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August 28, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC on ESPN 30

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MAIN CARD (ESPN/ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET)
#9 Edson Barboza (145 lbs.) vs. #10 Giga Chikadze (145.5 lbs.)
Bryan Battle (185.5 lbs.) vs. Gilbert Urbina (186 lbs.) – “TUF 29” middleweight final
Brady Hiestand (135.5 lbs.) vs. Ricky Turcios (135 lbs.) – “TUF 29” bantamweight final
Kevin Lee (170.5 lbs.) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (171 lbs.)
Michael Gillmore (184 lbs.) vs. Andre Petroski (185.5 lbs.)
Gerald Meerschaert (185 lbs.) vs. Makhmud Muradov (184.5 lbs.)

PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET)
Abdul Razak Alhassan (185.5 lbs.) vs. Alessio Di Chirico (185.5 lbs.)
Sam Alvey (185.5 lbs.) vs. Wellington Turman (185.5 lbs.)
Dustin Jacoby (203.5 lbs.) vs. Darren Stewart (204.5 lbs.)
JJ Aldrich (125 lbs.) vs. Vanessa Demopoulos (125.5 lbs.)
Jamall Emmers (145.5 lbs.) vs. Pat Sabatini (145.5 lbs.)
Guido Cannetti (135.5 lbs.) vs. Mana Martinez (140 lbs.)*


Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN 30. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening. Tonight is the finale of this season of The Ultimate Fighter and full disclosure, I have watched not a single solitary second of it. Also, some of these TUF finale cards have been the worst in terms of pacing so hopefully we don’t have that particular hurdle. The main event is quite good though when striking specialists Edson Barboza and Giga Chikadze square up, and while the winner isn’t likely to get the next title shot they’ll be in the general title picture. Also on the card Kevin Lee returns to welterweight and takes on the rather underrated Daniel Rodriguez in what could be a darn good fight. And don’t overlook the rising middleweight prospect Makhmud Muradov when he battles Gerald Meerschaert, Muradov is looking like the real deal and you should definitely pay attention to his fights. After that it’s a bit thin, but we can always hope for exciting stuff in practice.

UFC on ESPN 30 comes to the world from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. We’ve got Brendan Fitzgerald, Paul Felder, and Michael Bisping on commentary. As for the rules we’re mostly under the new set with the exception of the downed fighter rule, anything other than the soles of your feet on the mat means you’re downed with this set, and we have the replay official who’s outside of the cage and can request the use of instant replay. Also a fight can be restarted after instant replay is used if that’s applicable to the situation. Lastly keep in mind that the Apex has the smaller 25 foot diameter cage set up.

Mana Martinez brings a two fight winning streak into his UFC debut, he also took this fight on short notice which contributed to his missing weight by a fairly significant margin. Martinez is hoping to smooth over that weight gaff and make a good first impression on the audience. Guido Cannetti is just 2-4 in the UFC and on a two fight losing streak, his back is against the wall here and he needs a win badly coming off of a layoff of more than a year. Despite the short notice call up the odds are with Martinez at -270 to a +220 comeback on Cannetti.

Bantamweight Bout: Guido Cannetti (8-5, 135.5 lbs.) vs. Mana Martinez (8-2, 140 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Martinez is four inches taller, has two inches of reach advantage, and is 16 years younger in addition to his weight miss. Southpaw for Cannetti, he comes out kicking. Martinez is feinting his way forward, Cannetti lands an inside leg kick then a front kick to the body. Body kick from Cannetti then another inside leg kick. Those kicks from Cannetti are still coming, he’s putting a lot of power into them. Martinez kicks Cannetti to the fence and unloads to the body and head with punches until Cannetti fires back. Another few punches from Martinez then he tries a takedown on the fence and gets it. Cannetti with a nice little roll through on the takedown to wind up on top in full guard. Some hammer fists from Cannetti as Martinez fights up to his feet. Martinez is cut under the left eye, he’s gone southpaw now as well and they both just slam home some leg kicks. A bit of stance switching from Martinez now. Cannetti is landing leg kicks still, Martinez lands one of his own. Hard body kick from Cannetti lands. One last inside leg kick from Cannetti closes the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Cannetti

ROUND TWO: Martinez is coming forward again, Cannetti lands another leg kick. Some longer range kicks from Martinez, Cannetti lands a long left hand. Inside leg kick from Cannetti, Martinez lands a calf kick. Body kick from Martinez, then he lands a calf kick as well. Cannetti back to kicking the legs. Martinez lands a right to the body. One two from Martinez then a body shot as well. Cannetti swings and misses on his counters. A couple of leg kicks from Cannetti land, but Martinez lands a counter punch. Martinez lands a couple of punches to counter a kick. Cannetti lands a left to the body, but he’s a bit one and done with his strikes while Martinez is working combinations. They circle a bit, then Cannetti misses a wheel kick to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Martinez but a close one, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Martinez is still pressing forward but the kicking game of Cannetti is giving him trouble. Martinez lands a few punches in close, but eats a left hand from Cannetti. Both men miss punches in close, then Martinez lands a body kick and calf kick. Some more body shots from Martinez in close, he’s starting to come on a bit now and Cannetti might be tenderized to the body. Cannetti lands a jab. Both men land power hand punches. Inside leg kick from Cannetti, Martinez lands a few punches along the fence. Bit of a left from Cannetti, Martinez returns it. Martinez lands a right to the body. Cannetti with a few lefts, then Martinez gets a double leg against the fence. Martinez lands a few body shots from half guard, he’s postured up and lands punches as Cannetti gets full guard. Martinez stands fee, and they trade punches one last time as the round ends.

