mma / News

Join 411’s Live UFC 290 Coverage

July 8, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC 290 Image Credit: UFC

Keep Refreshing For The Latest Results

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
(c) Alexander Volkanovski (144.5 lbs.) vs. (ic) Yair Rodriguez (145 lbs.) – featherweight title unification fight
(c) Brandon Moreno (125 lbs.) vs. #2 Alexandre Pantoja (125 lbs.) – for flyweight title
#5 Dricus Du Plessis (186 lbs.) vs. #2 Robert Whittaker (185.5 lbs.)
#12 Dan Hooker (155.5 lbs.) vs. #11 Jalin Turner (158 lbs.)*
Bo Nickal (186 lbs.) vs. Val Woodburn (185.5 lbs.)

Robbie Lawler (170.5 lbs.) vs. Niko Price (171 lbs.)
Edgar Chairez (129 lbs.) vs. Tatsuro Taira (130 lbs.) – 130-pound contract weight
Denise Gomes (115.5 lbs.) vs. Yazmin Jauregui (115.5 lbs.)
#14 Jimmy Crute (205 lbs.) vs. Alonzo Menifield (205.5 lbs.)

Vitor Petrino (206 lbs.) vs. Marcin Prachnio (206 lbs.)
Terrence Mitchell (135 lbs.) vs. Cameron Saaiman (135 lbs.)
Jesus Aguilar (126 lbs.) vs. Shannon Ross (126 lbs.)
Kamuela Kirk (155.5 lbs.) vs. Esteban Ribovics (156 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 290, I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the event. Tonight we’ve got one of the theoretical big PPVs of the UFC calendar as it’s International Fight Week, and while this card isn’t going to break through into some kind of more mainstream consciousness it is a very good overall card. The main event is for the featherweight champion when maybe the best fighter in the world Alexander Volkanovski goes for title defense number 5 against interim champion Yair Rodriguez. These two matchup in some really interesting ways, Volkanovski is about as skilled a technician and operators as exists while Rodriguez is a brutal and chaotic fighter. The co-main event is a pretty interesting flyweight title fight when Brandon Moreno goes for his first successful title defense now that he’s in his second title reign when he goes against Alexandre Pantoja. Pantoja has defeated Moreno twice in the past and wants his first taste of UFC gold here. Interesting side note to that fight, with Amanda Nunes retiring and vacating her titles Brazil doesn’t have a single UFC champion to it’s name and Pantoja will be trying to change that. Elsewhere on the main card middleweights Robert Whittaker and Dricus Du Plessis fight for a presumptive title shot, and super prospect Bo Nickal looks to remain undefeated. Elsewhere we’ve got the final fight for former champion Robbie Lawler as he’s announced he’s retiring after this fight, highly thought of prospects are also in action as Tatsuro Taira fights plus Yazmin Jauregui tries to keep building her own momentum. Lower than that things get a lot less interesting, but let’s hope the action is up to snuff tonight.

UFC 290 comes to the world from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. We’ve got Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Daniel Cormier on the call. If I can be honest that’s not even close to my favorite trio, Rogan and Cormier wind up podcasting rather than broadcasting half the time. Because we’re in Nevada we’ll have instant replay plus the ability to restart a fight after replay is used if that’s applicable to the situation. Lastly keep in mind we’re in the larger 30 foot cage set up.

Kamuela Kirk has gone 1-1 in the UFC, last losing a fight in March of last year but now he’s back and trying to avoid his first UFC losing streak. Esteban Ribovics suffered his first professional loss in his UFC debut four months ago, but tonight offers a great opportunity to find that all important first UFC win. Ribovics closed at -150 to +130 for Kirk.

Lightweight Bout: Kamuela Kirk (11-5, 155.5 lbs.) vs. Esteban Ribovics (11-1, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Kirk has a significant six inches of reach advantage. Both men probe with kicks for a bit. Kirk hits a double leg into half guard. Ribovics tries to explode and bridge, but Kirk spins to the back and gets both hooks in. Kirk is after a choke, it’s more of a crank at the moment and Ribovics is able to break the grip as Kirk goes to a body triangle. Not much damage from Kirk yet but he’s got control from the back. Ribovics moves to his knees but Kirk is threatening to flatten him out so they keep rolling around. Kirk is still fishing for the choke, and winds up moving to full mount and threatens an arm triangle choke as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kirk, borderline 10-8

