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411’s UFC 259 Report: Blachowicz beats Adesanya

March 7, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC 259

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
Champ Jan Blachowicz (205 lbs.) vs. Israel Adesanya (200.5 lbs.) – For UFC Light Heavyweight Title
Champ Amanda Nunes (145 lbs.) vs. Megan Anderson (144.5 lbs.) – For UFC Women’s Featherweight Title
Champ Petr Yan (135 lbs.) vs. #1 Aljamain Sterling (134.5 lbs.) – For UFC Bantamweight Title
#15 Drew Dober (156 lbs.) vs. #14 Islam Makhachev (156 lbs.)
#4 Aleksandar Rakic (206 lbs.) vs. #2 Thiago Santos (206 lbs.)

#11 Dominick Cruz (136 lbs.) vs. Casey Kenney (136 lbs.)
Kyler Phillips (136 lbs.) vs. #14 Song Yadong (135.5 lbs.)
#3 Askar Askarov (127 lbs.)* vs. #2 Joseph Benavidez (125.5 lbs.)
#8 Rogerio Bontorin (126 lbs.) vs. #8 Kai Kara-France (125.5 lbs.)

#12 Tim Elliott (125.5 lbs.) vs. Jordan Espinosa (126 lbs.)
Kennedy Nzechukwu (205.5 lbs.) vs. Carlos Ulberg (205 lbs.)
Sean Brady (170.5 lbs.) vs. Jake Matthews (169.5 lbs.)
Amanda Lemos (116 lbs.) vs. #15 Livinha Souza (116 lbs.)
Aalon Cruz (155 lbs.) vs. Uros Medic (156 lbs.)
Mario Bautista (135.5 lbs.) vs. Trevin Jones (134.5 lbs.)

Hey there everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 259. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening, relaying all of the action to you just as I see it. Tonight the UFC is back on PPV and they’ve brought a whopper of a card. Seriously this is one of the best PPV main cards in quite some time, there’s not a dud on it. Your main event will see freshly crowned light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz going for his first title defense against one of the bigger stars and top pound for pound guys in the sport, middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. Adesanya could become the first undefeated dual champion in UFC history if he wins, and propel his career towards the stratosphere if he does so. The next title fight is women’s GOAT Amanda Nunes putting her featherweight title on the line against Megan Anderson, the fight isn’t close according to the odds but there’s a reason we actually have the fights in person. The best fight on the card is the bantamweight title fight when new champion Petr Yan tries for his first title defense against clear cut number one contender Aljamain Sterling. To round out the PPV we’ve got rising lightweight contenders Islam Makhachev and Drew Dober fighting things out, and a possible title eliminator bout at light heavyweight when Thiago Santos takes on one of the best rising guys the division has in the form of Aleksandar Rakic. I’m just going to repeat myself, but this is a great card on paper.

As for the prelims, Dominick Cruz will have his first three round fight in about 4 years when he battles rising prospect Casey Kenney, Joseph Benavidez looks to halt his first ever losing streak at the expense of unbeaten top contender Askar Askarov, and Sean Brady will battle Jake Matthews in a fight that on any other card would be getting a fair amount of buzz from the hardcore fans. There’s a full 15 fights on this card, so we’re likely in for a long one.

UFC 259 comes to the world from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. On commentary we have Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Daniel Cormier. We’ve also got Trevor Wittman contributing on occasion and Megan Olivi doing the on site reporting thing. As for the rules we’re mostly under the new ones except for the downed fighter rule, so you still only need one hand on the mat to be considered downed. There is still the replay official situated outside the cage, so either the in cage ref or the replay official can request the use of instant replay and the fight can be restarted after replay is used if that’s applicable to the situation. Also remember the Apex has the smaller 25 foot diameter cage as opposed to the 30 footer.

Mario Bautista has gone 2-1 in the UFC and is on a two fight winning streak, but he’s been out of action for a little over a year and is trying to extend that streak while proving himself a notable prospect in a talent rich division. Trevin Jones fought to a No Contest in his UFC debut after his win was overturned, now he’s trying to get his first official UFC win for a second time. Bautista is the favorite at -230 to a +190 comeback on Jones.

Bantamweight Bout: Mario Bautista (8-1, 135.5 lbs.) vs. Trevin Jones (12-6 1 NC, 134.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Bautista is two inches taller while Jones has an inch of reach advantage. Jones fighting southpaw, they touch gloves to start things off. Both men probing with kicks early, mostly range finding. Bit of a head kick from Bautista. Bautista punches forward, doesn’t land and they wind up clinched. Jones gets Bautista on the fence and starts working knees to the leg. Body work is traded while they jockey for position. They break with a knee from Jones. Body kick from Bautista, Jones replies with an inside leg kick. Another body kick from Bautista, then they trade in close. Bautista lands a right. Right hook in close from Bautista lands. Another right from Bautista to counter a Jones low kick. Jones lands a left and they clinch, the round will end on the fence.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Bautista

ROUND TWO: Bautista is starting to switch his stance a bit as he’s moving now. Both men swing but neither land flush. A right uppercut from Jones floors Bautista, he lands hammer fists on the mat to prompt the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Trevin Jones via TKO, punch and hammer fists, at :40 of Round 2

Mic time for Jones, he says he feels great and is grateful he got a full camp for this one after a long string of short notice appearances. He mentions how frustrating losing his last win was but he’s not crying especially since he knocked out a guy that had a lot of hype, and talks about cleaning some stuff up ahead of this fight in terms of his personal life. He talks us through the finish, noting the leg kicks helped slow down the movement of Bautista and helped set up the power punches. To close he expresses how happy he is to get to speak to Joe Rogan, he’s got some friends who are big fans of Rogan.

This is a nice punch from Jones, he feints with the left to bait a reaction in this case the looping right hand. Jones fires off what looks to me like a smash style punch, Razor Ruddock used that punch a lot, up under the dropping lead hand and crushes the jaw of Bautista.

Uros Medic is undefeated coming into his UFC debut, with his last five wins being finishes. Now Medic is trying to make a good first impression on the UFC audience. Aalon Cruz dropped his UFC debut a little over a year ago but now he’s back and hoping to score that all important first UFC win. The odds are with medic at -175 to +150 for Cruz.

Lightweight Bout: Aalon Cruz (8-3, 155 lbs.) vs. Uros Medic (6-0, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Medic is an inch taller but Cruz has a whopping seven inches of reach advantage. Medic starts southpaw, Cruz doing a lot of stance switching. Some aggression from Cruz, Medic avoids him and lands a leg kick. Right hook from Medic wobbles Cruz, Crus dives for a takedown and gets a clinch. Medic with a left as they break the clinch, that hurts Cruz again. Flying knee from Medic, he’s all over Cruz as Cruz drops to the mat. Cruz is trying to fight up but Medic keeps punching him. Cruz up, but Medic drops him with another left, and keeps punching him. The ref finally has seen enough after more punches to the head from Medic.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Uros Medic via TKO, punches, at 1:40 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Medic for his work this evening. That was a mauling, and a very late stoppage. Medic on the mic after that blistering debut win, he says it’s a pleasure to talk with Joe Rogan and says he’s a big fan of Rogan’s. He’s happy about various states being opened up, Texas in particular, and can’t wait to fight in front of a crowd again and hopefully talk with Rogan in the cage next time. He feels great in the UFC, puts over the entire organization and the personnel, and wants to continue being here. To close he does the “train by day, Joe Rogan podcast by night” bit.

