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411’s UFC Fight Night Report: Gane Wins

February 28, 2021 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC on ESPN+ 44

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET)
#4 Jairzinho Rozenstruik (254.5 lbs.) vs. #7 Ciryl Gane (247 lbs.)
#11 Magomed Ankalaev (205.5 lbs.) vs. #8 Nikita Krylov (205.5 lbs.)
Montana De La Rosa (126 lbs.) vs. Mayra Bueno Silva (125.5 lbs.)
#8 Pedro Munhoz (135.5 lbs.) vs. #9 Jimmie Rivera (135.5 lbs.)
Alex Caceres (146 lbs.) vs. Kevin Croom (145.5 lbs.)

Alexander Hernandez (156 lbs.) vs. Thiago Moises (155.5 lbs.)
Angela Hill (116 lbs.) vs. Ashley Yoder (116 lbs.)
#11 Alexis Davis (135 lbs.) vs. Sabina Mazo (135.5 lbs.)
Vince Cachero (135.5 lbs.) vs. Ronnie Lawrence (135.5 lbs.)
Maxim Grishin (210.5 lbs.)* vs. Dustin Jacoby (204.5 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 44. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be the violence stenographer for the evening. Tonight the UFC is kind of just filling time before UFC 259, which is a very stacked card, but they’ve brought a second consecutive relevant heavyweight main event. Jarizinho Rozenstruik will battle Ciryl Gane to determine which rising contender takes up orbit around the title and which has some rebuilding to do. Two light heavyweight contenders collide when one of the brighter rising stars in the division, Magomed Anakalaev, battles Nikita Krylov. Also there’s a good bantamweight fight between Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera, Rivera bested Munhoz via split decision a few years ago and this represents a critical fight for both men given how hot bantamweight is right now. After that we’re mostly just hoping for good action.

UFC on ESPN+ 44 comes to the world from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The rules are mostly the new set except for the downed fighter rule, so you still only need one hand on the mat to be considered downed, and we will have the replay official outside the cage so either that official or the ref can request instant replay and the fight can be restarted after use if that’s applicable. On commentary we have Jon Anik, Paul Felder and Michael Bisping. Also don’t forget the Apex has the smaller 25 foot diameter cage instead of the more usual 30 footer.

Well, our start time got pushed back after it was announced that Angela Hill vs. Ashley Yoder is offf when one of Yoder’s cornermen tested positive for COVID. On the plus side, 9 fight card so that’ll be fun.

Dustin Jacoby has a three fight winning streak going including a successful return to the UFC last year, he’s trying to preserve that momentum tonight. Maxim Grishin has gone 1-1 in the UFC, dropping a short notice fight up at heavyweight but scoring a solid win his return to light heavyweight. Now Grishin is trying to build his first UFC winning streak and prove himself someone to watch in the division despite his weight gaff. Jacoby is a slight -170 favorite to +145 for Grishin.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Maxim Grishin (31-8-2, 210.5 lbs.) vs. Dustin Jacoby (13-5, 204.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Grishin has two inches of reach in addition to missing weight for the first time in his entire career. They touch gloves to get us going. Jacoby lands a calf kick. Grishin with a calf kick of his own. Both men are starting to clash a bit but neither really has a feel for things. Jacoby doing some stance switching now, still looking for openings. Grishin reaches for a single leg, they wind up in the clinch on the fence. Both men land knees to the body before Jacoby gets free. Jacoby tries a calf kick, Grishin counters with a hard punch and off balances Jacoby. Grishin jumps on the back along the fence, but he falls over the top and they’re back in the clinch. Both men with knees to the body then they break. Calf kick from Jacoby, Grishin returns it. Another clinch, Grishin is finding those easier now, and he starts landing knees to the thigh and body before Jacoby slips free. Bit of a right from Jacoby. Grishin lands a jab. Bit of a head kick from Jacoby, Grishin eats it and punches him in close. Both men switching stances now, Right hook from Grishin drops Jacoby and he starts unloading on the fence. Grishin to the back and lands some elbows but wont get a finish before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Grishin

