Join 411’s LIVE UFC on ESPN+ 31 Coverage

August 1, 2020 | Posted by Robert Winfree

Keep Refreshing For The Latest Results

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 9 p.m. ET)
#8 Derek Brunson (186 lbs.) vs. #9 Edmen Shahbazyan (185.5 lbs.)
#3 Joanne Calderwood (126 lbs.) vs. #6 Jennifer Maia (124.5 lbs.)
Randy Brown (170.5 lbs.) vs. #11 Vicente Luque (170.5 lbs.)
Bobby Green (156 lbs.) vs. Lando Vannata (155.5 lbs.)
Ed Herman (206 lbs.) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (204.5 lbs.)
Trevin Giles (185 lbs.) vs. Kevin Holland (184 lbs.)

Jonathan Martinez (140.5 lbs.)* vs. Frankie Saenz (136 lbs.)
Nate Maness (144.5 lbs.) vs. Johnny Munoz (145.5 lbs.)
Jamall Emmers (146 lbs.) vs. Vincent Cachero (145 lbs.)
Cody Durden (135.5 lbs.) vs. Chris Gutierrez (135.5 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 31. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host, relaying all of the action just as I see it. This card has suffered some severe setbacks over the last few weeks hasn’t it? We lost the main event of Holm vs. Aldana a couple of weeks ago, our new main event is only 3 rounds due to the timing, and over the last few days we lost a lot of fights. The UFC debut of Timur Valiev has been postponed after he fell out of his fight, Ray Borg had to withdraw from his scheduled fight, Luke Sanders was supposed to fight in our first bout but was removed from the card, and a couple of South Korean fighters couldn’t make the trip. Heck we lost an entire fight at the weigh ins when one fighter was ruled ineligible after said fighter stepped in on short notice to replace Eric Spicely who had medical issues related to his weight cut. Then about 90 minutes before the event was to start news came down that Gerald Meerschaert vs. Ed Herman is off after Meerschaert tested positive for covid-19. So after a 15 fight event last week we’re down to 9 for this evening. Mostly we’re just stuck hoping for some good action once things get into the cage, because it’s been a car wreck getting here.

UFC on ESPN+ 31 comes to the world from the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. On commentary we have Brendan Fitzgerald, Paul Felder, and Dominick Cruz. As for the rules, Nevada uses a hybrid system because they just love adding more complications to the lives of fighters. Most of the changes were adopted but you only need one hand on the mat to be considered downed, and instant replay is available whenever the ref wants it. Also the general reminder that at the APEX facility we’re in the smaller 25 foot cage instead of the usual 30.

Chris Gutierrez has gone 3-1 in the UFC and is on a three fight winning streak, he’s coming off of a memorable leg kick TKO victory from May and is hoping to move up in competition by getting his winning streak to four. Cody Durden took this fight on short notice but has a seven fight winning streak going and he could unseat a growing prospect here. Gutierrez is your favorite at -310 while Durden’s comeback sits at +225.

Bantamweight Bout: Cody Durden (11-2, 135.5 lbs.) vs. Chris Gutierrez (15-4-1, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gutierrez is two inches taller but the reach is identical. They touch gloves to get us going. Gutierrez feinting leg kicks early as well as showing stance switches. Durden lands a leg kick of his own, bit of a return from Gutierrez. Durden is after a single leg now, it takes a few extra efforts but he does get it along the fence. Gutierrez looking to wall walk, Durden gets the back with both hooks in though. Durden is looking to open up the neck for a choke attempt. There’s a choke attempt, he’s not under the chin yet but he’s really cranking on this. Gutierrez is able to defend that but isn’t really addressing the position yet. Durden switches to a body triangle and is able to roll Gutierrez belly down. Gutierrez to his knees, and back to his seat. The round closes out as Gutierrez is able to roll on top.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Durden