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

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

I’m not going to complain too much about that being split, the whole thing comes down to the second round and that close enough. Martinez is a mess crying after the win, his head coach passed recently so this is understandable. He gets an interview and knew he was going to let it all out after the fight, he thanks God and dedicates the win to Saul Soliz his former coach. To close he wishes happy birthday to his grandfather who’s also passed on, and then apologizes for being an emotional wreck. No reason to apologize there buddy.

Jamall Emmers has gone 1-1 in the UFC, but he’s coming off of a win and is looking to build his first UFC winning streak. Pat Sabatini has a three fight winning streak going that includes a successful UFC debut, he’s looking to take a fellow budding prospect and take a step forward with his career. The odds are close but favor Emmers at -155 to a +130 payout for Sabatini.

Featherweight Bout: Jamall Emmers (18-5, 145.5 lbs.) vs. Pat Sabatini (14-3, 145.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Emmers is two inches taller and has four inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men feinting around early, Sabatini lands a couple of punches then takes a groin kick so we’ve got a time out. Sabatini takes about 15 seconds then we’re back to fighting. Emmers lands a couple of punches, Sabatini drops and Emmers gets full mount. Now Emmers gets the back, then to the full mount again as Sabatini is scrambling. Sabatini gets to half guard, he’s trying to tie up the leg and then swaps to an inside heel hook while Emmers is trying for a toe hold. Both men are cranking, but it’s Sabatini who finally gets the pressure right and forces the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Pat Sabatini via Submission, inside heel hook, at 1:53 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Sabatini for his work this evening. That leg of Emmers is pretty messed up, they’re putting a temporary cast on him and setting to stretcher him out. Mic time for Sabatini, he says he wasn’t really hurt by the punches but was confused and expresses hope that Emmers’ knee is OK and says he’s not happy with how he fought. He says he can do it all in the cage and didn’t get to show that, but next time he’ll do better.

Emmers gets a bit too caught up chasing the toe hold, and doesn’t really have the ability to get his legs free, the fact that they’re both on the same side of Sabatini’s body is actually quite dangerous as they get tied up and can’t be used defensively. This was good stuff from Sabatini.

JJ Aldrich has been trading wins and losses while going 3-2 since moving to flyweight, but she’s coming off of a win and is looking for her first winning streak since 2018. Vanessa Demopoulos is replacing Tracy Cortez on fairly short notice, but she’s coming into this on the back of a win and could spring a major upset here. Speaking of upsets, Aldrich is a heavy favorite at -400 while the +310 payout on Demopoulos might tempt a few gamblers out there.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: JJ Aldrich (9-4, 125 lbs.) vs. Vanessa Demopoulos (6-3, 125.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Aldrich is three inches taller and has a whopping eight inches of reach advantage, Demopoulos usually fights at strawweight and that size difference is obvious. Southpaw for Aldrich. Both women probing with strikes early but they’re still just trying to figure out the fight. Aldrich lands a left hand. Demopoulos lands a right to the body then an inside leg kick. Aldrich avoids a few punches and gets a double leg into full guard. Demopoulos is trying to tie up an arm and work her guard up higher. Some elbows from Demopoulos as Aldrich looks to posture up. Demopoulos keeps trying to work her guard, Aldrich isn’t landing much offense either, and things are stalling out just a bit. Aldrich lands an elbow. Demopoulos starts working her guard up, but she can’t find much here. Some hammer fists from Aldrich now. They stand free and reset on the feet. Aldrich lands a straight left. Demopoulos is fading now. They clinch, Demopoulos with some knees to the body as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Aldrich

ROUND TWO: Demopoulos forces a clinch then misses an elbow as they break. Left hook from Demopoulos then a knee to the body in close. They trade power hand punches. A few jabs from Aldrich, she’s the more technical striker by a fair margin. Demopoulos punches into a clinch and they hit the fence. Aldrich slips free rather easily and goes back to landing punches. A few right hooks from Aldrich land. Demopoulos lands a few punches, she’s trying to make it a brawl because she can’t match technique with Aldrich. Aldrich lands a left, then they wind up clinched again. Both women land knees in the clinch before they break with a right from Aldrich. More punches from Aldrich, Demopoulos lands a body kick. A body kick from Aldrich freezes Demopoulos for a moment. They trade again but those body blows are making Demopoulos’ life miserable. Aldrich with another body kick then they trade punches to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Aldrich, 29-18 Aldrich overall

