mma / Reports

411’s UFC on ESPN 3 Report: Ngannou Wins

June 29, 2019 | Posted by Robert Winfree

#2 Francis Ngannou (255.5 lbs.) vs. #3 Junior Dos Santos (249 lbs.)
#2 Joseph Benavidez (126 lbs.) vs. #1 Jussier Formiga (125.5 lbs.)
#12 Demian Maia (171 lbs.) vs. Anthony Rocco Martin (170.5 lbs.)
Vinc Pichel (155.5 lbs.) vs. Roosevelt Roberts (156 lbs.)
Drew Dober (156 lbs.) vs. Marco Polo Reyes (155 lbs.)
Paul Craig (204 lbs.) vs. Alonzo Menifield (204.5 lbs.)

Journey Newson (135.5 lbs.) vs. Ricardo Ramos (136 lbs.)
Eryk Anders (205 lbs.) vs. Vinicius Moreira (206 lbs.)
Jared Gordon (155.5 lbs.) vs. Dan Moret (155 lbs.)
Dalcha Lungiambula (205 lbs.) vs. Dequan Townsend (205 lbs.)
Amanda Ribas (115 lbs.) vs. Emily Whitmire (115 lbs.)
Junior Albini (266 lbs.) vs. Maurice Greene (256 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN 3. 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 back on ESPN tonight and have brought a really solid card on paper. The main event is former champion Junior dos Santos trying to get what would be a third crack at regaining the heavyweight title while Francis Ngannou is after his second shot at the title. Both men are riding winning streaks and unless there’s some disputed finish to the upcoming rematch between champion Daniel Cormier and former champion Stipe Miocic then the winner of this fight is the presumptive number one contender. It’s about as good a replacement main event as we were going to get after the rematch between former welterweight champions Tyron Woodley and Robbie Lawler fell apart.

Elsewhere on this card Joseph Benavidez and Jussier Formiga will rematch for what should be a shot at the flyweight title, but we all know the UFC’s relationship with that division is a bit rocky and champion Henry Cejudo is out after shoulder surgery for most likely the rest of the year. Rising welterweight Rocco Martin takes a big step up in competition against veteran and two time title challenger Demian Maia. For the discerning fight fan this card also has a nearly guaranteed fireworks display between Maro Polo Reyes and Drew Dober, as well as Eryk Anders desperately trying to right his career, and the all action Jared Gordon meeting Dan Moret.

UFC on ESPN 3 comes to the world from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. On commentary we have Jon Anik, rising lightweight contender Paul Felder, and soon to be Hall of Famer Michael Bisping while Megan Olivi will be handling reporting duties. We will be under the new rules tonight, so you need both palms or fists flat on the mat to be considered down, extending fingers towards your opponent is a foul regardless of contact being made, and the language around scoring is clearer while also encouraging more 10-8 scores. Also of note, there will NOT be any use of instant replay tonight.

Maurice Greene has gone 2-0 in the UFC and recently avenged a prior loss via split decision. Now Greene looks to continue his move up through the ranks at heavyweight. Junior Albini is 1-3 in the UFC and currently boasts a three fight losing streak, now he needs a win badly just to keep his job as a four fight losing streak tends to mean the end of your UFC run even in a division like heavyweight. The odds for this one closed at a -115 pick ’em.

Heavyweight Bout: Junior Albini (14-5, 266 lbs.) vs. Maurice Greene (7-2, 256 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Greene is four inches taller and has six and a half inches of reach on Albini. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men probing with leg kicks early. Greene lands a right in close after they both got close and were throwing punches. More leg kicks from Greene then a one two. Albini lands a short left hook in close quarters then Greene lands a few more leg kicks. Forward pressure from Albini, lefts to the body and head and he’s got Greene against the fence now in a clinch. Bit of a left from Albini as they break. Greene is using front kicks to the body again, he wants to keep this fight long and use his reach but Albini is coming forward relentlessly. Bit of a combination from Greene but Albini seems not to care at all. Stiff stepping right from Greene then a one two drops Albini and he’s on top in north-south position. Greene moves to side control and lands a few short elbows then a knee and a right as Albini gets up but Albini lands a wild right that wobbles Greene. Albini charges, eats a right and they clinch up again. Both men land knees then trade punches a they break. Greene is back to front kicking the body and leg, he drops Albini with another one two and this time is able to pound things out on the mat.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Maurice Greene via TKO, punches, at 3:38 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Greene for his work this evening. That was a little bit sloppy, energetic, and thankfully quick. Basically what you want from lower level heavyweight MMA. Mic time for Greene, he knows he was in a fight and puts over Albini then puts over his new coaches and plays with the crowd. He talks us through the finish, and laments not knocking his opponent out cold. He thanks the crowd, he’s a native Minnesotan, and puts them over. Asked who he’d like next he mentions that closed mouths don’t get fed and calls out old man Andrei Arlovski.

