‘TUF 23’ Finale Results: Play-by-Play & Updates

Jul 8, 2016


Sherdog's live “The Ultimate Fighter 23” Finale coverage kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

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Jingliang Li vs. Anton Zafir

Round 1

Zafir opens up with a few leg kicks, tries to step inside and takes a short right hand for his trouble. Li catches the shooting Australian with a knee, but Zafir keeps driving and scores a takedown in the center of the cage. Zafir keeps tight on top as he slowly works to pass Li’s guard. Li grabs a headlock from the bottom and uses it to sweep the off-balance Zafir. It doesn’t last long, as Zafir sweeps right back and once again finds top position in the middle of the Octagon. Li gets to a knee, then back to his feet, where he shoves Zafir against the wall for a trip takedown. Li bullies Zafir up against the base of the cage and connects with three or four hard right hands, knocking Zafir senseless and sending referee Chris Tognoni in for the stoppage.

The Official Result

Jingliang Li def. Anton Zafir via KO (Punches) R1 2:46

Jake Matthews vs. Kevin Lee

Round 1

Lee takes the center of the cage but is pushed backward by some early front kicks from Matthews. The lightweights move near the fence, where Lee hits a quick takedown, advances to the crucifix position and drops short punches on Matthews’ face. Matthews gets his arms free and pivots to put Lee in guard, then locks down the American’s arms to slow the action. Lee breaks the position and tries to catch Matthews’ neck as they stand, but the “Celtic Kid” is able to work his way up against the fence. Lee is denied another takedown, and the fighters separate to resume circling. Matthews gets his mouthguard knocked out with a right hand, and referee Jason Herzog pauses the action to replace it. Lee shoots for a takedown, the fighters end up in the whizzer, where Lee succeeds in dragging Matthews to the floor. Lee takes the back of Matthews, looks for a quick rear-naked choke but can’t find it as Matthews buries his chin. Instead, Lee postures up and begins unloading with heavy ground-and-pound, dropping punches on both sides of his turtling opponent’s head. The first barrage isn’t enough to force a stoppage, so Lee keeps pounding as referee Herzog takes a close look. Matthews is purely defensive here, not offering anything in return as he continues to absorb damage, and the ref steps in to halt the contest.

The Official Result

Kevin Lee def. Jake Matthews via TKO (Punches) R1 4:06

Cezar Ferreira vs. Anthony Smith

Round 1

Smith pushes forward on the southpaw Ferreira, who works from his back foot and puts a kick across Smith’s body in the opening minute. Smith scores with a jab, then a straight right, forcing “Mutante” to circle away. Ferreira catches a kick from Smith and drives the American to the ground, where Smith uses a tight guard to neutralize the threat of offense. Referee Chris Tognoni brings the 185ers back to their feet midway through the round. Ferreira continues to have success with kicks off his back leg, but Smith finds a home for another straight right hand. With 1:40 on the clock, Ferreira scores another takedown, this time at the base of the fence. Again, Smith’s guard prevents any ground-and-pound from the Brazilian. Smith looks to be angling for a triangle, can’t get it, and Ferreira is able to slam him with a few good elbows before the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Ferreira
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Ferreira
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Ferreira

Round 2

Both men swing and miss with power punches before exchanging leg kicks in a slow-paced first minute. Ferreira ducks under a right hook and plows Smith to the canvas a few feet away from the wall. Smith uses a headlock to flip the Brazilian and then scrambles back to his feet with just over three minutes left in the round. Smith pushes forward to tag Ferreira with a right hook, but the fight hits a stalemate at the halfway mark, as Smith hesitates to strike and Ferreira waits for an opportunity to counter. As soon as Smith commits to a punch, Ferreira dives underneath and drives him back to the floor. “Mutante” stacks up Smith at the fence but once again struggles to navigate the guard. A forearm across the throat breaks Smith’s posture momentarily, allowing Ferreira to crack him with an elbow to the grill. It’s not enough for referee Tognoni, who brings the fighters back to theirfeet inside the final minute. Smith shoves Ferreira against the fence and hits him with a pair of slashing elbows, then denies a clinch attempt. Ferreira backs away from the exchange with his hands at his waist; Smith tries to walk him down but runs out of time.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Smith
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Smith
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Ferreira