ROUND TWO: Ribovics comes forward and lands a calf kick. Kirk shows the jab then lands a right hand. Inside leg kick from Kirk, Ribovics responds with a head kick and fires a flurry that’s mostly blocked. Ribovics checks an inside leg kick, he’s trying out southpaw and Kirk lands a right hand, then Ribovics counters with a right hook. Kirk lands a right to the body. They clinch up, Ribovics hits a takedown but Kirk immediately goes to tie him up and Ribovics stands free to reset. Kirk gets back on offense right away and lands a knee then a front kick. Ribovics lands a couple of body shots. Kirk lands a jab. Single leg from Kirk, but Ribovics defends and they trade hooks. Another right to the body from Kirk then he tries a double leg but they wind up clinched. Ribovics lands an elbow as they break. Kirk with a right hand. Another right from Kirk lands. Ribovics with a jab, Kirk counters with a right. They’re trading pretty consistently now, and Kirk digs a left to the body. Ribovics lands a couple of punches. They get close and trade again. Ribovics lands a left then a right. A right hook from Ribovics staggers Kirk, Kirk shoots but Ribovics pushes him over and gets on top. Kirk is able to defend on the mat then tie up. Ribovics stands free and makes Kirk stand. Kirk lands a combination. A left hook from Kirk in close backs off Ribovics. Ribovics lands a combination of his own. Both men land punches along the fence. Ribovics keeps throwing punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ribovics, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Pretty sure Kirk’s nose is busted. They both come out willing to trade again, but Kirk takes a kick to the groin so we’ve got a time out. Kirk doesn’t take long and we’re back to fighting after less than 40 seconds. Both men land leg kicks. They trade body shots. Ribovics avoids a double leg. Bit of a high kick from Ribovics, but Kirk counters with a knee tap and gets him down into half guard near the fence. Ribovics tries to explode and escape, but Kirk is able to ride him pretty easily. Ribovics wall walks into a clinch and they break. Both men land punches. Ribovics wants a brawl, and Kirk trades with him. Bit of a right from Kirk. Ribovics blocks a takedown attempt and lands a left hand. Body shot from Ribovics. Kirk blocks a head kick but Ribovics clocks him with a right hand. Kirk hits a double leg but Ribovics bounces up though he’s still clinched. They break, then Kick tries another takedown but can’t finish this one. Ribovics misses a spinning elbow then lands a couple of body shots. A few more punches from Ribovics then he limp legs away from a single leg. Left from Ribovics lands, then he avoids a takedown attempt and gets on top in a modified ride position. Kirk comes up on a takedown, he and Ribovics scramble and Ribovics lands punches before they separate. Ribovics lands an uppercut then he forces a clinch on the fence. Knee from Ribovics then they break. One last time they trade punches before the round ends.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Esteban Ribovics via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Decent little fight there. Ribovics and the translator get an interview, he knows he started a little slow but he woke up in the second and third rounds. He puts over his coaches and training partners, but knows he’s still got a lot of room to improve.

Shannon Ross is on a two fight losing streak including his UFC debut earlier this year, he’s trying to arrest that skid here and get his first taste of victory in the promotion. Jesus Aguilar lost his UFC debut earlier this year and now tries to avoid his first ever losing streak by getting his first UFC win. Another relatively close one by the odds but Aguilar is your -140 favorite to a +120 comeback on Ross.

Flyweight Bout: Jesus Aguilar (8-2, 126 lbs.) vs. Shannon Ross (13-7, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Ross is two inches taller with three and a half inches of reach advantage. Both men probe with some kicks early. Aguilar lands an overhand right that ENDS Ross and he just walks away.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jesus Aguilar via KO, punch, at :17 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Aguilar for his work this evening. Mic time for Aguilar and the translator, he calls this the best moment of his life and last time in the UFC he cried from sadness but now he’s crying from happiness. He talks us through the finish and says he needs a post fight bonus.

Here’s the finish. Pretty reliable thing for MMA, fake the double leg and throw the overhand right. But it’s a classic for a reason, when it works it tends to work big.

Cameron Saaiman is undefeated including being 2-0 in the UFC, now he’s trying to begin the difficult transition from prospect to contender in maybe the deepest division in the entire sport. Terrence Mitchell hasn’t lost a professional fight since 2010, though he did lose as part of the 24th season of The Ultimate Fighter but I doubt anyone cares, and he’s trying to bring all of that momentum to bear in his long awaited UFC debut. Saaiman is a prohibitive favorite at -625 while the +440 payout on Mitchell might tempt some bettors out there.

Bantamweight Bout: Terrence Mitchell (15-2, 135 lbs.) vs. Cameron Saaiman (8-0, 135 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Mitchell is two inches taller with seven inches of reach advantage, he’s all 11 years older. Southpaw for Saaiman, and they touch gloves. Mitchell avoids a high kick and hits a takedown but Saaiman has a guillotine locked up. Saaiman is using the guillotine to stand, he nearly gets the back but can’t clear one of Mitchell’s arms and Mitchell gets back on top in full guard. High guard for Saaiman, he tries an armbar and uses that to sweep and get on top in full guard. They wrestle up and Saaiman hits a takedown and lands a few elbows. Mitchell lands some up kicks and then stands but Saaiman knees him in the body as they clinch up. More knees from Saaiman, he’s going body and head with them depending on the posture of Mitchell. Saaiman slings Mitchell down and gets on top in the ride position. Some punches from Saaiman in the ride, then he gets both hooks in to get the back. Mitchell is flattened out now and Saaiman keeps unloading with punches and Mitchell can’t deal with the position so the ref steps in.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Cameron Saaiman via TKO, punches, at 3:10 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Saaiman for his work this evening. Mic time for Saaiman, he plays with the crowd first and is very happy to have gotten another win. He puts over South African MMA to close.

Back taken, belly down, and most importantly look at the hips of Saaiman. Saaiman has enough downward pressure to cause a bow in the back of Mitchell which helps stop him from getting his base up and fighting the position. With that kind of control it’s pretty academic to just dish out enough offense to get the ref involved.

