UFC 216 Prelims: Cody Stamman Upends Prized Prospect Tom Duquesnoy in Split Decision

By Brian Knapp Oct 7, 2017
Cody Stamann did not buy into the hype.

The Michigan Top Team representative leaned on takedowns, ground-and-pound and surprisingly effective standup in posting a split decision over former two-division British Association of Mixed Martial Arts titleholder Tom Duquesnoy in the featured UFC 216 prelim on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Judges Marcos Rosales and Rick Winter scored it 30-27 and 29-28 for Stamman, while Chris Lee cast a dissenting 29-28 nod for Duquesnoy.

Duquesnoy (14-2, 1-1 UFC) seized control early -- he connected with body kicks, straight lefts and a few of his patented standing elbows in close quarters -- but failed to maintain his advantages. Stamann (15-1, 2-0 UFC) executed multiple takedowns in the second round, applied his ground-and-pound and turned the tide in his favor. Duquesnoy’s output dipped to alarming levels in the third round, his confidence likely shaken by the success Stamann enjoyed on the mat. As a result, the gifted Frenchman wound up getting outstruck across the final five minutes.

Stamann, 27, now finds himself on a nine-fight winning streak.

Related » UFC 216 Round-by-Round Scoring

Vannata-Green Ends in Draw

Jackson-Wink MMA rep Lando Vannata and former King of the Cage champion Bobby Green fought to a draw in a memorable three-round undercard tilt at 155 pounds. Scores were 29-28 for Vannata, 29-28 for Green and 28-28. Neither man appeared disappointed with the result.

Vannata (9-2-1, 1-2-1 UFC) nearly finished it in the first round, where he floored his adversary with a slashing right hand and pounced with ground-and-pound. However, an illegal knee strike -- Vannata’s thigh careened off Green’s head -- cost Vannata a point and afforded Green time to recover. The second and third rounds gave rise to a wild back-and-forth firefight in which both lightweights were in trouble on multiple occasions. Vannata’s face was a mess by the time it was over, as Green (23-8-1, 4-3-1 UFC) exacted his toll with stiff jabs, crisp left hooks and clubbing right hands.

Debuting Botelho Outlasts Gonzalez

Nova Uniao export Poliana Botelho mada a triumphant organizational debut, as she took a unanimous decision from Pearl Gonzalez in a preliminary women’s strawweight encounter. All three cageside judges struck 30-27 scorecards in favor of Botelho (6-1, 1-0 UFC).

Gonzalez (6-3, 0-2 UFC) pressed a persistent clinch game that went absolutely nowhere. Botelho braced herself along the fence, worked for underhooks and mixed lateral elbows to the side of the head with thudding knees to the body. The Brazilian connected with a spinning back kick to the body late in the third round, flurried with punches and executed a takedown in the waning seconds, putting the finishing touches on the victory.

Botelho, 28, has won four fights in a row.

Schnell Outpoints Reeling Beltran

Effective combination punching and occasional leg kicks carried American Top Team’s Matt Schnell to a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” semifinalist Marco Beltran in a three-round undercard encounter at 125 pounds. Schnell (10-4, 1-2 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27 marks from the judges.

Beltran (8-6, 3-3 UFC) fought well in spurts -- especially late -- but could not match the Louisianan’s striking prowess. Schnell’s jab was increasingly effective and put significant swelling on his counterpart’s right eye. Beltran made his move in the third round, where he upped his aggression and moved forward with punches and kicks. However, it was not enough to undo the work Schnell put in over the first 10 minutes.

The 31-year-old Beltran has suffered three straight defeats.

Moraga Upsets Unbeaten Bibulatov

MMA Lab and Arizona Combat Sports standout John Moraga wiped out former World Series of Fighting champion Magomed Bibulatov with punches in the first round of their preliminary flyweight affair. Bibulatov (14-1, 1-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 98 seconds into Round 1.

Moraga (18-6, 7-5 UFC) appeared calm and composed, as if somehow he knew the situation would break his way. The 33-year-old wobbled Bibulatov with a sharp right hand and then sent him crashing to the canvas with a clean left hook. After one standing-to-ground punch from Moraga, referee Jason Herzog was on the scene to prevent further damage.

Moraga has rattled off back-to-back wins following consecutive losses to Joseph Benavidez, Matheus Nicolau Pereira and Sergio Pettis.

Surging Tavares Downs Leites

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 graduate Brad Tavares recorded his third win in as many appearances, as he captured a clear-cut unanimous decision from Nova Uniao mainstay Thales Leites in a three-round undercard battle at 185 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Tavares (16-4, 11-4 UFC): 30-27, 30-26 and 30-26.

Leities (27-8, 12-7 UFC) fought the Hawaiian’s fight, and it did not go well for him. Tavares fed him a head-snapping jab, assaulted him with power punches in combination and shredded his base with kicks to the lower lead leg. By the time the third round arrived, Leites had suffered severe damage to his right eye and could barely stand. Tavares stuffed a late takedown attempt and battered the Brazilian with ground-and-pound to seal the deal in the closing seconds.

The 35-year-old Leites has lost four of his past six bouts.


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