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December 2, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
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#4 Beneil Dariush (156 lbs.) vs. #8 Arman Tsarukyan (155.5 lbs.)
#13 Bobby Green (155 lbs.) vs. #12 Jalin Turner (156 lbs.)
Deiveson Figueiredo (135 lbs.) vs. #8 Rob Font (135 lbs.)
#9 Sean Brady (170 lbs.) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (170 lbs.)
Clay Guida (154 lbs.) vs. Joaquim Silva (156 lbs.)
Punahele Soriano (185.5 lbs.) vs. Dustin Stoltzfus (185.5 lbs.)

#12 Julia Avila (135.5 lbs.) vs. #12 Miesha Tate (135.5 lbs.)
Cody Brundage (185 lbs.) vs. Zach Reese (185 lbs.)
Drakkar Klose (155.5 lbs.) vs. Joe Solecki (155 lbs.)
Rodolfo Bellato (205.5 lbs.) vs. Ihor Potieria (204 lbs.)
Jared Gooden (171 lbs.) vs. Wellington Turman (171 lbs.)
Veronica Hardy (125.5 lbs.) vs. Jamey-Lyn Horth (125.5 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN 52, I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening. Tonight the UFC brings a pretty good fight night card, that tends to happen when they have to sell tickets to the general audience rather than a run of the mill Apex card. At the top of the card is a darn good lightweight fight when perennial contender Beneil Dariush looks to keep down the rising talent Arman Tsarukyan, Tsarukyan has had a couple of shots at the top level and has come up a little short but now has a chance to prove he’s ready to be in the title picture. The original co-main event was a five round fight between Bobby Green and Dan Hooker, unfortunately Hooker broke his arm so on short notice Jalin Turner stepped in and that fight is still pretty good. Former flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo makes his bantamweight debut against top talent Rob Font, Kelvin Gastelum returns to welterweight against Sean Brady, and on the prelims Drakkar Klose vs. Joe Solecki has some potential. Now let’s just hope the action lives up to the promise this card has on paper.

UFC on ESPN 52 comes to the world from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, USA. Brendan Fitzgerald, Michael Bisping, and Daniel Cormier will call the action. Keep in mind that we’re in the larger 30 foot Octagon set up, and that some kind of shenanigans could easily crop up given the less than stellar reputation of the Texas regulatory body.

Veronica Hardy has gone 2-1 in her last three fights but is also 2-0 at flyweight across those fights, she’s coming off of a win back in March and looks to build on that momentum by earning her first UFC winning streak. Jamey-Lyn Horth is undefeated including a successful UFC debut at the end of April, she’s trying to keep all of that momentum going with back to back UFC wins while proving she’s a prospect of note in the division. The odds are with Horth at -190 to +160 on Hardy.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: Veronica Hardy (7-4-1, 125.5 lbs.) vs. Jamey-Lyn Horth (6-0, 125.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Horth is three inches taller with two inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Hardy as we get going, and the “woos” are here already, God help ups. A little bit of stance switching from Hardy but still mostly southpaw. Horth slips throwing a kick and eats a right hand while getting back up. The size difference is pretty obvious, Horth having debuted at bantamweight makes a lot of sense. Some jabs from Hardy start connecting as she’s moving in and out. Body kick from Horth, then Hardy returns it. Hardy with an inside leg kick. Horth is struggling to find the range, Hardy’s movement is messing with her execution. Left hand from Hardy, Horth fires back though. Hardy punches in close and lands a couple of hooks once she got Horth to the fence. Jab from Hardy off balances Horth as Horth was kicking. A left hand from Hardy drops Horth for a second but she bounces back up. Hardy punches into a clinch and they hit the fence. Elbow from Hardy then Horth lands a body kick as they break. We get a time out as there was an eye poke to Horth, no controversy about this one. Horth takes 40 seconds to sort herself out then we’re back to fighting. Horth misses a few punches, the range is still an issue for her. Hardy lands a left hand. That’ll be the last exchange of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hardy