ROUND TWO: Jacoby is bleeding from the bridge of the nose as we start the second round. Grishin is coming forward looking to keep Jacoby from fully recovering. Jacoby misses a right. A few jabs from Jacoby but Grishin is avoiding the calf kick now. Jacoby with a calf kick, Grishin lands a front kick to the body. Grishin avoids a few kicks. Body kick from Grishin. Right then a left hook from Grishin lands. Jab from Jacoby, Grishin returns fire. Grishin misses an uppercut. Jacoby lands a jab. Left hook from Jacoby stumbles Grishin just a little bit. Grishin lands a straight right to counter a leg kick. Jacoby stuffs a double leg attempt, but his nose is bleeding again after that right. Calf kick from Grishin, Jacoby returns it. They trade a few punches as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jacoby, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Both men with early calf kicks while they’re looking to force action. Jab from Grishin. Jacoby with some jabs while circling. Left hook then a leg kick from Grishin. Jacoby lands a left. Both men with punches, then Grishin lands a leg kick. Some jabs are split, Jacoby checks a leg kick and tries a knee but they wind up clinched again. Jacoby has Grishin on the fence and they’re fighting for position. Grishin slips free and lands punches before Jacoby slips off of the fence. A few long range punches are traded. Grishin lands a right. A lot of forward pressure from Grishin, Jacoby circling. Body kick from Grishin. A right then a bit of a head kick from Grishin. They feint away the final seconds.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Dustin Jacoby via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Decent little fight there. Jacoby gets an interview, he feels he did enough to win but puts over Grishin as a big and strong opponent that took some time to figure out. He’s ultimately happy he got the win despite being critical of his performance. To close he wishes happy birthday to some friends.

Vince Cachero lost his UFC debut last year and is hoping to bounce back with his first UFC win in this fight. Ronnie Lawrence is making his UFC debut on the back of a three fight winning streak and trying to maximize the only chance he’ll get to make a first impression. The odds are with Lawrence at -165 to +140 for Cachero.

Bantamweight Bout: Vince Cachero (7-3, 135.5 lbs.) vs. Ronnie Lawrence (6-1, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Lawrence is two inches taller and has half an inch of reach over Cachero. They touch gloves to get us going. Lawrence dancing and switching his stance a lot. Bit of a calf kick from Lawrence. Cachero with a calf kick, Lawrence returns it. Jumping knee from Lawrence, they tie up and trade uppercuts then break apart. Bit of a right from Cachero to counter a spinning back kick. Lawrence with a front kick to the body. Double leg from Lawrence into half guard. Cachero gets full guard and closes it. Omoplata attempt from Cachero but Lawrence escapes and passes, initiating a scramble and Cachero gets up but Lawrence keeps a clinch. They fight free then Lawrence with a front kick to the body and a hard calf kick that staggers the legs of Cachero for a second. Lawrence with a knee to the body. Double leg from Lawrence but Cachero bounces right back up into the clinch. They start fighting for position along the fence. A knee from Lawrence ends and they break. Right from Cachero in close staggers Lawrence for a second, but Lawrence with a double leg into guard. Cachero tries a triangle choke, Lawrence gets free of that and moves to half guard then lands some elbows. Cachero tries a giggler sweep but Lawrence reads it and passes to 3/4 mount. Full mount for Lawrence but Cachero slips out the back as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Lawrence

ROUND TWO: Back to motion, Lawrence lands a body kick. Both men hit the body in close with punches. Bit of a high kick from Lawrence, Cachero counters with a punch. Both men land punches in close. Lawrence lands a straight left, and eats a counter punch. Knee tap from Lawrence, they hit the fence and Cachero looks to wall walk but Lawrence moves him away from it and settles more into half guard. Cachero is able to belly down and get up but is still clinched. Another double leg from Lawrence and he passes to half guard. Lawrence looks for a pass, and there it is to move into side control. Cachero shrimps up to his feet but Lawrence takes him right back down but this time Cachero grabs a guillotine threat. Lawrence moves over to his belly, Cachero is threatening with a d’arce now but Lawrence breaks his grip and takes him down. Cachero wall walks but Lawrence is on his back and hits a mat return. Lawrence’s gas tank is impressive and he moves to leg drag. A few lefts from Lawrence, Cachero to his knees but Lawrence threatens to take his back then gets on top in half guard. Lawrence moves to 3/4 mount as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Lawrence with a spinning back kick to the body then a calf kick that drops Cachero. Cachero tries to fight up, Lawrence with a hard mat return from the back and he winds up in full guard. Cachero is trying to play guard, Lawrence postures up and lands punches then moves to half guard. It takes a bit but Cachero does hip escape to full guard, but he’s getting worked over. Lawrence moves to the ride position as Cachero tries to get on his knees, and Cachero rolls to his back to avoid his back being taken. Lawrence lands punches and short elbows as he gets to full mount. A lot of punches from Lawrence here, Cachero is trying to roll but he’s just taking blows. Cachero tries to come up on a single while moving but he takes more hammer fists and the ref has seen enough. Might even have been a slightly late stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ronnie Lawrence via TKO, hammer fists and punches, at 2:38 of Round 3

The Final Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Lawrence for his work this evening. Cachero was game, but that was a mauling from Lawrence that just got worse as the fight wore on. Mic time for Lawrence after that, and he jokes he’s not happy with the performance because he’s a better striker than he showed but he’s glad he won. There’s some big swelling on his left cheek bone. He says he just tries to do what works in the cage when he sees it. He’s happy, but says he just wants to be better going forward. To close he sends love to his family and everyone who’s supported him.