Medic beat the brakes off of Cruz, this was all one way traffic.

Livia Souza has gone 3-1 in the UFC, she’s coming off of a win and is trying to build another winning streak to facilitate some headway in the deepest women’s division the UFC has. Amanda Lemos has gone 2-1 in the UFC but hasn’t lost since dropping to strawweight in 2019, she’s trying to take out a ranked opponent here and start her own move up towards the top of the division. Lemos is a bit of a surprisingly heavy favorite at -220 to +180 for the ranked Souza.

Strawweight Bout: Amanda Lemos (8-1-1, 116 lbs.) vs. #15 Livinha Souza (14-2, 116 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Lemos is an inch taller and has two inches of reach on Souza. They touch gloves to get us going. Lemos stalking forward early, Souza circling. Bit of a front kick from Lemos. Lemos is getting Souza to the fence fairly consistently and is looking to pick at her. One two from Lemos then a hard leg kick. Jabs from Lemos, then another leg kick. Lemos sneaks a right through, then another one that drops Souza. Lemos on top with some punches, Souza tries to tie up half guard along the fence. Elbow from Lemos, she’s looking to wrap the head but decides for more elbows. Souza after a heel hook, the knee is a bit too far out of the grip of the legs so Lemos spins free and lands punches before Souza gets up and separates. Lemos lands a body kick then a leg kick, she’s just cruising at this point. Stiff jab from Lemos drops Souza, a few more punches on the ground and the ref waves this one off.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Amanda Lemos via TKO, punches, at 3:39 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Lemos for her work this evening. Mic time for Lemos and her translator, she talks about her preparation for the fight and finding the holes in Souza’s game. She confirms she’s a strawweight fighter and wants to stay busy with her next fight coming in May or June.

Check the timing on this jab, Lemos not only catches Souza when Souza isn’t expecting it she times the punch with a step. There are a lot of different kinds of jabs, this was a power jab designed to drive through the target and Souza goes down.

Sean Brady is undefeated and has been making waves while going 3-0 in the UFC, he’s taking a bit of a step up in competition for this fight but a win would indicate he’s ready to make the difficult transition from prospect to contender. Jake Matthews brings a three fight winning streak into this fight and in fact he’s an impressive 6-1 in his last seven fights, but Matthews has been in the UFC since 2014 and if he’s going to make good on his potential he needs to start making a move up towards bigger names. Brady is your favorite at -220 to while a Matthews win would pay at +180.

Welterweight Bout: Sean Brady (13-0, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Jake Matthews (17-4, 169.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Matthews is an inch and a half taller and has one inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men feinting a fair bit early. Matthews misses some punches, then Brady lands a left hook. Jab from Matthews. Matthews lands a right to the body. Neither man has found a lot of success, but Matthews is using his length quite well. Matthews lands a left to the body. Brady lands a leg kick but Matthews catches it and lands a right then gets him on the mat, but tries for a guillotine when Brady comes up and Brady winds up on top in side control. Matthews bails on holding the head and starts looking for the empty half guard. Brady is keeping Matthews on the mat, he’s looking to wrap the head for a top side guillotine but Matthews gets half guard. A few short hammer fists from Brady, he’s after the one arm guillotine from half guard. Matthews doesn’t like this, but he’s able to defend and get his head free. Brady postures up and lands a couple of punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Brady but could go either way

ROUND TWO: Brady coming forward again, both men still working long distance punches. Matthews with a bit of a right. Brady hits a double leg into full guard, nicely timed as Matthews was coming forward looking to strike. Brady moves to half guard as Matthews scoots to the fence. Matthews is trying to base up and wall walk, Brady moves to the ride position and lands some punches while fighting to strip the posting limbs. Brady mounts the legs and starts fishing for the neck. Matthews breaks that grip but winds up on his back again. A few more blows from Brady, he’s still trying to wrap the head from top position but he can’t get under the chin with it. Another wrap of the head, Brady still can’t find it the way he wants so he just lands punches. Full mount for Brady, then back mount and he lands some blows as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Brady given the differential in output, 20-17 Brady overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Brady lands an inside leg kick. Matthews looking to punch forward but he’s struggling with the defense of Brady. Brady staggers Matthews with a left hook but he remains upright. Matthews has a few rights blocked. Brady fakes a double leg, then grabs a front headlock as Matthews sprawls then uses that to spin to the ride position. Hammer fists from Brady as he’s riding Matthews. Some lefts from Brady, he’s beating up Matthews at this point. Matthews tries to roll to his back but Brady grabs an arm triangle in transition. Brady adjusts his position and forces the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sean Brady via Submission, arm triangle choke, at 3:28 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Brady for his work this evening. Mic time for Brady, he says talking with Rogan is a great experience then puts over Matthews but notes he’s 4-0 in the UFC and wants a top fifteen guy before noting that Matthews beat Li Jingliang who’s currently number 12. He says he expected to do better on the feet but also thought Matthews would be stronger but when he felt him on the mat he knew the differential was in his favor. To close he would like to fight Belal Muhammad, though that would probably require Muhammad to lose to Leon Edwards.

The combination of power and technique here is impressive, look at how Brady is able to use both of those to get Matthews away enough from the fence to pass guard and fully lock in the choke.

Kennedy Nzechukwu has gone 1-1 in the UFC but the big caveat here is both fights have been profoundly uninspiring and for someone the UFC put a bit of hype behind his back could be against a bit of a wall here. Carlos Ulberg is undefeated coming into his UFC debut and will be trying to maximize the sole chance you get to make a first impression. The odds are with Ulberg at -240 against +200 for Nzechukwu.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Kennedy Nzechukwu (7-1, 205.5 lbs.) vs. Carlos Ulberg (3-0, 205 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Nzechukwu is an inch taller and has six inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Nzechukwu, and they touch gloves to get us going. Ulberg keeping distance with kicks, then lands a right to the body. Combination from Ulberg culminates with a head kick that wobbles Nzechukwu. Knees in the clinch from Ulberg, he’s really picking his spots in the guard of Nzechukwu as Nzechukwu shells up on the fence. Ulberg lets him off the fence, tries another head kick but that’s blocked. Looping right from Ulberg lands, he’s finding the target with incredible regularity. Leg kick from Ulberg. Nzechukwu coming forward and they trade a bit along the fence. Ulberg pushes Nzechukwu into the fence and lands a leg kick before they break. Short left hook from Ulberg then a right. Nzechukwu lands a right, his dogged pressure is getting to Ulberg a bit at this point. Left hook lands for Nzechukwu. Ulberg with an uppercut but he’s slowing down. Leg kick from Ulberg, then a right. Body shots from Ulberg and Nzechukwu just covers up. Knee from Ulberg then more body shots. Ulberg keeps looking to punch, Nzechukwu lands a couple of lefts to get him to back off. One two from Nzechukwu, they engage in some pocket brawling then Ulberg lands another leg kick. A couple of kicks from Nzechukwu are partially blocked. Ulberg wit ha bit of a right as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ulberg

