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411’s UFC on ESPN+ 17 Report 9.21.19

September 22, 2019 | Posted by Robert Winfree
Jeremy Stephens UFC

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET)
#7 Yair Rodriguez (145 lbs.) vs. #8 Jeremy Stephens (145 lbs.)
#8 Carla Esparza (115 lbs.) vs. #9 Alexa Grasso (116 lbs.)
Askar Askarov (125 lbs.) vs. #9 Brandon Moreno (124 lbs.)
#10 Irene Aldana (135 lbs.) vs. Vanessa Melo (140 lbs.)*
Martin Bravo (144 lbs.) vs. Steven Peterson (146 lbs.)

Carlos Huachin (136 lbs.) vs. Jose Quinonez (134 lbs.)
Kyle Nelson (146 lbs.) vs. Marco Polo Reyes (145 lbs.)
Ariane Carnelossi (112 lbs.) vs. Angela Hill (115 lbs.)
Tyson Nam (126 lbs.) vs. #5 Sergio Pettis (124 lbs.)
Paul Craig (206 lbs.) vs. Vinicius Moreira (206 lbs.)
#15 Bethe Correia (136 lbs.) vs. #14 Sijara Eubanks (135 lbs.)
Marcos Mariano (154 lbs.) vs. Claudio Puelles (155 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 17. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening, relaying all of the action to you just as I see it. Tonight the UFC is back in Mexico City, so if you want to get completely wasted take a drink every time commentary mentions the altitude, and they brought a card that’s heavy on nationalism but isn’t all that great on paper. The main event is a relevant fight as rugged veteran Jeremy Stephens battles Yair Rodriguez. This is Rodriguez’s first appearance since his battle with Chan Sung Jung last year but he’s looking to move towards the title picture. The co-main event sees Alexa Grasso get a chance to finally move from prospect to legitimate contender as she looks for her first UFC winning streak at the expense of former champion Carla Esparza. Beyond that’s there’s some slim pickings, Tyson Nam is making his UFC debut against Sergio Pettis and Marco Polo Reyes is usually good for an entertaining scrap, but it’s a lot of hoping the fights are better in practice than they are on paper.

UFC on ESPN+ 17 comes to the world from Mecixo City Arena in Mexico City, Mexico. On commentary we have Brendan Fitzgerald and Michael Bisping while Heidi Androl will handle on site reporting. We’ll be using the newer rule set tonight but I’m not sure which version of the downed opponent we’re using so I’m going to assume it’s the newer definition which means you only need one hand down but you do need the palm or fist to be flat on the mat. The language around scoring is also clearer and more encouraging of 10-8’s. We will have the limited use of instant replay.

Claudio Puelles has gone 1-1 in the UFC, dropping his debut then scoring a comeback win in his last bout. Puelles is now looking for his first UFC winning streak. Marcos Mariano lost his UFC debut and is trying to get the all important first UFC win under his belt. Puelles is the -370 favorite against +290 for Mariano.

Lightweight Bout: Marcos Mariano (6-5, 154 lbs.) vs. Claudio Puelles (8-2, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Mariano is two inches taller and has four inches of reach over Puelles. Southpaw for Puelles, they touch gloves. Mariano fires a kick, Puelles didn’t like that and shoots a single leg that gets Mariano down along the fence. Puelles is trying to stop him from wall walking, Mariano can’t quite get up and Puelles has mounted his legs. There’s not a lot going on, Puelles steps over and grabs a kimura but he can’t finish the roll and winds up on his back looking to finish the lock. Mariano stops him from hitting a sweep and settles into the guard of Puelles. Half guard for Mariano for the moment, but the ref stands them up. I don’t agree with that one. Mariano misses a wheel kick, Puelles pushes to a clinch and gets the action to the fence. Puelles gets a double leg and pulled Mariano away from the fence before getting that slam. Mariano goes to a body triangle from the bottom, he’s just looking to stall and given how fast he ref broke them up the first time it seems like a viable strategy. PUelles’ striking offense isn’t doing much so far. The round will come to an end in that position.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Puelles

ROUND TWO: Both men miss some punches, then Puelles hits a double leg to side control. Half guard now for Mariano but he’s not all that skilled on the mat. Puelles is looking to pass, and he does into full mount. Mariano is able to get half guard, Puelles lands a couple of short elbows. Full guard now for Mariano, Puelles is looking to stuff him against the fence. Some body shots now from Puelles, he’s not doing a whole lot but he’s doing enough to keep the position and continue winning the fight. Puelles lands an elbow. Mariano has nothing off of his back. Puelles lands a few more lefts to the body and head. Another flurry of elbows from Puelles bring the round to a close.

