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411’s UFC Fight Night Review: Strickland Pummels Hall

July 31, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC on ESPN 28

#8 Uriah Hall (185.5 lbs.) vs. #11 Sean Strickland (185 lbs.)
Kyung Ho Kang (136 lbs.) vs. Rani Yahya (136 lbs.)
Cheyanne Buys (116 lbs.) vs. Gloria de Paula (115.5 lbs.)
Jared Gooden (171 lbs.) vs. Niklas Stolze (170.5 lbs.)
Collin Anglin (146 lbs.) vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan (145.5 lbs.)
Bryan Barberena (170.5 lbs.) vs. Jason Witt (170.5 lbs.)

Rafa Garcia (154 lbs.) vs. Chris Gruetzemacher (156 lbs.)
Danny Chavez (145.5 lbs.) vs. Kai Kamaka (144.5 lbs.)
Jinh Yu Frey (115.5 lbs.) vs. Ashley Yoder (116 lbs.)
Zarrukh Adashev (125.5 lbs.) vs. Ryan Benoit (126 lbs.)
Orion Cosce (170.5 lbs.) vs. Phil Rowe (173.5 lbs.)*

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN 28. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host, relaying all of the action to you good people just as I see it. Tonight the UFC is treading water just waiting for UFC 265 next week, though UFC 265 just lost it’s only real title fight this week so it’s hardly smooth sailing for that event. Tonight’s event has suffered some set backs, a bunch of visa issues prompted a lot of shuffling around of fighters. Then at the weight ins we had a lot of issues, we lost Trevin Giles vs. Ronnie Lawrence when Lawrence couldn’t weigh in due to medical concerns, Nicco Montano weighed in at 143 for a bantamweight fight and given the weight disparity between her and her opponent that fight was called off. So after all that we’ve still got the original main event of ranked middleweights Uriah Hall and Sean Strickland going at it, and a co-main event that I’m rather looking forward too between Kyung Ho Kang and veteran Rani Yahya. As for the rest of the card, Zarrukh Adashev and Ryan Benoit might be fun and Bryan Barberena taking on Jason Witt will almost certainly be at least watchable. Beyond that, let’s hope for something better in practice than on paper.

UFC on ESPN 28 comes to the world from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. On commentary we have Brendan Fitzgerald, Paul Felder, and Michael Bisping. As for the rules, Nevada uses most of the newer ones except the downed fighter definition so you only need one hand on the mat to be downed. Nevada does have a replay official outside the cage who can signal for the use of instant replay, the in cage ref can ask for it as well, and a fight can be restarted after instant replay is used if that’s applicable. Also keep in mind that the UFC Apex has the smaller 25 foot diameter cage set up.

Well nuts, about 5 hours before the show was to start word came down that Yahya vs. Kang is off after Yahya tested positive for COVID. That really sucks, hopefully he’s able to recover and it also sucks because that fight was one I was really looking forward to. The cancellations have pushed the start time back from the above listed 6pm EST to 6:30pm EST.

Oh, just a heads up. There’s a brief but pretty gnarly storm about to come through where I live, so if this stops updating it’ll be something related to that.

Philip Rowe dropped his UFC debut earlier this year which snapped a seven fight winning streak, now he’s trying to bounce back and get his first UFC win. Rowe did miss weight for this fight, never a good look, and that puts a bit more pressure on his shoulders to at least salvage a win out of this outing. Orion Cosce is undefeated as a professional coming into his UFC debut, now he’s trying to make use of the only chance he’ll get to make a first impression. Cosce is your favorite at -165 to a +140 comeback on Rowe.

Welterweight Bout: Orion Cosce (7-0, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Phil Rowe (7-3, 173.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Rowe is four inches taller and has a whopping eight and a half inches of reach, of course he also missed weight. They touch gloves to get us going. Cosce with some kicks, then he gets a clinch and forces things to the fence. Takedown from Cosce into side control. Rowe looks to hip escape and is able to get full guard. Cosce moves things against the fence and looks to stack him up. Rowe is able to fight up but eats a few punches then Cosce gets another clinch. Cosce is working to smother and wear down Rowe. Double leg from Cosce then he mounts the legs and is able to land a few punches as Rowe regains his feet. Rowe tries to jump guard, eats some more punches then they fight back in the clinch for a bit before settling things down. Cosce with a spinning elbow and they break. Rowe lands a straight right as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Cosce