Round 3

Smith comes out aggressive but is soon taken down in the center of the cage, where he once again tangles Ferreira in a high guard. Ferreira looks to have been cut in the process of securing the takedown, and now he’s leaking blood all over Smith’s face. Smith tries to add to the damage with elbows from the bottom, but Ferreira is keeping busy with body shots on top. Smith stalls Ferreira for long enough to force a stand-up at the halfway point of the round, but five seconds later, he’s taken down again. This time, “Lionheart” catches Ferreira with an arm-in guillotine on the way to the mat. The choke looks good, but Ferreira finds an angle to relieve pressure on his neck before freeing his head completely. With 90 seconds left, Ferreira keeps heavy top pressure and works his way to half guard, where he jams Smith’s head against the canvas with shoulder pressure. Ferreira frames up an arm-triangle choke in the waning moments of the fight but can’t secure the submission before time expires.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Ferreira (29-28 Ferreira)
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Ferreira (29-28 Ferreira)
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Ferreira (30-27 Ferreira)

The Official Result

Cezar Ferreira def. Anthony Smith via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) R3 5:00

Cory Hendricks vs. Josh Stansbury

Round 1

Stansbury catches a kick from Hendricks and reaches over the top to hit him with a pair of right hands. It doesn’t slow the southpaw Hendricks, who presses the action with a series of kicks to the body and probing jabs. One minute in, Stansbury pushes Hendricks to the fence, but the clinch is short-lived. Stansbury lands a leg kick, catches another kick and again socks Hendricks with a right hand. The “Ultimate Fighter” castmates box around the cage until the midway point of the round, when Stansbury latches on to another kick and runs Hendricks to the wall. Hendricks fends off a takedown attempt and separates to resume striking. Stansbury is doing good work with his jab now, keeping his hands in Hendricks’ face and stifling his offense. A hard left hand over the top sends Hendricks backing up momentarily; Stansbury follows and pushes him against a post, then works for a bodylock takedown. Hendricks is able to stay standing until the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Hendricks
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Stansbury
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Hendricks

Round 2

Hendricks scores with a right hand down the middle, tries to come inside on Stansbury and is made to pay with an overhand right. Stansbury follows up with a double left hook, then denies a clinch attempt and finally wrestles Hendricks to the canvas. With 3:30 on the clock, it’s Hendricks on the bottom and Stansbury in his half guard, using heavy top pressure to keep Hendricks flat on his back. Stansbury puts his hand across his opponent’s face, buries his chin underneath Hendricks’ and generally tries to make things uncomfortable for the prone fighter. Stansbury tries to tee up Hendricks’ head for some ground-and-pound, but Hendricks is shifting and grabbing underneath, effectively neutralizing the offense. Referee Dan Miragliotta wants the fighters back on their feet with 90 seconds left in the round. Hendricks tries a right high kick, can’t get it, but lands a body shot on the other side. Stansbury steps forward with a cracking right hand, now a jab, backing up Hendricks to the wall. Hendricks circles out to the middle and push-kicks the incoming Stansbury, and the “TUF 23” fighters grapple on the wall for the last half minute.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Stansbury
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Stansbury
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Stansbury

Round 3

Hendricks tries to blitz Stansbury but gets wrapped up and taken down in the center of the cage within 20 seconds of the bell. Working from side control on Hendricks’ right, Stansbury briefly considers a kimura before opting for punches to the ribs and forearms to the face. Hendricks looks exhausted, his right leg chewed up from Stansbury’s leg kicks as he struggles to escape from the bottom. Stansbury gets kicked back to half guard, where he threatens with an arm-triangle choke before putting more punches on Hendricks’ face. Hendricks tries to sweep but only bucks Stansbury back to side control. Stansbury is in total control here with half the round left to fight, and Hendricks looks to have little hope for escape aside from a referee restart. Stansbury tries for a crucifix with two minutes on the clock, can’t get it; he goes after the kimura again, but that’s not there either. Inside the final minute now, Stansbury continues to dominate on the ground, doing enough work with elbows and positional control to prevent a stand-up order from referee Miragliotta. Hendricks bucks and struggles underneath, but he finishes the fight flat on his back.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-8 Stansbury (29-27 Stansbury)
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-8 Stansbury (30-26 Stansbury)
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Stansbury (29-28 Stansbury)