ROUND TWO: Hardy back to moving and showing the jab, she’s still fighting very well. Body kick from Hardy. Horth lands a body kick but eats a one two in reply. Right hand from Hardy. Horth avoids a few punches but the speed of Hardy is troubling her. A couple of lefts from Hardy land, she’s angling well once they start trading and Horth looks almost stuck in mud. Body kick from Horth but Hardy gets a takedown into full guard. Nothing comes of this as they fight up into a clinch and hit the fence. Hardy gets Horth on the fence and they trade some short blows. Elbow from Hardy. Horth lands a knee. Some knees go back and forth while they jockey for position. Hardy pulls free and they trade rights. Horth forces a clinch, tries a takedown but nearly gets caught in an armbar before Hardy winds up having to settle for full guard on bottom. Hardy kicks Horth off and staggers her with an up kick but can’t get up before Horth is back on top of her to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hardy but a closer one, 20-18 Hardy overall

ROUND THREE: Hardy gets back to moving and fires a head kick that’s blocked. Inside leg kick from Hardy then a right hook behind it. Both women land rights in close. Hardy with a right hand, bit of an elbow from Horth in close. Body kick from Hardy then a left hand. Horth forces in close and they clinch up on the fence. Knee from Horth then they trade hooks as they break the clinch. Body kick again from Hardy. Horth forces another clinch and they hit the fence. They trade knees to the leg. Some elbows are traded in close. They break as Horth misses an elbow. Hardy lands a body kick but takes an elbow that off balances her. Horth with another clinch and they hit the fence. They fight for position in the clinch, neither woman is finding a whole lot yet. Horth tries a takedown but Hardy counters and gets on top, they fight up into the clinch and that’s where the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Horth, 29-28 Hardy overall

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

Not surprised by the split but the right woman won. Mic time for Hardy, she felt she won cleanly and didn’t quite get the split. She puts over Horth and her team then puts over her own team and promises to be better with the takedowns next time. Some Spanish that goes untranslated closes things.

Wellington Turman has gone 2-4 in his last six fights and is on a two fight losing streak, last losing his return to welterweight back in June. Turman pretty badly needs a win here as even that wouldn’t get his UFC record to the .500 mark. Jared Gooden lost back in march when he returned to the UFC after getting cut back in 2021, he’s still looking for his first UFC win since 2021 here and then hopes to build on that going into the next year. Turman closed at -200 to +165 for Gooden.

Welterweight Bout: Jared Gooden (22-9, 171 lbs.) vs. Wellington Turman (18-7, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Gooden has five inches of reach advantage. Gooden with some jabs to the body early. Turman lands a left hook in close. One two from Turman lands. Turman with a calf kick. Gooden lands a leg kick of his own. They trade leg kicks. Both men land rights. Calf kick from Gooden but Turman lands a left hook to counter. Jab from Gooden. A few calf kicks go back and forth. Short left hook from Turman. Turman with a right hand then a jumping knee, Gooden seems a little wobbled but he’s recovering. Gooden lands a couple of body shots then they trade calf kicks again. A few jabs from Gooden land. Turman with a single leg into a high crotch lift and gets on top in half guard. Some short punches and elbows from Turman. Gooden tries to wall walk, Turman uses a guillotine threat while he’s seated to move to mount and Gooden drops to his back to avoid that and collects half guard. The round ends with Turman still on top landing elbows.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Turman

ROUND TWO: Turman is able to come out and land punches, but Gooden lands a left hook that badly wobbles Turman. Both men land punches but Turman is still hurt, they clinch and Gooden with a hip toss and gets on top in full mount. Gooden with elbows, then gets the back, grabs at the choke and forces the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jared Gooden via Submission, rear naked choke, at 1:11 of Round 2

Mic time for Gooden and he puts over his coach for making a bum like him this good. He talks us through the finish and notes he was stunned on that trade of hooks but he knew Turman was hurt move and went after him to get the finish.

Here’s the finish. Nice work from Gooden, Turman was looking pretty good but that left hook badly hurt him and Gooden never gave him a chance to get his bearings back.

We get a video package for Marc Montoya, a noted MMA coach who’s had a battle with cancer.

