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411’s UFC 295 Report: Pereira Stops Prochazka

November 12, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC 295 Image Credit: UFC

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
#1 Jiri Prochazka (204.2 lbs.) vs. #3 Alex Pereira (204 lbs.) – for vacant light heavyweight title
#2 Sergei Pavlovich (259.8 lbs.) vs. #4 Tom Aspinall (261.6 lbs.) – for interim heavyweight title
#5 Jessica Andrade (116 lbs.) vs. #7 Mackenzie Dern (115.6 lbs.)
#14 Matt Frevola (155.6 lbs.) vs. Benoit Saint-Denis (156 lbs.)
Diego Lopes (145.4 lbs.) vs. Pat Sabatini (145.8 lbs.)

Alessandro Costa (125.4 lbs.) vs. #14 Stephen Erceg (125.6 lbs.)
#13 Lupita Godinez (115 lbs.) vs. #10 Tabatha Ricci (115.4 lbs.)
Mateusz Rebecki (155.8 lbs.) vs. Roosevelt Roberts (158 lbs.)*
Viacheslav Borshchev (154.8 lbs.) vs. Nazim Sadykhov (155.6 lbs.)

Jared Gordon (155.6 lbs.) vs. Mark Madsen (155.6 lbs.)
John Castaneda (137.6 lbs.) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (138 lbs.)
Kevin Borjas (125.8 lbs.) vs. Joshua Van (125.8 lbs.)
Dennis Buzukja (145.6 lbs.) vs. Jamall Emmers (147 lbs.)*

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 295, I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening. This event suffered a pretty big setback about two and a half weeks ago when the original main event of Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight title fell through after Jones suffered an injury. As a result the previous co-main event became the main event, former light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka returns after a shoulder injury that forced him to vacate the title and he battles former middleweight champion Alex Pereira for the vacant light heavyweight title. Light heavyweight has been kind of a dumpster fire for a while now between title fights ending in draws, injuries forcing vacancies, and the inability of the division to form any kind of actual hierarchy or real contender line, but if it’s ever going to find some kind of stability and sense of normalcy it really needs a clear win here. Fortunately the fight itself is pretty darn good, Pereira is trying to become a two division champion in MMA while Prochazka is trying to regain the title he never actually lost. Our new co-main event features the backup fighter for our old main event, Sergei Pavlovich, now fighting for the interim heavyweight title against top contender Tom Aspinall. With the real title on Jones and all parties really leaning towards Jones vs. Miocic as the potential last fight for both men in their careers this is two of the best remaining heavyweights fighting for an interim title that has a high likelihood of being promoted to the full title in the pretty near future. The rest of the main card is pretty strong, Jessica Andrade and Mackenzie Dern battle for a potential strawweight title shot, Benoit Saint-Denis vs. Matt Frevola is guaranteed fireworks, and Pat Sabatini vs. Diego Lopes is a well matched fight. On the undercard Mateusz Rebecki tries to continue his very good run, and I’m moderately interested in Viacheslav Borschev vs. Nazim Sadykhov. Honestly it’s a pretty solid card top to bottom but the main card is where the real juice lies, so let’s hope the action lives up to the potential.

UFC 295 comes to the world from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, USA. Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Daniel Cormier will be on the call. We’re in the 30 foot cage, and while I think there is instant replay I don’t think you can restart a fight after it has been used but if that situation comes up I’ll try and update.

Dennis Buzukja had a seven fight winning streak snapped in his UFC debut a few months back, now he’s trying to rebound from that loss, avoid the first losing streak of his career, and get that all important first UFC win under his belt. Jamall Emmers has gone 2-3 in the UFC which is somewhat mitigated by those losses coming to Giga Chikadze, Pat Sabatini, and Jack Jenkins, but what isn’t mitigated for this bout is his weight miss. Emmers is trying to smooth over his weight gaff with a win that also draws his UFC record back to the .500 mark. The odds are with Emmers at -245 to +200 on Buzukja.

Featherweight Bout: Dennis Buzukja (11-3, 145.6 lbs.) vs. Jamall Emmers (19-7, 147 lbs.)*

ROUND ONE: Emmers is an inch taller, has three and a half inches of reach advantage, is eight years older, and of course missed weight. Both men look for kicks early as they get a feel for the fight, and the New York crowd is “woo-ing” already, God help us. Bit of a right form Emmers then a couple of body shots. Buzukja has no feel for the range yet, and Emmers floors him with a right hand then lands enough follow up punches to get the ref to stop the fight.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jamall Emmers via TKO, punches, at :49 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Emmers for his work this evening. Mic time for Emmers, he says this is the result of 20 years of hard work and he’s had a ton of set backs and gets a little emotional. He puts over his striking coach for all of his work.

Well Emmers got the card started with a bang, look at the left shoulder dip here. It’s a feint that looks like he’s loading a left hook then when Buzukja reacts there’s an opening for the straight right which crushes him.

Joshua Van scored a very close split decision win in his UFC debut but now has a six fight winning streak that he’s trying to extend here. Kevin Borjas brings a four fight winning streak into his UFC debut and now tries to capitalize on the only chance he’ll get to make a good first impression. Van is your -245 favorite to +200 on Borjas.

