Herbert but he only gets to a knee before Trinaldo is back on him. Herbert is all the way up but still clinched. Knees from Herbert, then Trinaldo cracks him with a left as they break. Herbert gets a clinch and a trip takedown. Elbow from Herbert, Trinaldo tries to sweep him but can’t finish it before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Trinaldo

ROUND TWO: Herbert opens with a right that floors Trinaldo and follows him down to land in his half guard. Nice back take from Herbert as Trinaldo tried to get up. Choke attempt from Herbert, Trinaldo is defending so far but Herbert has a body triangle going. Herbert keeps attacking the choke but he can’t get under the chin yet. Trinaldo tries to turn into him, Herbert keeps the back for a bit but eventually loses it and they’re back up. Both men land punches then Trinaldo lands a left that wobbles Herbert for a moment. Herbert with knees in the clinch then a right. Trinaldo lunges in and lands a left. Herbert is looking loose, Trinaldo is slowing down. One two from Herbert lands. Herbert lands another right. They clinch again, Herbert gets Trinaldo to the fence. They break and Trinaldo lands a leg kick. Herbert lands another right, his right is splitting the guard of Trinaldo constantly. A Herbert head kick is blocked to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Herbert but a marginal one, 19-18 Herbert overall

ROUND THREE: Herbert working the lead hand early, Trinaldo lands a body kick. Trinaldo lands another body kick. Herbert still working the lead hand very nicely. Another body kick from Trinaldo. A left counter from Trinaldo lands and Herbert falls in slow motion, he’s down and Trinaldo stands over him. A little bit a bad/late stoppage as Trinaldo just stands over him but the ref wont stop it. A few more punches finally do prompt the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Francisco Trinaldo via TKO, punches, at 1:30 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Trinaldo for his work this evening. Really nicely timed left from Trinaldo, Herbert got a little complacent with his lead hand work and positioning then paid for it. Trinaldo will get an interview, he mentions it’s harder to come back through adversity and is happy he’s done so here. My feed cuts off for a bit, it comes back to Trinaldo saying he’d like to fight Mike Perry, Donald Cerrone, or another experienced veteran. To close he notes he wants a bonus (he’s not eligible for one here due to missing weight) so he can buy his mom a house.

This is a nice bit from Trinaldo. He times the jab flurry from Herbert and lands the left as he steps. The stoppage is pretty darn bad, look at how Herbert falls and doesn’t move, should have been stopped immediately IMO.

That’s it for the prelims, we’re still on ESPN and ESPN+ for the main card.

Khamzat Chimaev is undefeated including a total beatdown in his UFC debut, now with one of the shortest turnarounds in UFC history (10 days) he’s trying to remain perfect, get his second UFC win, and potentially start climbing up the ranks of a competitive division. Rhys McKee has a three fight winning streak coming into his UFC debut and could stop the very quickly building momentum of his opponent as well as possibly stealing a bit of it for himself. Chimaev is the biggest favorite on the card at -1200 to a +750 for McKee.

Welterweight Bout: Khamzat Chimaev (7-0, 171 lbs.) vs. Rhys McKee (10-2-1, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while McKee has three inches of reach over Chimaev. They touch gloves, and Chimaev with a quick takedown attempt that hits the fence. Chimaev eventually gets a trip and lands in the ride position. Lefts from Chimaev and he ties up the right arm of McKee. Full mount for Chimaev and he lands more punches. McKee keeps trying to shrimp but Chimaev is riding and pounding him. Chimaev moves to the ride position, and lands hammer fists. Chimaev is floating between the back and 3/4 mount and landing blows. Short elbows from Chimaev, and now rights. McKee keeps doing enough, he’s moving but he’s getting overwhelmed. Chimaev is relentless with his offense here. A final flurry of punches from Chimaev prompts the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Khamzat Chimaev via TKO, punches, at 3:09 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Chimaev for his work this evening. That was a total wipeout, officially Chimaev didn’t get hit with a single strike. Chimaev has the shortest time between fights at 10 days, and the shortest time between wins also at 10 days. Mic time for Chimaev after that mauling, he jokes he can fill in later in the card if necessary. He says it doesn’t matter who’s in front of him, he thinks he can smash the division. He says he thinks he can smash the welterweight and middleweight champions on the same day if necessary. Asked about the future, he wants two belts at some point.

Just a brutal mauling and positional dominant from Chimaev.

