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411’s UFC Fight Night Report: Dern Brutalizes Hill

May 20, 2023 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC on ESPN+ 81 Image Credit: UFC

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET)
#8 Mackenzie Dern (115 lbs.) vs. #14 Angela Hill (114.5 lbs.)
Anthony Hernandez (186 lbs.) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (185.5 lbs.)
Emily Ducote (119.5 lbs.) vs. Loopy Godinez (119.5 lbs.) – 120-pound catchweight bout
Joaquin Buckley (170.5 lbs.) vs. Andre Fialho (169.5 lbs.)
Diego Ferreira (154.5 lbs.) vs. Michael Johnson (155 lbs.)

Viacheslav Borshchev (154.5 lbs.) vs. Hayisaer Maheshate (155.5 lbs.)
Vanessa Demopoulos (117.5 lbs.)* vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (115.5 lbs.)
Orion Cosce (172.5 ls.)* vs. Gilbert Urbina (170 lbs.)
Ilir Latifi (249.5 lbs.) vs. Rodrigo Nascimento (264.5 lbs.)
Nick Fiore (154 lbs.) vs. Chase Hooper (156 lbs.)
Victoria Leonardo (124.5 lbs.) vs. Natalia Silva (124.5 lbs.)
Themba Gorimbo (170 lbs.) vs. Takashi Sato (170.5 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 81, I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the event. Tonight the UFC is just keeping the machinery turning, but with a couple of decent fights sprinkled around the card. The main event sees Mackenzie Dern take on Angela Hill, and frankly I’m not terribly optimistic about this one but Dern is running out of chances to prove she’s an elite level MMA fighter and needs to defend her spot against the veteran Hill. The co-main event is an important one as Edmen Shahbazyan tries to climb back towards the official rankings but in his way is the surging Anthony Hernandez who’s looking to earn a shot at ranked opposition with another consecutive win here. Joaquin Buckley makes his UFC welterweight debut against the usually entertaining Andre Fialho, and veterans Diego Ferreira and Michael Johnson square off to determine who gets to retirement a little faster. On the prelims Natalia Silva looks to continue her impressive run, Viacheslav Borshchev tries to get his career back on track against Maheshate, and Chase Hooper looks to prove he’s a more natural fit for the lightweight division. Mostly we’re hoping for better action in practice than on paper.

UFC on ESPN+ 81 comes to the world from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Commentary will be provided by Brendan Fitzgerald and Michael Bisping, a rare two man booth. Also keep in mind we have instant replay in Nevada, and we’re in the smaller 25 foot diameter cage set up.

Takashi Sato has gone 2-4 in the UFC and is on a three fight losing streak, he’s very likely in a must win situation coming into this fight. Themba Gorimbo suffered a loss in his UFC debut back in February, now he’s back in action and trying to avoid his first ever losing streak while getting that critical first UFC win. The odds are close but lean towards Gorimbo at -125 to +105 for Sato.

Welterweight Bout: Themba Gorimbo (10-4, 170 lbs.) vs. Takashi Sato (15-6, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gorimbo is three inches taller with four inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Sato. Pressure from Sato, Gorimbo fires a head kick to try and back him off. They tie up, Gorimbo tries a takedown but Sato is able to defend as they hit the fence. Gorimbo is really after this takedown but settles for a clinch and tries some knees. Whizzer kick from Sato, Gorimbo though and he keeps after the takedown. A few punches from Gorimbo in the clinch land. Sato spins Gorimbo into the fence now and lands a knee to the body. Gorimbo is really after this clinch, he keeps putting Sato back into the fence and trying to switch levels. Sato hits an outside trip and gets on top, Gorimbo walks over the fence and scrambles to the back. Gorimbo is trying to find a choke but Sato is defending well so far. They’ll end the round in that spot.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gorimbo

ROUND TWO: Gorimbo comes out and drops Sato with a right hand. Gorimbo on top and looking to follow up, Sato is working underneath though and stalls him out in half guard. Sato scrambles back up to his knees, then to his feet in another clinch. They trade some knees to the body. Sato keeps going for knees. Gorimbo slips to the back briefly but Sato gets chest to chest and hits a hip throw into the scarf hold position. Sato moves to half guard for control, Gorimbo tries to invert for a heel hook, he winds up getting the back in a scramble but Sato wall walks into a clinch. Some elbows from Sato land, Gorimbo is looking for another takedown against the fence but is struggling to find it. Bit of a knee from Gorimbo. Sato lands a knee to the body then they break. Gorimbo swings a few rights that don’t land then he tries a double leg against the fence. They wind up both sitting against the fence as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Sato lands a left hand, he knows he needs a finish. Gorimbo looks a little unsteady, and given his output who could blame him. They clinch up again on the fence. Gorimbo is able to get a double leg against the fence, he tries for the back but Sato winds up getting him in full guard. Sato tries to wall walk but Gorimbo gets on his back with another body triangle. Gorimbo looks for the choke, but Sato is defending and looking to spin into him. Sato finally spins into Gorimbo and lands elbows but he’s got 20 seconds to finish this. More punches from Sato and elbows along the way but he wont find a finish.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Themba Gorimbo via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Mic time for Gorimbo, he dedicates the win to his coaches, he’s really out of breath as he hopes the lord forgives everyone who doubted him. He claims the fight should have been stopped in the second round, then puts over the UFC brass.

