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By Daniel Rebain – Summer Staff Writer
Youssef Zalal (9-2) def Jordan Griffin (18-8) via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Throughout the whole fight Youssef Zalal was constantly being put on his back by the wrestling ability of Jordan Griffin. But when the fight was standing at distance, Zalal was the more technical fighter. Griffin took Zalal down several times in the first round and had his back twice. It was heading for an easy victory for Griffin and looked like he would bully Zalal for all three rounds. That quickly changed in the second round with a perfectly timed straight right to the body that crumbled Griffin and really damaged him the rest of the fight. In the third, things picked up for Zalal, as he got off even more of his strikes, landing elbow and a punching combinations with some knees thrown in there. Griffin was drained of his energy after taking all of those shots to the body and wasn’t able to bully Zalal on the ground like the first two rounds. Zalal has now won three straight, including his first two UFC fights, while Griffin has dropped three of his past four.
Kay Hansen (7-3) def Jinh Yu Frey (9-5) via R3 Submission (Armbar)
Kay Hansen grew up playing softball and was heading towards playing at the D1 level in the Ivy League, until she discovered Ronda Rousey. Making her UFC debut at age 20, the second youngest fighter on the roster (Chase Hooper also 20), Hansen put on a show that even made Ronda blush as she finished Frey in Rousey-style, catching her in an armbar mid-way into the third round. Frey had the fight going her way, fending off the takedowns, and landing counter lefts, until in the second round when Hansen finally took her down. Eventually in the third round she would sink in the armbar and make Frey tap. “I’m used to people saying, ‘She’s a great prospect, ‘She’s too young,’ or, ‘She doesn’t have enough experience.’ I’m just going to focus on me, listen to my team and try to get better. I have a lot of heart and determination. I’m excited to tap into the best fighter I can be”, said Hansen after the fight. Hansen ups her record to 7-3 as Frey falls to 9-5.
Tanner Boser (18-6-1) def Philipe Lins (14-5) via R1 KO
In the third fight of the night, Tanner Boser delivered the most impressive victory of his UFC run, knocking out Philipe Lins in the first round. Boser was moving constantly, not giving Lins anything to hit or establish an offensive rhythm and that strategy worked beautifully. Then mid-way through the first round, Boser planted his feet and unleashed an overhand right – stunning the Brazilian. The overhand right from Boser landed just behind Lins ear and significantly wobbled him. Boser realized and pounced, landing 8 straight punches to KO Lins unconscious. Without his usual training camp and corner, Boser was not affected at all. “I did a lot of strength and conditioning. I had to make compromises in my training camp, but I felt genuinely good coming into this. I’m glad it paid off”, said Boser. His lighter frame was the key to his victory and a massive positive effect on his speed leading to the KO. Boser is now 2-1 in the UFC while the former PFL season winner in 18’ has dropped both his fights so far in the UFC.
Khama Worthy (16-6) def Luis Pena (8-3) via R3 Submission (Fixed Guillotine)
To start the fight both fighters made it look like this was going to be a stand-up duel. Khama Worthy was successful with his striking in the first round. But once the second came Pena switched up his game plan. He took Worthy down and dominated on the ground, getting into mount and slipping to Worthy’s back multiple times. Pena, going into the third round would go back to the well and wrestle some more if it aint broke dont fix it. RIGHT!? Wrong, Pena attempted a takedown but Worthy saw it coming from a mile away. Pena compromised his neck while securing the takedown and Worthy locked in a fixed guillotine ultimately forcing Pena to tap after he could not get to side control and relieve the pressure on his neck. “I got that dad strength, man,” Worthy said. “I turn 34 in October. It’s just a different story when you’re in here with me.” Worthy has won seven in a row, including his first two UFC fights via finish while Pena still an exciting prospect, has lost two of his last three. NOTE* Per ESPN Stats & Information, Worthy is only the third fighter in the UFC since 2007 to win his first two UFC fights as a 2-to-1 underdog or greater.