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

ROUND THREE: Mariano lands a body kick. They trade kicks but Puelles gets a high crotch lift and takedown into side control almost without resistance. Half guard now for Puelles, and he’s back to bits of strikes while looking to pass again. Puelles keeps fishing for a kimura, he moves to side control, and starts spinning around. Puelles has the double wrist lock, Bisping incorrectly says you can’t grab your own shorts and implores the ref to do something. The kimura gets close as Puelles steps over the head but he can’t finish it as Mariano has a hold of his own shorts. Unless they changed that rule it is perfectly legal to grab your own shorts, which gets confirmed by commentary and Bisping apologizes for his error. Puelles moves to half guard again, he’s landing a few blows here and there as he’s looking to get full mount. There’s full mount for Puelles and he’s looking to unload but Mariano shrimps to half guard. Puelles back to full mount, lands some blows but the clock is going to save Mariano.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Puelles, 30-25 overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Claudio Puelles via unanimous decision (30-25 x3)

Mariano shouldn’t be in the UFC. Puelles with probably his most complete performance so far, no interview though.

Sijara Eubanks just lost in her return to bantamweight after the weight cut to flyweight proved too draining, now she’s trying to rebound from that loss and get her first win in the bantamweight division under the UFC banner. Bethe Correira has gone a whopping 1-4-1 in her last six fights, missed weight badly for her last fight, and hasn’t won since scoring a split decision win over Jessica Eye in 2016. Correira needs a win in the worst kind of way here. The odds are with Eubanks at -280 against a +230 payout for Correia.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: #15 Bethe Correia (10-4-1, 136 lbs.) vs. #14 Sijara Eubanks (4-3, 135 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Correia is an inch taller while Eubanks has three inches of reach advantage. Circling from both women. Bit of a right from Eubanks. A few inside leg kicks land for Eubanks, Correia eats a left hook. They trade punches in the pocket for a second. Eubanks with a leg kick, but there’s a bit of a counter from Correia. A brief flurry from Correia lands in close. Eubanks lands a left hook. Another left hook lands for Eubanks. Correia lands a right. Another clean right lands for Correia. Eubanks punches then lands a double leg into half guard. Correia works herself to the fence and is looking to wall walk, Eubanks working to keep her flat on a hip. Eubanks lands a few punches while flattening out Correia as Correia gets full guard. Eubanks lands a series of rights to the body and head as she passes to half guard. Hard lefts from Eubanks as she’s got Correia tied up along the fence. The round will end before that position can develop any further.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Eubanks

ROUND TWO: Circling again, Eubanks looking to jab. Body kick lands for Eubanks then a right to the body. Correia lands a bit of a right. They trade rights, then Correia land another right. Eubanks pushes in close and they trade in the clinch. Again they trade rights. Eubanks ducks under a hook and gets a clinch on the fence. Correia is able to turn her and then separate. Eubanks is circling away, Correia lands a couple of punches then a left to the body. Leg kick from Eubanks and Correia lands a couple of counter punches. Correia lands another left to the body then a short right. Eubanks with a bit of an uppercut. Correia lands another left to the body then they clinch up and Correia gets Eubanks on the fence. They separate without issue but Eubanks is the one in need of a strategy shift as Correia seems to have her number this round. A couple of body shots land for Correia. Eubanks misses a knee and eats a counter right. Correia punches into a clinch and lands lefts to the body in the clinch as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Correia, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Eubanks misses a high kick, then she lands a right hook. Correia lands a couple of jabs, Eubanks lands a leg kick. More jabs from Correia. Eubanks is coming forward now, and Correia isn’t as comfortable when backing up. Correia flurries forward with body shots. Eubanks lands a right. Stiff jab from Correia to the eye, she presses forward and Eubanks clinches up. Eubanks lands a knee to the body, Correia digs a few body shots before they break. Eubanks with a right hook in close that stunned Correia for a second. They trade rights. Another exchange of power punches. They trade lefts now. They’re clashing rather consistently, Eubanks seems to have more pop on her punches. Left hook then a right from Eubanks. Correia lands a right. They trade another couple of punches as the clock runs down.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Bethe Correia via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Of all the women’s bantamweight fights I’ve seen, that was certainly one of them. The whole scoring comes down to the third round and I’m not going to complain about Correia getting it, in fact she probably should have taken in numerically. I’m not sold at all on my scoring of that last round. No interview for Correia.

Vinicius Moreira has gone 0-2 in the UFC as he was finished by both Alonzo Menifield and Eryk Anders, now he’s likely fighting for his job as an 0-3 start tends to mean you get your walking papers. Paul Craig has been up and down in the UFC, he’s 3-4 in the promotion and is coming off of a loss now he’s trying to get his UFC record back to the .500 mark. The odds are close but favor Moreira at -120 to -110 for Craig.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Paul Craig (11-4, 206 lbs.) vs. Vinicius Moreira (9-3, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Moreira is half an inch taller while the reach is identical. Some circling to start. Moreira lands a leg kick and is backing Craig to the fence. They clinch as Moreira looks for a takedown. Craig is looking to pummel, Moreira pulls full guard in an interesting decision. Moreira is fighting for wrist control, he’s now looking to angle for an armbar but he can’t really find anything just yet. Moreira tries another triangle choke, Craig avoids it and lands a few hammer fists. Another high guard position for Moreira, they wind up scrambling and come up with Moreira after a single leg. Craig counters with a judo throw then a few knees to the head of Moreira as Moreira got up that drop him. A flurry of punches from Craig, then he gets the back as Moreira tries to roll and he locks up the choke to force a submission.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Paul Craig via Submission, rear naked choke, at 3:19 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Craig for his work this evening. Mic time for Craig, he says he needed this win to get a new UFC contract and he says talking with Bisping is a bonus in and of itself and says his book is tremendous. He talks us through the finish, mentions that Moreira pulling guard surprised him but he worked through it and feels happy with his performance. Asked when he’d like back in the cage, he jokes that he’s finally not got skinned knees and would love to fight soon then says that fighting takes so much but gives a lot as without it he’d never get to see a country like this one.