Natalia Silva has an eight fight winning streak going including being 2-0 in the UFC, all that success has seen a degree of hype start building around her and she’s trying to keep that going here with another win that might usher in a step up in class going forward. Victoria Leonardo has gone 1-2 in the UFC but she’s coming off of her first UFC win and now looks to get her UFC record to the .500 mark for the first time. Silva is the biggest favorite on the card at a prohibitive -900 against a +625 payout on Leonardo.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: Victoria Leonardo (9-4, 124.5 lbs.) vs. Natalia Silva (14-5-1, 124.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Leonardo is an inch taller but Silva has an inch of reach advantage. Silva shows some early kicks while circling. Leonardo is pushing forward looking to engage, but she runs into a left hand. A bit of stance switching from Silva now. There’s already a mouse developing around the right cheekbone of Leonardo. Silva lands a one two. Bit of a head kick from Silva, she seems to kick better with her left leg. Left hook from Silva. Silva hurts Leonardo with a left hook, Leonardo shoots but Silva is sprawling away then breaks free and unloads with kicks. Leonardo is bleeding from the nose and possibly mouth. Silva lands a right hand, that locks up Leonardo and she tries a follow up head kick that’s blocked but the body language is enough for the ref to step in.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Natalia Silva via TKO, punches and kicks, at 2:58 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Silva for her work this evening. Mic time for Silva and the translator, she starts with some English and says you can do all things when God is on your side before putting over Leonardo and her journey in life. She wants a post fight bonus, then is just happy to keep getting better and looks forward to her next fight whoever it is.

This was kind of a beating from start to finish, Silva is going to be a problem for this division.

Paul Felder has joined the commentary desk, he’s been dealing with some stomach issues apparently and he looks like he’s lost a lot of weight actually. Anyway he’s here now and we’re to the three man booth.

Chase Hooper has traded wins and losses while going 3-3 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a pretty bad loss but is hoping a move up to lightweight might spell more success going forward. Nick Fiore dropped his UFC debut in January to get his first professional loss, now he’s trying to bounce back and avoid his first ever losing streak. Fiore is the -125 favorite against +105 for Hooper.

Lightweight Bout: Nick Fiore (6-1, 154 lbs.) vs. Chase Hooper (11-3-1, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Hooper is three inches taller with two inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Hooper. Fiore lands a couple of punches. Hooper starts trying for a takedown, they wind up clinched on the fence. Fiore tries a trip, Hooper winds up looking to invert from the back but Fiore spins into him and gets on top. Hooper tries a heel hook, that just results in a scramble back into a clinch. Fiore avoids a trip, smothers a granby roll, and gets on top in side control. Nearly north-south from Fiore, he’s thinking about a reverse triangle choke but can’t find it. Hooper tries to scramble, he’s up and they trade elbows. Hooper lands a blitz and they clinch again. They break and Fiore lands a right hand. Fiore has started switching his stance as they move. Right from Fiore, then another one. Side kick from Hooper. Hooper lands a few lefts in close. Fiore lands a right and they clinch then Fiore forces Hooper down to the mat in side control. Hooper grabs at a crucifix from the bottom, they just wind up on the feet again. Left from Hooper lands. Fiore forces a clinch and they hit the fence. Elbow from Fiore in close then a right hand but Hooper keeps punching. Fiore is covering up along the fence, Hooper keeps throwing punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hooper

ROUND TWO: Quick takedown from Fiore. Hooper tries to use his guard but Fiore passes to side control with relative ease then into full mount. Hooper throws his legs up and ties up in a 50/50 guard looking for a heel hook. Fiore rolls out of the heel hook and comes up on top though still basically in 50/50 guard. Hooper scrambles up and they reset at distance. Fiore looks done. Front kick from Hooper then a couple of elbows in close. Left hand from Hooper and he’s got Fiore back on the fence and is just pouring on the punches. Hooper gets a clinch on the fence then they break with punches. Knee from Hooper then a stepping elbow and they clinch up. Knee from Fiore as they break. Fiore lands an elbow but Hooper just keeps marching him down and firing punches. Bit of a head kick from Hooper. Fiore lands a right but he can’t stop the pressure of Hooper. Hooper with a couple of elbows then a body kick. Fiore lands a hard right but Hooper keeps throwing back and coming forward. Another clinch on the fence, and Fiore counters a takedown attempt and gets on top. Hooper looks to roll for a kneebar but Fiore winds up grabbing a crucifix as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Quick takedown again from Fiore, Hooper tries a triangle choke but Fiore blocks it. Fiore lands a couple of body shots then an elbow. Hooper keeps looking to get his guard working, then kicks Fiore off and regains his feet. Fiore lands a right hand. Hooper lands a kick but Fiore trips him down but can’t get on top. Hooper with a front kick, but walks into a right hook. Single leg from Hooper, but Fiore looks to counter into the ride, he winds up again grabbing at the crucifix position. Hooper is looking to spin and get on top, and does so. Some punches from Hooper as he keeps Fiore pinned on the fence. Fiore stands into a clinch and lands a few rights. Uppercut from Fiore as they break. Hooper with some lefts then a leg kick. Bit of a knee from Fiore. Hooper ducks under a punch and hits a double leg then mounts the legs. Hooper with punches from the ride position now as Fiore looks to wall walk. More punches from Hooper as the round ends.