Quick look at the finish, this is why you want to move your head guys. Albini tries to get his guard up but doesn’t really move and Greene threads the right hand around the guard and drops him.

Emily Whitmire is 2-1 in the UFC but hasn’t lost since dropping back down to strawweight and is looking to continue that winning streak here. Amanda Ribas is making her UFC debut here, she’s only lost once and that to current UFC fighter Polyana Viana. Ribas is trying to make a good first impression to the UFC audience. Whitmire is your -180 favorite to a +150 payout for Ribas.

Strawweight Bout: Amanda Ribas (6-1, 115 lbs.) vs. Emily Whitmire (4-2, 115 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Whitmire is two inches taller while Ribas has two and a half inches of reach advantage. Whitmire shows the jab, and lands a bit of a high kick. Front kick to the body from Whitmire but this time Ribas pressures her back with punches and gets her along the fence then drags her down. Whitmire wall walks immediately but can’t get free of the grip. The “woo’s” have started, they’d been gone for a while and no one on Earth missed them. They scramble a bit and Whitmire gives up her back standing then Ribas jumps to back mount and locks up a body triangle. Ribas is looking for the choke while Whitmire is still standing. Whitmire is defending the choke well so far, Ribas keeps landing some punches trying to open up the choke and she finally gets Whitmire down on the mat. Ribas loses the body triangle and Whitmire spins to top position, eats an up kick while trying to pass and winds up settling for the full guard of Ribas. A bit of punching from both women but neither is doing a whole lot of damage. The round will end in that spot.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ribas

ROUND TWO: Ribas avoids a few punches then lands a right. Whitmire is trying to get her jab working, Ribas is the one pushing forward though and lands a combination to the body and head before they clinch up. Ribas is able to get another takedown and moves to the back but winds up with full mount. Whitmire tries to scramble but gives up her back and this time Ribas is able to get the choke sunk in and force the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Amanda Ribas via Submission, rear naked choke, at 2:10 of Round 2

Mic time for Ribas now, she opens with some broken English but puts over the crowd, thanks the UFC and is very excited to be here and thanks pretty much everyone. She switches to Portuguese that goes untranslated. She talks us through the finish and jokes that she’s a white belt in English, and jokes about her weight cut then talks about how normal fighting feels for her.

Some nice ground and pound from Ribas gets Whitmire to make positioning mistakes and this time she gets the choke locked up right away.

Dalcha Lungiambula brings a five fight winning streak into his UFC debut and is looking to make an immediate impact on the light heavyweight division. Dequan Townsend took this fight on short notice when Justin Ledet fell out of this fight, he’s 6-1 in his last seven fights though and is likewise looking to make the most of his UFC debut. The odds are with Lungiambula at -330 to a +260 comeback on the late notice replacement Townsend.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Dalcha Lungiambula (9-1, 205 lbs.) vs. Dequan Townsend (21-8, 205 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Townsend is seven inches taller and has three inches of reach on Lungiambula. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men kind of probing a bit, and Townsend lands a jab. Hard leg kick from Townsend. Bit of a left hook from Lungiambula but he misses the follow up. Lungiambula lands a lunging left but eats a counter left and winds up pushing for a clinch on the fence. Townsend avoids a judo throw and then lands a knee to the body but he can’t get free. Now they trade a few knees to the body and Lungiambula gets an inside trip into half guard. Townsend is looking to wall walk, he gets to a knee and back up but gets double legged immediately by Lungiambula, this time Townsend gets full guard and closes it up. Armbar attempt from Townsend but he doesn’t have enough control and goes back to full guard. That’s where the round will come to a close.