Here’s the finish, the benefit of mixing the martial arts. Craig lands knees that wobble Moreira then when he sees the chance transitions to the grappling but the way they flow together is what helps unlock everything.

Sergio Pettis is on a two fight losing streak that includes a failed return to bantamweight in his prior fight, so now he’s back at flyweight because the UFC isn’t cutting it on the schedule they originally seemed to have in mind. Pettis needs a stand out performance rather badly, he’s not finished anyone in his entire UFC run and is in serious danger of being forgotten even in a division the UFC has gutted like flyweight. Tyson Nam is a veteran of the sport who gained some notoriety a few years back when he scored a knockout upset over Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas but the fight took place outside of Bellator and he then went on a four fight losing streak. Nam is 4-1 in his last five fights and gets his UFC debut on short notice, but could make a good first impression with a win over a UFC veteran like Pettis. Pettis is the -350 favorite while the +275 comeback on Nam has to tempt some bettors out there.

Flyweight Bout: Tyson Nam (18-9-1, 126 lbs.) vs. #5 Sergio Pettis (17-5, 124 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Nam is an inch taller while Pettis has an inch of reach on him. Nam flashing the jab, Pettis content to show it as well. Pettis lands an inside leg kick and has started showing some stance switches. Bit of a right from Nam. Neither man really seems to have a real read on the other. Pettis tries a side kick to the face. More inside leg kicks from Pettis, Nam is backing him towards the fence with alarming regularity though. Bit of a right from Nam. Pettis is showing the jab, just trying to maintain distance. Nam lands a left to the body and drives Pettis to the fence. Pettis is able to spin free rather quickly. Bit of a head kick from Pettis. Nam lands a front kick to the face. Wheel kick from Pettis is blocked. Nam has a head kick blocked, he lands a left that off balances Pettis just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pettis

ROUND TWO: They both miss punches. Nam needs to be more active and make this an uglier fight, Pettis likes to fight like he’s sparring technically and Nam is accommodating that right now. Pettis misses a spinning back fist. The jab from Pettis is disrupting Nam, not really damaging but it’s stopping him from really committing. Nam lands a right hook. Pettis back to jabbing. Left hook then a right from Nam both land. Nam is starting to crowd Pettis a bit. They trade jabs but Pettis is circling the same way every time, Nam should be reading that. Pettis with a bit of a knee. Nam lands a counter right. Nam pushes into a clinch and drives Pettis into the fence but can’t keep him there as Pettis breaks free. A few jabs land for Pettis. Nam with a bit of a counter right. Nam lands a body kick. Pettis blocks a left hook then eats a jab. Nam with a bit of a right. Pettis misses a capoeira kick, and ends the round on his back.

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

ROUND THREE: Pettis lands an inside leg kick. Pettis avoids a left hook and lands a right. Bit of a left from Nam. They trade elbows in close. More jabs from Pettis, Nam lands a bit of a right. Left hook from Nam, he’s finally throwing more than one punch at a time. Pettis lands a combination of punches. Near head kick from Pettis, Nam responds with a right hook. Pettis lands a three punch combination, he’s just slicker with his technique and Nam hasn’t forced him out of his comfort zone all fight. Nam bulls into another clinch but can’t retain it. Nam lands a right elbow in close. Flush right from Nam. Pettis with a counter right after slipping a left. Nam digs a couple of body shots. Pettis with a front kick to the face. Nam lunges into another clinch, Pettis lands a knee as he breaks. Another clinch with just ten seconds left, and that’s where the fight will end.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sergio Pettis via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Pettis remains a really good technician who struggles to get anyone to care. No interview for Pettis.

Ariane Carnelossi brings an impressive twelve fight winning streak into her UFC debut, which she gets on short notice but she could prove herself UFC worthy with a win. Angela Hill is just 1-3 in her last four fights and is coming off of a loss to Yan Xiaonan, she needs a win to avoid her second losing streak during this her second UFC stint. Hill is your -130 favorite to +100 for Carnelossi.

