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411’s UFC on ESPN+ 32 Report: Lewis Wins

August 9, 2020 | Posted by Robert Winfree

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 9 p.m. ET)
#4 Derrick Lewis (265 lbs.) vs. #10 Aleksei Oleinik (227 lbs.)
#11 Omari Akhmedov (185.75 lbs.) vs. Chris Weidman (186 lbs.)
Maki Pitolo (186 lbs.) vs. Darren Stewart (186 lbs.)
#8 Yana Kunitskaya (135.5 lbs.) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (136 lbs.)
#14 Beneil Dariush (158 lbs.)* vs. Scott Holtzman (156 lbs.)

Tim Means (171 lbs.) vs. Laureano Staropoli (174.5 lbs.)*
Joaquin Buckley (185 lbs.) vs. Kevin Holland (183.5 lbs.)
Nasrat Haqparast (156 lbs.) vs. Alexander Munoz (156 lbs.)
Andrew Sanchez (185.5 lbs.) vs. Wellington Turman (185.5 lbs.)
Justin Jaynes (146 lbs.) vs. Gavin Tucker (146 lbs.)
Peter Barrett (145.5 lbs.) vs. Youssef Zalal (146 lbs.)
Ali Alqaisi (136 lbs.) vs. Irwin Rivera (136 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 32. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the event. I’d like to apologize up front for potential quality issues tonight, I pulled/strained something in my lower back and hips a couple of days ago and am in a fair bit of pain. Hopefully it doesn’t become an issue, but just a heads up for all of you.

UFC on ESPN+ 32 is a bit of an odd card, there’s nothing that really stands out so it just kind of occupies space. The main event could be relevant for the heavyweight division (somewhat depending on how Miocic vs. Cormier plays out next week) when Derrick Lewis battles Aleksei Oleinik. There’s almost guaranteed weirdness in that fight, but we also really need to hope it doesn’t go longer than about 8 minutes. Chris Weidman is back at middleweight against Omari Akhmedov and it’s kind of do or die for Weidman who’d just 1-5 in his last six fights. Further down the card Tim Means and Laureano Staropoli has some violence potential but we’re really just hoping this event is better in practice than on paper.

UFC on ESPN+ 32 comes to the world from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. On commentary we have Brendan Fitzgerald and Paul Felder. As for the rules Nevada uses a hybrid system, they’ve adopted most of the changes but you still only need one hand on the mat to be considered downed and the officials have access to instant replay anytime they want it. Also of note, the APEX has the smaller 25′ cage which could be a very big deal for some upcoming fights.

Irwin Rivera is coming off of a loss in his UFC debut, but now that he’s back at bantamweight he’s hoping to get that all important first UFC win under his belt. Ali Alqaisi brings a five fight winning streak into his UFC debut and now gets his only chance to make a good first impression to the UFC audience. The odds are with Rivera at -170 to a +150 comeback on Alqaisi.

Bantamweight Bout: Ali Alqaisi (8-3, 136 lbs.) vs. Irwin Rivera (9-5, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Alqaisi has an inch of reach advantage. Southpaw for Rivera. Both men feinting early, just looking for openings. They clash and clinch up, Alqaisi gets Rivera on the fence. Body lock takedown from Rivera and he lands in side control. Some short elbows from Rivera. Alqaisi gets half guard, now to full guard and Rivera disengages. Jab from Rivera, Alqaisi counters with a right. Rivera jabs the body, Alqaisi fires a combination that’s blocked. Looping left from Rivera lands then a body kick. Alqaisi catches a leg and gets a single leg, Rivera tries to jump for a guillotine but loses the grip and Alqaisi is on top in half guard. Rivera shrimps up to his knees, Alqaisi gets a front headlock and looks to set up a choke from his knees. Back up now, Alqaisi lands a knee and they break. Jumping knee from Rivera misses, then he fires a left that lands a bit. Alqaisi avoids a high kick and lands a leg kick. Another clinch, they fight for position then Alqaisi gets a takedown into full guard. That’s where the round will end.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Alqaisi

ROUND TWO: Both men feinting around again, still looking for openings. Rivera jabs the body. Both men block head kicks. Stiff right from Rivera lands. Alqaisi lands an overhand right. Body shot from Alqaisi. Rivera lands a left. A couple of leg kicks land for Alqaisi. Neither man has a real handle on their offense yet. Alqaisi tries a single leg, Rivera gets the ride position and lands rights as Alqaisi gets back up. Bit of a left from Rivera. Alqaisi avoids a takedown, lands a knee to the body and a right hand. Rivera avoids a punch and tries a double leg, they both trade in close. Scissor sweep from Rivera, they wind up clinched as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Alqaisi but could go the other way, 20-18 Alqaisi overall