The Official Result

Josh Stansbury def. Cory Hendricks via Majority Decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28) R3 5:00

John Moraga vs. Matheus Nicolau Pereira

Round 1

The flyweights get off to a slow start, with 90 seconds of circling and jabbing occasionally punctuated by leg kicks. Moraga steps inside to land an uppercut but takes a straight right from Nicolau in the exchange. Moraga takes control of the center and waves for Nicolau to engage, but neither man is doing much to press the action as they hit the two-minute warning. Moraga is starting to land the cleaner punches, reddening Nicolau’s nose with a hard right, but now the Brazilian reclaims center control. Moraga dives for a late takedown with 20 seconds left, but Nicolau denies it with ease. Nicolau gets the last word in the round with a counter left hook.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Nicolau
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-10
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Moraga

Round 2

It’s more of the same in the opening minute of round two, with Nicolau working from the middle, moving toward Moraga but not mounting much offense. Moraga stays on his back foot and switches between stances, firing off a body kick or jab when Nicolau gets near enough. Nicolau scores with a good right hand over the top, but the action dies down again immediately. Moraga takes the center of the cage but soon finds himself being outworked by Nicolau, who makes narrow circles around the middle while jabbing and leg-kicking. Moraga scores with a leg kick of his own and tries to rush Nicolau, but nothing comes of it. Nicolau catches a kick and tries for a takedown, but Moraga skitters away. Nicolau comes over the top with the right hand again, catches Moraga with a left and makes him stumble, but Moraga shakes his head, saying he was only caught off balance.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Moraga
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Nicolau
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Nicolau

Round 3

One minute into the final round, neither flyweight has really done anything of note. Nicolau goes to grab for Moraga’s legs and gets a short left hook in return. Moraga dips inside, lands an uppercut and bounces back out again. Referee Chris Tognoni calls for action as they hit the midway point of the final frame, with round three still very much up in the air. Moraga deflects a spinning backfist and sticks a jab in Nicolau’s face. Both 125ers swing and miss in the pocket; they settle for trading leg kicks instead. With 90 seconds on the clock, both men still look fresh; they are throwing with intent when they do mount offense, but accuracy continues to be a problem. Nicolau drives forward and blocks a shooting Moraga, forcing “Chicano John” to the floor inside the final minute. Moraga closes his guard and works back to his feet with 15 seconds left, only to be taken right back down. Nicolau finishes the fight trying to take Moraga’s back.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Nicolau (29-28 Nicolau)
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Nicolau (30-28 Nicolau)
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Nicolau (29-28 Nicolau)

The Official Result

Matheus Nicolau Pereira def. John Moraga via Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) R3 5:00

Gray Maynard vs. Fernando Bruno

Round 1

The southpaw Bruno swarms Maynard with double-fisted combinations in the first 20 seconds, but Maynard covers up and backpedals to absorb the strikes. “The Bully” sends Bruno to his knees with a right hand, but Bruno pops back up, wraps up Maynard and drags him to the ground. The featherweights land in the whizzer, from which Maynard is able to assume top position, shoving the kneeling Bruno up against the base of the cage. Bruno works back to his feet but has to flee quick as Maynard attacks with knees and punches. Ninety seconds in, the pace finally slows, and now it’s Maynard being denied a takedown. Bruno is swinging ugly punches, just lowering his head and letting his fists fly in Maynard’s general direction. Maynard underhooks him against the fence and then separates with a flurry of punches, but Bruno covers up to block them. Maynard trips Bruno to the mat near the fence, tries to connect with punches as he stands but can’t quite find the mark. Bruno works for a single-leg in the last minute and succeeds in planting Maynard on his rear end. Maynard kneels and Bruno tries to jump on his back, but the American stands up to prevent the dangerous position.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Maynard
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Maynard
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Maynard