ROUND TWO: Again they touch gloves to start the round. Lungiambula avoids a couple of punches. Townsend lands a bit of a jab then a body kick but Lungiambula drives with a double leg and gets things down against the fence. Lungiambula lands some short rights as Townsend starts to wall walk. They’re up and Lungiambula gets an elevated mat return from the back. Townsend is looking to wall walk again but Lungiambula flattens him down along the fence in half guard. Townsend gets guard back and closes it but he doesn’t seem to have a real strategy for getting up just yet. Lungiambula lands a couple of short elbows then body shots. Townsend tries to get his guard higher and in play but Lungiambula postures through it. Even commentary is questioning the lack of stand up or at least comments from the ref and I agree with them. The ref stands them up, no warning for that. Townsend lands a flying knee and they feint away the last couple of seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lungiambula but I wouldn’t disagree with another 10-10, 20-19 Lungiambula overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Townsend is looking to get his jab working, Lungiambula lands a lunging left hook that drops Townsend along the fence. Lungiambula moves into full mount and tees off with elbows until the ref waves the fight off.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Dalcha Lungiambula via TKO, punches and elbows, at :42 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Lungiambula for his work this evening. Mic time for Lungiambula, he notes about the last minute change of opponent but he worked hard and hard work always pays off. He puts over the fans, puts over Africa, goes through a lot of people to thank. He talks us through the finish to close his interview.

Here’s the finish. Townsend doesn’t really look to angle away from the rush of Lungiambula and his hands drop a bit to defend a presumptive takedown leaving his head exposed for the power punches.

Jared Gordon has lost his last two fights and was finished in both of them, that said both were very entertaining and he won Fight of the Night his last time out. Gordon needs to halt the losing streak though if he wants to move up in the division. Dan Moret has gone 0-2 in the UFC, now his back is up against the wall as an 0-3 start to a UFC run almost always means it comes to an end. The odds are with Gordon at -350 against +275 for Moret.

Lightweight Bout: Jared Gordon (14-3, 155.5 lbs.) vs. Dan Moret (13-5, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Moret is three inches taller and has five inches of reach on Gordon. Southpaw for Moret, and they touch gloves for the first round. Moret lands a right then an inside leg kick. Body kick from Moret then a counter right from Gordon. Solid right from Gordon then a left hook behind it. Both men land rights. Gordon punches in close then lands a couple of hooks as Moret gets free. Moret lands a head kick but Gordon lands a right to counter then gets a takedown in to half guard. Gordon is landing some arm punches but Moret is really trying to keep his head tied up and not allowing him to posture or pass. Moret moves to the fence and wall walks up but Gordon still has a body lock from the back and gets another takedown. Moret is back up and they trade shots in the clinch, Moret is landing some hard knees then a body kick on the break. Another clinch and Gordon can’t quite finish a trip so they stay upright. Body lock takedown for Moret, Gordon is back up quickly and they’re still clinched. Another knee lands for Moret, and now they trade knees then break with a left elbow from Gordon. Both men miss punches just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gordon but a close round

ROUND TWO: Gordon is pushing forward again, eats a body kick but isn’t deterred. Now Gordon lands a body kick then they trade lefts in close. Stepping knee from Moret lands to the body, Gordon lands a knee of his own but they clinch up and Moret gets a head and arm throw into full mount. Gordon gives up the back and Moret gets a body triangle locked in. Moret is after the choke but can’t get under the chin. Gordon is able to break the triangle and spin into Moret but Moret has locked up an arm triangle choke from the bottom, though he bails on it after he can’t do anything else with his guard. Gordon lands a few punches to the body and head. More punches from Gordon, Moret throws up an armbar but Gordon gets free and resumes landing punches. Moret is getting beaten up here, he keeps trying to get his guard in play but Gordon is punishing him each time. Half guard now for Gordon and more rights to the head. Gordon’s pace for offense is pretty darn high so far, he’s not giving Moret much of a chance to breathe or think about his next move. A few more punches from Gordon bring the round to a close.

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

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Bit of a left from Moret, they trade kicks then Moret jumps for a guillotine in a scramble but he’s only got half guard and Gordon is on the safe side. Gordon lands some elbows to the thigh and breaks the grip of Moret. Moret wraps up the head again trying to control posture but Gordon is having none of that, he’s just punching consistently. Gordon lands a few punches, but Moret is able to get full guard. Moret is trying to get his guard in play but he’s not trying to regain his feet just yet. Gordon lands punches and moves to half guard then moves to the back as Moret wall walks. Gordon drives him back down, Moret wall walks again but Gordon is all over him and keeps the clinch. A few mat returns from Gordon and they’re in open space, Gordon gets the back but can’t keep it and they’re on the feet again. Moret lands a body kick then counters a takedown and gets the back with one hook in but Gordon reverses to get on top in full guard. Gordon lands a few punches, and moves to half guard. Both men land some offense as the fight runs out.