Alex Oliveira just broke a three fight losing streak with a split decision win, he’s hoping to get another win here and possibly get back towards the top of the card. Peter Sobotta has gone 4-2 since returning to the UFC, he’s coming off of a loss to top contender Leon Edwards but could regain some positive momentum quickly with a win here. The odds are with Oliveira at -150 to a +130 comeback on Sobotta.

Welterweight Bout: Alex Oliveira (20-8-1 2 NC, 171 lbs.) vs. Peter Sobotta (17-6-1, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Sobotta is an inch taller but Oliveira has an inch and a half of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get going, Sobotta opens southpaw. Body kick from Oliveira. Sobotta avoids a few punches. Bit of a body kick from Sobotta. Sobotta lands a jab to counter a front kick to the body. Front kick to the body from Oliveira hurts Sobotta. Oliveira is stalking forward, Sobotta backs him off with a body kick of his own. Bit of a body kick from Oliveira. Oliveira avoids a rush of punches. Another hard body kick from Oliveira. Sobotta really needs to get out of kicking range and into boxing range. Sobotta avoids a kick to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Oliveira

ROUND TWO: Some leg kicks to get us going. Sobotta goes for a double leg, they hit the fence and Oliveira with a few downward elbows. Oliveira has his base spread out and is defending. They jockey for position then Oliveira slips free after landing another elbow. Oliveira lands a front kick to the body. Sobotta lands a jab, but there’s a counter right from Oliveira. Oliveira lands another front kick to the body. Another front kick from Oliveira, this one goes low and we’ve got time for Sobotta. Replay confirms the low blow, ouch. Sobotta can continue and we’re back to fighting. Oliveira lands a left hook then a front kick to the body. There’s an eye poke to Sobotta and we’ve got another time out. Oliveira was jabbing with his fingers straight out, just trying to do that it seems. Sobotta can continue after a brief examination from the doctor and we’re back to fighting. Sobotta lands a leg kick. Both men land leg kicks. A right from Oliveira catches Sobotta on one leg, he’s down but still there as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Body kick from Sobotta to start the round. Oliveira responds with a body kick of his own. Sobotta tries a double leg, Oliveira smothers that and pushes him over then stands over him landing some leg kicks. Sobotta back up. Oliveira lands a front kick to the body. Bit of a body kick from Sobotta. One two from Oliveira. Sobotta lands a body kick and avoids the counter punches. Left from Sobotta lands. Oliveira lands another body kick. Right from Oliveira lands, and they feint away the last seconds.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alex Oliveira via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Paul Craig is coming off of a draw with Mauricio Rua, he’s trying to get back on the winning side of things and prove he’s a valuable addition to a very thin division. Gadzhimurad Antigulov is on a two fight losing streak and really needs a win to help with his job security. The odds like Craig at -145 to a +125 comeback on Antigulov.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-6, 206 lbs.) vs. Paul Craig (12-4-1, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Craig is four and a half inches taller and has five and a half inches of reach advantage. Craig comes out jabbing, Antigulov circling. Jab from Antigulov and he gets a clinch. Single leg from Antigulov, Craig grabs a guillotine but Antigulov gets free quickly. Antigulov looks to pass, Craig keeping him in his guard. A few punches from Antigulov, Craig goes for a triangle but Antigulov gets his head free. Craig adjusts for the triangle again. Antigulov lands punches to the body and head while Craig keeps trying to adjust his legs and tighten the triangle. Craig keeps things tight, and after a bit Antigulov has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Paul Craig via Submission, triangle choke, at 2:06 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Craig for his work this evening. Mic time for Craig, he talks about the takedown and mentions deciding to take some of those elbows from Antigulov because every time he landed one he kept sinking lower and tighter into the triangle. He talks us through the finish, and jokes that he’s a brown belt so he better know how to finish a triangle choke. He mentions he’s been working on his skills during the quarantine times and that his striking is better and he’d like to show it off.

Fairly standard triangle, Antigulov devoted more time to throwing his right than fighting the position and as he keeps getting closer to Craig with his upper body the triangle gets tighter and tighter until he has to tap.

Carla Esparza finds herself on a three fight winning streak and surprisingly close to getting another shot at the title she used to hold, a win here could net her a title eliminator fight or at least get her firmly into the title picture. Marina Rodriguez has gone 2-0-2 in the UFC and is coming off of her second draw in the promotion, despite that a win over a former champion like Esparza would be the biggest win of Rodriguez’s career and could get her a shot at the top of the division next. Rodriguez is your -185 favorite while Esparza’s comeback sits at +165.

