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411’s UFC on ESPN+ 25 Report: Blachowicz Wins

February 16, 2020 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC on ESPN+ 25

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET)
#5 Corey Anderson (205 lbs.) vs. #6 Jan Blachowicz (206 lbs.)
Michel Pereira (170 lbs.) vs. Diego Sanchez (171 lbs.)
#13 Mara Romero Borella (125 lbs.) vs. #12 Montana De La Rosa (126 lbs.)
Kazula Vargas (156 lbs.) vs. Brok Weaver (156 lbs.)
#7 Rogerio Bontorin (126 lbs.) vs. Ray Borg* (128 lbs.)
Yancy Medeiros (155 lbs.) vs. Lando Vannata (156 lbs.)

PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+, 5 p.m. ET)
Tim Means (171 lbs.) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (171 lbs.)
#13 John Dodson (133.5 lbs.) vs. Nathaniel Wood (136 lbs.)
Scott Holtzman (156 lbs.) vs. Jim Miller (156 lbs.)
Devin Clark (205 lbs.) vs. Dequan Townsend (202 lbs.)
Merab Dvalishvili (136 lbs.) vs. #13 Casey Kenney (135.5 lbs.)
#12 Macy Chiasson (135 lbs.) vs. Shanna Young (134 lbs.)
#13 Mark De La Rosa (126 lbs.) vs. #14 Raulian Paiva (126 lbs.)


Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 25. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening, relaying all of the action to you good people just as I see it. The UFC is in New Mexico for the first time since 2014 for this event and they brought a card with some local flair but not a lot of hype. The main event could possibly crown the next challenger at light heavyweight, assuming that Dominick Reyes doesn’t get an immediate rematch, when Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz have their rematch. Anderson won the first encounter and is really hoping to get a title shot. Beyond that this card has some slim pickings, but Jim Miller is fighting and he’s always good for a scrap. In all honesty the best fight on this entire card, on paper, is on the prelims when rising prospect Nathaniel Wood takes a step up in competition against former title challenger John Dodson. Despite the lackluster status of this card on paper we can always hope for great action in practice.

UFC on ESPN+ 25 comes to the world from Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, USA. On commentary we have Brendan Fitzgerald and Daniel Cormier, Laura Sanko handling on site reporting and Trevor Wittman chiming in from time to time. As for the rules, old rule set and no instant replay. So basically the worst of all possible worlds when it comes to regulatory affairs. I’ll try to keep the old scoring criteria in mind when I give my scores.

Mark De La Rosa has gone 2-3 in the UFC and is on a two fight losing streak, he’s got to get back on the winning side of things if he wants to make a run at flyweight. Raulian Paiva has gone 0-2 in the UFC, somewhat mitigated by his last fight being called off due to a nasty cut during a very enjoyable fight. Paiva is after his first UFC win, and likely his job as going 0-3 in a division the UFC doesn’t really want anyway probably gets you cut. Despite being winless in the UFC Paiva is the favorite at -280 to a +230 comeback on De La Rosa.

Flyweight Bout: #13 Mark De La Rosa (11-3, 126 lbs.) vs. #14 Raulian Paiva (18-3, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Paiva is two inches taller and has four and a half inches of reach advantage. A bit of stance switching from De La Rosa early, he lands a leg kick. Both men with glancing rights, Paiva generally has the center of the cage but neither man is doing much in terms of backing the other up. De La Rosa lands a right to the body. Paiva lands an uppercut and stuffs a takedown attempt then pushes De La Rosa into the fence. Small knees from Paiva before they break and reset. De La Rosa swings to the body then they trade rights to the head. Paiva lands a left hook in close. Paiva is backing De La Rosa into the fence, they both land punches as De La Rosa looks to get off of the cage. They clinch up and De La Rosa winds up on the cage. Paiva lands some knees to the thigh before they break. De La Rosa lands a right to the body then a left hook. Stiff jab from De La Rosa. Both men land punches, Paiva landed an uppercut. Solid right from Paiva, De La Rosa fires back as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Paiva

ROUND TWO: Paiva back to pressuring forward, he’s working some front kicks to the body this time. De La Rosa checks a leg kick. They wind up clinched again, De La Rosa is struggling to get off of the fence again. Paiva back to kneeing the leg and body with double under hooks. They break and reset at distance. De La Rosa lands a right to the body but he’s leaving his head up in the air and if Paiva sees it he’ll make him pay. Paiva lands a calf kick. Jabs to the body and head from Paiva, then he misses a right. De La Rosa lands to the body again but he’s at the end of his punches most of the time. Paiva lands another jab, De La Rosa with a couple of leg kicks. Right from Paiva lands then a leg kick. They trade rights then De La Rosa avoids a clinch attempt. A few rights land for Paiva, he’s finding the right range where he can land and De La Rosa is falling short with his counters. Paiva lands another right. A right from Paiva drops De La Rosa, and this one is over after one more punch on the mat.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Raulian Paiva via KO, punches, at 4:42 of Round 2

Mic time for Paiva, he’s very happy to have gotten his first UFC win. He thanks his coaches and the work they put into his jab getting it ready and how to set up the overhand, then reiterates he’s happy. He dedicates the win to his home town and his mother as well as his coaches mom.

Have a look at the finish. De La Rosa brings his left had back low, leaving a punching lane open for Paiva. If you find yourself in a similar position, bring that left hand back high and get a little lower behind your shoulder to help avoid getting hit by this kind of punch.