Rodolfo Bellato brings a three fight winning streak into his UFC debut and now looks to make the most of his only chance at a first impression. Ihor Potieria has gone 1-2 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a loss and is mostly trying to avoid his first ever losing streak. The odds are pretty heavily with Bellator at -380 to a +300 payout on Potieria.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Rodolfo Bellato (11-2, 205.5 lbs.) vs. Ihor Potieria (20-4, 204 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Bellato has two and a half inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Potieria, and they touch gloves to start. Bellator stalks forward, neither man doing much. Some feinting from both men and they trade punches. Potieria lands a left hand. Right hand from Bellato then he tries a takedown and they wind up clinched. Potieria gets free after avoiding a foot sweep. Body kick from Potieria. Bellato lands a body kick of his own. Potieria lands a left hand. Both men land in close but Bellato is very stationary in these exchanges and he’s visibly slower. Bit of a left hook from Bellato in close. Potieria with a knee to the body. Bellato forces a clinch and they hit the fence. Knee from Bellato hits the groin and we’ve got a time out now. No question on that one, right up the middle and into the groin. Potieria can continue after a little over a minute and we’re back to fighting. Left hand from Potieria. Bellato is pressing forward but misses a knee. Bellato checks a leg kick, that didn’t feel good. Potieria lands a left hand. They punch into another clinch and hit the fence. Knee and a right hand from Bellato, Potieria didn’t like that. Bellato lands an elbow and they both unload in the pocket. More elbows from Bellato then a right hook staggers Potieria as they break. Bellato knees into a clinch, then lands another knee to end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Bellato but could go the other way

ROUND TWO: Front kick from Bellato but Potieria lands a left hand then a right hook. Bellato knees in close then lands a right hand. Another right from Bellato, then they trade rights but Potieria landed better. Potieria with a right hand then a left that drop Bellato. Bellato fights looking for a takedown and winds up pulling guard. Potieria with hammer fists from half guard. Bellato gets full guard eventually but took some hammer fists along the way. Potieria keeps trying to land hammer fists. A few lefts from Potieria land. Bellato scrambles to his knees then back up to his feet and marches in close landing body shots. Bellato is a terminator man. Potieria misses a left hand, he’s fatigued visibly. Left from Potieria but Bellato just punches back. Bellato tries a single leg and eventually gets a takedown into half guard. Bellato elbows the body and leg, then one to the head. More elbows to the leg and head from Bellato, interesting combination there, and he passes to full mount. Bellato unloads with punches to the head, gets the back and keeps landing punches until the ref eventually steps in. Heck of a comeback in that round.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Rodolfo Bellato via TKO, punches, at 4:17 of Round 2

Mic time for Bellato and the translator, he needs to hear the question in Portuguese but speaks decent English and says he doesn’t remember anything after getting hurt but he trains hard and got the win. He talks us through the finish and some highlights, and just plays with the crowd and feels good about the win. He says this has been his dream since he was a kid and is happy to have made that come true.

A lot of people in mount try to land big shots, Bellato decides to just unload a barrage of slightly weaker punches but coming at a rate that prevents effective defense. This might be a more viable strategy than people have thought.

Drakkar Klose has gone 5-1 in his last six fights and is on a two fight winning streak, he’s hoping to extend that to three here and earn another shot at someone with some more name value for his next fight. Joe Solecki has gone 5-1 in the UFC and is on a two fight winning streak, a win over Klose would be one of the better wins of his career and could well signify that he’s the new rising force at lightweight. Close one here but Klose closed at -135 to +115 for Solecki.

Lightweight Bout: Drakkar Klose (13-2-1, 155.5 lbs.) vs. Joe Solecki (13-3, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Solecki has half an inch of reach advantage. Immediate takedown from Solecki into half guard. Klose works to wall walk but Solecki is keeping him down and lands a few punches from half guard. Solecki tries to take the back, got way too over eager on that one and Klose spins into him to get on top in full guard. Klose starts working short elbows to the head. Solecki tries an armbar, Klose slams himself out of it and knocks Solecki out cold with the slam.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Drakkar Klose via KO, slam, at 1:41 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Klose for his work this evening. Mic time for Klose, he puts over some sponsors first and says if he doesn’t get a bonus for that one it’s a robbery. He talks us through the finish then says he wants the easiest opponent possible because he’s trying to make money baby. Amusing stuff there.

Here’s the finish. Slamming out of the armbar is usually not the best idea, but the angle that Klose gets on the slam is great because it helps avoid some of the pitfalls of that advice. Doesn’t hurt that it’s basically Solecki’s temple that bounces off the mat first and that will turn your lights off in a hurry. Easily one of the better knockouts of the year.

Next a video package for Elias Theodorou who passed from liver cancer earlier this year at far too young an age.

Zach Reese is undefeated coming into his UFC debut and looks to remain that way while making a good first impression on the UFC audience. Cody Brundage broke a three fight losing streak when he got a DQ win in his last fight, now he’s trying for his first winning streak since last year and hopefully move into 2024 with some actual momentum. I’m not surprised to see Reese as the favorite, but -240 does seem a little steep so +185 on Brundage might attract some bettors.

