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411’s UFC on ESPN+ 8 Report: Hermansson Beats Jacare

April 28, 2019 | Posted by Robert Winfree

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MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 9 p.m. ET)
#4 Ronaldo Souza (185.5 lbs.) vs. #10 Jack Hermansson (185 lbs.)
Greg Hardy (264.5 lbs.) vs. Dmitrii Smoliakov (262 lbs.)
Alex Oliveira (171 lbs.) vs. Mike Perry (171 lbs.)
Ion Cutelaba (205 lbs.) vs. #11 Glover Teixeira (205.5 lbs.)
#8 John Lineker (135 lbs.) vs. Cory Sandhagen (135 lbs.)
Thomas Gifford (156 lbs.) vs. Roosevelt Roberts (155 lbs.)

Takashi Sato (170.5 lbs.) vs. Ben Saunders (170.5 lbs.)
#15 Andrei Arlovski (247 lbs.) vs. Augusto Sakai (264 lbs.)
#9 Carla Esparza (115 lbs.) vs. Virna Jandiroba (115.5 lbs.)
Gilbert Burns (156 lbs.) vs. Mike Davis (155 lbs.)

Jason Gonzalez (156 lbs.) vs. Jim Miller (155.5 lbs.)
Jodie Esquibel (116 lbs.) vs. Angela Hill (115.5 lbs.)
Dhiego Lima (171 lbs.) vs. Court McGee (170.5 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 8. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for this event, relaying all of the action to you just as I see it. Boy oh boy has this card gone through some pretty massive changes. Initially this was supposed to be the UFC’s third event on big ESPN with a main event between top contender Yoel Romero and rising prospect Paulo Costa. Then Costa was removed for undisclosed reasons, though likely at least related to his recent retro-active 6 month suspension from USADA for the use of an IV, and replaced by fellow top contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in what would be a rematch between him and Romero with the winner certainly in the title picture. Most recently Romero had to withdraw when he contracted pneumonia and the currently surging Jack Hermansson stepped in to face Souza on short notice. There was also a broadcast decision made to move the main card from ESPN to the streaming platform ESPN+, though a portion of the prelims will be airing on ESPN.

A lot of other fights went through changes; Li Jingliang was supposed to fight Alex Oliveira but he got injured, Jessica Penne was to fight Jodie Esquibel but injured her ankle, Livia Renata Souza had to pull out of her bout with Carla Esparza, and Eric Wisely got injured and fell out of his bout with Gilbert Burns. Thankfully all of those fights found replacement participants, but the card has had to overcome some serious set backs. Also now that the event is here there’s the possibility that the action delivers in a big way, so let’s hope for great action. Plus if you can’t get a little excited for John Lineker vs. Cory Sandhagen I don’t really know what to tell you.

UFC on ESPN+ 8 comes to the world from the BB&T Center in Sunrise/Miami, Florida, USA. On commentary we have John Anik and Dominick Cruz, plus we’ll be hearing from Trevor Wittman on occasion throughout the broadcast. As for the rules we’re under the new rules so you need both palms or fists flat on the mat to be considered down (or a knee of course), extending fingers towards your opponent is a foul regardless of contact being made, and the language around scoring is clearer and more encouraging of 10-8 scores. There will also be the limited use of instant replay for fight ending sequences but once instant replay is used the fight cannot be restarted.

Court McGee has gone 2-2 in his last four fights, he’s coming off of a win over Alex Garcia and is looking for his first UFC winning streak since 2013. Dhiego Lima just broke a three fight losing streak and scored his first UFC finish, now he’s after his first ever UFC winning streak. The odds are with McGee at -170 to a +145 comeback on Lima.

Welterweight Bout: Dhiego Lima (13-7, 171 lbs.) vs. Court McGee (19-7, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Lima is three inches taller but McGee has half an inch of reach advantage. McGee comes out pressing forward, looking to back Lima into the fence and land offense. Right from McGee lands and Lima lands a left hook to counter. McGee starting to work his kicking game, not finding a lot of success yet but he’s working the kicks and cutting Lima off around the cage. Both men land rights in close as Lima is circling along the fence. Body kick from McGee lands. McGee lands a right then a left to the body as Lima lands a left hook. Lima lands a left hook. Calf kick from McGee lands then a right. Lima lands a left to the body. McGee ducks a left hook and tries a takedown but doesn’t have the drive necessary to finish and Lima separates. Another calf kick from McGee but Lima avoids his takedown attempt and then gets one of his own along the fence. McGee wall walks then hits a hip toss onto Lima, Lima back up quickly and they’re still clinched. Lima has his back on the fence, McGee is looking to change levels for a takedown but time is going to run out on the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lima but a close one

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. McGee back to forward pressure and lands a calf kick. They both miss rights then McGee lands a body shot. Both men are looking to get their jabs working, Lima lands a solid one two. McGee lands another calf kick but Lima looks like he’s found the timing on his right and his left hook. Left to the body then a right from Lima and he avoids a takedown attempt. Lima avoids a few kicks then lands a right as McGee lands a calf kick. Bit of a left hook from Lima lands, McGee needs to adjust to that punch because he’s just relying on his chin at the moment. Lima lands a leg kick. Another left hook from Lima lands, McGee’s right eye is swelling a little bit. McGee lands a calf kick then a body kick but Lima gets a clinch off of it then ducks to the back standing. Knee from Lima, McGee wraps up a standing guillotine as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: There’s a touch of gloves for the last round. Lima lands a left to the body. Left hook lands for Lima and stuns McGee for a second. McGee reaches for a takedown, Lima is able to shuck him to the side and separate. McGee lands a couple of leg kicks but Lima doesn’t seem bothered by them. Lima lands another left hook, that punch has been money for him almost all fight. There’s a right from Lima. McGee lands a couple of leg kicks, Lima lands a right. Another left hook from Lima. Lima lands a leg kick then a right. McGee barely avoids a one two. Double leg from McGee hits the fence, Lima gets double under hooks and pushes McGee off of him with them then circles off the cage. Another takedown attempt from McGee is blocked, then they trade punches and McGee drops Lima with a left hook but time will run out before that position develops.

