Tag Archive for Recap

RECAP! Iaquinta Picks Apart Lee Late!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight rivals Al Iaquinta and Kevin Lee rematched last night (Dec. 15, 2018) at UFC on FOX 31 from inside Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Iaquinta returned from a two-year layoff to knock out Diego Sanchez and get dominated by Khabib Nurmagomedov. That’s perhaps the widest competition level disparity between two consecutive fights ever, which leaves Iaquinta in this odd position where no one really knows how good he is. Alternatively, Lee has proven himself repeatedly in the last year or so, winning some big fights and putting forth a strong effort opposite Tony Ferguson in a interim lightweight title shot. For Lee, this fight was all about smashing his opponent and making his case for another opportunity at gold.

Iaquinta opened the fight feinting toward the single leg, looking to fire off punches after touching the leg. In one nice exchange, Iaquinta spun into an elbow after touching the lead leg. As the two settled into the fight, however, Lee began to operate as a Southpaw more often: a wise choice from “The MoTown Phenom.” Lee did not bother to attempt a takedown in the first, as he was too busy picking at Lee with long straights. In addition, the left kick was landing well from Lee.

Iaquinta landed some nice counters along the way and made it close. Despite Lee’s range advantage, Iaquinta managed to slip and fire his right with some consistency.

Lee kickboxed from Southpaw for the first minute on the second round before remembering that he’s an elite wrestler. Immediately, Lee wrapped the New Yorker in a body lock and forcibly muscled his foe to the mat. Moving into back mount, Lee secured a body triangle and whacked away for a couple minutes.

Miraculously, Iaquinta managed to slip away from Lee’s best position, escaping back to his feet. Lee seemed a bit foot slow from holding the triangle for so long, allowing Iaquinta to land some good body shots and a hard right hand or two before the bell.

It was Lee’s round, but escaping the back mount was a great moment for Iaquinta.

The third round began with more kickboxing, and Iaquinta looked the sharper man. Lee worked his jab and long straight, but Iaquinta finally had a true read on his timing, allowing him to slip and rip with the right hand repeatedly. Nothing too devastating landed from either man, which made Lee’s takedown in the second half of the round rather important. Once more, Lee moved quickly into the back mount, but this time he was able to maintain control until the end of the round.

To Iaquinta’s credit, he did a much better job of fighting hands and denying both major damage and the submission than any of Lee’s past foes.

Iaquinta came out looking for his overhand in the fourth round, and he found it two-to-three times in the opening minute. Lee did his best to keep a poker face, but he was on wobbly legs and backing away from exchanges. At one point, Iaquinta also landed a clean, slapping right high kick across the jaw. Oddly, Lee largely decided to back away and shift side-to-side while recovering instead of shooting for a takedown, a strange decision considering how well Lee did whenever he actually wrestled. Lee recovered a bit by the end of the round to land, but he never did attempt a takedown in the fourth.

As a result, Iaquinta picked him apart for most of the five minutes.

Lee remembered his wrestling not long into the fifth. He took a bad single leg shot and scrambled for a while, nearly securing the shot after a bad entry. However, Iaquinta ultimately managed to deny the takedown, putting the two back in the center with two minutes left on the clock. Not long after, Iaquinta landed a hard left uppercut that stunned Lee, although the younger man answered back with some hard straight counters. Iaquinta continued forward undeterred and landed a dozen right hands in the final minute, really forcing Lee to his back foot and keeping him uncomfortable. Once more, a dominant round from the New Yorker.

Ultimately, all three judges awarded Al Iaquinta the decision victory.

Iaquinta did everything he had to do here. He found the timing on his right hand and then threw it frequently, a difficult task when you consider the level of wrestler he was facing. Speaking of, Iaquinta did a fantastic job of staying low before firing the power punch and targeting the body — a pair of factors that make shooting more difficult.

In addition, Iaquinta held up tremendously well over five rounds. He ate some hard shots throughout and pushed a solid pace, but never once did he back off or really need time to recover. When he pushed ahead of Lee, he stayed ahead.

With this win, Iaquinta proves himself a true top Lightweight and deserves another big fight next. How about a brawl with Justin Gaethje?

As great a performance this was from Iaquinta, it was an equally bad one from Lee, who really failed to make the most of his skill set. In the first three rounds, Lee had zero difficulty taking Iaquinta down whenever he actually chose to wrestle. Seeing as he was banking on winning those early rounds, doesn’t it seem advisable to score those takedowns while fresh? Instead, Lee spent the entire first round striking, and the round turned out to be the deciding five minutes.

Beyond that, Lee simply looked off. He never looked all that comfortable or confident; it looked like Lee was forcing a lot of his punches. I don’t know if his weight cut was particularly harsh, if there was another issue, or if Al Iaquinta is simply that good. Even in a different losing performance, Lee looked much sharper on his feet against Tony Ferguson.

Lee needs to head back to the drawing board.