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

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

Fun little scrap, and Gordon gets an interview. He gives glory to God and feels upset with his performance then mentions having to adjust to the dimensions of Moret. He mentions that 3 years ago he was shooting drugs in Queens, and asks how many people in the crowd shot up before the event and don’t know what’s next, how many people have loved ones they’re worried about with those issues, and says he fights for all the addicts, those in recovery, everyone fighting with serious issues.

Eryk Anders has had a really rough go of things lately, he’s on a three fight losing streak and if he wants to make good on the promise others have seen in him he needs a win here. He also took this fight on somewhat short notice so that will bear watching. Vinicius Moreira lost his UFC debut when he was stopped rather violently by Alonzo Menifield, now he’s trying to bounce back from that loss and get that all important first UFC win. The odds are with Anders at -300 to +240 for Moreira.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Eryk Anders (11-4, 205 lbs.) vs. Vinicius Moreira (9-2, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Moreira is three inches taller and has an inch of reach on Anders. Southpaw for Anders, and they touch gloves. Anders lands a couple of short lefts. Moreira has a couple of kicks blocked, eats a left and then shoots a double leg but Anders pushes him over and gets on top in mount. Moreira sweeps and is back up after a single leg, this time Anders is defending. Anders is sneaking short blows in and gets free then floors and ends Moreira with lefts.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Eryk Anders via KO, punches, at 1:18 of Round 1

Moreira took a bunch of unnecessary punches on that finish, late stoppage from the ref. Mic time for Anders, he had to be ready and avoid the ground and then pick his shots on the feet. He says he kept punching until the ref stopped him, then feels he deserves a performance bonus after that. He says this win was huge and he needed to right the ship, he’s here to take on everybody. Asked who he’d like next he just says he’d love to be on the upcoming San Antonio card or later in the year for the Denmark card and isn’t too picky about his opponent.

This is a really good example of finding openings for offense in the in between moments of fighting. Moreira is thinking about resetting, Anders then finds an opening to land a left that spells the end of the fight. Credit to the follow up from Anders, he didn’t get wild but did get urgent so as not to let Moreira off of the hook.

Ricardo Ramos has gone 3-1 in the UFC but is coming off of a loss to Said Nurmagomedov, now he’s trying to avoid his first ever losing streak and start moving up in the division again. Journey Newson took this fight on short notice replacing Sergio Pettis, now he’s trying score a big win on the biggest stage he’s ever been on. It should come as no surprise that Ramos is the -340 favorite to a +270 comeback on Newson.

Bantamweight Bout: Journey Newson (9-1, 135.5 lbs.) vs. Ricardo Ramos (12-2, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Ramos is an inch taller and has an inch and a half of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get things going. Both men probing a bit, Ramos lands a spinning back kick to the body. Leg kick from Ramos. Newson lands a bit of a counter left then eats a leg kick. Newson lands a leg kick, Ramos returns it. Ramos lands another leg kick and shoulder rolls away from a right. Newson tries a wheel kick that’s blocked then he lands a leg kick. High kick from Ramos is blocked. Ramos goes southpaw for a bit, goes back to orthodox. Jabs from Ramos then a hard leg kick. Newson jabs forward and lands a leg kick. Newson punches in close but as they lock up Ramos spins him down and lands in full mount then gets the back. Ramos is after the choke but can’t finish it, Newson is able to break the hooks and looks for a guillotine in a scramble but can’t get it and Ramos lands a knee to the body as they scramble back up and separate. Newson lands a leg kick but he’s doing a lot of backing up. Ramos avoids some punches and lands a spinning back elbow that wobbles Newson but he gets a clinch and rides out the final couple of seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ramos