ROUND THREE: Both men pawing with the jab early. Rivera lands a couple of jabs. Stiff left from Rivera. Both men land power hand punches. Alqaisi gets a single leg, Rivera instantly scrambles back up and lands a left. The bridge of Alqaisi’s nose is cut after that last left. Alqaisi lands a one two. Hard inside calf kick from Rivera. Some more jabs from Rivera, they clinch again. Knee from Rivera hits the groin of Alqaisi and we’ve got time out. Replay confirms the low blow, it sounded worse than it was but that still wasn’t fun. Alqaisi can continue and we’re back to fighting. Jumping knee from Rivera lands flush but Alqaisi just eats it. They trade lefts. Rivera lands a one two. Bit of a leg kick from Alqaisi. Rivera swings a left to the body. Double leg from Rivera, he lands in half guard and lands some blows. Alqaisi wall walks, then eats another knee as they break. Rivera lands a head kick. Alqaisi gets a clinch, they hit the fence and the clock runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rivera, 29-28 Alqaisi overall but could go either way

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

No issues, all comes down to the second I think and that was kind of a coin flip round.

Youssef Zalal has a three fight winning streak going that includes two wins in the UFC, now he’s looking to extend that streak and start making his way up in competition. Peter Barrett makes his UFC debut here on the back of a win on the Contender Series, he’s hoping to stop the streaking Zalal and get his UFC career going on the right note. Zalal is your heavy favorite at -475 while Barrett’s comeback sits at a whopping +375.

Featherweight Bout: Peter Barrett (11-3, 145.5 lbs.) vs. Youssef Zalal (9-2, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Barrett has an inch of reach over Zalal. They touch gloves, southpaw for Barrett. Zalal comes out with low kicks and some stance switches early. Spinning back kick to the head and Barrett is down! Zalal swarms him on the mat with punches and hammer fists but Barrett is back up but stuck in a front headlock. Zalal lets go and resumes punching, I’m kind of shocked Barrett survived that kick. A couple of rights from Zalal to the body and head land. Zalal with a jumping knee, they clinch off of that and Barrett with a couple of knees before they break. Calf kicks now from Zalal. Barrett is pressing forward but not landing much. Combination from Zalal. Barrett lands a left and gets a clinch on the fence. Knees from Barrett and he gets the back standing. Zalal is holding a kimura grip to break the hands, and he does break them then lands a knee as they break. Left hook from Zalal lands. Barrett with a head kick that partially lands. They feint away the final ten seconds or so.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Zalal, Barrett fought back to save a 10-8

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the next round. Both men with kicks early, then Zalal lands a jab to the body. Zalal lands to the body and hits a calf kick. They clinch up, Barrett lands a knee and gets Zalal on the fence. They break apart and reset. Barrett lands a leg kick. Another clinch, Zalal hits a hip throw and moves to the back with both hooks in very quickly. Barrett looks to base up and gets on his feet but Zalal is holding his back. Back to his knees, and Barrett is kind of flat now. Zalal is fishing for the choke, Barrett defending so far. There’s a choke attempt from Zalal, he’s not under the chin yet and bails on the attempt. Barrett back to his base and is trying to shake Zalal over the top and off. Zalal remains on his back and flattens Barrett out. Some punches from Zalal, then a choke attempt and this one looks tighter. Barrett back to his base again after break the grip, and he will finally slide Zalal off as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Zalal but a marginal one, 20-17 Zalal overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Zalal circling and lands a calf kick. Another clinch, Zalal tries the headlock throw but loses the grip and they’re clinched up. They jockey for position, then Zalal escapes. A couple of punches land for Zalal and Barrett lands a left. Short right in close form Barrett lands. Zalal with a right. Combination from Zalal lands. There’s a single leg from Zalal, Barrett looks to grab a guillotine but has no guard in play and Zalal is on the safe side. Arm triangle attack from Zalal and he gets to side control with it but Barrett stalls him out there. Barrett gets some motion going and gets back up but is stuck in a front headlock. Zalal avoids an elbow as they break. Both men land lefts then Zalal lands a right. Single leg from Zalal and Barrett is down again. Barrett has full butterfly guard, he tries to get up but gives up full mount. Elbows from Zalal, and Barrett gives up his back again to avoid more of those. Hammer fists from Zalal, he’s trying to open up the choke. Zalal gets a choke attempt but he can’t finish it. Barrett back to his base, Zalal slides off and he fires up kicks as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10- Zalal, 30-26 Zalal overall

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

Great showing from Zalal, might be time to think about giving him a minor step up in competition. Mic time for Zalal, he’s happy to have won. He talks us through the spinning back kick and is surprised he didn’t get a finish off of that. He mentions this is his second fight in six weeks and notes he’s young and just wants to keep taking opportunities. The usual brass fellatio follows that and to close he dedicates the fight to Devonte Smith and his family both in Morocco and here in the States.

I kind of thought Zalal had it won after this, kudos to Barrett’s toughness.

Gavin Tucker has gone 2-1 in the UFC but is coming off of a win and now looks for his first UFC winning streak. Justin Jaynes has a five fight winning streak going including a surprise win in his short notice UFC debut a little over a month ago when he KO’d Frank Camacho. Jaynes is back in his normal weight class now and hoping to keep that momentum going at the expense of one of the brighter talents in the division. The odds are close but with Tucker at -115 to -105 for Jaynes.