Lawrence is just relentless, no matter what Cachero does he’s ahead of the position and is landing blows the whole way during the finishing sequence here.

Sabina Mazo has gone 3-1 in the UFC but is on a three fight winning streak and if she can get to four in a row here she’ll likely earn a shot at someone closer to the top of the division. Alexis Davis is on a three fight losing streak and hasn’t fought since July of 2019, she’s likely fighting for her job in this bout. Mazo is your favorite at -220 to +180 for Davis.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: #11 Alexis Davis (19-10, 135 lbs.) vs. Sabina Mazo (9-1, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Mazo is an inch taller and has two inches of reach over Davis, she’s also 13 years younger. Mazo jabbing early, she lands a few straight rights. Davis with a leg kick. A lot of straight punches from Mazo, she’s just touching Davis. Davis lands a few leg kicks but she’s taking a fair number of punches. Mazo with a combination of punches. Davis catches a body kick, odd choice from Mazo, and she’s got Mazo down in full guard. Davis passes easily to side control. Mazo tries to shrimp towards half guard but can’t finish the move. A few rights from Davis land. Mazo tries to wrap up the head of Davis with her legs but there’s nothing there. Mazo scrambles to her knees near the fence and Davis looks to move to her back. Davis gets both hooks in and rolls Mazo away from the fence. Mazo tries to roll into Davis but Davis reads that and uses her hooks to stop the motion. Davis is after the choke but Mazo is hand fighting. Davis to full mount, gets the back again and resumes hunting for the choke. The round ends not long after Davis gets a full body triangle.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Davis

ROUND TWO: Mazo back to jabbing and moving. Davis lands a leg kick. More jabs from Mazo. Davis lands a jab and leg kick. Mazo lands a left hook. Straight right from Mazo, she’s landing pretty consistently. Davis is dedicated to the leg kick, but eats a few left hooks now. Mazo lands a straight right. Mazo catches a body kick and lands a few punches. Another straight right from Mazo. Glancing high kick from Davis. One two from Mazo, Davis still kicking the calf. Straight right from Mazo. Davis with another calf kick and they clinch, then she lands one as they break. Jab from Mazo. Davis still kicking at the calf. Knee from Mazo, partially lands. Davis catches a body kick and gets a takedown into half guard. Mazo gets to full guard, Davis lands an elbow as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Mazo but a close one, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Both women back to trading on the feet. Mazo lands a body kick. Bit of a left from Mazo, then a body kick but Davis catches it again and gets a takedown. Mazo tries to tie up the legs and attack a heel hook, Davis slips her leg out and goes back into the guard. A few punches from Davis, Mazo is trying to wall walk but Davis slips towards the ride position with one hook in then rolls to get both hooks. Mazo tries to turn into her, Davis reads the motion and gets on top still but Mazo has full guard this time. Some short elbows from Davis, Mazo tries to roll her hips for an armbar but can’t secure the grip. When Davis slips free she moves to the ride position, lands a right then is able to get both hooks in to take back mount again. Some short punches from Davis, she’s trying to open things up for submission attempts. The round will end in that spot.

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

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

No issues with either Davis getting the second or a 10-8 third with all that back control time. Mic time for Davis, she jokes that she needs to be woken up in the first round like that but is always comfortable on the mat. She talks about working the leg kicks and knowing that Mazo likes high kicks so she could time those with takedowns. She’ll fight whoever the UFC wants going forward.

Thiago Moises is on a two fight winning streak and is hoping to earn a shot at some ranked opposition if he can extend that streak to three in a very tough division. Alexander Hernandez has gone 4-2 in the UFC but has traded wins and losses for his last four fights, he’s coming off of a win though and is trying to get his first winning streak since 2018 up and running. Hernandez is a surprisingly heavy favorite at -240 to a +200 comeback on Moises.