ROUND TWO: Gutierrez lands a leg kick to get the second round going. Both men showing hands, then Gutierrez lands a calf kick. Gutierrez avoids a right. Durden is after a takedown, they hit the fence and stall out. Gutierrez spins free, lands a leg kick and avoids a takedown attempt. They trade calf kicks then Gutierrez lands a left to the body. Durden reaches for another takedown, they wind up with Gutierrez defending and then Durden takes an accidental groin shot. Gutierrez was throwing a knee to the head but as Durden avoided it the foot went into the groin, so Durden has time to recover. Durden can continue after a couple of minutes and we’re back to fighting. Gutierrez lands a calf kick. Both men working the lead hand, and there’s a body kick from Gutierrez. Jab from Gutierrez, Durden lands a right. Gutierrez lands another left to the body then a calf kick. Both men working the body at this point. Gutierrez lands a pull back right. Durden lands a body kick but Gutierrez off balances him then lands a couple of leg kicks. Bit of a calf kick from Gutierrez then a high kick that’s partially blocked. Durden reaches for a double leg, they hit the fence and Gutierrez defends. More effort from Durden and he’s able to get it but Gutierrez tries an armbar as they hit the ground. That’s a pretty tight armbar, Durden is defending by keeping his wrist and hand turned and Gutierrez wont get it before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gutierrez, 19-18 Durden overall

ROUND THREE: Gutierrez needs a big round here on my card. He opens with a calf kick, Durden returns it. Gutierrez lands a left high kick. Durden lands a calf kick. Gutierrez working his kicks to the knee and thigh now, then Durden lands a groin kick so we’ve got time. Gutierrez wants to fight quickly and capitalize on Durden’s flagging cardio. Gutierrez checks a leg kick and lands a body kick. Spinning back kick from Gutierrez lands. Gutierrez lands some body shots. Jabs from Gutierrez now. Durden tries a takedown, they hit the fence though and Gutierrez gets free. Gutierrez defends another takedown attempt and lands a right that wobbles Durden. Durden is still after the takedown despite being hit with some shots and Gutierrez gets free. Gutierrez chops the body and legs a few times. High kick from Gutierrez lands and Durden is down, as much off balanced as anything. Gutierrez follows Durden down and works from the guard. Lefts and elbows from Gutierrez, he tries a rolling thunder kick as the clock runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gutierrez, 28-28 DRAW overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: Unanimous Draw – (28-28 x3)

The correct scoring of the first round, and then Gutierrez didn’t ever get that point back in the last two rounds. No interview for either party.

Jamall Emmers lost his UFC debut earlier this year and now looks for his first UFC win. Vincent Cachero took this fight on just a few days notice after Timur Valiev fell out, but he did win his last fight and will be trying to maximize the opportunity he’s got here. Emmers is four inches taller and has six inches of reach over Cachero. Given the short notice change it’s no surprise Emmers is the -455 favorite to a +365 payout on Cachero.

Featherweight Bout: Jamall Emmers (17-5, 146 lbs.) vs. Vincent Cachero (7-2, 145 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Emmers comes out jabbing, Cachero lands a leg kick. Front kick from Emmers to the body. Emmers lands a body kick. Cachero is trying to get into the pocket but Emmers is keeping this long so far. Emmers comes in with punches and kicks, he’s got superior firepower thus far. Cachero punches in close but winds up eating knees form a Thai clinch before getting free. Emmers lands a knee to the body. Cachero lands a right hand then takes a knee to the body. Leg kick from Cachero. Emmers lands another front kick to the body. They clinch up, Emmers is trying a headlock throw, then wind up chest to chest and trade knees but Emmers took one low so we’ve got time again. They’re back to fighting quickly. Cachero lands a right, Emmers with a knee and a return right. They get close again, Cachero is swinging to the body but Emmers constantly gets a double collar tie and lands knees before they break. Both men land in punching range. Cachero lands an extended uppercut. Emmers with another knee to the body, they clinch and he lands another couple of those knees before they break. Cachero gets another clinch, eats more knees to the body but lands a left. Emmers is chasing him down and working knees to the body, then fakes the clinch and hits a double leg into half guard. Cachero gets full guard and fires a few elbows before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Emmers