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Ramos is getting his jab working this round, Newson lands a leg kick. Front kick to the body from Ramos. Ramos lands a straight right. The pressure from Ramos is getting to Newson a bit, he’s getting closer and closer to the fence and isn’t really circling. Newson misses a one two. Ramos with a bit of a leg kick, Newson lands a side kick to the body. Leg kick from Newson lands. Ramos misses an upward elbow strike, then they have kicks blocked. Bit of a right from Newson lands then he eats a couple of jabs. Ramos lands a leg kick. Spinning back kick to the body from Ramos lands. Bit of a left hook in a rush from Newson. There’s a spinning kick from Newson that lands and will basically end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Newson but a close round, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Leg kick from Newson lands. Ramos avoids some offense, Newson is the one pushing the action this round. Bit of a right from Ramos, then another one. Knee tap from Ramos but Newson locks up a guillotine choke and gets full guard. Newson is really after that choke but he loses his grip for just a second and that’s enough to save Ramos and he gets his head free. Newson is able to force his way up to his feet but he’s slammed on the side of his face with a mat return from Ramos. Ramos is in the ride position and Newson sits back and gets full guard. Some short punches and elbows from Ramos. Ramos basically lets Newson up and misses a flying knee. Ramos misses a wheel kick then lands a spinning back kick to the body. Leg kick from Ramos, Newson lands a body kick in return. Ramos lands a right to the body. Bit of a spinning elbow from Ramos, then another that staggers Newson. Ramos lands a right then a couple of body kicks, Newson has a heck of a chin to be moving and fighting after that elbow. Ramos is stalking forward, newson lands a calf kick and suddenly Ramos is limping badly and moving backwards. Both men are a little hurt and just kind of stare away the final seconds.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ricardo Ramos via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Really engaging fight there, Newson has a heck of a chin. Mic time for Ramos, he expresses gratitude to the crowd and would love to fight in the city again then thanks Newson for taking the fight on short notice and puts him over. He switches to Portuguese then does his own translation, he spoke to a friend who’s battling cancer and dedicated the fight to him. To close he’s asked about who’s next he just wants to fight in Sao Paulo later this year.

That will wrap up the prelims though we’re still on ESPN for the main card.

Just the spinning elbow here, but man just listen to that sound.

Paul Craig has gone 3-3 in the UFC but he’s coming off of a win and is trying to get his first UFC winning streak. Alonzo Menifield is undefeated and coming off of a successful UFC debut, now he’s looking to start working his way up through the division and establish himself as a prospect of note. Menifield is the -280 favorite to a +230 payout for Craig.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Paul Craig (11-3, 204 lbs.) vs. Alonzo Menifield (8-0, 204.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Craig is three and a half inches taller but the reach is identical. Circling from Crait to start, bit of a right from Menifield lands and they clinch up. Craig jumps for standing guard, but bails on that and Menifield pulls free then lands a right. Craig ducks for a double leg but Menifield is able to sprawl free and separate. Left hook from Menifield drops Craig to a knee but he doesn’t really follow up. Menifield lands a bit of a left hook and blocks a high kick. Craig with a wheel kick that’s partially successful. They clinch up and Craig tries to pull guard but can’t do it. Menifield with a punch to counter a spinning kick and Craig slumps down and Menifield is able to pound him out on the mat.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alonzo Menifield via KO, punches, at 3:19 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Menifield for his work this evening. They would also like to admonish a certain other Club regarding detritus being tossed their way at the venue. Menifield gets some mic time, he mentions that he knew he’d have to be slick and move then get him, and he got him. He talks us through the finish and jokingly thanks his right hand then thanks his coaches for getting him ready. Asked who he’d like next he says he just wants experience at this point in his career, just call and he’ll report for duty.

Spinning attacks, high risk and high reward. Here we see why they’re risky. Craig could have done a better job of getting his head around to track the target but even if he did I think Menifield would have been able to off balance him and land the finishing blows.

Drew Dober just had a three fight winning streak snapped by Beneil Dariush, now he’s trying to bounce back and avoid his second UFC losing streak. Marco Polo Reye has gone 4-2 in the UFC but both of those losses have come about when he stepped up in competition, now he’s trying to avoid a UFC losing streak and regain some positive momentum. The odds are with Dober at a hefty -360 to a +280 comeback on Reyes.

Lightweight Bout: Drew Dober (20-9 1 NC, 156 lbs.) vs. Marco Polo Reyes (8-5, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Reyes is three inches taller and has one inch of reach on Dober. Southpaw for Dober, and they touch gloves to get us going. Both men looking to engage quickly, Dober cracks Reyes with a left hook and looks to flurry but can’t finish it and Reyes lands a bit of a knee as they separate. Another left from Dober and this time he’s able to find the combination that finishes Reyes off, Reyes falls over unconscious.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Drew Dober via KO, punches, at 1:07 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Dober for his work this evening. Mic time for Dober, he says he loves fighting for the fans and thanks them for the chance to do so. He talks us through the finish, mentions he wanted to be patient and just keep touching because he knows he has power. Asked about what’s next he says he wants to get in as many fights as possible given that this sport has a short shelf life but doesn’t give any specific name.

Here’s the finish. Lovely accuracy and timing from Dober, the straight left that ends Reyes is a thing of beauty.

