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411’s UFC on ESPN+ 3 Report: Santos Wins

February 23, 2019 | Posted by Robert Winfree
Thiago Santos UFC Marreta

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MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 2 p.m. ET)
#4 Jan Blachowicz (205 lbs.) vs. #6 Thiago “Marreta” Santos (204 lbs.)
Marcos Rogerio de Lima (255 lbs.) vs. #15 Stefan Struve (263 lbs.)
Michal Oleksiejczuk (204 lbs.) vs. Gian Villante (206 lbs.)
#6 Liz Carmouche (125 lbs.) vs. #14 Lucie Pudilova (126 lbs.)
#9 John Dodson (136 lbs.) vs. #14 Petr Yan (136 lbs.)
Magomed Ankalaev (204 lbs,) vs. Klidson Abreu (209 lbs.)*

PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN+, 11 a.m. ET)
Dwight Grant (171 lbs.) vs. Carlo Pedersoli Jr. (171 lbs.)
Chris Fishgold (145 lbs.) vs. Daniel Teymur (146 lbs.)
Veronica Macedo (126 lbs.) vs. Gillian Robertson (125 lbs.)
Damir Hadzovic (155 lbs.) vs. Marco Polo Reyes (155 lbs.)
Ismail Naurdiev (170 lbs.) vs. Michel Prazeres (170 lbs.)
Diego Ferreira (157 lbs.)# vs. Rustam Khabilov (156 lbs.)
Joel Alvarez (156 lbs.) vs. Damir Ismagulov (155 lbs.)


My sincere apologies guys, but I missed the first few fights and came in as Hadzovic was being announced as the winner. Here’s the quick results from the bouts I missed.

Damir Ismagulov def. Joel Alvarez via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Carlos Diego Ferreira def. Rustam Khabilov via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)
Ismail Naurdiev def. Michel Prazeres via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26 x2)

Hello everyone, this will be 411’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 3. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for this morning. Tonight the UFC makes their debut in the Czech Republic, specifically the city of Prague. This isn’t a great card on paper but there’s a few sleeper fights, like John Dodson vs. Petr Yan, and the main event is a very relevant bout in the light heavyweight division as Jan Blachowicz and Thiago Santos battle for what could be position in the title picture.

As mentioned above UFC on ESPN+ 3 comes to the world from the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. On commentary we have John Gooden and Dan Hardy, Paul Felder was supposed to be here but after the collapsed lung he suffered in the Vick fight he was unable to make the trip. As for the rules we’re under the new rules so you need both palms or fists flat on the mat to be considered downed, fingers being extended to the opponent is a foul regardless of contact being made, and the language around scoring is cleaner and encouraging of 10-8’s.

Lightweight Bout: Damir Hadzovic (155) vs. Marco Polo Reyes (155)

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Damir Hadzovic via TKO, strikes, at 2:03 of Round 2

Mic time for Hadzovic (at 2:03 of Round 2). He says he wanted to take his time in the first round because Reyes hits so hard, he wanted to play the matador against the “torro” of Reyes then get him down where he had the best chance of winning. He talks a bit about how both of them hit hard and fought respectfully, mentions there’s no animosity, thanks the crowd and puts over the city of Prague. To close he thanks someone who’s name I missed.

Nice stuff from Hadzovic based on that clip, strong back mount and vicious ground and pound.