Last night, Al Iaquinta overcame the odds to out-work Kevin Lee. Who should Iaquinta face next?

For complete UFC on FOX 31 ‘Iaquinta vs. Lee 2’ results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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RECAP! Iaquinta Picks Apart Lee Late!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight rivals Al Iaquinta and Kevin Lee rematched last night (Dec. 15, 2018) at UFC on FOX 31 from inside Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Iaquinta returned from a two-year layoff to knock out Diego Sanchez and get dominated by Khabib Nurmagomedov. That’s perhaps the widest competition level disparity between two consecutive fights ever, which leaves Iaquinta in this odd position where no one really knows how good he is. Alternatively, Lee has proven himself repeatedly in the last year or so, winning some big fights and putting forth a strong effort opposite Tony Ferguson in a interim lightweight title shot. For Lee, this fight was all about smashing his opponent and making his case for another opportunity at gold.

Iaquinta opened the fight feinting toward the single leg, looking to fire off punches after touching the leg. In one nice exchange, Iaquinta spun into an elbow after touching the lead leg. As the two settled into the fight, however, Lee began to operate as a Southpaw more often: a wise choice from “The MoTown Phenom.” Lee did not bother to attempt a takedown in the first, as he was too busy picking at Lee with long straights. In addition, the left kick was landing well from Lee.

Iaquinta landed some nice counters along the way and made it close. Despite Lee’s range advantage, Iaquinta managed to slip and fire his right with some consistency.

Lee kickboxed from Southpaw for the first minute on the second round before remembering that he’s an elite wrestler. Immediately, Lee wrapped the New Yorker in a body lock and forcibly muscled his foe to the mat. Moving into back mount, Lee secured a body triangle and whacked away for a couple minutes.

Miraculously, Iaquinta managed to slip away from Lee’s best position, escaping back to his feet. Lee seemed a bit foot slow from holding the triangle for so long, allowing Iaquinta to land some good body shots and a hard right hand or two before the bell.

It was Lee’s round, but escaping the back mount was a great moment for Iaquinta.

The third round began with more kickboxing, and Iaquinta looked the sharper man. Lee worked his jab and long straight, but Iaquinta finally had a true read on his timing, allowing him to slip and rip with the right hand repeatedly. Nothing too devastating landed from either man, which made Lee’s takedown in the second half of the round rather important. Once more, Lee moved quickly into the back mount, but this time he was able to maintain control until the end of the round.

To Iaquinta’s credit, he did a much better job of fighting hands and denying both major damage and the submission than any of Lee’s past foes.

Iaquinta came out looking for his overhand in the fourth round, and he found it two-to-three times in the opening minute. Lee did his best to keep a poker face, but he was on wobbly legs and backing away from exchanges. At one point, Iaquinta also landed a clean, slapping right high kick across the jaw. Oddly, Lee largely decided to back away and shift side-to-side while recovering instead of shooting for a takedown, a strange decision considering how well Lee did whenever he actually wrestled. Lee recovered a bit by the end of the round to land, but he never did attempt a takedown in the fourth.

As a result, Iaquinta picked him apart for most of the five minutes.

Lee remembered his wrestling not long into the fifth. He took a bad single leg shot and scrambled for a while, nearly securing the shot after a bad entry. However, Iaquinta ultimately managed to deny the takedown, putting the two back in the center with two minutes left on the clock. Not long after, Iaquinta landed a hard left uppercut that stunned Lee, although the younger man answered back with some hard straight counters. Iaquinta continued forward undeterred and landed a dozen right hands in the final minute, really forcing Lee to his back foot and keeping him uncomfortable. Once more, a dominant round from the New Yorker.

Ultimately, all three judges awarded Al Iaquinta the decision victory.

Iaquinta did everything he had to do here. He found the timing on his right hand and then threw it frequently, a difficult task when you consider the level of wrestler he was facing. Speaking of, Iaquinta did a fantastic job of staying low before firing the power punch and targeting the body — a pair of factors that make shooting more difficult.

In addition, Iaquinta held up tremendously well over five rounds. He ate some hard shots throughout and pushed a solid pace, but never once did he back off or really need time to recover. When he pushed ahead of Lee, he stayed ahead.

With this win, Iaquinta proves himself a true top Lightweight and deserves another big fight next. How about a brawl with Justin Gaethje?

As great a performance this was from Iaquinta, it was an equally bad one from Lee, who really failed to make the most of his skill set. In the first three rounds, Lee had zero difficulty taking Iaquinta down whenever he actually chose to wrestle. Seeing as he was banking on winning those early rounds, doesn’t it seem advisable to score those takedowns while fresh? Instead, Lee spent the entire first round striking, and the round turned out to be the deciding five minutes.

Beyond that, Lee simply looked off. He never looked all that comfortable or confident; it looked like Lee was forcing a lot of his punches. I don’t know if his weight cut was particularly harsh, if there was another issue, or if Al Iaquinta is simply that good. Even in a different losing performance, Lee looked much sharper on his feet against Tony Ferguson.

