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By Daniel Rebain – Content Strategist
UFC 252 is behind us and it proved to be a card that didn’t disappoint with the hype that lead up until fight night. We have our Heavyweight GOAT, we had some major finishes and to put the cherry on top, we had a massive upset in the Co-Main Event. Keep reading to find out the details of each fight..
Kai Kamaka III (8-2) def Tony Kelley (6-2) via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Both Kai Kamaka and Tony Kelley were making their UFC debuts on very short notice, but if you look at their previous fights, they mostly have gone to the judges’ score cards. But this wasn’t a boring fight at all. To open this UFC 252 card, the 145-pound bout was incredibly high-paced and saw Kamaka become the first fighter in UFC history to land 100 significant strikes and score five takedowns in his UFC debut. Kamaka seized control of the fight early, as he walked Kelley down with right hands and body work. Kelley responded well at times with outside leg kicks and the jab, but Kamaka’s strikes had far more weight behind them, and he seemed to find his range well. Kamaka showed off his ground game in the second round, working some good ground-and-pound throughout. Kelley responded in a big way in the third, however, as he repeatedly reached for the clinch and threw stinging knees to Kamaka’s midsection. Kamaka responded with flurries to the body of his own, but Kelley landed the better offense in the third as the fight ended as a “fight of the night” candidate. Kai Kamaka picked up his first win in the UFC and sixth consecutive overall, all by unanimous decision.
Chris Daukaus (9-3) def Parker Porter (10-6) via R1 TKO
Chris Daukaus and Parker Porter were both making their debut in the UFC and one of these two heavyweights would make a bang in their first fight. Daukaus weighed in at above the 250-pound mark, but he looked fast and agile for a heavyweight. Daukaus operates like a much smaller human being. He showed his impressive boxing and footwork and KO’s Porter late in the first round. He set up the finish as he slipped a combination and landed a sharp right cross to put Porter on his heels and dropped Porter before he got the finish in R1. Porter, after being stunned by Daukaus, caught a big knee that sent Porter crashing to the canvas. Referee Herb Dean had to step in at that point. “It feels great to get something I’ve been working for close to 10 year now, so I couldn’t be happier with the results,” Daukaus said. “That’s just things we worked on, you obviously game plan for every opponent, so we saw that he was going to throw a little bit wild punches, big overhand followed by a big left, so we stayed tight, everything down the middle. “I knew he was going to be fast, so I dropped a lot of weight for this fight. Just changing the diet, changing everything, so I knew that I was faster than him and I knew I could definitely land with a simple one-two down the middle. Daukaus has won two straight now, while Porter saw a two-fight winning streak snapped.
Virna Jandiroba (16-1) def Felice Herrig (14-9) via R1 Submission (Armbar)
The already deep women’s strawweight division has added a new cookie to the pot in Barzilian Virna Jandiroba. Jandiroba absolutely ran through the returning veteran Felice Herrig. Jandiroba, a BJJ black belt, made it look like she was cutting butter. She took Herrig down right away, got into a dominant position on the ground, then slipped to mount. From there, she transitioned to an armbar. It was over from there as Herrig would tap. It was the fourth-quickest submission in UFC women’s strawweight history. “Everybody knows I’m a Brazilian jiu-jitsu girl,” Jandiroba said. “That’s always my Plan A. But I have a Plan B, too. UFC, let me fight. I still have a lot left to show you guys.” She added that she’d like a top-10 or even top-five opponent next. Jandiroba has won two straight after dropping her UFC debut to former champ Carla Esparza in April 2019. Jandiroba, a former Invicta FC strawweight champion, has won 13 of her 16 wins now by submissions. For Herrig, she was fighting for the first time since October 2018 due to knee surgery, and has lost three consecutive fights.