Flyweight Bout: Kevin Borjas (9-1, 125.8 lbs.) vs. Joshua Van (8-1, 125.8 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height, Borjas has three inches of reach advantage though. Both men with some feinting early. Bit of an inside leg kick from Borjas, then Van lands a calf kick. Borjas is looking to get his jab going. Van jabs the body then Borjas lands a leg kick. Another calf kick from Borjas. Van is starting to get his lead hand going, and lands a right to the body as well. Calf kick from Van. Borjas misses a right then has a head kick blocked. Van misses a left hook. Another calf kick from Van. Both men fall short with some punches but they’re starting to get a feel for things. Right hand from Borjas lands after he missed a kick. Van avoids a wheel kick but then Borjas lands a right hand that sits Van down, Van fights up and they trade punches. Borjas with another right hand. Van lands a left hook to try and settle things down. Borjas lands a calf kick. Stiff left from Borjas. Van lands a calf kick. Stiff jab from Borjas. They tie up, and Borjas pushes Van into the fence. The round will end with Van still on the fence.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Borjas

ROUND TWO: Van gets back to forward pressure as he’s still trying to get back on the front foot. Borjas with jabs while he circles, and he avoids a one two. Those jabs from Borjas are keeping Van from getting in close enough to really land. They trade punches then Van lands a body kick. Bit of a knee from Borjas. Van lands a right hand, his forward pressure might be starting to get to Borjas just a bit. Both men land punches in close then Van barely misses a head kick. Van digs the body a couple of times, he eats a jab but seems like he’s happy to make that trade. More body work from Van, every time he’s getting Borjas to the fence he’s starting to hit the body. Both men land punches in close, Van is throwing a higher volume though and it’s troubling Borjas. Van lands a right to the body, Borjas didn’t like that. More body shots from Van, then a right hand to the head. Van to the body again, then a head kick but Borjas lands a left hook as they’re exiting the pocket. Borjas is trying to circle but he can’t slow down Van’s pressure, the fact that Borjas hasn’t gone to the body at all is hurting because that’s a great way to slow down a forward pressure fighter. Bit of a right from Van. Right from Van, but Borjas does land a left hook of his own. Van with another left to the body. The round ends with Van still pushing forward.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Van, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Van comes out jabbing and pressuring forward again. Borjas lands a calf kick. Both men land punches in close, Borjas landed a left hook that looked pretty good. Van digs the body with a left hand, then hits a double leg into half guard. Van drops back for a heel hook, he can’t get it though and they scramble back up. Left hook from Van, then Borjas blocks a double leg. Van lands a right to the body. Combination from Van, but Borjas lands a left to the body. Borjas lands a leg kick but eats a couple of hard body shots. Van is still breaking down the body and his constant pressure is really keeping Borjas from fighting how he wants. Borjas lands a knee to the body. Van to the body again then he lands a left hook. Bit of a right from Van, then another one. More punches from Van. Borjas lands a right hand after missing a knee. Borjas eats a body shot but lands a counter right that staggers Van, he follows up with a knee but winds up clinched and Van hits a takedown into side control. Van goes to a scarf hold, gets a scarf hold arm lock attempt but Borjas sweeps and gets the back. Borjas is too high on the back and Van slides him over the top and gets back on top in full guard. Both men swing strikes on the mat as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Van but could have gone either way, 29-28 Van overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Joshua Van via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

I’m a little surprised there was no split there especially with how close the third wound up being but the right guy won. Mic time for Van, he gives glory to God and sends love to his native Burma. He wanted to get a finish but promises to be better his next time out. He jokes that he’s very good and asks for a post fight bonus, again historically asking for the post fight bonus hasn’t gone well recently.

John Castaneda has gone 3-2 in the UFC and he’s trying to build his second winning streak in the promotion tonight. Kyung Ho Kang has only lost three times in the UFC and is 5-1 in his last six fights while currently riding a two fight winning streak. Kang is trying to make a push up the bantamweight ranks and his second three fight winning streak in the UFC might earn him a shot at some bigger names next. The odds lean towards Castaneda at -125 to +105 for Kang.

Catchweight Bout: John Castaneda (20-6, 137.6 lbs.) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (19-9 1 NC, 138 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Kang is three inches taller with two inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Castaneda at the start but he’s doing a lot of switching. Kang is generally pressuring forward and lands a body kick then a right hand. Body kick from Castaneda, then Kang counters with a left hook. Castaneda lands a calf kick. Right hand from Kang sends Castaneda backwards. Bit of a right from Kang. Castaneda lands a left to the body. Castaneda with a body kick. Kang lands a front kick. Another body kick from Kang then a glancing right hand. Side kick from Castaneda then a left hand behind it. Kang lands a jab. Both men land rights in close, then Kang follows up with another right then a knee to the body. Short left from Kang in close. Left from Kang. Castaneda avoids a left then lands a short right hand. They trade power hand punches. Kang lands a right hand to counter a leg kick, that’ll be the last exchange of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kang but a close one

