Cody Garbrandt once again handled his business like a serious contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight division.
The rising Team Alpha Male star needed less than a minute to cut down World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Takeya Mizugaki with punches in the featured UFC 202 “Diaz vs. McGregor 2” prelim on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Mizugaki (21-10-2, 8-5 UFC) met his end just 48 seconds into round one.
Garbrandt (10-0, 5-0 UFC) dropped the Japanese standout to his knees with a ringing right hand, blasted him with an uppercut, followed up with hammerfists and then drew the curtain with unanswered rights and lefts. The 25-year-old now boasts seven first-round finishes among his 10 pro victories.
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Surging Pennington Sinks Phillips
“The Ultimate Fighter 18” semifinalist Raquel Pennington recorded her third win in as many appearances, as she captured a unanimous verdict from Elizabeth Phillips in a three-round undercard battle at 135 pounds. Pennington (8-5, 5-2 UFC) swept the scorecards with matching 30-27 marks from the judges.
Phillips (5-4, 1-3 UFC) was competitive throughout the 15-minute match but yielded takedowns and surrendered position at inopportune times. Pennington executed a rear body lock takedown in the second round and consolidated it with ground-and-pound. In the third round, she delivered another takedown, moved to the back, set both hooks and later achieved full mount. Phillips escaped to top position, but with no finish in sight, the fight was essentially lost.
Lobov Outclasses Overmatched Avila
SBG Ireland’s Artem Lobov snapped a two-fight losing streak with a one-sided unanimous decision over World Series of Fighting alum Chris Avila in a preliminary featherweight duel. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Lobov (12-12-1, 1-2 UFC).
Avila (5-3, 0-1 UFC) was a non-factor. Lobov chewed up the Californian’s lead leg with one kick after another, resulting in heavy bruising and noticeable swelling. With his base compromised, Avila retreated further and further into a defensive shell. Lobov mixed in power punches to the head and body, but the low kicks provided the difference.
Casey Armbar Submits Markos
Cortney Casey submitted “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 20 graduate Randa Markos with a first-round armbar in an undercard tilt at 115 pounds. Casey (6-3, 2-2 UFC) forced the verbal tapout from the Michigan Top Team representative 4:34 into round one.
Markos (6-4, 2-3 UFC) struck first, scoring with a head-and-arm throw in the center of the cage. However, her decision to maintain a headlock proved costly, as Casey worked toward a more advantageous position, freed herself and moved to the back. Heavy ground-and-pound followed. Markos reversed off the bottom but wandered into the Tucson, Arizona, native’s guard and became hopelessly entangled in the armbar. Casey went belly down with the maneuver, netting the submission.
Flawless Larkin Routs Magny
Millennia MMA rep Lorenz Larkin put away “The Ultimate Fighter 16” semifinalist Neil Magny with first-round elbows in a preliminary welterweight affair. Magny (18-5, 11-4 UFC) wilted 4:08 into round one, as he lost for just the second time in 12 appearances.
A short-notice replacement for the injured Dong Hyun Kim, Larkin (18-5, 5-5 UFC) could not have put together a more complete performance. He scrambled Magny with standing elbows in close quarters, took out his base with kicks to the lower lead leg and forced him into desperation mode. Larkin sprawled out of a takedown, steadied himself on the fence and blasted the crouched Magny with vicious elbows to the side of the head for the finish.
The 29-year-old Larkin has won four of his past five bouts.
Relentless Covington Mauls Griffin
American Top Team export Colby Covington disposed of former Tachi Palace Fights champion Max Griffin with third-round punches in a one-sided pairing at 170 pounds. Griffin (12-3, 0-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 2:18 into round three.
A two-time NCAA All-American wrestler, Covington (10-1, 5-1 UFC) overwhelmed the Octagon newcomer with technical superiority. He executed multiple takedowns in all three rounds and navigated the Griffin guard with ease. Covington was particularly dominant in round two, where he achieved full mount twice and assaulted the Californian with ground-and-pound. He secured another takedown inside the first 30 seconds of the third round, moved to the top ride position and brought it to a close with a sustained burst of unanswered left hands to the head.
Covington, 28, has rattled off back-to-back wins since his Dec. 12 submission loss to Warlley Alves.
Vettori Guillotine Taps Vettori
Venator Fighting Championship titleholder Marvin Vettori submitted Alberto Emiliano Pereira with a first-round guillotine choke in a preliminary middleweight encounter. Pereira (9-2, 0-2 UFC) requested assistance from referee Dan Miragliotta 4:30 into round one.
Vettori (11-2, 1-0 UFC) answered a takedown from the Brazilian with one of his own, settled in full guard and chipped away with ground-and-pound. Pereira bottled up the Italian with a body triangle from the bottom but left himself vulnerable by loosening his guard. Vettori wheeled to the back and then slid into position for the arm-in guillotine.
The 22-year-old Vettori has won six fights in a row.