Lightweight Bout: Alexander Hernandez (12-3, 156 lbs.) vs. Thiago Moises (14-4, 155.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Hernandez has an inch and a half of reach advantage. Both men circling early, Hernandez with some kicks and stance switches. Bit of a head kick from Moises. Calf kick from Moises lands, Hernandez didn’t like that. Some stance switching from Hernandez now. Another leg kick from Moises. The way Hernandez is fighting low, there’s an uppercut if Moises wants it. Both men showing jabs, Moises eats a body shot but lands a left hook. Moises lands a calf kick as Hernandez tries a head kick. Hernandez lands a calf kick but eats a counter right. Moises with another calf kick. Hernandez lands a front kick to the body. Body kick attempt from Hernandez strays into the groin so we’ve got time. Moises only takes 20 seconds then we’re back to fighting. Body kick from Moises. Bit of a left from Moises as he avoids a right. Hernandez lands a right to the body but he’s not found a whole lot of head shots. Straight right then a left hook from Moises, Hernandez is a little hurt. Moises comes forward and they trade just as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Moises

ROUND TWO: Both men come out kicking for the second round. Moises lands a straight right. Some front kicks now from Moises, he’s getting the better of things thus far. There’s a couple of lefts from Moises, he’s coming forward and Hernandez doesn’t seem as good off of the back foot. Moises avoids a high kick. Calf kick from Moises. Hernandez falls short on punches, lands a calf kick but eats one in return. Moises lands a straight right. Hernandez lands a right. Wheel kick from Moises, partially lands behind the jaw of Hernandez. Moises lands a left hook, then a calf kick. Another straight right from Moises lands. Lefts from Moises, but Hernandez lands a counter left hook. Glancing right from Moises. Hernandez avoids some punches, they get close and both swing but neither man finds a solid connection as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Moises but a better round for Hernandez, 20-18 Moises overall

ROUND THREE: Hernandez showing the lead hand again. Moises slips a punch and lands a right. Another right from Moises, then a bit of a head kick. Moises with a stiff jab. Left hook then a right from Moises. Moises staggers Hernandez with a right, but Hernandez keeps pressing forward. Moises tries to grab a leg and almost eats a killer knee but manages to avoid that. They trade body kicks, Moises got the better of those. Hernandez barely avoids a right and a head kick. Bit of a left hook from Moises. Both men miss in close. Inside leg kick from Moises. Counter right from Moises lands. Hernandez lands a calf kick. Moises lands a head kick, Hernandez just eats it. Moises wants a brawl, he’s coming forward and landing offense, Hernandez is cut around the right eye I think. Leg kick from Moises then another high kick. Stiff jab from Moises, Hernandez fires back but Moises is talking to him. Hernandez avoids a wheel kick. They wind up kind of staring away the last couple of seconds.

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

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

One of Moises’s best performances, he fought well for the full fight. No interview for Moises as we’re short on time to head on to the main card.

Alex Caceres has been in the UFC since 2011 and has had a very up and down tenure, but he’s currently on a three fight winning streak and could be trying to stage one more run towards the top of the division. Kevin Croom has a five fight unbeaten streak going, he scored a quick win in his UFC debut but that was overturned due to marijuana. Croom is trying to get his first UFC win again here, but if he takes out a proven veteran in Caceres it would make a good statement about his potential in the UFC. The odds like Caceres at -200 to a +170 payout on Croom.

Featherweight Bout: Alex Caceres (17-12 2 NC, 146 lbs.) vs. Kevin Croom (21-12 1 NC, 145.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Croom is an inch taller while the reach is identical. Southpaw for Caceres, he tries a hook kick but only partially lands. Croom is coming forward looking to engage and lands a couple of leg kicks. Body kick from Caceres. Croom forces a clinch, they start fighting for position. Caceres gets a body lock but can’t keep it. Cacere is able to get free and lands a bit of a punch. Croom misses a few kicks, then Caceres lands a couple of punches. Croom punches the body and forces another clinch. Caceres is defending some takedown attempts. Croom lands a knee to the head. Near takedown from Croom but Caceres is able to remain upright. Croom drops for a double leg, switches to a single leg but can’t finish it. Knee from Caceres but he slips and Croom gets his back standing then drags things down to the mat. Caceres is able to spin and get on top, he lands a couple of punches while posturing up. Croom comes up and forces a separation. Caceres blocks a takedown attempt, slips around to the back standing but Croom turns into him and starts fighting for takedowns again. Some knees from Croom, he slips to the back again, drags things down but can’t retain it and they fight back up. Bit of a punch from Croom closes the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Caceres

ROUND TWO: Caceres kicking early, Croom forces another clinch but he can’t get the takedown then punches as they separate. Caceres lands a couple of punches in close. Croom lands a punch and tries another takedown, they hit the fence and he gets the back standing. Some punches form Caceres, but Croom does finally get a takedown into full guard. Caceres tries to work his guard up, he’s after a triangle choke and gets it locked up. Croom is fighting to get out of it, Caceres bails on it for some reason and gets full guard back. Croom passes around an armbar attempt, Caceres scrambles back up though but he can’t get free. They strike in close, but are still in the clinch. Bit of a left from Croom, his pace might be wearing on Caceres at this point. The round ends with Croom on the back of Caceres.