Roosevelt Roberts is undefeated as a professional that includes going 2-0 in the UFC, now he’s looking to remain perfect and prove he can handle the deeper waters at lightweight. Vinc Pichel has only lost to Rustam Khabilov and Gregor Gillespie, he’s coming off of that Gillespie loss though and is trying to avoid his first ever losing streak while turning back another prospect. The odds are with Roberts at -280 to a +230 comeback on the veteran Pichel.

Lightweight Bout: Vinc Pichel (11-2, 155.5 lbs.) vs. Roosevelt Roberts (8-0, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Roberts is three inches taller and has two inches of reach on Pichel. Roberts is also eleven years younger. They touch gloves to get us going. Pichel comes out working jabs to the body then they trade inside leg kicks. Pichel is showing a few stance switches. Roberts eats a leg kick but punches close and lands a bit of a knee. Pichel lands a knee to the body as they clinch up and he drives Roberts into the cage. They jockey for position but wind up breaking without incident. Jumping knee from Roberts but Pichel took it mostly on the chest and they clinch up then break without incident. They split a few jabs, both men showing some stance switches now. Pichel pushes in to a clinch and has Roberts on the fence again. Knees to the thigh from Pichel, and they spin a few times. Roberts is after a high crotch but Pichel is attacking his grips. They break without incident. Leg kick from Pichel lands. Roberts lands a combination of punches, eats a counter right and then shoots a double leg. Roberts is able to elevate and slam Pichel then spins to the back but can’t get hooks in. Pichel is back up and able to separate. Roberts lands a combination then disengages. Pichel lands a hard right to the body and they end the round in the clinch.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Roberts

ROUND TWO: Pichel is coming forward again, lands a couple of inside leg kicks while range finding. Roberts is getting his lead hand working now but Pichel might have found an avenue of attack with his leg kicks. Hard leg kick from Pichel. Roberts lands a right, Pichel responds in kind and then hits a takedown along the fence. Pichel has half guard along the fence and is working to keep Roberts down. Pichel mounts the legs and lands a few body shots. A few short punches land for Pichel as he’s fighting to strip the posts away from Roberts. Roberts is able to fight up and they resume fighting in the clinch. They break without incident. Both men are showing the lead hand but neither is really committing to it. Pichel lands a couple of leg kicks then Roberts lands a couple of punches and gets a clinch but nothing comes of it. Roberts lands a series of punches, Pichel responds in kind then Roberts can’t quite land a jumping knee. They clinch up again, Pichel goes for a kimura roll but winds up giving up his back and Roberts has one hook in but Pichel is able to get on top in half guard. Elbows from Pichel for the final twenty seconds or so as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pichel, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Pichel is coming forward again, lands a bit of a right then a high kick. Inside leg kick from Pichel lands then a jab to the body. Pichel lands a left, Roberts responds with a combination of punches. Double leg from Pichel and he’s got Roberts down in half guard along the fence. Pichel with a few more elbows before Roberts kicks him off but Pichel comes back down into north-south position. A few knees to the body from Pichel, then he moves to the ride position as Roberts tries to roll through. Pichel has a crucifix position and is landing punches then looks to take the back. Roberts is up but Pichel has a front head lock and is after a guillotine, he jumps for it but Roberts is able to break the grip and they wind up spinning along the fence. Spinning elbow from Pichel has Roberts backing up again and he gets back into the clinch along the fence. Pichel gets a double leg again and mounts the legs as Roberts sits on the fence. Pichel gets the back with both hooks in and lands punches. Roberts is hand fighting well, Pichel lands a few elbows and moves to mount then looks to tee off with more elbows. Arm triangle attempt from Pichel, Roberts gets his arm out of danger but Pichel has a high mount going. Pichel with punches, moves to the back mount again then tries for an armbar just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pichel, might be a 10-8 argument under the new rules, 29-28 Pichel overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Vinc Pichel via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Some nice adjustments from Pichel in the second and third round to deal with Roberts’ problems. Mci time for Pichel, he puts over Roberts and is grateful for the fight. He was confident in the decision, he jokes that he’s 36 but is still a bad man and he wont stop until someone makes him. Asked who’s next he says he’ll fight anyone, especially everyone at the new UFC video game for not putting him in it. He puts over a bunch of his coaches by name and thanks them, thanks his fans and everyone who buys his shirt, and the UFC for letting him make a living beating people up.

