Paul Felder’s fist met Danny Castillo’s face, and the result was predictable.
Felder took care of the Team Alpha Male mainstay with a magnificent spinning backfist in the third round of their lightweight matchup at UFC 182 “Jones vs. Cormier” on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Castillo (17-8, 7-5 UFC) met his end 2:09 into round two, as he lost for the third time in four outings.
A Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder, Felder (10-0, 2-0 UFC) gradually spun his web around the Californian. He walked down Castillo with clean punches, hard leg kicks and stepping knees throughout a one-sided first round. In the second, Felder countered a left hand from “Last Call” with a perfectly timed spinning back fist that turned out the lights and curled toes. The undefeated 29-year-old replaced Rustam Khabilov -- he ran into visa issues ahead of the event -- and made the most of his opportunity.
Unbeaten Garbrandt Sinks Brimage
Unbeaten Team Alpha Male prospect Cody Garbrandt dispatched Marcus Brimage with third-round punches in their undercard battle at 135 pounds. Garbrandt (6-0, 1-0 UFC) drew the curtain 4:50 into round three, scoring the third-latest knockout in the history of the UFC bantamweight division.
Brimage (7-4, 4-3 UFC) connected on occasion but lacked the horsepower necessary to give the promising Octagon rookie real pause. Garbrandt picked his shots, countered effectively and had the American Top Team rep reeling at the end of round one. In the closing seconds of the third round, he went to work again. Garbrandt floored a desperate and overzealous Brimage with a clean right hook, swarmed with punches and backed him towards the cage once he returned to the feet. A final salvo, capped by a right hook-left hook combination, sent Brimage to the mat again and forced referee Herb Dean to act.
Jordan Spoils Cannonier Debut
Shawn Jordan stopped previously unbeaten MMA Lab export Jared Cannonier on first-round punches in a preliminary heavyweight affair. Cannonier (7-1, 0-1 UFC) succumbed to the blows 2:57 into round one, as the former Alaska Fighting Championship titleholder tasted defeat for the first time.
The two men spent the entire bout trading on the feet. Jordan (17-6, 5-3 UFC) clipped the Arizona-based heavyweight with a short overhand right to the temple, dropping him where he stood. He then followed Cannonier to the canvas and finished him off with a volley of unanswered jackhammer lefts.
Dunham Snaps Three-Fight Slide
Effective punching combinations and probing kicks drove Evan Dunham to a unanimous verdict over Rodrigo Damm in a preliminary lightweight scrap. Dunham (15-6, 8-6 UFC) carried the scorecards with 30-27 nods from all three judges, putting an end to a career-worst three-fight losing streak.
Damm (12-9, 3-4 UFC) struggled with the Las Vegas-based Oregonian’s length, footwork and activity level. Dunham peppered him with straight lefts and overhands rights, working in jabs and kicks to the legs, body and head. By the time the third round arrived, he had built an insurmountable lead. Damm tried to goad him into a firefight down the stretch, and Dunham obliged, as he continued to attack with a steady stream of rights and lefts.
The 34-year-old Damm has lost three fights in a row.
Strong Start Propels Akhmedov
Jackson-Wink MMA representative Omari Akhmedov won for the 12th time in 13 fights, as he captured a unanimous decision from Cage Warriors Fighting Championship veteran Mats Nilsson in an undercard tilt at 170 pounds. Akhmedov (14-2, 2-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with matching 29-28 marks.
Akhmedov was at his best in round one, where he struck for multiple takedowns, piled up points and damage with ground-and-pound and ripped into the Swede with winging power punches on the feet. Though his pace slowed as fatigue took hold in the second, he still managed to execute three takedowns, short-circuiting Nilsson’s advances and attempts to turn the tide.
Nilsson (11-4-1, 0-2 UFC) made his move in the third round, as he delivered takedowns of his own and kept pressuring the Dagestani sambo stylist. In the closing seconds, he sat down on a guillotine and then transitioned to a brabo choke. Unfortunately for Nilsson, time expired and brought an end to his bid for a Hail-Mary victory.
Newcomer Reneau Batters Dufresne
Multi-punch bursts, well-timed leg kicks and punishing clinch knees carried Marion Reneau to a woefully one-sided unanimous decision over Team Quest’s Alexis Dufresne in a preliminary women’s bantamweight clash. All three cageside judges scored it for Reneau (5-1, 1-0 UFC): 30-26, 30-26 and 30-25.
Dufresne (5-2, 0-2 UFC) had a rough night. Reneau tore into her with repeated right hands, bloodying her nose and leaving her face battered and bruised. She staggered Dufresne with one of those right hands with roughly 90 seconds left in the first round, following up with a wicked series of knees to the body. The scene repeated itself throughout the final 10 minutes, with Reneau nearly scoring the finish with another violent series of straight punches in the closing seconds of round three.