ROUND TWO: Kang gets back to forward pressure right away. Castaneda with a few kicks as he circles. One two from Kang. Castaneda lands a body kick and tries some follow ups. Kang with a knee to the body. Bit of a right from Castaneda, Kang then lands an inside leg kick. Castaneda lands a right hook then follows up with a left hand. They get close, Castaneda clinches and gets the back standing. Castaneda gets a takedown into guard, Kang pretty quickly looks to wall walk and they reset. Castaneda lands a left to the body then a body kick that strays into the groin so we’ve got a time out. Not a bad one and we’re back to fighting pretty quickly, commentary still not understanding what a low blow is remains frustrating. Castaneda tries a takedown quickly, they hit the fence but Kang defends and lands a knee. Castaneda with a few punches in close then they trade power hand punches. More body work from Castaneda land. Some leg kicks, both inside and outside from Castaneda. Kang lands an inside leg kick then a left hook. Castaneda with a left hand of his own. A few jabs from Kang land. Right hook from Castaneda and he looks to follow up but eats a knee, that’ll pretty much end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Castaneda, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Both men work kicks early. Castaneda lands a left hand. Both men land punches then Castaneda lands a body kick. Left from Kang, Castaneda counters with a right hand. A couple of body shots from Castaneda then a calf kick. Kang lands a right hook in close. Castaneda with another calf kick, those are adding up now. One two from Kang then a right hand behind it. Another right from Kang. Castaneda lands a leg kick. Both men land lefts, then Castaneda lands a couple of straight lefts. Inside leg kick from Castaneda, looks like he’s bleeding around the right eye though. Castaneda lands a right hook then a left hand. Kang lands a left. They trade power hand punches again. Castaneda with a left hand then hits a double leg against the fence. Kang wall walks pretty quickly then lands a knee before they break. Castaneda lands a left hand then a body kick. Kang lands a right then a body kick. Castaneda with a left hand then forces a clinch and gets the back standing. Kang avoids a takedown and they break, then Castaneda shoots again quickly and finishes this takedown into guard. Another wall walk from Kang, they fight over a front headlock position then break apart. Front kick from Castaneda. Bit of a right from Kang, Castaneda lands a left hand. Kang lands a right hand and they trade one last time to close the round.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – John Castaneda via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

No real issue with Castaneda getting the first. Mic time for Castaneda, he’s pretty happy but admits he feels he lost the first round but picked things up in the last two. He knows he’s still got things to work on but is happy to get a win.

Jared Gordon has had a rough go of it lately, first dropping a decision to Paddy Pimblett to close out last year that any sane person thought he won and then having a No Contest with Bobby Green back in April. Gordon is trying to salvage his 2023 by getting at least one win this year. Mark Madsen suffered his first professional loss his last time out and has been out of action for a little over a year, he’s trying to avoid his first losing streak and resume his climb towards the title picture however unlikely that might be. It’s not surprising to see Gordon as the -200 favorite against +165 on Madsen.

Lightweight Bout: Jared Gordon (19-6 1 NC, 155.6 lbs.) vs. Mark Madsen (12-1, 155.6 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gordon is an inch taller while Madsen has four inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men show the lead hand as they circle. Madsen ties up and they trade uppercuts then they break. Gordon lands a right to the body. Another tie up, Madsen with some uppercuts then a knee as they break. A lot of pressure from Madsen, he lands another uppercut in close then knees to the body. Gordon is able to slip free and lands a leg kick. Right hand from Gordon then a front kick. Madsen forces another clinch and resumes landing knees. A few uppercuts go back and forth before Gordon is able to spin free. They trade rights then clinch again and Madsen gets Gordon on the fence. Both men land some punches in close then Madsen lands a knee as they break. Leg kick from Gordon then a right hand behind it. Gordon lands a left hook. Another clinch, Gordon with rights to the body and head before they break. Madsen lands a left hook. Right hand from Madsen. Another tie up and they trade punches and knees before breaking. Gordon lands a right hand. Uppercut from Gordon in close might have bothered Madsen. Gordon has Madsen on the fence now and keeps landing punches then an elbow, and a right hand from Gordon drops Madsen then a few more punches on the mat to prompt the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jared Gordon via TKO, punches, at 4:42 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Gordon for his work this evening. That’s Gordon’s first TKO win since 2017. Mic time for Gordon, he gives glory to God first then gives love to New York and talks about how he used to shoot heroin below MSG but now is knocking people out in the same stadium. He’d like to fight a top opponent next, then gives love to his wife. He knew the clinch would be key given Madsen’s history and puts over his coaches for getting him ready for the heavy clinch fight, then talks us through the finish to close.

Here’s the finish. Gordon just stayed busy in the clinch, an uppercut, a left elbow, then a looping right hand over the shoulder to clip the temple and drop Madsen basically end it. Nice stuff overall from Gordon here.

Nazim Sadykhov is on a nine fight winning streak including being 2-0 in the UFC, he’s hoping to extend both of those streaks here and end his first year in the UFC with another notable win. Vaicheslav Borshchev has gone 2-2 in the UFC but he’s coming off of a win and now looks to build his first UFC winning streak. Close one here, but Sadykhov closed at -150 to +125 for Borschev.