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second, then Emmers lands a body kick. The pace these two are fighting at is quite high so far. Cachero lands a couple of calf kicks. Body kick from Emmers, then a knee from a brief clinch. Cachero blocks a high kick and lands a left hook. Right from Cachero lands. Right uppercut and a left hook from Emmers both land. Emmers with a right, and that leads into a combination then a knee to the body. Emmers is swinging a little wide now just looking for the finish. They wind up with Emmers on the back, he gets a mat return and lands in the ride position. Cachero back up and into the fence. They get chest to chest, Cachero lands an elbow and Emmers lands a knee to the body. Right from Emmers lands. Cachero lands to the body and head, Emmers with a body kick. Right from Emmers. Cachero with a calf kick. Both men slowing down now, given how crazy the pace has been I wont hold that against them. Glancing right from Emmers. Emmers slips a few punches and lands a left. Leg kick from Emmers, Cachero lands an uppercut. Emmers has had enough of this and gets a double leg into full guard. Things stall out there for the final seconds.

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

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Bit of a right from Emmers and he avoids a leg kick. Cachero lands a left after slipping a right. Left from Cachero lands, Emmers hits a calf kick. Emmers with a front kick to the body. Emmers tries a double leg, they hit the fence then break. Cachero is coming forward still, and gets taken down on the double leg this time. Full guard for Cachero, and he’s looking to scoot to the fence and get up. Emmers lands a left and passes to half guard. Side control now for Emmers, he’s also got a double wrist lock but Cachero avoids the attack and gets his arm back. Cachero back up but still clinched on the fence. Some knees to the thigh from Cachero, Emmers lands a left elbow as they break. Jab from Emmers. Another double leg from Emmers hits the fence, and he moves around to the back then lands a couple of knees as they break. Emmers with a front kick to the body then a double leg into side control. Cachero to his knees, gives up his back and Ememers takes it with both hooks in. Emmers attacks with the choke a few times but wont find it, he moves to full mount as the clock winds down.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jamall Emmers via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Credit to Cachero’s durability and gameness, but Emmers was just a little better and a little more dynamic in terms of moving up and down levels. Mic time for Emmers after that, he mentions wanting to start faster this time than his previous fight (mission accomplished IMO), and then mentions having to change his game plan after the opponent change. He mentions Cachero’s toughness and feels anyone at bantamweight is going to have their hands full with him. He calls this a dream come true to not only win in the UFC but also fight on the same card as a team mate (Bobby Green in this case).

Nathan Maness is making his UFC debut here, he’s coming off of a win and hoping to make a good first impression to the UFC audience. Johnny Munoz took this on just a days notice after Ray Borg fell out of this fight, but he is undefeated and will be trying to get his UFC career up and running with win. Maness is a slight -125 favorite to +105 for Munoz.

Featherweight Bout: Nate Maness (11-1, 144.5 lbs.) vs. Johnny Munoz (10-0, 145.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Maness has an inch of height and reach over Munoz. Southpaw for Maness to start. Both men punching early, more range finding than anything. Munoz with some kicks now, he lands to the body and head. Maness is orthodox now. Bit of a left from Maness, who is switching his stance a fair bit now. Maness lands a right. Munoz avoids a punch and tries a takedown but that stalls out on the fence. Munoz tries a knee, that hits the groin so we’ve got time for Maness to recover. Maness is good rather quickly and we’re back. Munoz tries an inside leg kick, that hits the groin again so again we’ve got time. For the record that’s 5 low blows in our first three fights, might be a record. Munoz gets a stern warning about his targeting and we’re back to fighting. Maness misses a punch, Munhoz tries a takedown and they hit the fence. Munoz around to the back standing looking for mat returns but Maness is defending. They get chest to chest and Munoz finally gets the takedown into half guard. Quick pass from Munoz into side control, now looking for mount. Munoz to north-south, goes for a double wrist lock to set up an attack. Punches from Munoz and gets the back when Maness moves. Munoz unloads as Maness moves around, keeping either back mount or full mount. Maness keeps moving around and will hang on for the end of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Munoz, might be a 10-8 argument in there given how it ended