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

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

I can see a 10-8 in there in the first, Hooper nearly got the stoppage at the end of that round. Mic time for Hooper, he’s too tired to be happy but knew he needed the win in his new weight class and definitely feels better at lightweight than he did at featherweight. Asked about the future he wants a long career in the UFC and puts over his coaches.

Ilir Latifi has been with the UFC since 2013 but has gone 2-1 since returning to heavyweight in 2020, he’s currently on a two fight winning streak and is hoping to get to three in a row tonight. Rodrigo Nascimento has gone 2-1 with 1 No Contest in the UFC, he’s coming off of a win though and is looking to build his first official winning streak in the promotion. Nascimento is your favorite at -175 while a +150 payout on Latifi might be a decent little value bet.

Heavyweight Bout: Ilir Latifi (16-8 1 NC, 249.5 lbs.) vs. Rodrigo Nascimento (9-1 1 NC, 264.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Nascimento is four inches taller with a significant six and a half inches of reach advantage, he’s also 20ish pounds heavier and a full decade younger than Latifi. They touch gloves to get things going. Nascimento starts looking to jab and pressure, Latifi is circling and switching stance. A few punches from Nascimento land in close. Bit of a body shot from Latifi. Nascimento lands a couple of punches in close then stuffs a takedown attempt. Short combination from Nascimento lands, Latifi lands a counter left of his own. Latifi lands a calf kick. Nascimento lands a left in close. Left hook from Nascimento. Latifi lands another calf kick. Short right and a left hook from Nascimento, who’s also started switching his stance. Latifi keeps throwing leg kicks but Nascimento is walking through them. Both men land in close. Front kick from Nascimento. Nascimento lands an uppercut, Latifi lands a left in response. Nascimento pushes close and lands a flurry to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Nascimento

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Nascimento gets back to pressure. Latifi lands a calf kick then a right hand. Nascimento lands an inside leg kick. Bit of a right from Nascimento. Nascimento lands an inside leg kick then a jab. A left hook from Nascimento in close. Nascimento lands a leg kick. Another calf kick from Latifi. Nascimento starts poking with the jab. Single leg from Latifi, he dumps Nascimento over but Nascimento starts working to wall walk. Not much top work from Latifi as he settles more into the full guard. Latifi lands a couple of body shots. The round ends with Latifi on top.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Latifi but could go the other way, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Nascimento gets back on pressure with punches. Some jabs from Nascimento land. Nascimento checks a calf kick then lands an uppercut. They trade lefts, Latifi looks a little wobbled as his right eye is hurt. Nascimento with more punches. Bit of a leg kick from Nascimento. Uppercut from Nascimento lands, Latifi tries a takedown but Nascimento defends as Latifi grabs the shorts. The ref breaks them out of a clinch and warns Latifi about grabbing the shorts. Nascimento with another short uppercut. Latifi tries a single leg, he’s able to transition that to get the back and sags looking for the ride position. Nascimento tries to wall walk, he’s back up but still clinched. A few knees from Nascimento as they fight for position. Latifi is fighting to keep the clinch but he’s not done much before Nascimento slips free. Nascimento lands a right hand. Both men get close and land punches as the round ends.

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

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

Giving Latifi the third seems quite wrong, dude got hurt visibly early on. Anyway that fight sucked, and there’s no interview for the winner.

Orion Cosce missed weight for this fight, never a good thing, and has gone 1-1 in the UFC. Cosce won his last fight and is hoping a win here will help smooth over the weight gaff. Gilbert Urbina dropped his UFC debut back in August of 2021, now finally back in action he’s trying to get that all important first UFC win under his belt. The odds here closed at a -110 pick ’em.

Welterweight Bout: Orion Cosce (8-1, 172.5 ls.)* vs. Gilbert Urbina (6-2, 170 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Urbina has a notable four inches of height and reach advantage, plus Cosce missed weight. Southpaw for Cosce, he slips on a punch and Urbina cracks him with a couple of rights. Some stance switching from Urbina now, he grabs a clinch and fires off knees. Cosce starts switching his stance now as well. Front kick from Urbina, he’s looking to tax the body after that weight cut issue. Left hook from Cosce lands. Urbina grabs a clinch and lands knees and elbows in close then hits a takedown into half guard. Punches from Urbina land then a knee before he hits a mat return. Cosce tries to roll and Urbina winds up getting full mount. Urbina lands some more punches and elbows. Cosce scrambles to half guard but Urbina is all over him. Urbina moves to side control then back to full mount. More punches from Urbina, he’s breaking Cosce down. Urbina grabs an arm triangle choke, he’s a little high and still in mount which allows Cosce to defend the choke. More punches from Urbina then he gets the back and lands more punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Urbina but a marginal one

ROUND TWO: Urbina gets back to front kicking. Cosce avoids a few punches. Bit of a body shot from Urbina then a calf kick. Cosce had mentioned between rounds that he’s having a rib issue, not sure what kind specifically but that’s got to be miserable. Urbina lands a left hand. Jab from Urbina then a front kick. Another front kick from Urbina, Cosce didn’t like that, he’s hurt to the body. Urbina keeps showing the body work as he’s got Cosce along the fence. A front kick from Urbina locks up Cosce, then a couple of knees to the head prompt the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Gilbert Urbina via TKO, front kick to the body and knees, at 2:55 of Round 2

Heck of a return from Urbina, who does get an interview. He thinks he can do better than he did here and warns whoever is next he’s getting them out of there in the first round, then thanks his family and coaches. Next he offers for anyone in the audience to come out back with him and enjoy some of the devil’s lettuce.