Macy Chiasson is coming off of her first loss when she dropped a decision to Lina Lansberg, now she’s looking to bounce back and resume establishing herself as a bantamweight prospect. Shanna Young is making her UFC debut here, she lost her fight on the Contender Series last year but rebounded with a win in Invicta and is hoping to make a good impression to the UFC audience with a win. Chiasson is the biggest favorite on the entire card at a whopping -750 while a Young upset would payout at +500.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: #12 Macy Chiasson (5-1, 135 lbs.) vs. Shanna Young (7-2, 134 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Chiasson is four inches taller and has seven inches of reach over Young. Young with a couple of kicks early, Chiasson lands a couple of punches. Both women land punches, Young lands a combination then a left high kick. Chiasson keeps coming forward but neither woman has much defense. Left high kick from Young wobbles Chiasson for a second. They tie up and trade knees to the body. Chiasson doesn’t like the distance striking so she’s forcing the fight to be close. Young avoids a trip attempt and they resume landing knees then break. Another clinch, Young avoids a trip and moves to a front headlock position then lands a knee to the head of Chiasson. More knees from Chiasson, she’s keeping this ugly and close as they start trading knees and elbows from a double collar tie. Elbows go back and forth. More knees from Chiasson to the body, those are getting to Young. More elbows from Young and uppercuts as well now. Young can’t get out of this clinch position and Chiasson is tearing her up with knees. Young gets chest to chest but can’t get a takedown so they’re still clinched. Chiasson with the Thai clinch again, they punch more and then break. Head kick from Chiasson is partially blocked but she gets another clinch and resumes landing knees. Trip from Chiasson, Young whizzers but Chiasson gets to the ride position. Chiasson lands punches but can’t get the back before time runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Chiasson

ROUND TWO: Those two kept a crazy pace in the first round, let’s see if they can keep it up. Chiasson circling forward early. Young with a few one twos and trying to avoid a clinch position. Body kicks from Young while she’s looking to stay away. They trade rights, Young looks to unload but Chiasson gets a clinch off of it and has a front headlock. Chiasson gets a trip to land on top while Young tries to get up from he knees. Young is back up but still clinched, then she reverses a trip attempt and gets on top. Chiasson fights back up to her feet and they’re still clinched. Young is leaning her weight onto the top of Chiasson’s shoulders, but Chiasson is able to get a trip and land on top in leg drag position. Chiasson lands an elbow, Young seems a little lost in how to get out of leg drag and into a better position. Chiasson postures up and lands some hammer fists. Young looks to tie up a leg but Chiasson is keeping her flat on her back to negate that attempt. The round will close in that position, and a few more blows from Chiasson.

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

ROUND THREE: Chiasson stalking forward early. Young with a bit of an ax kick but she slips and Chiasson gets on top in the ride position. Bad decision from Young. A few rights from Chiasson land, and she’s looking for choke opportunities as well. Some more punches from Chiasson while Young is looking to set up a wall walk. Chiasson is looking to take the back fully, she’s got at least one hook from what I can see. Young winds up flattened out for a second, still just one hook in for Chiassong though. Chiasson loses the hook but is still riding well, landing some blows and floating over Young. Young tries to roll under, Chiasson moves with her and retains the ride position. Chiasson gets one hook in and is after the choke but wont get it before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Chiasson, would be 10-8 under the new rules, 30-27 Chiasson overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Macy Chiasson via unanimous decision (30-26 x3)

No issue at all with Chiasson getting a 10-8 third round even under the old rules. No interview for Chiasson though.

Casey Kenney is on a six fight winning streak including two wins in the UFC that have seen him emerge as a prospect in the bantamweight division, he’s looking to extend that streak here and start making a case for a step up in competition. Merab Dvalishvili has gone 2-2 in the UFC but is on a two fight winning streak and could make a case for being ranked in the top fifteen with a win here. The odds are close but lean towards Dvalishvili at -180 to +150 for Kenney.

Bantamweight Bout: Merab Dvalishvili (9-4, 136 lbs.) vs. #13 Casey Kenney (13-1-1, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Kenney is an inch taller but the reach is identical. They touch gloves to get us going. Kenney starts backing up Dvalishvili early. Dvalishvili lands a side kick to the body but Kenney is still marching him into the fence. Kenney lands an inside leg kick. Dvalishvili misses a couple of punches. Bit of a body kick from Kenney, Dvalishvili misses a spinning back fist. Some stance switching from Kenney now. Kenney lands a jab. A right from Kenney lands. Check right from Kenney lands. Dvalishvili with an ankle pick but he can’t get the takedown and they resume working at distance. Dvalishvili misses another spinning back fist. Kenney misses a spinning back fist. Left from Kenney lands then an inside leg kick. Dvalishvili gets a double leg, Kenney back up but Dvalishvili is still on his back working mat returns. Kenney back up against the fence, Dvalishvili gets an elevated double leg slam then lands some hammer fists. Kenney back up and free. Southpaw for Kenney at the moment, he lands a body kick then a right hook. Left from Kenney has Dvalishvili backing up. Dvalishvili tries a single leg but can’t finish it and they break. Kenney comes forward, lands a straight left that Dvalishvili did not like at all and they clinch up. Knees from Kenney while they jockey for position. Both men land knees as they break and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Dvalishvili but a close one