ROUND TWO: Munoz showing his kicks again. Maness lands a right and then defends a takedown attempt. They trade lefts. Maness lands another right, Munoz then tries to pull guard but they wind up clinched on the fence. They break without incident. Leg kick from Munoz but Maness lands a counter right. Munoz tries a single leg and they hit the fence. Maness lands short elbows and body shots. They start fighting in the clinch, Maness lands body shots. Munoz is cut above the right eye, it might be more by the temple as opposed to the eyebrow though. More body shots go back and forth. The ref breaks them for inactivity, or was it the fence grab from Munoz? Not sure but we’re back at distance. Maness lands a right and they clinch again then hit the fence. They jockey for position while working short knees and punches. Maness gets free. Munoz avoids a right and tries another single leg, which hits the fence again. Elevated high crotch from Munoz this time and he’s got Maness down into full guard. Maness works elbows, Munoz passes to half guard which is where the round will end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Maness, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: That cut on Munoz isn’t really anything now that we can see it cleaned up. Maness takes another groin kick and we’ve got time again. The ref takes a point from Munoz, it’s the third time so it’s warranted I think. Munoz after the takedown immediately on the restart and they hit the fence. Maness with some body shots and they trade knees. Some short elbows from Munoz. Maness with a few knees. Munoz tries to switch to a single leg, but that stalls out long enough for the ref to separate them. Maness looks for punches, Munoz quickly after another takedown into the fence. Maness can’t get off of the fence this time around. Munoz looks to change levels but can’t get anything out of it. Some positional jockeying, then Munoz tries the single leg again. Munoz can’t get it and they’re back to clinch fighting. Trip from Maness now and he lands in the guard of Munoz. Munoz tries to invert quickly, he’s got the legs tied up and looks for a calf slicer. Maness thinks about a toe hold and the clock runs out in that spot.

SCORECARD: 9-9 DRAW after the point deduction, 28-28 DRAW overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Nate Maness via unanimous decision (29-27 x3)

I’m a little surprised by that being unanimous, but no real issue with Maness getting that. No interview for Maness. For the record, we’re at 6 groin shots in 3 fights and I feel like keeping track of that for this event.

Frankie Saenz has gone just 2-4 in his last six fights, he’s coming off of a loss and if he wants to salvage his one promising UFC run he cannot afford another losing streak. Jonathan Martinez has gone 2-2 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a loss though and missed weight for this fight so he needs a win pretty badly as a losing streak plus the weight miss might put him at a career low. Martinez is your -250 favorite to a +210 comeback on Saenz.

Bantamweight Bout: Jonathan Martinez (11-3, 140.5 lbs.) vs. Frankie Saenz (13-6, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Martinez is two inches taller and has four inches of reach over Saenz, but also missed weight rather badly. They touch gloves, Martinez fighting southpaw. Martinez shows the kicks early, Saenz counters with a right into a double leg. Martinez wall walks quickly but they’re still clinched. Knees to the thigh from Saenz. Martinez is staying upright as Saenz keeps trying to take him down but he can’t get get free yet. Knee from Martinez and they separate. Martinez lands a body kick. More body kicks from Martinez, he’s keeping things long at the moment. Martinez lands a right. Saenz lands a body kick, and eats a counter left. Inside leg kick from Martinez. Martinez with a body kick. Intercepting knee from Martinez lands and hurts Saenz a little to the body. More body work from Martinez, Saenz with a bit of a counter punch. Martinez keeps landing a front kick to the body, he’s stifling Saenz every time with that. Lefts from Martinez then a body shot and a right hand basically closes the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Martinez