Veronica Macedo has lost twice in the UFC and needs a win rather badly here as going 0-3 in your first three bouts almost always gets you booted from the UFC. Gillian Robertson is 1-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a loss, she’s trying to avoid her first ever losing streak. The odds are with Robertson at -185 against a +155 comeback for Macedo.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: Veronica Macedo (5-2-1, 126) vs. Gillian Robertson (5-3, 125)

ROUND ONE: Robertson is an inch taller but Macedo has an inch of reach advantage. Macedo fighting southpaw and is circling while Robertson shows the jab and looks to close distance. Robertson pushes into a clinch along the fence and gets a body lock rather quickly. Macedo avoids a body lock takedown but Robertson gets a single leg from her knees and is on top in half guard. Robertson passes to full mount and lands a short elbow as Macedo tries to bridge out. There’s an armbar attempt from Robertson but Macedo avoids it while getting on top but again Robertson gets a takedown from her knees. Macedo is looking to wall walk but gives up her back and Robertson has both hooks in as she rolls Macedo away from the cage. Macedo is able to spin into Robertson then disengages and makes Robertson stand back up. Hard body kick from Macedo, Robertson responds with a right. Robertson avoids a punch and gets a takedown into side control against the fence. Macedo is trying to bridge off of the fence but gets stuck in north-south. Robertson looks for control, Macedo winds up getting guard back and lands a few elbows, Robertson with a few punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Robertson

ROUND TWO: Macedo working kicks early, lands a body kick and a couple of punches then reverses a takedown to get on top of Robertson. Robertson tries an armbar, then attempts to link for a kneebar as Macedo gets her arm free but Macedo is able to just stand free completely. Another body kick from Macedo but Robertson catches it and gets her down, though Macedo tries a guillotine from half guard. Robertson rather easily strips the grip from Macedo and looks for control on the mat. A few body shots from Robertson and she’s set up an arm triangle but as she was looking to pass to the other side to lock it up but Macedo bridges and sweeps to top position. Armbar attempt from Robertson, she’s got the angle and is after either the armbar or the roll for spiderweb position. Robertson gets the sweep then moves to full mount immediately. Short elbows from Robertson and that gets Macedo to give up the back and Robertson locks up the rear naked choke and forces the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Gillian Robertson via Submission, rear naked choke, at 3:27 of Round 2

Mic time for Robertson, she calls herself a submission hunter and says she knew when she had that choke locked in that the fight was over. She talks us through the finish, she mentions that she attacks submissions before position and a lot of people don’t suspect that.

Here’s the finish. Robertson snatches the neck as soon as Macedo rolls

UFC 236 finally gets some form of announcement. They show the card though the bout order isn’t finalized yet, but the main event is a rematch between Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title while Kelvin Gastelum battles Israel Adesanya in your co-main for the interim middleweight title. Additionally they announce they’ll be in the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Daniel Teymur has yet to win in the UFC going 0-2, he’s in pretty dire straits here as the featherweight division isn’t exactly starved for talent and if he wants to stick around he has to win here. Chris Fishgold just had an eight fight unbeaten streak snapped in his UFC debut when he was stopped by Calvin Kattar, now he’s hoping to rebound from that setback and get the all important first UFC win under his belt. Fishgold is your -230 favorite against a +185 comeback on Teymur.

Featherweight Bout: Chris Fishgold (17-2-1, 145) vs. Daniel Teymur (6-2, 146)

ROUND ONE: Fishgold is three inches taller but Teymur has an inch of reach on him. They touch gloves to get us going. Quick single leg from Fishgold, they hit the fence and Teymur grabs the fence to stop the takedown. The ref takes a point for that, without the fence grab they were on the mat, then they get reset against the fence. Fishgold gets Teymur to his seat, then gets a mat return as Teymur is fighting to regain his feet. Another wall walk attempt from Teymur but Fishgold jumps for a guillotine and loses the position so Teymur is on top landing some offense. Fishgold lands an up kick as Teymur stands up and Teymur drops for an ankle lock, Fishgold gets free and Teymur scrambles to his feet and resets at distance. Uppercut from Teymur lands. Fishgold tries for a standing arm triangle takedown, gets things into a scramble and Fishgold winds up with the standing backpack but only has one hook in and that lets Teymur shake him off over his head and gets on top in side control. Offense from Teymur, hard punches as Fishgold gets half guard. Teymur moves to side control again and lands more punches as Fishgold rolls to his knees. Fishgold gets up holding a front headlock and they’re at distance again. They fall into a clinch, trade punches in close. Fishgold lands the better punches then gets a takedown against the fence. Fishgold mounts the legs of Teymur and is looking for a front headlock, uses that to get the back with on hook and gets full mount as Teymur is rolling under him. Teymur tries to bridge off of the fence but leaves the arm behind and Fishgold yanks the armbar but Teymur is able to keep his elbow out of danger long enough to get free and Fishgold ends the round back on top.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Fishgold after the point deduction