Lee needs to head back to the drawing board.

Last night, Al Iaquinta overcame the odds to out-work Kevin Lee. Who should Iaquinta face next?

For complete UFC on FOX 31 ‘Iaquinta vs. Lee 2’ results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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Bellator 213 ‘Macfarlane Vs Letourneau’ Recap & Highlights!

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane

Bellator 213 ‘Macfarlane vs Letourneau’ aired Sat. night (Dec. 15, 2018) from Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. MMA Mania brings you a post-fight recap, results, .gifs and interview highlights from a card where Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defended the title against Valerie Letourneau!

Bellator 213: “Macfarlane vs. Letourneau” aired last night (Sat., Dec. 15, 2018) via DAZN from Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Flyweight title was on the line in the main event as the undefeated Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (8-0) took on former UFC contender Valerie Letourneau (10-6), looking for her third straight Bellator win.

At the start it looked as though Letourneau was willing to use her physical attributes to her advantage, staying at distance and forcing Macfarlane to come to her. They exchanged leg kicks, Macfarlane occasionally found the range, but it was a toss up to this reporter who landed more often. Even “Big” John McCarthy said it was “real close” afterward.

The second round was not any easier to call. Letourneau was taken down 12 seconds in but Macfarlane may have made a mistake by stepping back to come over the top. She wound up too high on top of Letourneau, who was able to reverse the position and deck Macfarlane with a couple of hard rights. Macfarlane survived but may have lost R2.

The third round was when everything started to flow decisively in one direction. Despite Letourneau’s attempt to widen her stance and stuff the takedown, a relentless Macfarlane drug her to her knees, battered her with her hands, then completed the takedown and took her back with over three minutes to work. When Macfarlane has your back with that much time left you’re in deep trouble. Letourneau fought off an armbar but it was the setup to cinch the triangle choke, and Letourneau had no choice but to tap at 3:19.

A visibly emotional champion spoke to John McCarthy after successfully defending her Flyweight title on home soil in her home town.

“I don’t know where those leg kicks came from. I’ve never thrown those, ask my corner, I just felt it tonight. In the third round I decided I’m not going to play her game I’m going to play my game. Oh man. I could feel it backstage before I even walked out. I was crying backstage, I was crying when I walked out, I love all of you guys. It’s the best day of my life, it’s the best night of my life, I love you guys!”

In addition former UFC Light Heavyweight champion “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (24-8) took on former Bellator Middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho (15-2). The first round was bad news for Machida as Carvalho broke his nose with a stiff punch. The second round appeared to swing toward Machida as he rang Carvalho’s bell with a head kick.

Things got even better when “The Dragon” got a takedown to full mount in Round 3.

Carvalho was game though and survived everything, including a late guillotine attempt when he got up from one last takedown. At least one judge thought Carvalho did enough standing to give him two rounds 29-28, but the other two saw it the same for Machida. He spoke to John McCarthy after winning his Bellator debut.

“First of all, ALOHA EVERYONE! So Rafael he’s a tough opponent, so he gave me a hard punch but I could take that, if he broke my nose no problem. What’s important is never quit guys – don’t let other people make you quit your dreams. Thank you guys! I want that belt. I want to be a Bellator champion! I’ll be ready for one of those (Mousasi or Lovato).”

Undefeated fighters also took their share of the spotlight as jiu-jitsu specialist Neiman Gracie (8-0) took on collegiate wrestler turned MMA star Ed Ruth (6-0). Ed Ruth proved to be a survivor early as he avoided a triangle in the first, two attempts to grapevine his leg in the second, and a very nasty looking armbar in the third.

Unfortunately for Ruth the Welterweight tournament bracket calls for extra rounds and the fourth was his undoing. Gracie took down the collegiate all American with a blast double, had a full mount 25 seconds later, and when Ruth gave up his back the rear naked choke finished it at 2:17 of Round 4.

Although Gracie had fewer words here than in our interview with him he made every one count when “Big” John McCarthy gave him the mic.

“Since the day I was born I’ve been proving everybody wrong. Jiu-jitsu, this is jiu-jitsu. I want my belt!!!”

Light Heavyweights looking to regain their standing in the division stepped up in Hawaii as “King Mo” Muhammed Lawal (21-7, 1 NC) took on Liam McGeary (12-3).

Both men needed to bounce back from recent defeats, but McGeary needed it more after dropping two in a row and fought like a man with his back to the wall. Lawal’s strategy was to attack the leg a la Vadim Nemkov but didn’t do enough damage to make McGeary fall. By the end of the second round McGeary’s confidence was growing as he had hurt Lawal with combos and then rocked “King Mo” with elbows to the head on a takedown attempt.

McGeary finished it in the third with a big right hand that made Lawal fall straight backward — a head kick shaving his dome as he fell to the ground. The official time of the knockout was 53 seconds.