Featherweight Bout: Justin Jaynes (16-4, 146 lbs.) vs. Gavin Tucker (11-1, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Jaynes is half an inch taller and has two inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Tucker as they touch gloves to get things going. Bit of a rush from Jaynes lands. Tucker lands a left. Jaynes lands a body shot, another left lands for Tucker. Shifting right from Tucker lands. Jaynes is struggling with the range a bit, Tucker can hit him at different distances while Jaynes is only punching. Tucker working his lead hand now, Jaynes still struggling to find the target. Body kick from Tucker. Body shot then a right form Tucker, he’s starting to cook along. Jaynes lands a left uppercut that drops Tucker. On top now, Jaynes lands blows then lands a knee as Tucker gets back up. A couple of rights from Jaynes, he’s swinging and Tucker gets a clinch to slow things down. Tucker gets a single leg, Jaynes grabs a guillotine and nearly rolls to full mount. Tucker gets free and moves to mount while holding an arm triangle attack. Jaynes manages to hang on until the round ends.


ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Tucker tries a head kick that’s blocked. A lot kicks from Tucker now. Jaynes is circling but Tucker keeps landing front kicks to the body. Left from Tucker, he’s also moving very well. A couple of knees from Tucker, Jaynes responds with uppercuts. Another body kick from Tucker. Tucker is slowly killing Jaynes with those front kicks to the body. Right uppercut from Tucker lands. Jaynes is getting chewed up at this point. Some knees from Tucker now, then a front kick to the chest. Bit of a head kick from Tucker, Jaynes just doesn’t seem to have an answer to any of this. Tucker with another front kick to the body. Combination from Tucker, this is getting horribly one sided. A few front kicks from Tucker, and then a left as Janyes misses a right to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Tucker, 20-18 Tucker overall

ROUND THREE: Jaynes trying to throw as this round starts. Bit of a right from Jaynes. Tucker lands some jabs. Right from Jaynes, then he ducks into a knee that wobbles him. Tucker tries a high kick that’s blocked. Right from Tucker, they clinch and he gets Jaynes down. Tucker to the back, he’s after the choke from a body triangle position. Jaynes keeps trying to hand fight but Tucker eventually gets the arm under the chin and forces the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Gavin Tucker via Submission, rear naked choke, at 1:43 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Tucker for his work his evening. Mic time for Tucker after that, he says the fight was a good test and he’s glad to have come out with a victory. He puts over Janye’s toughness and mentions how hard Jaynes hits. Asked about the guillotine he says it was tight but his options were escape or die so he escaped. Asked about the future he wants to fight again in about four months and mentions Billy Quarantillo as a possibly future opponent.

Here’s Tucker escaping the guillotine in the first, partially by losing his shorts.

Tucker’s knee in the third that badly wobbles Jaynes.

And the finish choke, the clip doesn’t show all the excellent hand fighting and switching side to side that Tucker did, but the choke is still sweet.

Andrew Sanchez has gone 2-3 in his last five fights but is coming off of a loss and is trying to avoid his second UFC losing streak. Wellington Turman has gone 1-1 in the UFC but is coming off of a win and looking for his first UFC winning streak. Turman is the favorite at -135 to a +115 payout on Sanchez.

Middleweight Bout: Andrew Sanchez (11-5, 185.5 lbs.) vs. Wellington Turman (16-3, 185.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Sanchez is an inch taller and has two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Turman punches into a clinch and they hit the fence. Sanchez has Turman on the cage and they start trading knees. Turman keeps threatening with trips but Sanchez is defending them well and keeping him on the cage. Bit of a right hook from Turman as they break. Left hook from Turman and a leg kick. Both men land lefts. Turmna lands a right then a bit of a head kick. Another right from Turman lands. Left then an inside leg kick from Turman. Sanchez is firing back looking to counter, and lands a short left hook in close. Turman lands a front kick to the body. That right hand lead from Turman lands again, he’s got a feel for that. Turman avoids a spinning elbow and lands a couple of punches. Right and left from Turman lands again. They trade rights. Sanchez with jabs to the body and head. One two from Sanchez lands flush. Another Sanchez right drops Turman out cold.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Andrew Sanchez via KO, punches, at 4:14 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Sanchez for his work this evening. Sanchez gets some mic time after that knockout, he credits his mullet and the non-stop training for getting the win. He talks us through the finish and puts over TriStar MMA for getting him here and improving his striking and says it feels good to get a KO after being labeled a boring wrestler. He feels like he’s finally been around the block enough to be a complete fighter and that he’s ready to make a legitimate run.

Turman drops his hands when he throws the front kick and is open to the counter that wobbles him. From there it’s just Sanchez finding a nice one two to put him down and out.

Nasrat Haqparast has gone 3-2 in the UFC, he’s coming off of a loss though and is trying to avoid his first ever losing streak. Alex Munoz is undefeated coming into his UFC debut, and could make an immediate impact by taking out a noted prospect in Haqparast. Haqparastis the favorite at -250 to a +210 comeback on Munoz.