ROUND THREE: Both women land punches in close, Aldrich lands a nice little left uppercut and they clinch again. Some knees from Demopoulos then a left hand as they break. Demopoulos tries an Imanari roll, that doesn’t work out and Aldrich gets on top in half guard. Hammer fists from Aldrich as Demopoulos tries to go to a rubber guard position but Demopoulos is landing left hands to the face while sitting on the right arm of Demopoulos. Demopoulos finally gets her arm back and they wind up on the feet. Bit of a right from Demopoulos. Aldrich lands a combination of punches. Demopoulos falls short with some offense, she’s seriously out gunned here. Aldrich lands a left then a side kick to the body. Demopoulos lands a right and forces a clinch. Some knees from Demopoulos land then Aldrich spins free and lands a right. Aldrich with a front kick towards the face. Demopoulos lands a right to the body, and takes a right hook from Aldrich. Aldrich lands a head kick, I’m surprised she’s gotten away from the body work that served her so well in the second. Demopoulos forces a clinch and works knees again. They trade punches on the break, then one final exchange as the round ends.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – JJ Aldrich via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Functional if unspectacular work from Aldrich. Aldrich on the mic, she feels her ground game is underrated and her confidence is coming along. Asked about the future she finally feels at home at flyweight now and is building her confidence.

Dustin Jacoby hasn’t lost a fight since he came back to MMA in 2019, he’s coming off of a draw Ion Cutelaba but is looking to get back on the winning side of things here. Darren Stewart has gone just 1-3 with 1 No Contest in his last five fights, he’s trying to get his first win over a year here. The odds are with Jacoby at -180 while Stewart’s comeback sits at +155.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Dustin Jacoby (14-5-1, 203.5 lbs.) vs. Darren Stewart (12-7 2 NC, 204.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Jacoby is three inches taller and has two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men feinting a bit, Jacoby doing some stance switching. Jacoby tries a head kick, Stewart avoids it and gets a takedown. They scramble back up and fight in the clinch with knees. Stewart gets a takedown out of the clinch and looks to mount the legs. Jacoby lands an elbow while sitting on the fence and then wall walks. They keep fighting in the clinch for a bit, Jacoby working knees to the body then they break. Some jabs are traded then Jacoby lands a leg kick. Bit of a right from Jacoby, he lands a right hand that seems to stagger Stewart for a second. They split some jabs, then trade right hands. Jacoby lands a couple of rights that hurt Stewart along the fence, Jacoby is looking to force the finish, Stewart is swinging back but eventually Jacoby lands a few punches and when Stewart staggers laterally the ref waves this one off.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Justin Jacoby via TKO, punches, at 3:04 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Jacoby for his work this evening. Mic time for Jacoby, he says it’s always a big deal to get a win in the UFC and talks us through the finish. Asked about what he wants next, he wants at least one more fight this year and would love to keep grinding as he moves towards ranked opponents.

Jacoby stuns Stewart with a nice punch to the temple, then once he gets Stewart on the fence he picks his offense while Stewart is just kind of swinging wildly back at him. Most of the time this is the result, the fighter who’s more deliberate with their strikes will find the finish.

Sam Alvey is 0-5-1 in his last six fights, he hasn’t won a fight since scoring a split decision over Gian Villante in 2018. Alvey is likely fighting for his career here, another loss would give ample reason to cut him from the promotion. Speaking of fighting for you job, Wellington Turman is just 1-3 in the UFC and has been knocked out in his two most recent losses. If Turman can’t beat a clearly over the hill Alvey one imagines the UFC will cut him loose. Turman is a slight -130 favorite to +110 for Alvey.

Middleweight Bout: Sam Alvey (33-15-1 1 NC, 185.5 lbs.) vs. Wellington Turman (16-5, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Alvey is two inches taller and has three and a half inches of reach advantage, he’s also a full 10 years older. Southpaw for Alvey. Turman is working long range strikes and moving Alvey towards the fence. Left hook from Turman and he gets a clinch then is able to slip to the back standing. They wind up chest to chest, Turman is still after the takedown while Alvey defends and they separate. A few kicks from Turman, one of them a spinning back kick to the body. Alvey lands a left hand. Alvey takes a finger to the eye so we’ve got a time out. Replay confirms the poke, the doctor double checks on Alvey but he’s good and 55 seconds after the pause we’re fighting. Turman is pressing forward, lands a bit of a right. They clinch again and hit the fence. They fight for position for a bit then break. Turman with a spinning back fist attempt, he and Alvey wind up clinched and Alvey is bleeding under the left eye now. Takedown from Turman, Alvey back up and Turman mat returns him. Another wall walk from Alvey and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Turman