Round 2

Maynard ducks underneath a few wide hooks from Bruno, but he leans right into the next volley, allowing Bruno to club him on both sides of the head. Bruno shoots a single-leg in the middle of the cage, but Maynard uses a cattle catch to come out on top. Bruno drops back to try a heel hook, can’t get it, and now he winds up on his knees with Maynard holding him down. Maynard grabs a guillotine and pulls guard, but the Nova Uniao fighter won’t tap out to the loose choke. With two minutes left, Bruno works back to his feet, Maynard still wrapped around his waist. “Acougueiro” tries to turn around and work for his own takedown, but Maynard methodically drags him back to the ground with a single-leg. Up comes Bruno, but he’s tripped back down again immediately. Maynard finishes the round in riding position, controlling Bruno on the floor.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Maynard
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Maynard
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Maynard

Round 3

Bruno charges at Maynard with hands flying and then shoots for a takedown, only to be spun around and tossed to the floor near the fence. Maynard pounces to keep control of Bruno, who tries to sit up and drive forward on a single-leg before giving up and dropping to guard. Maynard tries to take the back, gets blocked by the fence and has to pull Bruno away from the wall. Bruno struggles back to his feet and looks to hit the switch, but Maynard isn’t having it and keeps a rear waistlock for positional control. Maynard is looking to dump Bruno on his head, but Bruno is leaning into the wall, maintaining his balance to keep from being pulled down. Suddenly, Bruno spins around and catches Maynard grabbing for his legs. The Brazilian latches onto a tight, high-elbow guillotine which Maynard has to bury his head to the mat to escape. The featherweights stand with just about one minute remaining, and Bruno shoots for a takedown at the wall. Maynard grabs for a guillotine of his own, but the choke doesn’t materialize. Bruno separates and starts swinging for the fences, but the momentum from his tired arm-punches sends him careening to the canvas. Maynard follows him down and rides out the last few seconds just resting on top.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Maynard (30-27 Maynard)
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Maynard (30-27 Maynard)
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Maynard (30-27 Maynard)

The Official Result

Gray Maynard def. Fernando Bruno via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) R3 5:00

Joaquim Silva vs. Andrew Holbrook

Round 1

Silva catches a body kick from Holbrook, forces him to hop backward on one leg and then dumps the American to the floor. Holbrook tries to scramble up, but he leaves his chin open to a huge right hook from the Brazilian. Holbrook falls to his back in a daze; Silva pounces to side control and smashes his opponent unconscious with three or four quick hammerfists, prompting referee Jason Herzog to rush in and stop the fight.

The Official Result

Joaquim Silva def. Andrew Holbrook via KO (Punches) R1 0:34

Doo Ho Choi vs. Thiago Tavares

Round 1

Tavares shoots in early and completes a takedown at the fence; Choi nearly regains his footing, but the Brazilian sucks out his legs and keeps him on the mat. Tavares isn’t doing much with the position, and now Choi finds the angle to land some short punches while his back is pressed against the cage. It’s all pressure from Tavares in the first two minutes, but little in the way of offense. Choi posts and stands, but he’s taken down again almost immediately. Back up comes Choi, now creating some space from Tavares at the midway point of the round. Tavares stands with his back to the wall as Choi melts him with a perfect straight right hand. Tavares hits the deck in a heap, and one more punch from Choi is all that referee Herb Dean needs to see to stop the fight.

The Official Result

Doo Ho Choi def. Thiago Tavares via KO (Punches) R1 2:42

Ross Pearson vs. Will Brooks

Round 1

Brooks scores with a few leg kicks in the opening minute but has trouble getting inside on Pearson, who twists and circles away when the former Bellator champ gets too close. Brooks tries a trip and winds up holding Pearson on the fence, where he attacks the UFC vet’s body with a sharp knee strike. Short left hands score for Brooks as the lightweights work in the clinch midway through round one. They separate with 2:00 on the clock and Brooks changes levels to shoot, but Pearson is backpedaling away even before the entry. The 155ers trade low kicks before Brooks runs Pearson to the fence again. They battle for position in the clinch, banging one another with knees to the body in a rough finish to the round.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Brooks
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Brooks
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Brooks