ROUND TWO: Kenney lands a spinning back kick then they both miss several spinning back fists. Bit of a right from Kenney but Dvalishvili’s pace is getting to him a bit. Dvalishvili tries a knee tap but Kenney defends. Left hook from Kenney lands flush. Both men have rights blocked then Kenney avoids a takedown attempt. Kenney lands another left. Another takedown attempt from Dvalishvili winds up clinched on the fence this time. Kenney gets free and circles back to the center of the cage. Dvalishvili coming forward but he’s running into short punches. Left to the body from Kenney lands. Dvalishvili lands a right. Bit of a right from Kenney. Both men land rights, Dvalishvili misses several spinning attacks. Kenney lands a right hook then an inside leg kick. Dvalishvili gets a takedown and moves to the ride position. Kenney back up, Dvalishvili working mat returns. Bit of a knee from Dvalishvili. Dvalishvili might be working for a crucifix but Kenney is working his way back up. Kenney can’t get free and Dvalishvili is still working mat returns from a rear waist lock. Some knees from Dvalishvili into the thigh as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Dvalishvili but again he likely steals it with the closing sequence, 20-18 Dvalishvili overall

ROUND THREE: Both men circling, and looking a little fatigued given the pace and altitude. Kenney lands a right hook. Both men swing wild hooks in close. Now they both miss punches then Kenney avoids a takedown attempt. Kenney lands a left in close then avoids a hook. Dvalishvili lands a right. Dvalishvili tries a takedown, Kenney avoids it and nearly gets on top but they wind up clinched. Outside trip from Dvalishvili and he lands in side control. Kenney tries to invert, Dvalishvili works with him but Kenney is up and free. Another takedown from Dvalishvili, he looks to mount the legs this time. Kenney works to his knees, Dvalishvili lands some punches and then hits a mat return to land back in side control. Again Kenney works up but again he’s hit with a mat return and Dvalishvili moves to back mount this time and looks to unload. Dvalishvili has both hooks in and lands some punches while trying to flatten Kenney out. Kenney finds a relatively safe spot and is just going to ride out the final seconds.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Merab Dvalishvili via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-25)

30-25 is totally uncalled for under the old scoring system, or probably even the new one in all honesty as only the third was lop sided enough to warrant it. No interview for Dvalishvili.

Devin Clark has gone 4-4 in the UFC, he’s been trading wins and losses over his last six fights but he’s likely hoping that pattern holds at least for this fight as he’s coming off of a loss and hoping to avoid his first losing streak. Dequan Townsend has gone 0-2 in the UFC across both light heavyweight and middleweight, he’s back at light heavyweight for this fight and is likely fighting for his job. Clark is your favorite at a hefty -400 while Townsend would payout at +300.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Devin Clark (10-5, 205 lbs.) vs. Dequan Townsend (21-10, 202 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Townsend is three inches taller and has four inches of reach over Clark. They touch gloves to get us going. Inside leg kick from Clark. Townsend misses a couple of punches. Both men still trying to get a feel for the range and timing. Clark forces a clinch on the fence looking for a takedown. Some knees to the thigh from Clark but he can’t finish any of his takedown attempts. Townsend gets an under hook and lands some body shots with the other hand while looking to separate. The ref breaks them up as things stall out, Clark then immediately shoots a takedown and gets it into half guard. Some short elbows from Clark, and I think the “woo” birds have arrived, shame as I was enjoying this crowd. Clark moves to full mount and looks to unload but can’t get his posture. An elbow from Clark is basically the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Clark

ROUND TWO: Clark stalking forward again, Townsend looking to maintain distance. Bit of a right from Townsend after he missed a left hook. Clark fires a right of his own. Neither man doing much at the moment. Townsend misses a right but lands a left, he looks to flurry but Clark uses that to change levels and get a takedown into side control. Some knees to the body from Clark, now a few short elbows as well. More elbows from Clark land. Clark with some elbows to the body as well, Townsend is pretty well stuck here. Some short punches from Clark now, he tries for mount but Townsend gets half guard off of that move. That’s where the round will end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Clark, nearly 10-8, 20-18 Clark overall

ROUND THREE: Townsend backing up as the round starts, he misses a few punches. High kick from Townsend is blocked. Clark blocks a knee and moves away from the fence. Clark lands a jab. Double leg from Clark, and he gets it into full guard. Things are kind of stalling out here, but Clark is trying to work enough to avoid being stood up. Clark lands some punches and short elbows while looking to posture up. Body to head work from Clark as he’s looking to pass but Townsend is keeping him controlled and in the guard. Some more short elbows from Clark then a right just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Clark, 30-26 Clark overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Devin Clark via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26 x2)

Townsend doesn’t have the kind of scrambling or bottom game to warrant a position in the UFC, Clark gets another win but does not get an interview.

Jim Miller is a veteran and legend of the sport, he’s been in the UFC since 2008 and holds the most wins in UFC lightweight history, has now tied Donald Cerrone again for most appearances in UFC history, most submission wins in lightweight history, and could take sole possession of third place in most finishes in UFC history if he gets one here. Miller has gone 3-1 in his last four fights, is on a two fight winning streak, and is looking to continue his incredible career even as it winds down. Scott Holtzman has gone 4-1 in his last five fights, he’s looking for the biggest win of his career over a legend like Miller. Holtzman is the -150 favorite to a +120 comeback on Miller.

