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411’s UFC on ESPN+ 33 Report: Rakic Wins

August 30, 2020 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC on ESPN+ 33

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MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 9 p.m. ET)
#5 Anthony Smith (205 lbs.) vs. #8 Aleksandar Rakic (205.5 lbs.)
#13 Robbie Lawler (171 lbs.) vs. #14 Neil Magny (171 lbs.)
Alexa Grasso (126 lbs.) vs. #14 Ji Yeon Kim (126 lbs.)
Bill Algeo (146 lbs.) vs. Ricardo Lamas (145 lbs.)

Impa Kasanganay (185.5 lbs.) vs. Maki Pitolo (184.5 lbs.)
Zak Cummings (185 lbs.) vs. Alessio Di Chirico (184 lbs.)
Alex Caceres (145 lbs.) vs. Austin Springer (151 lbs.)*
Christian Aguilera (170 lbs.) vs. Sean Brady (170.5 lbs.)
Polyana Viana (116 lbs.) vs. Emily Whitmire (115.5 lbs.)
Hannah Cifers (117 lbs.)* vs. Mallory Martin (115.5 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 33. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the evening, relaying all of the action to you just as I see it. Main events fall through, hurricanes make landfall, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria reigns supreme. . . yet the UFC machine keeps turning over. This event has had a few different headlining acts, the most recent was a frequently attempted featherweight clash between Yair Rodriguez and Zabit Magomedshapirov but that fell through a few weeks back when Rodriguez reportedly broke his ankle. With no replacement being acceptable Zabit withdrew and the old co-main became the main event. We’re dealing a 3 round main event tonight as Anthony Smith battles Aleksandar Rakic for position in a suddenly wide open light heavyweight division. The current co-main is also a replacement fight, originally Neil Magny was to fight Geoff Neal but Neal had to pull out and in steps former champion Robbie Lawler. Oh, we also lost a fight between Ryan Hall and Ricardo Lamas that I was really looking forward to, instead Lamas now welcomes newcomer Bill Algeo.

All in all this is kind of a space filler card. Robbie Lawler is trying to stop a three fight losing streak, Alexa Grasso makes her flyweight debut and could move right into the rankings with a win over Ji Yeon Kim, and we get the rematch between Magomed Aknalaev and Ion Cutelaba after the controversial stoppage in their first bout. Mostly we’re in hope the fights are good mode because there isn’t much on paper to get too excited about.

UFC on ESPN+ 33 comes to the world from the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. On commentary we have Brendan Fitzgerald and Paul Felder. As for the rules Nevada uses a hybrid set where they have adopted most of the changes made recently but you still need only one hand on the mat to be considered downed and they allow the use of instant replay whenever the official wants it. We are still in the smaller 25 foot diameter cage at the APEX instead of the usual 30 foot one as well.

Well, a couple of hours before the event was set to begin word came down that Ion Cutelaba had a positive COVID-19 test and that fight is off again.

Mallory Martin just had a five fight winning streak snapped in her UFC debut when she ran into Virna Jandiroba, now she’s trying to bounce back and get her first UFC win. Hannah Cifers is on a three fight losing streak and missed weight for this fight, putting her back very much up against the wall as adding another loss to that equation could easily spell her exit from the UFC. Martin is a hefty favorite at -300 to a +250 comeback on Cifers.

Strawweight Bout: Hannah Cifers (10-6, 117 lbs.) vs. Mallory Martin (6-3, 115.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Martin is three inches taller but only has one inch of reach over Cifers. Circling from Cifers early. Both women probing with punches but not really committing yet. There’s an exchange of rights. A lot of circling, then clashing for a couple of punches, then circling again. Martin lands an uppercut. Cifers lands a leg kick. Bit of a left hook from Martin. Both women still relying on arm punches more than real technique. Jab from Martin lands. Cifers lands a right. Right from Cifers drops Martin and she follows Martin down into her guard. Martin tries to get her guard in play, she’s up and Cifers keeps trying to unload from the clinch. Cifers lands another hard right along the fence. Martin is doing just enough to keep this going. Cifers avoids a bad double leg, then Martin pulls guard. Slam from Cifers to break the guard and she looks to unload again but Martin is more defensively aware now and she gets full guard back. Armbar attempt from Martin but Cifers avoids it without much difficulty. Back on the feet and Martin circles away as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Cifers