ROUND TWO: Turman is working long range strikes again, that cut on Alvey’s cheek is pretty nasty, it’s under the eye but it’s deep. Alvey kicks Turman in the groin so we’ve got time again. Turman is ready to go about 40 seconds later and we’re back to action. Inside leg kick form Turman then a single leg attempt that hits the fence. Alvey lands a few elbows as Turman slips to the back standing. They’re back chest to chest and Alvey pulls free with a right hand on the way out. A bit of forward pressure from Alvey, he takes a few leg kicks along the way though and is backing up again. Both men land punches. Turman misses a spinning back kick, he’s trying to force those techniques a bit too much. They trade power hand punches. Turman punches into a clinch, then they break without incident. Bit of a head kick from Turman. Alvey lands a right hand after avoiding a punch but he doesn’t follow up. Turman lands a right hand. Jumping front kick from Turman lands, then a right hand in close. Alvey tries a flurry as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Turman is backing Alvey up again, he lands a bit of a spinning back kick. Bit of a right from Turman. Alvey lands a jab. Both men land in close. Inside leg kick from Turman. Turman gets a clinch on the fence but Alvey lands an elbow and gets free quickly. Alvey lands a left hand. Turman lands a right to the body. A few more jabs from Alvey but he’s still not going forward. Turman with a spinning back fist that’s partially successful. Alvey lands a couple of punches, and they clinch again. Turman lands a knee to the body and slips free. There’s another eye poke to Alvey, and we’ve got time. Replay shows the very end of the finger grazed over the eye, and the ref takes a point from Turman. Alvey takes a little over a minute and we’re back to fighting. Another break as Alvey was poked again, and the ref takes another point from Turman. Turman needs to win the round now at a bare minimum. Head kick from Turman partially lands then a right hand. Turman lands another right hand, Alvey is hurt and backing up. More offense from Turman, he’s walking Alvey down now. Both men land rights. Alvey lands a left and they clinch up. An elbow from Alvey lands as they break. Turman lands a couple of right hands in close as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 9-8 Alvey after the 2 point deduction, 28-27 Turman overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Wellington Turman via split decision (27-28, 28-27 x2)

I don’t get that 28-27 for Alvey at all, just not sure how you arrive at that score. No interview for either man, as Alvey yells that the judges should be fired.

Alessio Di Chirico just broke a three fight losing streak when he scored a head kick knockout over Joaquin Buckley, now he’s trying to build his first winning streak since 2018 and start moving up in the surprisingly crowded middleweight division. Abdul Razak Alhassan is on a three fight losing streak and finds himself in a must win scenario tonight. The odds are with Di Chirico at -240 while the +200 comeback on Alhassan is a tempting value bet.

Middleweight Bout: Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-4, 185.5 lbs.) vs. Alessio Di Chirico (13-5, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Di Chirico is two inches taller and has an inch of reach advantage. Southpaw for Di Chirico, and they touch gloves to get things started. Alhassan feints a few times, then lands a head kick that ENDS Di Chirico.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Abdul Razak Alhassan via KO, head kick, at :17 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Alhassan for his work this evening. Mic time for Alhassan, he can’t wait to talk to his son after this win and talks us through the finish. He puts over his new team and knowing that his cardio at this point is finally in a spot where he can fight for a full three rounds an that’s freeing.

Alhassan gets a decent read that Di Chirico will dip to his own left, and against an opposite stance fighter that’s a dangerous thing. Case in point, Di Chirico dips into the head kick and that’s all she wrote. Be sure to have the sound on, you get a real sickening thud out of this connection.

Makhmud Muradov is on a whopping 14 fight winning streak dating back to 2017 and including three wins in the UFC, if he’s able to extend that streak here he’ll be due a ranked opponent for his next fight. Gerald Meerschaert has gone 3-3 in his last six fights but is coming off of a win and looking for his first winning streak since 2018. Muradov is a prohibitive favorite at -575 against +425 on Meerschaert.

Middleweight Bout: Gerald Meerschaert (32-14, 185 lbs.) vs. Makhmud Muradov (25-6, 184.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Muradov is an inch taller while Meerschaert has two inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Meerschaert, and they touch gloves to get us going. They get close and trade early, Meerschaert is coming forward and lands a body kick. Muradov lands a right hand in close but took a finger to the eye so we’ve got time out. Replay confirms the poke, Muradov takes a little over 20 seconds then we’re back to fighting. Meerschaert back to coming forward, but he eats a couple of hooks and is stunned. Muradov avoids a taekdown and then lays into Meerschaert with another combination. A hard right from Muradov drops Meerschaert for a second and he makes him stand back up. Both men with some leg kicks, then a head kick from Muradov glances over the head of Meerschaert. Bit of a head kick from Meerschaert but Muradov fires back a few counters. Muradov lands a right hand that stuns Meerschaert. Meerschaert looks to clinch up, Muradov avoids him though and lands a right hand. Meerschaert avoids a head kick and lands a left. Muradov lands a right, but takes a counter left. Glancing left head kick from Muradov. Meerschaert with an inside leg kick that strays into the groin of Muradov and we’ve got another time out. Replay confirms the low blow, and Meerschaert gets a hard warning from the ref. Muradov takes a bit over a minute then we’re back to fighting. Muradov eats a left hand from Meerschaert, then cracks him with a right. Both men land heavy blows in close, but neither goes down. Muradov lands a straight right. Inside leg kick from Muradov, then another one. A clubbing right from Muradov staggers Meerschaert, but Meerschaert lands a solid left hand and gets a takedown. Meerschaert to the back along the fence with one hook in. There’s not enough time for anything to develop as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Muradov