“I wasn’t expecting him to throw kicks man. He threw some fucking good ones as well. This is fantastic after the last two losses that I had. As for the leg I could feel it was swelling and I knew if I looked at it it would be even worse. My training partners worked hard for a third, fourth, fifth, tenth round. We were ready to go. (The head kick) would have took his head off it it landed so I’m glad it didn’t.”

Local Lightweight prospects with equal records squared off at 1-0 as Kona Oliveira faced Nainoa Dung. Someone’s “oh” was about to go. Oliveira seemed to have things in hand in the first two rounds scoring takedowns and working on top, although Dung made the second round more competitive than the first with his strikes.

Dung turned things around in the third by blocking a takedown, searching for an anaconda choke from the front headlock, then transitioning to full mount and laying on a beating. “Big” John McCarthy, the crowd and Oliveira felt it was stopped early though their opinions can’t overrule the referee, who officially awarded the win to Dung at 2:05 of Round 3 by TKO. He spoke to McCarthy afterward.

“That’s what I’m about. A real champion always finds a way to come back and win. No way (it was stopped early). He’s in denial. He knows he quit and the referee knows it. There’s no way he was coming back from that.”

For complete Bellator 213 results and coverage click here.

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TUF 28 Results, Recap For Ep. 7

If you missed episode six click here for a complete recap.

After a two-week hiatus to make room for MLB playoffs, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back on FOX Sports 1 last night (Weds., Oct. 24, 2018) with episode seven of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 28, featuring a split cast of men’s heavyweights and women’s featherweights.

Juan Espino is tasked with battling Ben Sosoli for the next spot in the heavyweight quarterfinals, but not before we take a look at what happened to Leah Letson after her unanimous decision win over Bea Malecki. Her face looks like an old cather’s mitt but the good news is, she’s no longer interested in switching to Team Whittaker, which means she will also stop complaining about it.

Woo hoo!

We take a closer look at the Gran Canaria, part of the Canary Islands in Spain. That’s where Espino hails from and we meet some of his family. They aren’t the biggest fans of combat sports and his mom is afraid her son will get hurt. Turns out the Spaniard had a rough childhood but was able to turn his life around after discovering wrestling. Grappling is his bread and butter so of course coach Whittaker wants him to stick to what got him to the big dance and not get lured into a bar fight. That means staying on the outside and avoiding the explosive attack of his opponent. The good news is, this is only a two-round fight, so cardio should not be the deciding factor.

Then again, these are heavyweights.

On the other side of things, Sosoli prepares for the fight that worries coach Gastelum the most, though “Big Ben” expects this contest to become a wrestling match once Espino gets a taste of his power. He wanted to compete in competitive sports and picked MMA because it doesn’t require running, though I think we would all agree that we’ve seen some sprinting inside the cage, usually to avoid getting pieced up. Sosoli is from Melbourne by way of New Zealand and talks about fighting in the streets as a kid, then gives us a teary story about his marital separation and not seeing his kids.

Thanks for the lumpy throat, dude.

Maurice Greene has an issue with the way Espino was “fake” with him during tryouts and yells at him a bunch of times while Espino is gearing up for his big fight. It should be noted that Greene is holding a beer — one of many, I’m sure — during his meltdown. “I’m a genuine person!” he yells. Espino tells him to relax and that request is denied. Later that night, Greene admits that he’s an emotional guy and his teammates suggest he’s overreacting. He decides to “not be the asshole” and walks over to hash it out. Things end with a bro hug and hopefully the issues have been put to bed.

Both fighters make weight without incident.

265 lbs.: Team Whittaker’s Juan Espino (8-1) vs. Team Gastelum’s Ben Sosoli (6-2)

Round 1: Quick touch of gloves and they bounce around the cage. Sosoli has his hands at his waist and gives Espino zero respect. Gastelum calling for jabs. Espino shoots from long range and they crash into the cage. After a brief struggle, Sosoli is dumped on his ass. Whittaker tells the excited Espino to take his time. He does, and the next four minutes consist of Espino sprawled out on top of Sosoli dropping intermittent punches. Not the most exciting fight but he’s winning quite easily. Sosoli gets back to his feet with 15 seconds left and then gets tossed once again. 10-9 Espino.

Round 2: Gloves are touched and Sosoli is once again leaning in with his hands at his side and takes two punches right in the face because of it. He returns fire and Espino gets on his bicycle but the ensuing scramble results in a takedown, so now Sosoli is right back where he left off in the first frame, only now he’s more tired. Referee wants more action from Espino so he transitions and tries to take the back. Sosoli uses the motion to get upright, then gets dragged right back down. Referee unhappy with the amount of action so hammerfists begin to fall. It’s kind of amazing how in 2018 some fighters still have no idea how to work from the bottom and just seem content to be covered and smothered like a Denny’s hash brown. Lame.