ROUND TWO: Martinez comes out kicking again, to the body and head mostly now. Body kick from Martinez, and another one. They trade body kicks. Martinez with another front kick, Saenz counters with punches but his takedown attempt doesn’t get close and Martinez lands again on the counter. Head kick from Martinez staggers Saenz, he’s chasing him down now with body shots. More body shots then a jab from Martinez. Martinez keeps stabbing Saenz in the gut with those front kicks, those are evil. Knee to the body from Martinez. Martinez is just killing Saenz to the body with those kicks. Head kick from Martinez drops Saenz then he unloads on the mat but Saenz fights back up and separates. Martinez catches a kick and takes Saenz down then lands on top in half guard. Saenz back up, but eats a knee to the body as they break. Saenz tries a blitz but doesn’t really land. Martinez lands another front kick to the body then a head kick. Martinez lands a short uppercut. Saenz tries a takedown, defended and Martinez drops Saenz again with a head kick. Martinez follows him down with blows into the full guard of Saenz. Saenz ties him up and will survive until the end of the round.

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

ROUND THREE: Saenz is still a little wobbled at the start of the third. They clash on kicks and Saenz took that one low, that’s 7 by my count but commentary claims 8. Saenz is able to walk it off after a bit and we’re back to fighting. Martinez back to the head kick, this one blocked. Knee from Martinez as Saenz charges forward, Saenz is down and this time Martinez is able to pound him out.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jonathan Martinez via TKO, knee and punches, at :57 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Martinez for his work this evening. Also I’m going with my count, we’re at 7 over 4 fights for low blows. Mic time for Martinez, he apologizes for missing weight and says it wont happen again but the win feels good. Asked about the weight issue he mentions it’s related to an ongoing issue that he’s working out. He talks us through the finish to close.

Here’s a look at that finish. Saenz tries to blitz forward, Martinez fades back and times the left knee wonderfully. From there he pounces and forces the stoppage.

That wraps up preliminary action, but we’re still on ESPN+ for the main card.

Kevin Holland has gone 4-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a win, he’s trying to build another winning streak and start making good on the promise he’s shown up to this point. Trevin Giles has gone 3-2 in the UFC and is trying to capitalize on his most recent win while getting his second UFC winning streak going.

The broadcast team announces that backstage Trevin Giles fainted and the fight is off. OK, this is the most cursed card in years and years.

Lando Vannata has gone 2-1 in his last three fights and is coming off of a win, setting himself up for potentially his first UFC winning streak if he can emerge with a victory here. Bobby Green just broke a two fight losing streak by besting Clay Guida, he’s trying for his first winning streak since 2014. These two fought to a draw back in 2017, both men are hoping for a more definitive outcome this time around. Green is an inch taller but the reach is identical. The odds are with Vannata at -160 to a +140 payout for Green.

Lightweight Bout: Bobby Green (25-10-1, 156 lbs.) vs. Lando Vannata (11-4-2, 155.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Both men do a lot of stance switching, they touch gloves to get things started. Green lands a front kick to the body. Jabs from Green. Vannata lands a couple of punches. Green blocks a high kick and they trade rights. Vannata lands a jab. Right to the body from Vannata then they trade rights that land flush. Body kick from Vannata. Vannata gets the back standing and lands a couple of rights before they break. Green lands a front kick to the body. An exchange of rights, then Green starts landing the jab. Right from Green drops Vannata and he’s on top in half guard. Vannata back up, Green hits a single leg along the fence. Vananta wall walks and they fight in the clinch, Vannata getting the back standing. Green breaks his grip but eats a right as they break. They trade rights again, both men a little wobbled and Green slips the follow ups. Body shot from Green lands. One two from Green lands. Vannata with a counter right of his own. They trade rights one more time just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Green