Lightweight Bout: Scott Holtzman (13-3, 156 lbs.) vs. Jim Miller (31-13 1 NC, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Holtzman is an inch taller while Miller has two inches of reach advantage. Miller is fighting southpaw. Both men doing some range finding early, looking to get a read on each other. Miller lands an inside leg kick that takes Holtzman down briefly but Holtzman comes back up quickly. They both miss power hand punches. Holtzman is pressing forward now, looking to press the action but Miller backs him up with a left then an inside leg kick. Another left lands for Miller as Holtzman misses a punch. Miller lands a body kick then a combination of punches. More inside leg kicks from Miller, Holtzman lands a right. Miller lands another left. Holtzman keeps getting Miller to the fence but he’s not doing much with it. Miller lands a left, tries a takedown but can’t finish it and they wind up clinched. Holtzman lands an elbow and gets Miller on the cage. Some knees from Miller before he slips free. Again that left lands for Miller, then again but this time Holtzman lands a right to counter. Inside leg kick from Miller, then he misses a left and Holtzman lands a counter right. Miller keeps landing that inside leg kick but he’s getting predictable with his left and Holtzman is counter him with a right. Bit of an uppercut from Miller. They both miss power hand punches again, them Miller wobbles Holtzman with a left and Holtzman backs off. Holtzman avoids a superman punch as the last real offensive offering from Miller as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Miller

ROUND TWO: Holtzman back to pressuring forward, Miller still working leg kicks. Those leg kicks from Miller are adding up, and he lands a left to counter a right. Holtzman lands a right. They clinch up on the fence and Miller starts firing knees quickly. Holtzman has Miller on the fence but is struggling to get much offense going. Miller with some elbows in close then Holtzman backs off. Miller blocks a right and lands a glancing left. Holtzman misses a spinning attack, Miller takes him down then moves towards the back as Holtzman stands. Miller has one hook in and is looking for a mat return, he bails on the hook and Holtzman is able to get free. A combination from Holtzman mostly lands, Miller lands a left but Holtzman is using combination work more than Miller at this point. Holtzman lands a right, and they clinch up again. Holtzman gets an inside trip and lands in the guard of Miller. Miller goes towards rubber guard quickly, Holtzman stands free and looms over Miller then lands a right. Holtzman moves into half guard and lands some short elbows. Miller trying to play defense off of his back. Holtzman unloads for the final seconds of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Holtzman, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Holtzman is looking to resume forward pressure this round. Bit of a let from Miller then a calf kick. Holtzman lands a right. Both men miss some power hand punches. Miller lands a left, Holtzman lands a jab. Miller with another straight left then a body shot. High kick from Miller is blocked. Holtzman lands a right. They clinch again and work each other over before breaking. Holtzman with a couple of rights, Miller lands a left. They both miss a fair number of punches and clinch again. Miller lands a knee to the body as they hit the fence. Both men with some knees, Holtzman lands an elbow. Both men land power hand punches then they clinch again. More knees go back and forth then they break. Miller again takes the legs from Holtzman but can’t capitalize. Body kick from Miller lands then a high kick is blocked. Pull back counter right from Holtzman lands. Another clinch and Miller back to knees to the body. Holtzman lands an elbow. They break and go back to punching. Miller lands a left bu this firepower just isn’t there anymore. They trade, Holtzman avoids a head kick and we get some more brawling as time runs down.

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

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

30-27 seems wrong given how badly Miller wobbled Holtzman in that round. No interview again.

John Dodson has gone just 1-3 in his last four fights, and that one win was a very dubious split decision. Dodson is trying to get back on the winning side of things and avoid falling into obscurity. Nathaniel Wood is on an eight fight winning streak with three wins in the UFC all of which have been finishes, Dodson represents a step up in competition and Wood is hoping to take him out and start making a move on the rankings. Wood is favored to win at -155 to +125 for Dodson.

Bantamweight Bout: #13 John Dodson (20-11, 133.5 lbs.) vs. Nathaniel Wood (16-3, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Wood has three inches of height and reach over Dodson. Southpaw for Dodson. They both start moving early, Wood lands an inside leg kick. Left to the body from Dodson. More leg kicks from Wood, just looking to score and disrupt Dodson. Wood with a few front kicks to the body then a straight right. Bit of a left from Dodson. Wood lands a left hook. Dodson lands a left to the body. Wood fires back with a right of his own then a left hook behind it. They tie up briefly and trade punches before they break. Wood with a couple of lefts that Dodson circled into. Dodson is still always circling to his own right every time he has to get off the fence and Wood is reading that. Dodson lands a left. Wood with a front kick to the body then a bit of a right. Right uppercut then a left from Wood, and another right as Dodson tried to circle away. They trade power hand punches. Another right from Wood and they clinch. Dodson gets Wood on the fence, Wood turns him around. Knee tap from Wood and he’s got Dodson down briefly, he punches Dodson a few times as Dodson regains his feet and separates. Wood lands another front kick and a right. They stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Wood