ROUND TWO: Cosce has been doing some stance switching, both men land inside leg kicks as the round starts then they clinch up again and Cosce gets Rowe on the cage. A few knees to the leg from Cosce then Rowe is able to spin free. Rowe lands a combination of punches. Cosce fires back with a few punches, then Rowe accidentally kicks him in the groin so we’ve got time out for him to recover. After 50 seconds we’re back to fighting. Cosce lands a front kick to the body. Rowe lands a one two that badly staggers Cosce, he looks to unload on the fence but Cosce fires back and stuns him with a right hand. Cosce is coming forward again, walks into a straight right then Rowe looks to unload again but again Cosce fires back to keep the ref out of things. Some body shots from Rowe land, but Cosce wobbles him for a second with a left hook and then gets a clinch on the fence. There’s a cut under the right eye of Cosce, it’s swelling around there as well and that’s worth paying attention too. Cosce has worked some decent strikes in the clinch while looking to get a takedown. Rowe gets free and they reset. Both men land punches then Cosce gets another clinch, but this time Rowe is able to get a Thai clinch and land knees to the face. Another combination from Rowe and finally a right hand drops Cosce and the ref has to stop things.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Phil Rowe via TKO, punches, at 4:21 of Round 2

Mic time for Rowe, he thinks he’s one of the best welterweights on the planet and feels once things start clicking for him in the cage it’s a wrap. He’s most comfortable on the ground but he’s long and rangy and was able to use his striking this time around.

Cosce takes a ton of abuse but for most of that time he was firing back and even hurt Rowe a bit at times, but by the end Rowe really had a bead on things and finally dropped Cosce with a straight right that ended things.

Zarrukh Adashev has gone 0-2 in the UFC and somewhat has his back against the wall in this fight as an 0-3 start could easily spell the end of his time in the UFC. Ryan Benoit has gone 2-3 in his last five fights and is on a two fight losing streak, he’s trying to halt that skid and get back on the winning side of things for the first time since 2017. Benoit is your -135 favorite to a +115 comeback on Adashev.

Flyweight Bout: Zarrukh Adashev (3-3, 125.5 lbs.) vs. Ryan Benoit (10-7, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Benoit has three and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Adashev starts in on the calf kicks early, then lands a right hand. Another calf kick from Adashev lands. Benoit lands a couple of lefts in close and Adashev is backing up. Both men land in close. Another calf kick from Adashev. Benoit lands a couple of punches to counter a calf kick but those are adding up quickly. Some stance switching from Benoit now, he’s trying to protect the left leg. Adashev lands a couple of punches in close. There’s an exchange of rights in close, then Adashev lands a hard calf kick and Benoit is limping visibly. Benoit is hurt to that calf badly, but he’s still throwing punches and they exchange again before Adashev lands another calf kick. A right from Benoit drops Adashev, he gets on top but Adashev scrambles back up into a clinch. Benoit jumps for a guillotine, Adashev gets free rather easily and gets a front headlock as they stand in the clinch again. Adashev jumps for the guillotine, wont get it and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Adashev but that knockdown from Benoit could sway things

ROUND TWO: Benoit opens southpaw, he’s got to protect that left leg. Adashev lands a little combination. Some southpaw from Adashev, but he’s not as tough a kicker from this side and he’s starting to switch just to try and get a reaction out of Benoit. Adashev lands a front kick to the body then a calf kick. Benoit has landed a few punches, he’s still stalking forward to his credit. Adashev lands a knee to the head that stuns Benoit for a second, then he lands a right hook. Both men miss power hand punches. A right and left from Adashev land, Benoit backs off for a second then is back to pressing forward. Adashev lands another calf kick, and Benoit is limping again. Benoit lands a right hook, but takes another calf kick and loses his footing for a moment. Adashev lands a body kick then another leg kick. Both men punch into a clinch and Adashev gets Benoit on the fence. They break without incident. Benoit stumbles stepping forward, he winds up on his back and Adashev lands a couple of body shots before Benoit gets back up. Adashev avoids a looping right from Benoit to close the round.

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

ROUND THREE: Both men land lefts to get the round going. Benoit is still coming forward but he can’t find reliable success. Adashev lands a right in close then they clinch up. They break without incident. Another right from Adashev as he’s circling away. That right from Adashev is touching Benoit a fair bit as he’s moving around, Benoit is trying to goad him into a flat brawl. Benoit is bleeding from the bridge of his nose, his calf is still messed up, and other parts of his face are starting to lump up as well. They clinch again, trade little blows, then break. Adashev lands a front kick to the body then a left hook in close. Benoit has a heck of a chin, he’s taken some solid hits and keeps coming forward. Adashev lands a calf kick but Benoit lands a counter left. A right from Adashev lands flush, again Benoit just eats it. Adashev punches Benoit as Benoit gets a clinch. Benoit is trying for a double leg, but he can’t find it and they break. Adashev working the jab as he circles, Benoit keeps walking into punches, and they trade in the clinch as the clock runs down.

