Gegard Mousasi made sure lightning would not strike twice for Uriah Hall.
Mousasi avenged a September 2015 loss to the former Ring of Combat champion and did so in systematic fashion, as he dispatched Hall with first-round punches in their UFC Fight Night 99 “Mousasi vs. Hall 2” headliner on Saturday (online betting) at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Hall (12-8, 5-6 UFC) wilted 4:37 into Round 1.
“The Dreamcatcher” left nothing to chance. Mousasi (41-6-2, 8-3 UFC) backed up “The Ultimate Fighter 17” finalist with a stinging jab, steered clear of his spinning attacks and executed a takedown with a little less than 50 seconds remaining in the first round. He then pinned Hall at the base of the cage and controlled his near-side leg and far-side wrist before cutting loose with a burst of right hands that prompted referee Marc Goddard to act.
Mousasi has rattled off four straight victories since losing to Hall.
Replacement Ray Upends Pearson
Dinky Ninjas export Stevie Ray put a significant feather in his cap, as he claimed a split verdict from “The Ultimate Fighter 9” winner Ross Pearson in the three-round lightweight co-main event. All three judges scored it 30-27: Pawel Harasim and Takeo Kobayashi for Ray, Andreas Gruner for Pearson.
A former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder who replaced an injured James Krause on short notice, Ray (20-6, 4-1 UFC) kept the Englishman out of his comfort zone for the duration. His kicks were the story, as he landed to the legs, head and body across the 15-minute fight. Pearson (19-13, 11-10 UFC) spent much of his time chasing the Scotsman around the cage, and though he connected on his share of strikes, none were particularly memorable or damaging.
Pearson, 32, has suffered three straight losses for the first time in his 12-year career.
Debuting Volkov Edges Johnson
Former Bellator MMA and M-1 Global champion Alexander Volkov made a successful albeit somewhat controversial Octagon debut, as he eked out a contentious split decision over Timothy Johnson in a featured heavyweight duel. Judges Howard Hughes and Takeo Kobayashi scored it 29-28 for Volkov, while judge Peter Lavery cast a dissenting 30-27 nod on Johnson’s direction.
Neither man established definitive superiority. Johnson (10-3, 2-2 UFC) sent the 6-foot-7 Russian to the canvas with a stinging right uppercut in the first round and unleashed his ground-and-pound. However, his inability to finish proved costly. Volkov (27-6, 1-0 UFC) capitalized in the second half of the fight, as Johnson’s pace slowed to a crawl. “Drago” did his best work in Round 3, where he made his move with kicks to the head and body, occasional knees and a draining clinch.
Volkov, 28, has won three fights in a row.
Lobov Springs Upset on Ishihara
SBG Ireland mainstay Artem Lobov won for the second time in as many appearances, as he was awarded a unanimous decision over Teruto Ishihara in a three-round featherweight showcase. Lobov (13-12-1, 2-2 UFC) carried the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 marks from the judges.
Ishihara (9-3-2, 2-1-1 UFC) obliged “The Ultimate Fighter 22” finalist with a standup battle. Lobov attacked the legs, body and head with vigor, pairing traditional strikes like uppercuts and leg kicks with unorthodox techniques like standing hammerfists. Ishihara had a brief glimmer of hope in the third round, where he knocked down the Russian with an overhand left. However, his attempt to finish went unrewarded. Lobov regained his faculties, surprised the Team Alpha Male rep with a takedown and advanced to full mount in the closing seconds.
Marshman Hands Cedenblad First Loss Since 2012
Onetime Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Jack Marshman took care of Magnus Cedenblad with second-round punches in an action-packed undercard tussle at 185 pounds. Cedenblad (14-5, 4-2 UFC) succumbed to blows 3:32 into Round 2, losing for the first time in nearly five years.
Marshman (21-5, 1-0 UFC) sailed through choppy seas in the first round, where he dropped the Swede with a left hook but squandered his momentum when he yielded a takedown. Cedenblad maintained top position for more than four minutes, drawing blood with some ground-and-pound. Marshman kept it on the feet in the second and probed for openings. An overhand right set Cedenblad on rubbery legs and started a downward spiral from which he would not recover. Marshman later floored him with a three-punch combination, shoved Cedenblad to the ground after he briefly returned to an upright position and pounced with punches for the finish.
The 26-year-old Marshman will carry a seven-fight winning streak into his next appearance.
Flyweight Contender Horiguchi Denies Bagautinov
Former Shooto champion Kyoji Horiguchi picked up his third consecutive win, as he pocketed a unanimous decision over Ali Bagautinov in a preliminary matchup between two premium flyweights. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Horiguchi (18-2, 7-1 UFC).
Bagautinov (14-5, 4-3 UFC) stayed competitive but was a step behind the Japanese karateka. Horiguchi knocked the two-time combat sambo world champion off-balance with a forearm shiver in the second round and started stringing together his punches in the third. Bagautinov after landing a first-round takedown saw his bids to get the fight to the ground stymied over the final 10 minutes, as Horiguchi utilized an effective sprawl and clinch elbows against the cage.
Lee Chokes Mustafaev Unconscious
Xtreme Couture’s Kevin Lee put out Magomed Mustafaev with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their undercard showdown at 155 pounds. Mustafaev (13-2, 2-1 UFC) lost consciousness 4:31 into Round 2, as his 13-fight winning streak was snapped in decisive fashion.
