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By Daniel Rebain – Content Strategist
Finally back to some normalcy a week after a fight card with only eight fights. We had some big prospects continue their winning ways but we also had some other note worth results as well. And in the Main Event we had two different styles go at it with one getting a finish victory. Keep reading to find out the details of each fight..
Youssef Zalal (10-2) def Peter Barrett (11-4) via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Youssef Zalal fights fun and wins in style and he showed that last Saturday night. Going in he was the biggest betting favorite and he showed why. Early in R1 he hit his opponent Peter Barret square in the jaw with a spinning back kick with his heel landing flush. But that would not finish Barret who would get back up; it would set the tone for the rest of the fight. Zalal would dominate in every position he found himself in, standing up when he was landing, he was able to take Barrett down and was able to secure multiple submission attempts. The fight looked like it could have ended two more times when Zalal threatened to submit Barrett with a rear-naked choke in the second and third, but Barrett was able to defend both times. In the end though Zalal would have to settle for a dominant unanimous decision as he could put Barrett away. Give Barrett credit he fought till the end of the fight not quitting when he certainly could have multiple times during the fight, but this was Zalal’s night to celebrate. “Before 2020, we sat down with the coaches and decided it was really time to go and grow, really just push it, and see where life takes us,” Zalal said. “We never knew we would have three fights in 2020. We just went with the flow and really focused on getting better as a mixed martial artist, as a person in general.” Zalal with the dominant win has now been victorious in his last four fights.
Andrew Sanchez (13-5) def Wellington Turman (16-4) via R1 KO
According to Max Holloway, “The mullet brings a different type of power,” and after Andrew Sanchez’s KO of Wellington Turman it showed. Sanchez, a former national champion collegiate wrestler, put his standup skills on display in getting his first UFC finish with a beautiful 1-2 that flattened Turman at 4:14 of Round 1. Sanchez did utilize his wrestling early on, initiating a clinch against the cage and controlling his opponent there. Both men landed lead right hands as well as counter lefts, but Sanchez’s punches kept coming, and coming hard. After he had clipped Turman with a right hand, he swooped in and finished with a probing left jab, followed by a powerful right cross, putting Turman to sleep early. For Sanchez, the winner of Season 23 of “The Ultimate Fighter”, it was his third victory in his past four outings. He also won a $50,000 performance-of-the-night bonus. For Turman, he had won five of six coming in and had never been finished, not anymore.
Kevin Holland (18-5) def Joaquin Buckley (10-3) via R3 KO
Kevin Holland has had probably one of the weirdest two week stretches in UFC history. Scheduled to fight last week at UFC Vegas 5, his opponent Trevin Giles passed out right before he was scheduled to walk out. But Uncle Dana promised to get him in this cage on this card and was handed a tough match-up in Joaquin Buckley who the week prior KO’d his opponent at LFA 87. Buckley was aggressive from the jump, moving forward with hard combinations. But Holland was patient. He weathered Buckley’s storm, blocking, and evading most punches. And when the time was right, he landed perfectly placed elbows and punches. Holland would connect beautifully with one of the right hands and dropped Buckley. It was more of the same in the second, with Holland being able to avoid all of Buckley’s shots while countering with his own pouches and elbows. Holland would find the finish he wanted in the third when he landed a perfect right cross to Buckley’s jaw to finish by one-punch knockout at :32 of the third round. Buckley’s mouthpiece flew out on impact and referee Mark Smith rushed in to stop it when Buckley hit the ground. “That was like ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley-type stuff right there,” Holland said. “That was pretty cool. I did not know it was that clean, I thought it was kind of sloppy. That was decent. I didn’t know it was that decent.” With the win Holland has now won five of his last six fights with his last two being KO’s.
Tim Means (30-12-1) def Laureano Staropoli (9-3) via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Tim “The Dirty Bird” Means has alternated wins in his last six fights and was coming off a submission loss in February. For Means this fight against high touted Laureano Staropoli could be the fight that gets him back on track to start a winning streak. Staropoli who is known for his spinning attacks came out and threw many of them at Means; most of them missing but a few came dangerously close to putting Means out if they landed flusher. It was in the second where Means had the biggest moment of the fight, dropping Staropoli with a perfectly timed head kick halfway through the round, but he was not able to get the finish. For the rest of R2, Means would land more than Staropoli, with a 43-23 edge in strikes. The big R2 for Means would send him into the final round with momentum. Means in R3 took Staropoli’s flashy spinning moves out of the fight in Round 3, taking him down and locking up his opponent in a clinch against the cage for nearly the entirety of those final five minutes. Means did not land many shots, but when he did, he did with some knees and short punches, but more important he neutralized Staropoli the rest of the fight to seal the deal with the judges. “I can look myself in the mirror and tell myself the truth right out of the gate, I’m not a quitter,” Means said. “I might do some stupid things along the way and own what I do wrong, earn my reputation, earn my way, but I don’t quit.” Means initially missed weight by 1.5 pounds but after a second attempt made the 171-pound limit, so he will be taking home 20% of his opponents’ purse as well as the victory.