Lightweight Bout: Viacheslav Borshchev (7-3, 154.8 lbs.) vs. Nazim Sadykhov (9-1, 155.6 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Borshchev is an inch taller but the reach is identical. Both men open southpaw, and they touch gloves to get us going. Both men show early kicks, Borshchev is starting to show a few stance switches but is still mostly a southpaw. Bit of a left hand from Sadykhov. Sadykhov catches a kick and lands a knee to the body. Borshchev is trying to get his jab going, and he lands a calf kick. Borshchev jabs the body. Sadykhov lands a body shot. They trade lefts. Bit of a combination from Borshchev. Sadykhov lands a one two. Uppercut from Sadykhov then they both land hooks. Borshchev blocks a takedown and then fires a few punches that are blocked. Body shot from Borshchev. Borshchev has gone orthodox now and lands an inside leg kick. A couple of body shots from Borshchev then another inside leg kick. Sadykhov with a bit of a head kick. Left hand from Sadykhov but Borshchev counters with a combination. Both men land in close again. Borshchev with a body shot. Those leg kicks from Borshchev are really adding up. Sadykhov lands a left hand that sends Borshchev backwards. Borshchev lands a right to the body then a left hand, he’s starting to just pot shot at range. Calf kick from Borshchev. They’ll feint away the last couple of seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Borshchev

ROUND TWO: Borshchev is back to throwing that calf kick and angling with combinations. A right hook from Borshchev lands in close, Sadykhov is starting to switch his stance as well but he’s getting picked apart by Borshchev. Borshchev with a heavy right to the body. Both men land punches in close again. Borshchev lands a calf kick. Sadykhov with a bit of a one two. Borshchev avoids a clinch. Body kick from Borshchev. Sadykhov lands a left that hurts Borshchev, then a head kick that drops him. Sadykhov gets on top and starts unloading with punches and elbows from half guard but Borshchev is able to defend and looks to recover. Borshchev gets to full guard and continues looking to stall. Sadykhov lands an elbow that cuts Borshchev immediately. Sadykhov passes, nearly to full mount but Borshchev scrambles up and into a clinch. A few elbows from Borshchev are blocked before they break. Sadykhov with a one two, then a front kick to the face. Sadykhov with a right hand then a takedown from a clinch. Borshchev tries to tie up a leg but Sadykhov passes to mount. A few punches from Sadykhov but Borshchev gets half guard and continues to survive. Sadykhov with some short elbows as he tries to pass again. Borshchev fights his way up and Sadykhov gets back to clubbing him and wobbles him for the third time. Borshchev fires an elbow that misses as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Sadykhov, 19-18 Sadykhov overall

ROUND THREE: Sadykhov gets right back on pressure and lands a body shot that Borshchev didn’t like. Borshchev with a calf kick. Sadykhov hits a single leg into half guard and looks to pass right away. Some punches from Sadykhov but Borshchev is able to hip escape to full guard. Body to head punches from Sadykhov, Borshchev fights his way up and free though. We get some pocket boxing from both men. Sadykhov lands a knee. Both men land power hand punches. Front kick from Sadykhov. Borshchev lands a body shot, Sadykhov tries a takedown but Borshchev defends then lands a couple of body shots. One two from Borshchev. Sadykhov lands a left hand but Borshchev is landing about three punches for each one Sadykhov lands. Borshchev lands a right hand. One two from Sadykhov. Body shot from Borshchev. Head kick from Sadykhov but Borshchev just eats it. Double leg from Sadykhov into half guard. Sadykhov moves to side control and lands a few elbows. Borshchev rolls to his knees and fights up then free. Body shot from Borshchev then Sadykhov lands a left hook. Borshchev misses a few punches. Sadykhov starts coming forward again and misses a head kick. Right hand from Borshchev. Borshchev with an uppercut then a right to the body. Sadykhov bulls forward and lands a left hand then hits a double leg against the fence. A few lefts from Sadykhov land, then Borshchev wall walks and the round ends.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Majority Draw (29-28, 28-28 x2)

I assume the 29-28 was for Borshchev and didn’t give Sadykhov a 10-8 second, which I don’t agree with at all. Honestly though, the draw is correct. No interview for either man.

Mateusz Rebecki is on an impressive 15 fight winning streak and is 2-0 in the UFC, he’s trying to further cement himself as someone to watch in the division as well as begin the difficult transition from prospect to contender. Roosevelt Roberts took this fight on pretty short notice which likely contributed to his weight miss, but he’s making his return to the UFC for the first time since 2021 and will be trying to get his first UFC win since 2020. Given the late change of opponent it’s not surprising to see Rebecki as the biggest favorite on the card at -750 to a +525 comeback on Roberts.