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

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

Mic time for Adashev, he’s feeling great and it’s nice to be back and able to show his ability. He thanks the UFC brass and felt good after a full training camp, he doesn’t want to just be in the UFC he wants to be champion. Hopefully now all of his training will start paying off, and talks a bit about his history getting to this point and warns the division he’s coming for the belt.

Jinh Yu Frey finally got her first UFC win back in March, now she’s trying to string together her first winning streak since 2018. Ashley Yoder has gone 1-3 in her last four fights and dropped a decision to Angela Hill in her last fight, she’s trying to avoid another losing streak. The odds are with Yoder at -160 to a +135 comeback on Frey.

Strawweight Bout: Jinh Yu Frey (10-6, 115.5 lbs.) vs. Ashley Yoder (8-7, 116 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Yoder is four inches taller and has four and a half inches of reach advantage. Both women come out southpaw. Some kicks from Frey, then Yoder punches into a clinch. Frey with some left elbows and punches as they break the clinch. Yoder working long range punches now that they’re back at distance. Frey lands a leg kick, Yoder returns it. A left from Frey stuns Yoder for a second but Yoder recovers quickly. Both women missing punches now as they just kind of poke at each other. Frey lands a left to the body. Leg kick from Frey lands and Yoder gets a clinch on the fence. They break without incident. Another body shot from Frey lands. Yoder lands a leg kick. Frey keeps landing that left to the body, Yoder needs an answer. They trade power hand punches, then Frey lands a right hook. A Yoder leg kicks ends the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Frey

ROUND TWO: Yoder lands a body kick. Both women working some kicks, mostly range finding still. Frey lands a left to the head that wobbles Yoder, she lands another in close that staggers Yoder. Yoder tries to clinch but Frey separates and lands another left. Calf kick from Frey lands. Another left from Frey lands and staggers Yoder again, then more lefts in the clinch before getting free. Yoder is hurt and struggling with her right eye. Frey back to kicking the leg and lands a left to the body. That left from Frey lands again then an inside leg kick. Bit of a left from Yoder, Frey lands a right hook then a left to the body. Frey lands a couple of lefts. Body kick from Yoder lands. Frey lands a left, this time Yoder returns it and they’re both a little staggered. Yoder looks to unload but Frey is doing a decent job of blocking and slipping. Frey lands a left then a leg kick. Frey’s right eye is swelling up now. They trade lefts a final time to close the round.

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

ROUND THREE: Frey lands a calf kick to star the last round. Frey blocks a takedown and lands some short left hands. Another blocked takedown and counter lefts from Frey, Yoder is shooting from too far away. Yoder lands a leg kick. Both women land lefts. Frey lands a calf kick. Yoder gets a clinch, but eats a left as they break. Bit of a left from Frey in close after blocking another takedown attempt. Frey with another calf kick. They trade left hands, then Yoder lands a body kick. Frey lands a left hand. Hard left from Frey staggers Yoder then a calf kick behind it. Another calf kick from Frey lands then a few body shots. Frey lands a left to the body, then one to the head and a couple of calf kicks to close the round.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jinh Yu Frey via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

One of Frey’s better UFC performances, and she gets an interview. Frey was confident she would get the decision, and mentions the game plan focused on striking since Yoder is weakest there. Asked what she’d like next she would like a fight in fall but doesn’t feel like she has the right to call out names yet in the UFC.

Danny Chavez has gone 1-1 in the UFC but is coming off of a loss, he’s trying to avoid his first UFC losing streak and get his UFC record above the .500 mark. Kai Kamaka took this on relatively short notice but has gone 1-2 in the UFC and is trying to avoid a three fight losing streak. Kamaka is a slight -125 favorite to a +105 payout on Chavez.