Lightweight Bout: Nasrat Haqparast (11-3, 156 lbs.) vs. Alexander Munoz (6-0, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Haqparast is an inch taller but the reach is identical. Both men open southpaw. Munoz has a left blocked. Double leg from Munoz and he’s got Haqparast down against the fence. Haqparast back up but still in the clinch. They trade knees to the body. Haqparast takes a knee to the groin and we’ve got time. It takes a minute but Haqparast is able to continue and we’re back to action. Bit of a left from Haqparast. A couple more lefts from Haqparast land. Both men working the lead hand now. Haqparast lands some lefts and avoids a double leg attempt. They trade lefts but Haqparast is landing better so far. Right from Haqparast wobbles Munoz but he’s able to recover. Haqparast still pressing forward, he eats a left but isn’t deterred. Another left uppercut from Haqparast lands. Bit of a knee from Munoz as Haqparast defends a takedown attempt. Haqparast lands a left. Munoz avoids an uppercut as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Haqparast

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for this round. Bit of a left from Haqparast. Haqparast is still landing better, Munoz is a little too predictable and basic on the feet. Munoz lands a right hook. Jab from Haqparast lands. Both men land punches. Some jabs from Haqparast. Haqparast lands a right hook. Combination from Haqparast and Munoz is hurt, he tries a takedown but Haqparast defends. Jab from Haqparast lands. Left uppercut and a right hook from Haqparast. Munoz tries for a takedown, Haqparast defends and lands an uppercut. Both men land in close, and both men are bleeding though that might have been a clash of heads. Haqparast jabbing again as he moves Munoz around the cage. They split jabs as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Combination work to get the last round going. Haqparast is still looking sharp and his jab is coming alive. Left from Haqparast, Munoz lands a left of his own. Stiff jab from Haqparast and they trade in close, Munoz tries a takedown but Haqparast scrambles away immediately. Haqparast lands a left. Jab from Haqparast and Munoz follows it back with a left. Bit of a one two from Munoz, Haqparast lands a jab. Haqparast still working his jab, and it’s landing a lot. A right from Haqparast stumbles Munoz for a second. Another right hook from Haqparast lands. Munoz has a head kick blocked. Haqparast with a few more jabs. Pull back left from Haqparast lands. Munoz lands a left, they trade into a clinch and then break. Punches from Haqparast, he lands one to the body and that got a visible reaction from Munoz. Both men land in close again. A jab from Haqparast closes out the round.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Nasrat Haqparast via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Enjoyable little brawl, Munoz was just a step or two behind technically the whole fight. No interview for Haqparast.

Kevin Holland has gone 4-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a win, now he’s trying to build another winning streak and start a serious climb through the middleweight ranks. Joaquin Buckley brings a two fight winning streak into his UFC debut and is trying to make a good first impression because you only get one chance to do so. The odds are with Holland at -450 to while the +360 payout on Buckley has to tempt those who bet the long shots.

Middleweight Bout: Joaquin Buckley (10-2, 185 lbs.) vs. Kevin Holland (17-5, 183.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Holland is five inches taller and has five inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Buckley, they clash early and then scramble back up to the feet. Holland showing kicks now. Right from Buckley to counter a kick puts Holland on his seat for a second but they’re back up immediately. Body shots from Buckley, one hit the groin but Holland wants to keep fighting. Buckley is swinging heavy leather so far. Holland seems content to play defense and let Buckley wear himself out with power punches. Some elbows from Holland in close. There’s a small cut on the left eyebrow of Holland. They clinch up and hit the fence, then break. Inside leg kick from Holland. Holland lands a right. Buckley lands to the body and head but Holland lands a right. They clash again, and Holland took a low blow so we’ve got time again. Holland takes a minute and we’re back to fighting. Buckley avoids a head kick and lands a body shot. Holland lands a right that drops Buckley but he can’t follow up as Buckley gets up and separates. Holland has been landing front kicks to the body, he’s also using them to deter the forward momentum of Buckley. We get a flurry from Holland to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Holland

ROUND TWO: Holland avoids a few hooks, the Buckley lands a couple of body blows. Some blows inside from Buckley, he throws Holland down, Holland back up and they trade again. Glancing rights go back and forth. Some jabs now from Holland. Holland lands a front kick, then a short elbow in close. Buckley to the body again in close. Holland checks an inside leg kick. Combination from Buckley, partially successful. Buckely is still working out the five inch differential and how to make it work in the cage. Holland with a couple more front kicks to the body then a right behind the last one. Buckley blitzes into the clinch on the fence. They don’t stay there long then break apart. Buckley should curve his right hook around the low lead hand of Holland and dig the kidney when Holland tries to shoulder roll. Holland with an inside leg kick then a couple of front kicks to the body. Jabs from Holland as he moves around. Long right from Holland lands. They clinch, Holland with knees to the body as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: A couple of body kicks from Holland to start the round. Buckley lands a bit of a left. Holland lands a right. Another right from Holland floors Buckley and this one is over.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Kevin Holland via KO, punch, at :32 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Holland for his work this evening. Mic time for Holland after that finish, he notes there was a headbutt early but it didn’t matter and he feels his cardio improved coming into this fight. He notes it was hard to find everything on a guy that much shorter and he had to adjust and has been working hard on his cardio. Asked about the future he’ll fight whenever they want him in the cage, he puts over the UFC brass then says he can’t wait for Paul Felder’s next fight.