Final result: Espino def. Sosoli by unanimous decision

Here’s where we stand after episode seven:

TEAM WHITTAKER:

Anderson Da Silva
Julija Stoliarenko
Juan Espino
Leah Letson
Michel Batista
Larissa Pacheco
Przemyslaw Mysiala
Katharina Lehner

TEAM GASTELUM:

Ben Sosoli
Macy Chiasson
Maurice Greene
Pannie Kianzad
Josh Parisian
Bea Malecki
Justin Frazier
Marciea Allen

Stay tuned next week as Larissa Pacheco battles Macy Chiasson for the next spot in the women’s featherweight quarterfinals!

See you in seven!

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Bellator 206 ‘Mousasi Vs MacDonald’ Recap & Highlights!

Bellator 205

Bellator 206 ‘Mousasi vs MacDonald’ aired Sat. night (Sept. 29, 2018) from SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. MMA Mania brings you a post-fight recap, results, .gifs and interview highlights from a card where Rory MacDonald went up to 185 lbs. to challenge Gegard Mousasi!

Bellator 206: “Mousasi vs. MacDonald” took place last night (Sat., Sept. 29, 2018) at SAP Center in San Jose, California. Gegard Mousasi (44-6-2) put his title on the line as Rory MacDonald (20-4) came up from Welterweight to Middleweight to seek a second belt to put around his waist.

The size difference was as apparent in Round 1 as was Mousasi’s power, as he repeatedly snapped MacDonald’s head back with his jab, and when MacDonald could land it didn’t seem to cause any damage in return. He forced MacDonald to fight off his back foot for nearly the entire round.

Things went from bad to worse for MacDonald in round two. He dove for a leg looking for a submission and Mousasi was not snake bit. In fact the opposite happened – he immediately busted MacDonald wide open, worked his way to the full mount near the three minute mark, then poured on the fists and elbows until Herb Dean stopped it at 3:23 by TKO.

Mousasi spoke to “Big” John McCarthy after his impressive Middleweight title defense.

“Much respect to Rory. I like him a lot. Phenomenal fighter, phenomenal guy. Thanks for taking the fight and making this a super-fight for Bellator. I knew I had better stand up and the reach advantage, I felt like I had the speed advantage, the plan was to make him panic and go for the takedown. I had hurt him a little bit already and it went perfect. It was just the fight I needed. Next is Lovato and then Machida if he wins. We need a lot of drug testing for Machida. I think (Lovato) deserves it. I want to fight him. April I will be ready for (Machida) if he wins but I’m not gonna wait six months for Machida.”

In the co-main event two legendary warriors meet for the fourth time as Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (37-13) and Wanderlei Silva (35-13-1-1) met in a clash of Heavyweight titans.

DAZN made sure to bring MMA fans the pre-fight breakdown of their respective stats.

As Mauro Ranallo is fond of saying, “MOMMA MIA.” This fight was contested entirely on the feet, with Jackson working the left jab to set up the right hook, and Silva clinching when necessary and firing counter strikes when available. Silva got tired of the cautious forward movement of Jackson early and dared him to go for broke. When Jackson rocked him late in round one and Silva started backpedaling, Jackson returned the favor and goaded his foe.

Mike Beltran kept law and order between rounds until they could come out and restart the fireworks. Jackson’s timing was largely on point as he read Silva’s strikes and either ducked the windmilling blows or sidestepped the kicks. He’d rock Silva and Silva would hang on trying to clear his head, but four minutes in Jackson landed an emphatic right that Silva’s chin could no longer withstand, pouring it on until Beltran awarded a TKO at 4:32.

“Big” John McCarthy stepped in to talk to the victorious “Rampage” Jackson afterward.

“I watched Wanderlei fight before I was even a fighter. I saw Wanderlei destroy a guy with knees. I was instantly a fan. Much respect to Wanderlei. We’re never going to get another Wanderlei so let’s pay respect to him. He rocked me. My chin was tested tonight. When he rocked me this time I had a flashback to when he rocked me in Japan. I knew it was coming to an end. I’ve been training boxing for a long time in Manchester. I’ve been training muay thai with Tiki, sneaky, and Wanderlei is very crafty. I got great great sparring partners. This camp was like the best camp I ever had.”

Kicking off the Welterweight Grand Prix in Bellator was an opening round bout between two former champions — Douglas Lima (29-7) and Andrey Koreshkov (21-2).

The first round was almost a stalemate. The crowd grew frustrated with referee Josh Rosenthal’s lack of separation as Koreshkov tried and failed to get multiple takedowns, lifting Lima high in the air a couple of times, but Lima always landed on his feet.

The second round was dominantly for Lima. He landed multiple leg kicks to Koreshkov and John McCarthy raved on commentary about the power and technique. Koreshkov’s only response was to stall against the fence. He didn’t seem to land any effective strikes the entire five minutes. The third round was essentially “rinse lather repeat” of the second.

After a fourth round that looked a lot like the previous two until the clapper, Lima landed a hard right hand that momentarily made Koreshkov wobble on his feet, and he charged forward to pour it on against the fence until the bell. Lima had a big lead going into Round 5.