Demian Maia just broke a three fight losing streak when he submitted Lyman Good, now he’s trying to get his first winning streak in a few years up and running while proving he’s still got what it takes to compete at the highest levels of the sport. Anthony Rocco Martin has yet to lose since dropping back to welterweight and is riding a four fight winning streak, Martin could claim the biggest win of his career by taking out a two time title challenger like Maia. The odds are with Maia at -170 to a +140 comeback on Martin.

Welterweight Bout: #12 Demian Maia (26-9, 171 lbs.) vs. Anthony Rocco Martin (16-4, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Maia is an inch taller while Martin has an inch and a half of reach. Maia is also a full twelve years older than Martin. They touch gloves, Maia fighting southpaw. Both men pawing with the lead hand, Martin lands a bit of a right. A lot of circling from Martin, he’s being very mindful about not getting too close to the fence. Martin lands a bit of a right after taking a left. Maia shoots a single leg that hits the fence, Martin is defending so far but Maia gets him down and looks to mount the legs. Martin is sitting on the fence and looking to wall walk, Maia is still standing rather than getting his weight on him so far. A few rights to the body and head from Maia as he finally mounts the legs. More punches from Maia, but Martin is staying very calm and not giving Maia a chance to really improve his position. Body shots from Maia, but Martin is able to wall walk and gets a body lock then spins Maia into the fence. Knees from Martin to the leg. They break without incident and are back in the middle of the cage. A few kicks from Martin don’t really find the target before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Maia

ROUND TWO: Martin is looking to jab more this round, and lands a bit of a right. Right from Martin. Bit of a head kick from Martin then a jab and he avoids a takedown attempt. Another right lands for Martin, Maia dives for a takedown, gets it but Martin rolls him over and gets up but Maia is back on him and gets him down against the fence. Martin is looking to wall walk, Maia is trying to really secure the position against the fence. Maia moves to half guard but he can’t really get much going right now. Martin is back up, but Maia with an inside reap and he’s back down. This time Maia is able to fully mount the legs as Martin sits against the fence. A few short punches from Maia and he’s finally able to get Martin a little bit away from the fence but Martin scoots back to it again. Some more body shots from Maia. The ref breaks them up, I really don’t agree with that one. Martin closes distance quickly and winds up using a guillotine to roll through into full mount on Maia but Maia rolls rather easily through and gets on top in the guard of Martin as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Martin is coming forward, lands a front kick to the body. Maia avoids a head kick. Martin is getting his jab going now and lands a couple of them. Maia blocks a high kick but Martin is really going for it at every chance. Martin is really looking for that head kick, he lands a one two but just at the end of the punches. Front kick to the body from Martin then an inside leg kick. A few rights land for Martin but Maia is fighting smart and not really engaging on terms he doesn’t want. Martin sprawls away from a takedown attempt, then another. Right to the body from Martin then one to the head that wobbles Maia. Martin lands a couple of punches but Maia gets a hold of him and pulls half guard. Full guard now for Maia, Martin postures up and swings for the final seconds but wont get the finish.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Martin, 28-28 DRAW overall

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

I’m gonna stand by my 10-8 in the third for Martin. No interview for Maia, though he’s now got the second most wins in UFC history behind only Donald Cerrone.

Jussier Formiga is currently on a four fight winning streak, he’s trying to avenge a previous loss here and would cement himself as the undisputed top contender for the flyweight title with a win. Joseph Benavidez brings a two fight winning streak into this bout, he’s the last man to have bested newly minted dual champion Henry Cejudo and if he can take out Formiga here then he’ll have the best claim to a fight for the flyweight title assuming the UFC even keeps the division around. Benavidez is your -140 favorite to a +110 comeback on Formiga.

Flyweight Bout: #2 Joseph Benavidez (27-5, 126 lbs.) vs. #1 Jussier Formiga (23-5, 125.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Formiga is an inch taller and has two inches of reach on Benavidez. Southpaw for Benavidez. Formiga avoids a few punches, and Benavidez is showing stance switches now. Body kick from Benavidez and another that landed flush. Formiga circles away for a second and regains his composure. Formiga blocks a high kick and Benavidez might be a little hurt on that left leg. They get close and both men land punches in close. Counter right from Formiga in close lands. Benavidez is bleeding from that last punch. Benavidez lands a calf kick but eats another counter right. Every time they get close and then break Formiga is swinging a right as Benavidez keeps circling the same direction. They both land punches and Benavidez pushes into a clinch on the fence. They break without incident. Body kick from Formiga lands. Benavidez slips on a kick and Formgia gets his back standing and then gets on otp but they both just keep scrambling and wind up standing with Formiga holding a standing guillotine. Formiga is adjusting his grip but Benavidez gets free, and his left eye is kind of a mess. Counter right lands for Formiga. Bit of a kick from Benavidez just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Formiga but probably went to Benavidez