Strawweight Bout: #7 Carla Esparza (16-6, 116 lbs.) vs. #9 Marina Rodriguez (12-0-2, 115.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Rodriguez is five inches taller and has two inches of reach advantage. Both women feinting early. Rodriguez lands a right. Esparza gets a single leg leg and spins Rodriguez down. Bit of an elbow from Rodriguez on her back. Esparza with some body shots. Rodriguez is keeping her guard closed and mostly hoping to stall out. Some more elbows from Rodriguez. Esparza lands an elbow of her own. Someone is bleeding now, I think it’s Esparza. Esparza sits back for an ankle lock, Rodriguez moves up on top of her as they’re in 50-50 guard. Elbows from Rodriguez. Rodriguez stands back, Esparza dives at her ankle and looks for another takedown but Rodriguez is up and separated. Rights from Rodriguez, Esparza instantly shoots but gets sprawled on as they hit the fence. More elbows from Rodriguez close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rodriguez

ROUND TWO: The cut on Esparza is around the corner of her left eye, and it’s swollen up a bit. Rodriguez coming forward, lands a bit of a right. Another couple of rights from Rodriguez, Esparza is clearly out of her element on the feet. Right and a leg kick from Rodriguez. Rodriguez avoids a takedown attempt. Leg kick from Rodriguez, Esparza gets a takedown and they scramble until Rodriguez has full guard. Rodriguez keeps sneaking in elbows from her back. Esparza tries to pass, but can’t do it. Esparza is trying to work her own elbow game at the moment. Rodriguez really needs to work harder at getting up, she could lose this fight via this kind of lay and pray. Esparza stands, nearly gets kicked free but she gets back on top. Rodriguez lands another elbow as they get to the fence. Esparza sits back for that ankle lock again, Rodriguez with hammer fists and punches to the injured eye. Illegal kick from Esparza doesn’t get called, Rodriguez back up and charges at her for the final few seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rodriguez but I’m less sure about that one, 20-18 Rodriguez overall

ROUND THREE: Esparza’s face is kind of a mess, especially around her left eye. Rodriguez trying to walk Esparza back to the fence. Leg kick from Rodriguez, then a right. Another right from Rodriguez. Esparza misses a double leg and gets punched again. Esparza goes for a single leg, they hit the fence and Esparza lands some lefts then Rodriguez lands a right. Another right from Rodriguez. Esparza with another double leg, this time she’s able to land in half guard. Rodriguez gets full guard again and we’re back to this spot. Esparza lands some short elbows. Triangle attempt from Rodriguez, but her legs aren’t locked up properly and Esparza gets free with an elbow. Rodriguez with some elbows from her back. Esparza stands, Rodriguez back up and Esparza nearly gets another illegal kick off but this one might have been better on the legal side. Another takedown from Esparza, and the clock ends with them on the mat.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Carla Esparza via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

30-27 for Esparza seems wrong, she did nothing of value in the first round. That said Esparza taking the second and third is perfectly reasonable. Mic time for Esparza, she puts over the elbows of Rodriguez then says she needs a few finishes to get back into the title picture. Asked who she’d like next she mentions the fight with Claudia Gadelha falling out and wants to fight whoever gets her closer to the title. To close she dedicates the fight to the UFC’s makeup artist who’s battling cancer right now.

Fabricio Werdum is something of an overlooked great at heavyweight, though his current two fight losing streak doesn’t exactly help him overcome that. Werdum is possibly looking at leaving the UFC after this fight, and going out on a win would give him a much stronger bargaining position when looking at other options. Alexander Gustafsson is also on a two fight losing streak, he briefly retired after his last loss but is back now and trying his hand at heavyweight. A win over a former champion and all time great like Werdum would be the best way for Gustafsson to kick off his heavyweight campaign. Gustafsson is your favorite at -330 to a +270 payout on a Werdum win.

Heavyweight Bout: Alexander Gustafsson (18-6, 240 lbs.) vs. #14 Fabricio Werdum (23-9-1, 242 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gustafsson is an inch taller and has two inches of reach on Werdum. They touch gloves to get us going. Gustafsson looking to jab early. Werdum lands a leg kick. Gustafsson still moving well, looking to circle and find an angle. Werdum misses a right. Gustafsson lands a body shot, Werdum kicks his calf. Single leg from Werdum, Gustafsson defending so far and lands some hammer fists but Werdum gets his back with one hook in. Armbar attack from Werdum, Gustafsson trying to defend. Gustafsson tries to escape, Werdum adjust to spiderweb control and looks to extend the arm again. Werdum breaks the grip, extends the arm and Gustafsson taps.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Fabricio Werdum via Submission, armbar, at 2:30 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Werdum for his work this evening. Mic time for Werdum, he says this was an important point for him and he’s very very happy. He mentions Gustafsson broke his nose when they trained together about 8 years ago, the first time he’d ever broken it. Asked about what’s next he wants to enjoy the victory and consider his next step then switches to Portuguese and gets emotional thanking a bunch of people.

