Brandon Moreno has begun to build serious equity in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s top-heavy flyweight division.
“The Ultimate Fighter 24” graduate strangled Dustin Ortiz unconscious with a rear-naked choke in the second round of their UFC Fight Night 108 “Swanson vs. Lobov” prelim on Saturday at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Moreno (14-3, 3-0 UFC) brought it to a close 4:06 into Round 1.
Ortiz (16-7, 5-5 UFC), who had never before been finished, tried to bully the 23-year-old Mexican prospect, as he struck for repeated takedowns and pursued stifling tie-ups in the first round. His efforts proved fruitless. Moreno turned up the heat in the middle stanza with leg kicks and then sent the Roufusport product crashing to the canvas with a perfectly timed head kick. Ortiz survived the initial onslaught, but Moreno climbed to his back, secured his position with a body triangle and ultimately cinched the choke after an extended struggle.
On an 11-fight winning streak, Moreno has not tasted defeat in nearly five years (bookmakers).
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Resourceful Leites Outduels Alvey
Nova Uniao mainstay Thales Leites won for the 10th time in 13 appearances, as he was awarded a unanimous decision over Sam Alvey in a three-round undercard affair at 185 pounds. Leites (27-7, 12-6 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27 nods across the board.
Alvey (30-9, 7-4 UFC) never got in gear. Leites tenderized the inside of his lead leg with a series of brutal kicks, all while mixing in shots to the head and body. A visibly compromised Alvey spent the majority of his time and effort trying to chase down the circling Brazilian. He snapped Leites’ head back with a pair of straight left hands in the second round but was otherwise ineffective.
The loss snapped a four-fight winning streak for Alvey.
‘Hot Sauce’ Holtzman Subdues McBride
MMA Lab representative Scott Holtzman cruised to a unanimous verdict over Bellator MMA and Resurrection Fighting Alliance alum Michael McBride in a three-round undercard match at 155 pounds. All three judges sided with Holtzman (10-2, 3-2 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.
McBride (8-3, 0-2 UFC) spent the majority of the 15-minute bout eating punches from the Knoxville, Tennessee native. Holtzman decked him with a left hook in the first round and continued to assault him in one-sided standup exchanges. An awkward grappler with a proven track record, McBride was also ineffective on the mat, where “Hot Sauce” met his sweep and submission attempts with punishing ground-and-pound.
Taylor Outpoints Reeling Penne
Former King of the Cage champion Danielle Taylor took a three-round unanimous decision from Alliance MMA’s Jessica Penna in a preliminary women’s strawweight encounter. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Taylor (9-2, 2-1 UFC).
Penne (12-5, 1-3 UFC) probed with the jab, connected with body kicks and enjoyed success with knees to the midsection and head from the collar-tie. It was not enough to sway the judges. Taylor circled on the perimeter, countered effectively with both hands and fired off powerful right hands in single-strike bursts. She also held off Penne in the grappling exchanges before finally ceding a takedown in the final five seconds of the fight.
The 34-year-old Penne has lost three in a row.
Davis Spoils Dandois DebutAlexis Davis spoiled the promotional debut of Invicta Fighting Championships veteran Cindy Dandois, as she claimed a unanimous decision in their three-round undercard scrap at 135 pounds. Davis (18-7, 5-2 UFC) swept the scorecards with matching 29-28 marks from the judges.
Dandois (8-3, 0-1 UFC) leaned on takedowns, sporadic ground-and-pound and a heavy top game but failed to put the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in real danger. Davis was superior in the standup and employed an active guard, countering the Belgian’s takedowns with sweeps and various submission attempts, including an armbar in the first round and a triangle-armbar in the waning seconds of the third.
Davis, 32, has rattled off seven wins in her last nine fights.
Barberena Buries Returning Proctor
MMA Lab export Bryan Barberena put away Joe Proctor with knees and punches in the first round of their preliminary welterweight clash. In his first fight since December 2015, Proctor (11-5, 4-4 UFC) bowed out 3:30 into Round 1.
Barberena (13-4, 4-2 UFC) frustrated the Lauzon MMA rep with leg kicks, as they openly taunted one another. He staggered Proctor with a short, choppy right hook and swarmed with knees and punches along the fence. Once it hit the floor, the finish was inevitable. Barberena never relented and cut loose with punches until referee Dan Miragliotta had seen enough.
Sandoval Hammerfists KO Schnell
Former Tachi Palace Fights champion Hector Sandoval knocked out Matt Schnell in the first round of their undercard pairing at 125 pounds. Schnell (9-4, 0-2 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:24 into Round 1, as he lost for the second time in as many appearances.
Sandoval (14-3, 2-1 UFC) darted in and out with punches and leg kicks, lured the Louisianan into the clinch and freed himself from a tight guillotine choke. Schnell failed to maximize significant height and reach advantages, choosing instead to engage the Team Alpha Male export at close range. The 27-year-old wound up on bottom after Sandoval exited the aforementioned guillotine attempt. There, Schnell was victimized by a series of short but powerful hammerfists that separated him from his senses.
Sandoval, 30, has won six of his past seven bouts.