ROUND TWO: Martin comes out jabbing, but the lack of head movement from both women is still a problem. Martin punches into a clinch and has Cifers on the cage. Outside reap from Martin and she lands on top in leg drag position. Punches from Martin, and Cifers is bleeding from the bridge of her nose. Full mount now for Martin and she lands some elbows. Cifers gives up her back, Martin grabs the choke and that’s it for the fight.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Mallory Martin via Submission, rear naked choke, at 1:33 of Round 2

Mic time for Martin after that, she notes the adversity she had to deal with in the first and apologizes for not winning in the first. She says she was conscious during that exchange and she notes her history of coming back from adversity in her personal life. She talks us through the finish to close.

Here’s a look at the right that floored Martin in the first, fight could have been called and I don’t think too many people would have complained.

But the ref let it go and Martin persevered to get the finish in the second. Fairly textbook rear naked choke once Cifers gives up the back without any kind of hand control.

Polyana Viana has gone 1-3 in the UFC and is on a three fight losing streak, she’s trying to snap that streak and avoid the chopping block. Emily Whitmire has gone 2-2 in the UFC but is coming off of a loss and is hoping for a win to get her UFC record above the .500 mark. The odds are slightly with Whitmire at -140 to +120 for Viana.

Strawweight Bout: Polyana Viana (10-4, 116 lbs.) vs. Emily Whitmire (4-3, 115.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Viana has three and half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Leg kick from Viana. They trade quickly in close quarters. Both miss punches then trade leg kicks. Inside leg kick then a right from Viana. Whitmire doesn’t like that, she gets a takedown into side control. Viana gets full guard and lands some elbows from her back. More elbows from Viana while she’s attacking an arm. Armbar attempt from Viana, there’s a quick adjustment from her and Whitmire has to tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Polyana Viana via Submission, armbar, at 1:53 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Viana for her work this evening. Mic time for Viana, she’s very happy to have won and dedicates the win to someone who recently passed away. She mentions using the elbows to distract for the submission as well as offering options to win via cuts even if she couldn’t get the tap. Asked about her angling(fishing) past time she plans to celebrate on Mammoth Mountain and catching some fish with her team.

This is really nice stuff. Viana hooks the opposite leg from the arm she attacks to limit the defensive options for Whitmire, pivots her hips around and grabs the arm. Also, if you’re not squeamish, watch the arm of Whitmire just before the tap because your elbow is not supposed to bend that way.

Sean Brady is undefeated including two wins in the UFC, and he’s looking to maintain that momentum and possibly earn a shot at someone further up in the rankings next. Christian Aguilera is on a three fight winning streak including a successful UFC debut a few months back, he’s hoping to take out a bright prospect and also start looking for bigger names going forward. Brady is your -420 favorite while the +340 payout for Aguilera has to tempt a few bettors.

Welterweight Bout: Christian Aguilera (14-6, 170 lbs.) vs. Sean Brady (12-0, 170.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Brady is an inch taller but the reach is identical. They touch gloves to get us going. Inside leg kick from Brady while he’s circling. Both men showing the lead hand as well now. Leg kick from Brady. Aguilera lands a leg kick of his own. Brady lands a body kick then they trade lefts. Leg kick from Aguilera, Brady returns it. Brady keeps finding his left hand, Aguilera is swinging a little wide. There’s a cut around the right eyebrow of Aguilera, not bad but it is there. Brady keeps landing his left hand when Aguilera tries to close distance, his jab is stopping him when it connects. They trade leg kicks. Left hook then a right from Brady. More leg kicks from Brady, Aguilera lands a right. Both men still doing good work at kicking distance. Brady blasts forward with a double leg and gets Aguilera down into full guard against the fence. Half guard now for Brady, he lands rights and lefts. Some more ground and pound from Brady closes out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Brady