Here’s the finish. Urbina had been stabbing in these front kicks pretty much all fight, and a lot of his ground and pound in the first was elbows to the body. It pays off here as Cosce’s rib injury just wont allow him to continue.

Karolina Kowalkiewicz broke a five fight losing streak last year and now finds herself on a two fight winning streak, if the longtime veteran wants to earn another crack at the top of the division she needs to extend that winning streak tonight. Vanessa Demopoulos is on a three fight winning streak, but she missed weight for this fight and needs a win here to help smooth that over as well as proving she’s worthy of the step up in class this fight represents. Kowalkiewicz is your favorite at -130 to +110 for Demopoulos.

Strawweight Bout: Vanessa Demopoulos (9-4, 117.5 lbs.)* vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (14-7, 115.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Kowalkiewicz is an inch taller with four and a half inches of reach advantage, plus Demopoulos missed weight. Kowalkiewicz presses forward right away. Demopoulos fires some leg kicks and a body kick then they trade punches. Kowalkiewicz lands a couple of rights. Demopoulos lands a right hand in close. Kowalkiewicz is coming forward and lands a couple of punches. Some jabs from Kowalkiewicz, then Demopoulos tries a double leg but Kowalkiewicz defends and lands a left hook. Demopoulos pushes forward looking to brawl now. Uppercut from Demopoulos. Kowalkiewicz lands a right hand. Another right from Kowalkiewicz lands. Demopoulos lands a right but she’s struggling to follow up. Kowalkiewicz lands a right, Demopoulos lands a left of her own. Demopoulos lands a body kick. They tie up and Kowalkiewicz forces things to the fence. Elbow from Kowalkiewicz then a right hand as they break. Another right from Kowalkiewicz lands. Both women land in close. Demopoulos lands a right in close. Kowalkiewicz fires a few more punches. Leg kick from Demopoulos, but Kowalkiewicz counters with a couple of punches. They just feint away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kowalkiewicz

ROUND TWO: Kowalkiewicz gets back to pressuring right away. Leg kick from Demopoulos. Kowalkiewicz lands a couple of rights. Stiff jab from Kowalkiewicz. One two from Kowalkiewicz. Demopoulos swings a right, partially successful. Kowalkiewicz avoids a takedown attempt, that was poorly set up. Demopoulos misses a head kick. Kowalkiewicz lands a one two. Bit of a combination from Kowalkiewicz. They trade inside leg kicks. Kowalkiewicz lands a couple of rights. Both women miss punches in close. Kowalkiewicz lands a right hand to counter a high kick. They clash on a one two combination. Kowalkiewicz is keeping a good pace on her offense. Demopoulos lands a right to the body. They trade rights. Another exchange of rights, Kowalkiewicz is getting the better of them though. Both women land in close as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Demopoulos misses a cartwheel kick, then pulls guard on Kowalkiewicz. Kowalkiewicz passes to half guard. Side control now for Kowalkiewicz, Demopoulos rolls to her knees and recaptures half guard. Demopoulos is trying to invert and attack a leg, she’s got a heel hook attack going but Kowalkiewicz pulls free and resets on the feet. Kowalkiewicz lands a right hand, then eats a counter left. Kowalkiewicz lands a few jabs. Uppercut from Kowalkiewicz. They split a few jabs. Kowalkiewicz lands a right hand. Demopoulos misses a left hook. Bit of a short right from Kowalkiewicz in close. The jab from Kowalkiewicz is working well now, Demopoulos is bleeding from the nose. Kowalkiewicz just keeps poking with the long range punches while Demopoulos falls short with most of her offense. Demopoulos off balances Kowalkiewicz but can’t follow up, though she does land another right hand. Kowalkiewicz lands more jabs, then eats a right hand. A final exchange of rights close the round.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Karolina Kowalkiewicz via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Mic time for Kowalkiewicz, she was very well prepared for this fight. When asked who she’d like next she has to consult with her coaches on that one but would like to fight again around the end of September.

Hayisaer Maheshate has gone 1-1 in the UFC but he’s coming off of a loss and now tries to avoid his first ever losing streak. Viacheslav Borshchev is 1-2 in the UFC but he’s on a two fight losing streak, now he’s trying to claw his UFC record back to the .500 mark and start showing the kind of improvement necessary to justify his spot on the roster. The odds are with Borshchev at -170 to a +145 payout on Maheshate.