Lightweight Bout: Mateusz Rebecki (18-1, 155.8 lbs.) vs. Roosevelt Roberts (12-3 1 NC, 158 lbs.)*

ROUND ONE: Roberts has a notable seven inches of height and reach over Rebecki in addition to missing weight because of the short notice. Southpaw for Rebecki, and they touch gloves to get us going. Inside leg kick from Rebecki. Roberts is doing a little stance switching as he backs away. Both men miss punches, they’re still not quite dialed in on each other. Bit of a left from Rebecki then he hits a takedown into full guard. Some body to head punches from Rebecki. Rebecki with a few short elbows as he looks to posture and pass, Roberts tries a sweep but Rebecki blocks it and passes. They scramble back up and Rebecki hits a mat return and gets the back now with both hooks in. A few punches from Rebecki but Roberts is able to spin into him, Rebecki tries an armbar in the transition and he cranks on it and forces the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Mateusz Rebecki via Verbal Submission, armbar, at 3:08 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Rebecki for his work this evening. Mic time for Rebecki he’s really happy with the win and he’s happy to be in MSG as this has been his dream. He asks for an event in Poland, not impossible but kind of a long shot. He talks us through the finish then says he’d like to fight a top 15 opponent next.

This doesn’t show the catch, it took Rebecki a bit to get his left leg across the face of Roberts, but it’s a nice armbar all the same.

Tabatha Ricci is on a four fight winning streak and has never lost at strawweight, she’s looking to defend her top 10 position and possibly be in position to call out some of the bigger names for next year. Luptia Godinez is on a three fight winning streak and if she can extend that to four here it would probably see her crack the top 10 and it could well be her that enters 2024 aiming at the top of the division. Godinez is favored to do just that at 2050 while +170 on Ricci might be a decent little value bet.

Strawweight Bout: #13 Lupita Godinez (11-3, 115 lbs.) vs. #10 Tabatha Ricci (9-1, 115.4 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Godinez is an inch taller but the reach is identical. Some feinting from Ricci early then she lands a leg kick. Godinez misses a left hook. Godinez misses a few punches. Right hand from Ricci lands. They clash and trade punches. Right hand from Godinez. Bit of a right from Ricci then she gets the back standing against the fence. Godinez is able to get chest to chest then out of the clinch and they reset. Bit of a one two from Godinez. A right from Godinez wobbles Ricci, Ricci clinches up to though and stifles the offensive flurry. Some short punches in the clinch from Ricci. Godinez lands a knee then pushes free. Ricci misses a head kick. Bit of a right from Godinez. Godinez blocks a double leg and lands a right hand. They both miss rights then Ricci lands a calf kick. Glancing left from Godinez. They split jabs then Ricci drops Godinez with a left hook but there’s not enough time left for that to develop.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Godinez but Ricci might have stolen it with that late punch

ROUND TWO: Godinez gets back on forward pressure to start the second round. Godinez lands a couple of lefts then a knee. Bit of a right from Ricci. Godinez lands a jab. They trade one twos. Leg kick from Ricci. Godinez with a left hook. They trade lefts again. Another left from Godinez then a superman punch. Ricci lands a right hand, she’s started stance switching to try and find something that works. Leg kick from Ricci. Godinez avoids a takedown attempt and swats Ricci with a right hook. Ricci lands a one two then a high kick partially lands. Godinez blocks a takedown attempt. Right hand from Godinez. Bit of a left hook from Ricci. Godinez keeps walking forward, she eats a few punches then lands a right hand. A right from Ricci drops Godinez, she gets on top in the full guard as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ricci but another close one, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Both women come out punching again, Godinez is pushing forward though. Godinez lands a right hand. Ricci punches into a clinch and starts working knees to the leg. They trade elbows in the clinch then break and Godinez follows up with a left hand. Single leg from Ricci, Godinez defends though and avoids a tie up. They trade some punches again, a lot of rinse and repeat from both women now. Both women land in close. Stiff right from Ricci lands. Godinez lands a right of her own then avoids a leg kick. Left hook from Godinez lands. Both women land in close again. Ricci lands a body kick. Godinez grabs a single leg, that just winds up in a clinch that she then breaks away from. Both women land rights. Bit of a flurry from Ricci. Ricci lands a right hand. They brawl a bit to close out the fight.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Lupita Godinez via split decision (27-30, 29-28 x2)

Wow, 30-27 for Ricci? That’s some Clucky BS right there. Mic time for Godinez despite us being a little short on time, she acknowledges the fight was close but did think she won. She’s happy to have won four fights in 12 months and thanks her team for all of their work, then sucks up to the UFC and crowd with not very good results. Asked about the future she’ll fight whoever as long as they’re ranked above her.

Steve Erceg is on a nine fight winning streak including a successful UFC debut back in June, he’s trying to extend that success here and prove himself a rising force in the flyweight division. Alessandro Costa has gone 1-1 in the UFC but he is coming off of a win and now looks to build his first UFC winning streak. Erceg is your -200 favorite to +165 on Costa.