ROUND TWO: Touch of gloves for the second round. Brady moving well, showing some stance switches and lands another left. Both men land lefts. Another exchange of lefts, then Brady catches a leg kick and gets a takedown into half guard. Hammer fists and elbows from Brady, he’s got consistent ground and pound to try and set up his pass. Full mount for Brady, he’s got a guillotine threat but loses it as Aguilera bucks. Brady adjusts, gets mount again with the guillotine and puts Aguilera to sleep.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sean Brady via Technical Submission, mounted guillotine choke, at 1:47 of Round 2

Mic time for Brady after his first UFC finish, he says he’s been dreaming about this for ten years and it’s a dream come true before thanking his family and team. Asked about who’s next he says he wants a bigger name so he can get what he deserves but doesn’t have anyone specific in mind.

Brady loses the first attempt but never loses the grip/catch around the neck so he can attack again almost immediately and the second time he does a better job of maintaining posture and position to put Aguilera to sleep.

Alex Caceres is on a two fight winning streak and could get three wins in a row for the first time in his UFC career. Austin Springer took this fight on short notice which almost certainly contributed to his missing weight rather badly, but he’s got a three fight winning streak and could get the biggest win of his career by taking out a UFC veteran. The odds are with Caceres at -200 to +175 for Springer.

Featherweight Bout: Alex Caceres (16-12 1 NC, 145 lbs.) vs. Austin Springer (12-3, 151 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Caceres has two inches of height and reach over Springer, and of course Springer missed weight rather badly. They touch gloves to get things going. Calf kick from Springer, Caceres fighting southpaw. Bit of a head kick from Caceres. They wind up clinched then break quickly. Springer lands a right then an inside leg kick. Both men miss kicks. Bit of a left from Caceres as he ate a leg kick. Some lead hand work from Caceres now, but he eats another hard inside leg kick. Springer doesn’t have an answer for the footwork and movement when he wants to engage, but he lands another couple of leg kicks. Caceres lands a body shot, then avoids a takedown then gets the back as Springer kind of dropped to his knees, he gets the rear naked choke and we’re done.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alex Caceres via Submission, rear naked choke, at 3:38 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Caceres for his work this evening. Mic time for Caceres, he feels great but does note he had three opponent changes ahead of this fight but he was drilling those kinds of positions for Chikadze as well. He puts over some of his coaches then talks us through the finish, then when asked about what’s next he wants another fight before the year ends given how relatively unscathed he is.

I can’t tell how well the left of Caceres lands, but even if it misses Springer still has no drive on his takedown so Caceres sprawls then spins with minimal resistance. From there the choke is somewhat academic.

Alessio Di Chirico has gone 2-2 in his last four fights but is on a two fight losing streak and badly needs a win here to salvage some divisional momentum. Zak Cummings has gone 2-2 in his last four fights as well, he’s coming off of a loss and is trying to avoid the first losing streak of his UFC career. Di Chirico is a slight -120 favorite to an even +100 on Cummings.

Middleweight Bout: Zak Cummings (23-7, 185 lbs.) vs. Alessio Di Chirico (12-4, 184 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Cummings has an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves, Cummings fighting southpaw. Di Chirico misses some punches, just range finding so far. Inside leg kick from Di Chirico. Cummings is backing Di Chirico towards the fence. Di Chirico has a head kick blocked. Cummings has a head kick blocked then he eats a leg kick. That was a solid kick Di Chirico landed. Di Chirico reaches for a single leg, Cummings defends but it was a good set up. Cummings lands a calf kick. Di Chirico lands a hard right as Cummings closes distance. Bit of a right from Cummings. Inside leg kick from Cummings. Bit of a left from Cummings, Di Chirico with a left of his own. Cummings lands a calf kick. Both men still pawing with that lead hand, neither man has a real feel for the fight. Di Chirico lands a looping left hook after they both missed power hand punches. Body kick from Di Chirico and they trade in close. They trade power hand punches then a left from Di Chirico lands to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Di Chirico