ROUND TWO: That cut isn’t going to stop the fight between rounds but it’s still not in a good spot. Benavidez lands a body kick. Formiga avoids a couple of punches and lands a left hook. Straight right lands for Formgia to counter a leg kick. Benavidez lands a bit of a straight left. Formiga lands a right then a left in close. Formiga with a double leg, slips to the back and dumps Benavidez down but Benavidez is still scrambling and gets on top in the guard of Formiga. Benavidez moves to half guard, Formiga scoots himself towards the fence. A few short elbows from Benavidez but Formiga gets guard back and now looks to wall walk. They’re back up and then separate. Bit of a body kick from Benavidez. Short right from Formiga and Benavidez lands a calf kick. Another calf kick from Benavidez and that lead leg of Formiga is compromised. They clinch up and trade knees then break. Both men land left hooks in close. Benavidez lands another calf kick. Again they clash in close then Benavidez lands a head kick. Formiga is wobbled, they get close and Benavidez swarms him until Formiga falls and the ref waves the fight off.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Joseph Benavidez via TKO, punches, at 4:47 of Round 2

By all rights that should secure Benavidez his third shot at the flyweight title, assuming the division is even around when Cejudo gets back from his shoulder surgery. Mic time for Benavidez, he sucks up to the crowd and knew that Formgia was slowing down in the second and mentions Shawn Tompkins for showing him that kick that led to the finish. He talks us through the finish, and mentions that once he started setting things up the fight went better for him. Asked about what’s next he says he plans on beating Cejudo two times and says that Cejudo knows he’s the hardest fight, wishes him good luck getting better then tells Cejudo he’ll be waiting back down here in a division he started.

Francis Ngannou had a much publicized run up to his title shot last year, but was rather thoroughly out fought by Stipe Miocic and then had a baffling performance against Derrick Lewis. Fortunately for Ngannou he rebounded in his last two fights when he’s knocked out Curtis Blaydes and former champion Cain Velasquez. Ngannou would almost certainly secure a second title shot if he can take out another former champion here. Junior dos Santos has had one of the more unexpected career resurgences, a lot of people figured he was done after his loss to then champion Stipe Miocic in 2017 but he’s bounced back with three wins in a row and has finished his last two opponents. Dos Santos is also trying to get another shot at regaining the heavyweight title. The odds are with Ngannou at -230 to a +185 payout for dos Santos.

Heavyweight Bout: #2 Francis Ngannou (13-3, 255.5 lbs.) vs. #3 Junior Dos Santos (21-5, 249 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Ngannou has six inches of reach on dos Santos though they are the same height. They touch gloves to get things going. Leg kick from Ngannou. Another leg kick from Ngannou. Dos Santos sweeps the legs from Ngannou with a calf kick but Ngannou is back up before anything can develop. Looping right from Ngannou is a bit of a glancing blow. They trad calf kicks, those hurt me just watching them. Dos Santos misses a right and Ngannou pounces with counters, dos Santos drops and Ngannou swarms him on the mat to get the finish.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Francis Ngannou via TKO, punches, at 1:11 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Ngannou for his work this evening. That should get Ngannou another crack at the belt, assuming no shenanigans between DC and Stipe. Mic time for Ngannou now, he’s very happy and hopes the UFC will see he deserves another title shot. He talks us through the finish, noting the leg kicks to help keep dos Santos from moving as much as he normally does and then finding his punches. He feels he’s the best boxer in the division, everything bout his footwork disagrees. To close he says the winner of DC and Stipe is the only thing left for him and that he deserves respect in the division.

That will wrap up UFC on ESPN 3. Thanks everyone for being here and reading, be that live or after the fact. We’ll be unpacking all of the action from the card on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast this Sunday and will also look ahead to UFC 239. UFC 239 is a pretty stacked card that includes two title fights, but it’s also International Fight Week and the main event for that card has fallen through in each of the last three or four years so let’s all hope we buck the trend this year.

I’ll be back next week for the aforementioned UFC 239, which features Jon Jones defending the light heavyweight title against Thiago Santos and Amanda Nunes trying to complete her conquest of all former UFC champions in her divisions when she battles Holly Holm. I hope you’ll all be back here next week for that event, and until then stay safe out there and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.