Strawweight Bout: Ariane Carnelossi (12-1, 112 lbs.) vs. Angela Hill (9-7, 115 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Hill is an inch taller but has three inches of reach advantage. Carnelossi comes out pushing forward and they trade rights. More rights are traded and they clinch up. Both women with knees to the body, Hill lands an elbow as they break. Carnelossi with a bit of a one two. They clinch up again and trade knees. Hill winds up on the fence as they jockey for position. Carnelossi looks for a takedown, Hill defends and spins free. Carnelossi is still pressing forward looking to break Hill down with pressure and pace. Hill is circling more now, lands a right but eats a counter. Right from Hill but Carnelossi just eats it and clinches up. Hill gets Carnelossi on the fence and they’re trading knees to the body. Hill breaks free and resumes circling. Carnelossi is coming forward and lands to the body but eats a counter knee. Leg kick from Carnelossi. Hill lands a right, and eats a counter punch. Carnelossi lands a leg kick but eats a counter left. Another leg kick from Carnelossi. Hill with a stepping knee then an elbow in close. Carnelossi lands a calf kick. Both women land in close after Hill landed a knee to the body. That will basically end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hill

ROUND TWO: Carnelossi resumes coming forward. Both women land some punches. Hill lands a knee as they clinch up and hit the fence. More knees from Hill before they break. Uppercut from Hill. Carnelossi lands a leg kick. Left from Carnelossi lands. Hill with a long right. Carnelossi lands a right. Carnelossi lands a calf kick and they trade punches. Body kick from Carnelossi, she’s starting to get to Hill more this round. Hill lands a knee but eats a couple of counter punches. Hill is slowing down, per usual for her at about this point in a fight. Carnelossi continuing to pressure and lands a couple of hooks. Hill with a body kick. Carnelossi lands a right after avoiding an elbow. Carnelossi lands a leg kick but walked into an elbow. Hill with a right, then a body kick but eats a leg kick. Carnelossi still coming forward, lands a couple of lefts. Hill lands a knee, then a right. Carnelossi lands a leg kick. They clinch up again and trade in the clinch before breaking. Hill with a body kick to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hill but a closer one, 20-18 Hill overall

ROUND THREE: Carnelossi coming forward, lands a bit of a right. Left to the body from Carnelossi, Hill lands a right but Carnelossi is in her face more now. Leg kick from Carnelossi. Hill circling and landing punches but Carnelossi is just eating them without issue. Carnelossi lands a few punches. Right lands for Carnelossi, then a combination to the body and head, Hill lands a knee. Hill with another knee then a right. Carnelossi lands a right to counter an elbow strike. They trade rights, Carnelossi is going to the body now but it might be a bit too late for that. They clinch up, trade and break. Carnelossi got a cut from an elbow and as they break the ref wants the doctor to look at that cut. It’s on the left eyebrow/eyelid and the doctor waves this one off.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Angela Hill via TKO, doctor stoppage due to a cut, at 1:56 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Hill for her work this evening. Mic time for Hill, she feels great and is happy to make up for her awful fight from 2015. She likes showing that Muay Thai can do well in the cage, and mentions how hard she worked in Mexico to be prepared for this fight.

This is the elbow that cut her, I’ll try and find a look at the cut itself as well. Hill was finding this elbow consistently, I’m a little surprised Carnelossi’s face lasted as long as it did.

Marco Polo Reyes is just 1-3 in his last four fights and is on a two fight losing streak that has seen him finished in both of those losses, now he’s trying to rebound with a move to featherweight. Kyle Nelson has gone 0-2 in the UFC, he’s likely fight for his job tonight. The odds for this one closed at a -115 pick ’em.

Featherweight Bout: Kyle Nelson (12-3, 146 lbs.) vs. Marco Polo Reyes (8-6, 145 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two have identical heights and reaches. Circling to start, Nelson with a bit of a left. Reyes circling, eats a body kick. Bit of a flurry from Reyes. Nelson parries a body kick and gets a clinch off of it. Rather easy body lock takedown from Nelson, Reyes wall walks and they trade knees to the body. Nelson lands to the body and head, wobbles Reyes and Nelson just unloads and forces a standing stoppage from the ref.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Matt Nelson via KO, punches, at 1:36 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Nelson for his work this evening. Mic time for Nelson, he says he could have kept hitting Reyes but there’s no point in a fighter taking more damage than is necessary. He notes he’s worked for fourteen years to get his first UFC win then thanks his coaches and family for sticking with him even with the back to back losses he suffered.

Here’s the finish. Nelson lands an elbow that cuts Reyes and wobbles him, finds a follow up right that basically ends his night. I’m completely alright with that stoppage, Reyes looks completely out on his feet as the ref waves it off.

Jose Alberto Quinonez has gone 4-2 in the UFC and just had a four fight winning streak snapped by top prospect Nathaniel Wood, now he’s looking to rebound from that loss and score another win in his home country. Carlos Huachin dropped his UFC debut earlier this year, now he’s trying to rebound and get his first UFC win. The odds are close but favor Quinonez at -140 to a +110 comeback for Huachin.