Sadly we miss the attack from the back, which was really cool. But you’ll be hard pressed to find a better attack from this position than Werdum’s as he spoils the return of Gustafsson.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is coming off of a draw with Paul Craig, but now as the chance to yet again live off of his former glory with a trilogy fight. Rua is an all time great at light heavyweight, probably the third greatest of all time, but as his career continues winding down he’s looking to bank a little more money and possibly a few more memorable wins to potentially go out on. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has traded wins and losses while going 2-2 in his last four fights, he’s coming off of a loss though and is hoping to finally score a win over Rua who has twice bested him in the past. After winning both of their previous encounters it’s no surprise Rua is the favorite at -200 to a +175 comeback on Nogueira.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (23-9, 206 lbs.) vs. #15 Mauricio Rua (26-11-1, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Nogueira is an inch taller while Rua has an inch of reach advantage. Southpaw for Nogueira. Both men feinting a bit as they look for an angle of attack. A few inside leg kicks from Rua as they’re moving around. Rua pushes into a clinch on the fence. A few knees to the thigh from Rua. After a bit they separate without incident. Straight left lands for Nogueira. Rua still working the inside leg kick. Rua lands a right. Nogueira is the one pushing forward now, he’s got Rua along the fence. Both men swing and miss in close. They trade power hand punches then clinch up again. They break again, Rua lands a right but so does Nogueira. Nogueira lands a left and Rua is back up again. That left lands again, Rua doesn’t like it and gets an outside trip takedown into half guard. Not much goes on before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Nogueira

ROUND TWO: Rua coming forward again, and they clinch fairly quickly. They break quicker this time. Rua lands an inside leg kick. Body kick from Rua, Nogueira lands a left to counter. More lefts from Nogueira, he’s backing Rua up again. Nogueira avoids a takedown attempt, then off balances Rua and lands on top in the half guard of Rua. Rua gets full guard and closes it. Nogueira works body shots and some head work. Rua is able to shrimp and get free then reset on the feet. Right and a left from Rua. Rua grabs a single leg, Nogueira defends and shoves him off. Rua avoids a left and lands a right. Another bit of a right from Rua. Nogueira lands a left. Another left from Nogueira. They circle away the final 20 seconds or so.

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

ROUND THREE: Rua misses a couple of rights. Inside leg kick from Rua. Nogueira lands a left. Left then a right from Nogueira. Rua lands a body kick. Rua’s right eye is visibly swollen. Nogueira lands a left to the body. Straight left from Nogueira. Body kick then a right from Rua. Left from Nogueira as he was eating a body kick. Nogueira lands a one two, Rua kicks the body again. They trade lefts this time, then Rua lands an inside leg kick. They trade lead hand punches, Rua then lands rights and hits a double leg along the fence. Rua with body to head punches. Lefts to the head from Rua, Nogueira tries a deep half sweep, can’t finish it though and time runs down in that spot.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rua, 29-28 Nogueira overall, this comes down to the second round in terms of scoring

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Mauricio “Shogun” Rua via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

No issues with Rua taking it 2-1, not a terribly interesting fight though. Post fight Nogueira does get an interview as he plans on retiring, he thinks he won the fight. He puts over Rua and says it’s been an honor to share the cage with him as many times as he has, but at 44 he thinks this was his last one. Rua on the mic now, he’s happy he won here and in total three times over a legend like little Nog. He says every fight with Nogueira is a war but he’s happy to win and take another step forward in his career. Asked about what’s next he wants to spend time with his family and in the next few days they’ll figure out the next step.

Robert Whittaker is the former middleweight champion and had a whopping nine fight winning streak broken when Israel Adesanya knocked him out to take his title last year. Whittaker is trying to bounce back and possibly earn a crack at regaining that title starting with a win here. Darren Till just broke his own two fight losing streak when he moved up to middleweight and took a split decision from Kelvin Gastelum, if he can take out the former champion here the UFC would probably happily shove Till into the title picture again. The odds are with Whittaker at -145 to a +125 comeback on Till.