Flyweight Bout: Alessandro Costa (13-3, 125.4 lbs.) vs. #14 Stephen Erceg (10-1, 125.6 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Erceg is four inches taller with an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. A little feinting from both men, Erceg generally moving forward. Costa misses a leg kick then eats a right hand. Erceg starts showing the jab now. Costa lands a lunging right hand but Erceg doesn’t seem bothered. Right hand then an inside leg kick from Erceg. Costa misses a left hook. One two from Erceg. Costa swings a left hook, mostly blocked. Erceg lands a jab and avoids the counter. Costa lands a right hand in close but misses his follow ups. Erceg jabs again and moves Costa backwards. Right hand from Erceg. Double jab then a right hand from Erceg. Costa falls short with a couple of hooks. Erceg avoids an elbow and lands a knee then a right hand. Again a double jab then a right hand from Erceg. Costa lands a body shot then badly over swings hooks to the head, he’s running out of ideas. Erceg with a jab then an uppercut. Right from Erceg staggers Costa, Costa drops after tying up and Erceg is on top in mount. Punches now from Erceg, Costa gives up the back and Erceg goes for a choke. It’s an awkward position and Erceg can’t finish it but he’s still got mount and lands punches. Costa gives up the back but blocks the second hook from going in and he’s able to scramble up into a clinch. Erceg lands a knee, then avoids a kick to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Erceg, might be 10-8

ROUND TWO: Erceg gets back on forward pressure, the man is methodical and surgical. Costa lands a body shot but eats a left hook for his trouble. One two from Erceg and he avoids a right hook. Erceg with some jabs now, then they clash on rights. Costa might have rattled Erceg, he lands another right hand and starts trying to brawl. Erceg is trying to reset and he lands a jab while trying to settle things back down. A couple of rights from Costa land. Erceg blocks a takedown, then sneaks in a few elbows as they hit the fence in a clinch. Costa is able to hit a trip takedown to get on top along the fence. Erceg starts working from half guard. Costa tries to get the back but Erceg spins and gets on top, they then scramble back up and into a clinch with Erceg on the back. Erceg with some knees to the body then a few rights. Some body shots from Erceg, then knees as well. Costa tries a flying armbar but Erceg pulls his arm out and winds up back in the clinch on the back of Costa. They break and Costa swings hooks in the pocket, one of them lands and Erceg winds up pulling guard. Costa tries a submission but Erceg sweeps him and gets on top in half guard. Erceg with some elbows to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Costa, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Erceg gets back to forward pressure as the last round starts. They wind up clinched on the fence again, Erceg starting to work short punches and knees again. Costa’s clinch game might be a vulnerability that Erceg is exploiting, he’s got good control and is working short blows to the body and head. Erceg with a knee to the body. Bit of an elbow from Costa and they break. Erceg back to working the jab now as he’s got Costa backing up. Takedown from Erceg, Costa bounces up but he’s clinched on the fence again. Erceg back to chipping away with knees and punches before they break. Some more jabs from Erceg. Costa lands a right hand but gets clinched again. Erceg is looking for trips and gets a mat return but Costa bounces up and gets chest to chest again. Short elbow from Erceg. A few knees go back and forth as they jockey for position. Erceg avoids a takedown and forces Costa back to the fence. Some short knees from Erceg land. Erceg grabs a double collar tie and fires a few knees before Costa breaks that position. The round will end in the clinch.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Stephen Erceg via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

No interview for Erceg as we’re short on time.

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

Diego Lopes has gone 1-1 in the UFC, he fought Movsar Evloev on short notice in his UFC debut and gave him a pretty good fight but his last fight when he blitzed through Gavin Tucker was pretty promising and now Lopes tries to get his first UFC winning streak up and running. Pat Sabatini has gone 5-1 in the UFC and if he’s able to improve that to 6-1 here tonight while getting his second UFC winning streak up and running he could be on his way to switching from prospect to contender. Close one here, -120 on Sabatini to and even +100 for Lopes.

Featherweight Bout: Diego Lopes (22-6, 145.4 lbs.) vs. Pat Sabatini (18-4, 145.8 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Lopes is three inches taller with two and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. southpaw for Sabatini but he’ll do a lot of stance switching. Bit of a front kick from Lopes. Both men land rights in close. Sabatini misses a few kicks. Uppercut from Lopes then he avoids a takedown, Sabatini tries to reshoot but gets tossed aside and Lopes cracks him with a right hand. Lopes follows up and Sabatini drops, then Lopes fires some rights to the head that get the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Diego Lopes via KO, punches, at 1:30 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Lopes for his work this evening. Mic time for Lopes and the translator, he feels great and thanks everyone for being part of this particular dream come true. He talks us through the finish and knew he had to get Sabatini after he hurt him, then thanks his coach for all of the work to turn this jiu-jitsu guy into a legitimate striker.

Matt Frevola has cracked the top 15 rankings on the back of a three fight winning streak with all of those wins being first round finishes, if he’s able to extend that streak here could easily set his sights at those ranked above him instead of simply defend his spot. Benoit Saint-Denis has never lost at lightweight and is 4-1 in the UFC while also being on a four fight winning streak, if Saint-Denis can halt the rise of Frevola it could well set him into the top 15 and put a bigger ranked name in his sights for his next fight. Saint-Denis is your -225 favorite to +185 for Frevola.