The exclamation point on the bout for Douglas Lima was a sprawl to block a takedown that gave him a dominant position on the ground, throwing multiple lefts and rights from Koreshkov’s back, then taking the back with both hooks in for a tight rear-naked choke. Koreshkov had never been submitted before in his career, and perhaps was unwilling to let this be the first time he tapped, so he simply went out cold and Rosenthal broke the hold.

The official time of the technical submission was 3:04. Lima spoke to McCarthy afterward.

“Just before anything I want to thank God for this victory, for bringing me here healthy. Koreshkov is a tough guy, I’m sorry if it wasn’t exciting, but you can’t blink against a guy like that. Man we got it done. I was breaking him, he was slowing down a little bit, and I was able to capitalize. Man you know that’s the type of guy he is. He’d rather go to sleep than tap. It was an honor for me to compete against him one more time.”

Featherweight young gun Aaron Pico (3-1) was put to work again versus the much more experienced Leandro Higo (18-4).

Aaron Pico once again showed his ability to outwork and out-strike vastly more experienced opponents. The scary thing is that Higo was clearly out on his feet after being rocked a second time halfway through the round, but referee Mark Smith didn’t step in until Higo stumbled and fell trying a back fist. Pico spoke to John McCarthy afterward.

“Well I’ve been saying before he never fought a guy on my level, who hits as hard as me, who pushes the pace like me. It feels good to go out there and do it to a tough guy like Leandro Higo. Brazilians come to fight. I respect that. I just had to regain focus, use my jab, because I knew he would start running. You gotta just roll with the punches like they say. My progression is going fantastic, working with the best coaches in the world. Three or four years from now nobody on the planet will touch me in this cage.”

Also on the main card was a Strawweight bout between Keri Taylor-Melendez (2-0) and the debuting Dakota Zimmerman.

Melendez was winning most of the first round after a takedown and a huge slam, but Zimmerman capitalized on a momentary positional mistake and trapped an arm, then wrapped her legs around Melendez’ head and made her stay on defense until the bell, giving Zimmerman a potential scorecard lead early in the fight.

Zimmerman tried multiple times to get a takedown in Round 2 to no avail, pulled guard a couple of times, and each time Melendez calmly walked her across the cage. The second time Melendez shook her off and landed almost a dozen unanswered knee strikes to the body to tie things up going into the third frame.

There was an urgency to Zimmerman’s forward aggression to open the last round as though she knew it was too close to call, but the one takedown she landed was almost instantly neutralized as Melendez pushed off the fence with her feet to get a sweep. She landed a couple of upkicks when Melendez escaped but not directly enough to rock her, and she pulled guard late and let Melendez finish the fight on top.

Two of the three judges scored it 29-28 for Melendez to earn the split decision, while one judge gave a 29-28 to Zimmerman. No post-fight interview followed.

Rounding out DAZN action was a Featherweight bout between Gaston Bolanos (3-1) and Ysidro Gutierrez (4-2).

Bolanos landed head kicks several times throughout the first round but missed with his signature spinning elbow. Due to his high rate of activity and a few takedowns he clearly took the the opening frame 10-9.

The second round saw the “Dream Killer” blow Gutierrez out of the water by landing a powerful left hand behind the ear and multiple right hands from behind on the ground, forcing referee Mike Beltran to save a defenseless man at 1:37.

Bolanos spoke to “Big” John McCarthy afterward about his impressive knockout win.

“First of all thank you mi gente. All my people thank you so much. I’ve been dreaming about this interview my whole life. Yes sir, Darren and I worked a lot, (he said) don’t just worry about getting back up, look for your shots and they’ll be there and that’s what we did tonight.”

He also had more to say backstage after the in cage interview.

For complete Bellator 206 results and coverage click here.

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TUF 28 Results, Recap For Ep. 5

If you missed episode four click here for a complete recap.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back on FOX Sports 1 later tonight (Sept. 26, 2018) with episode five of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 28, featuring a split cast of men’s heavyweights and women’s featherweights.

Tonight, Team Whittaker looks to capitalize on last week’s submission win by featherweight Julija Stoliarenko by sending Michel Batista into heavyweight battle against Team Gastelum’s Josh Parisian.

Here’s where we stand heading into episode five:

TEAM WHITTAKER:

Anderson Da Silva
Julija Stoliarenko
Juan Francisco Espino Diepa
Leah Letson
Michel Batista
Larissa Pacheco
Przemyslaw Mysiala
Katharina Lehner

TEAM GASTELUM:

Ben Sosoli
Macy Chiasson
Maurice Greene
Pannie Kianzad
Josh Parisian
Bea Malecki
Justin Frazier
Marciea Allen

Be sure to tune in TONIGHT at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and follow along with us in the comments section below. Then hit us up against just as soon as the credits roll for our complete results and recap.

See you tonight!