Vitor Petrino is undefeated including his UFC debut earlier this year, he’s trying to keep that momentum here and begin establishing himself as a viable prospect. Marcin Prachnio has gone 3-4 in the UFC but he’s coming off of a win and could get his second UFC winning streak up and running here while drawing his UFC record to the .500 mark. The odds are with Petrino at -275 to a +230 comeback for Prachnio.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Vitor Petrino (8-0, 206 lbs.) vs. Marcin Prachnio (16-6, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Prachnio is an inch taller while Petrino has two and a half inches of reach advantage, Petrino is also nine years younger. They touch gloves to get us going. I’m kind of calling BS on that height measurement, Petrino looks bigger. Prachnio looks to stick and move, he’s landing alright and moving off. Petrino lands a leg kick. Prachnio lands a right hand and they clinch up. Prachnio has a body lock but he’s struggling to do anything with it. Some knees from Prachnio as Petrino breaks his body lock then they break. Bit of a jab from Prachnio, he’s moving well while Petrino is a little linear. Petrino throws some head kicks that are blocked. Right hand from Petrino lands and he tries a takedown against the fence but Prachnio is defending. Double leg from Petrino and he gets on top in the full guard of Prachnio. Prachnio kicks Petrino off and stands back into a clinch. They break after trading some short blows in the clinch. Prachnio is trying to stick and move, and he’s having some success walking Petrino into stuff. Petrino fires a couple of body kicks. Jab from Prachnio, then Petrino hits a takedown into half guard. The round will end with Petrino on top.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Petrino

ROUND TWO: Quick takedown from Petrino into full guard after Prachnio misses a wheel kick. Some body to head punches from Petrino as he’s working to pass. Petrino passes to half guard. Next Petrino starts fishing for a kimura, he’s got the double wrist lock but he’s struggling to get it bent properly. Prachnio keeps throwing rights while keeping his arm straight and eventually Petrino bails on the kimura. Some short elbows from Petrino land, he looks for mount but Prachnio defends only for Petrino to get his back after a moment. Petrino looks to flatten Prachnio out, then fishes for a choke. Prachnio is able to defend the choke attempt and shrimps to half guard. Petrino with some elbows from top position. The round will end with Petrino on top again.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Petrino but a borderline one, 20-17 Petrino overall

ROUND THREE: Prachnio wades forward and lands a right hand. Petrino lands a calf kick. Prachnio fires a wheel kick but it’s blocked. Both men land punches. Calf kick from Prachnio lands. Bit of a left hook from Prachnio. Petrino lands a left uppercut. Bit of a left hook from Petrino. A couple of punches from Prachnio land in close. Petrino lands a body kick. Prachnio jabs the body. Easy double leg from Petrino and he gets on top in half guard. A few short elbows from Petrino land. Petrino passes to full mount, then grabs at an arm triangle. Prachnio is trying to fight the hold but Petrino is able to lock down the choke and force the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Vitor Petrino via Submission, arm triangle, at 3:42 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Petrino for his work this evening. Mic time for Petrino and the translator, he thanks the UFC brass and advocates for a few of his fellow team mates. Asked what he’d like next he wants to focus on developing his game and is happy his first submission win came in the UFC. To close he says he’d like a new contract as he’s young and promising but would like more money.

Here’s the finish. Finishing an arm triangle from mount is different than side control, ideally you get to the side and can leverage your body behind the compression but it’s not necessary. Here Petrino has a good frame built with his arms and can get enough squeeze and downward force to get the tap.

Jimmy Crute hasn’t had a win since 2020 and last fought to a draw with his opponent tonight, but he could really use a win if he wants to defend his ranking. Alonzo Menifield has gone 4-1-1 in his last six fights, he’s trying to restart his momentum after the draw in his last fight and start making a move up the light heavyweight ranks. We’ve got a pretty close one here but the odds lean towards Crute at -140 to Menifield’s +120.

Light Heavyweight Bout: #14 Jimmy Crute (12-3-1, 205 lbs.) vs. Alonzo Menifield (13-3-1, 205.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Crute is two inches taller while Menifield has two inches of reach advantage, Crute is also eight years younger. They touch gloves to get us going. Circling from Crute, and some range finding weapons like the jab and front kick. Menifield lands a right hand to counter a leg kick. One two from Menifield lands and off balances Crute. Some probing jabs from Crute but he’s pushing his punches. Menifield avoids a takedown and they clinch up. Some knees from Crute while they fight for position. Elbow from Menifield in close, Crute lands another knee. Crute starts fishing for a guillotine, or at least a front headlock of some variety. They break and Menifield clubs Crute with a right hand before they clinch again. Menifield avoids a single leg. Crute keeps up the knee strikes, and they trade some of them in the clinch as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Menifield

ROUND TWO: Bit of a left from Menifield to start the second round. Crute avoids a few punches. Menifield lands a jab. Another jab from Menifield. They trade lefts. Bit of a one two from Menifield. Crute hits a double leg along the fence, Menifield wall walks right away then uses a guillotine threat to push Crute over onto his back but Menifield holds the choke and drops his weight into it and Crute has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alonzo Menifield via Submission, guillotine choke, at 1:55 of Round 2

Mic time for Menifield, he thanks his family and coaches and talks about his training for this fight. He talks us through the finish and thinks it looked awesome. Asked about the future he wants to fight everyone, he’s 35 years old and doesn’t have a lot of time to mess around.

Being able to leverage your weight into a choke can be a huge advantage, and Menifield is able to do just that here. With Crute unable to address the position there’s nothing to release that compression on his neck and he has to tap.

Yazmin Jauregui is undefeated with a couple of wins in the UFC to her name, there has been some hype building around her lately and now she’s looking to begin the treacherous transition from prospect to contender with another win here. Denise Gomes has gone 1-1 in the UFC but she is coming off of a win and could build her first UFC winning streak at the expense of Jauregui’s budding hype. Jauregui is a pretty heavy favorite at -375 to the +285 underdog Gomes.

Strawweight Bout: Denise Gomes (7-2, 115.5 lbs.) vs. Yazmin Jauregui (10-0, 115.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Jauregui has an inch of height and reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Gomes lands a couple of rights that drop Jauregui, she keeps unloading as Jauregui tries to stand and the ref jumps in to wave things off.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Denise Gomes via TKO, punches, at :20 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Gomes for her work this evening, that’s also the fastest finish in UFC strawweight history. Gomes and the translator get an interview, she knew a lot of people wrote her off for this fight but she worked hard and puts over her team for getting her ready. She talks us through the finish to close.