Take a look at this. Just wonderfully timed from Holland, and he uses the jab to set up a lovely straight right that ends the night of Buckley.

Tim Means has been trading wins and losses recently while going 2-3 in his last five fights, he’s coming off of a loss and will be hoping that pattern holds long enough to get a win here. Laureano Staropoli missed weight for this fight, never a good thing, and is coming off of a loss to Muslim Salikhov. Staropoli needs a win if he wants to regain some of his hype and to help smooth over the weight gaff. The odds are with Staropoli at -150 to a +130 comeback for Means.

Welterweight Bout: Tim Means (29-12-1 1 NC, 171 lbs.) vs. Laureano Staropoli (9-2, 174.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Means is an inch taller and has three and a half inches of reach advantage. Means fighting southpaw. Both men come out punching, then Staropoli lands a body kick. Means gets a body lock takedown quickly and gets the ride position. Staropoli back up and they break. Another clinch from Means and they’re on the fence. They trade knees to the body, Means lands an elbow as they break. Staropoli switching his stance now, he lands a one two then a left. Both men land uppercuts. Means gets a clinch, but nothing comes of this one. Leg kick from Staropoli then a couple of punches. Knees go back and forth. Staropoli slips a jab and lands a counter. Leg kick from Means. Both men working their lead hand now. Staropoli lands a couple of lefts. Means with a front kick to the body. Bit of a left from Staropoli again before he angles out. Means with a couple of lefts. Both men land power hand punches. Wheel kick from Staropoli glances off the skull of Means. Means lands a body kick, eats an elbow and they clinch up. They break without incident. Staropoli got poked in the eye on that break, but he can continue so we’re back to fighting. Means lands a left. Staropoli lands a body kick. Left hook from Staropoli lands. They stare away the final couple of seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Staropoli but could go either way

ROUND TWO: Back to striking again quickly. Staropoli lands a spinning elbow, Means just eats it and gets a takedown but can’t keep it. Means avoids a few kicks and lands a left hook. Both men with jabs. Means is getting his jab working now. Bit of a right from Staropoli. Staropoli leans into a head kick and he’s down. Means follows him down and gets the ride position, Staropoli back up and they break. They trade knees in close then Means with some follow ups. Staropoli lands to the body, Means lands a left. Staropoli lands to the body and head. Means eats a left then rolls with some follow ups. Both men land to the head and body in close. Elbow from Means in close. Bit of a body kick from Staropoli. Means lands a left. Leg kick from Staropoli. Staropoli lands another leg kick and Means gets a clinch. Knee from Means as they break. Staropoli lands a calf kick. Means forces another clinch but can’t keep it. Single leg attempt form Means, Staropoli defends then Means lands an elbow as they break and basically closes the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Means, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Staropoli lands a right then tries some kicks that are blocked. They clinch up again and hit the fence. Means with some knees to the thigh but this is stalling out a bit. Staropoli gets free and lands a couple of punches. We get pocket brawling in close from both men. Staropoli lands a body kick. Means eats a jab and gets the clinch again. Staropoli tries a throw but Means defends and resumes those small knees to the leg. Staropoli gets free but Means is back into the clinch immediately. Means looks for a double leg, gets the back standing and lands a knee as Staropoli gets chest to chest. Near mat return from Means but Staropoli remains upright. The ref breaks them up after Means grabbed the fence to keep the position. Both men land power hand punches. Staropoli lands a right. Means avoids a hook and gets another clinch. Double leg attempt from Means, Staropoli defends and lands an elbow but can’t get free. Means with some knees to the body then an elbow. The clock will wind down in that spot.

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

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

Fun fight from those two, as expected. Means on the mic now, he feels he demonstrated his patience here and is happy to have won and gotten the win on ESPN. He mentions the adversity that lead into his last fight and loss, but he got to show his family and town that you can overcome adversity. He mentions the weight cut was tough using just a portable sauna due to the covid precautions. To close he mentions his family back home, his home state of New Mexico, and the UFC.

That will wrap up the prelims, we’re now exclusive on ESPN+ for the main card.

Beneil Dariush is on a four fight winning streak and three consecutive post fight bonuses, but he wont get one of those here as he missed weight. Dariush has never missed weight before but it’s still a bad look. He’s trying to get his winning streak up to five and get a crack at the top of the division. Scott Holtzman has gone 2-1 in his last three fights but is on a two fight winning streak and could possibly crack the top rankings with a win here over the ranked Dariush. Dariush is your -220 favorite to +185 for Holtzman.