ROUND TWO: Quick takedown from Fishgold this round and he moves to half guard almost immediately. They’re in the middle of the cage as opposed to against the fence this time. Knee slice pass from Fishgold and Teymur gives up the back, there’s the rear naked choke from Fishgold and Teymur gets stuck belly down and has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Chris Fishgold via Submission, rear naked choke, at 1:10 of Round 2

Mic time for Fishgold, he says the win means the world to him as he’s been gunning for this moment for over a decade. He says you learn from every fight be that win, lose, or draw and he just wants to progress as he knows how high the level is at the top.

Carlo Pedersoli has gone 1-1 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a loss to Alex Oliveira and is looking to avoid his first ever losing streak. Dwight Grant got into the UFC based on a win on Dana’s Contender Series, but he dropped his UFC debut and is now looking for his first UFC win. Pedersoli is your -150 favorite while Grant’s comeback sits at +130

Welterweight Bout: Dwight Grant (8-2, 171) vs. Carlo Pedersoli Jr. (11-2, 171)

ROUND ONE: Grant is an inch and a half taller and has an inch of reach on Pedersoli. Southpaw for Pedersoli, they touch gloves to get things going. Bit of a body kick from Pedersoli, Grant lands an inside leg kick. Grant avoids a takedown attempt and they both land some slapping hooks. Pedersoli off balances Grant for a moment with a wild overhand left. Single leg attempt from Pedersoli but Grant is able to defend and separate. Body kick from Pedersoli and Grant lands a counter inside leg kick. They both land short punches in close and Pedersoli grabs a quick Thai clinch and lands a few knees before Grant gets free. Grant avoids a windmill left from Pedersoli. Pedersoli is using a kick heavy offense, he lands the body kick but that counter kick to the posting leg from Grant is troubling him a bit. Another body kick from Pedersoli and a left behind hit. Grant sprawls away from a takedown, they scramble a bit and Pedersoli winds up on top in the ride position. Grant wall walks up and Pedersoli avoids a right uppercut as they break. Left from Pedersoli lands. Another takedown from Pedersoli is blocked and he settles for some knees from a brief clinch. Pedersoli lands a body kick. Grant times a right as Pedersoli threw a high kick that knocks the mouthpiece out of Pedersoli and hammers him on the mat and the ref stops it with maybe a second left in the round.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Dwight Grant via TKO, punches, at 4:59 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Grant for his work this morning. Mic time for Grant, he says he knew the fight was over but respects the heart of Pedersoli wanting to continue. He says he studied tape and knew the kick would get looser and open up the counter punch off of it once he got a read on it. To close he says this is a dream come true and hopes to mostly stay busy as he loves to fight, he just wants to stay active.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is exhibit A about why you keep your guard up when kicking even kicking high.

Frankly the timing on this punch is incredible, Pedersoli gets a little sloppy with the kick especially his guard dropping as well as this kick being a bit on the naked side.

On that rather spectacular note, we end our time with ESPN 2 and move to ESPN+ for the main card.