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RECAP! Kunchenko Brawls Past Alves!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight strikers Thiago Alves and Alexey Kunchenko dueled last night (Sept. 15, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 136 inside Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Moscow, Russia.

It’s been many years since Alves contended for the Welterweight title opposite Georges St. Pierre, but the Muay Thai wrecking machine remains an active fighter today. As of late, Alves has spent his time trying to kick his way past fellow veterans or up-and-comers. Filling the role of prospect opposite the Brazilian was Russia’s Kunchenko, a hard-hitting kickboxer who was looking to prove his talents on the big stage. Kunchenko didn’t begin his MMA career until later in life, which added a bit of pressure on “Wolverine” to impress last night.

The newcomer took the center of the cage early, but Alves answered with solid low kicks. Before long, Kunchenko began to establish the jab, and the Muay Thai vs. boxing match up materialized from paper to inside the Octagon.

At first, Alves was finding more consistent success, landing low kicks commonly and mixing in the occasional punches. However, Kunchenko did begin finding a home for his right hand, and the exchanges consistently heated up as the round wore on.

The opening five minutes were very closely contested.

Alves continued to work behind the jab and kicks into the second, though he mixed a more active body kick into his attack as well. Kunchenko responded with by kicking more himself, and his counter right hand was scoring too.

For the most part, the two exchanged hard blows rather evenly. Alves’ tight guard and defense were on display, but Kunchenko’s quickness and power still had noticeable effect. The most effective weapon continued to be Alves’ low kick, which was buckling the Russian’s lead leg and doing obvious damage.

It was a competitive but clear round for the UFC veteran.

Possibly down heading into the third, Kunchenko had to turn it up. At first, it didn’t seem likely, as the Brazilian continued to slam him with hard kicks and keep him on the outside. In fact, it was Alves pressuring now, keeping Kunchenko on his back foot as he continued to ram his legs and body with heavy kicks.

At about the halfway point in the round, something changed. Kunchenko seemed a bit more comfortable despite their mutual fatigue, and the momentum soon shifted as a result. Pushing forward, Kunchenko’s 1-2 snapped Alves head back repeatedly, and he closed distance further into clinch. From that range, Kunchenko landed hard knees and a brief takedown.

The Russian finished the fight very strong.

Ultimately, it was enough to see his hand raised. Some will argue home cooking — an argument I’m not completely against — but the decision did hinge on a very close first round.

Kunchenko definitely showed both his skill and position on the roster in this match up. His hands were fast and dangerous, piercing the generally solid defense of Alves many times. In addition, Kunchenko showed off both his toughness and aggression, pushing through difficult moments and a battered leg to win a competitive fight.

At 34 years old, this is likely the best Kunchenko is going to be. As is, he doesn’t look the part of title contender, but there are plenty of exciting match ups for Kunchenko at 170 lbs. Perhaps Max Griffin could be next for “Wolverine?”

As for Alves, the longtime veteran has nothing to be ashamed of. He fought well against a game opponent, and more than anything else proved that there’s plenty left in the tank for Alves. No matter how many times we get to see it, it’s a joy to watch Alves destroy legs and buckle knees.

“Pitbull” is still very worth-watching.

Last night, Alexey Kunchenko battled his way to a hard-fought victory. Who should the Russian face next?

For complete UFC Fight Night 136 “Hunt vs. Oleinik” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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RECAP! ‘Judo Thunder’ Strikes In Texas!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight knockout artists Abdul Razak Alhassan and Niko Price battled last night (Sept. 8, 2018) at UFC 228 inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

A battle between wild men took place last night in Dallas. Price is an oddball of a fighter; he moves in different rhythms, strikes with shifting punches often, and last time out managed to knock an opponent out with a hammer fist from his back. Alhassan is a more straight forward ball of violence: a heavily muscled Judoka who largely abandoned hip tosses in favor of bludgeoning hapless fools with his right hand. Which man would win was anyone’s guess leading into the fight last night, but violence was damn near a guarantee.

This one didn’t last long at all.

Price struck early with a nice counter right hand, but Alhassan was the man moving forward and backing Price into the fence. The second Price hit the fence, Alhassan unleashed a flurry of overhands. Price was aware of this strategy, keeping his left hand high and trying to counter back by blocking and firing back with a right hand.

At first, both men got their licks in. However, Price began attempting to throw left kicks while Alhassan was mid-punch — not a bad strategy on paper, but Alhassan was far too close already. The result was Price getting knocked off-balance. Once Price’s feet were no longer beneath him, Alhassan’s advantage of hand speed and punching power amplified in a big way.

Another overhand was partially blocked, but the follow up left hook landed flush and sent Price crumpling to the mat. There was really no follow up needed.

What’s there to say for Alhassan? The man destroys people with his fists; he’s an immensely powerful athlete with ferocious punching power. Now on a three-fight win streak with a trio of knockout wins — in which he fought about the same way all three times — Alhassan has earned another step up in competition.