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

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Caceres with a side kick to the body. Croom tries a takedown but Caceres avoids it. Caceres lands a few punches, Croom forces a clinch and eats another punch as Caceres gets free. Croom with a knee in close but he can’t get the clinch in close now. Low single from Croom, he’s got Caceres on the fence but can’t finish it. Another right from Caceres as they break. More punches from Caceres as he circles. Croom after a double leg, Caceres defends and slips around to his back then trips Croom down. Caceres moves to the ride position, but Croom is trying to come up on a single leg. Croom does in fact come out on top but Caceres wall walks instantly then breaks. More punches from Caceres. Croom in close, tries to granby roll into a takedown but winds up mostly pulling guard. Short elbow from Caceres. Full back mount now for Caceres, and he goes to a body triangle. Caceres keeps fishing for the choke but Croom is defending thus far. A few punches from Caceres, but nothing that will finish things before the round ends.

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

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

Sloppy stuff from Croom, and Caceres just defended everything while finding openings for offense. Mic time for Caceres, he says he was expecting a fight like this. Felder asks about the triangle choke he bailed on, he says he felt Croom’s head slipping out and he decided to try and save his legs. That’s 4 in a row for Caceres, when asked to call his shot he wants a ranked fighter but just wants to keep fighting.

Pedro Munhoz has gone 3-2 in his last five fights but is on a two fight losing streak and was last seen dropping a close split decision to Frankie Edgar. Munhoz is trying to avenge an earlier career loss here and avoid the dreaded three fight losing streak. Jimmie Rivera has only lost three times in the UFC, to Marlon Moraes, Aljamain Sterling, and Petr Yan. That’s a serious level of opposition, and he was last seen besting Cody Stamann last year. Rivera is hoping to build another winning streak here and make another run towards the title picture. The odds are close but favor Rivera at -150 to +125 on Munhoz.

Bantamweight Bout: #8 Pedro Munhoz (18-5 1 NC, 135.5 lbs.) vs. #9 Jimmie Rivera (23-4, 135.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Munhoz is two inches taller while Rivera has three and a half inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Munhoz slips on a high kick, then lands a couple of calf kicks. They trade calf kicks, then Rivera lands a left and right in the clinch. Bit of a right from Rivera. Munhoz misses a wheel kick. They trade power punches in close. Both men check calf kicks and resume swinging close. Left hook from Rivera stuns Munhoz. Munhoz lands a calf kick, Rivera with a counter right. Another right from Rivera, then they trade in close. They exchange calf kicks again and trade more hooks. Right then a left hook from Rivera, Munhoz has a chin of granite. Munhoz lands a jab. Calf kick from Munhoz, that was a hard one. That calf of Rivera is toast already. Rivera swings some punches, they’re mostly blocked. Rivera avoids a lunging hook. Short right from Rivera lands. Munhoz with another calf kick, but eats a counter right. They’ll stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Rivera but a close one

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves. Munhoz coming forward again, he’ll be looking to kick the leg soon. Rivera with a right and gets a takedown, Munhoz rolls under for a leg lock but he loses the grip and they fight up then separate. Bit of a right from Rivera, he lands a few punches but Munhoz lands another calf kick. A few punches land for Rivera. Calf kick from Rivera, then another one. Munhoz lands a calf kick. Munhoz defends a double leg attempt. Bit of a calf kick from Rivera. A few jabs from Rivera. They trade left hooks in close, neither man budges after the exchange. Calf kick from Munhoz, that one hurt. Munhoz with some jabs, Rivera jabs with him then eats another calf kick. Both men hooks in close. They trade lefts again, then Munhoz with a calf kick but Rivera is still pressing the action. Munhoz kicks the calf again. They trade hooks again, then miss hooks as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Munhoz, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: We come out with more brawling, Rivera is getting after this. Some stance switching from both men now. Rivera lands a right. Some front kicks from Munhoz, then a calf kick. Munhoz tries an inside leg kick, and that hits the groin so we’ve got time for him to recover. Rivera only took 17 seconds and we’re back to fighting. Right from Rivera, then an uppercut in close. Jab from Munhoz. Munhoz with another leg kick, they trade in close but Rivera took another low blow so there’s another break. Again about 20 seconds and Rivera is back to fighting. Munhoz lands another calf kick, that one might have killed the leg as Rivera is hobbling. Body kick from Munhoz. Bit of a left from Rivera. Rivera lands a one two that lands flush. They trade lefts, Rivera landed flush but Munhoz just eats it. Seriously the chin of Munhoz is insane. They get close and brawl again. One two from Rivera. Munhoz with a front kick, they trade again as the round ends.