Middleweight Bout: Cody Brundage (9-5, 185 lbs.) vs. Zach Reese (6-0, 185 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Reese is four inches taller with five inches of reach advantage. Both men move forward, Brundage lands a couple of punches in close. Reese tries to get on top, Brundage slipped on a head kick but he comes up on a takedown and gets on top of Reese. Some lefts from Brundage but Reese is working a Mir Lock on the right arm, Brundage gets his arm out of danger and stands but then eats an up kick. Brundage returns to the full guard of Reese and lands an elbow. Triangle choke from Reese, Brundage slams free and badly hurts Reese with it then lands a couple of follow up punches to get the knockout.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Cody Brundage via KO, slam and punches, at 1:49 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Brundage for his work this evening. Mic time for Brundage, he feels great and is happy not to have fallen short of his abilities and dedicates the win to his grandfather who passed away on Wednesday. He talks us through the finish and is happy about the win, noting that MMA is just highs and lows with little in between. He thanks everyone around him who believed in him the whole time despite the lows.

Back to back slam knockouts, heck just having two slam knockouts on the same card has never happened before much less having them back to back.

Miesha Tate is a former champion but has gone just 1-4 in her last five fights, spent five years retired from 2016 to 2021 and is on a two fight losing streak. At age 37 if Tate wants to accomplish anything in the sport she cannot afford another loss here. Julia Avila has gone 3-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a win, she’s been out of action since June of 2021but if she can get a win here it’ll easily be the biggest of her career and might set her up well for next year. Close one here but Avila closed at -135 to +115 for Tate.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: #12 Julia Avila (9-2, 135.5 lbs.) vs. #12 Miesha Tate (19-9, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Avila is an inch taller with three inches of reach advantage. Tate quickly tries a takedown and they hit the fence. Outside reap from Tate and she’s on top in half guard. Avila holds the head and works to wall walk, Tate moves to side control though. Avila lets go of the head and again tries to wall walk. Tate moves to the back but only has one hook as she tries to get a crank going. Some rights from Tate land and she transitions to full mount. Avila gives up the back and tries to sling Tate over top but Tate hangs on and lands some hammer fists from the back. Some elbows of dubious legality from Tate, commentary mostly ignores or justifies them. Bit of a body triangle from Tate as she rides towards full mount. A few short elbows from Tate. The round ends with Tate still in full mount.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Tate

ROUND TWO: Avila comes out and lands a few punches but Tate quickly then hits a double leg into side control. Tate goes for a Von Flue choke it looks like but Avila hip escapes to full guard and lets go of the head. Avila looks to invert, Tate grabs the fence to stifle the motion. Tate winds up in leg drag and lands some punches. Some body work from Tate. Tate moves to side control and starts working for a kimura, then uses that position to get full mount again. Punches from Tate now, Avila gives up her back again. The round ends there.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Tate, 20-16 Tate overall

ROUND THREE: Tate bulls forward and quickly gets another takedown against the fence. Avila wall walks but gets tripped right back down into almost full mount. Full mount now for Tate, then Tate gets the back. Tate starts fishing for the choke and gets the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Miesha Tate via Submission, rear naked choke, 1:15 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Tate for her work this evening. Mic time for Tate, she was very set on remembering who she is and what made her a fighter. This is her 20th professional win and she’s been fighting for 18 years, she hopes she proved that you don’t give up. Getting preferential matchmaking helps, just in the interest of fairness. She puts over her coaches and family and promises to celebrate with them.

Punahele Soriano has gone 3-3 in the UFC and he’s coming off of a loss, he’s trying to get his UFC record back above the .500 mark and start rebuilding himself next year. Dustin Stoltzfus has gone 1-4 in the UFC and was finished by Abus Magomedov his last time out, Stoltzfus is quite possibly fighting for his job here as he’s found almost no success in the promotion. Soriano closed at -345 to +275 on Stoltzfus.