Lightweight Bout: #14 Matt Frevola (11-3-1, 155.6 lbs.) vs. Benoit Saint-Denis (12-1 1 NC, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Saint-Denis has two inches of height and reach over Frevola. Southpaw for Saint-Denis and they touch gloves to get us going. Bit of a high kick from Saint-Denis. Frevola misses a right hand then eats a jab. Inside leg kick from Saint-Denis, Frevola counters with a left hook. Bit of a body kick from Saint-Denis. Saint-Denis pushes Frevola over, but then tries jumping for a guillotine but loses it. Saint-Denis sweeps Frevola pretty quickly, Frevola rolls through eventually and comes up looking for a double leg which he hits into full guard. Quick scramble from Saint-Denis and they’re up again and Saint-Denis ENDS Frevola with a head kick as they break the clinch.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Benoit Saint-Denis via KO, head kick, at 1:31 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Saint-Denis for his work this evening. Saint-Denis gets an interview after that one, he brings up Veterans Day and notes he and Frevola have both served in the armed forces and that discipline is key and he’s happy to be a good friend and husband. He wants the BMF belt, then he wants a title shot and thinks no one can last three rounds with him and wants to defend the title. He thanks America for saving France in the first and second world wars, and then notes the French helped them win the Revolutionary War. When talking us through the finish he notes the ground game was in his favor just a bit and knew that once Frevola felt that it would create scrambles that would leave openings. Asked specifically about the future he wants to fight Poirier, Gaethje, or Gamrot next. Gaethje is in the crowd and he says he’s a big fan and would love to have a war with him.

Mackenzie Dern has traded wins and losses while going 3-2 in her last five fights but she’s coming off of a win and if she’s able to build a winning streak here the UFC might push her into a title fight next. Jessica Andrade is a former strawweight champion and also contended for the flyweight title back in 2021, unfortunately she’s on a three fight losing streak right now and has been finished in all of those. Andrade is trying to prove she’s still a top contender in the division despite the miles on her body. Dern is your -230 favorite to +190 for Andrade.

Strawweight Bout: #5 Jessica Andrade (24-12, 116 lbs.) vs. #7 Mackenzie Dern (13-3, 115.6 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Dern is two and a half inches taller with an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Dern with some leg kicks early, just range finding. A few jabs from Dern, not really landing she’s just measuring still. Andrade is trying to work her way in closer, they tie up and hit the ground but Andrade scrambles up and pushes away from a front headlock position. Dern keeps trying to work her jab and maintain distance. A few leg kicks go back and forth, not much landing clean though. Andrade lands a leg kick after avoiding a one two. Dern with a combination in close then a knee. Inside leg kick from Andrade. Combination from Dern, but Andrade cracks her with a counter hook and they wind up clinched. Andrade pulls free and then eats a couple of jabs. A couple of calf kicks from Andrade. They trade in close again and Andrade avoids a clinch. More leg kicks from Andrade, she’s starting to find her rhythm now. Bit of jab from Dern. Dern tries a single leg, Andrade defends then breaks from a clinch. Now Andrade starts coming forward and lands punches to drop Dern then she gets on top just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Andrade

ROUND TWO: Dern lands a one two to start the round, Andrade counters with a calf kick. Right hand from Dern, but man her head is straight up when she throws and Andrade is starting to line up her counters. Dern lands a jab. Andrade avoids a clinch then lands a jab. Calf kick from Andrade. Andrade avoids a poor takedown attempt and lands a couple of punches. Dern falls short with some punches. Andrade lands a leg kick. Right hand from Dern lands but Andrade is just eating them she does land. Andrade lands a leg kick, that one hurt. A left hook from Andrade in a clinch drops Dern then she makes her stand back up. Andrade bulls forward and starts swinging punches, Dern’s left leg is pretty much toast too at this point. Dern lands a right hand but gets wild trying to follow up and Andrade cracks her with a punch that drops her and again Andrade makes her stand. Andrade pushes forward again and lands punches, floors Dern against the fence and that prompts the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jessica Andrade via TKO, punches, at 3:15 of Round 2

Mic time for Andrade and the translator after that one, she says this was the strategy and then thanks God for the support during a very tough year for her then thanks her coaches as well. She puts over Dern as a tough opponent who was going to be dangerous the whole time, so she stayed calm and poised to get the finish.

Sergei Pavlovich is on a solid six fight winning streak while being 6-1 in the UFC and all of those wins have come inside of the first round. This represents the first shot Pavlovich has had at UFC gold but if he’s able to claim the interim title he might well become the full champion sooner rather than later. Tom Aspinall took this fight on about two weeks notice, he returned from injury back in July and scored a win but now tries to get a UFC title wrapped around his waist as well as lay claim to being the best heavyweight the UFC has. This one closed at a -110 pick ’em.

Heavyweight Interim Title Bout: #2 Sergei Pavlovich (18-1, 259.8 lbs.) vs. #4 Tom Aspinall (13-3, 261.6 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Aspinall is two inches taller but Pavlovich has a significant six inches of reach advantage. Both men feint a bit early, then Aspinall lands a calf kick. Pavlovich slowly stalks forward, Aspinall is light on his feet as he glides around the cage. Aspinall lands a leg kick but Pavlovich cracks him with a couple of punches to counter, Aspinall didn’t like that. Pavlovich misses a couple of punches but he’s getting closer. Aspinall with a leg kick, then a crushing right hand that drops Pavlovich and a few follow up hammer fists end it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – and New interim UFC heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall via KO, punches, at 1:09 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Aspinall for his work this evening. Mic time for Aspinall, he says if you’re ever scared to do something on short notice you should take the chance because you might do it. He says he’s never been more scared than having to fight Pavlovich but he’s got power and believes in himself and his team, then hands his title to his father. He talks us through the finish and says he struggled with the distance because Pavlovich has that big reach but he got there in the end. To close he wants us to remember everyone who died to make sure they’re here, no matter your country of origin a lot of people made sure you could be here and that deserves remembrance.