Featherweight Bout: Danny Chavez (11-4, 145.5 lbs.) vs. Kai Kamaka (8-4, 144.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Chavez is an inch taller while Kamaka has two inches of reach advantage, and Chavez is a eight years older. Chavez comes out kicking. Kamaka circling, both men are still looking for a way in. Kamaka lands a hard calf kick. Both men missing kicks now, they’re still just trying to get a feel for things. Bit of a right from Chavez, Kamaka is playing around with stance switches now. Knee tap from Chavez is successful, Kamaka back up immediately and gets free then lands a calf kick. Chavez lands a right to the body. Both men land calf kicks as they circle. Kamaka avoids a combination. Bit of a wheel kick from Chavez, and Kamaka returns a calf kick for his trouble. More leg kicks from Kamaka, those are starting to add up. Bit of a right from Chavez lands. They trade calf kicks, then Kamaka lands a couple of punches. They just kind of stare away the final 15 seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kamaka

ROUND TWO: Chavez comes out firing punches, Kamaka lands a calf kick. Kamaka lands a left to the body, then a calf kick. Chavez misses a double leg and eats a body kick. Kamaka lands another calf kick. More calf kicks from Kamaka, Chavez is taking them well enough but he doesn’t have an answer. They trade again, and we’ve got a pretty bad eye poke to Chavez and we’ve got time out for him. Chavez can’t even open his eyes right now, the eye seems to have spasmed completely shut. They’re giving Chavez plenty of time to see if this will fix itself, they’re going to allow some water to be poured over him to try and help open the eyes. There’s almost no chance this continues, Chavez is finally able to open his eyes though so that’s something. Well I was wrong, apparently Chavez can see and we’re back to fighting as Kamaka gets a hard warning from the ref. They both start swinging immediately and clinch up but Kamaka with a knee to the groin as they’re breaking and Chavez drops in pain. Replay shows it was more the shin of Kamaka, his knee went into the belt line but the shin definitely contacted the cup. The replay official talks briefly with the ref to confirm that there was a blow to the groin and the ref takes a point from Kamaka and we’re back to fighting. Bit of a left from Kamaka, he lands a calf kick but Chavez fires back and lands a couple of punches. Kamaka lands another calf kick. Wheel kick from Chavez is mostly blocked. Another leg kick from Kamaka. Bit of a knee from Kamaka, Chavez lands a counter left hook. Another calf kick from Kamaka closes the round.

SCORECARD: 9-9 DRAW after the point deduction, but could go either way, 19-18 Kamaka overall

ROUND THREE: Chavez is coming forward, Kamaka lands a leg kick and gets a clinch on the fence. Both men land body shots from the clinch, some elbows from Chavez as he defends a takedown against the fence. Some knees to the body go back and forth. Things are stalling out just a bit in the clinch, Chavez with a double wrist lock to defend a takedown then some elbows to the head but he can’t get free. More body work is traded then they break and trade punches. Chavez lands a left hook. Kamaka avoids Chavez, then grabs a front headlock to defend a takedown against the fence. They wind up breaking without incident. They swing punches in close but nothing really lands as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kamaka, 29-27 Kamaka overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – DRAW, Majority, (29-27 Kamaka, 28-28 x2)

No issues with Chavez getting the third, no interview for either man.

Chris Gruetzemacher has gone 2-3 in the UFC only scoring wins over Abner Lloveras and Joe Lauzon, he was last seen getting violently knocked out by Alexander Hernandez and he’s now trying to avoid another losing streak. Rafa Garcia suffered his first professional loss in his UFC debut when he was bested by Nasrat Haqparast, but now he’s trying to rebound and get that all important first UFC win. Garcia is your favorite at -310 while the +250 payout on Gruetzemacher might be a tempting value bet.

Lightweight Bout: Rafa Garcia (12-1, 154 lbs.) vs. Chris Gruetzemacher (14-4, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Gruetzemacher is an inch taller while Garcia has two inches of reach advantage, Gruetzemacher is also nine years older. Garcia lands a right hand early. Gruetzemacher lands a calf kick. Garcia lands a calf kick, then another one. Gruetzemacher is trying to pressure forward, but eats a left hook from Garcia and staggers back to the fence with Garcia in pursuit. Garcia gets a takedown, and lays in some lefts but Gruetzemacher fights up into the clinch and they break. A series of lefts from Garcia, Gruetzemacher isn’t firing back though. They trade leg kicks. More lefts from Garcia, he should try to set something up with that, and he lands a right hand. Double leg from Garcia into half guard. Gruetzemacher escapes up and lands a body shot. Both men land body shots, Gruetzemacher keeps landing knees aiming at the body but his leg doesn’t get high enough and he lands two groin shots on Garcia and on the second one we get a break. Replay shows they traded low blows on that second one, and after about 40 seconds we’re back to fighting. Gruetzemacher lands a right hand. Garcia lands a right of his own. They tie up and trade knees to the body, Garcia thinks about a single leg against the fence but Gruetzemacher is able to defend. They break without incident then Garcia lands a knee. Gruetzemacher lands a knee to the body as well and clinches up but Garcia goes for a single leg and Gruetzemacher hits a switch but they remain standing. Both men land elbows in the clinch then break. Gruetzemacher with some body shots, his persistence and activity is wearing on Garcia. They trade in the clinch again, then Garcia lands a couple of left hooks as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Garcia