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Ulberg with some leg kicks early. Nzechukwu still coming forward, but eats a left uppercut. They trade lefts. Front kick to the body from Ulberg. Spinning back fist from Ulberg. They trade punches, then Ulberg digs a right to the body. Both men land lead hand punches. A couple of hooks in close from Nzechukwu. Hard body kick from Ulberg, and another one. Inside leg kick from Ulberg. We get a break as Nzechukwu complained of an eye poke so we’ve got time. Nzechukwu doesn’t want to take long and we’re back quickly. Ulberg kicking the legs again. Short right form Ulberg lands. Nzechukwu lands a left but he’s losing out on the volume. Ulberg to the body and leg with offense. They trade power hand punches, then Nzechukwu lands a right hook in close and floors Ulberg against the fence. A few punches as Ulberg is slumped on the fence later and we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Kennedy Nzechukwu via TKO, punches, at 3:19 of Round 2

Sloppy brawl, but it didn’t lack for action. Nzechukwu gets some mic time, he says he’s been out for about 18 months and used the first round as a feeling out process and believes in his cardio so he just kept going. He saw Ulberg slowing down and kept pushing for the win. He thinks the stoppage was good but puts over Ulberg as a tough opponent who he could overwhelm with his cardio.

Neither man has much defense, they get into some phone booth fighting here and Ulberg just doesn’t keep his hands up and be mindful of his opponents offense.

Tim Elliott just broke a three fight losing streak when he bested Ryan Benoit, now he’s trying to get his first winning streak since 2016 up and running. Jordan Espinosa has gone 2-3 in the UFC but he’s coming off of a loss and will be trying to both avoid his second losing streak while getting arguably the biggest name on his resume. The odds are close but lean towards Elliott at -120 to a +100 comeback on Espinosa.

Flyweight Bout: #12 Tim Elliott (16-11-1, 125.5 lbs.) vs. Jordan Espinosa (15-8 1 NC, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Elliott is an inch taller while Espinosa has three and a half inches of reach advantage. There will be a lot of stance switching from Elliott but he opens southpaw. Espinosa circling early, and doing his own stance switching. A couple of lefts from Elliott and forces a clinch on the fence. They trade some knees, then break. Both men with kicks, then Espinosa tries a head kick then lands a left hook. Espinosa lands a right as Elliott gets another clinch. Elliott can’t do a whole lot from here but Espinosa isn’t great about getting off of the fence. Bit of a right from Elliott as they break. Glancing head kick from Espinosa but Elliott gets a takedown and is in the ride position along the fence. Elliott sneaks in some punches as Espinosa goes to half guard. There’s a bit of a hammerlock going on for Elliott but Espinosa gets his arm free as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Elliott

ROUND TWO: Elliott comes out quickly, Espinosa tires the head kick again but again gets taken down. Espinosa kicks Elliott off and regains his feet. Elliott hits another double leg rather quickly and gets on top in half guard. Elliott with a few short elbows, he’s mostly fighting for wrist control. Espinosa is trying to hip escape but he’s kind of going backwards about it and Elliott passes against the fence. Elliott moves to the back with one hook in and starts grinding for the choke. Espinosa is able to avoid a choke attempt and roll back to get half guard. Elliott with some punches as he goes towards the stockade position. Espinosa to his knees, Elliott lands a few punches and looking to pass again. Espinosa gives up half guard again to avoid a worse position. More short elbows from Elliott, he gets the forearm on the neck and holds it as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Elliott back to coming forward, runs into a jumping knee. Espinosa fights to get his leg back, looks to swing but Elliott ducks under and gets a takedown into leg drag position. Full guard now for Espinosa. Elliott with some short elbows, Espinosa lands elbows from his back and Elliott is cut open now. Espinosa throws up an armbar attempt but Elliott gets free and passes to side control. Elliott puts himself back into half guard so he has another anchor point to keep Espinosa down. Short elbows from Elliott, now rights and both men swing on the mat to end the fight.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Elliott, 30-26 Elliott overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Tim Elliott via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-27 x2)

Relentless pressure and grappling from Elliott, I’m surprised two judges didn’t give Elliott a 10-8 second at least. Mic time for Elliott, he says he wanted to work his striking more but had to adjust to the head kicks of Espinosa and puts over his coaches for their work. He says he’s not here to cut a promo, just give people their due and puts over James Krause as his head coach and all the time he’s putting into all the fighters at that team. He talks about working his way up through the flyweight heap going forward to close.

That does it for early prelims, we’re on to ESPN for the rest of the prelims.

Rogerio Bontorin has gone 2-1 in the UFC, he’s coming off of that loss though and is trying to avoid his first ever losing streak with a rebound win here. Kai Kara-France looked like he was going to be someone of note in the flyweight division, unfortunately he’s just 1-2 in his last three fights and coming off of a loss. Kara-France is in pretty bad need of a win here if he wants to make good on his obvious potential. This one has bounced around a bit on the odds, but Kara-France closed the favorite at -135 to +115 for Bontorin.

Flyweight Bout: #8 Rogerio Bontorin (16-2 1 NC, 126 lbs.) vs. #8 Kai Kara-France (21-9 1 NC, 125.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Bontorin is an inch taller while Kara-France has two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Some feinting and circling early. Kara-France showing the jab. Inside leg kick from Kara-France, then a right behind it. A few punches from Bontorin are blocked. Right from Bontorin clips Kara-France in close and he’s backing up now. Bontorin gets a clinch and gets a takedown then spins to the back as Kara-France tired to stand. Fully locked in body triangle from Bontorin, and he’s after the choke. Bontorin keeps adjusting but loses the arm under the chin. Some hammer fists from Bontorin trying to open up the choke. Kara-France bases up, but Bontorin keeps the backpack position and is after the choke standing. Kara-France isn’t giving up but falls back to the mat as Bontorin is trying to lock things down. Bontroin keeps adjusting but Kara-France keeps hand fighting and just will not go away. Bontroin tries to transition to an arm triangle, they scramble back up but Bontorin has the backpack position again. Kara-France spins Bontorin around and slips him off then they break. A couple of hard rights from Kara-France land. Another right from Kara-France, then an uppercut and Bontorin face plants and I think we’re done, yeah we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Kai Kara-France via TKO, punches, at 4:55 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Kara-France for his work this evening. Mic time for Kara-France, he says he’s been waiting for a win for a long time and finally got his first finish in the UFC then dedicates the win to his newborn son. He mentions getting caught in bad spots but he had to stay calm and find his way through the positions, puts over his training and coaches and calls what he got a Mark Hunt walkaway. He says he doesn’t get tired, he’s a flyweight and works hard, then again puts over his team and says his team mate Adesanya is going to take over the world tonight. To close he gives love to New Zealand says he’s putting the flyweight division on notice.