Round 2

Pearson sneaks a few solid right hands through Brooks’ guard in the opening minute of round two, mixing in a few leg kicks here and there. Ninety seconds in, however, Brooks explodes into a takedown and plants Pearson on his posterior near the center of the cage. Brooks stands and stacks Pearson but can’t pass the guard, and the wrestler comes back down to try and land some ground strikes. Pearson is giving him trouble from the bottom, throwing up punches and elbows of his own, but when the Brit rolls to his knees, Brooks takes the opportunity to jump on his back. Pearson shakes him loose as he stands, but Brooks keeps hold of his opponent and brings the fight back to the fence. Pearson reverses and pins Brooks to the wall with underhook; the younger fighter won’t be corralled for long, as Brooks spins Pearson around and roughs him up with short strikes in the clinch. An uppercut to the body forces Pearson to escape to the center of the cage, where Brooks catches up to him and narrowly misses with a knee to the head. Brooks comes in throwing another knee and gets shoved to the ground just before the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Brooks
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Brooks
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Brooks

Round 3

Pearson snuffs out a pair of takedown attempts but still winds up pressed against the cage about one minute into the final round. The Englishman reverses and throws a knee straight into Brooks’ cup, sending referee Dan Miragliotta in to pause the action. Brooks only needs a few seconds to recover, and when action resumes, Pearson is swinging for the fences with hard right hands. A few shots connect, but they don’t seem to faze Brooks, who continues to walk down Pearson here in the final three minutes. Brooks comes down the middle with a one-two, takes a kick to the lead leg and gives Pearson a nod. Pearson backs him up with a body kick but walks right into a straight right hand. Brooks my be doing a little rope-a-dope here, backing up to the wall and raising his guard while Pearson expends energy with punches. Pearson struggles to connect at first, but now he’s starting to find his range, scoring with uppercuts and body blows while Brooks sits back on the fence. Brooks has had enough and now runs Pearson to the other side of the cage for another takedown. Inside the final minute, Pearson works his way back up and tries to do something as he clinches with Brooks on the outside. The lightweights trade knees to the body as they fight in a phone booth for the final 10 seconds, then they embrace at the sound of the final bell.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Pearson (29-28 Brooks)
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Pearson (29-28 Brooks)
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Pearson (29-28 Brooks)

The Official Result

Will Brooks def. Ross Pearson via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) R3 5:00

Tatiana Suarez vs. Amanda Bobby Cooper

Round 1

Cooper connects with a glancing right hand in the opening moments but soon finds herself single-legged to the ground by Suarez in the center of the cage. The strawweights scoot toward the fence, Cooper holding Suarez in guard and absorbing short punches from the top woman. Cooper throws up a dangerous armbar, but Suarez rolls into it and extracts the limb while maintaining top position. Suarez works from half guard with 3:30 on the clock, putting right hands on Cooper’s ribs. She stands over Cooper and drops three or four solid right hands on her face before Cooper sits up and sweeps. Suarez powers back to her feet and drops for a single-leg; Cooper grabs a headlock on the way down but has to give it up as Suarez lands in side control again. Suarez mashes Cooper’s face with more punches, but Cooper continues to make things difficult with a long, open guard. Suarez stands to adjust, wraps up Cooper’s head and drops down to execute a tidy brabo/D’arce choke. Cooper taps several times and kicks her legs in panic mode before referee John McCarthy realizes what’s happening. Tatiana Suarez scores the first-round submission to become the strawweight winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 23.

The Official Result

Tatiana Suarez def. Amanda Bobby Cooper via Submission (Brabo Choke) R1 3:43

Andrew Sanchez vs. Khalil Rountree

Round 1

Sanchez switches between stances before shooting on the legs of the southpaw Rountree, who denies the opening takedown attempt. Rountree sprawls on the second shot, too, but Sanchez’s second effort on the double-leg yields a takedown this time. Pushing Rountree to the fence, Sanchez wraps his man around the waist and pops him with a short right hand. Rountree tries to post and stand, gets pulled back down and has to repeat the sequence. Sanchez stays glued to Rountree’s waist as they stand, then drags him down again at the base of the fence. Sanchez works to take Rountree’s back with two minutes left in the opening round, but Rountree has his left side flush to the cage, blocking the pass. Sanchez settles for triangling Rountree’s far leg to hold him in place for some ground-and-pound. Rountree stands at the one-minute mark and finally gets some separation from Sanchez a few seconds later. Sanchez just changes levels and drives Rountree back to the floor with another takedown to ride out the last 20 seconds.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Sanchez
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Sanchez
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Sanchez