Magomed Ankalaev has gone 1-1 in the UFC but is coming off of a win and he’s looking to prove himself a viable prospect in a division that could certainly use them with his first UFC winning streak tonight. Klidson Abreu missed weight for this fight which is never a good thing but is even worse in your UFC debut, but he does have a six fight winning streak coming into this bout and a win would go a long way to overcoming the stigma of missing weight. The odds are with Ankalaev at -220 against +180 for Abreu.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Magomed Ankalaev (11-1, 204 lbs.) vs. Klidson Abreu (14-2, 209 lbs.*)

ROUND ONE: Ankalaev is three inches taller but has just one inch of reach on him, of course Abreu also missed weight. Southpaw for Abreu, he’s stalking forward early while Ankalaev circles. They wind up clinched and Ankalaev has Abreu on the fence. Abreu reaches for a cross body trip but gets ridden down to a knee by Ankalaev. They fight back up and separate without incident. Ankalaev lands a blow that my feed skips over, we come back to Ankalaev on top in half guard. Pretty solid offense from Ankalaev on top, and it looks like Abreu’s nose is busted. Abreu is mostly fighting to control posture right now, Ankalaev lands some elbows as the last blows of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ankalaev, might be 10-8 but my feed stuttered a lot so that’s based on what I saw

ROUND TWO: Yeah, that nose of Abreu is curved in ways it wasn’t at the start of the fight it’s definitely broken. Bit of a high kick from Abreu, Ankalaev just eats it. Ankalaev is stalking forward, he lands a short uppercut as Abreu tried to rush him. Abreu lands a left but his punches are really wide and loopy. Both men land knees in close quarters. Body kick from Ankalaev and a right to the body. Abreu lands a left to the body. Jab from Ankalaev and an uppercut behind it. Ankalev misses an uppercut and Abreu gets a body lock off of a failed takedown attempt. They hit the fence and Abreu has a body lock but is struggling to get the takedown. Ankalaev turns Abreu into the fence and he lands a few knees and a short elbow. Abreu tries a trip but has no upper body control and Ankalaev lands on top in half guard. Short elbows from Ankalaev and Abreu is able to get full guard. That position is where the round will close out.

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

ROUND THREE: Both men miss punches to start the round, Ankalaev lands an uppercut in close. Abreu tries a jumping knee but misses, Ankalaev takes him down off of it and he lands punches as Abreu wall walks and then separates. Jab from Ankalaev. Abreu misses a wheel kick. Ankalaev with a bit of a left hook. Abreu swings a left to the body. They clash shins, that hurt just looking at it. Uppercut in close from Ankalaev and they clinch up on the fence. Knees from Ankalaev and a few body shots as he’s got Abreu on the fence. Elbow from Ankalaev lands. Abreu avoids a half hearted double leg and lands a knee to the body as they resume the clinch. The ref separates them after they stall out a bit. Both men miss then Ankalaev lands an uppercut to the chest. They clinch up again as the clock runs down.

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

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

Not sure which round Abreu might have taken. No interview for Ankalaev though. We get a video piece on the recently retired Georges St-Pierre. Not the best one of those the UFC has done but they put it together rather quickly and it’s not bad by any stretch. We also get some cage side time with commentary joined by Rashad Evans who all reminisce about GSP, Evans being a former training partner and Hardy having fought him for the welterweight title.

John Dodson has been a relevant fighter at both bantamweight and flyweight but has been trading wins and losses since 2015 and he’s 4-4 since then, he’s coming off of a loss to Jimmie Rivera and is trying to avoid his first ever UFC losing streak. Petr Yan has emerged as a prospect to watch at bantamweight, he’s won all three of his UFC fights and his long loss as a professional was a hotly contested split decision that he later avenged. Yan has been transitioning from prospect to contender and another win here, this time over a two time UFC title challenger and top ten ranked opponent, would propel him even further along that path. Yan is a surprisingly high -310 favorite against a tempting value payout of +250 for Dodson.