As a bit of trivia Aspinall is the first English born UFC champion, Michael Bisping was born in Cyprus and Leon Edwards was born in Jamaica.

Jiri Prochazka has a 13 fight winning streak that dates back to 2015 going on right now, including winning the light heavyweight title back in June of 2022 in just his third UFC fight but unfortunately he had to vacate that title after a shoulder injury. Now back from injury and with that title vacant again Prochazka is trying to reclaim the belt and try to bring a little stability to an almost comically unstable division. Alex Pereira is a former middleweight champion and secured a win in his light heavyweight debut back in July, he’s trying to become a two weight world champion here after already having done so in Glory kickboxing which would be one of the more impressive combat sports achievements. A very close fight according to the odds, but Pereira closed at -125 to +105 on Prochazka.

Light Heavyweight Title Bout: #1 Jiri Prochazka (29-3-1, 204.2 lbs.) vs. #3 Alex Pereira (8-2, 204 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Pereira is an inch taller while Prochazka has an inch of reach advantage. Prochazka starts orthodox but he’s a wild man so who knows how often he’ll switch. Some early leg kicks from Prochazka, he’s aiming at the calf and is more trying to sweep and dislodge than impact just yet. Pereira misses a leg kick. Bit of an uppercut from Prochazka then he tries a right hand but it falls short. Hard calf kick from Pereira drops Prochazka for a second. Another calf kick from Pereira, Prochazka can’t take too many of those. A lot of stance switching from Prochazka, he was doing that before those calf kicks. Pereira lands another calf kick then avoids some punches. Another calf kick from Pereira, Prochazka doesn’t like those at all and I don’t blame him. Prochazka lands a right hand. Pereira lands a leg kick but Prochazka catches a leg and tries a takedown against the fence. Bit of a standing guillotine from Pereira, Prochazka is OK though and lifts then takes Pereira down into half guard. Prochazka gets his head out from the grip of Pereira and looks to land elbows. A few punches land for Prochazka but Pereira’s doing a good job of fighting for arm control and obstructing punching lanes. Prochazka lands a few elbows. Pereira wall walks and eats a knee before they break. Prochazka stalks forward and lands an uppercut as the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Prochazka but a close one

ROUND TWO: Both men feint early in the round. Bit of a left from Prochazka then he lands a calf kick. Bit of a calf kick from Pereira, that left calf of Prochazka is already visibly bruising up. Prochazka lands a right hand. Some front kicks from Prochazka partially land. Jab from Pereira then a body kick and a calf kick. Another calf kick from Pereira lands. Prochazka moves forward again and lands a left hook then a right hand behind it. Pereira is backing up, Prochazka pushes forward and lands a hard right hand. More punches from Prochazka, Pereira fires back but Prochazka is swarming and they clinch up. Elbow from Prochazka before they break, and then Prochazka is back on forward pressure. Pereira lands another calf kick, then another one. Prochazka is gutting through those kicks, that has to suck. They clinch again and Prochazka forces things to the fence. Some knees from Prochazka but he misses on a foot sweep and they break. Pereira looks to stalk forward now, and they trade calf kicks. Prochazka lands a right hand, but in close Pereira cracks him with a left hook that drops him. Pereira gets on top as Prochazka tries to pull him down and some elbows from Pereira are enough to prompt the ref to jump in.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – and NEW UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Alex Pereira via TKO, punches and elbows, at 4:08 of Round 2

I don’t love that stoppage, I can understand it but I don’t love it. Mic time for Pereira and his translator, he’s not surprised at the stoppage and talks us through some of that and he doesn’t feel it was a bad stoppage. He says this means a lot to him and his family. To close he says he’d like to thank Israel Adesanya for motivating him, and says he should come back soon and fight him at light heavyweight for this belt then tells Adesanya to “come to daddy”. Jamahal Hill is here and is technically next, so when asked about that fight Pereira doesn’t care and isn’t even sure Hill will be back on the schedule Pereira would like to keep.

Prochazka gets interviewed as well, he thinks the stoppage was fine but even when he was out he was still fighting because that’s what he does. He plans on working more and being back stronger than ever, and thanks Pereira for the fight and the lessons he’s learned. He definitely plans on being back.

Well on that note UFC 295 comes to a close. Thank you all for reading, be that live or after the fact as I appreciate you all. We’ll be unpacking all the fallout from this event tomorrow on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast plus look ahead to UFC on ESPN+ 90 next Saturday. I’ll be back for that event and I hope you will as well. Until next time thank you again for reading, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC 295, Robert Winfree