ROUND TWO: Circling again from both men, still trying to find a reliable read on each other. Cummings lands an inside leg kick. Di Chirico lands an inside leg kick. Cummings keeps backing Di Chirico up but isn’t able to really capitalize on that. Some stance switching from Cummings now, he lands a left from the southpaw stance. Very uneventful round so far. Both men miss punches. Di Chirico lands a short right. Left from Cummings lands. They both throw power hand punches, Cummings landed a little better. Cummings with a hard inside leg kick. Some punches are exchanged to close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Cummings, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Cummings pushing forward again, both men with some punches. Now leg kicks go back and forth. Left to the body from Cummings. Some jabs to the body from Di Chirico, then he lands a left hook. Di Chirico coming forward with hooks, he walks into a straight left but just eats it. Bit of a left from Di Chirico to counter an inside leg kick. Di Chirico lands another left hook at the end of his combination, that’s been his most successful punch so far. Cummings checks an inside leg kick. They trade power hand punches, then Cummings lands a body kick. Low kick from Cumming hits the groin and we’ve got time. Di Chirico walks it off very quickly and we’re back to fighting. Bit of a left from Cummings, Di Chirico lands a right. Cummings avoids a hook and lands a straight left. Another straight left from Cummings and they both swing. Cummings lands an inside leg kick, those are adding up for him. A little bit of an exchange, then they brawl for the final seconds and just at the bell Cummings FLOORS Di Chirico with a head kick but it looks like the ref signaled the end of the round rather than the end of the fight.

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

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

Not sure about 30-27 for Cummings but the right man won. Di Chirico was likely saved by the bell after that head kick. Mic time for Cummings, he thought he might have had the stoppage but knew it was late in the fight and is just happy to get back into the cage and back on the winning side. He mentions he’s been here for 7 years, and mentions Di Chirico did a lot of things to help slow him down but he finally found stuff out near the end.

A look at the end of the fight. Nicely timed head kick from Cummings, any more time left in that round and this leads to a finish.

Maki Pitolo has gone 1-2 in the UFC but they’ve all been rather entertaining bouts, he is coming off of a loss though and will be trying to get back on the winning side of things. Impa Kasanganay is undefeated and makes his UFC debut on the back of two wins on the Contender Series, now he’s looking to maintain that momentum and get his first UFC win. Despite the experience difference Kasanganay is your favorite at -135 to the +115 of Pitolo.

Middleweight Bout: Impa Kasanganay (7-0, 185.5 lbs.) vs. Maki Pitolo (13-6, 184.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Kasanganay is an inch taller but the reach is identical. They touch gloves to get us going. Kasanganay moving well, lands a leg kick. Pitolo with a front kick then a series of hooks. Both men land in close, these two are swinging some serious leather. Kasanganay lands a calf kick. Pitolo misses a few punches but he’s got a read on the motion of Kasanganay. They trade rights. Kasanganay lands a right to the body. Lefts are traded, Pitolo’s use of combinations is giving him an edge. They clinch, then separate as Pitolo has a high kick blocked. Kasanganay lands a right to the body. Pitolo lands a right, then they trade in close. Right from Kasanganay lands but Pitolo rolled with it. Head kick from Pitolo is partially blocked and they trade leg kicks. Combination from Kasanganay lands and he’s got Pitolo on the fence. Kasanganay keeps throwing, Pitolo rolls and dips and Kasanganay backs off. There’s a cut around the left eye of Pitolo after that barrage. Bit of a right from Kasanganay, and there’s swelling over the right eyebrow of Pitolo as well. They stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Kasanganay