A little chaos after the fight, but the shot selection from Kara-France is excellent. Kara-France lands a right, Bontorin ducks down so Kara-France grips the back of his head with his left and slams home an uppercut that face plants him.

Joseph Benavidez is a genuine legend of the sport and is on the short list for best fighter to never win a UFC title. Unfortunately for Benavidez he’s 36, has been fighting since 2006, and is coming off of back to back brutal finish losses to current champion Deiveson Figueiredo. While Benavidez knows his career is winding down he’s certainly not going to just lay down for the rising generation of fighters. Askar Askarov is undefeated and has been making some serious waves in his three UFC appearances. While Askarov has a chance to stake a claim to a title shot with a win he did miss weight here, a first for his entire career but something to keep an eye on. Askarov closed as a slight -135 favorite to +115 for Benavidez.

Flyweight Bout: #3 Askar Askarov (12-0-1, 127 lbs.) vs. #2 Joseph Benavidez (28-7, 125.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Askarov has two inches of height and reach over Benavidez but did miss weight, he’s also eight years younger. They touch gloves, Askarov fighting southpaw. Both men with some kicks, mostly range finding. A few stance switches from Benavidez as he’s moving around. Askarov keeps going to a front kick off of his lead leg to the body, they’re both switching stances now. Right from Askarov lands. Another front kick to the body from Askarov, those are pretty hard kicks. Bit of a left from Benavidez. Benavidez lands a right hook, but takes another front kick to the body. Bit of a right hook from Askarov as Benavidez tried to close distance. Stiff right from Askarov lands flush. Askarov coming forward, still stabbing at the belly with that front kick. Calf kick from Askarov lands. A couple of short rights from Benavidez in close, Askarov lands a straight left. Jabs from Askarov then he clinches and spins to the back with one hook in on the fence. Really nice sequence from Askarov. Benavidez tries to roll through, thinks about a guillotine but loses it and Askarov hits a mat return and lands in side control. Full back mount for Askarov, he’s after the choke but wont finish it before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Askarov

ROUND TWO: Askarov walking forward again. Calf kick from Benavidez. Askarov stabs the body with that kick again. They trade punches in close but Askarov clips Benavidez and hurts him with a right. Benavidez is cut under the left eye. Askarov gets another clinch, quick little body lock takedown into side control. Benavidez to his knees looking to wall walk, Askarov holds the clinch as he does so. Another mat return from Askarov, Benavidez back up again but still clinched. Askarov hits another mat return, jumps to the back and starts fishing for the choke. There’s a body triangle for Askarov and he pulls things back to the mat. Askarov holds the back as Benavidez stands, there’s a knee to the head from Askarov. Askarov drives Benavidez to his hands. Benavidez scrambles but Askarov floats all over him to retain the back on the fence and land punches. Askarov doing work from the ride position and riding Benavidez whenever Benavidez tries to roll. More rights from Askarov as he moves with Benavidez. Benavidez fights to his feet but he eats a flurry of punches including a hard right just before the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: The doctor checked the cut under the eye of Benavidez, he’s good to continue and we’re off for the third round. Askarov stalking forward again, lands that front kick to the body. Head kick from Askarov lands. Another bit of a head kick from Askarov. Askarov lands a right. They trade punches again but Askarov is getting the better of all of this. Benavidez lands a calf kick. Askarov with another front kick to the body. Stiff jab from Askarov. Benavidez lands a body kick. Hard punch from Askarov and a front kick to the body. They clinch up, then break without incident. Spinning back fist from Askarov misses to end the fight.

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

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

No real issues with a 10-8 for Askarov in the second, Askarov hands Benavidez just his second loss in a non-title fight during his entire UFC tenure. No interview for Askarov though.

Song Yadong has yet to taste defeat in the UFC going 4-0-1 in the promotion, Yadong could earn a shot at someone ranked above him if he can get a win and maintain that momentum. Kyler Phillips got a win in his UFC debut to extend his overall winning streak to three, now he’s trying for the biggest win of his career if he can beat the ranked Song. Song is your favorite at -170 to a +145 comeback on Phillips.

Bantamweight Bout: Kyler Phillips (8-1, 136 lbs.) vs. #14 Song Yadong (16-4-1 1 NC, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Phillips has a significant five inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Phillips throwing early but neither man finding the target yet. Bit of an uppercut from Song. Phillips lands a body kick then a right hand follow up. Left from Phillips lands flush, then a head kick but Song just eats it. Spinning back kick from Phillips, he’s forcing the action now while Song looks to recover. Right from Song lands. Phillips lands a calf kick. They trade in close and both men landed. Wheel kick from Song mostly misses. One two from Phillips mostly lands. Song misses a flying knee. Phillips lands a straight right. They clash with rights, both men land and both just eat it. Phillips gets a double leg into the guard of Song. Song hits a technical get up after eating an elbow. Left hook from Phillips lands, Song returns fire with an uppercut. Phillips lands a calf kick, Song returns fire with a punch and they clinch up. They break and Song misses some offense. Spinning back kick from Son lands. Phillips with another combination as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Phillips

ROUND TWO: Phillips jabbing as the round starts. Song pushes forward and lands a right. Phillips with a right then a head kick that’s partially blocked. They trade close, Song lands a left hook. They trade in close again, Phillips keeps landing solid punches but Song just doesn’t care. Phillips catches a kick and tries a takedown that stalls out on the fence. They break with a spinning back kick from Phillips that mostly lands. Some jabs are traded while they’re circling. Leg kick from Phillips lands. Some body work from Phillips, then he misses a hook kick. They clinch up, then break without incident. Phillips lands a right, then off balances the kicking Song with a jab. Song lands a right to the body. Double leg from Phillips, and he’s got Song down into full guard. Elbow from Phillips as he passes to half guard. Song is able to slip out the back and regain his feet at distance. A couple of jabs from Phillips while circling away from Song. Song lands a right, and another one in close. Phillips misses a right and takes a body shot as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Song is coming forward again, bit of a right from Phillips. One two from Phillips. Song lands a right to the body. They trade in close but neither lands flush. Phillips tries a double leg but Song defends this time. A couple of body shots in close from Song, then a left to the head. Phillips lands a leg kick then a body kick. They trade again and Song clearly got the better of that one. They brawl in close again. Phillips lands a left hook. Song avoids a wheel kick. A lot of forward pressure from Song, he knows he needs a finish. Phillips hits an ankle tap takedown and gets on top in half guard. Song scoots to the fence and looks to wall walk. Phillips jumps for his back, Song spins into him though and gets on top in full guard. Phillips rolls for a knee bar attempt as the round closes.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Song, 29-28 Phillips overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Kyler Phillips via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Impressive performance from Phillips, but he needs to work on his third round a bit though a lot of credit goes to Song who took some serious shots and barely flinched. Phillips gets an interview, he mentions being surprised by Song’s resilience especially that head kick in the first, but he used that as motivation and a reminder that he’s aiming at the top so people wont just fall for him. He talks about icing the round a bit in the third, and got to show off his new black belt and he’s coming for the top of the division. He wants to make the best of everything, and encourages everyone out there to do the same.