Bantamweight Bout: Carlos Huachin (10-4-2, 136 lbs.) vs. Jose Quinonez (7-3, 134 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Quinonez is three inches taller and has two inches of reach over Huachin. Southpaw for Huachin. Quinonez is circling and looking to keep things long, he’s probing with kicks so far. Bit of a right from Quinonez. They clash and Quinonez drops Huachin with a right, he follows him down but Huachin is able to fight him off and get back up. Huachin avoids a knee tap attempt. Quinonez lands a right and avoids a counter hook. Huachin swings a left that’s blocked. Quinonez circling and jabbing, Huachin is very flat on his feet so far. Huachin is able to land a glancing left. The range and mobility of Quinonez is giving Huachin a lot of problems, Huachin needs to close distance and fight in close if at all possible. Huachin lands a left, but he’s eating a lot of inside leg kicks that are getting to him. They trade a bit, Huachin is starting to come forward now instead of just spin in a circle while Quinonez moves. Quinonez avoids a few hooks, lands an inside leg kick and eats a bit of a counter. Huachin lands a counter right hook. Quinonez lands a pull back right then a bit of a head kick. Inside leg kick from Quinonez and then they trade rights. Quinonez lands another inside leg kick as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Quinonez

ROUND TWO: Quinonez back to circling and striking at distance. Huachin is moving more this round, he lands a couple of body shots in close. Huachin definitely targeting the body this round, good idea given the height difference. Quinonez lands a right then an inside leg kick. Huachin lands a right to counter an inside leg kick. Quinonez lands an inside leg kick. Knee tap from Quinonez and he’s got Huachin down in half guard. Quinonez looks to posture up and land blows. Left lands for Quinonez. Huachin is trying to scoot, he gets full guard as he’s trying to get to the fence. Quinonez lands an elbow. Huachin kicks him off and regains his feet. Quinonez lands an inside leg kick but eats a jab. A few body kicks from Quinonez land. Huachin fires a left that’s partially blocked. Quinonez lands another inside leg kick, again Huachin looks to counter with hooks. Quinonez fires a head kick that’s blocked. Huaching pushes forward but just eats a couple of jabs before the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Quinonez is back to circling and gets a takedown as Huachin tries to push forward. Full guard for Huachin. Quinonez lands a few short elbows and punches. Quinonez moves to half guard and lands a few more elbows. More short elbows from Quinonez, Huachin is flat on his back looking for the ref to help him, the ref isn’t having that. Huachin is looking for a butterfly hook but Quinonez moves to full on half guard again. Quinonez lands some more short elbows, Huachin is able to get his feet in play and kick him off then regain his feet. Huachin is coming forward but he eats a couple of kicks to the leg and body. Short counter right from Quinonez. Huachin lands a right, and eats a counter right. Quinonez thinks about a takedown, Huachin blocks it and complains of an eye poke but the ref says fight on. Huachin lands a right hook. Quinonez blocks a high kick, bit of a punch combination from Huachin. Quinonez continues playing effective defense as time runs out.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jose Quinonez via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Smart all around fight from Quinonez, who gets an interview. He thanks his opponent and plays a bit with the crowd.

That ends preliminary action, though we’re still on ESPN+ for the main card.

Martin Bravo has gone just 1-2 in the UFC, he’s yet to win in the promotion since winning the third season of TUF: Latin America. Despite holding the title of TUF winner if he drops three fights in a row he could easily be cut from the UFC. Steven Peterson has gone just 1-3 in the UFC with his lone win being a split decision. Peterson is currently on a two fight losing streak and trying to break that skid. The odds are with Bravo at -125 to a -105 comeback for Peterson.

Featherweight Bout: Martin Bravo (11-2, 144 lbs.) vs. Steven Peterson (17-9, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Peterson is two inches taller while Bravo has an inch and a half of reach advantage. Circling to start, both men feinting just a bit. Bravo falls short on a few punches. They trade low kicks. Peterson lands a leg kick and eats a couple of counters. Bravo lands a jab and eats a leg kick. Double leg from Bravo is successful, Peterson closes his guard and looks to land some elbows then just kicks Bravo off and regains his feet. Bravo lands a right and is pushing Peterson to the fence. Bravo lands some body shots then a spinning back kick to the body. Peterson misses a spinning back kick. More pressure from Bravo and a body kick. Bravo drops Peterson with a punch, Peterson is back up but absorbs more body damage. Jabs from Bravo, Peterson lands a right. Peterson can’t move his head to save his life and Bravo is hitting him almost at will. Bravo digs the body a few times. Body kick from Bravo then an uppercut. Peterson lands a jab. Bravo slips a couple of punches and lands a counter. Peterson with another jab and Bravo kicks him in the abdomen. Bravo lands a right then a body kick. Peterson with a right and a body kick of his own. Bravo has started head hunting a bit, and it’s letting Peterson back into the fight. They trade again in close as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Bravo

ROUND TWO: Bravo lands a body kick but Peterson is coming forward now. They trade rights and Bravo gets a double leg into the guard of Peterson. Bravo gets some strikes off before Peterson kicks him off and regains his feet. Bravo with a jab and a bit of a right. Peterson lands a right. Bravo lands a right and Peterson is backing up. They both try spinning back fists, Bravo’s misses and Peterson’s doesn’t, Bravo falls like a tree and this one is over.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Steven Peterson via KO, spinning back fist, at 1:31 of Round 2

Mic time for Peterson after that probably bonus winner of a finish. He says he trained to be dynamic all around, he tries a bit of Spanish to suck up a bit to the crowd which they seem to appreciate. He mentions knowing he needed a finish, also knows he dropped the first round feeling things out but did find the timing in the second and spun to counter his opponents spin.