Lightweight Bout: #14 Beneil Dariush (18-4-1, 158 lbs.) vs. Scott Holtzman (14-3, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Dariush is an inch taller and has three inches of reach advantage, though of course he also missed weight. Southpaw for Dariush, and they touch gloves to get us going. Both men showing the power hand, then Dariush lands a body kick. Dariush lands a right hook, but takes an eye poke in the process so we’ve got time. Replay confirms the thumb to the eye. Dariush can continue so we’re back to fighting. They trade again, Dariush lands an inside leg kick that seemed to hit the groin but Holtzman doesn’t want time. Another exchange and Dariush complains of another eye poke, this time to the other eye. Replay confirms it, this one was worse than the other. Dariush can continue and Holtzman gets a stern warning on the restart. Both men swing into a clinch and Dariush is looking for the takedown against the fence. Holtzman defends but can’t get out of the clinch. They spin free and trade again then clinch and Dariush wobbles Holtzman with a knee. Dariush is after him looking for a finish as Holtzman tries to defend. Holtzman gets on the fence, Dariush tags him again but Holtzman is after a single leg. Dariush gets the ride position with one hook in. Holtzman back up but Dariush is still on his back. They get chest to chest, Dariush lands another knee to the head. Left from Dariush as they break, Holtzman is visibly still wobbled. A couple of body kicks from Dariush. Holtzman avoids a left and lands a right. Dariush lands a left. Long left from Dariush lands flush. One two from Dariush and he unloads along the fence on Holtzman who manages to stay upright, then Dariush hits a spinning back fist and finally ENDS Holtzman.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Beneil Dariush via KO, spinning back fist, at 4:38 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Dariush for his work this evening. Wicked knockout from Dariush there. Mic time for Dariush, he says the fight felt about 50-50 and he says he didn’t used to be this kind of fighter but sometimes you just forget everything and fight. He and Felder joke about being 2 of the few men with spinning back fist finishes in the UFC. He apologizes for missing weight and asks that if Dana White is listening and that performance was bonus worthy (it was) he wants Holtzman to get that 50k. He dedicates the win to the recently deceased Ravi Zacharias who he says helped him a lot with his personal journey with Christ.

Watch how Dariush shows the lead hand to get a reaction out of Holtzman before stepping through with the back fist to end his opponent. A real nice bit of striking here.

Yana Kunitskaya has gone 2-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a loss, she’s hoping to avoid her first UFC losing streak and get her record back above the .500 mark. Julija Stoliarenko is returning to the UFC with a five fight winning streak, she previously fought on the TUF 28 finale and lost a split decision. She’s hoping her return to the promotion goes better and she could make an immediate impact by taking out a ranked opponent. Kunitskaya is your favorite at -175 to a +155 comeback on Stoliarenko.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: #8 Yana Kunitskaya (12-5 1 NC, 135.5 lbs.) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (9-3-1, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Stoliarenko is an inch taller but Kunitskaya has two and a half inches of reach on her. They touch gloves to get us going. Both women miss punches. They punch into a clinch and Kunitskaya gets things to the fence. Knees from Kunitskaya. Stoliarenko can’t get free and Kunitskaya is landing knees to the body. More knees from Kunitskaya. Stoliarenko tries to jump for guard but can’t break the posture of Kunitskaya. More knees from Kunitskaya, Stoliarenko lands an elbow. Kunitskaya returns those elbows with some of her own. Stoliarenko is bleeding from the nose now. Some impressive wall based ground and pound from Kunitskaya here. Stoliarenko tries to climb up for a guillotine. Kunitskaya breaks the grip and gets free, Stoliarenko tries a takedown and they clinch again. Kunitskaya back to knees to the body along with punches to the face. Stoliarenko is still stuck on the fence and can’t get free. Kunitskaya working knees and punches. The round ends in that spot.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kunitskaya

ROUND TWO: Kunitskaya catches a kick and tosses Stoliarenko down, then clinches her on her way up and drives her back into the fence. Elbows and knees from Kunitskaya as she’s got Stoliarenko stuck here. More knees from Kunitskaya to the body, Stoliarenko is really unable to do anything to get off of the fence here. Stoliarenko tries to roll under for a leg, Kunitskaya gets free and kicks her then forces another clinch as Stoliarenko gets up. Kunitskaya with knees and short punches, this may not be exciting but she’s winning handily. Those knees from Kunitskaya are coming faster now and are really adding up. Stoliarenko tries to jump for guard and they hit the mat but Kunitskaya keeps a cross face as they do. Kunitskaya keeps Stoliarenko pressed into the fence and lands elbows. Stoliarenko tries for the armbar but the fence is complicating things for her. Kunitskaya gets her arm free and lands some punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Kunitskaya as apart from that armbar attempt it was a wipe out, 20-17 Kunitskaya overall

ROUND THREE: Quick clinch again and Kunitskaya gets things back to the fence. Stoliarenko tries to jump for guard again but Kunitskaya keeps her pressed into the fence and lands punches. Stoliarenko pulls guard successfully after changing her angle. Kunitskaya lands a few short blows. Some body shots from Kunitskaya now. The ref stands them up after things had stalled out. Kunitskaya bulls into the clinch again and starts working knees. Lefts from Kunitskaya now to the body and head. Stoliarenko pulls half guard, Kunitskaya stands free and then clinches again. Kunitskaya keeps working the body with knees, and a few punches to the head before they break. Some punches at distance for both women land. Kunitskaya jabbing and moving. They clinch, knees from Kunitskaya and an elbow then she pulls free. A side kick from Kunitskaya closes out the round.