Lightweight Bout: Viacheslav Borshchev (6-3, 154.5 lbs.) vs. Hayisaer Maheshate (9-2, 155.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Maheshate is an inch taller, has two and a half inches of reach advantage, and is 8 years younger. Maheshate lands a one tow. Borshchev keeps pressuring forward and lands a couple of jabs. Inside leg kick from Borshchev. Both men land punches in close. Calf kick from Borshchev, then another one. Maheshate misses a takedown attempt. Borshchev lands a left to the body, then a hard inside leg kick to follow up. Maheshate fires a head kick that’s partially blocked. Bit of an uppercut from Maheshate but Borshchev counters with a couple of punches. More jabs from Borshchev then a front kick. Borshchev with a left to the body then a leg kick. Bit of a body kick from Borshchev then a left to the body as well, those are adding up already. Maheshate lands a right hand in close. We get a time out as Borshchev took a finger to the eyes. There’s some blood around the left eye of Borshchev, so that wasn’t pleasant. The doctor is in to check on Borshchev, he says he can see but the doctor is checking for where the cut is. Apparently the cut is small and on the eyelid just under the brow, so it’s not bad but that’s not a great spot. We’re back to fighting as Borshchev wants to continue. Borshchev lands a couple of body kicks. Maheshate lands a right hand, Borshchev is still struggling with that left eye. Borshchev lands a jab. A right hand from Maheshate lands, Borshchev counters with a left hook. Calf kick from Borshchev. Maheshate lands a right hand and they tie up, then Borshchev drops Maheshate with a right hand and unloads but Mahesahte is up and avoids him as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Borshchev

ROUND TWO: Borshchev lands a body kick to start the round. Maheshate fires a head kick that’s partially blocked. There are some cuts around the mouth of Maheshate, he tries a takedown but Borshchev defends. Some leg kicks from Borshchev. Borshchev keeps working that left body kick, he’s got something of a read on Maheshate softening to the body. A right from Borshchev staggers Maheshate, he backs him to the fence but doesn’t unload. Maheshate isn’t as hurt as he appeared, he fires back and is able to circle off the fence. They tie up and Borshchev lands a knee then they trade rights. A hard left hook then a right hand from Borshchev FLOORS Maheshate and this time he’s able to follow up on the mat and force the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Viacheslav Borshchev via TKO, punches, at 2:37 of Round 2

Mic time for Borshchev he’s been working his wrestling very hard and knows MMA is no joke, thinking it’s the hardest there is, and he wants a new contract. Asked about the eye issue he still can’t see anything out of that eye but he was fully prepared and would have taken him out even if both eyes got poked. He talks us through the finish to close.

Here’s the finish. Borshchev slips closer into punching range and throws a left hook that sets up the finish as Maheshate tries to throw a counter that’s cued to the left but in this case it just opens him up to the follow up right from Borshchev that crushes him.

That’s it for the prelims, though we’re still on ESPN+ for the main card, which has a title card “In Memory of Jim Brown” the athletic great who passed earlier this week.

Carlos Diego Ferreira has been out of action since December of 2021, he’s also on a three fight losing streak and at the age of 38 one has to imagine a win is absolutely crucial for his career prospects going forward. Michael Johnson has been with the UFC since way back in 2010, he’s gone 2-5 in his last seven fights but he is coming off of a win and could get his first winning streak since 2018 tonight. Ferreira is a slight -150 favorite while a Johnson win would payout at +130.

Lightweight Bout: Diego Ferreira (17-5, 154.5 lbs.) vs. Michael Johnson (21-18, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Johnson is an inch taller while Ferreira has half an inch of reach advantage. Southpaw for Johnson. Both men probe with some punches early. Ferreira lands a leg kick. Bit of a body kick from Ferreira. Bit of a left from Johnson. Johnson lands a couple of punches in close. Ferreira lands a bit of a head kick. Bit of a right from Ferreira. Johnson lands a left to the body then avoids a double leg. They trade power hand punches. Body kick from Ferreira but Johnson lands a counter right. Ferreira lands an inside leg kick. Johnson lands a left hand. Both men land power hand punches. Johnson lands a left to the body. Inside leg kick from Ferreira then they trade punches. Ferreira lands a body kick, then a jab to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Johnson

ROUND TWO: Both men get back on the same stuff, Ferreira looking to take an outside angle while Johnson is trying to time his entries. Johnson lands a body kick. Bit of a head kick from Ferreira. Ferreira tries a single leg but Johnson is able to defend. Body kick from Ferreira. An overhand right from Ferreira SLEEPS Johnson who falls stiff as a board!

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Diego Ferreira via KO, punch, at 1:50 of Round 2

Mic time for Ferreira after that one, he thanks God and his team then apologizes for landing a follow up hammer fist after the punch before saying he knew the right hand would be open if he listened to his coach. He puts over Johnson and especially his takedown defense. He’s very happy with the win, he knew he was on a losing streak but he’s put more faith in his coaches now and listening them has made him a better fighter.

This one will be hard to beat for a bonus, this is a scary knockout. Ferreira steps to outside foot position and Johnson mistimes his defense, he might actually be thinking about a kick as Ferreira had showed a lot of those. Either way his back hand goes to parry low and he misses the defense leaving a clear punching lane open for Ferreira.

Andre Fialho made his UFC debut last year and has gone 2-3 in the UFC, he’s on a two fight skid though and needs a win pretty badly here if he wants to set his career back on a positive track. Joaquin Buckley is on a two fight losing streak currently, and has decided to cut down to welterweight for the first time since 2018 in hopes of reviving his UFC run. The odds are with Buckley at -210 while Fialho’s +180 might tempt a few bettors out there.