Just a quick and brutal blitz from Gomes, some good accuracy on her right hand and then once Jauregui is hurt she never gives her a second to recover.

Tatsuro Taira is undefeated including three wins in the UFC all of which has seen him begin to emerge as the up and coming name at flyweight, he’s trying to keep that perfect record in tact and prove he’s ready to take a step up in class sooner rather than later. Edgar Chairez brings a two fight winning streak into his UFC debut, and if he can upset the highly touted Taira it would be an exceptional way to get his UFC career up and running. This fight came together on pretty short notice, hence the catchweight, but despite that Taira is a prohibitive favorite at a whopping -740 to the +540 on Chairez.

Catchweight Bout: Edgar Chairez (10-4, 129 lbs.) vs. Tatsuro Taira (13-0, 130 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Chairez has an inch of reach advantage. Both men come out trading leg kicks. Taira lands a solid calf kick. Another calf kick from Taira. Stiff jab from Chairez. That lead calf of Chairez is swelling and discolored already. Bit of a right from Taira. Calf kick from Chairez lands. Taira closes distance but Chairez lands a left hand that off balances him and they hit the mat. Chairez jumps for a guillotine but Taira is in half guard on the safe side and looking to counter with a Von Flue choke. Taira is still working that Von Flue, and Chairez releases the head to avoid it. Taira looks to pass the half guard of Chairez, he’s still threatening an arm triangle kind of position. Eventually Taira bails on that to land elbows, Chairez keeps grabbing the fence with his toes and the ref is warning him repeatedly. More elbows from Taira, he’s nearly got a mounted crucifix going. Taira postures up and lands elbows as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Taira

ROUND TWO: Both men got warned between rounds, Taira about potential 12 to 6 elbows and Chairez for his cage grabbing. Taira tries a takedown, Chairez jumps for a guillotine but there’s nothing there this time and Taira passes to half guard with ease. Chairez is able to hip escape to full guard. Taira is still working to pass and actually gets to full mount, sick passing fame from Taira there. Chairez is able to shrimp and get half guard but Taira is so high up it doesn’t really benefit him that much. Taira starts landing elbows again and is still working for the mounted crucifix. Now Taira grabs at a kimura, Chairez is defending but the threat lets Taira get to full mount. More elbows from Taira as he’s postured up. Chairez is trying to defend but Taira is starting to find him with punches and elbows. Taira thinks about an arm triangle attack but Chairez blocks that. Chairez tries to wall walk but Taira jumps for a triangle choke, locks it up and pulls on the head but there’s short time and Chairez will see out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Taira but a marginal one, 20-17 Taira overall

ROUND THREE: Chairez lands a bit of a body kick. Bit of a left hook from Chairez. Taira lands a calf kick. A few body kicks from Taira, they’re not powerful and it’s more like he’s fishing for a reaction. Bit of a right from Taira. Chairez lands a jab. Taira lands a calf kick. Chairez lands a jab to counter a calf kick. Double leg from Taira, and he gets Chairez down into half guard again. Some elbows from Taira as he works to pass. Taira postures up and lands some punches, his control is quite good but he should work on the power he generates in his ground and pound. Chairez works to stand, he’s up but Taira is on him and Chairez jumps for another guillotine. This one looks to be a little more effective, Chairez rolls to mount but there’s no time left and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Chairez, 29-27 Taira overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Tatsuro Taira via unanimous decision (29-27 x3)

No interview for Taira, not sure if that’s a timing or translation issue. Good enough stuff from Taira, he’s got ability but this might have showed him a few things he needs to work on.

Robbie Lawler is a legend of the sport, a former UFC welterweight champion who had his first professional fight in April of 2001 and has decided to call it a career after this fight. Retirement fights in MMA in general and those in the UFC in particular almost never go well but Lawler is trying to buck that trend and ride off into the sunset with one last victory. Niko Price has gone 1-3 with 1 No Contest in his last five fights and was last seen in a losing effort late last year, now he’s trying to get arguably the biggest name on his resume if he can send Lawler into retirement with a loss. The odds are with Price at -215 against +185 for Lawler.

Welterweight Bout: Robbie Lawler (29-16 1 NC, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Niko Price (15-6 2 NC, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Price is an inch taller with two inches of reach advantage, he’s also eight years younger. Southpaw for Lawler, and they touch gloves. Price probes with some front kicks. Lawler lands a couple of lefts. Uppercuts in close from Lawler, and Price drops!

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Robbie Lawler via KO, punches, at :38 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Lawler for his work this evening. Lawler got the fair tale ending so many dream of. Mic time for Lawler, he says nothing went right all of camp but he finally felt good today and was able to land some bombs. He talks us through the finish, he knew he was landing in good places and just overwhelmed Price. He thanks the fans and media for the years of support. They show a highlight reel of Lawler’s career for him to enjoy, one of the few classy moments the UFC gives us and you can see Lawler get emotional watching it, his team is crying too. He thanks a lot of people for helping him along the way and expresses his gratitude to close.

No break down, nothing to say except Thank You Robbie.

Well that’s it for the prelims, onto PPV for the main card.

Bo Nickal is undefeated in MMA and a multiple time national champion wrestler as a collegiate wrestler and former world champion wrestler who has looked every bit a blue chip prospect in MMA. Nickal looks to continue that ascent here as he tries to refine his skills in the UFC, a difficult proposition. Val Woodburn stepped in on short notice after Tresean Gore fell out of this fight but he’s undefeated and could pull off a historic upset if he beats Nickal here. Nickal is a -1500 favorite, one of the bigger ones in UFC history, to a whopping +900 comeback on Woodburn.