Bantamweight Bout: #9 John Dodson (20-10, 136 lbs.) vs. #14 Petr Yan (11-1, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Yan is four and a half inches taller but has just one inch of reach on Dodson. Dodson fighting southpaw, Yan does a lot of stance switching depending on his read and the angles involved. Dodson starts out circling, Yan avoids a rush from Dodson. Yan misses an inside leg kick. Left to the body from Dodson but he eats a counter hook. Dodson with some more body work, his blitz attacks seem to be working so far. Yan lands a right to the body. Inside leg kick from Yan. Dodson catches a body kick and rides Yan down then makes him stand back up. Stiff right to the jaw from Yan and another series behind it. Dodson has backed himself into the fence now, Yan lands a body kick but Dodson catches it and takes him down but Yan is back up and they’re clinched. Knees to the body from Yan then a foot sweep to force the break. Yan is keeping Dodson along the fence with his pressure. Both men have power hand punches blocked. Bit of a knee from Yan but Dodson gets a body lock off of it and pushes Yan into the fence. Yan forces a break and lands a left hook. Quick counter combination from Yan, he’s slowed Dodson down a fair bit now and is keeping him very near the fence. Yan slips a left and lands a counter punch. Punches into a clinch from Yan and he’s got Dodson pinned on the fence again. Knees from Yan and Dodson slips free. Yan lands a right. Dodson sneaks in a left as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Yan

ROUND TWO: More forward pressure from Yan, Dodson’s counters are falling a little short now. Both men land in close, the hand speed of these two is nuts. Yan lands an inside leg kick. Yan lands some punches, Dodson tries a single leg but can’t finish it and they wind up separated. Body kick from Yan. Dodson lands a left to the body but he’s still shortening up his punches and not really following up. Yan lands to the body then a left hook. Straight right from Yan lands. Dodson lands an inside leg kick, Yan lands a right but Dodson lands a counter left that drops Yan. Yan fights up and lands a right that cracks Dodson. Bit of a left hook from Yan after he missed a right. Several punches from Yan along the fence then a body kick. Short left from Yan in close then a knee as Dodson exited a clinch. Another body kick from Yan then a left and Dodson circles away from him. Yan lands a left, the pace and pressure from Yan is getting to Dodson who’s relying on one big shot. Right to the body from Yan. Yan lands a right then an uppercut, and knees from a brief Thai clinch. Body kick from Yan and a right behind it. Left from Yan drops Dodson, he’s looking to swarm and Dodson ties him up along the fence. Yan tees off in the clinch and a knee, then a right as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Yan, would be 10-8 but there was that knockdown, 20-18 Yan overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves to start the last round. And Yan is back to forward pressure getting Dodson to the fence. Jabs from Yan now as he moves Dodson around the cage. Dodson lands a leg kick. Yan lands a right and avoids a counter left. Yan coming forward, lands a right, and a left at distance. Dodson fails on a takedown attempt. Yan lands a right to the body. Straight right from Yan drives Dodson into the fence and he avoids the counters. Yan just misses a jumping knee, Dodson managed to avoid it and gets a takedown but Yan is back up instantly and gets the back standing. Knee to the head from Yan then he misses a spinning back fist as they break. One two from Yan, and an uppercut then a left. Dodson dives for a double leg, Yan sprawls and moves to the back standing then drags Dodson down into a crab ride. They’re up, Yan holding a rear waist lock and nearly gets a trip but Dodson grabs the fence. Yan lands a left hook as they break. There’s a right from Yan, he’s broken Dodson down a fair bit at this point. Another right from Yan lands. Uppercut and left hook from Yan, Dodson fails on a takedown and Yan gets a body lock takedown. Short punches from the ride position from Yan land until the clock runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Yan, 30-26 Yan overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Petr Yan via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Stand out performance from Yan, he cut off and almost entirely shut down Dodson. He says his game plan was to use kicks to draw out counters then counter Dodson with punches. He puts over Dodson as tough, he didn’t really expect to drop him with any one blow and was ready to go the distance.