ROUND TWO: Wood pressuring Dodson back again as the round starts. Dodson lands a left but falls short on the follow up. Bit of a left from Dodson as he tries to dart off of the fence. Wood is still keeping Dodson along the fence, he lands a jab. Front kick from Wood goes into the groin and we’ve got time. I can’t recall a fight where Dodson didn’t take a kick to the groin at this point. Back to fighting rather quickly, Wood still kicking and then lands a right. Dodson falls short on a left. Bit of a left from Dodson, Wood with an inside leg kick then another front kick that Dodson complains hit the groin. Replay shows it glanced the cup and Wood gets a stern warning about his target selection. Back to fighting and Wood is pressuring forward then lands a right. Dodson blitzes him but they wind up clinched on the fence. Bit of an elbow from Dodson as they break. More forward pressure from Wood, who lands a bit of a right and left. Another right from Wood lands and they clinch again. Dodson lands an elbow in the clinch. Both men have damage around their eyes. Things are stalling out at the moment as they jockey for position. The ref separates them and we get time for the cut on the left eyebrow of Wood. The doctor is in to check it, has no problem with the fight continuing and we’re back to action. Dodson tries a flurry, they trade inside leg kicks and we get some fireworks just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Dodson in all probability, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They trade punches but Dodson drops Wood with a left, then he flurries on the mat to force the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – John Dodson via TKO, punches, at :16 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Dodson for his work this evening. That’s Dodson’s first finish in nearly four years, and he gets an interview. He says it feels amazing to win, plays with the crowd then expresses love to his wife and daughters. He says he knew he could find that counter shot as Wood was getting too aggressive and would move onto it.

Watch Dodson’s left hand in this exchange, he’s always left hand dominant but in these kinds of exchanges most people shift from side to side in terms of offense. Dodson instead just triples up on the left hand and Wood doesn’t keep that same side defended properly, and Dodson still has the power to sit people down.

Tim Means has had an up and down career but he’s gone 2-1 in his last three fights and is coming off of a win. Means is hoping for his first winning streak since 2016 as well as possibly getting another high profile opportunity next. Daniel Rodriguez is on a six fight winning streak including a win on the Contender Series, he’s hoping to keep that going here and get that all important first UFC win under his belt. The odds are with Means at -340 while Rodriguez’s +270 payout has to tempt a few bettors.

Welterweight Bout: Tim Means (29-11-1 1 NC, 171 lbs.) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (10-1, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Means has an inch of height and reach over Rodriguez. Both men fighting southpaw. Means lands a leg kick. Aggression from Means and he gets a double leg but Rodriguez is back up and free rather quickly. Bit of a left from Means. Rodriguez lands a leg kick. Means lands a leg kick, then another and they clinch. They break without incident. Rodriguez lands a jab. Counter right for Means lands. Rodriguez lands a jab, then an inside leg kick. Both men land power hand punches but Means landed better. Rodriguez back to jabbing and circling. Leg kick from Means lands. Means punches into a clinch but nothing comes of it and they break. Rodriguez avoids a few punches then misses some punches as well. Both men have power hand punches blocked. Means is still pressing forward, Rodriguez jabs him a few times. Means lands a left to the body. Double jab then a left from Rodriguez, Means lands a leg kick. A massive left from Rodriguez just at the horn floors Means, but the bell likely saves him as he was on his knees and hurt badly.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rodriguez

ROUND TWO: Means seems to have recovered as the round starts. Means is pushing forward again, Rodriguez jabbing and lands a leg kick. Rodriguez lands a left and is still keeping his jab in play. Left from Rodriguez staggers Means for a second. They trade lefts, means lands a high kick as well. Rodriguez back to jabbing and moving. Another left from Rodriguez drops Means to his knees for a second, Rodriguez is just stalking him down at this point. Means is backing up, now coming forward but as soon as he comes forward he eats a jab. Means’ legs aren’t really under him at this point. Some jabs from Means now, they’re trading jabs. Rodriguez has a really nice jab, especially for a southpaw. Bit of a left from Rodriguez, then another. More lefts from Rodriguez and Means is hurt, Rodriguez lands a right and Means is after a takedown. Rodriguez grabs a power guillotine/ninja choke and Means has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Daniel Rodriguez via Submission, power guillotine choke, at 3:37 of Round 2

Heck of a debut for Rodriguez, but he does not get an interview.

This doesn’t tell the full story of the fight, but here’s the finish. Means panics into the takedown attempt, Rodriguez gets his arm all the way under the neck to the point where he’s got a rear naked choke type of arm position from the front, and tightens things up until Means has to tap.

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

Lando Vannata has just two wins during his UFC tenure, he’s coming off of a loss and could really use a win here to help with a bit of job security. Yancy Medeiros is on a two fight losing streak and has been finished in both of those, he’s in a bit of a must win scenario as well if he ever wants to make a run in the division. Vannata is a slight -130 favorite to -100 on Medeiros.

Lightweight Bout: Yancy Medeiros (15-6 1 NC, 155 lbs.) vs. Lando Vannata (10-4-2, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Medeiros is an inch taller and has four and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Vannata does a bit of stance switching. Bit of a right from Vannata. Leg kick and a couple of punches from Vannata. Medeiros with a jab. High kick from Vannata partially lands, then a right behind it. Medeiros checks a leg kick. Short right from Vannata lands. Vananta with a right and a leg kick. Combination from Vannata has Medeiros backing up to the fence. Left to the body and a right from Vannata lands. Bit of an uppercut from Medeiros lands. Glancing right from Vannata. Body kick from Medeiros. One two from Vannata. Both men miss punches in the pocket. High kick from Vannata partially lands to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Vannata