Spinning to counter your opponents spin is a tried and true bit of technique in karate circles, and here you can see why. Nice timing from Peterson to counter that motion and Bravo winds up falling like a tree. Just take a listen to that impact.

Irene Aldana just had a three fight winning streak broken when she lost a close split decision to Raquel Pennington, she’s trying to get back on the winning side of things and get her first win in her home country since 2013. Vanessa Melo brings a five fight winning streak into her UFC debut, she took this fight on very short notice which will somewhat mitigate her disastrous weight cut that saw her miss by several pounds. Melo is hoping a win will ease over the badly missed weight and set her up for another bout in the UFC. The odds are with Aldana at a prohibitive -650 to a hefty +475 comeback on Melo.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: #10 Irene Aldana (10-5, 135 lbs.) vs. Vanessa Melo (10-5, 140 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Aldana is four inches taller and has three and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Aldana circling and looking to jab, Melo misses a few hooks. More jabs and the occasional body kick from Aldana. One two from Aldana lands. Aldana lands a straight right then a heavy leg kick. Another leg kick from Aldana. Melo lands a left, and eats a counter left. Melo lands to the body but is struggling to consistently close distance. Aldana lands a left to the body then another calf kick. Jabs from Aldana and she blocks a couple of punches. Right to the body from Aldana. More body shots from Aldana, she looks really dialed in so far. Aldana digs the body again. Melo just keeps plodding forward onto offense and isn’t really finding much of her own. Aldana lands a few leg kicks and a jab. Bit of a left from Melo but she eats a couple of body shots for it. Aldana with a one two then a follow up right. Another leg kick from Aldana lands. Those leg kicks from Aldana are adding up, she digs the body a few times then lands a right. A superman punch then a missed flying knee from Aldana close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Aldana given how one sided it was

ROUND TWO: Aldana is back to work, and lands a left hook. Right to the body from Aldana and she covers up as Melo tries to flurry forward. More jabs from Aldana and a leg kick. Aldana lands a straight right and avoids a few hooks. Melo keeps walking forward but she’s not really finding much offensively. Another left hook from Aldana. Spinning back kick from Aldana lands. More body work from Aldana and a few inside leg kicks. Melo tries a single leg, Aldana shucks her off and punches her for that. Aldana with more jabs to the body and head. Aldana lands a right. Melo avoids a one two but is way out of position to counter. Aldana lands a leg kick. More jabs from Aldana, Melo lands a left during a blitz. They both miss head kicks then Aldana lands a right. The lead hand of Aldana is keeping Melo at a very uncomfortable distance. Aldana lands a right. bit of a right from Melo, they trade a bit in close as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Aldana, 20-17 Aldana overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Aldana back to work, lands a head kick but Melo gets a clinch off of it. Knee from Aldana as she spins free. Aldana is back to attacking the body. Melo lands a left, she’s closing distance more this round. Aldana with a few straight punches and she’s backing up Melo now. Aldana barely misses a wheel kick then goes back to attacking the body. Leg kick from Aldana. Aldana lands another right, Melo lands a body kick. Left hook lands for Aldana. Aldana lands a left to the body then a leg kick. Melo avoids a few offensive moves but can’t capitalize on that. Aldana lands to the body again then a one two. Aldana lands a right. Melo’s lack of head movement is an issue, Aldana’s jab is there all night. Aldana with a combination of blows. More jabs from Aldana then a few rights. More rights from Aldana, she’s pouring on offense but won’t find a finish before time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Aldana, another near 10-8, 30-26 Aldana overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Irene Aldana via unanimous decision (30-26 x3)

Well that was a one sided beating. Mic time for Aldana she says it’s great to fight in Mexico after all those years and winning on this stage is a dream come true. Asked who she’d like next she still wants to fight at the top of the division and wants to get her way back into the top five.

Brandon Moreno was cut from the UFC last year when they were getting rid of every flyweight who lost or wouldn’t move up to bantamweight, he’s won a single fight since then but is back in the UFC for at least this event in Mexico. Askar Askarov is undefeated coming into his UFC debut and is trying to spoil the homecoming of Moreno by remaining perfect as a professional fighter. The odds are with Askarov at -180 while a Moreno win would payout at +150.