ROUND TWO: Kasanganay circling and jabbing now. Jab from Kasanganay, Pitolo misses a right. The jab of Kasanganay is working now. Kasanganay lands a right. Pitolo misses a spinning back fist. Kasanganay is pushing Pitolo to the fence again, and they trade jabs. Pitolo catches a kick but can’t capitalize. Inside leg kick from Pitolo lands, and he takes a bit of a counter punch. Jabs from Kasanganay again, they’re landing consistently now. Pitolo lands a left hook. Kasanganay with a one two along the fence. Both men land lefts. Clinch from Kasanganay now, and they hit the fence. Bit of an elbow from Kasanganay as they break. Stiff left from Kasanganay. Pitolo lands a right. Hard left from Kasanganay, nice switch before he landed that too. Another clinch, then Kasanganay lands an elbow on the break. One two from Kasanganay to counter a kick, Pitolo just eats it again. Pitolo avoids a rush as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Both men still swinging as the round starts. Both men land punches. Left lands for Pitolo. There’s a right from Kasanganay. Right to the body then a left hook from Kasanganay lands. Bit of a left from Kasanganay. Pitolo misses a right and eats a counter left. Pitolo still circling around the outside, Kasanganay stalking him. Hard left hook from Kasanganay. Both men trying to work the lead hand again, Kasanganay’s jab has kind of disappeared this round. There’s a left from Kasanganay. Right from Kasanganay, he’s working more than Pitolo. Bit of an uppercut from Kasanganay, then a follow up left. Counter right lands for Kasanganay. Pitolo lands a bit of a right. They just stare away the final seconds.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Impa Kasanganay via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Kasanganay looked composed and smooth for a guy that new to the sport, still some decision making that will come with experience. No interview as we’re short on time.

That ends the prelims, the main card is exclusive to ESPN+.

Ricardo Lamas is a longtime staple of the fight game but he’s been on a slide lately, just 1-3 in his last four fights. Lamas is hoping to arrest that skid here and avoid another losing streak. Bill Algeo took this fight on about a weeks notice or so, but did win his last fight and could score the biggest win of his career tonight. Lamas is your -280 favorite while Algeo’s comeback sits at +240.

Featherweight Bout: Bill Algeo (13-4, 146 lbs.) vs. Ricardo Lamas (19-8, 145 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Algeo is four inches taller and has two inches of reach over Lamas. Southpaw for Algeo, they start out circling. Some leg kicks go back and forth then a body kick from Algeo. Lamas avoids a takedown attempt and gets a front headlock, they scramble a bit then separate. Algeo orthodox now. Both men miss kicks. They trade jabs. Lamas avoids a rush but winds up clinched on the fence. Some knees from Lamas while they jockey for position. They separate without issue. Lamas lands a front kick to the body. Calf kick from Lamas. Another front kick to the body from Lamas lands. Algeo lands a leg kick. Front kick from Algeo this time, then they trade leg kicks. Lamas lands an uppercut but misses the follow up high kick. Right from Lamas lands. They trade in close, Lamas lands a couple of calf kicks that are adding up. Lamas lands a right. Body kick from Algeo. More punches are traded then Algeo lands a spinning back kick to the body. Knee from Algeo in close, and Lamas lands a calf kick. Another one from Lamas. Algeo punches in close and lands in the clinch as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lamas

ROUND TWO: Algeo comes out kicking again, lands a bit of a head kick. Jabs from Algeo then a long right. Lamas tries a double leg, Algeo defends and they wind up on the fence. Lamas drags him down from the back and looks for hooks on the mat but Algeo defends and separates after a scramble. Punches from Algeo then elbows in close quarters. Lamas is bleeding from his nose now, Algeo with a combination. Lamas reaches for a takedown, they hit the fence though and Algeo defends. Some elbows to the shoulder and back from Algeo while defending, that nose is bleeding badly now. Lamas eats a knee, he tries for another double leg but Algeo is digging elbows to his head and body while defending. Spinning elbow from Lamas as they break. Algeo with knees to the body as they clinch again then they break. Front kick from Algeo wobbles Lamas and he gets a double leg against the fence. Lamas tries to sweep, and does to get on top then he grabs a front headlock again as they stand. Algeo gets his head free and is back to working in the clinch. There’s a left from Algeo on the break. Lamas lands a calf kick but Algeo hits him a couple of times. Another jab from Algeo. Lamas lands a right. A left from Algeo lands as the round closes.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Algeo, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Lamas kicking again to start the round. Algeo lands a body kick. Body shot from Algeo lands. Lamas lands a leg kick. Algeo with a front kick to the body then a leg kick. Right from Algeo lands. Lamas tries a double leg, Algeo hits the fence defending. Knees and elbows from Algeo while defending, Lamas finally gets an inside trip. They trade some elbows on the mat. Algeo rolls through and looks to wall walk. Lamas with some hammer fists and elbows. Algeo is able to force a scramble but he can’t come out on top yet. Lamas looking to take the back but settles for keeping a near crucifix. Algeo back up and Lamas hits a mat return to the ride position. Knee to the body from Lamas, Algeo back up and back down again. Back mount for Lamas now with both hooks in. Lamas moves to full mount, then the back again but now he flattens out Algeo. Some elbows from Lamas as he moves to mount again. Some more blows from Lamas as the clock runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lamas but I wouldn’t argue too hard against a 10-8 for him, 29-28 Lamas overall but this hinges on the first