Dominick Cruz is one of the best bantamweights the sport has ever seen but his career has been hampered by injury related layoffs. Now at 35 and on his first ever losing streak Cruz needs a win if he wants to maintain his status as a relevant force in the division. Casey Kenney has gone 5-1 in the UFC and is on a three fight winning streak, now he’s in a big spot here as a win over Cruz would easily be the biggest of his career and would launch him into the official rankings. This is another fight where the odds have moved a lot but Kenney closed a slight -135 favorite over the +115 payout on Cruz.

Bantamweight Bout: #11 Dominick Cruz (22-3, 136 lbs.) vs. Casey Kenney (16-2-1, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Cruz is an inch taller while these two have the same reach. They touch gloves, both men will switch stances. Cruz tries a double leg, Kenney sprawls and gets a front headlock then they break. Cruz lands an inside leg kick. Kenney misses a left, he’s mostly fighting southpaw. Cruz avoids a few punches. Kenney lands a spinning back kick to the body. Cruz lands a head kick that stuns Kenney. A couple more kicks from Cruz then he misses a left. Inside leg kick then a right from Cruz. Bit of a right from Kenney. Leg kick from Kenney lands. Bit of a calf kick from Cruz. One two from Cruz. Stiff right from Cruz stumbles Kenney. Another inside leg kick to straight right from Cruz. Kenney swings at air and Cruz evades him. Inside leg kick from Kenney, Cruz counters with a right hand. Cruz lands a left uppercut. Body kick from Cruz, Kenney lands an inside leg kick. A few jabs from Cruz, Kenney falls short on counters. Kenney lands an inside leg kick. Cruz with a head kick that’s blocked. Kenney lands a body kick, Cruz returns it. They’ll stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Cruz

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. Kenney misses a left. They trade jabs, then miss hooks. Inside leg kick from Kenney lands, those will add up soon. Cruz lands a right then tries a takedown but Kenney defends. Cruz with a left, then a one two to follow up. A right from Cruz counters an inside leg kick. Kenney lands a bit of a left. Cruz with an inside leg kick. Bit of a body kick from Cruz, Kenney misses a counter. Kenney avoids a few punches, then lands a leg kick. Cruz lands a left at distance. Kenney with a bit of a left. Cruz lands a looping left then avoids a couple of punches. Body shot from Cruz. Cruz lands a straight right. Both men miss power hand punches, then Kenney lands an inside leg kick. Bit of a head kick from Cruz. Clubbing combination from Cruz mostly lands. Cruz feints a takedown and lands a left. Kenney lands another leg kick. Bit of an uppercut from Cruz. Stiff straight right from Cruz lands. Kenney with another inside leg kick but he’s countered with a punch again. Another right to the body from Cruz. Kenney has a head kick blocked, but lands a left in close. Kenney grabs a front headlock, tries to sit for a guillotine but there’s nothing there as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Cruz back to kicking early, he lands a bit of a left hand. They get close, then break with a left from Cruz. Cruz after a double leg on the fence, switches to a single leg and Kenney tries a guillotine but Cruz gets him down and lands on the safe side of the choke attempt. Some knees to the body from Cruz. Cruz takes half guard and starts punching the body and Kenney bails on the choke. Kenney wall walks, Cruz with knees to the body as they break. They trade kicks again, then Cruz lands a right. Another right from Cruz lands. Kenney lands a left. Cruz with another right as Kenney tried to close distance. Kenney lands a right, Cruz counters again. Kenney forces a clinch, Cruz shoves him off. Straight left from Kenney, Cruz with a straight right. They trade, Cruz lands a hard right. Both men swing in close, Cruz with a long combination of punches and Kenney pulls back. These two have fought a bonkers pace. They trade rights, then Cruz avoids some punches. Knee from Cruz to the body. Another knee from Cruz, then a couple of punches. Knee tap from Cruz and he lands on top in half guard. Some punches from Cruz, Kenney gets full guard. Elbow from Cruz, and punches as the round ends.

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

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

Not sure about Kenney getting something other than the second, but I don’t object to Kenney getting the second necessarily. Mic time for Cruz, he says that was closer than he wanted but ultimately got the job done. He jokes that you have to mix things up in mixed martial arts, then mentions how good a pace Kenney kept in the first two before dropping off in the third. Asked what’s next he just wants to stay focused on the task and build plans around that, he’d like to get a charity fight lined up and name drops Monster Energy’s Hans Molenkamp, and says that he’d like to fight for charity.

That wraps up the prelims, onto PPV for the main card.

Thiago Santos had a pretty good run at light heavyweight and got to a title fight with then champion Jon Jones but came up short and suffered serious injuries to both knees in the loss. Santos returned to action in November and lost to Glover Teixeira, now if Santos wants to remain in the title picture he’s in kind of a must win situation as a three fight skid is incredibly difficult to come back from. Aleksandar Rakic has gone 5-1 in the UFC only dropping a closely contested split decision to Volkan Oezdemir. Rakic bested Anthony Smith in his last fight and if he’s able to best another former title challenger here he could make a serious claim to being next in line for a shot at the light heavyweight title. The odds are close but favor Rakic at -175 to +145 for Santos.

Light Heavyweight Bout: #4 Aleksandar Rakic (13-2, 206 lbs.) vs. #2 Thiago Santos (21-8, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Rakic has two inches of height and reach over Santos and is eight years younger. They touch gloves to get us going. Rakic feinting his way close. Santos misses a leg kick. Rakic misses a calf kick, Santos starts throwing in stance switches. A bit of a Rakic punch along the fence. Rakic lands a calf kick. They clash on kicks, then Rakic misses a right. Rakic avoids a body kick and lands a leg kick. Head kick from Rakic is partially blocked. Bit of a body kick from Santos. Another body kick from Santos, Rakic counters with a calf kick then Santos swings a left hook. Rakic lands an inside leg kick. Both men miss blows, Rakic baited an uppercut from Santos then missed a head kick. Jab from Rakic. Bit of a right from Rakic, Santos lands a body kick. Body kick from Rakic, then another one. Santos whiffs on a flying knee to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rakic

ROUND TWO: Rakic coming forward again, he’s getting Santos to the fence rather reliably. Rakic lands a jab. Santos misses a calf kick. Bit of a leg kick from Rakic. Another leg kick from Rakic. Santos blocks a high kick. Santos lands a left to the body. Rakic avoids a blitz attack. Calf kick from Rakic. They clinch up and Rakic gets Santos on the fence. Some body shots go back and forth. Knees to the thigh from Rakic. Some solid body shots from Rakic, and Santos is able to spin free. Santos checks an inside leg kick. Counter one two from Rakic after he avoided some punches. Santos still looks very tight. Rakic with a flying knee into the clinch, where the round will conclude.

