Khabib Nurmagomedov continues to have a leg up on the competition. | Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Khabib Nurmagomedov imposed his will on Rafael dos Anjos.
Repeated clinches and takedowns, stifling topside grappling and punishing ground-and-pound drove the unbeaten Dagestani lightweight to a one-sided unanimous decision over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on Fox 11 on Saturday at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. All three judges arrived at the same verdict: 30-27 for Nurmagomedov (22-0, 6-0 UFC).
Dos Anjos (20-7, 9-5 UFC) could not hold off the two-time combat sambo world champion. Nurmagomedov dragged him to the canvas in all three rounds, set up shop and went to work with his punches and elbows. Dos Anjos was never in danger of being stopped, but the reality of his situation had to have been difficult to swallow. The defeat halted his streak of five straight victories.
Alves Victorious in Return
Savage leg kicks, crisp power punches and airtight takedown defense lifted American Top Team’s Thiago Alves to a unanimous decision over Seth Baczynski in a preliminary welterweight tussle. All three judges scored it 30-27 for Alves (20-9, 12-6 UFC), who had not set foot inside the Octagon since March 2012.
Baczynski (19-11, 5-4 UFC) was game but outmatched. Alves tore into him with kicks to the legs, body and head, all while mixing in tight punching combinations. He opened a cut near Baczynski’s right eye with a left hook in the first round and another close to his left eye with a close-quarters knee strike in the second. However, the kicks to the legs were the difference, as repeated impacts echoed through the arena.
“It was very hard [being out for so long],” Alves said. “When something you love is taken away from you, it’s challenging, but I tried to focus on the good and on this comeback. Everything happens for a reason, and this feels great.”
Masvidal Boxes Past Healy
The educated and experienced hands of American Top Team’s Jorge Masvidal were enough to push him past the hard-nosed Pat Healy in an undercard clash at 155 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Masvidal (26-8, 3-1 UFC): 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
Healy (29-19, 0-4 UFC) struggled to keep up in the standup exchanges, as “Gambred” tore into him with clean accurate punches and occasional kicks to the head and body. Masvidal surrendered takedowns in each of the first two rounds but returned to an upright position almost immediately, absorbing little to no damage from the man they call “Bam Bam.” The 29-year-old Miami native secured a takedown of his own late in round three, turning the tables on the clinch-minded Healy.
Masvidal has won four of his last five fights.
Unbeaten White Dazzles in Debut
Titan Fighting Championship alum Alex White dispatched Estevan Payan with a searing straight left and follow-up ground strikes in an undercard bout at 145 pounds. A replacement for injured former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Mike Thomas Brown, White (10-0, 1-0 UFC) drew the curtain 1:28 into round one.
Payan (14-6, 0-3 UFC) landed early to the head and body but could not keep the 25-year-old Columbia, Mo., native at bay. White sent him crashing to the canvas with a straight left and polished off the victory with half a dozen unfettered right hands to the face. “The Spartan” has finished nine of his 10 foes, five of them inside one round.
‘Hellboy’ Magalhaes Routs Zachrich
Nova Uniao representative Caio Magalhaes stopped “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 graduate Luke Zachrich on first-round punches in a brief undercard duel at 185 pounds. Zachrich (13-3, 0-1 UFC), who replaced the injured Josh Samman, met his end just 44 seconds into round one.
Magalhaes (8-1, 3-1 UFC) crippled the Ohio-based Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt with a left hook to the solar plexus, followed with an overhand right and drove him to the mat with a knee strike to the midsection. A series of unanswered punches brought it to close and gave Magalhaes his third consecutive win.
Mein Outduels Nova Uniao’s Perpetuo
Jordan Mein won for the 10th time in 12 fights, as he came out on the right side of a split decision against Nova Uniao’s Hernani Perpetuo in a preliminary welterweight affair. All three judges scored it 29-28, two of them casting nods in Mein’s favor.
Mein (28-9, 2-1 UFC) controlled much of the match with his length and reach. The 24-year-old Canadian paired a multi-pronged standup attack with well-disguised takedowns. Knees, leg kicks and punching combinations were all put to use with regularity. Mein put the Brazilian on his back in all three rounds, consolidating his takedowns with substantial ground-and-pound.
An injury replacement for Santiago Ponzinibbio, Perpetuo (17-4, 0-1 UFC) threatened Mein with a kneebar in the third round and rattled him with a left hook in the final minute, but the former Shooto champion failed to turn the tide completely in his favor. The loss snapped Perpetuo’s seven-fight winning streak.
Roufusport’s Ortiz Edges Borg
Active hands carried Roufusport’s Dustin Ortiz to a split decision over King of the Cage alum Ray Borg in an entertaining undercard tilt at 125 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with Ortiz (13-3, 2-1 UFC), who has rattled off five wins in six appearances.
Borg (6-1, 0-1 UFC) was exception in spurts. The 20-year-old delivered three slams in the 15-minute battle and transitioned to Ortiz’s back on multiple occasions. However, he was at his best in the second round, where he escaped from bottom position, struck for a takedown and moved to Ortiz’s back, threatening first with a rear-naked choke and then a neck crank.
Ortiz survived and moved on to round three, where he popped the Tucson, Ariz., native with jabs and executed a pair of head kicks. Borg made one last push for victory, again moving to his counterpart’s back, but the finish he needed failed to materialize in the waning moments.
Bektic Survives Illegal Knee Strikes to Down Skelly
Highly touted American Top Team prospect Mirsad Bektic kept his perfect professional record intact with a majority decision over Chas Skelly in a competitive and eventful undercard clash at 145 pounds. Two of the three cageside judges saw it 29-28 for Bektic; a third scored it a 28-28 draw.
Bektic (8-0, 1-0 UFC) was effective in the clinch and utilized an aggressive top game with heavy ground-and-pound, especially in the first and third rounds. In the second, Skelly (11-1, 0-1 UFC) staggered him with a stiff right hand, only to squander his work with a pair of illegal knee strikes against the cage. The Team Takedown was penalized a point as a result, and though Bektic was badly hurt, the promising Bosnian regained his faculties and gathered himself for a final push. A pair of key takedowns carried the 23-year-old through round three.
Lewis Wins Fourth Straight
Reigning Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder Derrick Lewis wiped out the previously unbeaten Jack May with first-round ground-and-pound in a preliminary heavyweight scrap. May (7-1, 0-1 UFC) succumbed to the blows 4:23 into round one.
The two newcomers traded takedowns and reversals during their brief encounter, with May moving to full mount at one point. However, Lewis (10-2, 1-0 UFC) kept his cool, escaped to top position and turned his heavy hands loose after his 6-foot-8 counterpart suffered an apparent knee injury. A 29-year-old New Orleans native, Lewis has finished each of his last four opponents.