SCORECARD: 10-9 McGee, 29-28 Lima overall

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

I can see McGee having a case for the first even if I disagree with it, and I don’t think 30-27 for Lima works given that Lima got dropped in the third and that usually means a lost round. Lima on the mic now, he’s really happy but never feels great about decisions. He talks about improving his takedown defense and how important that is going forward, then says he plans on continuing to win and trusts God to take care of everything else.

Angela Hill took this fight on short notice, she’s on a two fight losing streak and is trying to break that while proving she’s worth keeping around the UFC. Jodie Esquibel is also on a two fight losing streak and trying to avoid the dreaded three fight skid that has spelled the end of so many UFC runs. Hill is a large -550 favorite against +400 for Esquibel which has to tempt a few gamblers out there.

Strawweight Bout: Jodie Esquibel (6-4, 116 lbs.) vs. Angela Hill (8-6, 115.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Hill is two inches taller but has just half an inch of reach on Esquibel. Esquibel coming forward, lands a couple of hooks as Hill is looking to get a feel for the timing. Hill lands a right. Our first “woo’s” have started. Esquibel lands a right that seems to have surprised Hill. Both women land rights. Another exchange of rights as Esquibel is pushing forward. Hill is looking to get her jab working but she’s not really deterring the pressure of Esquibel. Left hook lands for Esquibel, Hill lands a knee to the body. Body kick from Esquibel is caught, then Hill sweeps the leg but Esquibel is back up and they both start swinging. Hill lands a knee to the body, Esquibel lands a left hook. Double leg from Esquibel, she really has to drive for it and they hit the fence then she lands a knee to the body. Another couple of knees go back and forth as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hill but a close one

ROUND TWO: Both women looking to jab as this round starts. Bit of a right from Esquibel. Esquibel lands a left hook then a front kick to the body. Another right from Esquibel lands. Hill is now bleeding from the bridge of the nose, Esquibel lands a one two, Hill fires back but she’s slowing down. Hill defends a takedown attempt then Esquibel lands a right. Jab from Hill but she’s visibly slowing. Esquibel lands a right but walks into an uppercut. Hill lands a knee that Esquibel walks into but can’t really follow up. Hill lands a right. Hill lands a body kick, Esquibel pushes close and they start fighting in the clinch. Esquibel slips out of the clinch after they traded knees then trade rights. Hill lands a right but her combination work has fallen off. Bit of a right from Esquibel, then a left but Hill lands a counter right this time. Hill lands a right then a knee, she lands a combination and evades Esquibel. Esquibel lands a right and that will close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hill but another close one, 20-18 Hill overall

ROUND THREE: Esquibel pressuring almost immediately, lands a couple of hooks then avoids a kick. Solid body kick from Hill, then she avoids a double leg attempt. Hill lands a couple of rights while evading the pressure of Esquibel. High kick from Hill lands, one of those previous rights opened up the left eyebrow of Esquibel. Esquibel lands a right to counter a leg kick that drops Hill but she bounces right back up. They trade rights but Hill landed better. Hill looks like she’s found her second wind after slowing in the second. A few jabs from Hill land then a right. Jab from Hill land, then a one two. Esquibel is turning into a punching bag at this point, Hill is taking her apart. More jabs, then an uppercut from Hill. Both women land rights in close then Hill jabs back to the distance she wants to fight at. Hill lands another couple of rights. Jumping knee to the chest from Hill, and we get a little bit of brawling to run the last few seconds down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hill, close to a 10-8, 30-27 Hill overall

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

Mic time for Hill, she says the win feels good and that breaking a losing streak is great. She talks a bit about the short notice nature of the fight and timing herself in the cage. She puts over Esquibel to close her interview.

Jim Miller has been with the UFC for over ten years but is on a bad skid right now, he’s just 1-5 in his last six bouts. That’s somewhat mitigated by the level of opposition but he’s coming off of a loss and trying to avoid another losing streak. Jason Gonzalez has gone 1-2 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a loss to top prospect Gregor Gillespie and is trying to avoid his first ever losing streak while taking out a respected veteran of the sport. Miller is a slight -140 favorite to a +120 payout for Gonzalez.

Lightweight Bout: Jason Gonzalez (11-4, 156 lbs.) vs. Jim Miller (29-13 1 NC, 155.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gonzalez is a whopping seven inches taller and has three inches of reach on Miller. Miller fighting southpaw, as is Gonzalez. Gonzalez lands a leg kick but eats a counter left that staggers him for a second. Both men land lefts, then Miller catches a kick and lands another left. They trade calf kicks. The lead had from Gonzalez lands, but Miller shoots a takedown and gets him down against the fence, Gonzalez back up and Miller gets on his back. Miller rides Gonzalez down to his knees and then jumps to get a body triangle and looks to flatten Gonzalez out. Miller after the choke, he’s under the chin and forces Gonzalez to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jim Miller via Submission, rear naked choke, at 2:12 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Miller for his work this evening. That also gives Miller the most submission wins in UFC history at 8 surpassing Nate Diaz, Joe Lauzon, and Charles Oliveira in the division. Miller is also now second in all time lightweight finishes with 11 only behind the 12 of the aforementioned Lauzon. Mic time for Miller after his 19th win, he says he doesn’t know how many more fights he’s got in him but he wants to Cinderella Man it. He points to his wife and kids in the front row and thanks them, says he wanted them to experience the fans because they’re awesome. He says he’s been working on training and fighting to his strengths lately and this result was the product of that, and puts over his coaches. Asked about getting over his lyme disease he says he’s finally really getting over it, then mentions to everyone else out there dealing with that illness that every day you have to get up and do something to help win the fight but you can do it.

Pretty text book stuff from Miller, he gets the body triangle and uses it to break the posture of Gonzalez, gets his arm across the neck and from there that’s all she wrote.

That’s going to wrap up the ESPN2 portion of prelims, on to ESPN for the rest of the preliminary card.

Gilbert Burns is coming off of a win and is 3-1 in his last four fights, he’s looking to build another winning streak and start making a move towards ranked opponents in the future. Mike Davis is making his UFC debut here on short notice, he’s riding a two fight winning streak and could make an immediate impact by taking out a fighter the caliber of Burns. The odds are with Burns at -250 against +200 for Davis.