Flyweight Bout: Askar Askarov (10-0, 125 lbs.) vs. #9 Brandon Moreno (15-5, 124 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Moreno is an inch taller but has three inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going, Askarov fighting southpaw. Both men miss early, just range finding attacks. Askarov lands an inside leg kick. They get close and Askarov uses a single leg to drive Moreno to the fence and he moves to the back standing. Slam from Askarov, Moreno tries to scramble but can’t get on top. Half guard for Moreno, Askarov lands a few shoulder strikes and moves to the ride position as Moreno looks to wall walk. Askarov gets the back with a body triangle locked in. A few rights and elbows land for Askarov, he’s more trying to open up submission attempts than anything else. More elbows from Askarov, he nearly locks up a triangle as Moreno spins into him. Full guard for Askarov, he’s got an active guard thus far and is landing more elbows from his back. Moreno lands a couple of lefts. The legs of Askarov are surprisingly active and effective. Askarov comes up on a single leg but Moreno lands a left hook that wobbles him. Moreno unable to follow up though and we’re just kind of hanging out on the feet. They trade punches. Moreno runs away from a takedown attempt that will bring the round to an end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Askarov but a close one

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Moreno circling, eats a body kick. Askarov is showing stance switches now. Moreno lands a couple of punches, they clinch up and Askarov gets a takedown along the fence. Moreno is looking to wall walk. Askarov moves towards the back, Moreno rolls to his back and tries to reset his wall walk. Askarov with another mat return, Moreno back up and looking to swing. Moreno avoids a single leg and lands a body shot. Askarov drives into a clinch and has the back looking for a mat return. Lefts from Askarov land as he’s looking to get this to the mat. Bit of a slam from Askarov and he lands in side control. Moreno is looking to shrimp, Askarov puts himself in half guard to control his lower body more. Punches from Askarov, Moreno off balances him with an ankle pick and we’re back on the feet. Both men land punches, Askarov then drives Moreno to the fence again. Single leg attempt from Askarov, he moves to the back and sweeps the legs out from under him to land in side control again. Moreno to his knees and is back up, they both then miss punches before he can separate. Moreno looks tired and isn’t moving as well. They clinch again but in open space this time. Askarov with knees then a right that lands flush. Moreno lands a left to the body but he’s visibly slowing. Askarov ducks into a high kick, Moreno jumps on top of him but can’t get much going. Moreno with a bit of a reverse triangle position, that’s where the round will end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Moreno but another close one, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They hug for the last round. Both men are tired, and given the pace I don’t blame either of them. Moreno lands a right. They clinch, Moreno gets a trip takedown and Askarov gets full guard. Askarov lands a couple of elbows and tries to get his guard in play, he’s unable to lock up an omoplata and Moreno lands a left. They trade more punches and elbows. Askarov seems content to play guard rather than try to get up or sweep the position. Moreno looks to pass, Askarov tries to sweep him but can’t complete it. Elbows from Askarov, Moreno lands a punch and gets the back as Askarov tries to roll. Body triangle for Moreno and he’s nearly got the choke. Askarov is hand fighting and will break the grip. Moreno lands a few weak punches as Askarov is looking to turn into him. Time is running down as Askarov turn into top position and will end the fight on top in the guard of Moreno.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: DRAW split (28-28, 28-29, 30-27)

Not sure about a 10-8 for Moreno in the third, but I’m not complaining about the outcome overall. No interview for either man.

Carla Esparza just broke a two fight losing streak with a win over a promotional debutante, she’s trying to get her first winning streak since 2017 up and running. Alexa Grasso had some hype when she debuted in the UFC but has traded wins and losses while going 3-2 in the promotion. Grasso is coming off of her best performance in the UFC though and is trying to prove she’s finally found her stride in the UFC. Grasso is your -140 favorite to a +110 comeback on Esparza.

Strawweight Bout: #8 Carla Esparza (14-6, 115 lbs.) vs. #9 Alexa Grasso (11-2, 116 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Grasso is four inches taller and has three inches of reach advantage over Esparza. They touch gloves to get us going. Grasso is looking to establish the jab. Quick couple of punches land for Grasso. A few more jabs from Grasso, Esparza misses a few punches and eats a counter. Grasso lands a right to counter a leg kick that stunned Esparza for a second or two. Jab from Grasso, Esparza counters with a right. Both women land in close, then Grasso lands a few more jabs. Right from Grasso lands. Esparza lands a leg kick, and then eats a counter right. Double leg from Esparza but Grasso nearly gets her back in a scramble but Esparza is able to keep her on her back. Full guard for Grasso. Grasso kicks Esparza off and stands, stuffs a takedown and barely misses a head kick. They clash on rights. Grasso lands a counter right. They clinch up and Grasso gets Esparza on the fence and starts landing knees. Esparza spins Grasso but is still on the wrong end of most of the offense. Esparza gets spun again and winds up hitting that god awful head and arm take over but Grasso nearly has the back of Esparza now. Esparza’s squeezing of the head is all that’s saving her from having her back taken. Grasso escapes and lands a left hook. One two from Grasso, she avoids a takedown attempt and then staggers Esparza with a right as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Grasso but a close one