Round 2

Rountree closes in on Sanchez near the fence and clips him with a nice left hook, but “El Dirte” gets hold of a single-leg and once again slows Rountree’s roll with a clinch. Ninety seconds in, Sanchez drags Rountree to the ground and tries to mount him at the base of the fence, but he stalls out in half guard. It’s a good enough position, as Sanchez underhooks his opponent’s right arm to leave Rountree’s face exposed for right hands. Sanchez works slowly as he tries to secure back-mount, but now Rountree’s left side is being blocked by the wall. With 90 seconds remaining, Sanchez gives up on the back and starts feeding Rountree a steady stream of right hands. It’s not fight-ending stuff, but the punches are piling on, and Rountree can do little but cover up as he’s trapped on the cage.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-8 Sanchez
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-8 Sanchez
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Sanchez

Round 3

Rountree stuffs the first shot from Sanchez and tries to make him pay with left hands to the side of the head. Sanchez keeps driving, however, and the punches don’t seem to trouble him as he runs Rountree against the wall for yet another takedown. Rountree tries to get active from his back, but that’s soon canceled out by heavier ground-and-pound from Sanchez on top. Elbows and punches crash into Rountree’s face, causing him to shake his head in frustration and nearly giving Sanchez an opportunity for a rear-naked choke. Sanchez has one hook in, still trying to work his way to Rountree’s back as they fight inside the final two minutes. Sanchez tries the RNC again, but Rountree tucks his chin and stays out of submission trouble. Fittingly, Sanchez finishes the fight controlling Rountree on the mat, landing short right hands, as he did for much of the fight. It’s now up to the judges to decide the light heavyweight winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 23.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-8 Sanchez (30-25 Sanchez)
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-8 Sanchez (30-25 Sanchez)
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Sanchez (30-27 Sanchez)

The Official Result

Andrew Sanchez def. Khalil Rountree via Unanimous Decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26) R3 5:00

UFC 115-Pound Title Fight:
Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha

Round 1

Veteran referee John McCarthy will oversee tonight’s 115-pound title fight, with judges Dave Hagen, Jeff Mullen and Marcos Rosales scoring at cageside. The first jab of the fight from Gadelha puts the champion Jedrzejczyk on her seat near the fence. Jedrzejczyk tries to stand but is overpowered by “Claudinha,” who takes top position and tries to wrap up the Polish fighter’s neck for a choke. Jedrzejczyk backs up to the fence and stands, Gadelha still pressuring her as they struggle in the clinch. Jedrzejczyk looks to have recovered from the flash knockdown as she turns Gadelha against the cage and steps back to separate. It’s Gadelha pushing forward now, walking down Jedrzejczyk until they hit the fence again and then working for a trip takedown. Jedrzejczyk keeps her footing for a few seconds but eventually gets tossed to the mat by the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Gadelha gets in a few solid left hands while Jedrzejczyk’s face is flat on the canvas, but “Joanna Champion” is able to power back up once again. The strawweights are back to striking with 90 seconds left in the opening round. Gadelha complains of an eye poke, which is noted by referee McCarthy, but she doesn’t seem to need any time to recover. Jedrzejczyk snaps off some hard-looking jabs and front kicks but doesn’t seem to have found her range just yet, though her leg kicks are connecting well in the closing minute.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Gadelha
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Gadelha
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Gadelha