Lightweight Bout: Gilbert Burns (14-3, 156 lbs.) vs. Mike Davis (7-1, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Davis is two inches taller and has an inch and a half of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us started. Burns is stalking forward, lands a body kick then a calf kick. Davis is coming forward, mostly looking to find his range with his punches. Burns looks for a knee tap, Davis defends then lands a knee to the body as they break. Another calf kick from Burns then a left hook. Body kick from Burns. Deep double leg from Burns and this time he gets him down and moves to the back as Davis gets to his seat. No hooks in yet for Burns but he’s looking for them. One hook in now for Burns, Davis is looking for wrist control but burns is attacking his posting arm and punching him. Davis is able to wall walk, then Burns lands a left as they break. Davis lands a right and Burns is backing up. Both men swing in close and decide to separate after a second or two. Burns lands a right then another calf kick. Davis is switching his stance to protect his calf, he pushes close and they trade in close then Burns lands another calf kick. Lunging left from Davis is partially blocked then Burns lands a right and a calf kick. Burns eats a right but lands a counter right. They get close and trade then Burns gets another double leg and moves to knee on belly almost immediately. Burns lays in some elbows, moves to side control and tries to set up another pass as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Burns

ROUND TWO: Touch of gloves for the second fight. Burns is back to kicking the calf, then Davis lands a left body kick. Davis defends a double leg but Burns gets his hands together and switches to a body lock and spins Davis down. Burns moves to his back, gets one hook in and locks up a body triangle. A few punches and hammer fists from Burns land, now some elbows as Davis tries to roll but as he rolls Burns starts attacking the neck. Davis tries to break the body triangle with his hands, he gets that off but Burns is threatening his neck and that lets him get one hook back in then move for an arm triangle. Davis felt that move though and gets his arm free and Burns has to settle for half guard on top. Burns moves to side control, then is into the ride position as Davis moved to his knees. One hook back in for Burns, and he pulls Davis back down and gets both hooks in and is after the choke again. Burns lands a few punches to the body and head, he’s just trying to open up a choke opportunity. Historically Burns will also look for an armbar in the last few seconds of a round if he’s still got this position when the clock hits that mark. Another choke attempt from Burns, this one gets around the hand fighting of Davis and Davis has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Gilbert Burns via Submission, rear naked choke, at 4:15 of Round 2

Text book stuff from Burns. Mic time for Burns, he plays with the crowd a little then says he’s happy with the performance and is happy to be fighting in his adopted home. He mentions a lot of people turned down this fight on short notice, says he knows he’s a nightmare for pretty much everyone in the division and plans on coming after all of them. He talks us through the finish, thanks his coaches, then notes that on the feet you might catch one of his hands but on the ground he’s going to get your neck or your arm.

Just solid fundamentals from Burns, and given his grappling acumen it’s no surprise.

Carla Esparza has gone 2-3 in her last five fights and is on a two fight losing streak, she’s trying to avoid a three fight skid and defend her top ranking. Vima Jandiroba is undefeated as a professional, and while she took this fight on in a replacement category she could get the biggest win of her career by taking out a former UFC champion. Esparza is a slight -120 favorite to an even +100 on Jandiroba.

Strawweight Bout: #9 Carla Esparza (13-6, 115 lbs.) vs. Virna Jandiroba (14-0, 115.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Jandiroba is two inches taller and has an inch of reach on Esparza. They touch gloves to get things going. Esparza is circling early, Jandiroba lands a body kick but it’s caught and Esparza gets a takedown into full guard. Jandiroba is looking to climb her guard up the body of Esparza, Esparza sneaking in a few short blows while looking to control the motions of Jandiroba. Jandiroba looks for a deep half sweep, Esparza is able to block that and is looking to pass into mount but loses the position and they’re back upright after a scramble. Esparza lands a left, Jandiroba lands a right. They clinch briefly then trade kicks on the break. Double leg from Esparza and she’s on top in the guard of Jandiroba. Jandiroba is trying to set up an armbar but Esparza is reading all of her motions and stifling them. Jandiroba is able to pick an ankle and get up, then takes Esparza down along the fence. Esparza wall walks up but is still stuck on the fence. Jandiroba is landing short punches and looking to drag Esparza back to the mat. Esparza lands a knee to the body and they spin while landing knees to the body. Jandiroba looks for a judo toss, she can’t finish it and they trade rights when they break. Jandiroba avoids a kick and misses a right, which will basically close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Esparza

ROUND TWO: Esparza circling, and lands a counter right. Bit of a right from Jandiroba, and she avoids a takedown from Esparza. Jandiroba lands a right, she’s pressuring forward a lot so far. Esparza dives on a double leg, but nothing doing and she settles for landing a knee before separating. Jandiroba blocks a takedown then gets a double leg of her own and immediately mounts the calves of Esparza. Jandiroba moves towards side control, Esparza gets half guard though. Elevator sweep from Esparza when Jandiroba was looking to pass again and Esparza is back on her feet and at distance. Jandiroba lands a hard right hook to counter a sloppy kick. Esparza tries a double leg then ducks under to get the back standing. Arm roll from Jandiroba and they scramble back up as Esparza lands a couple of short punches. Single leg from Esparza, Jandiroba defends and locks up a guillotine attempt as Esparza finishes the taekdown. Jandiroba is looking to lock up guard, and uses the choke to roll into top position, nearly a 3/4 mount situation. Esparza gets half guard as Jandiroba gave up on the choke and settles for top position. Jandiroba moves to mount as Epsarza tried to explode and Jandiroba is riding her. Esparza keeps scrambling, Jandiroba winds up on bottom trying for an armbar as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jandiroba, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: A touch of gloves for the last round. Jandiroba is coming forward, misses a winging overhand right. Jandiroba tries to shoot but tries too hard to get one leg around for a trip and Esparza is able to basically push her over and get on top in full guard. Jandiroba is trying to get something going from the bottom, Esparza is reading that quite well though and landing some offense from the top. Half guard now for Esparza, Jandiroba is getting controlled more than anything right now. Jandiroba gets full guard back but Esparza is diligent about keeping on her. Jandiroba kicks her off and gets up as Esparza misses a kick. Jandiroba lands a right. Bit of a left hook from Jandiroba, Esparza lands a jab. Esparza can’t get a takedown but lands a knee to the head as Jandiroba was bent over defending. Jandiroba pushes into the clinch on the fence, Esparza tries to jump for the back but only gets one hook in and can’t get the choke position as Jandiroba spins into half guard on top. Jandiroba is threatening an arm triangle but Esparza gets her arm free. Esparza is trying to wall walk, Jandiroba keeps the clinch though and she tries a rolling sweep, she does land on top in side control as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Esparza but that’s the deciding round and it’s close, 29-28 Esparza overall