Middleweight Bout: Punahele Soriano (9-3, 185.5 lbs.) vs. Dustin Stoltzfus (14-5, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Stoltzfus is an inch taller with two and a half inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Soriano. Stoltzfus with some thrust kicks to the lead leg. Both men miss power hand punches in close. A right from Soriano bothers Stoltzfus. Soriano lands a left hand after taking a knee. Stoltzfus with some front kicks. We get a time out as Stoltzfus kicked Soriano low. Only about 20 seconds then we’re back to fighting, it wasn’t a bad blow. Body kick from Stoltzfus. Soriano lands a left hand. Body kick from Soriano. Stoltzfus tries a single leg, Soriano defends and lands a left hand. Stoltzfus lands a right hand. Inside leg kick from Stoltzfus, Soriano is struggling a bit now that the fight has settled. Soriano lands a body kick, Stoltzfus returns it. Soriano defends a takedown and they hit the fence. Stoltzfus presses for a takedown but can’t get it and Soriano spins free. They trade body kicks again. Stoltzfus with a right, Soriano then rocks him with a left hand. Another left from Soriano lands. Stoltzfus seems to be recovered now and back to kicking. They tie up, Stoltzfus gets the back and hits a mat return but Soriano stands and moves to the fence. Soriano avoids a few strikes as they break, then lands a left hand that seems to stun Stoltzfus for a second. Another left from Soriano. Both men land in close, then both miss punches. Stoltzfus drops Soriano with a right hand just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Stoltzfus

ROUND TWO: Stoltzfus lands an inside leg kick then a front kick. Soriano lands an inside leg kick of his own. Stoltzfus stabs in another front kick, those are starting to add up. Soriano lands a left hand. Body kick from Soriano, bit of a right from Stoltzfus on the counter. Bit of a left from Soriano lands but his follow ups fall just short. Stoltzfus with a body kick. Both men land in close. Stoltzfus with a right hand, then gets the back and hits another mat return. Soriano starts wall walking but Stoltzfus is still on his back. Stoltzfus is just all over Soriano and gets him back down then starts working on a choke, it’s pretty close and he’s got enough leverage to really crank on it. Soriano tries to hand fight for a bit but the arm slips under the chin and he has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Dustin Stoltzfus via Submission, rear naked choke, at 4:10 of Round 2

Stoltzfus gets an interview, he thanks his coaches and team mates for all of their work. He knew he was the better grappler but Soriano is strong and explosive so he had to be sure and moderate the flow of the fight and his energy output.

Knowing when to bail on a choke attempt to switch arms and when the commit to the position and just work small adjustments to cinch things up is a valuable skill. Stoltzfus has a good position and just methodically works the arm under the chin to force the tap.

Clay Guida has been around MMA since 2003 and the UFC since 2006, he’s been trading wins and losses while going 3-3 in his last six fights and he’s coming off of a loss. Guida is just looking for a few more feel good moments as his career continues winding down, but a win here would be a nice addition to that goal. Joaquim Silva has been with the UFC since 2015 but this is just the second year during his entire UFC tenure he’s fought more than once during a year. Silva is 1-3 in his last four fights and was last seen losing to Arman Tsarukyan back in June, now he’s hoping to avoid another losing streak and hopefully keep a more active schedule going forward. The odds are with Silva at -325 to +260 for a Guida win.

Lightweight Bout: Clay Guida (38-23, 154 lbs.) vs. Joaquim Silva (12-4, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Silva is an inch taller while Guida has an inch of reach advantage. Guida does his usual bouncing and circling. Both men miss some punches. Guida misses a few punches. Silva avoids a takedown attempt. Silva lands a bit of a jab. Left hook from Silva. Guida misses a right hand. Bit of a leg kick from Silva. Guida is swinging, not really landing yet but he’s willing to throw it seems. Jab from Silva. Silva with another left hook. A right from Guida doesn’t land flush but seems to off balance Silva for a moment. Silva lands an uppercut and hurts Guida, he gets on top and lands punches as Guida tries to stand. Guida does get up but Silva cracks him with a couple of elbows. Another elbow from Silva as they’re clinched up. Guida looks for a takedown and sort of gets it but nothing comes of it before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Silva