Liz Carmouche has gone 1-1 since moving to flyweight, she’s coming off of a win though and could position herself well in a very shallow division with a win here. Lucie Pudilova has gone 2-2 in the UFC and just had a two fight winning streak snapped by Irene Aldana, she’s looking for what would be the biggest win of her career here against a former title challenger. The odds are with Carmouche at -145 against a +125 comeback on Pudilova.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: #6 Liz Carmouche (12-6, 125 lbs.) vs. #14 Lucie Pudilova (8-3, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Pudilova is two inches taller and has an inch and a half of reach on Carmouche, Carmouche is also eleven years older. Carmouche fighting southpaw, she avoids a few kicks from Pudilova. Leg kick from Carmouche and she closes distance for a clinch. They battle for position and Pudilova winds up on the fence. A few knees sneak through for Pudilova. Carmouche has a body lock again, lands a few knees to the thigh then an elbow. Carmouche drops for a takedown but Pudilova has her base spread out and is defending so far. Pudilova can’t get off of the fence but she’s landing some body shots while Carmouche is bent over looking for a takedown. Carmouche switches to a single leg and finally gets the hips down of Pudilova to the mat then mounts the legs. There’s bleeding on Carmouche, not sure where but there’s blood. Pudilova locks up a power guillotine/ninja choke but there’s no control over the lower body of Carmouche and she gets her head free. A few more elbows from Pudilova and she’s thinking about wall walking. Pudilova is back up, sits for a standing guillotine as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Carmouche but there’s an argument for Pudilova

ROUND TWO: Pudilova showing kicks again as we start the second round. Carmouche avoids a few punches. Leg kick from Pudilova. Glancing right from Pudilova, she’s been the aggressor all round. Pudilova showing the jab, Carmouche lands a leg kick. Pudilova lands a right. A couple of jabs from Pudilova land. Carmouche avoids a high kick. Pudilova misses a few more kicks then lands a body kick. Carmouche dives for a single leg and gets Pudilova down against the fence. Carmouche mounts the legs as Pudilova sits against the cage. Full mount now for Carmouche, Pudilova looking to explode and escape. Pudilova bridges off of the fence and gets on top of Carmouche in her guard. Elbows from Pudilova. Carmouche is working her guard higher but Pudilova postures through it and lands more elbows. That’ll bring the round to a close.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pudilova, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Carmouche has done almost no damage this entire fight, something she needs to change. Pudilova misses a superman punch and a high kick. More kicks from Pudilova either miss or are blocked but she’s staying active. Both women miss wild rights. Some jabs from Pudilova land but she tries a few ax kicks that miss. Bit of a right from Pudilova. Leg kick from Pudilova lands. Pudilova lands a left hook. Carmouche lands an inside leg kick. Pudilova lands the ax kick but Carmouche catches it and gets her down in side control. Some elbows to the body from Carmouche, Pudilova looking to bump and scramble but the top pressure of Carmouche is keeping her down. Half guard from Pudilova after a hip escape, now she gets some motion but Carmouche drops for a heel hook. Pudilova mostly has her knee free though and that’s saving her right now. Carmouche wont let go of that heel hook and Pudilova lands elbows to the thigh and moves into top position. Carmouche tries an armbar but Pudilova moves through it into half guard. One final flurry from Pudilova bring the clock all the way down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Pudilova but could go either way, 19-18 Pudilova overall

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

Not at all sure about Carmouche taking the second, and the crowd showers that result with boos. Carmouche can’t even hear the questions from Hardy in the cage. She wasn’t happy with her distance management but that brings the interview to a close.