ROUND TWO: Vannata sliding forward this round. Green lands a side kick to the knee. Vannata gets a clinch, and punches as they break. Calf kick from Vannata. Green lands a left, they clinch again but Vannata escapes quickly. Jab from Green lands. Both men land rights, Vannata then hits the body. Head kick from Vannata is partially blocked, Green tries a takedown but Vannata grabs a guillotine on the way down. Green has to pas around to break that grip from Vannata. Vannata kicks Green off and regains his feet. Glancing right from Vannata then a leg kick. Green lands a jab. Vannata gets an outside trip from a clinch, he moves to the back as they stand and starts working knees to the thigh. They trade punches on the break, Vannata landed better. Green lands a calf kick then a right. Vannata misses a wheel kick. Bit of a right from Vannata, Green then avoids some punches as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Green comes out and lands a right. Vannata lands a right to the body then a spinning back kick. Leg kick from Vannata. Green gets a clinch and lands a hard knee to the body, they trade in the clinch for a bit but Green drops Vannata with an elbow. Green on top now in half guard looking to unload. Elbows from Green and he moves to full mount. Vannata off balances Green and is up and free. Another exchange of rights. Green with a pull back counter right over the jab of Vananta, he’s landed that almost all night. Vannata grabs a guillotine attempt on a double leg from Green, it’s pretty tight but Green breaks the grip and gets his head free. Green is in half guard now, working some short bits of offense. Green spins to the back, nearly gets a choke then moves to the front headlock but Vannata spins free. They trade rights again. Vannata lands a body shot. Green blocks a head kick. One two lands for Green, then they trade rights. Vannata lands another right. Green avoids a spinning back kick, off balances Vannata and stands over him as the round ends.

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

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

Not sure which round was 10-8, probably the third which I wouldn’t terribly disagree with. Really solid performance from Green. Green on the mic now, he says the corona stuff is helping him because the judges are actually paying attention to the fights so he’s getting decisions. He talks us through some highlights, and says he feel she should be on a six fight winning streak and hopes he’ll get Fight of the Night which would let him pay off his house. Asked about the future he mentions he broke his hand in the Guida fight which he needs to let heal now. To close he dedicates the fight to his children and hopes they understand the fighting legacy he’s leaving them, not just in the cage but all he’s overcome to be here.

Vicente Luque has gone 11-3 in the UFC but is sadly underappreciated, he’s coming off of his second win over Niko Price and is trying to build his third UFC winning streak and hopefully earn a shot at some bigger names. Randy Brown has gone 3-2 in his last five fights but is currently on a two fight winning streak and could get the biggest win of his career by taking out Luque tonight. The odds are with Luque at -185 while a Brown win would pay out at +165.

Welterweight Bout: Randy Brown (12-3, 170.5 lbs.) vs. #11 Vicente Luque (18-7-1, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Brown is four inches taller and has two and a half inches of reach over Luque. Both men feinting early. Brown tries to jab, Luque lands a calf kick. Another calf kick from Luque. They trade calf kicks. Luque keeps kicking that calf every time Brown tries to jab. Those kicks are adding up for Luque already. Luque misses a right but lands a left. Another calf kick from Luque. Brown lands a right to the body. Chopping right from Luque drops Brown and he follows him down to the mat. Luque with some punches but he settles into half guard as he’d rather play jiu-jitsu at the moment. Left from Luque and he lets Brown back up. Brown circling and looking to jab. Left hook lands for Brown. Luque lands another calf kick. Body kick from Luque then a left hook that staggers Brown. Luque is cut around the right eyebrow, not sure what caused it. Brown gets a clinch and drives Luque to the fence. They break, Brown misses a jumping knee to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Luque

ROUND TWO: Feinting again to start the second. Brown with a body kick, Luque tries to return it but hits the groin. We’re up to 8 by my count, commentary is at 9 though. Brown is good to continue after a second and we’re back to fighting. Spinning back kick from Brown but Luque lands a couple of counter punches. Calf kick from Luque, that one hurt. Both men work the lead hand a bit, then Luque chops the calf of Brown who winds up on his back. Luque stands over Brown but makes him stand back up. Brown keeps showing the lead hand, Luque kicks the calf again. Brown is going southpaw now to protect his left leg. Orthodox again for Brown, Luque kicks his calf again. They clinch, trade there then break. Brown digs a left to the body. Luque lands a jab, calf kick, then a left hook. Bit of an uppercut from Brown and they clinch. Brown tries to land knees but Luque defends and they break. Hard left body kick from Luque, Brown responds with a spinning elbow. Luque kicks the calf again. Brown still coming forward now, trying to force the action. Knee from Brown in close. Brown gets a body lock takedown into side control. Luque to his knees, and back up and free very quickly. Another calf kick from Luque. Glancing right from Luque, he grabs a front headlock and lands a knee that drops Brown then pounds him out with punches against the fence just before the round ends.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Vicente Luque via KO, knee and punches, at 4:56 of Round 2