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

Well, that certainly happened and took time in doing so. Esparza does get mic time, we’re under no time pressure at the moment I guess. Esparza puts over Jandiroba as a tough jiu-jitsu player but she knows that she loses when she fights scared and tried hard to fight without fear. She talks a bit about her strategy in this fight, then when asked about how soon she wants to fight again she mentions adding some muscle mass recently and wants to be back in the cage in about 3 months.

Andrei Arlovski has really dismal recent record, he’s 2-7 with 1 No Contest in his last ten fights and hasn’t won in his last three fights. Arlovski is trying to stave off further talk of retirement and make one last run towards the top of the division. Augusto Sakai is on a three fight winning streak that includes a successful UFC debut, taking out a former champion like Arlovski would be the biggest win of his career to date though. The odds are with Sakai at -145 to a +125 comeback on the former champion Arlovski.

Heavyweight Bout: #15 Andrei Arlovski (27-17 2 NC, 247 lbs.) vs. Augusto Sakai (12-1-1, 264 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two have the same height and reach, Sakai is heavier though by around twenty pounds. Sakai fighting southpaw, and they touch gloves. Arlovski doing some stance switching as they circle. Bit of a flurry from Arlovski is partially successful. Sakai lands a counter left after a missed high kick that off balances Arlovski but Arlovski gets back up quickly. Now it’s Sakai showing a few stance switches. Arlovski lands a stabbing jab. One two from Arlovski lands and he complains to the ref about the fingers of Sakai. Bit of a leg kick from Sakai, Arlovski returns it. Sakai backs Arlovski into the fence and lands a hopping knee to the body before Arlovski can get free. Sakai jabs his way in close and they trade rights. Arlovski is backing up a lot, I’m not sure what kind of trap he’s trying to set for Sakai. Bit of a right from Arlovski, he’s kept a decent pace while backing up in terms of his offense. Sakai punches into the clinch and they start jockeying for position. They break without incident then clash on kicks as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Arlovski

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Sakai is coming forward again but he’s still hesitating in terms of really closing distance. Arlovski circling, lands a jab and avoids a looping right. Sakai lands a couple of rights and an uppercut along the fence. Leg kick from Sakai, bit of a head kick from Arlovski. A lot of following from Sakai rather than cage cutting. Bit of a right from Sakai, Arlovski turns him from a brief clinch and is still at distance. The right from Arlovski is missing more now, or Sakai is just rolling or blocking it more consistently. Sakai pushes into a clinch on the fence. They trade knees the break as Sakai misses a left. Arlovski kicks Sakai in the groin and we’ll get time while Sakai recovers. Sakai is good to continue and we’re back to fighting. Bit of a right from Sakai in close then a leg kick. Arlovski lands a right to the body. They clinch up again, and that’s where the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-10 DRAW, 20-19 Arlovski overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Arlovski coming forward, lands a right as they clinch up. Knees from Arlovski in the clinch while they fight for position. Sakai slips around to the back and then lands a left as they break the clinch. Body kick from Arlovski then he misses a right. Arlovski lands a short right in close but Sakai doesn’t seem to care. Leg kick from Sakai. Sakai lands a right but there wasn’t much on it. Arlovski thinks about spinning, then thinks better of it. Bit of a right from Sakai but neither man is really finding consistent offense. They clinch, Sakai lands a couple of solid knees to the body and they break. Sakai lands a right and ARlovski is backing up now. Sakai is stalking forward, lands a couple of jabs. Body kick from Arlovski but there’s a glancing counter right from Sakai. Another clinch and Sakai is after a takedown but can’t finish it and they stay clinched on the fence. A few knees land for Sakai as they jockey for position along the fence. More knees from Sakai then Arlovski finally breaks free. They trade rights at distance, there’s swelling and discoloration on the left side of Arlovski’s face. Arlovski keeps distance with some kicks as time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Sakai, 29-29 DRAW overall

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

I’m not in a position to complain about 29-28 for either guy, but that felt like a big waste of time. No interview for Sakai.

Ben Saunders is another veteran in a rough spot, seems to be a lot of that on the prelims for this card. Saunders is just 1-4 in his last five fights and is on a two fight losing streak, in addition he’s been finished in all of those four losses. Now Saunders is trying to avoid the dreaded three fight losing streak and prove he’s still got what it takes to compete in the UFC. Takashi Sato is making his UFC debut here, and he’s trying to leave a good first impression to the UFC audience. Sato is your -200 favorite while Saunders’ comeback sits at +170.

Welterweight Bout: Takashi Sato (14-2, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Ben Saunders (22-11-2, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Saunders is four inches taller and has four and a half inches of reach on Sato. Both men fighting southpaw though Saunders will switch around. Some feinting with the lead hand from both men, just getting a feel for distance and reaction. They trade leg kicks. Saunders has some punches blocked then lands a glancing leg kick. Sato avoids a bad takedown attempt. They clinch briefly and Saunders lands a few knees before they break. Saunders off balances Sato with a couple of lead hand punches. Sato avoids a few punches then lands a left that stumbles Saunders for a second. Bit of a left uppercut from Sato then he avoids a few high kicks. Sato lands a left in close then Saunders lands a couple of knees before they break. Saunders back to leg kicking but he’s getting pushed into the fence pretty consistently. Another clinch and more knees from Saunders to the body. Sato has the head of Saunders wrapped up but isn’t doing much besides eat knees to the body as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Saunders

ROUND TWO: Both men land lead hand hooks at the start of the round. Sato lands a straight left. Another left from Sato wobbles Saunders for a second. A jab lands for Saunders. A straight left from Sato floors Saunders and Sato lands elbows from the guard of Saunders until the ref has to save Saunders.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Takashi Sato via TKO, punches and elbows, at 1:18 Round 2

Brutal finish for Sato, who gets some mic time and thanks the crowd in broken English before switching to Japanese. He promises to have better English next time and notes he’s been training in Florida for a bit now and is happy to have his UFC debut here. He says he feels he could do better in his next fight as he got hit too much in the first and plans on doing better next time, then to close he gets emotional talking about a team mate who recently passed away in a motorcycle accident before they could get to the UFC together.