Middleweight Bout: #1 Robert Whittaker (20-5, 186 lbs.) vs. #5 Darren Till (18-2-1, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Till has an inch of reach advantage. Till fighting southpaw, they touch gloves to get us going. Till tries to charge but runs into a jab. Whittaker working his jab early while circling. Bit of an overhand left from Whittaker as he was southpaw for a second. Leg kick from Whittaker. They clash on punches, Whittaker dropped but is back up quickly and they’re back to fighting. Whittaker misses a few wild punches, Till lands a left. Till with a couple more lefts. They clinch up and hit the fence. Whittaker with a knee, Till returns it. Till avoids a trip attempt and they separate. Head kick from Till is blocked. They trade leg kicks. Till avoids a head kick. Whittaker avoids a punch and lands a right. Calf kick from Whittaker and he blocks a counter punch. Bit of a right from Whittaker then another calf kick. Whittaker kicks the calf again and they stare away the last seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Till

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. Till keeps coughing. Whittaker avoids an elbow and lands a left hook. They trade calf kicks. Right from Whittaker drops Till, he gets on top and Till closes his guard. Body to head punches from Whittaker, then an elbow. Whittaker to half guard and lands another elbow. Till tries to explode, he gets to his knees and is back up then separates. Whittaker with another calf kick. More calf kicks from Whittaker, he’s chipping and angling if he doesn’t like the look of a potential engagement. Till avoids a couple of rights. Whittaker blocks a left. Both men block head kicks and that ends the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Whittaker, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Till might have complained of damage to his right leg between rounds. Whittaker lands a calf kick. Till has a left blocked then misses a head kick. Bit of a left from Till lands. Whittaker lands a right to the body. Till avoids a rush of punches. More calf kicks from Whittaker, those are adding up at this point. Whittaker lands a right. They both avoid high kicks. Stiff jab from Whittaker. Bit of a left from Whittaker, Till lands a left knee. Whittaker back to the calf and they both miss punches after that. Single leg from Whittaker, he can’t finish it though and they break. They trade lefts. Another takedown from Whittaker, they hit the fence then separate. Till avoids a lunging left. Whittaker avoids a rush as well and the round ends.

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

ROUND FOUR: Whittaker back to jabbing, and lands a right uppercut. Till misses a head kick. Bit of a left from Till. These two have settled into a really odd rhythm. Whittaker lands a calf kick. Till with a leg kick. Left from Till and he lands a combination to follow up. Whittaker kicks the calf again, Till is feeling those at this point. Whittaker lands a right. Bit of a left from Whittaker. Till lands another straight left. They clinch, Whittaker with uppercuts as they break. Whittaker drives forward, lands a bit of a punch as Till defends a takedown attempt. Lunging right from Whittaker. They stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Till, 38-38 overall

ROUND FIVE: Whittaker lands a right to get the last round going. Till defends a single leg attempt. Left from Till. Whittaker misses a right. Till misses a head kick. Whittaker lands a front kick to the body. Inside leg kick from Whittaker. Whittaker lands a left as he abandons a takedown attempt. Till with a left but he’s a lot of one and done. They trade lefts. Again Till finds a left. Whittaker kicks the calf again. Again that calf kick from Whittaker. Again Whittaker reaches for a single leg, abandons it and lands a left on the break. Whittaker slips a left and lands a front kick. Till lands a stepping elbow and Whittaker is cut around the left ear of Whittaker. Calf kick from Whittaker then a single leg but Whittaker wall walks but is stuck with Whittaker on his back. Another takedown from Whittaker, Till up but mat returned again. Knees from Whittaker as they get chest to chest and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Whittaker, 48-47 Whittaker overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Robert Whittaker via unanimous decision (48-47 x3)

Much needed win for Whittaker there, but Till had his moments to be sure. Also very cautious stuff from both men, the pressure on them was evident. Mic time for Whittaker, he says the fight was incredibly stressful and hopes the fans can appreciate the technical stuff both men were doing. He notes things went back and forth all fight but he feels the takedowns helped get him across the finish line. He reiterates this is one of the most technical fights he’s ever had then mentions Till was countering him very hard so he adjusted to the calf kicks to work on the planted leg. Asked about the future he just wants to spend time with his family right now, then get back to the gym and help his teammates out preparing for their upcoming fights.

On that note everyone thanks for reading along, or live after the fact. I’m not picky about when you read, just grateful that you do. We’ll unpack this event tomorrow on the 411 Ground and Pound Podcast, plus preview next weeks somewhat diminished card. I’ll be back for that card, with a brand new 3 round main event between Edmen Shahbazyan and Derek Brunson. I hope you’ll return as well. Until then thanks again, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC on ESPN, Robert Winfree