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. Muradov lands a right hand. They clinch up, and Muradov limp legs away from a single leg attempt. Muradov lands a body shot. Leg kick from Muradov, Meerschaert gets a takedown but Muradov kicks him off immediately and scrambles up. Left hook from Muradov lands, Meerschaert lands a couple of left hooks though. Meerschaert gets a clinch and they hit the fence. Takedown from Meerschaert and he gets on the back with one hook in. Meerschaert is after the choke, he’s under the chin though and gets the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Gerald Meerschaert via Submission, rear naked choke, at 1:49 of Round 2

Big win for Meerschaert, who gets an interview after the win. He jokes around with Felder, and notes sometimes you just have to gut out a tough win like this. He says Muradov had him rocked a few times and he wasn’t sure how hurt Muradov was because he’s so tough, but he kept going forward and knew once they hit the mat he could get the finish. Asked what he’d like next he would like another fight before the end of the year, and feels he’s finally ready for a step up in class and wants a ranked opponent.

Here’s the finish, Meerschaert is really slick about finding these transitions when his opponent gives him any space and once he gets the back Muradov can’t keep up the hand fighting which inevitably leads to a choke finish.

Andre Petroski makes his UFC debut on the back of his first professional loss, but he’s hoping to avoid his first losing streak and capitalize on the only chance you get to make a first impression. Michael Gillmore brings a three fight winning streak into his UFC debut and is likewise hoping to start his UFC career with a win. Petroski is a heavy -500 favorite to a +380 comeback for Gillmore.

Middleweight Bout: Michael Gillmore (6-3, 184 lbs.) vs. Andre Petroski (5-1, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Petroski has an inch of height and reach advantage. Southpaw for Petroski, who comes out aggressive. Gillmore lands a right hand and an inside leg kick. Petroski lands a body kick. Check left hook from Gillmore lands, and he avoids a takedown attempt. A right hook from Petroski badly rocks Gillmore then he gets a double leg takeodwn into side control. Some rights from Petroski, Gillmore is looking to hip escape and that allows Petroski to force him into leg drag position. This is a bad spot for Gillmore, Petroski is able to land a few elbows before Gillmore can scramble back to giving up side control. Gillmore looks to wall walk, he’s up but Petroski hits a mat return and gets the back with one hook in. Petroski starts fishing for the choke, he’s across the face not under the chin and can’t finish it. Petroski gets the second hook in and lands a few lefts to the head. Gillmore is looking to reverse the position against the fence as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Petroski but a marginal one

ROUND TWO: Both men look fatigued already. They trade power hand punches then Gillmore lands an inside leg kick. Another clash of power hand punches, Petroski is a little more hurt than he’s letting on. More leg kicks from Gillmore. Bit of a head kick from Petroski. Gillmore lands a one two. Bit of a right from Gillmore, Petroski lands a body kick but he’s very wide with his punches. Gillmore lands an uppercut, he’s staying composed and Petroski’s technique is going out the window. Leg kick from Gillmore and then he avoids a takedown attempt. Gillmore lands another leg kick. Those kicks from Gillmore are adding up to the legs. Petroski lands a body kick but eats a couple of counter punches. Leg kick from Gillmore. Petroski lands a left hand, then eats a counter right. Gillmore misses a punch and Petroski gets a takedown into side control again. Petroski looks to get full mount, settles for knee on belly and they trade some elbow strikes. Full mount for Petroski and a few punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gillmore, 19-18 Petroski overall

ROUND THREE: Petroski trying to move his feet, he gets a quick double leg into side control once again. Gillmore is sitting on the fence but Petroski moves to full mount and starts turning him off of the fence. Elbow from Petroski. Gillmore looks to scramble, but he can’t get Petroski out of mount. Gillmore tries to bridge off the fence, Petroski just rolls with him and moves back to full mount. Petroski gets one arm of Gillmore gift wrapped around the head and unloads with lefts to the head until the ref stops things.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Andre Petroski via TKO, punches and elbows, at 3:12 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Petroski for his work this evening. Mic time for Petroski, he says the next guy who steps into the cage with him is getting sent into orbit. Asked about the future he says he can make welterweight and has a lot of people across both weight classes he wants to fight, I’d be shocked if he can reliably make welterweight. He says his goal is to get physically and mentally beyond the seven minute block that had been dogging his career, and he feels he’s doing so now.

Here’s a look at the finish, once Gillmore gets gift wrapped by someone the size of Petroski along with the fatigue factor, he’s just done.