ROUND TWO: Gruetzemacher coming forward again, he’s not letting Garcia set and recover. They trade leg kicks then Gruetzemacher lands a combination. Another clinch, and they trade blows there then break and Gruetzemacher lands punches. Gruetzemacher lands a left to the body, his body work is breaking Garcia down. Garcia gets a trip takedown into side control. Gruetzemacher back up, Garcia is working a guillotine standing, but there’s nothing there and they break. Body shot from Gruetzemacher, Garcia is bleeding from the nose pretty badly. Short elbows from Gruetzemacher as he just will not give Garcia space to breathe. Garcia forces a clinch and they hit the fence. Things are stalling out in the clinch, but Gruetzemacher is able to get free and lands a right hand. Gruetzemacher still coming forward, he’s induced the kind of dog fight he wants and lands another left to the body. Garcia lands a right but he doesn’t have the same power he did in the first. More body shots from Gruetzemacher as he just keeps walking Garcia down. Garcia gets the back standing then they break. Both men trade in the pocket, Garcia gets a bit of a takedown to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gruetzemacher, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Gruetzemacher coming forward immediately and still swarming Garcia. Garcia is trying to circle and strike but Gruetzemacher is in his face and constantly finding offense. A right from Gruetzemacher then a left to the body follows it. Garcia gets a takedown into side control, his nose is pretty badly busted. Things are stalling out a bit, I’m not big on standups from side control but Garcia has to do something with this. Garcia lands a few short punches and Gruetzemacher starts looking to wall walk. Gruetzemacher back up and separates then starts walking Garcia down again. Uppercut from Gruetzemacher lands. Gruetzemacher is still coming forward and we get some RoadHouse exchanges in the pocket for a bit. Some more body work from Gruetzemacher, Garcia lands a left hook. Gruetzemacher lands a body shot, and Garcia gets a takedown into full guard. They’re both dead tired, but Gruetzemacher wall walks and eats a knee to the body. Gruetzemacher with body shots, then he avoids a takedown and they trade one last time.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gruetzemacher but that round could go either way, 29-28 Gruetzemacher overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Chris Gruetzemacher via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Heck of a dog fight between those two. Gruetzmacher gets an interview, he says he got hurt in the first but he recovered quickly and was there for the rest of the fight. He says he knows how to roll with punches so most of the stuff from Garcia didn’t land solid.

That does it for the prelims, on to the main card but still on ESPN/ESPN+

Bryan Barberena (15-7) has gone 2-2 in his last four fights but he’s coming off of a win and is trying to get his first winning streak since 2016 up and running. Jason Witt (18-7) has gone 1-2 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a loss but is hoping to take a durable veteran to bring that back to the .500 mark. Barberena is the favorite at a surprisingly heavy -260 to a +210 payout on Witt.

Welterweight Bout: Bryan Barberena (15-7, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Jason Witt (18-7, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Barberena is two inches taller and has two and a half inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Barberena. Both men probing with the lead hand early as they range find. Barberena lands a left. Witt lands a body kick. They clinch up, Witt with an outside trip into half guard. Some lefts from Witt while he works to keep Barberena on the mat. Elbow from Witt lands. Barberena is trying to wall walk, Witt moves towards the back as he does so but the fence is halting the back take. Barberena is up, Witt lands a couple of punches but takes a right hook as they separate. They trade left hands. Bit of a left from Barberena, but Witt is circling away from him rather well. Double leg from Witt lands in half guard. They trade some strikes on the ground as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Witt

ROUND TWO: Barberena lands a right in close as they get going in the second. Both men land punches in the pocket, Witt has some power but he’s not as comfortable striking and that’s rather evident. Barberena lands a left. Witt tries a takedown but Barberena defends this one. A right from Witt drops Barberena for a second, but he’s back up and fires back with a combination of punches. Witt hits a double leg and lands in the guard of Barberena. Witt moves to half guard, Barberena is able to get back up though and they reset. Another right hook from Witt drops Barberena, he jumps on a guillotine choke and has full guard, the fact that it’s an arm in guillotine is helping Barberena. Barberena gets his head out and he lands punches but Witt is up with him and they trade again. Hard left from Barberena lands, but Witt just eats it and fires a head kick. They clinch up on the fence, Witt is able to reap a leg and get back on top in half guard. They’ll end the round in that position.