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

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

Dominant performance though it wasn’t terribly interesting. No interview for Kunitskaya

Darren Stewart has gone 4-2 in his last six fights but is coming off of a loss and now looks to get back on the winning side of things. Maki Pitolo has gone 1-1 in the UFC but is coming off of a win and could get his first UFC winning streak up and running here. Stewart is the favorite at -160 to a +140 comeback on Pitolo.

Middleweight Bout: Maki Pitolo (13-5, 186 lbs.) vs. Darren Stewart (11-5 1 NC, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Stewart is two inches taller but Pitolo has an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. They clash early and Pitolo lands a knee to the head. Stewart lands a leg kick. Bit of a jab from Stewart. Pitolo keeps circling around the outside, Stewart isn’t cutting him off. Both men land punches and they clinch up. Pitolo spins free and they trade punches. Right from Pitolo wobbles Stewart for a second. Stewart avoids some punches, then he tries a combination but Pitolo is inside the range and avoids his fists. Clinch now from Stewart and he’s got Pitolo on the fence. Pitolo drops for a double leg, switches to a single leg but Stewart grabs a guillotine on the way down and after a grip adjustment he gets the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Darren Stewart via Submission, guillotine choke, at 3:41 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Stewart for his work this evening. Mic time for Stewart, he mentions the short notice nature of this fight and dedicates the win to his friend who was murdered recently. He talks us through the finishing sequence then says he’ll be willing to stick around for a bit if there’s a fight for him in the next few weeks but too much longer than that and he’d rather head back home to be with his family. To close he jokes that he still looks great even after the fight.

There’s some really good stuff here. Stewart is trying to defend with a wrestlers grovet, as Pitolo switches his head from inside to outside he slips the forearm under the chin and looks for the choke. On the ground he adjusts his grip from a standard high elbow grip to a power guillotine set up, uses the half guard grip on Pitolo’s leg to hold him down and force the tap.

We get a pre-recorded interview with Daniel Cormier to hype his fight next week. He says the camp has been grueling but he needed that to be successful against Miocic. He mentions that he’s won the vast majority of the time he and Miocic have spent in the cage together and that his win in the first fight wasn’t a fluke. Asked about what he’s done differently this time he just wanted to train like he used to because he didn’t do that last time and feels it showed in the outcome. He says this fight means everything for him, while his legacy is secure if he can become a two time heavyweight champion along with everything else he’s done he’ll be among the very greatest of all time. He believes this fight will be his last, he’s sacrificed a lot over the years and he can’t even spend time with his pregnant wife and kids right now, and hopes this is his time to go out with an unforgettable moment. To close he feels he can beat Miocic everywhere, as long as he stays the course and fights his fight he’ll regain the title.

Omari Akhmedov hasn’t lost since returning to middleweight, in fact he hasn’t lost since 2016, but now has a chance for his highest profile win when he takes on a former champion. Chris Weidman might be a former middleweight champion but he’s just 1-5 in his last six fights and has been finished brutally in all of those losses. If Weidman ever wants to make another move towards the title he cannot afford his second three fight losing streak here. Despite the two fight losing streak Weidman is the -150 favorite to a +130 comeback on the ranked Akhmedov.

Middleweight Bout: #11 Omari Akhmedov (20-4-1, 185.75 lbs.) vs. Chris Weidman (14-5, 186 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Weidman is two inches taller and has five inches of reach over Akhmedov. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men feinting with the hands early. Weidman reaches for a single leg, Akhmedov defends and lands a bit of a right. Akhmedov defends a takedown attempt, they hit the fence clinched then separate. Calf kick from Akhmedov. Weidman reaches for the single leg again, uses that to get onto the fence still looking for it. Akhmedov defends and then separates. Bit of a right from Akhmedov. Akhmedov digs the body with a left. Weidman goes southpaw now, they trade punches. Akhmedov lands a right, tries a double leg but Weidman gets a front headlock and sprawls on him. Back to the feet and clinched then they separate. Weidman grabs a single leg and trips the post leg to get on top of Akhmedov finally. Akhmedov looks to regain his feet, he’s up and clinched on the fence. Weidman still after the single leg, switches to a double leg and gets Akhmedov to his seat along the fence. Butterfly guard for Akhmedov now, Weidman passes to half guard. A few short elbows from Weidman close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Weidman