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

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

Fight of the Night so far, I hope we get a trilogy fight out of them because that was a ton of fun. Mic time for Munhoz, he’s quite pumped and is happy to have avenged the loss to Rivera from earlier. He puts over his work with American Top Team and credits that move with the difference between this fight and their 2015 bout. Asked about the future he notes he’s beaten some guys ranked ahead of him, but would be happy to welcome TJ Dillashaw back into the cage. I wouldn’t object to that.

Montana De La Rosa has gone 4-2 in the UFC but has lost two of her last three fights, she’s coming off of a loss and is trying to avoid her first UFC losing streak. Marya Bueno Silva has gone 2-1 in the UFC and submitted Mara Romero Borella in September of last year, she’s hoping for her first UFC winning streak tonight at the expense of De La Rosa. De La Rosa is the favorite at -130 to a +110 comeback on Bueno Silva.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: Montana De La Rosa (11-6, 126 lbs.) vs. Mayra Bueno Silva (7-1, 125.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: De La Rosa is an inch taller and has an inch and a half of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Calf kick from Bueno Silva, De La Rosa lands a right to counter. De La Rosa lands a left. They clinch and Bueno Silva lands a knee then a left hand. Head kick from Bueno Silva and she grabs a clinch. They hit the fence, De La Rosa is thinking about a single leg while Bueno Silva threatens a front choke. De La Rosa gets the takedown into full guard. Bueno Silva wall walks and they’re still clinched. De La Rosa is on the back looking for another takedown, Bueno Silva spins into her and lands a knee to the body. Another front choke attempt from Bueno Silva, then an elbow while De La Rosa tries a takedown. Bueno Silva grabs the fence to avoid the takedown, and the ref takes a point for that one. They reset on the feet, they clinch up and start trading knees and punches before breaking. Bueno Silva is still coming forward, De La Rosa is trying to keep her at distance. Right from De La Rosa lands. They clinch and Bueno Silva with a knee to the body before they hit the fence. Short elbows from Bueno Silva, and a knee to the face that rocks De La Rosa. De La Rosa is really after a takedown now, they trade in the clinch then separate. Bueno Silva is coming forward again, De La Rosa tries a takedown but they hit the fence again and stall out. Some knees go back and forth but Bueno Silva is the harder striker in the clinch. More knees to the body from Bueno Silva as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 9-9 DRAW after the point deduction

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Bueno Silva coming forward, lands a head kick. De La Rosa is circling away, and eats a knee when she tries to clinch. De La Rosa goes for a takedown but there’s not drive and Bueno Silva reverses it to land on top. Bueno Silva stands, lands some punches then goes back into the guard. De La Rosa’s left eye is swelling up. Bueno Silva stands again and lands another couple of rights. De La Rosa regains her feet and resumes circling. Bueno Silva stalking forward, lands a body kick. Right uppercut from Bueno Silva. De La Rosa lands a left hook but eats another high kick. Bueno Silva lands a right. Another clinch and knees from Bueno Silva then an elbow. More knees from Bueno Silva aimed to the body and head. De La Rosa is trying for a takedown against the fence now, she gets the double leg against the fence. Bueno Silva tries to move but De La Rosa gets towards full mount. Punches from De La Rosa, she’s trying to set up an arm triangle attack. Bueno Silva avoids the attack, some punches from De La Rosa as the round ends.

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

ROUND THREE: Both women coming out with lefts to start the round. High kicks from Bueno Silva and they clinch up. Knees from Bueno Silva as they break. Bueno Silva with a few body kicks then a knee in close. De La Rosa has had enough of this and is after a takedown against the fence. Bueno Silva defends and lands a few elbows. De La Rosa is holding a single leg, Bueno Silva is holding a ninja choke but there’s not really a choke there for her at that angle. De La Rosa is bleeding now, not sure where from but she gets a double leg and Bueno Silva bounces up with punches. Another clinch, and Bueno Silva is back to landing knees while De La Rosa holds her on the fence. That blood is coming from the nose I think. Both women with knees, De La Rosa is holding tight to the clinch. Bueno Silva with a hard knee to the body and is defending another takedown attempt. Elbows from Bueno Silva, De La Rosa with some punches. Both women with blows in the clinch, then they break. Bueno Silva coming forward, lands a kick but De La Rosa gets a takedown off of it and lands in the guard. Both women throw some strikes on the ground to end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Bueno Silva but I have no confidence in my scoring of this one, 29-27 Bueno Silva overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – DRAW, Majority (28-27 Bueno Silva, 28-28 x2)

That point deduction cost Bueno Silva big time. De La Rosa’s left eye is basically swollen shut at the end of things.