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

ROUND THREE: Both men kicking at distance, Rakic keeping busier. Santos lands a body kick. Double leg attempt from Santos, Rakic stuffs that and forces Santos into the fence. Shoulder strikes from Rakic before Santos slips free. Another body kick from Santos, that was a good one. Leg kick from Rakic. Bit of a right from Rakic. Santos lands an inside leg kick. Both men miss punches in close. Rakic tries a takedown, that hits the fence. Santos with some elbows while defending. Some knees are traded. They punch out of the clinch and Rakic tries a head kick that’s partially blocked. Santos misses a wheel kick. Rakic misses a punch, and the fight ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Santos, 29-28 Rakic overall

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

Rather uneventful fight, but the winner was likely to need one more fight anyway with Glover Teixeira’s current streak going on. Mic time for Rakic, he says he felt good and was not going to allow himself to lose and feels bad about not being able to show off the grappling he’s been working so hard on. Rogan asks about the game plan, he says it was to keep distance and score outside of the sledgehammer that is Santos and score with attacks to the leg. He’d like to fight for the belt next, and notes he’s beaten three former title challengers in a row. That’s not technically true as he lost the split decision to Volkan Oezdemir. To close he dedicates the win to a friend of his who passed recently.

Islam Makhachev has gone 7-1 in the UFC and is on a six fight winning streak, he’s hoping to defend his ranking tonight and earn a shot at someone higher up the food chain next. Drew Dober has had a strange UFC run but lately he really seems to have found his footing as he’s 6-1 in his last seven fights and is on a three fight winning streak with all of those coming via finish. If Dober can take out Makhachev he’ll be able to call out someone else ranked above him and could be making some waves in maybe the deepest division in the sport. Makhachev is the favorite at a surprisingly heavy -455 while the +340 payout on Dober might be a tempting value bet.

Lightweight Bout: #15 Drew Dober (23-9 1 NC, 156 lbs.) vs. #14 Islam Makhachev (18-1, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Makhachev is two inches taller but has just half an inch of reach advantage. Both men fighting southpaw. Dober trying to show the jab early. Bit of a leg kick from Dober. Makhachev with a bit of an uppercut. Another leg kick from Dober. Makhachev grabs a single leg, and trips Dober down in open space into half guard. Dober is fighting for full guard but Makhachev is stifling his attempts to get it. A few rights from Makhachev, he’s trying to open up a pass opportunity. Dober is just locking down the guard leg, he seems to be trying to stall. Makhachev with some body shots. Makhachev passes to full mount, nice move. Dober gets half guard back via hip escape but eats some short blows along the way. Makhachev moves to side control this time when he passes. A few punches from Makhachev and he moves towards mount then spins for the back in the scramble and Dober has to shrimp to half guard but Makhachev passes to side control again. Dober tries to base up but Makhachev spins to his back and gets full mount then gets the armbar in transition. Dober is trying to hold on, Makhachev adjusts and cranks the arm but Dober gets free as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Makhachev, wouldn’t object to a 10-8

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. Dober coming forward, eats a bit of a right hook. Knee from Makhachev, he tries a single leg and has to settle for a clinch but he does get Dober into the fence. Easy trip from Makhachev and he’s on top again in full guard. Makhachev is working a pass again, he’s almost going into full mount over a butterfly hook from Dober. Dober tries to wall walk but Makhachev keeps him on his back. Makhachev is pulling at the legs and hips of Dober to keep him on the mat. Makhachev mounts the legs and starts landing punches to the body and head. Dober is able to hip escape towards half guard but he’s still stuck on his back. Full guard for Dober and he closes it. Makhachev content to work body to head punches and set up another passing sequence. Bit of an elbow from Makhachev. Some lefts to the head from Makhachev. Makhachev postures up and lands elbows. The round ends in that spot.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Makhachev but another marginal one, 20-17 Makhachev overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Dober trying to come forward and punch, but runs into a right and a clinch. Makhachev gets a body lock, hits an inside reap and lands on top in the guard of Dober. A few elbows from Dober off of his back, Makhachev is happy to punch him for that. Dober is trying to get a kimura grip, Makhachev has moved to half guard and gets his arm back. Makhachev grabs an arm triangle, he’s on the wrong side, but he gets on his toes and you can see all of his back muscles pop as he squeezes and Dober taps.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Islam Makhachev via Submission, arm triangle choke, at 1:37 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Makhachev for his work this evening. Mic time for Makhachev, he says he’s been training despite the layoff of over a year due to the state of the world and notes he’s had three fights called off. Asked where he thinks he fits in the division, he says he can’t be quiet anymore with a seven fight winning streak he’d happily fight anyone ranked highly who’s free. I think I heard him mention Tony Ferguson, and sign me up. He puts over Dober as a tough opponent with a good punch, so he fought where he was much better and got the win.

Aljamain Sterling has been a top contender at bantamweight for a couple of years now, he’s on a five fight winning streak coming into his first title shot and is looking score the biggest win of his career by taking the UFC bantamweight title. Petr Yan is riding a nice hot streak of 10 consecutive wins with seven of those being in the UFC and the last one netting him the UFC bantamweight title. Yan is going for his first title defense here as he tries to forge his championship legacy. The odds for this one have been very close but closed in favor of Yan at -130 to +110 for Sterling.

Bantamweight Title Bout: (c) Petr Yan (15-1, 135 lbs.) vs. #1 Aljamain Sterling (19-3, 134.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Yan is half an inch taller while Sterling has four inches of reach advantage. Sterling doing some stance switching early, and probing with kicks. Yan is taking his time, getting a feel for things. Body kick from Sterling. Yan lands a right to the body, he’s switching his stance as well. Flying knee from Sterling is partially successful. Leg kick from Sterling, he’s keeping a crazy pace right now. Body shot and body kick from Yan. Yan catches a kick, trips Sterling down and stands over him. A few leg kicks go back and forth then Sterling regains his feet. Another flying knee from Sterling, Yan then defends a takedown attempt. Sterling punches into a double leg, he gets it against the fence. Yan kicks him off and is up in the clinch. Yan nearly has the back standing, he lands a knee to the body. A right from Yan lands and they separate. Yan lands a right that drops Sterling and hurts him. Sterling up and trying to fight back. Another bit of a right from Yan, then a calf kick that sweeps Sterling down and he makes Sterling stand back up. Yan lands a right to the body. They clinch, Sterling tries a leg scissor takedown, he gets it and starts looking for a leg lock. Yan defends, lands some hammer fists and stands free then lets Sterling up. Body kick from Yan then a side kick to the knee. Another clinch, Yan again on the back and hits a mat return then looks to take the back. Sterling counters to get on top looking for a single leg but Yan is up and free. A spinning elbow from Sterling is blocked as the round ends.