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

ROUND THREE: Barberena needs a finish in this one. Bit of a right hand from Barberena but he’s on the back foot. Neither man can really find anything as the clock keeps ticking down in this round. Both men land rights. A right hook from Barberena badly wobbles Witt, he’s looking to follow up but runs into an accidental headbutt that halts his offensive output. Barberena lands another right. Witt tries a single leg, they hit the fence as Barberena defends. Witt around to the back standing and gets a mat return but Barberena is back up instantly and looking for the guillotine again. This time Witt is able to get a double leg and lands in side control to avoid the guillotine. Witt moves himself into half guard for more control over Barberena looking to ice the round. Barberena wall walks and they trade in the pocket before separating. Barberena coming forward again, avoids a single leg and lays in punches as Witt staggers around. They trade in close, Witt lands a spinning back fist but gets dropped by a Barberena left, then Witt hits a takedown to save himself. Barberena is trying to wall walk, Witt is on his back. A kimura from Barberena is used to sweep and Barberena looks to unload. Another left from Barberena hurts Witt, he’s looking to finish but Witt wont go down. Barberena slips on a knee, and Witt gets on top as the clock runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Barberena, 29-28 Witt overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jason Witt via majority decision (28-28, 29-28 x2)

That was a heck of a fight, I don’t object to a 10-8 for Barberena in the third. Mic time for Witt, he knew Barberena would be a tough opponent and feels they just earned the Fight of the Night bonus. He says takedowns were key and knew it would be important to alleviate the pressure of Barberena. He’d like to fight again by the end of the year, and names Max Griffin as a potential barn burner opponent.

Melsik Baghdasaryan has a five fight winning streak coming into his UFC debut, and now he’s got his only chance to make a first impression on the audience. Colin Anglin brings a seven fight winning streak into his UFC debut and he’s looking to extend that with a memorable win. The odds are with Baghdasaryan at -150 while Anglin’s comeback sits at +125.

Featherweight Bout: Collin Anglin (8-1, 146 lbs.) vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan (5-1, 145.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Anglin has an inch of reach advantage. Southpaw for Baghdasaryan. Both men probing with the lead hand early. Baghdasaryan lands a left hand then a body kick. Anglin fires back but the strike speed of Baghdasaryan is impressive. They clinch up, Anglin lands a knee to the head as they break. Another knee from Anglin and he gets a double collar tie but Baghdasaryan is able to pull free. Baghdasaryan coming forward, but misses a few strikes. Baghdasaryan lands a left and they clinch, Anglin lands a right as they break. Body kick from Baghdasaryan. Anglin lands a right. Baghdasaryan lands a left to the body then a knee to follow up but he might be fading, the man only has one gear it seems. Anglin gets a clinch and works some knees before they break. Baghdasaryan lands a body kick. Double let from Anglin and he lands in half guard. Baghdasaryan back up but they wind up clinched on the fence. They break without incident. Bit of an elbow from Baghdasaryan in close. They trade power hand punches then clinch up. Both men land knees in the clinch then Anglin hits an elbow as they break. Straight left form Baghdasaryan hurts Anglin and he looks to unload along the fence. Anglin is able to tie up and stall that flurry before they break. Anglin lands a hard right of his own to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Baghdasaryan

ROUND TWO: Anglin circling as the round starts, both men probing with leg kicks. Baghdasaryan lands a body kick, then Anglin lands a knee to the body. A left from Baghdasaryan lands. A series of one twos from Baghdasaryan, that hand speed is still impressive. Anglin lands a right hand. Head kick from Baghdasaryan floors Anglin, and one follow up punch on the mat ends things.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Melsik Baghdasaryan via TKO, head kick and punches, at 1:50 of Round 2

Mic time for Baghdasaryan, he says he’s got a lot of guns to fire in the cage and knows his strikes have enough power to put people out. He notes he’s been out of action for about a year but feels this wasn’t a great performance, he didn’t feel this was the best of him. He talks us through the finish, then thanks everyone and feels this is a great stretch of his life as his parents became US citizens recently and his wedding is set for September, hopefully he gets a bonus for the finish to help out with that.

Here’s the finish, Anglin’s lack of head movement is a real problem and Baghdasaryan is able to measure him with this head kick.

Jared Gooden has gone 0-2 in the UFC and needs a win rather badly just to gain a bit of job security. Gooden took this on short notice as well, so he must feel some degree of confidence in the match up. Niklas Stolze lost his UFC debut over a year ago when he was beaten by rising contender Ramazan Emeev, now he’s hoping for a better outcome in his sophomore outing. The odds are with Stolze at -180 while Gooden’s comeback sits at +165.

