Alexis Davis has Liz Carmouche’s number.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt moved to 2-0 in her head-to-head series with Carmouche, as she eked out a split decision in the featured UFC Fight Night 123 prelim on Saturday at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them giving Davis (19-7, 6-2 UFC) the nod. With that, the 33-year-old threw her name in the hat as a contender in the newly minted Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s flyweight division.
It was competitive from start to finish. Davis threatened with a tight armbar in the first round and tripped her counterpart to the canvas in the second, using her ground-and-pound to pass guard and chew up clock. Carmouche (11-6, 3-4 UFC) was at her best in the standup exchanges -- she raised a grotesque swelling on the left side of the Canadian’s face -- and had Davis reeling in the third round, where she cut loose with both hands before shooting a puzzling takedown. Davis answered with another armbar and later swept into top position, closing the door on the Team Hurricane Awesome representative.
Carmouche also lost a decision to Davis in their first meeting on Nov. 6, 2013.
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Replacement Soukhamthath Zaps Sanders
Combat Club representative Andre Soukhamthath disposed of Luke Sanders with punches in the second round of their undercard tilt at 135 pounds. A short-notice replacement for the oft-injured Bryan Caraway, Soukhamthath (12-5, 1-2 UFC) drew the curtain 66 seconds into Round 2.
Sanders (11-2, 1-2 UFC) was the aggressor, darting in and out with punches while also leading the dance in the clinch. However, early in the second round, Soukhamthath slipped an overhand left and countered with a right hook that detonated on the MMA Lab bantamweight’s chin. Sanders hit the deck in a dazed state and was met with unanswered hammerfists and punches that resulted in the stoppage.
The win brought an end to a two-fight losing streak for Soukhamthath.
Newcomer Perez Throttles de Tomas
Former Tachi Palace Fights champion Alex Perez submitted Carls John de Tomas with a brabo choke in the second round of their preliminary bantamweight clash. With all escape routes cut off, De Tomas (6-2, 0-2 UFC) bowed out 1:54 into Round 2.
Perez (19-4, 1-0 UFC) threatened the Filipino standout with chokes throughout much of the first round, providing a glimpse of what was to come. He executed a takedown inside the first 20 seconds of the middle stanza, advanced to side control and eventually wheeled to the back. De Tomas was powerless to stop him. Perez punched away from the top ride position before snatching the neck, connecting his arms and forcing the tap.
Spawned by the Team Oyama outfit, Perez has rattled off six consecutive victories.
Saenz Spoils Dvalishvili Debut
Thudding knee strikes to the body, standing elbows from the clinch and opportunistic punching combinations carried Frankie Saenz to a split decision over Serra-Longo Fight Team prospect Merab Dvalishvili in a three-round undercard pairing at 135 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with Saenz.
Saenz (12-5, 4-3 UFC) kept his composure despite being taken down repeatedly by the Octagon newcomer. Bleeding from two head butt-induced cuts, Dvalishvili (7-3, 0-1 UFC) dragged the former King of the Cage champion to the mat over and over again but failed to consolidate his efforts with damage or meaningful positional control. Saenz made the most of his chances on the feet, employing knees to the body across all three rounds. Dvalishvili could not mount a telling response.
The win snapped a three-fight losing streak for Saenz.
Perez Outduels Tentative Alcantara
“The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” winner Alejandro Perez won for the second time in as many outings, as he took a unanimous decision from former Jungle Fight champion Iuri Alcantara in a three-round undercard confrontation at 135 pounds. Perez (19-6-1, 5-1-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 marks from the judges.
Alcantara (34-9, 9-6 UFC) was tentative and seemingly disinterested in what can only be described as a tepid encounter between the two bantamweights. In fairness, neither man did much of note, and the fans let them know about it. Boos serenaded their efforts at various points. Perez was effective with leg sweeps, body kicks and overhand rights, outpacing the Brazilian by a narrow margin.
The 37-year-old Alcantara has dropped back-to-back bouts.
Ramos Choke Submits Gruetzemacher
Team Nogueira export Davi Ramos submitted World Series of Fighting veteran Chris Gruetzemacher with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their preliminary lightweight encounter. Gruetzemacher (13-3, 1-2 UFC) conceded defeat 50 seconds into Round 3.
Ramos (7-2, 1-1 UFC) utilized every weapon in his repertoire, from takedowns, top control and ground-and-pound to flying knees, sweeping power punches and intermittent spinning attacks. Through it all, Gruetzemacher appeared to be pointed in the right direction after a strong second round. Ramos was not impressed. He dumped Gruetzemacher to the mat early in the third, transitioned to the back and cinched the choke.
Ramos, 31, has won three of his last four fights.
Giles Shreds Returning Neto
Undefeated Legacy Fighting Alliance veteran Trevin Giles kept his perfect professional record intact, as he disposed of Antonio Braga Neto with punches in the third round of their undercard scrap at 185 pounds. In his first appearance since June 28, 2014, Neto (9-3, 1-2 UFC) succumbed to blows 2:27 into Round 3.
Giles (11-0, 2-0 UFC) wandered into danger in the first round, where he conceded a takedown and spent nearly three minutes buried in bottom position. The inability to finish would haunt Neto. Giles lit up the Brazilian in the middle stanza, unleashing fast-twitch combinations with punishing jabs and right crosses. His momentum bled into the third round, where he continued to snap back the weary Sengoku alum’s head with the jab. Giles ultimately pressed Neto toward the fence and uncorked a right hand that dropped him where he stood and prompted referee Frank Trigg to act.