Julian Erosa (24-9) def Sean Woodson (7-1) via R3 Submission (D’Arce Choke)
Woodson, a former amateur boxer (40+ wins), entered the night as the biggest favorite on the card, at 5-1 while Erosa, who has been cut by the UFC twice before was brought in on three days’ notice. What possibly could go wrong for Woodson. And he surely will keep his job after getting the job done so stunningly. Throughout the whole fight basically, Woodson was putting on a stand-up show, but Erosa ate left hand after left hand for nearly the entirety of the fight. But not one of them stopped Erosa in his tracks and he kept coming at Woodson. In the first minute of the third round, Woodson landed a stinging left hook that dropped Erosa on his butt, but he got right back up and continued towards Woodson. Erosa would finally get what he was looking for. his attacks to the body slowed Woodson just enough for Erosa to eventually score a takedown. Woodson did escape, but he soon was taken down again and Erosa would not let him back up. Erosa sank in a D’Arce choke and Woodson after all his hard work after throwing 203 head strikes would have to tap out. Both alums from Dana Whites Contender Series, Erosa would get only his second win in six tries in the UFC (32nd pro fight) while Woodson took his first pro loss in the process
Takashi Soto (16-3) def Jason Witt (17-6) via R1 TKO (Punches)
Takashi Soto was originally scheduled to fight Ramiz Brahimaj, but he pulled out due to one of his corner men testing positive for COVID-19. So, Jason Witt stepped up and Soto made Witt’s’ UFC a quick one. Sato dropped Witt with a straight left hand in the opening minute of the fight and then finished him with hammer fists on the ground at just the 48-second mark, the fastest fight of the night. All but three of Sotos’ professional wins have come via stoppage. “I was confident that I do have knockout power,” Sato said. “I was able to show that and prove that in the Octagon tonight.”
Brendan Allen (14-3) def Kyle Daukaus (9-1) via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-27, 29-28)
Brendan Allen and Kyle Daukaus had one of the best pure grappling fights in recent UFC memory, a back-and-forth war that included slicing elbows, submission attempts and dynamic sweeps. While most fans love to see both fighters on the feet trying to take someone’s head off, this was a change of pace, but not boring at all. Allen did however land a booming shot to Daukaus on the feet, landing a knee that dropped Daukaus in the first round. Once he was in top mount, Allen took control as he landed big elbows that opened a nasty, bloody cut over Daukaus’ right eye. Daukaus’ in the second round almost changed the tie, but Allen used a guillotine to switch back into top position like in round one. Daukaus’ best round was the third. He got Allen down and did damage to Allen’s left eye with his own elbows. Daukaus got Allen’s back and looked for a choke for a significant amount of time. But he could not find the finish he needed and Aleen got back up and was able to land shots until the round was over and sealed the victory. Allen at the age of only 24 is a legitimate prospect at 185 pounds, has won seven in a row, including his first three UFC fights. Daukaus earned his first pro loss in his UFC debut and had eight submissions in his nine pro wins coming into this fight.
Maurice Greene (9-5) def Gian Villante (17-12) via R3 Submission (Arm Triangle)
Maurice Green was in a do-or-die scenario coming into this fight against Glan Villante. Losing his previous two fights, Greene needed a win Saturday to keep his job in the UFC, and he did in an incredible comeback victory. When the fight got started, Greene showed off his height and reach advantage as he tried to keep Villante at a distance with long punches and a lot of kicks thrown to the head and body. Regardless of Greene’s striking, Villante continued to press forward, and he connected with a well-timed body shot. With the power advantage with him, Villante started to find a home on Greene’s chin with some over the top punches. That strategy paid off when Villante countered a Superman punch with a huge left hand that sent Greene crumbling to the ground. Villante followed him to the ground but that was the wrong move to make. Greene caught Villante in an arm triangle choke with his back against the mat. As Greene tightened the choke, Villante was forced to tap out. Greene with the win was planning to move his family to Arizona to train full time at Jackson Wink MMA Academy which houses Jon Jones and Holly Holm to name some names. With the win Greene ended a two-fight losing streak that had halted the momentum he had built by winning his first three UFC fights. Villante on the other hand drops to 7-9 in UFC with this being his first fight since being TKO’d in early 19’
“Platinum” Mike Perry (14-6) def Mickey Gall (6-3) via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Mike Perry was not being a troll when he said he’d only have his girlfriend in his corner for this fight, all he needed her to do was give him water and put ice on him between rounds. In classic Mike Perry style he walked Gall down the whole fight and even outwrestled Gall for most of the fight, controlling him for almost six minutes on the ground. Gall failed to convert a single takedown attempt in this fight and that would hurt him. His best moments were all in the opening round. He caught Perry walking forward with counter right hands and left hooks but didn’t affect Perry one bit. Perry, not scared of anything Gall could do, hurt him badly with a right hand in the second round. Perry would out-land Gall in total strikes 103 to 59 and cruised to a decision victory in the third from top mount where he spent most of the fight against Gall – a black belt in Jiu Jitsu. Perry could be in line to fight in the top 15 after he snapped a two-fight losing skid and is now 7-6 in the UFC while Gall slumps to a record of 5-3.
Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (26-6) def Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (20-9) via Unanimous Decision (48-46, 48-47, 48-47)
Social media declared this fight a “Fight of The Year” contender to the Women’s Featherweight fight between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Weili Zhang as Dustin Poirier went the distance with the very scrapy Dan Hooker. Facing adversity early with blood pouring from his face, Poirier rallied to earn the decision and was able to preserve his status as one of the top lightweights in the world. The first and second rounds were similar. Hooker landed a lot of volume, including punches to the body and hard, low calf kicks to Poirier. Poirier landed hard combinations, but Hooker put pace on him. Hooker had everything going the way he wanted heading into the third round, but that’s when Poirier experience started to take over. Poirier came out fast and set a tone from the jump in the third. Poirier was landing some good combos, but Hooker took him down. From the ground, Poirier landed slicing elbows that took a tole. In the fourth round it would be Poirier who took Hooker down, and that is when the tides changed in Poirier’s favor. The most significant damage came when Poirier had Hookers legs tangled up while he was in top position. Poirier would land a bunch of hard shots from that position, wearing him down even more than he was already. The fifth was much of the same. Hooker was trying to get as much oxygen as possible and it sure looked like he just wanted to take Poirier down and just rest on top of him for the rest of the fight. Poirier was not having any of it and was able to defend the takedowns as he landed some more deadly punching combinations. Poirier outlasted him in the end. The 390 total strikes landed were the most in a lightweight fight in UFC history, and the fifth-most overall, with Poirier landing 208 to Hooker’s 182. Hooker out landed Poirier in significant strikes 155-153. Poirier now has just one loss in his past eight fights, with wins over Justin Gaethje, Max Holloway, Eddie Alvarez and now Dan Hooker with his only loss coming to the champ Khabib Nurmagomedov. For Hooker, he had a three-fight winning streak that was snapped and now owns a 7-2 UFC record since he moved up to lightweight.
Post Fight Presser
$50k fight of the night: Poirier vs Hooker
$50k performance bonus: Hansen, Erosa
Dana White Press Conference:
- NONE, Dana White is currently on Fight Island (Yas, Abu Dhabi)
The UFC will hold its first card outside of the US since the COVID-19 pandemic. The UFC will travel to Yas Island in Abu Dhabi July 11th for UFC 251 featuring three, yes i said THREE title fights. The first being a Bantamweight title fight for the title left vacant by Henry Cejudo when he retired a month ago. It will be between Petr Yan and former Featherweight king Jose Aldo. The second title fight will be the Co-Main Event, a rematch of the first fight between Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway for the Featherweight title. Volkanovski defeated Holloway last December via unanimous decision, Holloway will look for revenge and get his belt back. The third and final title fight in the Main Event will feature Kamaru Usman as he will defend his title against his teammate Gilbert Burns who just defeated former #1 contender Tyrone Woodly, for the Welterweight Title. Prelims will start at 6pm and can be seen on ESPN while the Main Card starts at 10pm and can be seen on PPV on ESPN+.
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