Vinc Pichel (13-2) def Jim Miller (32-15) via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Jim Miller, a veteran of the UFC, has been in the organization since 2008 and is already the holder of the most UFC lightweight wins (17), as he made his promotional record 36th appearance Saturday night for his fifth fight inside the last year and half. But he was fighting someone in Vinc Pichel who fought like a man with something to prove. And he beat Miller at his own game by out-grappling him. Miller did come out strong though and looked at the top of his game as he pushed the pace and wasted little time looking for the takedown. Miller went for a Superman punch, but it missed. He did however immediately grab a leg and got a single leg takedown. From there, Miller spent the rest of the round working for finishes, from a guillotine to a Peruvian necktie to a heel hook at the end of the round, but never quite got there. That would be all the positive for Miller the rest of the way. Pichel adjusted in the second as it became apparent, he was stronger and had more gas in the tank. Miller took a big head kick but used it and turned it into a takedown. This time though Pichel ended up in top position and while he did not come close to a finish, he stymied Miller while continuously improving his position. The third was a well-contested affair that saw both competitors have their moments in a round mostly on the mat. In the end though it was Pichel who came out on top with the unanimous decision. “Jim was a tough, tough dude. That was a pretty tough fight,” Pichel said. “You know I’m not easy to take down. I was on top of my game tonight.” For Miller, he has now lost two of his past three, while Pichel has won two straight and six of his last seven fights.
Merab Dvalishvili (12-4) def John Dodson (22-12) via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Merab Dvalishvili nicknamed “The Machine” showed in his fight against John Dodson, who himself is a UFC mainstay, why he is named the Machine. Dvalishvili did what he does best and put the pressure on Dodson with striking and takedowns over the course of three rounds. In R1 Dvalishvili secured a waist lock and spent a good amount of time holding Dodson against the fence, kneeing Dodson’s thigh a severe number of times and it seemed to take the steam out of Dodson. Dodson did breakaway late in the round, but he could not make much happen in the final 50 seconds. In the second and third rounds, Dvalishvili spent most of the time picking Dodson up and putting him to the ground, but he could never keep Dodson on the ground for significant periods of time. But Dvalishvili showed his ability on the feet too, he landed multiple shots as he was pressuring Dodson who was fearing the takedown, put his stamp on the fight and won every round. Dodson looked like he wanted to land the perfect counterpunch all fight but it never came for the former TUF winner. “That was the biggest test of my career, but it was easy, I’m not even tired,” Dvalishvili said in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. Dvalishvili has now won five consecutive fights, all by decision but showed he could be a real player in the Bantamweight division.
Daniel Pineda (27-13) def Herbert Burns (11-3) via R2 TKO (Elbows)
It had been six years since Pineda fought in the UFC, SIX YEARS!!! And he was going up against Herbert Burns, the brother of #1 contender Gilbert Burns, who himself won five straight wins all by finishes. So, when Pineda stopped Burns via TKO at 4:37 of the second round, you can say most people were surprised. “Y’all keep counting me out, betting against me. That is OK. I’ll make more money,” Pineda said post fight after his win. Pineda went after Burns’ strength of grappling in the first round, taking him down and punishing him with damaging ground-and-pound against the fence. Burns did nick Pineda a nasty knee in the opening portion that opened a nasty cut over his left eye, but Pineda was no worse for wear and landed a massive right hand in the same sequence. In the second round, Burns came out with a right hand into a trip takedown, but he was not able to make use of the takedown as he would usually do. Pineda instead was able to sweep and get into top position and from there the fight would come to an end. Pineda would slip into the dominant mounted crucifix position and would rain down elbows until Burns could no longer defend himself and the ref had to step in. now has his first UFC victory since 2013, and a $50,000 performance-of-the-night bonus to go along with it. This would be Burns’ first loss since August 2017 when he was fighting in One Championship.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1) def Junior Dos Santos (21-8) via R2 KO
Just two months after being brutally KO’d by #1 contender Francis Ngannou, Jairzinho Rozenstruik is back in action with former Champ Junior Dos Santos. Dos Santos has been KO’d himself in his past two fights by top 3 fighters Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou, so someone was going to get back on track with a win. Both fighters train at American Top Team in Coconut Creek Florida and both showed respect for one another while in and out of the cage. Dos Santos was the more active of the two from the outset. He threw both high and low kicks with overhand shots that found a home in the opening round. For Rozenstruik he seemed content to just land single shots. But in the second round, Rozenstruik opened late in the round. Rozenstruik would land a left hand to the jaw and followed that with a booming right hook, which dropped Dos Santos to the mat. Rozenstruik would eventually put Dos Santos out with some ground and pound. After the fight, the respect stayed the same as Rozenstruik went and sat next to his teammate and put his arm around him, in a nice and warm hearting jester. “I feel great. I wanted to fight as soon as possible as soon after I lost,” Rozenstruik said in his post-fight interview. “I went back to the gym right away. I needed to get the win to get it straight.” The victory was Rozenstruik’s 10th KO/TKO finish in his 11 professional wins. Dos Santos now has dropped three straight bouts, all by KO.