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ricardo Lamas via unanimous decision (29-27 x3)/font>

A 10-8 for Lamas in the third is probably justified, really fun fight. Mic time for Lamas who says he feels like he looks. He says his coaches told him to bring home the win for his son and he dug deep to pull it out and out work Algeo on the ground. He was trying to get a finish but feels he was rushing things a little bit. Asked about what’s next he says it’s been a while since he’s been in the cage and notes he’s been thinking about retirement and while he’s not announcing anything don’t be too surprised if this is the last time you see him. He swaps to Spanish for a bit then does his own summation when he thanked everyone from the Latin world and talked a bit about the need for Cubans to unite especially given the state of things in Cuba.

Ji Yeon Kim has gone 3-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a pretty brutal finish when she stopped Nadia Kassem with a body shot, now she’s trying to build on that momentum and climb higher in the rankings. Alexa Grasso is trying her had at flyweight for the first time after trading wins and losses during her UFC tenure, she’s hoping to take out a ranked opponent and make an immediate impact in her new division. The odds like Grasso to do just that at -280 while a Kim win would payout at +240.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: Alexa Grasso (11-3, 126 lbs.) vs. #14 Ji Yeon Kim (9-2-2, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Kim is two inches taller and has six inches of reach over Grasso. They touch gloves to get us going. Both women showing the lead hand early. Grasso lands a right then a leg kick. They trade left hooks in close. Some jabs are traded but Grasso is still trying to figure out the range. Jab from Grasso. Kim lands a left. Both women are clashing a little in close but no one has a real edge yet. Grasso lands a right, Kim with a counter left. Kim with a straight right then Grasso lands a one two. They trade in close then Grasso lands a leg kick. Grasso lands a jab. Both women land lefts in close but Grasso lands a leg kick as well. Stiff right from Grasso then they split lefts. Body kick from Grasso. Grasso lands another right. Kim with a bit of a one two. A calf kick from Grasso closes the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Grasso

ROUND TWO: A touch of gloves for the second round. Bit of a body kick from Grasso. Grasso lands a leg kick, they then trade rights. Kim with a bit of a right. Hard right from Grasso but Kim just eats it. They trade in the pocket a bit, both women land during that exchange. Grasso lands a right to the body. There’s a left hook from Grasso that lands. Kim lands a left hook, then a right of her own. Grasso’s work rate is largely the difference thus far. Leg kick from Grasso lands. A right in close from Grasso lands. Another exchange of rights but Grasso is landing cleaner. They trade in close. Grasso lands a Superman punch. Another right from Grasso lands, she’s finding that overhand more constantly now. Grasso lands a right, Kim clinches up and they trade when they break. Grasso lands another right. Kim with a couple of punches, then an inside leg kick. Grasso lands a jab as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Leg kick from Grasso. Both women with punches in close. Body shot from Grasso. Kim walks into a right. They punch into a clinch, Grasso thinks about a takedown but settles for an elbow as they break. Bit of a left from Grasso, Kim lands a right. Another left hook from Grasso in close. Kim lands a bit of a right, then they trade. Grasso with a right. Some punches in close from Grasso and Kim forces a clinch. They jockey for position but Grasso is getting the better of this. Some knees are traded, Kim gets Grasso on the fence but can’t keep that spot. Grasso gets a body lock and moves Kim to the fence then trips her down. Kim gets half guard and looks to tie things up. Grasso lands some rights. Some elbows from Grasso to close out the round.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alexa Grasso via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Solid outing from Grasso in her flyweight debut, she still has some habits that need correcting (her head movement in particular once they engage) but flyweight is a very open division on the women’s side. Mic time for Grasso, she starts out by thanking all the UFC brass for all their work during the pandemic. She mentions how hard she’s worked on her grappling and wanted to show her full skill set. She thanks a couple of her coaches who couldn’t make the trip here with her. Asked about who she’d like next she says she’ll fight whoever the UFC puts in front of her.