The broadcast confirms Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington 2 for the New York City card on November 6th. I tend to think Leon Edwards should be next, but Covington is a better draw. They also confirm the immediate rematch between Rose Namajunas and Zhang Weili, which seems an even more dubious proposition as that wasn’t a close fight and there’s no reason for the immediate rematch. Either way that card looks good, it will also feature Frankie Edgar taking on Marlon Vera and the return of Luke Rockhold.

Kevin Lee has gone 2-3 in his last five fights and was last seen being choked out by current lightweight champion Charles Oliveira and missing weight along the way. That whole process has moved Lee back to welterweight, and he’s trying to make good on the potential pundits have long seen in him. Daniel Rodriguez has gone 5-1 in the UFC and is currently on a two fight winning streak, he took this fight on short notice but if he’s able to beat Lee tonight it would be one of the better wins on his resume and he might be able to take a shot at some ranked opposition next. The odds are close for this one but favor Lee at -155 to +130 on Rodriguez.

Welterweight Bout: Kevin Lee (18-6, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (15-2, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Rodriguez is four inches taller while Lee has three inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Rodriguez. Body kick from Lee. Lee is showing the jab early, Rodriguez is sliding around and fighting with him. Rodriguez lands an inside leg kick. Bit of a left from Rodriguez, who has fast hands. Lee is trying to jab forward, he tries a head kick that’s blocked. Rodriguez keeps landing inside leg kicks to chip away at Lee. Bit of a head kick from Rodriguez. Lee with a head kick that’s blocked and they tie up. Rodriguez gets free with relative ease and they reset. A few jabs from Rodriguez then an inside leg kick. The jabs and leg kicks from Rodriguez are adding up, they’re definitely troubling Lee a bit. Lee tries a single leg, he’s able to finish this one and move to half guard. A few blows from Lee land but he’s not able to get much power into his strikes yet. Lee lands a few more short punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lee

ROUND TWO: Rodriguez back to jabbing and leg kicking. Body kick from Rodriguez then a few punches and another leg kick. A body punch lands for Rodriguez then a jab. Rodriguez lands another inside leg kick, at distance he’s having a lot of success. Lee tries a double leg, switches to a single leg but Rodriguez is still defending until Lee hits the third effort and does get on top in side control. Lee looks for the back as they stand, Rodriguez spins into him and gets on top in the full guard. Lee tries to wall walk, he’s up but eats a right hand as they break. Rodriguez lands a left. Lee misses a high kick. Rodriguez with more jabs and inside leg kicks, Lee might be fading a bit in the face of the adversity. A left from Rodriguez lands, then a right hook behind it. Lee goes southpaw and eats a right hook then a leg kick and a left hand. That jab from Rodriguez is really bothering Lee. Lee back to orthodox but he’s still getting hit. Rodriguez lands a straight left and evades the counters. A left from Rodriguez staggers Lee, Lee tries a single leg to stall things out and Rodriguez lands punches while defending as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rodriguez, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Rodriguez lands another inside leg kick and is still walking Lee down. That lead hand of Rodriguez is still troubling Lee. Bit of a right hook from Rodriguez. Both men land power hand punches, then Rodriguez with some more inside leg kicks. Rodriguez lands another left hand. Lee tries a double leg, Rodriguez defends and lands a solid left hand. More offense from Rodriguez, he’s moving smoothly and landing punches almost at will. They trade leg kicks, Lee tries a single leg and they hit the fence as Rodriguez defends. Lee switches to a double leg and gets Rodriguez down, Rodriguez quickly with some elbows and kicks Lee off. Lee onto his back standing, Rodriguez is able to get chest to chest and shove Lee off. A few more punches from Rodriguez, Lee is fading visibly. Rodriguez lands another left hand. Lee misses a flying knee. Rodriguez jabbing again and still moving. Lee tries a double leg, but Rodriguez defends and lands more punches. Bit of a body kick from Lee but he takes another few punches in reply. Rodriguez lands a head kick then a bit of a left hand. They trade punches in close, then trade body kicks. Bit of a left from Rodriguez lands and the round ends.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Daniel Rodriguez via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Rodriguez is a serious player at welterweight, might be time for him to get a step up in class. Mic time for Rodriguez, he’s happy to get the win and says he moved to Vegas so he could be available on short notice like this. He notes he’s been working hard on his wrestling lately as he’s getting better and felt that showed here as the fight wore on. Asked what’s next he thinks he’s on a long winning streak and believes he should get some ranked opponents.

Ricky Turcios won his last official fight before this season of TUF, now he’s trying to take that particular crown and have a successful UFC debut. Brady Hiestand likewise won his fight prior to TUF and is now looking to have a successful UFC debut. Turcios is the favorite at -160 to +135 on Hiestand.