Gian Villante has gone just 2-3 in his last five fights and all of those have been split decisions, he’s coming off of a win though and is hoping for his first winning streak since 2015. Michael Oleksiejczuk originally won his UFC debut against Khalil Rountree but that result was changed to a No Contest after Oleksiejczuk failed a drug test, now he’s looking for his first UFC win. Oleksiejczuk is your -200 favorite while Villante sits at +170.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Michal Oleksiejczuk (12-2 1 NC, 204 lbs.) vs. Gian Villante (17-10, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Villante is three inches taller and has two inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Oleksiejczuk, he’s moving a lot and stalking forward. Left to the body from Oleksiejczuk. Villante lands an inside leg kick. More lefts to the body from Oleksiejczuk, Villante lands another inside leg kick. They clash on power hand punches. More lefts from Oleksiejczuk, he’s staying mobile and looking that to keep Villante off balance. Another series of body shots from Oleksiejczuk. Oleksiejczuk crumples Villante with a body shot and a few more blows on the mat prompt the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Michal Oleksiejczuk via KO, body shot, at 1:34 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Oleksiejczuk for his work this morning. Mic time for Oleksiejczuk, he says he was prepared for a full fifteen minutes but is happy to have gotten the finish. He talks us through the finish, saying he works hard on everything so that he can do anything in the cage.

This is about as clean a hard left to the liver as you’ll see, Villante kept planting his feet while Oleksiejczuk moved to a slightly better angle and found a left to the body while Villante brings his guard up high.

Stefan Struve is currently on a three fight losing streak and despite heavyweight being. . . well heavyweight if he wants to justify his spot on the roster a win here is critical. Marcos Rogerio de Lima has been trading wins and losses for the last four years as he’s gone 5-3 in the UFC, he won his return to heavyweight and is looking for his first UFC winning streak since 2014. The odds are close but with Struve at -115 against -105 for de Lima.

Heavyweight Bout: Marcos Rogerio de Lima (16-5-1, 255 lbs.) vs. #15 Stefan Struve (28-11, 263 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Struve is eleven inches taller and has nine and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going, de Lima clobbers Struve to counter a leg kick and Struve is down. De Lima on top in the guard of Struve swinging body shots but Struve has his wits about him and is looking for wrist control. Half guard for de Lima now and he’s working short punches. Lefts to the head from de Lima, Struve is able to hip escape to guard again. A few rights from de Lima to the body and head, Struve is fishing for a kimura grip but de Lima passes to half guard to smother it. Struve gets full guard back as de Lima lands to the body and head with punches. A series of rights from de Lima land to the head of Struve. Struve has yet to land a single strike this round. Rights to the body and head from de Lima, Struve trying to wall walk but de Lima moves to half guard and keeps him on the mat. De Lima moves to full mount as Struve tries to move his guard but we’re on short time. De Lima wont land anything else before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 de Lima, total wipe out of a round

ROUND TWO: De Lima backs Struve into the fence and they clinch up. Struve gets a bit of a trip and looks to get into top position, Struve into half guard. Struve is looking to pass into full mount, de Lima sits up on the attempt and they wind up sticking around in half guard. Now an arm triangle attempt from Struve, he’s into full mount with it and forces the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Stefan Struve via Submission, arm triangle, at 2:21 of Round 2

Pretty basic heavyweight MMA, if you don’t win in the first it starts to suck and whoever’s on bottom is likely going to lose. Struve on the mic, he jokes that he doesn’t remember the first bit of the first round since he got hit so hard. He talks about his experience in the UFC, puts over de Lima as strong and notes this is his first finish via arm triangle. Minor note Struve is now only 2 submission wins behind Frank Mir for all time heavyweight submission wins. Struve says his heart is good now, but thinks this could be his last fight. He’s not 100% on that decision, he doesn’t want to end his career too late but this is a great moment and if it is his last time in the cage it’s a beautiful moment. Struve thanks his coach, gets emotional and leaves his gloves in the middle of the Octagon. If that is truly it for Struve, as much crap as I’ve given him for his technical short comings, thank you for the years you’ve given the sport.

Pretty standard arm triangle here, the clip is missing the pass into mount which is what sets up the whole thing.