Welterweight Bout: Jared Gooden (17-6, 171 lbs.) vs. Niklas Stolze (12-4, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Gooden has two inches of reach advantage. Stolze comes out kicking, Gooden lands a leg kick then another one. Left hook from Gooden then a right hand. Double leg from Gooden, Stolze is fishing for a guillotine on the way down though and that complicates the finish and allows him to get up quickly. Stolze lands a right hand. Both men land leg kicks. A right from Gooden FLOORS Stolze and we’re done here.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jared Gooden via TKO, punches, at 1:08 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Gooden for his work this evening. Mic time for Gooden after that one, he gives glory to God and thanks his family and coaches. He says his mentality has finally clicked, and he knows he can’t trust the judges so he wants to keep his fate in his own hands. When talking us through the finish he thanks more of his coaches then closes with a catchphrase.

Here’s a look at the finish. Gooden keeps his feet moving, and finds the superior angle for his punch while Stolze remains not only a little flatter he doesn’t move his head at all and eats a fight ending punch as a result.

Gloria de Paula dropped her UFC debut earlier this year, now she’s trying to get that all important first UFC win. Cheyanne Buys is likewise in search of her first win in the UFC, she lost her four fight winning streak in a very poor fight when she lost her UFC debut and she’s hoping for a more impressive performance this time around. Buys is your favorite at -160 to +135 for de Paula.

Strawweight Bout: Cheyanne Buys (5-2, 116 lbs.) vs. Gloria de Paula (5-3, 115.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: De Paula is two inches taller and has four and a half inches of reach over Buys. They touch gloves to get us going. Quick hands from both women, both land a few punches. Buys lands a couple of rights then gets a takedown into full guard. De Paula is able to keep her guard in place and lands a few elbows. De Paula kicks off and tries to stand but eats a MASSIVE head kick from Buys, Buys then gets on top and pounds her out to get the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Cheyanne Buys via TKO, head kick and punches, at 1:00 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mrs. Buys for her work this evening. That was a lovely finish. Mic time for Buys, she didn’t expect that and puts over de Paula and mentions she wanted to prove she can wrestle but with a long road behind her she thanks her team for getting her ready and notes she’s very broke right now and needed the win badly. She mostly didn’t want to be known as that girl who got head locked, safe to say she got beyond that here. She talks us through the finish then says she’d like to fight whenever the UFC needs her.

Here’s a look at the finish. Hitting this technical get up is dangerous any time strikes are involved, here de Paula doesn’t get her right hand up quickly off the mat and she’s coming forward with her upper body to close the distance for Buys. The result is a lovely violent head kick.

Uriah Hall has long shown flashes of brilliance but has only recently found the necessary consistency to make a real run towards the top of the division. Hall is on a four fight winning streak with three of those being finishes, and if he can extend that streak here he’ll be staring down someone in the top five next. Sean Strickland is on a four fight winning streak of his own and has yet to be bested at middleweight, if he’s able to beat Hall here it’ll be the biggest win of his career and will put him into the top ten contenders in the weight class. Somewhat surprisingly the odds are with Strickland at -220 while the +180 payout on Hall has to tempt a few bettors out there.

Middleweight Bout: #8 Uriah Hall (17-9, 185.5 lbs.) vs. #11 Sean Strickland (23-3, 185 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Strickland is an inch taller while Hall has three and a half inches of reach advantage and is also seven years older. Both men working the lead hand early. Strickland lands a one two. Hall lands a jab and is circling. Another jab from Strickland lands. Both men still trying to find the range and timing for this one. Strickland is keeping a slightly busier work rate and that jab is troubling Hall a little bit. They trade some jabs, then Hall lands a calf kick. There’s an exchange of rights, Strickland is still coming forward but he’s not really cutting Hall off. Strickland lands a pretty good right. Both men land rights. Hall lands a counter right. Hall is the one coming forward now. Strickland is still pumping out the jab and trying to disrupt Hall. Hall blocks a head kick. Some body shots from Hall now, he’s trying to set things up more now. A Strickland jab ends the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Strickland but Hall was coming on at the end there

ROUND TWO: Hall coming forward to star the round. Strickland still working his lead hand and moving. Both men jabbing now, the hand speed difference in favor of Hall is coming on. Strickland lands a combination and Hall is backed onto the fence, then they wind up clinched. Elbow from Strickland as they break and he stays in Hall’s face in the clinch. Strickland is keeping a good output in the clinch, he’s trying to further wear down Hall. They break without incident. Strickland using the jab again as he circles. Hall has landed some body jabs, his lead hand is starting to come alive. Some stance switching from Hall now. Bit of a right from Strickland. Some more jabs go back and forth. Hall blocks a head kick. Accidental groin shot to Hall gives us a time out. Hall takes about 30 seconds then we’re back to fighting. Strickland lands another jab, he’s messing with Hall’s let eye a bit. Hall lands a calf kick. They split more jabs but Hall is struggling with that eye. Strickland lands a leg kick. Hall has a wheel kick blocked and they clash briefly to close the round.