Here’s a look at the finish. Lovely straight left from Sato then the elbows from the guard are brutal, the cut he opens up on Saunders is a pretty gnarly one.

That will wrap up prelims, on ESPN so on to ESPN+ for the main card.

Roosevelt Roberts is undefeated and coming off of a win in his UFC debut, now he’s looking to remain perfect and continue to display improving skills that could mark him as a prospect of note. Thomas Gifford brings a six fight unbeaten streak into his UFC debut, he’s trying to derail some of the hype around Roberts and announce himself as the one to watch going forward. Roberts is a hefty -450 favorite to a tempting +350 payout on Gifford.

Lightweight Bout: Thomas Gifford (17-7 1 NC, 156 lbs.) vs. Roosevelt Roberts (7-0, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Roberts is an inch taller while Gifford has two and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Gifford showing the jab early, Roberts lands a leg kick. They clinch up and Roberts lands a knee to the body before they break. Gifford goes back to pushing forward and lands a chopping right. Roberts lands a jab. Gifford is still coming forward, lands a jab but misses the follow up right. Roberts lands a one two. Gifford tries an inside leg kick, Roberts gets a takedown off of it and passes to side control while Gifford holds his head. North-south now for Roberts, then back to side control and he’s nearly got the mounted crucifix. Roberts is after a kimura, but he loses the double wrist lock position and Gifford winds up getting a body triangle from the bottom of north-south. Odd position in an MMA fight, nearly a donkey guard and Roberts moves to side control by putting pressure on the guard of Gifford and breaking the grip. A few elbows from Roberts land, Gifford is still trying to play off of his back rather than get up. Gifford trying for an armbar from side control, Roberts is defending and Gifford hits the armbar roll to get belly down but he can’t get the arm extended and Roberts gets his arm free then winds up back in side control. Another kimura attempt from Roberts, he decides against it and lands punches, Gifford uses a leg entanglement to stifle that as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Roberts

ROUND TWO: They trade power hand punches, Roberts lands a couple of follow ups. Bit of a left from Gifford. A long combination of punches land for Roberts but Gifford just eats it and keeps coming forward. Gifford is still coming forward but he’s walking into punches more than setting up his offense. Gifford lands a right. Leg kick from Roberts then a right. Gifford gets close, they trade body shots then clinch up. Elbow from Roberts, Gifford jumps guard for a guillotine choke along the fence. That’s pretty tight but Roberts is able to get his head free. A few blows land for Roberts but he’s not really working to pass and seems content to work from the guard of Gifford against the fence. Roberts passes to side control, Gifford thinks bout a reverse triangle but can’t really get it locked up and they wind up in north-south. Brief scramble from Gifford and he tries a bad armbar as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: They both show jabs as the round starts but Roberts is moving his head whereas Gifford isn’t. One two from Roberts then a right hook that wobbles Gifford. They clinch up and Gifford is after the takedown but Roberts is defending. Gifford adjusts the angle and finally gets Gifford down along the fence. Roberts gets full guard and kicks Gifford off of him then stands back up and separates. One two from Roberts lands then they clinch. Roberts is looking for the double leg, and gets Gifford down into half guard. Another kimura attempt from Roberts but he can’t get it locked up and settles for a couple of elbows. Full guard for Gifford now but Roberts postures up and lands punches to the body and head. Gifford wont be able to get any offense off and that’s where the round will end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Roberts but could be another 10-8, 30-26 Roberts overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Roosevelt Roberts via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Roberts was just better everywhere, faster hands and better shot selection. Mic time for Roberts, he says he wanted to strike more but knew the fight would be hard and tried to pace himself as he was concerned about going the distance. He says going the distance was good experience, he knows he can’t finish everyone and wants to get back in the gym. Asked about getting back in here, he says June or July and wants to fight Matt Frevola who beat his training brother Jalin Turner recently.

John Lineker is a perpetual high level performer for the UFC, in fact he’s only lost three times in his fifteen fights in the UFC and is now looking to defend his top ranking while also making a case for himself as a possible addition to the title picture. Cory Sandhagen is on a five fight winning streak that includes three finishes in the UFC, this marks the biggest fight of his career though and a win would launch him from promising up and comer towards title contention in a big way. Lineker is a slight -140 favorite against +120 for Sandhagen.

Bantamweight Bout: #8 John Lineker (31-8, 135 lbs.) vs. Cory Sandhagen (10-1, 135 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Sandhagen is eight inches taller and has three inches of reach on Lineker. They touch gloves to get things started. Sandhagen doing stance switching while coming forward, Lineker circling and looking for openings. Right to the body from Lineker lands. Sandhagen lands a right. Another right to the body from Lineker then a left hook is blocked. A couple more rights to the body from Lineker, Sandhagen lands a leg kick. Body kick from Sandhagen. Left hook lands for Lineker after he took a right to the body. Bit of a right from Sandhagen, he’s starting to draw the counters out of Lineker. Lineker lands a right. Sandhagen avoids a series of hooks then clinches up and lands an elbow on the break. Lineker lands another right to the body, Sandhagen lands a cartwheel kick but Lineker seems unamused and lands a hard left to the head. Bit of a right to the body and head from Lineker. Sandhagen lands a knee then a left to the body, Lineker swings to the body again. Right lands for Sandhagen, Lineker lands a right to the body. Another left to the body from Sandhagen then a right to the head. Inside leg kick from Lineker then a hook, Sandhagen lands a body kick as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lineker but a close one