Nikita Krylov has gone 2-2 since returning to the UFC but he’s coming off of a win when he bested Johnny Walker about a year ago, now he’s looking for his first UFC winning streak since 2016 if he can stop the hype and success of Ankalaev. Magomed Ankalaev has proven himself a genuine rising contender in a division that seems perpetually in need of them, he’s on a five fight winning streak with four of those being finishes. If Ankalaev can win here he’ll move further into the ranks of the top ten contenders and will likely get a crack at a bigger name for his next fight. The odds are heavily with Anakalaev at -400 to a +310 payout on Krylov.

Light Heavyweight Bout: #11 Magomed Ankalaev (14-1, 205.5 lbs.) vs. #8 Nikita Krylov (26-7, 205.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Krylov has two and a half inches of reach over Ankalaev. Both men open southpaw, and touch gloves. Some stance switching from Krylov. Both men probing, they trade and Krylov gets a clinch from the back and drives things to the fence. Ankalaev with a couple of fence grabs, but he’s down against the cage. Krylov is sitting on the right leg to try and keep Ankalaev pinned down. Ankalaev wall walks but is still clinched. Krylov is still after the takedown but Ankalaev defends and separates. Bit of a right from Ankalaev. They trade in close, both men land but Ankalaev landed better. Glancing left from Ankalaev. Krylov lands a body kick. Head kick from Krylov. Ankalaev is doing a good job of countering the kicks with punches. Krylov lands a pretty good right. They trade in close again. Ankalaev with another counter right hook, he’s finding that when Krylov kicks. Krylov with some front kicks to the body. Both men land rights, then Ankalaev with a straight left. Double leg from Ankalaev, but the fence saves Krylov and they’ll end the round in the clinch.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Krylov but could go either way

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. They fight in the clinch briefly, both men land punches in there. Ankalaev is coming forward, they trade rights a couple of times. That right hook from Ankalaev is landing pretty regularly again. Krylov lands a body kick but a double leg attempt is stuffed. Bit of a head kick from Ankalaev. They clinch up, Ankalaev lands a solid knee on the break then a body kick. More rights from Ankalaev, he’s catching Krylov when Krylov tries to engage with it. Front kick to the body from Ankalaev. Ankalaev ducks under a wheel kick and gets a takedown into half guard. Krylov is trying to control posture and sit up. A few short punches from Ankalaev but Krylov is keeping things tight and stifling the offense. Krylov tries to come up on a double leg but Ankalaev pushes him over and gets towards the half guard again. Ankalaev lands an elbow. A few more blows from Ankalaev land, including a solid elbow before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Ankalaev, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Ankalaev coming forward again. Right hook from Ankalaev lands. Krylov with a bit of a body kick. A right hook from Ankalaev off balances Krylov but he stays upright. Krylov with a shot, and Ankalaev shucks him off without much issue. Ankalaev with a right then gets a clinch on the fence. Short punches from Ankalaev as he’s working for a takedown. It takes a second or two but Ankalaev trips Krylov down and is on top in half guard while Krylov sits on the cage. Ankalaev works short punches, punishing Krylov as Krylov wall walks but they’re still clinched. They get chest to chest, both men with some knees but Ankalaev is getting the better of this. Another takedown from Ankalaev and he’s on top landing punches. Krylov is trying to wall walk again but Ankalaev is attacking his posting limbs. Lots of lefts from Ankalaev and he tries to settle in half guard but Krylov sticks to the fence. More lefts from Ankalaev, there’s a steady diet of blows coming as the round ends.

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

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Magomed Ankalaev via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Ankalaev continues his ascent, this wasn’t flashy but he pretty clearly got it done in the end. Ankalaev and his translator get an interview, he’s feeling good after the win because victory feels good. He says he wasn’t planning to wrestle, but once Krylov started the wrestling game he had to counter and fight that kind of fight.

Jairzinho Rozenstruik has gone 5-1 in the UFC only falling to Francis Ngannou and stopping everyone else with strikes, he’s hoping to put his name back into the title picture by stopping the rising hype around Gane. Ciryl Gane is undefeated including four wins in the UFC, if he can take out a top five contender like Rozenstruik he’ll be in line for a much bigger opportunity for his next fight and will be firmly in the title picture. Gane is the favorite at -270 while Rozenstruik’s comeback sits at +220.