Robbie Lawler might be a true legend of the sport but he’s just 1-4 in his last five fights and currently on a three fight losing streak, if Lawler wants to salvage his career at a high level he can’t afford another loss here. Neil Magny is on a two fight winning streak and a win over a former champion like Lawler would be the biggest win of his career. Magny is your favorite at -280 while the +220 payout on Lawler is a tempting bet.

Welterweight Bout: #13 Robbie Lawler (28-14 1 NC, 171 lbs.) vs. #14 Neil Magny (23-7, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Magny is four inches taller and has six inches of reach over Lawler. Lawler fighting southpaw. Some leg kicks from Lawler early, Magny lands a body kick. Lawler lands a left to the body. A left from Lawler in close and they clinch. There’s a double leg attempt from Lawler, Magny is defending. Magny uses a front headlock position to break Lawler’s posture and threaten from the sprawl position. Some body shots from Magny as Lawler looks to reshoot. Magny looks to take the back, they’re up on their feet though. Lawler looks to hand fight and break the grip but can’t do it yet. Magny still looking for a takedown, he gets one but Lawler scrambles to top position and gets on top in half guard. Magny wall walks, but eats some lefts to the head along the way. Still in the clinch, Magny lands a knee then an elbow before looking to change levels. Lawler with some elbows but Magny gets the double leg. Lawler to his knees, Magny has that front headlock position again while defending. Some elbows to the kidneys from Magny, and the round ends in that spot.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Magny

ROUND TWO: Magny lands a right, Lawler looking to pressure him now. Lawler misses a left. Head kick from Magny is blocked but he gets a clinch off of it and looks for a takedown. Magny gets the takedown into half guard. Lawler gives up his back trying to roll and Magny starts looking for the choke. Lawler hand fighting and looking for a chance to escape. Magny threatens to transition to an arm triangle, but can’t find it and Lawler actually gets ride of one of his hooks. Lawler lands some elbows but Magny is trying to set up a twister attack. Lawler to his knees but he can’t get up yet. They reach the fence and Lawler looks to wall walk but Magny is riding him and stripping his base. Lawler back up but still clinched and Magny with knees and elbows. Elbow from Magny as they break. Magny with long range punches and he’s keeping Lawler out of his distance. They stare away the final seconds.

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

ROUND THREE: Leg kick from Magny. Lawler lands a leg kick of his own. Right hook from Lawler, and Magny pulls guard after that one. Magny just holding on and stalling things out. The ref stands them up as they really stalled out. Lawler with lefts, he’s stalking Magny. Bit of a high kick from Magny. Magny with some rights, then he goes for a takedown and gets a clinch again. Back to the back for Magny but Lawler wall walks. Knees to the body from Magny and they break. Some long kicks from Magny, he’s keeping distance and looking to stifle Lawler. Magny lands a knee and some jabs while circling. Another clinch after Lawler punched and Magny works knees to the body and head. Lawler is bleeding from the nose I think. Short elbows and punches from Magny then he punches as they break. Lawler tries a head kick that’s blocked. Bit of an uppercut from Lawler but he’s clinched again. They break again and Magny is back to long range punches while avoiding the offense of Lawler to close out the round.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Neil Magny via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

Typical Magny performance, sharp long range punching and a close quarters clinch and grappling game to stifle whoever he fights. Mic time for Magny who puts over Lawler and feels good about putting together this kind of performance against him. He feels he’ll be the world champion eventually as long as he continues on the direction he’s going. Asked who he’d like next he says anyone in the top ten and he wants another fight this year.