ROUND TWO: Guida moves forward again as the round starts. Silva is probing with the left hook as Guida tries to lunge forward. Right hand from Silva. Guida hits a single leg, Silva bounces up and grabs a guillotine, uses it to get on top and pounds on Guida from side control. Silva lands a few punches as Guida stands then they both unload in close. Knees from Silva to the head stun Guida but Guida swings back with a right hand that gets Silva to back off. Another knee from Silva but Guida bulls forward, tries a double leg but Silva grabs a guillotine on the way down. Guida struggles and after a bit finally gets his head out but Silva wall walks again. Silva is staying upright against the fence, Guida tries another takedown but Silva is still defending. Eventually Guida gets a double leg but Silva instantly bounces up with Guida still hugging him. Another double leg from Guida, again Silva is up as Guida can’t establish anything like control. Guida tries another double leg, Silva with some elbows to the head while defending and the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Front kick from Silva to start the last round. Guida stalks forward, and walks into a jab. More jabs from Silva. Guida lands a leg kick. Body kick from Silva then he barely misses a front kick. Front kick from Silva lands. Guida falls short with some punches. Head kick from Silva lands, Guida shakes it off and keeps doing what he’s been doing. Body shots from Silva then he avoids a takedown. Silva is backing Guida up now and lands another front kick. Bit of a right from Silva, then a left shovel hook in close, that bothered Guida. Guida tries a single leg, that hits the fence and Silva defends. Silva has a front headlock going and forces Guida to the fence then snaps him down. Guida tries a single leg, Silva defends and lands elbows in close. Body work from Silva, and Guida ties up to stifle the offense. Another front headlock from Silva, he lands knees with it then half jumps for a guillotine and uses Guida’s defense to sling him down and get on top in half guard. Guida wall walks but eats punches on the way. The round ends with them trading in the clinch.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Joaquim Silva via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

No real issues with 29-28, I just wasn’t impressed with Guida’s work in the second but such are the perils of writing while watching. Mic time for Silva and the translator, he gives glory to God first and puts over Guida and thanks him for the fight. He knew this was the kind of fight Guida would bring. He knew the third round would be close, he thought he had the guillotine a couple of times but Guida fought tough and got out.

Sean Brady is coming off of his first loss over a year ago when he lost to Belal Muhammad, now he’s trying to avoid his first losing streak and prove he’s still a rising force in the division. Kelvin Gastelum is returning to welterweight for the first time since 2016 when he beat Johnny Hendricks, he’s hoping for a later career renaissance back in this weight class and beating Brady would be a great way to announce his return to the division. Very close one here, -120 on Brady to an even +100 for Gastelum.

Welterweight Bout: #9 Sean Brady (15-1, 170 lbs.) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (17-8 1 NC, 170 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Brady is an inch taller with half an inch of reach advantage. Southpaw for Gastelum who comes out looking to pressure. Bit of a left from Gastelum, Brady gets a clinch in open space and they trade some knees. Elbow from Gastelum but Brady is able to eventually get him to the fence. Single leg from Brady, then he scoots to the back with one hook in near the fence. Both hooks in now. Brady goes to a body triangle. Gastelum breaks the triangle and sweeps to get on top and starts landing lefts. Brady wall walks into a clinch but Gastelum pushes free and they reset. Bit of a left from Gastelum. Brady lands a right hand. Double left from Brady and he off balances Gastelum, he gets on top on the mat again. Brady is in the ride position, Gastelum scoots to the fence and works to wall walk. Gastelum bases and stands up, Brady on his back though and drags him back down. Brady keeps working from the ride but he’s not finding much yet. They roll into open space and Brady gets both hooks in on the back and that’s where the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Brady

ROUND TWO: Gastelum works forward and lands an inside leg kick. Brady catches a leg kick and gets a takedown into half guard. A few shots to the body from Brady then he tries to pass to full mount but Gastelum blocks that. Brady moves to full mount, Gastelum scrambles and Brady moves to the ride then pulls Gastelum back down into half guard. Again Brady moves to full mount. Gastelum gives up the back, tries to roll free but Brady is all over him and retains full mount. Gastelum to his knees again but Brady is just flowing and keeping control. They’ve moved towards the fence and Brady is in the ride working a few short punches. Honestly the lack of ground and pound is an issue for Brady, his control is exceptional but there’s not real damage to force openings for his other grappling. Brady moves to mount the legs and lands a few short punches. Gastelum stands, but Brady pulls him back down and gets both hooks in from the back as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Gastelum moves forward and lands a left hand. Brady hits a knee tap and gets back on top in half guard. Full mount for Brady, then he grabs an arm triangle choke, but Gastelum is able to get out of that and reclaim half guard. Kimura attack from Brady, he cranks it and eventually Gastelum taps.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sean Brady via Submission, kimura, at 1:43 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Brady for his work this evening. Mic time for Brady, he plays with the crowd first and says he’s been working hard on his mental game as his mind was off last time out. He calls out Ian Garry if Garry can beat Vicente Luque. He says everyone was counting him out for this fight and he’s going to continue tapping people out. To close he thanks his family.