Jan Blachowicz has emerged as a surprising contender at light heavyweight, he’s on a four fight winning streak with two of them being finishes and a win here over another rising contender could/should solidify him as the next in line for a title shot. Thiago Santos is in a similar position despite having only two fights at light heavyweight in the UFC, he’s finished both of those wins and holds a win over the next title challenger Anthony Smith. A win here for Santos would similarly position him well in the title picture. The odds are with Santos at -130 while a Blachowicz win would payout at +110.

Light Heavyweight Bout: #4 Jan Blachowicz (23-7, 205 lbs.) vs. #6 Thiago Santos (20-6, 204 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Blachowicz has two inches of reach on Santos. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men showing some stance switches early, Santos lands a body kick. They split jabs. Blachowicz misses a body kick. Neither man seems to want to be opposite stance and open up the body kicks of the other. They trade some leg kicks, both men are heavy kickers. Both miss punches, still trying to get a feel for the range in a lot of ways. Heavy leg kick from Santos. Blachowicz lands a leg kick of his own. Santos lands another leg kick but neither man can find the punches. As I type that Santos lands a pretty good straight right. Blachowicz lands a leg kick. Santos lands a left hook after both men wind up feinting with the lead leg. Blachowicz catches a body kick and gets them to the fence but can’t finish the double leg and they trade rights on the break. Santos lands a leg kick and they both miss left hooks. Blachowicz has a better feel for the punching range, he’s making Santos miss a fair bit. They stare away the final few seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Santos

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Santos lands another leg kick. Some stomp kicks to the lead leg from Santos, he’s getting Blachowicz to bite on his low kicks with that kind of set up. Blachowicz lands a body kick, Santos lands a leg kick. Santos misses a left hand. Hard leg kick from Blachowicz. Right then a body kick from Blachowicz. Leg kick from Santos. I get the feeling Blachowicz is playing for round 4 and 5, letting Santos spend energy and conserving himself for a full five rounds. Bit of a left from Blachowicz. Santos lands a leg kick then a left hook, Blachowicz lands a calf kick. Missed left hook from Santos, he’s selling out really hard on that after throwing a leg kick to try and set it up. They trade lefts then Blachowicz lands a body kick. Santos blocks a high kick, then misses a wheel kick just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Blachowicz, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Bit of a leg kick from Santos. Blachowicz is coming forward but walks into a left hook that floors him, he unloads a barrage of hammer fists as Blachowicz is down on the canvas to force the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Thiago Santos via TKO, punches, at :39 of Round 3

A more controlled pace from both guys than anticipated, but the patented Santos violence showed up. Santos gets an interview after that, he thanks Prague and mentions gaining experience and that he deliberately went after Manuwa the way he did because he could but would have to remain patient against Blachowicz. He talks us through the finish, mentions that he studied a lot of tape and puts over his team for getting him ready and into this spot. Asked who or what he wants next, he first just gives a message to Brazil given some of the disasters they’ve suffered lately then says the fans will answer that but he is going to be in Vegas for the upcoming Jones vs. Smith fight and if Smith is the champion he’ll beat him again and if it’s Jones he’ll beat him too.

Here’s the finish. Blachowicz leans too far forward on his initial rush, telegraphing it, but more importantly Blachowicz keeps his head on the center line through his missed combination and that lets Santos swing a heavy couple of hooks to his chin that drop him. From there, Santos doesn’t let people off the hook.

Here’s a slightly better angle of the sequence.

Alright everyone, that will wrap up UFC Fight Night 145/UFC on ESPN+ 3. My sincere apologies again for missing those first fights, I’ve had a few close calls with timing before but this is the first time I straight up missed any and I feel like crap about it. We’ll be breaking down the last two UFC events this Sunday on the 411 Ground and Pound Radio Show plus a look ahead to UFC 235 when Jon Jones tries to defend the light heavyweight title against Anthony Smith. Also all the news over the last couple of weeks including the news of an interim lightweight title fight and the retirement of one of the greatest of all time in Georges St-Pierre. I’ll be back for UFC 235 next Saturday, until then everyone thanks for reading, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.