Round 2

Gadelha wades through Jedrzejczyk’s opening salvo to shove the champ against the fence with an underhook. The Nova Uniao fighter spins Jedrzejczyk to the ground after about 45 seconds, then leans right to left across Jedrzejczyk’s body to work on her left arm. Jedrzejczyk won’t give up the arm, so Gadelha focuses on socking her in the face with right hands from half guard. Jedrzejczyk stands, still held on the wall by Gadelha’s underhooks. Gadelha tries to take out Jedrzejczyk’s legs in between right hands to the face, keeping the champion occupied on the fence through the middle part of the round. Gadelha drops for a double-leg, but Jedrzejczyk widens her base and stays vertical. A couple knees to the gut send Gadelha shooting again, but again Jedrzejczyk is able to stuff the takedown. Gadelha tries a trip, but it’s blocked by Jedrzejczyk, who winds up on top for the first time. The position is short-lived, as Gadelha sits up, turns and digs another underhook. They wind up in the whizzer, then clinched again on the fence with less than one minute left in the round. Jedrzejczyk finally gets her back off the wall in the last 10 seconds, but as she marches toward Gadelha to strike, the challenger entangles her again.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Gadelha
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Gadelha
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Gadelha

Round 3

Jedrzejczyk gets clipped by a left hook in the first 30 seconds, then she’s run to the ground by Gadelha once again. The champion is back on her feet within a few seconds, but it takes another minute to free herself from Gadelha’s cling-wrap clinch. The strawweights are back to striking at the halfway point of the round and possibly of the fight. Gadelha is taking deep breaths now, looking tired as Jedrzejczyk begins to tee off with hard, straight punches and low kicks. At the two-minute warning, Gadelha runs Jedrzejczyk to the floor with another takedown. Jedrzejczyk reverses, stands to drop punches on Gadelha’s face and then strolls away, motioning for the Brazilian to stand. Gadelha absorbs a few more shots to the face before dropping levels for another stuffed takedown attempt. Jedrzejczyk stands her up on the wall and slams her with a pair of level elbows to the grill, but it’s Gadelha who has the final word with a clinch uppercut.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Jedrzejczyk
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Jedrzejczyk
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Jedrzejczyk

Round 4

Jedrzejczyk is clearly the fresher fighter as the championship rounds begin; she’s bouncing on her toes, dancing in front of Gadelha, whose offense is suddenly nonexistent. Jedrzejczyk snaps off push kicks to the stomach, quick jabs down the center as she switches between stances. Jedrzejczyk is starting to overwhelm Gadelha with strikes, the left hands and leg kicks coming frequently enough that “Claudinha” doesn’t have any chance to establish her own tempo. With 90 seconds left in the round, Gadelha has done very little, while Jedrzejczyk continues to have her way in the striking department. Jedrzejczyk mixes up her punches, going body-head in between chops to Gadelha’s marked-up legs.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-8 Jedrzejczyk
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-8 Jedrzejczyk
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-8 Jedrzejczyk

Round 5

Gadelha tries to close the gap early but only runs into a flurry of punches from the champion, who sidesteps and slides away before Gadelha can get hold of her. Blistering right straights are scoring for Jedrzejczyk, prompting Gadelha to run her against the fence and try for the first takedown since the opening moments of round three. Jedrzejczyk shuts it down, angles off the fence and leaves Gadelha’s nose bloody with more quick punches. Gadelha is game, continuing to plod forward on Jedrzejczyk, although she’s only walking into punches at this point. Jedrzejczyk denies another double-leg shot and turns Gadelha’s back to the wall, then drags her to the ground with 1:40 on the clock. Gadelha spins to put her opponent in guard, but Jedrzejczyk wants no part of it and orders the challenger to stand. It’s all Jedrzejczyk down the stretch, her speedy jabs and left hooks crashing into Gadelha’s reddened face every few seconds. Gadelha tries to slow the assault with a clinch on the fence in the final seconds, and that’s where the fight comes to a close.

Sherdog Scores

Brian Knapp scores the round 10-9 Jedrzejczyk (48-46 Jedrzejczyk)
Chris Nelson scores the round 10-9 Jedrzejczyk (48-46 Jedrzejczyk)
Mike Sloan scores the round 10-9 Jedrzejczyk (48-46 Jedrzejczyk)

The Official Result

Joanna Jedrzejczyk def. Claudia Gadelha via Unanimous Decision (48-45, 48-46, 48-46) R5 5:00

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