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the round. Bit of a right from Weidman. Akhmedov lands a right. Akhmedov lands a left hook and gets a clinch then takes Weidman down. Weidman looking to wall walk, Akhmedov lands some lefts as he gets up. Single leg now from Akhmedov, defended and they break. Akhmedov lands a jab. Weidman tries a single leg, Akhmedov limp legs free. Body shots from Akhmedov. They wrestle to the fence then break. Bit of a left from Akhmedov, then he defends a single leg until they hit the fence. Some elbows from Akhmedov as Weidman looks for a single leg. Akhmedov defends and spins free. Some punches from Akhmedov, both men already look tired. Another body shot from Akhmedov and a knee as well. Akhmedov with a few jabs then a body shot. Left hook from Akhmedov. Double leg from Akhmedov and he’s on top in half guard. Some ground and pound from Akhmedov, he stands and Weidman is back up. Akhmedov digs the liver again. Weidman keeps eating the left of Akhmedov. Akhmedov catches a kick and trips Weidman down then lands a few lefts as he gets up. Single leg from Akhmedov, he stands over Weidman, lands a bit of a left before the ref makes them restart on the feet. They trade rights as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Akhmedov, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: They trade some lefts as the last round starts. Weidman tries a single leg, Akhmedov defends and lands a knee to the body. They hit the fence again, Weidman gets the ride position but Akhmedov is back up against the fence. Mat return from Weidman and he’s got the ride position again. Weidman is after a banana split or spladle, but he can’t get it. Akhmedov rolls and gives up his back, Weidman transitions to the arm triangle from full mount. Weidman loses the choke attempt but he’s still got full mount. Not much going on but there’s no chance the ref stands Weidman up from full mount. Weidman lands a couple of elbows. Akhmedov to a hip, but can’t find the shrimp escape and is still stuck. Weidman is still trying to attack the arm triangle, he’s slowly cranking it and improving his position. Weidman bails on that, a few short elbows now. Akhmedov gives up his back, Weidman with some punches as time runs down.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Chris Weidman via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27 x2)

Can see a 10-8 for Weidman in the third, he had full mount for most of that round, but that wasn’t exactly inspiring in terms of what Weidman’s future in the division could be. Mic time for Weidman, he says he’s not thrilled with the performance but knows how badly he needed the win. He says Akhmedov is tough then says he’s back at 185 and he’s coming for all of the top guys.

Derrick Lewis is on a two fight winning streak though both were somewhat dubious decisions, still he’s hoping to get to three in a row again and possibly find another shot at the heavyweight title. Aleksei Oleinik is on a two fight winning streak and could likewise find himself towards the title picture if he can get his 60th professional win here at the expense of Lewis. The odds are with Lewis at -210 to a +180 payout on Oleinik.

Heavyweight Bout: #4 Derrick Lewis (23-7 1 NC, 265 lbs.) vs. #10 Aleksei Oleinik (59-13-1, 227 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Lewis is an inch taller while Oleinik has an inch of reach advantage, the biggest difference is weight where Lewis is some forty pounds heavier. Lewis comes out kicking and we get a brawl before they clinch. Oleinik looking to wrap the head already but he thinks better of it. Lewis tosses Oleinik down and lands some punches before Oleinik gets half guard. Oleinik sneaks out the back and Lewis gets back on top in half guard again. Lewis is floating on top but not doing much at the moment. Oleinik looks to wrap the head with an ezekiel choke but he decides against it. Back up on a single leg and Oleinik gets Lewis down into side control. Oleinik sets up the scarf hold, he gets the position set up but Lewis gets free and lands punches as Oleinik sits in guard. Lewis trying to ride from half guard, Oleinik sweeps into side control and is after the scarf-hold again. Oleinik keeps attacking that scarf hold chest compressor, he could switch to attacking the scarf-hold armbar if he wanted bu the keeps going for the compressor. Oleinik bails on the scarf hold and elbows the body. Now Oleinik looks to isolate the far arm, he’s got an americana attack but the round ends before he can really crank on it.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Oleinik

ROUND TWO: Lewis is backing up, he lands a right and Oleinik is down. Oleinik tries to come up on a single leg but Lewis gets weight down on him, pins him there and unloads with punches until the ref stops it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Derrick Lewis via KO, punches and hammer fists, at :21 of Round 2

Lewis now has the most knockouts in UFC heavyweight history at 11, surpassing both Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. Lewis on the mic now, he mentions Oleinik had that scarf hold pretty tight and he couldn’t breathe but he got through it. He mentions he knows he’s not where he needs to be at physically, and he wants to drop another 15-20 pounds before he takes another fight. Asked about the future with that in mind he thinks December is a realistic goal, then talks about his family and thanks them for their support. He lists some companies in Houston who have supported him as well, I wonder if any of them sponsor him and he just snuck them onto the broadcast.

Alright everyone that wraps up UFC on ESPN+ 32, some dull spots but some really nice finishes along the way as well. Next week will be UFC 252 when Stipe Miocic tries to get his second heavyweight title reign its first defense when he battles former champion Daniel Cormier. That should be a heck of a fight if their first two bouts were any indicator. We’ll review all the action from this event and preview that one on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast tomorrow. I’ll be back next week for UFC 252. Thanks everyone for being here, be that live or after the fact. I hope you’ll be back next week. Until then thanks again, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC on ESPN+ 32, Robert Winfree