ROUND TWO: Sterling trying to get back to activity. Yan avoids a takedown attempt. Body kick from Sterling. Sterling avoids an overhand left. Sterling slips on a kick, Sterling lands punches then stands over Sterling. Leg kicks from Yan to the fallen Sterling before making Sterling stand again. A couple of body shots from Sterling land, he’s after a takedown against the fence again. Yan defends, Sterling winds up on his knees with Yan sprawling away and landing some punches. Sterling is really after this takedown, but Yan is defending and sneaking in damage. Yan gets free and they break. Sterling swinging again, tries another takedown but again Yan is defending on the fence. Yan defending a single leg on the cage, Sterling is trying for this but not finding much. Knee to the head from Yan, then punches and he slips free. Right from Yan lands, Sterling misses a spinning elbow. Sterling lands a body kick, he’s still pressing forward but I wonder if he can keep this pace. Yan gets the back, hits a takedown and works punches from the ride position. Back up, and the round ends with Yan working in the clinch.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Yan but could go either way, 20-18 Yan overall

ROUND THREE: Sterling comes out kicking again. Yan lands an inside leg kick. A few jabs from Sterling. Yan lands a stiff jab. Yan lands a body shot. Left from Yan lands, and he lands a knee when defending a takedown attempt. Sterling has visibly slowed down now. They clinch up, Yan lands a knee to the body and they break. Right from Yan in close lands. Yan lands a body kick, and takes one in return. Yan lands a straight left. Another right from Yan, Sterling digs the body via combination work but he’s fighting in spurts. Yan with a bit of a head kick, then a right. Combination from Yan, then he trips Sterling down and stands over Sterling. Sterling is forced to stand up, Yan lands a one two. Sterling forces a clinch and they hit the fence. Yan fights free easily and lands a high kick. Another clinch, Sterling has Yan on the fence but he’s just kind of hanging out. Yan fights free, then throws Sterling down and kicks his legs before making Sterling stand again. Yan blocks a single leg, lands punches and then kicks the leg again. Right from Yan. A couple of leg kicks from Sterling, Yan lands one of his own. Bit of a right from Yan, then a mat return from the back and he ends the round on top.

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

ROUND FOUR: More kicks from Yan, Sterling gets tripped up and drops to his back. Yan with a few leg kicks, then a knee as Sterling got up lands to the body. Bit of an uppercut from Sterling, Yan responds with a combination of body to head punches. Sterling digs the body a few times, and Yan hits an inside leg kick. They clinch, and Yan lands a couple of rights before they break. Straight left from Yan lands. Yan lands a right hook. Body kick from Yan, he’s really starting to flow now. Sterling forces a clinch and they hit the fence. Again Yan defends, this time he misses a spinning attack on the break. Both men land punches in close, Yan landing more consistent punches. Yan lands a left. Body kick from Yan lands. Yan lands another straight left. Sterling lands a left, Yan cracks him with a right hook. Another straight left from Yan. Knee from Yan, then he defends a takedown attempt. Sterling is getting desperate, and Yan is punishing him. One two from Yan, Sterling just eats it but it landed flush. Sterling has a head kick blocked. Yan grabs a front headlock, lands an illegal knee to the head and oh boy we’ve got a problem. There’s a time out as Sterling was clearly on a knee when that landed. The doctor comes in to check on Sterling as he’s sitting on the mat. Sterling is still down talking to the doctor. He can’t continue, if that was a disqualification win for Sterling he’ll take the belt on that call.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and NEW UFC Bantamweight Champion – Aljamain Sterling via Disqualification (illegal knee) at 4:29 of Round 4

Well that sucks so hard for everyone involved. Sterling is just crying in the ring, he’s not happy about this. Sterling wants to do an interview, that’s inadvisable given the head trauma but here we are. He says this is everything he’s worked for but to have the fight go like that sucks. He felt he was down two rounds, and really didn’t want to win like this but acknowledges he couldn’t continue. He calls this bull shit despite their heat. Apparently Yan’s corner told him Sterling was up, Russian translation there provided by Khabib Nurmagomedov, which just adds another layer of BS to this. Sterling says this was going to be a great fight, the action was non-stop until the illegal blow. To close he apologizes to the fans and wants to give them the fight they deserve.

Sterling is now the first champion in UFC history to win their title via disqualification.

Megan Anderson has gone 3-2 in the UFC but as one of the few legitimate featherweights on the UFC roster her two fight winning streak was enough to secure this fight. Anderson is trying to claim the UFC women’s featherweight title here and pull one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. Amanda Nunes has firmly established herself as the best female fighter the sport has seen, she’s on an eleven fight winning streak dating back to 2015, became the first simultaneous two weight UFC women’s champion, and the first dual champion to defend both titles while holding both of them. Nunes is hoping to extend her already legendary run with a second featherweight title defense here. As for the odds, Nunes is a catastrophically huge favorite at -910 to a +575 comeback on Anderson that likely appeals to the degenerate gamblers out there.

Women’s Featherweight Title Bout: (c) Amanda Nunes (20-4, 145 lbs.) vs. Megan Anderson (11-4, 144.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Anderson is four inches taller and has three inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Bit of a leg kick from Nunes. Both women feinting a bit and looking to get a read on things. Anderson showing some stance switches. Nunes lands a right and a leg kick. Right form Nunes, Anderson is wobbled. Nunes backs Anderson to the fence, Anderson shoots but Nunes defends and unloads from the back. Anderson tries to get a leg, Nunes to the back and starts going for an armbar. Wait, there’s a reverse triangle from Nunes, she switches that to an armbar and forces the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and STILL UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion – Amanda Nunes via Submission, reverse triangle armbar, Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mrs. Nunes for her work this evening. Mic time for Nuens, who is barely even sweating, and she says the fight went exactly as planned. She’s happy to keep defending her belt, because she assumes there are women out there who deserve the opportunity. She jokes that she’s getting older and better as she’s finally finding the right balance, then puts over her coaches for all of their work. Apparently she feels great at featherweight, and feels even more dangerous now that she’s a mom and no one is going to stop her. She plans to retire with both belts, and I’m hard pressed to find anyone I’d pick over her. To close she speaks Portuguese for the people of Brazil then does her own translation where she gives condolences to those suffering from COVID, she wants to go back there and see her family but can’t because of how bad the pandemic is there right now.