ROUND TWO: Esparza is looking to set up another takedown, Grasso lands a right and a left. Lunging left hook lands for Grasso but Esparza gets her down off of it and lands in her guard. Grasso now fighting for wrist control but can’t keep it. They trade body shots, Grasso has Esparza kind of tied up here. Esparza lands some punches but there’s not much on them. Bit of an elbow from Esparza. Grasso tries to escape, gives up her back but is able to turn into her and they scramble back up in the clinch then Grasso lands a left hook as they break. Grasso off balances Esparza with a right. They trade rights but Grasso is still working in combinations. Esparza is after a takedown, Grasso tries a sweep but can’t finish it and instead locks up her guard. Esparza looks to posture up, Grasso hits a sweep just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Esparza, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Grasso likely needs a finish, at a minimum a big round. Bit of a right from Grasso lands. Grasso with an uppercut. They trade rights, Grasso lands a left hook that wobbles Esparza and looks to follow up. Grasso misses a kick and that might give Esparza enough time to recover. Esparza lands a right. Grasso might have missed her window there as she blocks a takedown attempt. Esparza after another takedown, Grasso blocks it. Grasso blocks another takedown and is backing Esparza to the fence. One two from Grasso, she counters a takedown attempt with an armbar attack from the back but Esparza is able to smother through it. Full guard for Grasso, she’s got got a hold of the arm and is looking to switch, she’s got the arm nearly locked up. Grasso switches her attack, nearly breaks the arm of Esparza before Esparza gets her arm free and resumes top control. Triangle position from Grasso now as she lands elbows. They trade some blows, Grasso is actually the busier party thus far. Near sweep from Grasso but she can’t finish it. Grasso is back up and free with twenty seconds left. She wobbles Esparza with another left hook and looks to swarm. Another right from Grasso, Esparza’s nose is busted up as the clock runs down.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Carla Esparza via majority decision (28-28, 29-28 x2)

I don’t agree with Esparza getting the first round, her takedown amounted to nothing. Mic time for Esparza, she tries to suck up to the crowd by putting over Grasso, feels she won the first two rounds and you can win a fight by only winning two rounds even if you lose the last one badly. The crowd is still pissed.

The broadcast confirms the recently broken news that a featherweight title fight between champion Max Holloway and top contender Alexander Volkanovksi will take place at UFC 245. That’s a great fight.

Yair Rodriguez has been out of action for nearly a year since his crazy KO of the year against Chan Sung Jung in November of 2018, he’s trying to get his first UFC winning streak since 2017 up and running here. Jeremy Stephens is on a two fight losing streak, dropping bouts with all time great Jose Aldo as well as up and comer Zabit Magomedsharipov now he’s trying to avoid a three fight losing streak and get his career back on track. The odds are very close but lean towards Rodriguez at -125 to -105 for Stephens.

Featherweight Bout: #7 Yair Rodriguez (11-2, 145 lbs.) vs. #8 Jeremy Stephens (28-16, 145 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Rodriguez is two inches taller but the reach is identical. Some circling at first, Stephens feinting. Rodriguez opens with leg kicks, and then pokes Stephens in the eye accidentally. Replay confirms the eye rake, might have hit both of them as Stephens is in some pain. Stephens can’t even open his left eye, the ref is going to give Stephens a bit to recover before the doctor checks on him. They’re going to give him the five minutes for his eye to relax and try to stop spasming, well there’s 2 minutes left on that clock. The time is up and the doctor is going to check on his eye, trying to just get the muscles to relax enough so he can open it. He can’t, his eye physically wont open and the crowd start chucking cups and bottles at the cage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: No Contest, accidental eye poke, at :15 of Round 1

That really sucks, but that’s why you can’t paw with an open hand. Stephens is ushered out of the cage before the decision is read, and Rodriguez is really emotional as this meant a lot to him. Rodriguez will get some mic time, he apologizes and notes how hard both of them trained for this and offers to run it back with Stephens. Asked to confirm he’s interested in revisiting the fight he says he doesn’t care who he fights, he’s just ready to keep fighting and then plays to the crowd a bit.

OK, here’s the foul. You can see the fingertips and possibly nails of Rodriguez swipe down the eyes of Stephens, speculation seems to be some kind of corneal abrasion to Stephens as the man literally couldn’t open his eye after this.

Well that’s a disaster for the UFC, but it happens and with enough fights over enough time repeated enough times it’ll happen to the main event. That will close out UFC on ESPN+ 17, an event that certainly occurred. There were a few good finishes, some wonky decisions, and all the wackiness that seems inherent to MMA. We’ll unpack this event Sunday on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast, as well as preview UFC on ESPN+ 18 next week when the UFC debuts in Denmark. I’ll be back next Saturday morning for that event and I hope you’ll be back for that one. Until then stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC on ESPN+ 17, Robert Winfree