Marlon Vera (16-6-1) def Sean O’Malley (12-1) via R1 TKO (Elbows/Fighter Injury)
Sean O’Malley, coming into his third fight of 2020, elevated himself to the biggest prospect in the sport with two KO’s already this year and was looking for a third. For Marlon Vera he was coming off a VERY controversial loss to Song Yadong in May and had a five-fight winning streak snapped because of it. The fight started off with both fighters throwing a bunch of leg kicks to the body and legs. But for O’Malley, after one of those kicks it looked like he injured his right leg. Vera saw it and continued to kick the legs and as O’Malley looked to pressure it looked as if he rolled his ankle severely. O’Malley would stay down on his back and Vera would pounce, throwing the hands and then came back with three quick but heavy left elbows that forced referee Herb Dean to step in and stop the fight. O’Malley after the stoppage rolled around in agony grabbing his right leg. Vera after the fight was hot and he did not hold back in his post-fight interview. “Count me out now, say something now,” Vera told Joe Rogan after the fight. “A lot of people have an opinion, but it doesn’t matter. The sky’s the limit. If you are going to kick with a kicker, make sure you are ready to kick. The guy has a lot of hype, good for him. But he does not have the dog I have inside. The dog I have inside is bigger than all these guys.” Vera has now won six of his last seven fights and will most likely be ranked in the Bantamweight division. For O’Malley, it was insult to injury as he lost his first pro fight and will most likely be sidelined for multiple months recovering from his leg injury.
© Stipe Miocic (20-3) def Daniel Cormier (22-3) via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
In a Trilogy fight for the ages in which the winner would become the GOAT of the Heavyweight division, the fight would be a mirror image of the first two. For Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier this would be the end to their three-year long rivalry, with one leaving with the belt and the other leaving the octagon for good. R1 started the same way the second fight ended for Miocic, as he pepperedCormier with shots to the body to set up the rest of his offense. But while Miocic was crisp and efficient with his striking, Cormier landed power shots, including a gigantic right hand in the closing seconds, which nearly dropped Miocic and likely stole the round. The second saw Miocic become more active but Cormier was still landing the heavier shots. But late in the round Miocic would hit Cormier multiple times with a right hook as Cormier was backpedaling and dropped him. Cormier would have to hold onto Miocic with his back against the fence until the horn. The third round is where the fight would unfortunately keep going downhill for Cormier as Miocic would severally poke DC in the eye that would later be known as a torn cornea. referee Marc Goddard did not see the poke and told Cormier after the round, “it was a punch, take a seat my friend,” he would later acknowledge his error on twitter. It was all Stipe for the rest of the fight, as Cormier essentially fought with only his right eye. Any time Cormier looked to put Stipe to sleep with one punch, Miocic closed the distance and clinched Cormier against the UFC’s smaller, 25-foot cage. Stipe Miocic remained the baddest man on the planet as he retained the UFC Heavyweight Champion and with the win cements himself as the GOAT of the Heavyweight Division. Cormier with the loss said he will be retiring, “I’m not interested in fighting for anything but titles. I don’t imagine there’s going to be a title in the future, so that will be it for me.” Miocic’s historic Heavyweight run now includes wins over DC (twice), Francis Ngannou, former champ Junior Dos Santos, Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum and Mark Hunt. He has now won eight of his last nine and is set up to defend his title again against the most dangerous man in MMA, Francis Ngannou. CAN’T WAIT!
Livia Renata Souza (14-2) def Ashley Yoder (7-6) via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Danny Chavez (11-3) def TJ Brown (14-8) via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
50k Fight of the Night: Kai Kamaka III vs Tony Kelley
50k Performance Bonus: Virna Jandiroba, Daniel Pineda
The next UFC event is UFC Vegas 7 featuring a Main Event of Pedro Munhoz vs. Frankie Edgar as a Top Contender eliminator; Munhoz ranked #5 and Edgar #8 at Bantamweight. UFC Vegas 7 is available on ESPN; Main Card starts at 8:30 pm EST, check out the full card here.
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