Middleweight Bout: Bo Nickal (4-0, 186 lbs.) vs. Val Woodburn (7-0, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Southpaw for Nickal. Nickal probes with the jab and some level change feints, Woodburn isn’t biting on much. Both men miss power hand punches. Hard right hook from Nickal wobbles Woodburn, then a left hand locks him up and a left uppercut that puts him down and out.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Bo Nickal via TKO, punches, at :38 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Nickal for his work this evening, and appreciates all the work that’s being put in as we’ve now had four fights with less than one minute of action. Mic time for Nickal, he thanks his striking coaches first then puts over the rest of his team and family. Asked about the future he doesn’t care who they put in front of him, he’s taking them out and just wants to get ready for elk season back home. To close he gives love to his wife who’s pregnant with their first child and says as cool as it is to knock people out it’s more important to be a good husband and father.

Jalin Turner just had a five fight winning streak broken by Mateusz Gamrot, but he’s trying to avoid his first UFC losing streak here while also getting maybe the biggest win of his career against his battle tested opponent. Turner did miss weight as well, and a win would help smooth that over. Dan Hooker has gone 2-4 in his last six fight, but he is coming off of a win and could get his first winning streak since 2020 up and running here. The odds are with Turner at -275 while the +230 comeback on Hooker might tempt a few bettors out there.

Lightweight Bout: #12 Dan Hooker (22-12, 155.5 lbs.) vs. #11 Jalin Turner (13-6, 158 lbs.)*

ROUND ONE: Turner is three inches taller with two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves, Turner switching his stance early. Hooker lands a calf kick. Now both guys showing a little from both stances as they circle. Turner with a couple of leg kicks. Hooker lands a leg kick. Bit of a left from Turner. Hooker throws an inside leg kick, that hits the groin and we’ve got a time out. Replay confirms the low blow. We’re back to fighting after just over a minute. Hooker starts showing front kicks to the knee now. Bit of a right from Turner. Hooker blocks a head kick and lands a front kick to the body. Turner lands a body kick. Spinning back kick from Turner lands. Both men land punches in close. Turner lands a left hand. Some leg kicks go back and forth. Turner is starting to land body kicks, and Hooker doesn’t like them. They trade in close and Turner avoids a take down. Hooker lands a front kick then a left while avoiding some punches. Body kick from Hooker, bit of a counter right from Turner. Hooker catches a kick and lands a right hand. Head kick from Hooker lands but Turner cracks him with a right hand. A left from Hooker might have staggered Turner for a moment then he lands a body kick. They trade in close again. Both men land rights to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Turner but a close one

ROUND TWO: Hooker gets back to leg kicking and circling. Bit of a left from Turner. Hooker lands a body shot then a hook. Body kick from Turner then a right hand behind it. Both men land punches then Hooker lands an inside leg kick. Again they trade punches and Hooker lands an inside leg kick. Front kick from Turner, Hooker really doesn’t like those. Turner lands a right hand. Right to the body from Hooker then an inside leg kick. Turner lands a flush head kick, Hooker wobbles but ties up and stays upright. They break then clinch again, Turner lands a knee to the body and breaks away. Hooker keeps throwing back, he’s incredibly tough but he’s cut around the hairline I think. Some jabs go back and forth. They trade rights but Turner is landing better at this point. Hooker blocks a head kick and lands a left. One two from Hooker lands. Turner lands a left hand. Hooker lands a left hook and he’s got Turner backed up. They start trading in the clinch along the fence. Both men are just teeing off, Hooker is an animal and keeps throwing punches. Turner slips on a knee and Hooker gets on top. Short time as Hooker gets the back and fights for a choke but Turner is saved by the bell as that choke was in.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hooker after that near finish, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Turner might not be recovered from that near finish. Hooker comes forward and cracks him with a left. Turner jabs and circles then lands a front kick. Another front kick from Turner and now Turner is coming forward. Both men land punches in close. They trade lefts again. Hooker lands a jab and starts coming forward again. More punches from Hooker and Turner lands a knee to the body. Hooker with punches, Turner is visibly fading against the fence. Turner hits a double leg into guard. Hooker kicks him off and stands then lands punches in the clinch. They trade again, Hooker just wont be deterred and keeps punching until Turner drops. Hooker on top now and lands punches to the body and head. Turner is able to close his guard and stifle the offensive flurry from Hooker. Hooker with punches to the body and head. Turner with a few elbows from his back and he tries to set up a triangle choke. Hooker keeps punching through the attempt and now Hooker tries to wall walk. Hooker looks to posture and pass, he’s still landing punches to the body and head. Turner tries to wall walk, he’s upright and they trade knees in the clinch. Body kick from Turner. Hooker lands a left hook as the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hooker, 29-28 Hooker overall but this likely hinges on the second round

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

Adalaide Byrd with the dissenting score, to the shock of absolutely no one, I thought they’d retired that senile waste of space. Mic time for Hooker and he celebrates his blonde hair turning red and then jokes about potentially breaking his arm. He puts over Turner’s future and team then thanks everyone for the support and who knew he wouldn’t be done yet. That’s your front runner for Fight of the Night, and Hooker is an absolute animal. No idea how he survived that head kick in the second, much less came back to win the round.