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

ROUND THREE: Hall comes out looking to jab and press forward. Some leg kicks from Hall land. Strickland lands a couple of jabs. Strickland lands a right hand. A few lead hand punches from Strickland land. They trade jabs again. Hall is jabbing the body now, Strickland lands a right and gets a takedown into half guard. Strickland unloads punches, Hall is hurt as he fights his way back up but Strickland is on his back. Hall is trying to fight the hands but he’s still not all the way with it. Strickland gets a mat return, lands a punch but Hall bounces back up. Hall is a bit lethargic, Strickland drags him back down and gets on top in half guard. Strickland lands an elbow and is looking to pass or threaten a kimura. Hall gets his arm free but eats another punch in the meantime. Strickland threatens an arm triangle choke but Hall gets his arm back again. Some elbows from Strickland as he postures up, Hall gives up his back, Strickland gets it with both hooks in and starts looking for the choke but there’s short time in the round. Strickland wont find anything before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Strickland, borderline 10-8, 30-27 Strickland overall

ROUND FOUR: Hall needs to shift gears badly, or his corner should consider stopping this. Strickland jabbing and circling, but Hall is coming forward and still looking to engage. A left hook from Strickland lands, and Hall lands a leg kick. More jabs from Strickland, he’s targeting that eye of Hall. Strickland is backing Hall up now and still working jabs. Hall coming forward now, he lands a few body shots. They trade punches again. A fairly sedate round so far, neither man has had tremendous success. More jabs go back and forth. Bit of a right from Strickland, Hall lands to the body to counter. A lot of jabs being traded, Strickland lands a glancing left hook. Strickland lands a right then a stiff jab and Hall is wobbled. Hall backs to the fence, Strickland swarms him and gets a takedown into the ride position. Some punches and knees from Strickland as Hall stands but Hall is facing the cage and Strickland is landing blows. They break, Hall is cut around the left eye. Hall coming forward, lands a bit of a right before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Strickland, 40-36 Strickland overall

ROUND FIVE: They touch gloves for the final round. Hall comes out jabbing, and eats a left hook. Strickland jabbing and circling, he’s just looking to wait out the first minute or so and let Hall tire himself out. Hall lands a leg kick. Strickland lands a jab then a right hand. Both men trade in the pocket for a bit, then Strickland starts drawing Hall forward and countering. More rights from Strickland, he backs Hall to the fence and clinches up. They break and Strickland keeps coming forward. Strickland lands a right, he’s just popping Hall over and over again. More punches from Strickland as he backs Hall into the fence and clinches up. Strickland gets a body lock for a moment but bails on it to land body shots. They break without incident then start swinging again and clinch up on the fence. Another break, and Strickland lands a right then clinches again. It’s just rinse and repeat for Strickland at this point. Some shoulder strikes from Strickland as they fight for position. Body work from Strickland, he’s drowning Hall right now. They break and Strickland starts landing punches coming forward again. Hall is still swinging at him and lands a right hand. Strickland punches into another clinch and they hit the fence. Back elbow from Strickland, then a go behind and he unloads for the final couple of seconds but wont find a finish.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Strickland but another dominant one, 50-45 Strickland overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sean Strickland via unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-44)

Not sure which round went to Hall, and I don’t object at all to a 10-8 third for Strickland. Mic time for Strickland, he says he loves the last round of a fight because you quit caring about getting hit. He puts over Hall as a tough opponent who he respects a lot. Asked about the future he wants to let his body heal up, but he just wants to fight and make money, and says if he wasn’t here he’d be in a trailer cooking meth or in prison.

On that note UFC on ESPN 28 comes to a close. Thank you for reading, be that live or after the fact. We’ll be unpacking all the results from this event and preview next weeks big PPV UFC 265 tomorrow on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast. I’ll be back for UFC 265, which features a pretty solid main card despite losing Amanda Nunes and Julianna Pena this last week, and I hope you will as well. Until next time then everyone, stay safe out there and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.