Welterweight Bout: Joaquin Buckley (15-6, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Andre Fialho (16-6 1 NC, 169.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Fialho is two inches taller while Buckley has two inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Buckley. Buckley shows the jab early. Fialho blocks a high kick. Buckley misses a combination. Inside leg kick from Buckley. Fialho lands a body kick. Bit of a right from Buckley. Fialho avoids a spinning back kick. Again Buckley misses a combination. Neither man has a great feel for the fight yet. Fialho lands a right hand. Body kick from Fialho, that nearly hit the head as Buckley was dipping down. Fialho lands a right hand. Left hook from Fialho, he might have a read on Buckley at this point. Buckley ducks a right hand and hits a double leg but Fialho bounces up and separates immediately. Another body kick from Fialho. They trade lefts, then Buckley hits another double leg but Fialho fights up into a clinch. Fialho quickly spins Buckley and lands body shots in the clinch as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Fialho

ROUND TWO: Fialho lands a left hook then fires a body kick but that goes low and we get a time out. Buckley only takes 25 seconds then we’re back to fighting. A right hand from Fialho seems to bother Buckley. Left hook from Fialho as he avoids a rush from Buckley. Buckley tends to keep his head straight up when he blitzes and Fialho is starting to counter him off of that. A left from Buckley lands flush. Body kick from Fialho. Both men land lefts again, Buckley landed better. Buckley misses a couple of hooks. Fialho lands a right hand. Both men land punches in close. Double jab then a right from Fialho lands, and a body kick to follow up. Spinning back kick from Buckley. A head kick from Buckley drops Fialho and that’ll end things.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Joaquin Buckley via TKO, head kick, at 4:15 of Round 2

Mic time for Buckley, he says everybody knows him and how he comes to fight every time. He thinks he’s going to win the title now that he’s at welterweight. He says he wasn’t hurt in the first but did get hit, but he feels his conditioning is good and no one can take him at this weight class. To close demands that Logan Paul sponsor a fighter instead of just the UFC, I mean I appreciate the sentiment but he wont because he’s already on the UFC broadcast and that’s pretty much all the value fighters bring.

You’ve always got to watch the high kick in open stance fights, Fialho seems to think Buckley is coming in with his hands and closing more distance, hence the left hook he fires. But instead Buckley throws the head kick and finds the opening in Fialho’s defense to put him down.

Emily Ducote just had a four fight winning streak snapped, now with a UFC record of 1-1 she’s trying to bounce back and get back on the winning side of things. Lupita Godinez took this fight on short notice, hence the catchweight, but she’s 3-1 in her last four fights, is coming off of a win, and could build her second UFC winning streak here. Godinez is a slight -145 favorite to Ducote’s +125.

Catchweight Bout: Emily Ducote (12-7, 119.5 lbs.) vs. Loopy Godinez (9-3, 119.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Ducote has two inches of reach advantage. Ducote shows the jab early. Bit of a leg kick from Ducote. Godinez lands a left hook. Another left from Godinez, she’s dipping her head and swinging punches if Ducote can time an uppercut. Godinez lands a right hand. Ducote avoids a takedown. Ducote lands a left to the body. Godinez with a left hook then a right hand. Inside leg kick from Godinez. Godinez lands another left hand. Ducote lands a left to the body. Both women land in close. Ducote lands to the body again. They trade leg kicks. Both women land in close again, Godinez is getting the better of these exchanges generally. They trade rights. Ducote eats a right hand but tries a takedown that settles into a clinch on the fence. Elbow from Ducote in close, and Godinez returns it before slipping free. Front kick and a right from Ducote, that’ll be the last relevant exchange of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Godinez

ROUND TWO: Ducote lands an inside leg kick. Godinez lands a right hand. Bit of a head kick from Ducote. Godinez lands a left hand then a right. Left hook then a leg kick from Godinez. Ducote’s face is kind of a mess, she tries a takedown but Godinez defends and lands a couple of knees from a front headlock before Ducote gets free. Godinez lands an inside leg kick. Left hook from Godinez, she’s starting to really piece up Ducote. Uppercut from Ducote. Godinez lands a right hand in close. One two from Ducote lands. Front kick and a right hand from Ducote, Godinez counters with a left hook. One two from Godinez. Ducote lands a front kick then a left to the body. Right then a left from Ducote. Bit of a head kick from Godinez. Godinez tries a takedown, she can’t finish it though. Ducote lands an elbow in close. A couple of rights from Ducote then a high kick end the round.

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

ROUND THREE: Ducote gets right after things again, she’s trying to push a pace on the short notice replacement fighter. Godinez lands a body kick but eats a left hook. Right hand from Godinez. They trade in close again. Ducote lands a right hand. They trade leg kicks, then split jabs. Godinez lands a one two then eats a leg kick. Again they trade in close, Godinez is still edging out these exchanges. Ducote lands an uppercut and a left hook. Godinez lands a couple of left hooks. They clash on punches a few times. Ducote lands a right to the body. Both women miss punches. Again Ducote lands an uppercut. Godinez lands a couple of left hooks. Right hand from Ducote lands. Godinez lands a left hand, then a one two. Ducote tries a takedown, Godinez is able to use a whizzer counter though and they just fight back up to the feet. Right hand from Ducote. Godinez avoids a double leg and lands a knee but eats a couple of counter punches. They trade rights. Ducote lands a front kick. Godinez hits a double leg with 10 seconds left and they’ll end the round on the mat with Ducote trying to set up an armbar.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Godinez but another competitive round, 30-27 Godinez overall

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

Mic time for Godinez, she feels pretty good and would like to be on an upcoming September card. When asked if there’s any opponent for that date she doesn’t care, just wants on that card. She brings up taking this on short notice and puts over Ducote.