Robert Whittaker is a former middleweight champion and one of the very best middleweights in the world, in fact the only man to beat him in this weight class is Israel Adesanya. While Whittaker has two losses to Adesanya the most recent one was a close decision and if he’s able to get another win here he might be able to force the issue and get a third fight with the champion, or fight for the vacant belt if rumors about Adesanya eyeing a move to light heavyweight are accurate. Dricus Du Plessis is on a seven fight winning streak including being 5-0 in the UFC against a rising level of opposition, now he’s got the biggest name he’s yet to fight in front of him and if he can best Whittaker he should definitely be next in line for a title shot. It’s not surprising to see Whittaker as a heavy favorite at -345 but MMA is a little crazy and a +265 payout on Du Plessis might be a tempting proposition.

Middleweight Bout: #5 Dricus Du Plessis (19-2, 186 lbs.) vs. #2 Robert Whittaker (24-6, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Du Plessis is an inch taller with an inch and a half of reach advantage. Southpaw for Du Plessis. Whittaker shows a few kicks early. Du Plessis lands a calf kick then starts switching his stance. Whittaker lands a body kick. Both men are still probing with kicks then Whittaker lands a one two. Stiff jab from Whittaker, who’s jab has been a thing of beauty for his entire UFC career. Du Plessis misses a few punches. Stiff jab from Whittaker. Du Plessis misses a right hand. Takedown from Whittaker, Du Plessis grabs at a guillotine but Whittaker passes to side control and Du Plessis lets it go. Du Plessis wall walks and they break. Bit of a left from Du Plessis. They trade rights in close. Du Plessis lands a right hand. Whittaker lands a jab then a body kick, Du Plessis lands a calf kick to counter then a couple of punches. Bit of a knee from Du Plessis, he’s starting to get the distance on Whittaker a bit now. Du Plessis lands a right hand. Whittaker lands another jab. Whittaker punches into a clinch, then Du Plessis hits a headlock throw and gets on top. Some punches from Du Plessis, he grabs at a d’arce and then lands an elbow and Whittaker is bleeding. Whittaker fights to full guard and starts angling for an armbar but Du Plessis passes to side control. Du Plessis lands another elbow and some punches from top as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Du Plessis

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. Whittaker lands a right hand. Du Plessis lands a calf kick. Whittaker throws a head kick that’s blocked. Jab from Whittaker then a right hand behind it. They trade punches, Du Plessis seems to be looking to block and counter. Both men land rights. Jab from Du Plessis lands. Bit of a right from Whittaker. Du Plessis lands a calf kick. Whittaker fires another head kick that’s blocked. Du Plessis lands a body kick. Whittaker eats a knee then lands a left hook. Calf kick from Whittaker, he’s avoiding a lot of Du Plessis’s punches thus far. Du Plessis rocks Whittaker with a well timed jab, Whittaker is hurt. Du Plessis keeps pushing forward with punches, he melts Whittaker against the fence and the ref has to step in.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Drics Du Plessis via TKO, punches, at 2:23 of Round 2

Mic time for Du Plessis after that big upset, he jokes about his cardio then jokes that he’s coming for all the people on social media. He talks us through the finish and puts over Whittaker’s toughness as even when he was hurt he couldn’t get reckless, and puts Whittaker over in general by calling this the biggest honor of his career thus far. Israel Adesanya has entered the cage and is behind Du Plessis, and they go face to face. Adesanya says this is his African brother and throws some “n” words at him, and Du Plessis says he’s African but not his brother. Well that was heated. Adesanya says he wanted this moment and he’s the reason it’s happening. When that fight happens it’ll be big, the heat between them is palpable.

Alexandre Pantoja is on a three fight winning streak with back to back finishes that has earned him a crack at the title tonight, and seeing as he’s got a 2-0 record against the champion he’s hoping to claim the title here. Brandon Moreno is the current champion, having reclaimed the title when he finished off his quadrilogy with Deiveson Figueiredo back in January, now Moreno is looking to avenge some earlier career losses and begin to establish himself as champion with his first successful title defense. The odds are with Moreno at -195 while the +165 comeback on Pantoja is definitely a tempting little value bet.

Flyweight Title Bout: (c) Brandon Moreno (21-6-2, 125 lbs.) vs. #2 Alexandre Pantoja (25-5, 125 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Moreno is two inches taller with two and a half inches of reach advantage. Pantoja charges right away and they tie up then hit the fence. Moreno has Pantoja on the fence in the clinch. Not much going on in the clinch yet, Moreno is holding a body lock and Pantoja is struggling to break his grip or land offense. Pantoja spins free and lands a knee. Both men land punches. Moreno lands a couple of jabs. They punch into another clinch, and Moreno avoids a trip then they break. Moreno lands another left hand. Pantoja lands a jab and they clinch up then hit the fence but Moreno pulls free quickly. Bit of a one two from Moreno. A left hook from Pantoja drops Moreno and he jumps on top in half guard. Pantoja with elbows and Moreno is bleeding around the right eyebrow. Moreno tries to fight up, and he’s up and they reset. Bit of a one two from Moreno but Pantoja responds with a combination. Pantoja lands another left hook, Moreno is hurt and backing up. Leg kick from Pantoja then an uppercut and a knee. Bit of a left hook from Moreno who’s recovered. Both men avoid punches. Pantoja fires a head kick, then punches into a clinch and gets the back along the fence. Knee from Pantoja. They break and circle away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pantoja