Domination from Brady, this was a much needed win after his lackluster outing against Belal Muhammad. Gastelum might be on the wrong side of his career at this point, years and miles in the UFC add up pretty quick.

Rob Font has been a top bantamweight for a few years now, he’s currently 1-3 in his last four which is slightly tempered by this losses coming to Jose Aldo, Marlon Vera, and Cory Sandhagen. Font is coming off of the Sandhagen loss and is trying to avoid his second losing streak while proving he’s still an elite fighter. Deiveson Figueiredo is a former two time flyweight champion but the weight cut eventually became a bit too much for him, he’s coming off of losing that title in the first UFC quadrilogy and is trying to make a big statement in his bantamweight debut with a win over the respected battler Font. Another close one but Font closed at -125 to +105 for Figueiredo.

Bantamweight Bout: Deiveson Figueiredo (21-3-1, 135 lbs.) vs. #8 Rob Font (20-7, 135 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Font is three inches taller with three and a half inches of reach advantage. Font stalks forward early and looks to establish the jab. Figueiredo circles and looks to counter. One two from Font. They tie up, but nothing comes of it as they separate. Figueiredo tries a single leg, gets it but Font scrambles back up immediately and resets. Font lands a right hand. Bit of a right from Figueiredo. Jab from Font. Figueiredo lands a right hand to counter a jab. Font over extends throwing a right hand, Figueiredo gets a takedown but Font quickly scrambles up into a clinch. They break without issue. Font gets back to working the jab. One two from Font seems to stun Figueiredo for a second, they clinch and Font gets the back standing. Figueiredo is able to fight free and they reset again. Font is starting to dial in his jab and keep Figueiredo off balance. Left hook from Figueiredo stuns Font, then a follow up right has him backing up. Figueiredo lands to the body but Font throws back at him to back him off. Another jab from Font, Figueiredo then clinches on the fence. They break again without incident. Font lands another jab, another left hook from Figueiredo partially lands. They split lefts again, that’ll be the last meaningful exchange of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Font

ROUND TWO: Font gets back to jabbing then lands a calf kick. Figueiredo gets close and clinches up on the fence. Not much happening here, Figueiredo tries a knee but it goes to the groin of Font and we’ve got a break. Replay confirms the low blow, but Font only needs 35 seconds then we’re back to fighting. Bit of a one two from Font. Font with an elbow in close then an uppercut. Figueiredo lands a right hand and a left hook behind it. Font misses a right hand but he’s trying to keep Figueiredo from getting recovery time. Figueiredo tries a takedown, Font defends. Right hand from Figueiredo. Font lands a calf kick, Figueiredo returns it. Font comes forward with a combination that partially lands, then Figueiredo lands a right hand. Single leg from Figueiredo and he’s on top now in half guard. Font scrambles back up and they trade in close then reset. Font keeps stalking forward and lands a left hand. Uppercut from Figueiredo lands. They clinch up, but nothing comes of it before they break. One two from Figueiredo lands, then a couple of lefts to follow up before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Figueiredo, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Font blocks a takedown and lands a right hand. Figueiredo is backing up and circling. They trade rights. Font ties up and pushes things to the fence. Figueiredo is able to spin free and reset. Left from Figueiredo. Font lands a right to the body then a left hook. A left from Figueiredo badly rocks Font, he pushes forward and looks to unload against the fence. Figueiredo with a knee then an elbow. Left hook from Figueiredo but Font stays upright and circles away. A couple of sharp rights from Font land and we get a bit of a brawl for a few seconds. Font lands a couple of jabs. Single leg from Figueiredo and he’s on top in half guard. Figueiredo moves to side control, then full mount like it was nothing. A few elbows from Figueiredo land. Some more shots from Figueiredo. Font is able to get to butterfly guard but Figueiredo lands a right hand. Half guard again for Figueiredo as he’s controlling and looking to land strikes. Figueiredo moves to side control, Font stands and they trade one last time as the round ends.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Deiveson Figueiredo via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Surprised to see Figueiredo take the first unanimously. Mic time for Figueiredo and the translator, he’s a little sad he didn’t have the brawl he wanted because he wanted Fight of the Night and isn’t sure they got it. He gives love to his son in attendance then says he feels great at bantamweight and is proud of what he’s done at flyweight but looks forward to more in his weight class.