Israel Adesanya is the undefeated UFC middleweight champion with two title defenses to his name, he’s among the very best fighters in the sport right now and he’s taking a big chance here by moving up light heavyweight and trying to become the first undefeated dual champion in UFC history. A win here would be a huge one for Adesanya and would likely see his star shoot even higher. Jan Blachowicz has gone 8-1 in his last nine fights, he’s currently on a four fight winning streak with the most recent win scoring the light heavyweight title. Blachowicz is trying to halt the meteoric rise of Adesanya and get his first title defense in arguably the biggest stage he’s been on. The odds are with Adesanya at -250 to a +200 payout for Blachowicz.

Light Heavyweight Title Bout: (c) Jan Blachowicz (27-8, 205 lbs.) vs. Israel Adesanya (20-0, 200.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Adesanya has two inches of height and reach over Blachowicz, he’s also seven years younger. Both men start orthodox, but Adesanya will switch as he feels necessary. Southpaw for Adesanya, he lands an inside leg kick. Adesanya feinting his way forward, just getting a read on Blachowicz. Blachowicz doing a bit of stance switching as well. Calf kick from Adesanya. Blachowicz blocks a high kick. Adesanya avoids a couple of punches. Some jabs coming out now from Adesanya. Body kick from Adesanya. Neither man has really found the rhythm yet. Bit of a high kick from Adesanya. Blachowicz jabs the body. Both men miss power hand punches. Head kick from Blachowicz is blocked. Bit of a left from Adesanya. Adesanya lands an inside leg kick, then a bit of a right. Adesanya jabs the body now. Front kick to the body from Adesanya. Blachowicz is biting on the feints more and more as the round goes on. Adesanya lands an inside leg kick, and avoids some counter punches. Blachowicz avoids a head kick. Another calf kick from Adesanya. Adesanya avoids a front kick to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Adesanya

ROUND TWO: Both men feinting as the round starts. Adesanya lands a right, and avoids a counter. Another front kick from Adesanya, then a jab. Blachowicz lands a bit of a right. More leg kicks from Adesanya. They trade lefts, Blachowicz fires a body kick. Adesanya lands a jab. Blachowicz is starting to jab as well now. Adesanya misses a head kick, then lands a body kick. Blachowicz blocks a high kick, tries a rush but can’t find the target. Adesanya lands a couple of inside leg kicks. They clinch, Adesanya avoids a punch as they break. More leg kicks from Adesanya. Blachowicz jabs the body, but neither man has found a lot of success. Adesanya with a body shot then a left. Low kick from Adesanya strays into the cup of Blachowicz and we’ve got time for him to recover. Blachowicz only takes about 20 seconds then we’re back. Some jabs from both men, then they flurry in close. Adesanya lands a left. Hard inside leg kicks from Adesanya. Blachowicz with a bit of a left. Jab from Adesanya closes the round.

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

ROUND THREE: Bit of a body kick from Blachowicz. Bit of a combination from Blachowicz. Blachowicz lands a left hook. Blitz from Blachowicz, he gets a takedown against the fence and looks for the choke. Adesanya back up and free, then cracks Blachowicz with a left hook. Blachowicz is hurt from that one. Adesanya with a head kick, body shot and a left hook. Left from Adesanya lands. Blachowicz with a bit of a jab. Body kick from Adesanya, then a few punches and Blachowicz get a clinch to try and slow that down. Some punches from Adesanya then he spins free. Calf kick from Adesanya. More leg kicks from Adesanya, then a one two. Bit of a body kick from Blachowicz. They split some jabs. Blachowicz lands a left hook. Adesanya lands a left, Blachowicz gets a clinch. Adesanya spins free. A right from Adesanya is the last meaningful blow of the round.

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

ROUND FOUR: Adesanya throwing combination as the round starts. Blachowicz forces a takedown and they hit the fence. Blachowicz with some body shots, then a right as they break. Adesanya coming forward again, eats a right from Blachowicz. Blachowicz lands a jab, and another one. Calf kick from Adesanya, Blachowicz lands a body kick. They trade in close. Adesanya lands a right, then a combination. Another right from Adesanya, Blachowicz has had enough of that and gets a double leg into full guard. Blachowicz passes to half guard almost easily. A few punches from Blachowicz, he’s just in control mode mostly. Some elbows from Adesanya, Blachowicz lands a few rights. Blachowicz passes to side control. Another right from Blachowicz, Adesanya hip escapes to half guard. Some body to head punches from Blachowicz. A couple of elbows from Blachowicz close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Blachowicz, 39-37 Adesanya overall but we’re probably 2-2 officially

ROUND FIVE: Blachowicz lands an inside leg kick. Adesanya lands a calf kick. Jab from Blachowicz. Adesanya jabs with him. Calf kick from Adesanya, Blachowicz with a couple of counters. Right from Adesanya stuns Blachowicz for a second. Blachowicz lands a jab. Bit of a one two from Adesanya. Spinning back kick to the body from Adesanya lands. Blachowicz with a bit of a right. Double leg from Blachowicz and he’s got Adesanya down into full guard. Blachowicz lands a right. Adesanya tries to move to the fence, but Blachowicz passes to half guard. Blachowicz keeps busy enough to keep the ref out of things. Some body shots from Blachowicz. Adesanya tries to explode, not the proper technique though and Blachowicz resumes squishing him. Blachowicz postures up, moves to mount and flurries for the final couple of seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Blachowicz, 48-47 Adesanya overall but this probably goes to Blachowicz

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and STILL UFC Light Heavyweight Champion – Jan Blachowicz via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-45 x2)

No issues with a 10-8 for Jan in what I assume was the 5th, I’m a little surprised they only gave Adesanya one round but the right guy won overall.

Adesanya with the first interview after the fight, he says the fight didn’t go the way he wanted but he couldn’t sleep last night and drank too much. That’s trolling Paulo Costa, not serious. He doesn’t regret daring to be great, and feels his legs got fatigued and his technique could have been sharper. He calls that a bad day in the gym but one that happened in the office. Rogan asks what he wants next, he says he plans to rule middleweight then thanks everyone.

Blachowicz interview time, he says Adesanya wasn’t as quick as he expected but he hit a lot harder. He says he was the bigger man and figured he could put his ground game to good use and found it later in the fight. He says he wanted to use his jab more but got a little frozen, and game plan is not fight. Asked about how he matches up with Glover Teixeira, he says Teixeira deserves the title fight and he wants to take that fight. He’s happy to be the first one to beat Adesanya in MMA, then puts him over as a great fighter. To close he says he’s the true champion, that was never in doubt, to close.

Alright everyone, that wraps up UFC 259. We saw a squash match, a somewhat lack luster main event, and a featured title fight that ended via disqualification. This is what I get for getting excited for a card. Anyway we’ll unpack all of this action tomorrow on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA podcast. We’ll also look ahead to UFC on ESPN+ 45 when top welterweight contender Leon Edwards finally returns to action and battles surging contender Belal Muhammad. I’ll be back next week for that event, and I hope you will as well. Until next time thanks again for reading, say safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

article topics :

UFC 259, Robert Winfree