Edmen Shahbazyan just broke a three fight losing streak when he bested the over-matched Dalcha Lungiambula, now Shahbazyan is trying to build his first winning streak since 2019 and prove he’s not a busted prospect. Anthony Hernandez is on a three fight winning streak and is looking to earn a shot at some ranked opposition of if he can extend that to four in a row here. The odds are with Hernandez at -190 while Shahbazyan’s underdog status sits at +160.

Middleweight Bout: Anthony Hernandez (10-2 1 NC, 186 lbs.) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (12-3, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Shahbazyan is two inches taller but the reach is identical. Hernandez avoids a few jabs early. Bit of a jab from Hernandez. Shahbazyan lands a stiff jab and ties up. Knee from Shahbazyan then an elbow and a left as they break. Hernandez lands a calf kick but misses a takedown attempt. Another jab from Shahbazyan. One two from Shahbazyan. Hernandez lands a jab of his own but Shahbazyan’s hands are fast tonight. Double leg from Hernandez stalls on the fence, he lands an elbow then trips Shahbazyan down and grabs a guillotine as Shahbazyan reverses position. Shahbazyan gets his head free and they fight up to the feet. Left hook then a right hand from Hernandez then he tries a single leg against the fence. Shahbazyan is trying to get free but Hernandez is working in the clinch now. Hernandez switches for a single leg, he’s nearly got it but can’t quite finish. Knee from Shahbazyan but Hernandez lands an elbow that cuts him. Hernandez tries another takedown, Shahbazyan grabs a standing guillotine though and Hernandez has to drop to his back to release the pressure. Full mount for Shahbazyan, he tries an armbar but Hernandez escapes and moves to the ride position. Shahbazyan fights up but Hernandez rides him down and lands punches from the ride. Hernandez uses a cradle to drag Shahbazyan down and lands elbows. Shahbazyan fights up but Hernandez cracks him with an elbow and a right hand then hits another takedown. Hernandez is on the back, he grabs at a choke but has no hooks. They fight up to the feet and Hernandez lands a couple of knees to the head as the round ends.

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

ROUND TWO: Hernandez lands a calf kick then tries a takedown that hits the fence. Hernandez does ride down Shahbazyan and looks for the seated arm triangle choke. Shahbazyan fights to his knees, Hernandez uses a cradle to control him before Shahbazyan gets free and they reset. Hernandez lands a jab. Shahbazyan is fading visibly. Hernandez lands a cracking elbow and backs Shahbazyan to the fence. They tie up and work from there, Shahbazyan lands a knee. Hernandez blocks a takedown and counters into the ride again. Hernandez mounts the legs of Shahbazyan and lands elbows and punches as Shahbazyan moves to his knees. Shahbazyan fights up again but Hernandez takes him back down and is just wearing him out. Knee from Hernandez as he’s just working Shahbazyan over. More ride work from Hernandez, he forces Shahbazyan down and starts landing some rights before grabbing a mounted guillotine. Hernandez has to adjust, switches to an anaconda choke but Shahbazyan keeps scrambling and gets out of it but he’s still on his knees. Knees to the body from Hernandez then he moves to back mount. More punches from Hernandez, he’s still trying that seated arm triangle and is using strikes to set it up. Hernandez just takes the back now and lands more elbows. Shahbazyan is trying to move and gets to full guard but Hernandez is beating him up still. Hernandez postures up and lands elbows then passes to half guard. More elbows from Hernandez close out the round.

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

ROUND THREE: Shahbazyan is very flat on his feet, he’s tough but I’m not sure what he can do here. Hernandez catches a body kick and hits a takedown into half guard. Punches and elbows from Hernandez along the fence, this is getting nasty. Shahbazyan is bleeding again as Hernandez moves to the back. More elbows from Hernandez from back mount and that’ll prompt the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Anthony Hernandez via TKO, elbows, at 1:01 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Hernandez for his work this evening. Mic time for Hernandez, he puts over his coaches for all of their work. He acknowledges he got hit a few times but feels that just kick started him and woke him up. He talks about his prep and puts over his coaches again. When talking us through the finish he threw a kick hoping it would work out and Shahbazyan would try to get it back leading to him being able to wrestle.

Hernandez had to weather an early storm, but he just outlasted and wore down Shahbazyan. This is a good mercy style stoppage.

Mackenzie Dern has traded wins and losses while going 2-2 in her last four fights, she’s coming off of a loss to Yan Xiaonan and is trying to avoid her first ever losing streak. Angela Hill has gone 2-3 in her last five fights but she’s on a two fight winning streak, a win here would easily be the biggest of her career and at 38 time is running down on her to make a legitimate run at the top of the division. Dern closed as the -155 favorite to Hill’s +135.