ROUND TWO: That cut on Moreno is pretty bad, maybe not a fight stopper but definitely not good. Pantoja gets back to stalking forward and they trade lefts. They trade fights then Pantoja fires a head kick. Both men land punches in close, they trade left hooks. These two are just little buzz saws. Moreno lands a couple of jabs then a left hook. Pantoja lands a right hand. Both men land jabs as they circle. Right hand from Pantoja lands. Moreno lands a left hook. They tie up, Moreno jumps to the back and drags things down, he’s got both hooks in now. Pantoja breaks the hooks and they scramble with Moreno on top still. Pantoja fights up and they break. A left hook from Pantoja but Moreno lands one of his own. They trade punches again, Pantoja looks a little tired which is a bad sign this early into a title fight at flyweight. Moreno lands another jab but eats a leg kick. Pantoja lands a knee in close. Front kick from Pantoja. More jabs from Moreno, Pantoja is bleeding from the bridge of the nose now. Moreno is still landing that jab. They trade left hooks then Pantoja bulls forward and gets taken down but lands an up kick. Moreno lands a couple of punches from top position as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Moreno, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They clinch quickly and Pantoja lands a knee that seems to have gone low so we’ve got a time out. Replay confirms the low blow but Moreno only takes 20 seconds, he doesn’t want Pantoja to recover. Pantoja bulls forward and gets the back in a clinch but Moreno cut him with an elbow on the way in. Pantoja pulls things down and gets a body triangle from the back. Moreno is trying to break the body triangle and hand fight. Pantoja is really fighting for the choke but can’t quite find it yet. Some punches from Pantoja and Moreno is able to explode and spin into him. Moreno makes Pantoja stand and we’re back to the insanity of these two. They trade jabs but Moreno’s energy and hand speed is a problem. Pantoja lands a left hook that settles him down for a moment. Uppercut from Pantoja. Moreno fires a partially successful head kick. Both men land in close, this is just a dog fight. Front kick from Pantoja. Head kick then a jab from Moreno. They tie up and Pantoja tries a takedown against the fence, but Moreno defends and separates. Pantoja digs body shots and clinches up then takes Moreno down again into full guard. Moreno tries to scramble right away but Pantoja passes to side control and lands punches but Moreno stands free then eats an up kick that hurt him. Moreno sags to the mat so he can’t be kicked and Pantoja lands elbows from his back. Pantoja kicks Moreno off and stands up. Another body shot from Pantoja. Both men land lefts. Left hook then a leg kick from Pantoja. Moreno lands a jab to end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pantoja but a close one, 29-28 Pantoja overall

ROUND FOUR: They trade jabs then Pantoja lands a leg kick. More jabs from Moreno. Moreno lands a left hook in close then they trade punches. Body shot from Pantoja. Pantoja lands an uppercut but Moreno is throwing with him. This fight is nuts. Moreno with more jabs then Pantoja bulls forward and lands punches and a leg kick. Both men land more lefts. Elbow from Moreno in close but Pantoja gets a takedown into side control. Moreno scrambles up, but Pantoja is on him in the clinch looking to drag him back down. Pantoja is on the back in the clinch and drags Moreno back down then they wind up in 50/50 guard but Pantoja knows this space and moves into side control again. Moreno looks to come up on a single leg but Pantoja is holding a Gotch grip to stall him. Pantoja spins to the back and jumps to the backpack but can’t hold it. Moreno is upright but Pantoja is still on his back in the clinch. Another drag from Pantoja and he’s on top again in half guard. Arm triangle attempt from Pantoja, Moreno explodes though and gets on top in full guard. Moreno stands and swings but can’t land yet. Pantoja kicks Moreno off and regains his feet. They trade punches again, because that’s what they do. Moreno lands a hard elbow to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pantoja but could easily have gone to Moreno, 39-37 Pantoja overall

ROUND FIVE: Moreno stalks forward, both men are feeling the pace of this fight and I don’t blame them. Some jabs go back and forth. Pantoja with a right hand then a left hook and he avoids the counter left from Moreno. Both men land punches again. They trade left hooks but Moreno seems to have more firepower. Jabs are traded again then Pantoja lands a left hook. Moreno lands a jab. They trade left hooks. Moreno with a left to the body but Pantoja lands a right hook to counter. Body shot from Pantoja and he’s coming forward now. They trade in close again and Moreno lands an elbow. Pantoja hits a takedown against the fence. Moreno tries to build up and Pantoja gets his back with a body triangle in the backpack position. Some punches from Pantoja land. Pantoja is trying to find a choke while Moreno is struggling to defend. Pantoja nearly has the choke, he’s across the face not the neck though and Moreno is able to hand fight the grip off. The clock runs down with Pantoja still on Moreno’s back.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pantoja, 49-46 Pantoja overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – and NEW UFC Flyweight Champion Alexandre Pantoja via split decision (46-49, 48-47 x2)

Well that’s your new Fight of the Night, maybe Fight of the Year so far. No issues with the split, that was a heck of a war between those two. The pro-Mexican crowd boo but Pantoja earned that. Mic time for Pantoja, he says if you know his story you’ll love him as he’s worked so hard for this moment and gives love to his wife and kids in the crowd. His family is openly weeping. He puts over Moreno as tough but he’s worked incredibly hard for the last two years, relocated his family the USA and left everything behind, then says his mother raised him all alone and caustically asks if his father is proud of him. He thought he had the finish in the first but Moreno came back strong in the second and gave him hell, he reiterates his respect for Moreno and his family but this is his moment. His family come in to celebrate with him and he closes by being reminded about putting over some sponsors.

Yair Rodriguez claimed an interim title in his last fight when he submitted Josh Emmett in the second round, in fact his only loss since 2018 was a pretty competitive fight with Max Holloway in 2021 and he’s won his last two fights since then. Rodriguez is trying to continue building the wave of momentum for Mexican MMA by claiming the full title here and being the first man at featherweight to best the current champion. Alexander Volkanovski is one of the very best fighters in the entire sport, he’s never lost at featherweight and holds a 3-0 record against Max Holloway. Volkanovski is the reigning champion here, and he’s going for his fifth title defense while further proving himself the best in the sport and maybe the best in the history of the division. It’s not surprising to see Volkanovski as the favorite, but -380 is a little heavy from where I sit and the +290 payout for Rodriguez is some pretty good value.

