UFC Fight Night Prelims: Katlyn Chookagian Downs Lauren Murphy in Octagon Debut

By Brian Knapp Jul 13, 2016
It did not take long for Katlyn Chookagian to prove she belonged in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The Mark Henry protégé utilized a punishing jab, smooth lateral movement and occasional knees and kicks in capturing a unanimous decision over former Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder Lauren Murphy in the featured UFC Fight Night “McDonald vs. Lineker” prelim on Wednesday at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The undefeated Chookagian (8-0, 1-0 UFC) swept the scorecards with matching 29-28 marks.

Chookagian’s jab was the story, as she met the oncoming Murphy (9-3, 1-3 UFC) with it over and over again during the 15-minute bout. Still, it was far from a flawless performance for the newcomer. Chookagian had to overcome a near-disastrous second round, where she was taken down and absorbed ground-and-pound for more than three minutes. Murphy tried and failed to get it to the ground again in the third. Stuck on the feet, she could not match Chookagian’s skills.

Related » UFC Fight Night Round-by-Round Scoring

Alvey Guillotine Taps Spicely

Former Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder Sam Alvey submitted Eric Spicely with a first-round guillotine in an undercard tilt at 185 pounds. Spicely (8-1, 0-1 UFC) tapped to the choke 2:43 into round one, “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 23 graduate’s Octagon debut spoiled.

Alvey (27-8, 4-3 UFC) cracked the CES MMA vet with a series of counter right hooks, as desperation set in on the Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt. Spicely left his neck exposed on an ill-conceived takedown attempt and paid the price. Alvey bit down on the choke, trapped Spicely along the fence in a standing position and forced the tapout.

The victory snapped a two-fight skid for Alvey, who delivered his first submission since February 2010.

Casey Mauls Overmatched Stanciu

Hawaii-based Mesa, Arizona, native Cortney Casey wrecked Cristina Stanciu with first-round ground-and-pound in a preliminary women’s strawweight affair. Casey (5-3, 1-2 UFC) finished it 2:36 into round one, the 29-year-old halting a two-fight losing streak in the process.

Stanciu (5-2, 0-2 UFC) never stood a chance. Casey executed a takedown and climbed to mount for a second time midway through the first round, letting the punches fly before bringing thudding elbows into the equation. Stanciu, 22, could only cover up and soon required assistance from referee Bobby Wombacher.

Holtzman Improves to 9-1

Takedowns, ground-and-pound and a hyperactive top game carried MMA Lab export Scott Holtzman to a unanimous decision over Cody Pfister in a three-round undercard battle at 155 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Holtzman (9-1, 2-1 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Holtzman landed takedowns in all three rounds, twice achieving full mount. Pfister (12-6-1, 1-3 UFC) had his moments -- he staggered “Hot Sauce” with a standing elbow in the first round and escaped mount on both occasions in the second -- but slowly lost his foothold in the match. Holtzman knocked him down with a glancing head kick in the middle stanza before peppering him with hammerfists, punches and elbows from full guard and half guard in round three.

Pfister, 26, has lost three of his last four fights.

Yahya Choke Submits Lopez

Constrictor Team rep Rani Yahya submitted promotional newcomer Matthew Lopez with a third-round arm-triangle choke in a preliminary bantamweight confrontation. Lopez (8-1, 0-1 UFC) conceded defeat 4:19 into round three, losing for the first time as a professional.

Yahya (22-8, 7-2 UFC) withstood the prospect’s initial bursts of offense and slowly wore him down in the grappling exchanges. After a productive first round, Lopez showed signs of fatigue; and by the end of the second, he appeared exhausted. That provided Yahya with the opening he needed. The 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist struck for a takedown a little more than a minute into round three, softened Lopez with ground-and-pound and maintained a dominant position through a series of scrambles. Yahya then secured the topside arm-triangle and squeezed for the finish.

The 31-year-old Yahya has rattled off three straight wins.

Nicholson Stuns Unbeaten Clark

Alex Nicholson took care of onetime Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Devin Clark with first-round punches in an undercard pairing at 185 pounds. Nicholson (7-2, 1-1 UFC) brought it to a close 4:57 into round one, as he recorded his sixth win in seven appearances.

Clark (6-1, 0-1 UFC) was in control right up until the finish. The previously unbeaten 26-year-old executed a takedown inside the first minute, advanced to half guard and threatened with an arm-triangle choke, only to bail on the maneuver and return to his feet. He later dropped the oncoming Nicholson with a counter jab but could not capitalize on the opening. In the closing seconds of the first round, Nicholson floored the South Dakotan with a glancing right to the temple and mopped up what was left with follow-up punches.


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