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Leg kick from Sandhagen then Lineker lands a body kick. Lineker lands a right to the body then one to the head. Sandhagen lands a right then an inside leg kick. Lineker lands a series of body shots, he’s pressing forward and swinging to the body. Sandhagen has to try a jumping knee to get Lineker to back off. Body shot from Sandhagen then Lineker lands a leg kick. Lineker lands a left hook. Jumping body kick from Sandhagen, Lineker is a bit more flat but he’s getting Sandhagen to commit and looking to counter. Sandhagen tries a takedown, Lineker defends the initial attempt but the hit the fence and Sandhagen gets it and lands a knee as Lineker wall walks. Body kick from Sandhagen lands. Left from Lineker lands but his follow ups fall a little short. Double leg from Lineker then he moves to the back and gets the takedown but can’t keep Sandhagen down and they wind up separated. Sandhagen blocks a right. Right to the body from Lineker, Sandhagen lands a jab. A couple of punches land for Sandhagen then Lineker lands to the body. Another left to the body from Sandhagen will be the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Sandhagen, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Touch of gloves for the final round. Sandhagen is working the lead hand, Lineker is the one coming forward this round though. Left hook lands for Lineker then a couple of rights to the body but Sandhagen is rolling with those punches and landing at distance. Jabs then a right from Sandhagen then he avoids a series of hooks. Lineker lands to the body. A right to the body then a right to the head from Lineker. Lineker lands a left hook and Sandhagen lands a knee as Lineker ducks his head. Sandhagen lands a right then a left. A left body kick from Sandhagen lands, Lineker lands a body kick of his own. Lineker lands a flurry but Sandhagen circles away from him. A couple of lefts land for Lineker, Sandhagen lands a right uppercut. Sandhagen lands a jumping knee to the chin, Lineker just eats it. Sandhagen lands some jabs, Lineker lands a right to the body. Another glancing left hook from Lineker then a right to the body. Bit of a right from Lineker, he’s still swinging to the body. A series of hooks land for Lineker, Sandhagen tries a double leg and Lineker jumps for the guillotine, it’s tight but Sandhagen will just ride out the last ten seconds as blood pours from his nose in the squeeze of Lineker.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lineker, 29-28 Lineker overall but who knows

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

No issues with the split, could have gone either way and both guys fought very well. Shame they didn’t have five rounds to play with. Mic time for Sandhagen, he says that fight was nuts and puts over Lineker as an opponent and says that he wanted to win better but is happy with the win. He mentions the choke was tight and that Lineker squeezed the blood from his nose but he wasn’t going to tap. Asked who’s next he says he wants to be champion by 2020 and will fight whoever gets him closer to that goal.

Glover Teixeira has traded wins and losses while going 3-3 in his last six fights, he’s coming off of a win though and is hoping for his first UFC winning streak since 2016. Ion Cutelaba has gone 3-2 in the UFC but is on a two fight winning streak and is hoping to move into the title picture by taking out a respected veteran and former title challenger in Teixeira. Teixeira is a slight -120 favorite to an even +100 for Cutelaba.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Ion Cutelaba (14-3 1 NC, 205 lbs.) vs. #11 Glover Teixeira (28-7, 205.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Teixeira is an inch taller and has an inch of reach on Cutelaba. Cutelaba is a full thirteen years younger than Teixeira. Cutelaba moving around early, lands a bit of a high kick. Now some stance switching from Cutelaba, he’s really trying to get his kicking game going while Teixeira stalks forward. Teixeira can’t get a takedown and they trade elbows on the break. Teixeira avoids a couple of punches. Single leg from Teixeira, Cutelaba defends with mostly muscle, they trade shots in the clinch then separate. Teixeira lands a left hook in close but Cutelaba lands a few knees then a left hook of his own. Cutelaba lands a right then a knee to the chest. There’s a cut on the right eyebrow of Cutelaba, not sure what caused it. Cutelaba lands a spinning back fist that wobbles Teixeira, he takes Teixeira down and lands in half guard. Cutelaba lands a few punches, Teixeira is looking to reverse the position and fights up then gets a standing guillotine that forces Cutelaba to break free and reset. Cutelaba might have punched himself out for a bit during that sequence, though Teixeira isn’t quite fully recovered yet. Teixeira lands a left to the body and avoids some counters from Cutelaba. Another clinch and Teixeira gets Cutelaba on the fence and starts landing knees then Cutelaba lands an elbow on the break. Cutelaba lands a knee after missing a one two. Teixeira lands a bit of a left hook Cutelaba lands a counter. Teixeira avoids a spinning back fist as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Cutelaba

ROUND TWO: Teixeira pushing forward this round, Cutelaba circling. Cutelaba avoids a takedown and they trade punches. Both men land rights but Cutelaba is the one backing up then Teixeira gets a clinch and Cutelaba lands an elbow on the break. Front kick from Cutelaba lands. Teixeira lands a right, then another one. They clash on rights again, Teixeira is after a single leg but Cutelaba defends and nearly lands an illegal kick. On a clinch they trade knees, Teixeira took one low but the ref didn’t see it. Frankly this ref hasn’t controlled the fight at all and both guys are getting away with little things. Teixeira lands a one two, Cutelaba lands a right. Left from Teixeira lands flush, Cutelaba lands a right and we’re getting towards brawling territory. Cutelaba tries a knee but Teixeira pushes him over and dives onto the ground with him. Quick series of passes from Teixeira and he’s in mount and looking to tee off on Cutelaba. Cutelaba gives up the back, Teixeira sinks in the choke and this one is over.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Glover Teixeira via Submission, rear naked choke, at 3:37 of Round 2

The old war horse is still going, and Teixeira gets some mic time. He says he’s happy to be in Florida and puts over the crowd, then says he’ll be here for a while still and plans on retiring in the Octagon eventually and despite being 39 and fighting the young beasts he’s still winning and hopes that people will stop questioning his heart. He says the spinning back fist was hard but he knew he’d have to deal with a tough first round and then get his opponent in the second or third. Asked about how soon he’ll be back he says he wants to enjoy the summer but would like a rematch with Corey Anderson as Anderson beat him the last time they fought.