Lee (14-2, 7-2 UFC) neutralized the Russian with takedowns, clinches and sublime grappling. He struck for multiple takedowns in the first round and did so again in the second. Mustafaev slowly wilted, as “The Motown Phenom” transitioned seamlessly between full mount and the back. Late in the second round, he delivered another takedown, climbed to mount and forced Mustafaev to surrender his back. From there, Lee locked down the choke and turned out the lights, leaving his opponent face down and unconscious.
The 24-year-old Lee has rattled off three straight wins since his Dec. 12 defeat to Leonardo Santos.
Cooper Upends Elmose, Halts Skid
“The Ultimate Fighter 23” finalist Amanda Bobby Cooper rebounded from back-to-back losses to capture a unanimous decision over Rumble Sports standout Anna Elmose in a preliminary women’s strawweight battle. Cooper (2-2, 1-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 marks from the judges. Elmose (3-2, 0-2 UFC) knocked the Invicta Fighting Championships veteran off-balance with a right hand in the first round, assumed top position and opened a cut near her left eye with an elbow strike. Blood flowed, but Cooper was undeterred. She achieved full mount on multiple occasions in the middle stanza and had positioned herself for a potential fight-ending armbar when the horn sounded. Round 3 was a blowout. Cooper delivered a pair of side kicks to the face, punched well in combination and countered when the opportunity arose. The 25-year-old secured a takedown with roughly 30 seconds to go and again climbed to full mount, putting a punctuation mark on her first victory inside the Octagon.
Ledet Choke Taps Godbeer
Justin Ledet kept his perfect professional record intact, as he submitted former British Association of Mixed Martial Arts champion Mark Godbeer with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their undercard encounter at 265 pounds. Godbeer (11-3, 0-1 UFC) bowed out 2:16 into Round 2, his three-fight winning streak having run its course.
After a brief standup exchange, Ledet (8-0, 2-0 UFC) surprised the Brit with a takedown. Godbeer responded with an attempted leg lock but left his back exposed. Ledet, 28, scrambled behind him and cinched the palm-to-palm choke that resulted in the tapout.
Cummings Armbar Submits Yakovlev
“The Ultimate Fighter 17” alum Zak Cummings submitted Alexander Yakovlev with a straight armbar in the second round of their preliminary welterweight confrontation. Yakovlev (23-8-1, 2-4 UFC) conceded defeat 4:02 into Round 2.
Cummings (20-5, 5-2 UFC) crowded the Russian with punches and forward pressure, as he hunted for left hands and waited for a moment of weakness. Yakovlev’s output dwindled to nearly nothing in the second round. There, the 32-year-old K Dojo Warrior Tribe rep shot for an ill-advised takedown late in the frame and found himself trapped in Cummings’ web. The American sprawled, moved to side control and then bottled up Yakovlev with an inverted triangle before isolating a limb. The straight armbar followed soon after, prompting the tapout.
Cummings has won seven of his last nine bouts.
Reneau Subdues Outmatched Dudieva
Resurrection Fighting Alliance and Tachi Palace Fights veteran Marion Reneau put a stop to a two-fight losing streak, as she disposed of Milana Dudieva with third-round strikes from the mount in their undercard tilt at 135 pounds. Reneau (7-3, 3-2 UFC) brought it to a close 3:03 into Round 3.
Dudieva (11-5, 1-2 UFC) was a non-factor, outside of takedowns in the first and second rounds. Reneau threatened from her back, returned to her feet and corralled the Russian in the clinch. Standing elbows to the head and knees to the body softened Dudieva and set the stage for her demise. A little less than two minutes into the third round, Reneau executed a takedown in close quarters, climbed to mount and dropped punches and elbows until it was over.
Relentless Johns Sinks Kwak
Repeated takedowns, clock-chewing ground-and-pound and crisp body-head punching combinations carried former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship and Titan Fighting Championship titleholder Brett Johns to a unanimous decision over Kwan Ho Kwak in a preliminary bantamweight affair. All three cageside judges arrived at the same verdict: 30-27 for Johns (13-0, 1-0 UFC).
Kwak (9-1, 0-1 UFC) wore down in the face of the Welshman’s unyielding pressure. Johns struck for six takedowns in the first round alone and ran the Korean Top Team export through a labyrinth of clinches along the fence. The 24-year-old staggered Kwak with a right uppercut in the middle frame and later found the mark with a jumping knee upstairs. Johns was well ahead by the time they reached Round 3 and withstood a late surge from the South Korean, who got busy with hands but failed to find a path to the finish.
Unbeaten Al-Hassan Smashes Ward
Undefeated Team Takedown prospect Abdul Razak Al-Hassan dazzled in his organizational debut, as he cut down Charlie Ward with punches in the first round of their brief undercard pairing at 170 pounds. Ward (2-2, 0-1 UFC) met his end 53 seconds into Round 1.
Al-Hassan (7-0, 1-0 UFC) floored the SBG Ireland rep with a short right uppercut inside the first 20 seconds, reset himself when the finish did not immediately materialize and connected with an overhand right that sent Ward crashing into the fence in a dazed and defenseless state. With that, referee Marc Goddard had seen enough.
The 31-year-old Al-Hassan has finished all seven of his opponents inside one round, five of them in less than a minute.