Featherweight Title Bout: (c) Alexander Volkanovski (25-2, 144.5 lbs.) vs. (ic) Yair Rodriguez (15-3 1 NC, 145 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Rodriguez is five inches taller but Volkanovski has half an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men will do a lot of stance switching. Volkanovski pressures forward early as Rodriguez circles. Rodriguez starts showing some lead leg kicks. Volkanovski avoids a head kick. Bit of a calf kick from Volkanovski. Both men miss leg kicks. Bit of a body kick from Rodriguez but Volkanovski catches it and gets a takedown into full guard. Volkanovski scoots things to the fence to compress Rodriguez and neutralize his guard potential. Volkanovski with some body to head punches. More body to head punches from Volkanovski and he starts looking to pass. Rodriguez closes his guard briefly but Volkanovski is squishing him down and looking to methodically beat him up. Elbows from Volkanovski land now then some short uppercuts. Rodriguez tries to wall walk, he’s up but still clinched. Volkanovski easily trips him back down then lands punches as Rodriguez stands. Rodriguez tries to granby roll but Volkanovski rolls with him and gets to work landing punches from half guard. Arm triangle attempt from Volkanovski, Rodriguez is able to defend but that was a dangerous spot. Volkanovski lands more punches. More punches from Volkanovski and Rodriguez gets full guard and eats more punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Volkanovski

ROUND TWO: There’s a small cut around the eyebrow of Volkanovski, Rodriguez landed an elbow off of his back in that round I guess. They touch gloves again. Both men get back to kicking. Rodriguez fires more high kicks. Volkanovski avoids a few kicks. Bit of a left from Rodriguez then a leg kick. Volkanovski lands a right hand then they trade and clinch. Knee from Volkanovski then he gets a takedown and gets the back without hooks. Rodriguez stands but Volkanovski is still on his back and looking to drag him back down. Outside trip from Volkanovski, easy work, and he’s got Rodriguez down in half guard. Volkanovski lands elbows and punches. Rodriguez is bleeding now I think, he fights up but Volkanovski is still on his back in the clinch. Volkanovski drags things down again and gets back on top in half guard then lands punches. OK, I think the ear of Rodriguez is bleeding, but it might be a cut around the elbow. More elbows from Volkanovski as he’s got Rodriguez flat. Rodriguez looks to hip escape and gets full guard. Volkanovski lands a few more punches to the body and head. Elbows from Volkanovski now. Rodriguez is trying to elbow off of his back but his left eyebrow is split open now. Hard rights from Volkanovski land now. Rodriguez tries to roll but Volkanovski is all over him and keeps landing punches as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: That cut is over the left eyebrow of Rodriguez, not a fight stopper yet but it’s not good and the eye might be swelling up. Rodriguez gets a hard warning about his wild fighting, fence grabbing and glove grabbing, and then the fighters touch gloves for the third round. Both men still circle and switch stance. Front kick from Rodriguez. Volkanovski avoids a head kick and they trade leg kicks. Rodriguez tries a combination but Volkanovski avoids him and lands a right hand. Volkanovski has just slowed everything Rodriguez does down and this a very standard Volkanovski style fight right now. Volkanovski lands a calf kick. Rodriguez misses a few front kicks but lands a right hand. Spinning back kick from Rodriguez. Volkanovski lands a hard calf kick. Forward pressure from Volkanovski now, he’s trying to back Rodriguez into the fence. Bit of a body kick from Rodriguez. Volkanovski lands an elbow and a body shot but can’t find a takedown. Front kick from Rodriguez. Volkanovski lands a right hook. Bit of a left from Volkanovski. Rodriguez complains of a headbutt and we get a time out for both men. Replay confirms the clash of heads, but Rodriguez definitively got the worse of that one. Volkanovski gets a warning but Rodriguez can continue and they apologize before restarting. Rodriguez misses a jumping switch kick then lands a leg kick. Bit of a right from Volkanovski but Rodriguez lands a kick. Volkanovski batters Rodriguez with a right hand and backs him to the fence, lands punches then takes him down. Volkanovski stands over Rodriguez and unloads on him with punches until the ref steps in.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – and STILL UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski via TKO, punches, at 4:19 of Round 3

Mic time for the champion, he puts over Rodriguez as a dangerous opponent who he kept a healthy fear of until a couple of days ago when he locked in and came out to remind everyone that he’s the king of this division. He talks us through the finish, he knew when Rodriguez would switch and when he could time that right hook, and he knew his physical strength would prevail despite the danger of Rodriguez. He wants to keep claiming more records and promises he’ll be back in the gym next week. Asked what’s next he’s got a few options but knows he needs surgery on one of his arms then try to get one more fight in before the end of the year. He does still want that lightweight belt, but if Ilia Topuria wants to keep running his mouth he’s willing to squash him too.

Well on that note UFC 290 comes to a close. I don’t do Card of the Year in my year end discussions, but if I did this would be the current top spot as there was hardly a fight that missed from top to bottom. We’ll be unpacking all the fallout from this event tomorrow on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast, plus looking ahead to next week. I’m pretty sure that card next week will not be as good as this one, but we’ll preview it anyway and I’ll be back here next week for that event. I hope you’ll come by again then. As always thank you for reading, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

article topics :

UFC 290, Robert Winfree