That knee looked legal, replay confirms it was good, nice finish from Luque. Low blow count is at 8. Luque on the mic now, he talks us through the finish noting he used the front headlock position to keep Brown from reaching to the mat so the knee would be legal and he reiterates that he finishes fights. He talks about staying busy and how hard he’s been working since his loss to Stephen Thompson, also notes he wants to take less damage in the future. Asked who he’d like next he calls out Nate Diaz, not sure that’s going to happen but he took his shot.

Watch the knee of Luque and the hands of Brown. Brown reaches down for the mat, Luque uses the front headlock to keep him up just enough that he can’t get weight onto his hands or reach the ground then blasts him with a knee. From there the finish is somewhat academic. That is wonderful timing and awareness from Luque in the finish.

Joanne Calderwood was supposed to be fighting for the title soon before a knee injury to champion Valentina Shevchenko, now she’s trying to defend her title shot and possibly gain some more momentum going into that potential fight. Jennifer Maia has gone 2-2 in her last four fights, she’s coming off of a loss but has a big opportunity here to take out the next title contender and potentially take her spot in the title que. The odds are close but favor Calderwood at -150 to a +130 comeback on Maia.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: #3 Joanne Calderwood (14-4, 126 lbs.) vs. #6 Jennifer Maia (17-6-1, 124.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Calderwood is two inches taller and has an inch and a half of reach over Maia. They touch gloves to get us going. Both women range finding to begin. Bit of a one two from Maia. Maia keeps landing her left to counter the kicks of Calderwood. Right and left from Maia in close. Maia lands a jab. Calderwood lands a front kick to the body. Maia lands a left uppercut. Body shots from Maia then a right. Maia lands a right. Bit of a body kick from Calderwood. Maia lands a combination of punches in close. Front kick from Maia is caught, Calderwood gets a takedown into half guard along the fence. Maia has the arms tied up, I’m not sure what she’s actually attacking at the moment. Some hammer fists from Maia, and she gets full guard but loses the arm entanglement. Calderwood trying to get her elbows working as Maia looks for a high guard. Armbar from Maia, she’s extending it, Calderwood tries to step over and defend but Maia adjusts with her and locks out the arm to force the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jennifer Maia via Submission, armbar, at 4:29 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Maia for her work this evening. They also apologize for being so late, something about the amount of low blows disrupting their metaphysical travel. Big win for Maia, and a total heart breaker for Calderwood. Mic time for Maia who thanks everyone and feels she’s getting better en route to a title shot. She swaps to English and feels she’s beaten some of the best in the division and would love to fight the champion.

The adjustments that Maia makes here are really nice, Calderwood does some of the right defensive things but Maia just keeps with her and switches her hips, her grip, and the arm position to eventually checkmate Calderwood.

Derek Brunson is on a two fight winning streak, now he’s looking to stop the next rising hype train in the division and potentially get himself back into the title picture. Edmen Shahbazyan has gone 4-0 in the UFC while maintain his undefeated record, now he could take out an upper level staple of the division and get himself near the top of the division. The odds are with the undefeated Shahbazyan at -360 while Brunson’s comeback sits at +290.