Strawweight Bout: #8 Mackenzie Dern (12-3, 115 lbs.) vs. #14 Angela Hill (15-12, 114.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Dern is an inch taller while Hill has an inch and a half of reach advantage, Hill is also 8 years older. Dern comes out punching and lands an uppercut. Hill ties up, Dern lands a knee and they hit the fence. Some knees from Dern land. Some knees go back and forth as they jockey for position. Hill pulls away and they reset. Bit of a right from Dern. They trade punches and Dern unloads with punches then hits a judo throw but winds up on bottom as there’s too much force, that allows Hill to pull free and reset on the feet. Hill lands a jab, then Dern sits her down with a right hand and jumps on top. Dern into side control and she’s looking for the back as Hill rolls to a hip. Full mount for Dern, Hill uses the cage to help shrimp to half guard. Dern is trying to set up an arm triangle, the fence is complicating things as is the half guard of Hill. Yeah Dern bails on that choke and looks to pass to full mount, Hill fights that off and Dern grabs at a leg. Kneebar attack from Dern, that’s mostly an attack to set up a transition back to side control. Full mount for Dern, 40 seconds left in the round. Punches from Dern then some elbows as well. Armbar attack from Dern, she gets to spiderweb control with it, she’s trying to extend but Hill is able to hang on and see the round out.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Dern

ROUND TWO: Hill tries to reset, Dern lands a right hand. Left hook from Hill. Dern lands a front kick then they trade punches and tie up. Hill pulls free. Front kick from Dern then they both miss rights. Bit of a right from Dern, they clinch and Hill gets the back standing. Hill with some knees as she’s looking to control from the back clinch. Dern eats a knee to the head. They trade a few more knees as things settle into a normal clinch. Elbows are traded and they break. Blitz from Dern mostly misses. Dern lands a leg kick and they clinch again. Some lefts from Hill in the clinch then a knee to the body. Dern fires a few knees of her own. They break and reset. Hill misses a right. They trade punches. Dern pushes forward, they clinch up and trade knees to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Hill, 19-18 Dern overall

ROUND THREE: Front kick from Dern then she lands a right hand. Hill trips Dern off of a kick and jumps into her guard. Dern grabs a triangle choke attack, it’s not close yet but the threat is there. Hill pulls out of an armbar attack and stands free. Hard knee from Dern wobbles Hill, she hits a hip throw but winds up on bottom again. Dern fights up on a single leg and they clinch on the fence. Dern forces Hill down and moves to full mount against the fence. Hill still looks a little out of it, Dern is landing punches and elbows now. Dern moves to the ride as Hill uses the fence to bridge and try to move. Some more lefts from Dern as she moves to mount the hips again. More punches from Dern, she’s in full mount again and is just riding Hill as Hill tries to move. Hammer fists from Dern and Hill tries to tie up and control posture. Dern with more punches as she’s riding. Hill is covering up but is struggling to move. Armbar attack from Dern, this one might have more time to finish. Hill is grabbing her own leg to avoid the extension and Dern just lands hammer fists again as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Dern again, 29-26 Dern overall

ROUND FOUR: Dern lands another combination, Hill is trying to fire back but she’s struggling. They clinch up and Hill forces Dern onto the fence. Some knees go back and forth in the clinch. Elbow from Hill, Dern returns it. They break and Dern lands a jab. Hill falls short on punches. They trade some lefts. Dern ties up and lands knees and uppercuts. Elbow from Dern as they break. Dern lands a couple of hard leg kicks. Dern just wont stop, she pushes into another clinch and has Hill on the fence. They fight for position and Dern lands a few more knees. Hill lands a knee but eats an elbow as they break. Both women land punches, Hill’s left eye is swelling up. They clinch and Dern with a modified granby roll. Dern spins and gets on top in the guard of Hill, Hill is grabbing at an arm triangle choke from the bottom, it’s not that close but it’ll stall things out as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Dern, 39-25 Dern overall

ROUND FIVE: Dern comes out jabbing and lands a couple of punches. They clinch, Dern tries to use a headlock throw and is able to use it to force things down and get on top. Hill closes her full guard as Dern starts working some ground and pound. Dern with some short elbows and hammer fists. Hill is trying to work her guard but Dern is wise to it and lands some punches. Dern passes to side control then steps over the head trying to isolate the left arm of Hill. Hammer fists from Dern, then elbows. Hill rolls to her knees and Dern starts mauling her from the ride. Dern’s basically work from leg drag at this point and lands another series of elbows. Dern gets the back now and unloads with more punches. Hill is trying to fight from her knees and Dern pulls her back over. Dern into full mount, then mounts the hip as Hill tries to roll. More punches from Dern as she seems to effortlessly ride Hill. Dern with more elbows and hammer fists but Hill will see the final bell.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Dern, 49-43 Dern overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Mackenzie Dern via unanimous decision (49-43, 49-44 x2)

That was hands down the best performance of Dern’s UFC run. Mic time for Dern after that, she’s getting her third stripe on her blackbelt from her father during this, that’s special. Dern feels good about the fight, despite the real world problems she fought well and puts over Hill and says she wanted to catch Charles Oliveira in the submission record but couldn’t quite finish one this time. She wasn’t going to step back and if Hill was going to keep coming forward she was going to meet her. Asked what she wants next she says if Rose Namajunas is free she could do that, or a rematch with Yan Xiaonan. Both seem reasonable, if Yan hadn’t just pretty much solidified herself as the next contender it wouldn’t be fully out of bounds.

Well on that note UFC on ESPN+ 81 comes to a close. Thank you for reading, be that live or after the fact. We’ll be unpacking all of the fallout from this event tomorrow on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast, which I hope you’re listening to. There’s no UFC event next week, but in two weeks we’ve got UFC on ESPN 46 when Kai Kara-France takes on Amir Albazi. I’ll be back in for that one in a couple of weeks and I hope you will as well. Until then thank you again, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.