ROUND TWO: Both men switching stances as they move around again. Vannata lands a front kick to the body. Medeiros lands a right. Bit of a right from Vannata. They clinch up, Vannata gets a foot sweep but doesn’t seem to want to get into a grappling match so Medeiros regains his feet and resumes circling. Vannata lands a left. Both men land punches in close. Lefts are traded then Vannata lands a right. They trade some jabs. Medeiros lands a left. Vananta lands a left hook then a right. Vannata gets a rear waist lock off of a takedown attempt then punches Medeiros as they separate. Front kick to the body from Vannata doubles Medeiros over for a second, then Vananta misses a wheel kick as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. I wonder if Vannata will go back to the body. Left to the body then a right land for Vannata. Vananta lands a wheel kick. Bit of a jab from Medeiros. Vannata misses a right. Front kicks to the body from Vannata now. Medeiros is bleeding from the nose. Both men evade some punches. Jab from Medeiros. Vananta lands a right then a front kick to the body. Leg kicks are traded then Vannata lands a left to the body. Vannata lands a left. Right from Vannata then a body shot. body kick from Vananta lands. Medeiros lands a jab. Medeiros avoids a wheel kick, then walks into a one two. Takedown from Vannata, Medeiros back up and lands ane elbow. One two from Medeiros lands, Vannata fires back and Medeiros is wobbled. Vannata avoids a few punches and time runs out.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Landa Vannata via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Not a terribly engaging fight, but Vannata gets an interview. He says winning in his home town has been a long time coming and plays with the crowd. He puts over his team and feels he’s still trying to find his ceiling as he’s growing as a fighter.

Rogerio Bontorin has gone 2-0 in the UFC and is hoping to get to three in a row here at the expense of a former title challenger while proving himself as a budding contender in the flyweight division. Ray Borg just broke a two fight losing streak, he’s missed weight for the fourth time during his UFC run and for the third time at flyweight so he likely needs a win to help mitigate that continued problem. Borg is after his first UFC winning streak since 2017. Borg closed as a -145 favorite to + 115 for Bontorin.

Flyweight Bout: #7 Rogerio Bontorin (16-1, 126 lbs.) vs. Ray Borg (12-4, 128 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Bontorin is an inch taller and has four inches of reach over Borg, who also missed weight. Some circling to start, Bontorin is generally walking forward on Borg. Bontorin lands a jab. They trade rights then Bontorin lands a left hook. Bontorin goes southpaw, then back to orthodox. Both men miss punches then Borg tries a double leg that winds up in a clinch on the fence. Bontorin has Borg on the fence and is looking for takedowns. Borg is staying upright but Bontorin has his back standing. Borg goes for a single leg, Bontorin defends but Borg switches to a double leg and has Bontorin down in half guard. Bontorin gets full guard, works it high and is looking for an armbar. Borg lands an elbow and looks to pass but isn’t able to do so yet. Bontorin is sitting on the fence, he wall walks and is up with Borg holding a rear waist lock. Borg is after a single leg, he lands a right and then completes the takedown into half guard. Short elbows from Borg and that’s where the round will end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Borg

ROUND TWO: Borg circling again, tries a single leg, and this time Bontorin defends. Borg is relentless as they hit the fence, he switches his level and gets a takedown then hops around to the back of Bontorin. Both hooks in for Borg, he’s looking for the choke. Body triangle now for Borg as he takes the backpack position when Bontorin stands. A few hammer fists from Borg, Bontorin lands an elbow. Borg bails on the body triangle, Bontorin breaks his grip but Borg adjusts and dumps him down landing in half guard. Full guard now for Bontorin, Borg responds with an elbow. Borg moves to the back again, Bontorin stands so Borg holds the backpack as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Borg, might be 10-8, 20-18 Borg overall

ROUND THREE: Bontorin tries a one two but misses. Borg is backing up, Bontorin misses a left and they clinch up. Single leg from Borg, he gets Bontorin down again against the fence and looks to work from half guard. Bontorin back up, Borg hits a mat return then jumps for his back but can’t secure it before they’re back up and still clinched. Borg keeps working mat returns, he jumps to the back with both hooks in as Bontorin stands again. Some body shots from Borg as he looks for the choke. Borg bails on the backpack position then hits a mat return from a rear waist lock. Double leg from Borg, he’s still going with elbows and knees while controlling Bontorin. Double leg from Borg and he’s in half guard. Elbows from Borg as Bontorin gets full guard again. Borg lands a right as he moves to the ride position while Bontorin tries to wall walk again. Knee from Borg, Bontorin gets chest to chest but Borg hits a double leg and lands more punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Borg, another possible 10-8, 30-27 Borg overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ray Borg via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-27 x2)

Mic time for Borg after that win. He says it feels good to be back at flyweight, then apologizes for missing yet again and says he needs a better system then thanks them for sticking with him despite his gaffs. He plays to the crowd a bit, then says he came into this fight to push the pace and apologizes for the lack of finish. He puts over his home town and the crowd seems engaged.

Brok Weaver brings a seven fight winning streak into his UFC debut, he’s looking to continue that momentum and leave a good first impression on the UFC audience. Rodrigo Vargas lost his UFC debut last year, he’s hoping to bounce back and get his first win inside the Octagon. Weaver closed as a notable -280 favorite over Vargas’ +230.