Heavyweight Bout: #4 Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1, 254.5 lbs.) vs. #7 Ciryl Gane (7-0, 247 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height, though I question the height measurement on Rozenstruik, while Gane has three inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Gane feinting early, Rozenstruik feinting right back. Gane avoids a right and lands a right of his own. Some stance switching from Gane, both men still just getting a feel for things. Quick jab from Gane. Rozenstruik lands a couple of combinations during a blitz. Not a whole lot happening at the moment. Gane with an inside leg kick then a jab. Very patient and tentative stuff from both men. Gane jabs the body. Rozenstruik catches a kick and lands a left but misses the follow ups. Both men with punches that barely miss. Gane lands a body kick and a right. They clinch up after Rozenstruik had some partial success on punches and Gane gets him on the fence. Some elbows from Rozenstruik but Gane changes levels and gets a double leg. Gane knees the body of the seated Rozenstruik to end the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gane

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Gane back to bouncing around and feinting. Both men miss punches, they’re still kind of feeling each other out. Some jabs from Gane from both stances, then leg kicks. They trade leg kicks. Left hook then a leg kick from Gane. Another jab from Gane lands. Inside leg kick then a jab from Gane. Gane is kicking at the lead leg a lot more now, mostly feels like range finding rather than damaging but it’s scoring. Rozenstruik blitzes, Gane ducks low and tries a takedown but things hit the fence. Both men with short knees, then Gane with a trip and nearly gets a choke but they come up swinging, clinch and then break again. More jabs from Gane, Rozenstruik just seems slower on the trigger and slower with his punches. Gane is backing Rozenstruik up to the fence again, lands a jab and evades the counter. They stare away the final seconds.

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

ROUND THREE: More of the same from Gane early, then he lands a straight left to follow up a kick to the knee. More side kicks to the knee, Gane tries a high kick that’s partially blocked. Stiff left from Gane, the speed difference is becoming more apparent especially since Gane is fighting longer. Rozenstruik avoids a takedown attempt but misses the counter punches. Glancing right from Gane, Rozenstruik returns fire. More jabs from Gane, Rozenstruik with a bit of a right. Gane starting to work the front kick again but the activity level is fairly low. A few more jabs from Gane. Glancing left from Gane, then he jabs the body. Jab from Gane, he’s out working and scoring Rozenstruik. Gane with an inside leg kick. Rozenstruik jabs the body. Gane blocks a punch and starts a single leg but the round ends before that can develop.

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

ROUND FOUR: At the start of the round the ref warns Gane about his fingers, he’s been extending them horizontally rather frequently. Gane back to jabbing and probing with the lead leg. Leg kick from Gane. Rozenstruik really needs to hit plan B here, he’s way behind with how this fight is going. Gane side kicking the thigh and hip now. Gane with a knee to the body, and he avoids the counter from Rozenstruik. Some more jabs from Gane. The long range weapons from Gane are still scoring but the action isn’t exactly fast and furious. Gane tries a knee to close distance, that hit the cup of Rozenstruik so we’ve got time for him to recover. Replay confirms the shin went into the groin while the knee was mostly clean and Rozenstruik is good to continue quickly. Long left from Gane. Another left from Gane lands, then a jab. Both men miss punches, then Gane jabs. They just stare away the last 10 seconds or so.

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

ROUND FIVE: More of the same from both men as the last round starts. Those jabs from Gane are still scoring, and he tries a head kick that’s blocked. Gane misses an elbow, but he uses that to clinch up. Rozenstruik avoids a single leg but can’t get free. Gane with short knees to the thigh. Rozenstruik spins free and they reset. Gane still feinting Rozenstruik back into the fence and lands another jab. Both men land punches in close. Gane catches a leg kick and drives another clinch into the fence. Knees from Gane, he’s staying busy enough to avoid intervention. Elbow from Gane as they break up. Gane enters a clinch, ducks around to the back and starts working from there. Takedown from Gane, Rozenstruik wall walks immediately and gets chest to chest. The clock winds down as they fight in the clinch.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Gane, 50-45 Gane overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ciryl Gane via unanimous decision (50-45 x3)

Somewhat impressive from Gane in terms of safety and totally shutting down a dangerous opponent, but a fairly boring fight in terms of excitement. Gane gets an interview after the big win, he says he’s feeling OK because he got a big win but knows that wasn’t a good fight for the fans. He puts over Rozenstruik as a dangerous opponent who he had to focus on managing. He expected a little more offense from Rozenstruik but he kept up the pressure and stayed safe. Asked who he’d like next he wants to be in the title picture, and notes that he’s only been training for a handful of years. To close he jokes that he’ll be ready to step in if something happens to the upcoming title fight.

That will do it for UFC on ESPN+ 44. Thanks for reading. We’ll be unpacking all these results, and previewing UFC 259 tomorrow on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast. UFC 259 is an absurdly stacked card, and I’ll be back here next week to cover it so I do hope you’ll be here along side. Until then, stay safe out there as usual and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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Robert Winfree