Bantamweight Bout: Brady Hiestand (5-1, 135.5 lbs.) vs. Ricky Turcios (10-2, 135 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Turcios is an inch taller while the reach is identical. They touch gloves to get us going. Hiestand gets a clinch quickly and they hit the fence. Turcios gets free and they trade some punches while Hiestand keeps coming forward. Another clinch and Hiestand works for takedowns from the clinch. Hiestand gets a takedown into side control. Some hammer fists from Hiestand as Turcios hip escapes to full guard. Hiestand moves to half guard, then side control but somewhere in there Hiestand got cut around the right eyebrow. Turcios is able to get free and stand, but Heistand quickly clinches and throws him back down into full guard. Turcios throws up a triangle choke, Hiestand easily escapes. They fight up to the feet, but Hiestand keeps the clinch. Single leg from Hiestand, but Turcios hits a switch and gets the back. Hiestand is going to reverse this position, yeah he gets on top and unloads again. Turcios is still working off of his back, he’s very active if nothing else. Hiestand gets a front headlock as they stand, they keep clinching then break apart. Bit of a flurry from Turcios, Hiestand lands a left hook. Hiestand is bleeding from the nose at this point, but he lands a head kick. A left hook from Hiestand, Turcios lands a right to counter. They clinch and Turcios lands knees before they break, they trade in close for the final 15 seconds or so, and the round ends as Hiestand lands a right hand.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hiestand but could go either way

ROUND TWO: Hiestand forces a clinch quickly and they resume just fighting in close quarters. Bit of a left from Hiestand as they break. This is getting sloppy, but Hiestand gets a double leg against the fence. Turcios is looking to wall walk, he’s up and landing some elbows then slips free. Hiestand lands a right hand. Hard left from Hiestand staggers Turcios for a second. Turcios gets a takedown, jumps to the back as they scramble and gets both hooks in. Hiestand moves to the mat, then bases up and gets free then hits a body lock takedown into half guard. Side control now for Hiestand and he lands some short elbows. Turcios is able to hip escape then sweep via butterfly hooks and scramble back up. Turcios tries to jump for a guillotine, that’s a poor decision as Hiestand gets free easily and moves into side control. They fight back up to the feet and trade uppercuts in the clinch. They get free, and swing punches for the final few seconds.

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

ROUND THREE: Turcios working some jabs, but Hiestand is landing counter punches. Both men land some jabs. Hiestand lands an uppercut. Turcios lands a right hand, he’s looking to finish, and lands another one that drops Hiestand. Hiestand comes up on a single leg and starts looking for a double leg against the fence. Hiestand gets that takedown and starts working to mount the legs. Turcios is trying to wall walk, he gets up and lands some elbows but he can’t get free yet. Hiestand is trying to get the takedown, he’s able to get Turcios down and looks to secure position. Turcios wall walks and lands a knee to the head in the clinch. Both men swing and they clinch again. Hiestand with a knee to the body. They trade in close, Turcios got the better of things. Hiestand gets free and they start trading jabs again. Turcios eats a head kick and they trade punches again. Hiestand lands a knee to the body, Turcios punches him in the face in response. Both men land punches in close then they break. Hiestand tries a single leg, he can’t finish it though. We get more sloppy brawling in the clinch, Turcios digs the body and they unload again for the final seconds but no finish comes about.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Turcios, 29-28 Hiestand overall

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

No issues with 29-28 for either man, wild fight. Turcios gets the glass paper weight and his black belt from his coach. Mic time for Turcios, he calls this a dream come true and gives glory to God and tells all the kids out there to believe in themselves, dream big and work hard. To close he wishes for peace on Earth in a time when there could be turmoil.

Bryan Battle brings a four fight winning streak into this fight and is hoping to extend that success with another win. Gilbert Urbina is a replacement for original finalist Tresean Gore who suffered a knee injury, but his only professional loss is to current UFC fighter Sean Brady and he’s looking to make a good impression on the UFC audience. The odds are with Battle at -180 to a +155 comeback on Urbina.

Middleweight Bout: Bryan Battle (5-1, 185.5 lbs.) vs. Gilbert Urbina (6-1, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Urbina is two inches taller while Battle has two inches of reach advantage. Urbina comes out quickly, he lays in strikes in close and is able to get a takedown into half guard. Some rights from Urbina, Battle looks to wall walk but just gives up full mount. Battle hip escapes to half guard and tries to wall walk again. There’s a knee from Urbina as they stand and separate. Urbina lands a straight left. A few body kicks from Battle as he works to recover. They trade lead hand punches. Battle lands a right. Leg kick from Battle lands. Battle lands a right, then knees to the body in close. Urbina forces the clinch and they hit the fence. Urbina slips around to the back standing. Battle moves chest to chest and then around to Urbina’s back and knees him in the body. More knees and short rights from Battle. Urbina with a knee and they resume landing blows in the clinch. Battle lands a right, Urbina lands an elbow. A knee from Battle, they trade in the clinch for the final seconds of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Urbina

ROUND TWO: Battle is back to pushing forward. Urbina is really flat now, and Battle lands a left hook. Body kick from Battle. Urbina lands a right hand. Battle defends a takedown as they hit the fence. Urbina moves around to the back, he jumps for it but can’t secure the position and lands an elbow. Both men land in close then they break. Urbina tries another single leg but again they stall out on the fence. Battle with a double leg, he moves to the back with one hook in. Battle is after the choke, only one hook in though. That choke isn’t under the chin but he gets enough of an angle and squeeze to force the tap from a tired Urbina.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Bryan Battle via Submission, rear naked choke, Round 2

Battle gets the big glass paperweight, and an interview. He takes a moment to compose his thoughts, and notes this isn’t a dream anymore and he knew he’d be the winner of this season. He puts over his coaches and all the work they’ve been doing day in and day out. He jokes the new scar he’s got around his eye is the real trophy, and thanks a few people for helping him figure out choke finishes despite not being under the chin.