Teixeira’s mount is a tough thing to deal with, and his back mount is even worse. Here Cutelaba gives up the back to avoid the punches and look at the hip pressure from Teixeira, it’s so strong he’s forcing the head up Cutelaba up to expose the neck for the choke.

Alex Oliveira has gone 2-2 in his last four fights, he’s coming off of a loss to Gunnar Nelson though and is trying to avoid his first ever losing streak. Mike Perry has gone just 1-3 in his last four fights and is coming off of a loss, if he wants to get back on track he can’t afford his second two fight losing streak in five fights. Oliveira is your -165 favorite against +145 for Perry.

Welterweight Bout: Alex Oliveira (19-6-1 2 NC, 171 lbs.) vs. Mike Perry (12-4, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Oliveira is an inch taller but has a significant five and a half inches of reach over Perry. Oliveira opens up with a spinning back kick that misses. Missed wheel kick from Oliveira then he lands a leg kick. Perry coming forward, he avoids a right and misses a counter right. Oliveira gets a single leg that hits the fence then he looks to slam, gets Perry up but can’t finish the slam and has to settle for slipping around to the back standing. They break without incident and reset in the middle of the cage. Oliveira misses a right then misses a wheel kick. Perry is looking to close distance but struggling to do so. Oliveira lands a right then misses a wheel kick. Another right then a left from Oliveira and they clinch up on the fence. They trade knees then Perry lands a left elbow as they break and that definitely got Oliveira’s attention. Perry is cut under the left eye, they both land rights. Oliveira lands a right in combination, the combination work of Oliveira is what’s making the difference as Perry is one or two and done rather than really chaining stuff together. They get close and Perry lands a knee to the head, then they both land as they break. Leg kick from Perry. Right from Oliveira lands. Perry swings a series of hooks along the fence to the body and head of Oliveira as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Oliveira

ROUND TWO: Oliveira showing the jab to start this round, they both miss rights in close. Perry is coming forward this round, misses a high kick though. Perry lands a left to the body, Oliveira lands an uppercut in close and avoids a clinch situation. Front kick to the body from Oliveira then a series of punches but Perry clips him with a left hook and Oliveira is down but Perry lets him back up rather than play on the ground. Perry is backing Oliveira up again, looking to explode through distance with a counter. Perry elevates and slams Oliveira but Oliveira is back up and pushes into a clinch immediately. Oliveira has Perry on the fence but misses his punches when they break. Oliveira lands a side kick to the knee. Perry ducks under a hook kick then they trade rights. Another right from Perry drops Oliveira again and this time Perry is on top in half guard. A few rights land for Perry then an elbow. Lefts from Perry now before Oliveira is able to tie that arm up. Oliveira is looking to wall walk now, Perry is smothering him and swings some lefts into his head against the fence. Knee to the body from Perry as Oliviera gets up then they clash on kicks and Oliveira has injured his foot as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Perry, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Apparently Oliveira dislocated a toe on that clash and his corner just popped it back in between rounds. Oliveira misses a series of punches then Perry lands a leg kick. Bit of a right from Oliveira. Left from Perry lands to the head then a right to the body. Perry ducks under a lunging hook and lands a right. Oliveira lands a leg kick but eats a counter right. Perry lands a clubbing right after taking a knee to the chest. These two are throwing themselves off balance constantly with the power they’re throwing at each other. Oliveira is looking to keep this long now, but Perry lands a jab and is trying to crowd him. Right from Oliveira lands then Perry wobbles him with a left hook. Another left from Perry then a right and Oliveira is on wobbly legs but is throwing elbows at Perry when he tries to close distance. Perry gets close and starts swinging hooks to the body and head along the fence. Oliveira is able to get free and get back to the center of the cage. Oliveira lands a left hook. Leg kick from Oliveira, bit of a counter right from Perry. There’s an exchange of lefts, then Perry ducks under a spinning back fist and stands over the body of Oliveira as the round ends.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Mike Perry via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

That was stupid violent fun. Perry is hyped for that win, and gets some mic time. He says he feels fantastic and wanted a head kick KO but he’ll keep working for that. He thanks Florida and says he loves them, and notes he lost the last time he fought in Florida and is happy to have won in his home state then shouts out Flint Michigan where he was born. Asked who’s next he says guys like Till and Covington fight once a year, he’s fought eighteen times in four years and believes nineteen will be coming soon.

Greg Hardy is coming off of his first professional loss when he was disqualified for an illegal knee in his UFC debut, he’s trying to bounce back from that and get that all important first UFC win. Dmitrii Smoliakov was cut from the UFC after going 0-2 but he won once outside the UFC and is back now and he’s also looking for that first win in the Octagon. Hardy is your -330 favorite against a +260 comeback for Smoliakov.

Heavyweight Bout: Greg Hardy (3-1, 264.5 lbs.) vs. Dmitrii Smoliakov (9-2, 262 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Hardy is three inches taller and has six and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Hardy stalking forward, Smoliakov doing some stance switching. Bit of a right from Hardy, mostly range finding thus far though. Smoliakov is circling away, and tries a bad takedown that Hardy easily avoids but does get Smoliakov off of the fence. Smoliakov lands a bit of a right in close. Hardy has backed Smoliakov into the fence, tries a head kick that’s blocked then he avoids a takedown and lands an uppercut. Hardy lands a right and Smoliakov is down, Hardy on top in his guard landing rights and hammer fists. Commentary is all over Hardy’s junk, a few more hammer fists from Hardy and one of them knocks the mouth piece out of Smoliakov and as he just covers up the ref waves this one off.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Greg Hardy via TKO, punches and hammer fists, at 2:15 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Hardy for his work this evening. Hardy gets an interview after that, he says the win feels amazing and sucks up to the crowd, thanks his coaches for all of their work with him, and again expresses love. He says he felt like he knew his purpose this time relative to his debut, mentions not wanting to gas out and make his shots count then feels that the sport is helping him become more peaceful outside of the cage. Asked about his next fight he says he can fight tomorrow and just wants to stay busy.