Jalin Turner has not had a great 2023, his five fight winning streak ended back in march then he missed weight and lost to Dan Hooker in July, granted both were split decisions but still a two fight losing streak is not an ideal place to be. Turner is trying to notch a win and put the year behind him while looking towards 2024 with a little positive momentum at his back. Bobby Green has had a pretty good 2023 by contrast, he had a No Contest back in April but since then has two finishes and two bonuses to go along with them. Green is trying to keep this later career resurgence going and head into 2024 with an eye towards the higher end of the division. Despite taking this fight on short notice the odds are with Turner at -175 to +145 for Green.

Lightweight Bout: #13 Bobby Green (31-14-1 1 NC, 155 lbs.) vs. #12 Jalin Turner (13-7, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Turner is five inches taller with a significant six inches of reach advantage, he’s also nine years younger. Both men open southpaw but will switch. They both land lefts pretty quickly. Both men land rights, the range is an issue for Green though. Green with some side kicks to the leg. Turner lands a calf kick. Green slips a jab and lands a right hook. Left hand then a right hook from Turner land. Left hand from Turner, he’s starting to find the range and timing now. Green avoids a high kick. Body kick from Green, Turner returns it. Green has gone orthodox now, they clinch up, Green lands a knee then they break. Turner wobbles Green with a right hand, follows up and drops him then gets on his back and lands punches, then more punches, then a few more while the ref just looks on demanding blood as Green has to go out about three times before he finally intervenes. Terrible non-stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jalin Turner via KO, punches, at 2:49 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Turner for his work this evening. Mic time for Turner, he delivered and gives glory to God for this moment and is just thankful for everything. He mentions he and Green come from the same place and that didn’t feel good, then when asked about the stoppage he agrees it needed to be stopped sooner but had to keep going until the ref got involved.

Seriously, one of the worst late stoppages in recent memory. Good win for Turner though who needed it after the two fight losing streak.

Beneil Dariush just had an impressive eight fight winning streak snapped by Charles Oliveira in a loss that likely cost him a shot at the title, now he’s trying to avoid what would technically be his first ever losing streak and reassert his position near the title picture going into 2024. Arman Tsarukyan has been tipped as one of the future top fighters in the division for a few years now, but his two UFC losses to Islam Makhachev and Mateusz Gamrot have showed a bit of a ceiling in the past. Tsarukyan is trying for his biggest win to date against a proven top level fighter in the division and looking to make his way into the title picture next year. Tsarukyan is a surprisingly heavy favorite at -305 to +245 for Dariush.

Lightweight Bout: #4 Beneil Dariush (22-5-1, 156 lbs.) vs. #8 Arman Tsarukyan (20-3, 155.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Dariush is three inches taller while Tsarukyan has half an inch of reach advantage. Southpaw for Dariush, they touch gloves to get us going. Early high kick from Dariush then an inside leg kick. Tsarukyan lands a jab. Dariush bulls forward but misses a left hand. Inside leg kick from Dariush. Tsarukyan circles a bit, lands a right hand, then a knee and a follow up right to floor Dariush. Tsarukyan gets on top and lands a few more punches to prompt the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Arman Tsarukyan via KO, punches, at 1:04 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Tsarukyan for his work this evening. Mic time for Tsarukyan after that one, he expected to get a knockout and knew if he performed well he could get the win and the title fight. He thanks Dariush for the fight and puts him over as the only guy who’d take the fight with him, and now Tsarukyan thinks he’s a top 3 fighter and wants a title fight next. If he doesn’t get the title fight he’ll just beat whoever is next and get there eventually. He’s still focused on getting finishes, then talks us through the finish and asks for a post fight bonus. To close he says he’s coming for the title and really wants a rematch with Islam Makhachev.

Great finish here from Tsarukyan, getting Dariush to drop his hands trying to block the knee opened up a clear punching lane for the right hand and that was basically all she wrote.

Well on that note UFC on ESPN 52 comes to a close. This was a good card on paper and for one of the final UFC events of 2023 it delivered on the promise it held. We’ll be breaking down all of the fallout from this event on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast plus looking ahead to UFC on ESPN+ 91 next week when we’re back in the Apex. Next week isn’t nearly as good as this one on paper, but we’ll give a full preview on the podcast and I’ll be here next week to cover it, and I hope you’ll be here as well. Until then thank you for reading, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC on ESPN+ 52, Robert Winfree