Beneil Dariush (19-4-1) def Scott Holtzman (14-4) via R1 KO (Spinning Backfist)
The only down point of Beneil Dariush was that he was not eligible to receive a $50k performance bonus due to him missing weight. Other than that, he had pretty much a flawless night. The BJJ specialist has found a touch of the KO bug now winning by walk off KO in two straight fights. The fight however started off on a bad foot as both fighters poked each other in the eye. Dariush came out of the eye pokes better and delivered a furious flurry that forced Scott Holtzman to try to score a takedown. After both fighters were able to get back to their feet, Holtzman picked up the pace walking Dariush down. But that would spell the end for Holtzman’s night as Dariush hit him with a devastating back fist, with Dariush’s forearm to connect with Holtzman’s jaw putting an instant end to the fight. Dariush would have won that performance bonus but missed weight so he said that if the UFC considered his performance bonus-worthy, to give the $50,000 to Holtzman instead. “Scott’s so good and I’ve got to say, even though I won. I’m still super embarrassed about how I missed weight,” Dariush said. “If that’s performance (bonus) worthy, give it to Scott.” What a nice guy. Dariush has now won five-in-a-row with four finishes, while Holtzman had a two-fight winning streak snapped.
Darren Stewart (12-5) def Maki Pitolo (13-6) via R1 Submission (Guillotine Choke)
Darren Stewart had a rough start in the UFC, losing his first three fights and tapping out twice. But has turned things around, winning four of his last six fights, two of them by KO and was looking to keep things rolling. To start the fight, Stewart walked and chased his opponent Maki Pitolo down and once he caught him, they started exchanging, which would be the beginning of the end. The fight-ending sequence began when Stewart ducked a Pitolo spinning backfist attempt. In the ensuing clinch, Pitolo switched levels and went for a double-leg takedown. But Stewart made a swift and seamless transition into a tight guillotine choke, and it was just a formality before Stewart got the finish at the 3:41 mark of the opening round. “I’ve been doing that takedown defense a lot with my team,” said Stewart, who dedicated his performance to a friend who recently died, Jahreau Shepard. “I said, ‘You know what? Let us go for it.’” It was the first career submission win for Stewart who has finished seven of his 12 wins by KO/TKO. For Pitolo, he has now dropped two of his past three fights.
Chris Weidman (15-5) def Omari Akhmedov (20-5-1) via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
For former Middleweight Champ Chris Weidman, he has had a hard time of late in the UFC. Weidman after starting his career 13-0 would go on to lose his strap to Luke Rockhold and lose five of his last six fights. But after his fight with Omari Akhmedov, who was undefeated in his last six fights, it looks like the “All American’ Weidman is back to possibly his old ways. For the whole fight, Weidman in typical fashion looked for the takedown while Akhmedov wanted to keep the fight standing as Weidman had finished in all five of his losses. In R2, both fighters utilized their striking while also looking to drag the fight to the ground but more importantly Weidman looked gassed and lacked movement due to trying to get the fight to the ground. But his persistence paid off in the third round as it was all Weidman. Weidman was able to keep Akhmedov on the canvas for a majority of the third round dominating him in those positions with multiple submission attempts and ground and pound that cut Akhmedov. The dominant position was enough to earn a unanimous decision and return Weidman to the win column for the first time since July 2017. Weidman gets a win that could be massive for his confidence as he feels it could be a new start for him as a Middleweight. “It feels good. I feel like I am restarting my career, and I am grateful to have that opportunity. I feel refreshed and renewed. I’m super excited about the future.” Akhmedov had a six-fight unbeaten streak snapped.
Derrick Lewis (24-7) def Aleksei Oleinik (59-14-1) via R2 TKO
Derrick Lewis coming into his fight with Aleksei Oleinik was just one KO away from the UFC record for most KO’s in Heavyweight history. The “Black Beast” has been known for two things during his UFC tenure, one his vicious KO’s and two his hilarious post fight interviews where he says the most outlandish things. But back to the fight where it started like most of Lewis’ fights where he comes out and attacks you from the jump. The thing that nobody saw coming was Lewis grappling and wrestling with Oleinik who has 46 of his 59 wins by submission. The Russian worked Lewis into several submission attempts, including a bulldog choke that had Lewis in deep trouble, with Lewis even saying post fight that he almost tapped out. Lewis eventually was able to escape Oleinik’s grasp before the end of the round. It is in round two where Lewis came out flying, literally with a flying knee that landed on Oleinik’s chest, and when he landed to the ground, Lewis hit Oleinik with a hellacious right hand that dropped him. Lewis would get the TKO finish after some heavyweight ground-and-pound strikes until referee Herb Dean had to wave things off as Oleinik was face down and most likely out of it, just 21 seconds. “It feels good, especially that he had that British bulldog, whatever the hell the head submission was he put on me pretty deep,” Lewis said. “I couldn’t breathe at all.” Lewis has now won three consecutive fights and is now the UFC’s new heavyweight knockout king. For Oleinik, he had his two-fight winning streak snapped.
(Prelim) Irwin Rivera (10-5) def Ali Al Qaisi (8-4) via Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
(Prelim) Nasrat Haqparast (12-3) def Alexander Munoz (6-1) via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
(Prelim) Gavin Tucker (12-1) def Justin Jaynes (16-5) via R3 Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
(Main Card) Yana Kunitskaya (13-5) def Julija Stoliarenko (9-5-1) via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
50k Fight of the Night: None
50k Performance Bonus: Gavin Tucker, Andrew Sanchez, Kevin Holland, Darren Stewart
Next Event: The next UFC event is UFC 252, August 15th which will detest who the greatest UFC Heavyweight fighter is between the champ Stipe Miocic (19-3) against former champ Daniel Cormier (22-2) in a trilogy that has spanned more than three years. UFC 252 is available on ESPN+ PPV; Main Card starts at 10:00 pm EST, check out the full card here.
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