Ronaldo Souza is one of the premier middleweights in the world but has missed out on a UFC title shot due to either bad timing on losses or the politics of fighting, now time is running out on his career as he’s nearly 40. Souza is coming off of a win over Chris Weidman when he stopped the former champion in November of last year, he’s looking to get into the title picture with a win here. Jack Hermansson took this fight on short notice but is on a three fight winning streak and if he can extend that to four in a row at the expense of someone as respected as Souza it will be the biggest win of his career and likely puts him in the title picture. The odds are with Souza at -210 against a +175 payout for Hermansson.

Middleweight Bout: #4 Ronaldo Souza (26-6 1 NC, 185.5 lbs.) vs. #10 Jack Hermansson (19-4, 185 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Hermansson has five and a half inches of reach on Souza. Hermansson doing some stance switching and bouncing around, Souza taking a more methodical approach so far. Leg kick from Hermansson lands. Both men probing distance but neither man really committing just yet. They trade rights, both men landed flush. Jabs go back and forth, Hermansson still circling and looking to keep distance. Hermansson lands a leg kick, Souza lands a right and clinches up but Hermansson lands a knee to the body and then breaks free. Souza lands a couple of body shots in close. Hermansson lands a series of punches in close then jumps for the seated arm triangle choke but Souza is moving to defend and keeping Hermansson from locking up the choke. They scramble a bit and Souza escapes after Hermansson nearly gets an Eppsecutioner (think a dragon sleeper if you’re a pro wrestling fan) and they’re back up on the fence and in the clinch. Hermansson has a body lock as they jockey for position along the fence. Knees from Hermansson, he’s looking for a takedown but is peppering in offense as he’s doing so. Souza lands a left to the body then a right as they break. Leg kick from Hermansson, then a few jabs as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hermansson

ROUND TWO: They trade rights to get the second round going. Another leg kick from Hermansson lands. Souzaz lands a left hook then a right in close. Lefts to the body from Souza, Hermansson lands a counter right. Calf kick from Souza but Hermansson catches it and gets a takedown into the guard. Souza is working his guard up the torso but it’s closed at the moment. Both men land some elbows but Hermansson isn’t doing a lot effectively yet. Hermansson sneaks an elbow through the defense of Souza. Souza goes to a lock down attempt but Hermansson slips free of that. Hermansson lands a few body shots but he’s not really able to get posture or to pass the guard of Souza. Hermansson is staying busy even if the efficacy is questionable and that’s keeping the ref from looking too hard at standing them up. Elbow from Hermansson lands. The round will end in that spot.

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

ROUND THREE: Hermansson looking to jab again, he’s staying busy. Leg kick from Hermansson lands. Double leg attempt from Hermansson, Souza defends then lands a right to the body as they separate. Souza checks a leg kick. Souza blocks another takedown attempt and lands a couple of punches. Left to the body from Souza lands. Hermansson is trying to use kicks to keep distance but Souza is walking him down more effectively this round. Right to the body then a left to the body from Souza. Bit of a one two from Hermansson, Souza lands a jab of his own. Souza trips up Hermansson after a clinch but doesn’t follow him down. Knee to the head and punches land for Souza. Left to the body then a right to the head from Souza, he’s starting to break Hermansson down with body shots. They clinch up and hit the fence, Hermansson lands a left as they break. Another right lands for Souza and Hermansson is backing up. Souza lands to the body and head again, Hermansson is in survival mode. Souza knocks Hermansson down, then hits him to the body when he gets up and gets a little flurry off before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Souza, 29-28 Hermansson overall

ROUND FOUR: Souza blocks a double leg attempt and lands a knee then a right as Hermansson separates. Hermansson is trying to establish his jab but Souza doesn’t seem to mind it. Uppercut lands for Hermansson then they brawl but Hermansson is getting the better of this situation. Souza fires back and gets Hermansson backing up for a bit but he’s back to coming forward soon. Hermansson lands a right. Hermansson’s jab is starting to find the target now and Souza isn’t trying to counter it. Bit of a right from Souza and they clinch then Hermansson spins free. Another uppercut from Hermansson lands. Souza lands a right, then another right to follow it up. They clinch up and trade body shots as Hermansson puts Souza on the fence. They break without incident and Hermansson is back to jabbing and moving. A last combination from Hermansson is mostly successful as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hermansson, 39-37 Hermansson overall

ROUND FIVE: Hermansson coming forward quickly and punches into a clinch on the fence and gets a body lock takedown. Souza to his knees and wall walks but Hermansson is still on him, then Souza hits a judo throw and forces separation. Hermansso is circling and jabbing, Souza is just kind of walking forward but needs a finish and he’s not fighting in a style likely to get him one. Souza lands a left to the body. Bit of a right from Souza, Hermansson lands a short right of his own. Hermansson lands a right and gets his jab going. Another left to the body from Souza. Souza coming forward with more body shots then a right to the head but Hermansson is still circling away then clinches up to stifle that flurry. They break and Souza is still chasing Hermansson but Hermansson seems like he’s going to coast this last minute out. Souza lands a couple of rights to the head, Hermansson lands a right then an uppercut. Another right from Souza but Hermansson just eats it. Souza digs body shots then a right but Hermansson gets a takedown into the guard of Souza and that will burn the rest of the clock.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Souza, 48-47 Hermansson overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jack Hermansson via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47 x2)

Huge win for Hermansson, on short notice to step in and upset a guy like Souza is a big deal. Mic time for Hermansson, who says he’s happy but tired and is glad he could show the world he’s a title contender. He says his coach told him the fight would be long and tough but he was hoping for an early finish, and jokes that he doesn’t like going to decision and prefers to finish his opponents. He believes his precision, speed, and variety of offense were key to his win and mentions he got hit a few times but managed to stick around through them. Asked when he’d like to be back he says there’s a card on Denmark in October and he wants to main event it against someone who’ll get him to a title shot. He notes that he saved this show by stepping in on short notice against a beast like Souza and would like to be rewarded after that.

On that note, thanks everyone for being here and reading be that live or after the fact. We’ll be breaking down all the action from this card Sunday on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast, and we’ll be previewing UFC on ESPN+ 9 when the UFC is in Ottawa next week and brings Al Iaquinta vs. Donald Cerrone in the main event. I’ll be back next week right here to cover that event, and I hope you’ll all come back as well. Until then thanks everyone for being here, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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