Middleweight Bout: #8 Derek Brunson (20-7, 186 lbs.) vs. #9 Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Shahbazyan is an inch taller while Brunson has three inches of reach advantage. Brunson is also 14 years older. Southpaw per usual for Brunson. Some circling to start, then Brunson lands a left to the body. Shahbazyan blocks a high kick. Shahbazyan lands a right. Brusnon lands a body kick. Shahbazyan again lands a right to the body. Body kick from Brunson, Shahbazyan lands a right. Left to the body then a left hook from Shahbazyan. Brunson lands a left and goes for a double leg, he’s got Shahbazyan down. Brunson to the ride position, looking for the back. One hook in for Brunson as Shahbazyan looks to wall walk. Brunson bails on the hooks and lands some lefts as Shahbazyan gets up but they’re still clinched. A left elbow from Brunson lands as they break. Rights from Shahbazyan, we’re getting a brawl now. Shahbazyan with a right that lands to the groin, number 9 for me but Brunson doesn’t want time off. Brunson with a left elbow in close. Shahbazyan with a couple of body shots. Takedown from Brunson, he’s got the back standing off of that. Shahbazyan gets chest to chest and they break. Bit of a left from Brunson. Shahbazyan with another body shot. Body kick from Brunson. Shahbazyan lands a knee to the body, and a bit of an elbow to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Brunson

ROUND TWO: Brunson lands a leg kick and a jab. Shahbazyan lands a heavy body kick. Bruson lands a jab. Body kick and left from Brunson, Shahbazyan landed a right. Single leg from Brunson, Shahbazyan gets to the fence and is up but eats a left on the way out. They clinch up in space and hit the fence. They break without incident. Body kick from Brunson. Shahbazyan with a bit of a right. We get time as Shahbazyan complains of an eye poke, replay confirms the poke. Shahbazyan can continue, and the ref warns both men for their fingers in general, they’ve both been pretty open with their hands thus far. Body kick from Shahbazyan. Shahbazyan lands a right as well. Brunson with a couple of kicks then a left and another one on the fence before they clinch. Elbow and a knee from Brunson on the break. Shahbazyan lands a right. Shahbazyan lands a one two. Brunson with another body kick then a couple of lefts along the fence as they clinch. More punches in close from Brunson as he keeps Shahbazyan on the fence. Brunson gets a trip from the back and lands blows from side control. Shahbazyan to his knees, Brunson to his back and lands punches. Full mount for Brunson and he unloads as Shahbazyan tries to move on the bottom. Shahbazyan gets to half guard but eats more elbows along the way. The round will end with a big flurry from Brunson that Shahbazyan barely survives.

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

ROUND THREE: Those final elbows from Brunson opened up a pretty bad cut under the right eye of Shahbazyan and the doctor is in to check on it. OK, that cut isn’t as bad as I thought. Shahbazyan wants to continue so we’re back to fighting. Brunson is coming forward and backing up Shahbazyan. Straight left from Brunson and he’s got Shahbazyan on the fence again. Another takedown from Brunson, he gets the back and lands just a couple of punches which prompts the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Derek Brunson via TKO, punches, at :26 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Brunson for his work this evening. From the start of the second round on that was just a whuppin’. Mic time for Brunson after that big win, arguably the biggest of his career. Brunson gives glory to God and says the fight and the preparation was hard but he’s 3-0 since moving to his new camp. He talks us through the end of the second round when he badly hurt Shahbazyan then the actual end of the fight. Asked about the future he wants to enjoy family time after a full 4 weeks away from them but he does plan to have a new target in the coming weeks.

This is the end of the second round, and for all intents and purposes the end of the fight. Brunson finds openings for elbows as Shahbazyan is way too flat on his back and not minding his defense in this position.

Alrighty then, that wraps up UFC on ESPN+ 31. A setback for a rising prospect, whether it’s a minor road bump or a full blown derailment can only be answered by time passing. We’ll break down the action from this card Sunday on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast, plus look ahead to UFC on ESPN+ 32 when Derek Brunson returns from his hiatus to take on Aleksei Olieinik in the main event. I’ll be back for that event as well and I hope you’ll stop by. Until next time everyone stay safe out there and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

article topics :

UFC on ESPN+ 31, Robert Winfree