Lightweight Bout: Kazula Vargas (11-3, 156 lbs.) vs. Brok Weaver (14-4, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Weaver is four inches taller but has just an inch and a half of reach advantage. Both men come out southpaw. Vargas is punching forward looking to engage. Body work from Vargas then a leg kick. Weaver coming forward now, and eats another leg kick. Vargas still swinging to the body, he catches a kick and tries a knee. They get close and Vargas lands a couple of rights then looks for a single leg and gets it. Weaver scoots to the fence and looks to set up a wall walk. Vargas has one of the legs tied up, Weaver still looking to stand. A few body shots from Vargas as Weaver is building himself towards a wall walk but Vargas scoops both legs to sit on instead of just one. Weaver sits for a guillotine choke, that’s pretty tight and he’s got full guard going. Vargas is able to get his head free and resuming controlling things. A few rights land for Vargas, then he digs to the body as well. Weave is back to his feet but still in the clinch. Kimura attempt from Weaver bu the loses the grip and Vargas lands punches as Weaver was seated but he landed what looked like an illegal knee that knocked out Weaver so the ref waves this one off.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Brok Weaver via Disqualification, illegal knee to the head, at 4:02 of Round 1

Replay confirms the blow, Weaver was basically sitting on the mat so even under the new rules that would have been illegal. Vargas might have been aiming for the chest but he landed to the jaw and this is what we’ve got. No interview for anyone.

Here’s a look at the finish, Vargas is probably aiming for the chest here but Weaver doesn’t get up that fast and it winds up hitting him in the face. Even under the new unified rules this is illegal, Weaver is still on his seat/knee.

Montana De La Rosa just suffered her first loss in the UFC, she’s looking to bounce back with a win here and continue moving up the flyweight ranks. Mara Romero Borella has gone 2-2 in her last four but is coming off of a loss and looking to avoid her first UFC losing streak with a win here. De La Rosa is the favorite at -170 to a +140 payout on Borella.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: #13 Mara Romero Borella (12-6 2 NC, 125 lbs.) vs. #12 Montana De La Rosa (10-5, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: De La Rosa is an inch taller while Borella has an inch of reach advantage. Both women start probing with jabs early. Borella lands a few punches. High kick from De La Rosa is blocked. Borella catches a leg kick and gets a takedown, De La Rosa scrambles back up quickly and they fight in the clinch for a second or two before breaking. Takedown attempt from De La Rosa, but Borella steps over and they scramble with Borella holding a modified ride position. Borella might be setting up a twister attempt, she’s not all the way there but there’s some potential for it. Borella moves to the ride position and lands some elbows to the kidney, that’s just mean. De La Rosa goes for a slow motion arm drag, and uses that to come up and get the back standing then hits a mat return. Borella back up, De La Rosa jumps to the backpack position. De La Rosa bails on the hooks a bit, Borella is working to turn into her. De La Rosa puts one hook back in and looks to maintain the position. Borella with some elbows to the thigh, De La Rosa knees the body a few times as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Borella

ROUND TWO: Body kick from De La Rosa to get us going. Borella lands a right. They clash on rights. They clinch up after a missed flurry from Borella, and De La Rosa gets the back then trips Borella down. De La Rosa has the back but no hooks as she looks to establish some control. One hook in now for De La Rosa, she’s looking to attack with chokes. Both hooks now for De La Rosa, and she lands a few body shots to try and open up choke opportunities. Borella is just defending right now. De La Rosa moves towards the mount but Borella forces her to side control instead. Borella to her knees again, De La Rosa gets the back again though and lands some punches. Some elbows from De La Rosa close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-8 De La Rosa, she had the back almost all round, 19-18 De La Rosa overall

ROUND THREE: Some more feinting and moving early from both women. Neither woman is finding much success on the feet. Bit of a right from De La Rosa gets Borella to back up for a moment. They trade rights and Borella goes down, De La Rosa follows her down and winds up in her full guard. Some body shots from De La Rosa but Borella is tying her up so far. De La Rosa is looking to pass to half guard, she lands a few elbows while working. De La Rosa elbows the body and looks to set up an arm triangle choke. Borella is keeping her in half guard and that will help stop the choke attempt, De La Rosa lands a hammer fist as time runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-9 De La Rosa, 29-27 De La Rosa overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Montana De La Rosa via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

No issue with De La Rosa taking the first, and she gets an interview. She feels great and is grateful her husband is here, he fought on the first fight of the night, then she puts over her team for getting her ready. She talks about how hard she’s worked on her wrestling lately and is happy to have shown off her progress.

Diego Sanchez has been in the UFC since way back in 2005 but all the years and wars have definitely caught up to him. Honestly it’s at the point where anyone who loses to him says more about them than it does about Sanchez. Sanchez lost to Michael Chiesa last year and is hoping to extend his time in the UFC more by avoiding another losing streak. Michel Pereira is a genuine wild man in the cage, prone to trying out gymnastic routines and the like. Pereira lost his last fight after gassing himself out in about 90 seconds, he’s hoping to get back on the winning side of things here and notch probably his highest profile win. Pereira is favored to do just that at -165 to +135 for Sanchez.

Welterweight Bout: Michel Pereira (23-10 1 NC, 170 lbs.) vs. Diego Sanchez (29-12, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Sanchez is twelve years older, Pereira is three inches taller and has one inch of reach advantage. Sanchez misses a rolling thunder kick and they clinch, Pereira opens with knees then they break. Some stances witching from Sanchez, who is normally a southpaw. Hard body kick from Pereira. Another body kick from Pereira. Sanchez misses a couple of punches. Pereira is constantly stalking Sanchez into the cage. Another body kick from Pereira, those are adding up quickly. Pereira tries a showtime kick but it’s blocked. Flying knee from Pereira partially lands and Sanchez can’t get a takedown off of it. Sanchez lands an inside leg kick. Pereira lands another body kick. Right from Pereira lands. Another couple of body shots from Pereira land. Bit of a left from Sanchez. Pereira avoids a spinning attack. Sanchez fails on a takedown attempt. Pereira misses a wheel kick. Pereira lands a right then a knee to the body. They clinch and Pereira lands to the body again before they break. Sanchez avoids a high kick. Another rolling thunder attempt from Sanchez fails miserably. Sanchez sprints forward and misses a right. Bit of a knee from Pereira, and they stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pereira