Here’s a look at the finish. Battle is able to get enough rotation through on the choke to help force the tap, the fact that Urbina was pretty dead tired helped too.

Edson Barboza has been with the UFC since 2010 and somewhat surprisingly has rejuvenated his career by dropping to featherweight and currently sports a two fight winning streak in the weight class. If Barboza can extend that streak here he’ll be in line for a shot at someone ranked above him. Giga Chikadze brings an eight fight winning streak, including a 6-0 UFC record, into this fight and he finally seems to have found his footing in the UFC as he soundly finished his last two opponents. If Chikadze can get by a respected and dangerous fighter like Barboza he’ll also be due a significant opportunity next time out. This one is close, but Barboza is a slight -120 favorite to +100 for Chikadze.

Featherweight Bout: #9 Edson Barboza (22-9, 145 lbs.) vs. #10 Giga Chikadze (13-2, 145.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Chikadze is an inch taller while Barboza has an inch of reach advantage. Both men feinting early, Chikadze lands a leg kick. Chikadze avoids a leg kick. Barboza is the one stalking forward, Chikadze is starting to show his stance switches. Both men check kicks. Barboza blocks a head kick, but takes a one two from Chikadze. Chikadze misses a jumping knee then checks a leg kick. Bit of a leg kick from Barboza. Barboza blocks some kicks, then Chikadze avoids a few punches. The defense from both men has been holding up so far. Chikadze lands a spinning back kick to the body. A right from Chikadze lands. Barboza lands a body kick. Chikadze has a head kick blocked then lands a body kick and a left. That left from Chikadze seems to have wobbled Barboza, Barboza avoids him though and mitigates the danger. Chikadze lands a right hand. Barboza blocks a few strikes, but Chikadze lands a liver kick. Barboza avoids an ax kick as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Chikadze

ROUND TWO: Chikadze doing the stance switching again, Barboza is pushing forward. Barboza is looking to get inside of kicking distance with his punches. Chikadze lands a leg kick. Another leg kick from Chikadze. Bit of a left hand from Chikadze. Straight left from Chikadze lands then a body kick behind it. They trade lead hand hooks, Barboza is still coming forward but he doesn’t have a good read on Chikadze yet. Some kicks from Chikadze, then a right hand. Barboza lands a calf kick. Bit of a high kick from Chikadze. Chikadze lands a body kick. Barboza lands a right to the body. Chikadze lands a jab. More jabs from Chikadze, Barboza lands a right hand. One two from Chikadze. Barboza lands a leg kick. Chikadze lands a front kick to the face. Stiff jabs are traded, then a left hook from Chikadze. Barboza lands a body kick. They trade leg kicks, then feint away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Barboza, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Both men showing the hands as the round begins. Chikadze lands a leg kick. Knee to the body from Chikadze, then a right hand that off balances Barboza. Chikadze coming forward, lands another right and Barboza is clearly hurt. More punches from Chikadze, a right badly wobbles Barboza then he knocks him down and looks for the finish on the mat. Barboza tries to wall walk, Chikadze sits for an anaconda choke, switches towards a d’arce then bails and drops Barboza with punches and the ref waves this one off.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Gig Chikadze via TKO, punches, at 1:44 of Round 3

Heck of a performance from Chikadze, that man is no one’s stepping stone. Mic time for Chikadze, he’s happy and puts over Barboza as a great fighter and man. He says the fight was a challenge, but he says things he means and wants to prove it in the cage. He wanted the finish and thanks his coaches and training partners for all of their work. Asked what’s next he wants a title shot and finished a couple of legends, but honestly he wants the biggest name he can find and while he’d love a title shot there’s a Hawaiian who knows his name referencing Max Holloway. He speaks some Georgian for the people back home and then plays with the crowd to close.

Barboza was unhappy with the stoppage, personally I’m OK with it after re-watching a few times but I’ll let you decide for yourselves.

Well on that note UFC on ESPN 30 comes to a close. Thanks for reading, be that live or after the fact. We’ll unpack all of this on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast tomorrow, plus look ahead to UFC on ESPN+ 49 when Derek Brunson takes on Darren Till. I’ll be back for that event, and I hope you will as well. Until then, stay safe out there and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC on ESPN+ 30, Robert Winfree