Anthony Smith has gone 4-2 since moving up to light heavyweight, he’s coming off of a bad loss though when Glover Teixeira put a multiple round beating on him including knocking out a few of his teeth. If Smith wants to get back to the title picture he can’t afford to take on a losing streak right now. Aleksandar Rakic just had a 12 fight winning streak snapped when he lost a split decision to Volkan Oezdemir, he’s still regarded as a bright prospect in the division but needs a win here to get things back on track. Rakic is a surprisingly heavy -280 favorite to +240 for Smith.

Light Heavyweight Bout: #5 Anthony Smith (33-15, 205 lbs.) vs. #8 Aleksandar Rakic (12-2, 205.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Rakic has two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Both men probing with the lead hand, then Rakic lands a calf kick. Another calf kick from Rakic, that was a hard one. Smith with a calf kick of his own then Rakic lands a body kick. Jab from Rakic to counter a leg kick, then lands a calf kick. Both men land calf kicks, these are brutal kicks both men are landing. Right from Rakic lands. Hard leg kick from Rakic, two more chop the legs from Smith and Rakic is on top in the sprawl position. Body shots from Rakic as Smith looks to come up on a single leg. They wrestle a bit and Smith jumps to the backpack position but Rakic dumps him off and returns to the sprawl position. Rakic holding a front headlock and pushes Smith over then gets on top with a couple of punches. Half guard for Smith, Rakic lands some short rights. Full guard now for Smith, he’s trying to threaten with wrist control and his guard. The fence and Rakic’s posture dissuade one of his attempts but Rakic isn’t getting much offense off. Smith work his butterfly guard, Rakic lands a couple of short punches. Smith lands a punch, Rakic responds and lands a hard right from half guard. Some more short blows from Rakic as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rakic

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again, and Rakic lands a calf kick. They trade uppercuts in close then Rakic lands a couple of body kicks. They trade heavy rights and Smith gets a clinch. Rakic avoids a throw attempt and lands on top of Smith in the guard. Body shots from Rakic. Smith decides to go to closed guard. Some body to head punches from Rakic, Smith is kind of stuck here on his back and taking the wrong end of things. Short elbows from Rakic, Smith tries to attack with an armbar but loses the grip almost immediately. Rakic moves to half guard, and lands some lefts to the head. Smith is trying to wall walk, Rakic keeps smothering him with punches as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves again. Jab and calf kick from Rakic. More kicks to the body and head from Rakic, Smith is backing up but gets a clinch off of the aggression. Smith slips off of the back standing trying to drag Rakic down and Rakic is back on top in half guard. Rakic lands some short rights as Smith looks to get his guard back. Now Smith looks to wall walk, Rakic pushes him onto his hip again and lands some rights. Smith looks to wall walk again, Rakic to the ride position and knees his body a few times. Rakic is heavy on Smith, landing knees to the thigh as Smith tries to regain his feet. More knees from Smith to the body and thigh as Smith just kind of turtles. Smith gets his base under him but Rakic trips him back down. Rakic working some short punches still as Smith tries to work his butterfly guard. Rakic stands free, Smith back up and time runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Rakic as Smith had no offense that round, 30-26 Rakic overall

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

Dominant if somewhat ugly win by Rakic. Mic time for Rakic, he says the win feels amazing and notes the pressure on him given how many people in the Balkan region or his home were watching but he feels he’s established himself as a title contender. He says everyone underestimates his wrestling and grappling and he showed the world and the division he can fight everywhere if necessary and that he should be taken seriously. Asked about the leg kicks and the grappling he felt he wanted to finish things on the ground, as well as his thoughts on how he set up other kicks with those leg kicks. Asked specifically what’s next he says the belt, doesn’t care if it’s Reyes or Blachowicz he’s up next for the winner. To close he thanks his team and coaches for all they sacrificed to get him here, then switches to I think German, possibly Serbian, to give love to his family and supporters.

Alrighty then everyone, that wraps up UFC on ESPN+ 33. Thanks for following along live, or reading after the fact. I don’t especially care when you read, I’m just grateful for your support. We’ll break down the action from this event on the 411 Ground and Pound Podcast tomorrow, plus look ahead to UFC on ESPN+ 34 this coming Saturday. I’ll be back here for that event, relaying all of the action just as I see it. Until next time stay safe out there everyone, and of course keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC on ESPN+ 33, Robert Winfree