ROUND TWO: Pereira comes out with a couple of body kicks. Sanchez misses a spinning back fist. Bit of a body shot from Sanchez. Pereira is backing Sanchez into the fence with ease. There’s a right from Pereira. Pereira with a left to the body. Jumping knee from Pereira lands to the chest. Hard right to the body from Pereira that Sanchez just sprinted in to. Front kick then a right from Pereira, those front kicks are getting to Sanchez. Sanchez gets a clinch, Pereira gets him on the fence and breaks without much incident. Knee to the body from Pereira. Sanchez lands a body kick. Straight right from Pereira has Sanchez backing up on bicycle. Bit of a right from Sanchez. Pereira pushes off the cage and lands a right. Front kick from Pereira then a right. Jumping knee from Pereira lands, Sanchez gets a clinch but can’t keep it. Pereira lands a right to the body. Missed wheel kick from Sanchez and Pereira gets a slam from a rear waist lock to close the round.

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

ROUND THREE: They come out and stare, then Sanchez misses a kick. This is one of the oddest fights I’ve ever seen. Sanchez misses a few punches. Pereira with a front kick to the chest. One two from Pereira lands. Pereira ducks under a spinning back fist and gets a takedown, tries the back flip double stomp but misses then lands a knee to the body as Sanchez stands, a flying knee from Pereira and Sanchez is down. Pereira lands a few blows but decides he wants this one the feet again. Sanchez misses a punch badly. Another jumping knee from Pereira lands. Both men miss punches. Left hook lands for Pereira. Left to the body from Pereira hurts Sanchez, he unloads with knees to the body and head until Sanchez drops but we’ve got a second illegal knee of the night so we’ve got time. Sanchez is back up instantly and bleeding from the head. The doctor is in to check on Sanchez as we get a look at the replay, Sanchez was clearly down on one knee when that knee landed. The cut is on the hairline so the cut itself isn’t likely to end things. Sanchez says he can’t continue, he’s angling for a DQ to the ref.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Diego Sanchez via Disqualification, illegal knee, at 3:09 of Round 3

Utter shame for Pereira who was dominating that fight, but you make that kind of error against the rules this is what happens.

Corey Anderson is on a four fight winning streak and coming off of his first finish since 2016 and just his third finish during his entire UFC run. Anderson is hoping to score another memorable win here and possibly secure a title opportunity for himself in the near future. Jan Blachowicz has gone 6-1 in his last seven with that lone loss coming to Thiago Sants, he’s on a two fight winning streak with those coming over Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo Souza, he could likewise get into the title picture with a win here. Anderson won the first meeting between these two back in 2015, which likely contributes to the odds being with him at -220 against +180 on Blachowicz.

Light Heavyweight Bout: #5 Corey Anderson (13-4, 205 lbs.) vs. #6 Jan Blachowicz (15-8, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Anderson has an inch of height and reach on Blachowicz. Anderson circling early, both men probing with jabs. Blachowicz lands a calf kick. Anderson misses a few punches. Bit of a jab from Blachowicz. Anderson tries a clinch, Blachowicz lands a left hook as he gets away. Blachowicz is biting on the feints from Anderson, not a good thing this early. Anderson lands a front kick to the body. Blachowicz lands a jab. Bit of a left hook from Blachowicz. Anderson is pressing forward, and eats a left hook. Blachowicz is keeping his left hand busy so far, jabs and hooks when Anderson looks to change levels. Right uppercut then a left from Blachowicz land. Both men showing jabs, Anderson tries a kick but Blachowicz lands a right that floors him and this one is over.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jan Blachowicz via KO, punch, at 3:08 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Blachowicz for his work this evening. Blachowicz gets an interview after that, he says the whole world was wrong about him and feels he’s the next title challenger and points to Jon Jones in the crowd. He talks us through the finish, and feels Anderson over valued his boxing after the Walker fight and since he likes stand up fighting that worked for him. He really wants the title shot and he and Jones have a fairly friendly pose off through the cage as Jones retains his front row seat. Credit to Blachowicz, he just did everything he could to lobby for him as the next title challenger.

There’s a few things here. Anderson throws a naked leg kick, and drops his hand as he does so. Blachowicz sees that, lands a right with great timing and floors him, then lands a vicious hammer fist for good measure. Also he knows exactly where Jones is sitting to go over and try to further make his case as a viable contender.

And here’s this one, which shows a few other angles. Really well timed and executed counter from Blachowicz, who was also firing a left hook behind that punch if it didn’t work out.

OK everyone, that will end this event. It wasn’t great on paper, and it wasn’t great in practice, but we got a few decent moments over our 6+ hours of broadcast time. We’ll be breaking down all of the action from this card Sunday on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast, plus previewing next weeks UFC on ESPN+ 26 when Paul Felder and Dan Hooker square off in the main event from New Zealand. On the boxing side of things next week is the big rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury so lots of combat sports action on tap. I’ll be back next week for Felder vs. Hooker, which is a fantastic fight on paper. Until next time stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC on ESPN+ 25, Robert Winfree