If he truly has solved his takedown defense issues (something we didn’t really learn about in this fight), Alhassan could just be a contender.

As for Price, this is a great example of terrible decision making. Where did Price hold an advantage on paper? Plenty of places, like distance striking, transitions between strikes and grappling, and on the mat. Instead, he found himself placed on the fence almost immediately and tried to trade right hands with the man known for murdering people with right hands.

Predictably, it did not work.

Just about every other possible game plan was better, and Price decreased his odds of winning exponentially by choosing to trade with Alhassan on the fence. The fact that he did a nice job of mostly blocking the right hands from Alhassan is really evidence of that fact: a well-executed game plan won’t work if the initial plan is awful.

Last night, Abdul Razak Alhassan flattened another opponent. Who should Alhassan face next?

For complete UFC 228: “Woodley vs. Till” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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TUF Is Back! Results, Recap For Ep. 1 Of ‘Heavy Hitters’

The drought is over!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) back to FOX Sports 1 for the final time, as the promotion will transition to ESPN at the start of 2019 but don’t worry, there are no plans to cancel TUF.

Woo hoo!

For this latest round of the combat sports reality show, eight female featherweights and eight male heavyweights will bang it out for the coveted “six-figure contract” in two divisions that sorely need the additional help.

Coaching this offering will be middleweight rivals Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum. As with most seasons, they’ll throw down for “The Reaper’s” 185-pound strap at the conclusion of the show, at an upcoming pay-per-view (PPV) event to be named.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Be sure to tune in TONIGHT (Weds., Aug. 29, 2018) at 10 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 and follow along with us in the comments section below. Then stick around after the credits roll for our complete TUF 28 results and recap.

Enjoy the show!

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RECAP! Aldrich Out-Works Viana

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) strawweight prospects JJ Aldrich and Polyana Viana battled last night (Aug. 4, 2018) at UFC 227 inside Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Aldrich first made her name known as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). Though she didn’t win the show and even lost her first bout inside the Octagon, Aldrich received another chance, which paid off to the tune of a pair of quality wins. On the other hand, Viana has utterly dominated nearly every foe she’s faced. The only issue is that none of them have been very good.

This matchup may have been an incredibly random fight for the main card of a UFC pay-per-view (PPV), but both women looked to deliver a big win nevertheless.

Viana, the longer woman, made good use of her range, sticking her advancing foe with long straight shots and solid kicks. Before long though, the fight moved into the clinch. At first, the bigger Brazilian controlled her opponent there, but before long both women got their licks in. Back at range, Viana continued to land hard kicks as Aldrich advanced. Aldrich landed too though, and she finished the round with a takedown near the end of the round.

It was a very tight opening five minutes.

Viana looked a bit wild to start the second, still throwing heat but looking a bit fatigued. Aldrich ate some shots but also landed a pair of big hooks, capitalizing on her opponent’s raised chin. Aldrich found her range a couple minutes into the round, landing crisp counters as Viana burst forward.

Undeterred, Viana continued to land hard crosses and right kicks as well. Aldrich got a bit too comfortable striking though, allowing Viana to duck under a cross and land a brief takedown. Aldrich was able to reverse though, finishing the round on top.

After a back-and-forth 10 minutes, the fight was still up in the air with a round remaining.

Aldrich’s counters were on point to start the third, snapping Viana’s head back more consistently. As a result, Viana pulled guard moments later, which was a desperate act to change the fight. Oddly, Viana didn’t do all that much from her back, mostly holding onto Aldrich and throwing little punches from her back.

Viana returned to her feet with 90 seconds remaining, and it took about five seconds for Aldrich to land another huge left hand. Viana was majorly tired, which enabled Aldrich to pick her apart for the rest of the round.

It was precisely the strong finish Aldrich needed.

Aldrich is not the most athletic talent at 115 lbs., but she definitely makes the most of her gifts. Faced with a bigger, stronger opponent who also held an advantage on the mat, Aldrich was forced to balance a game plan of high-volume kickboxing, counter shots, and well-rounded wrestling.

Once Aldrich found her range and Viana slowed, Aldrich’s counter left hand landed repeatedly. It landed with remarkably consistency, and it really showed how important punching fundamentals are. Viana’s strikes were sloppy and came up short despite her length, whereas Aldrich’s snapped directly down the center and landed clean.

Good, technical work from Aldrich, who has now won three straight.

As for Viana, this was a major step up in competition, and the holes in her game arose as a result. Viana’s conditioning has never been tested — almost all of her wins came in the first round. Faced with relatively unknown territory, Viana slowed considerably and grew far less effective.

In addition, Viana’s offensive wrestling needs work. Her jiu-jitsu is clearly very good, but that doesn’t matter if she cannot land a takedown. Luckily, there’s still plenty of time to improve, and at least Viana now should have a clear idea of what to work on.

Last night, JJ Aldrich pulled through as a slight upset. Who should Aldrich face next?

For complete UFC 227 “Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 2” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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