Michael Chiesa should have the attention of the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight division.
Chiesa submitted Kings MMA standout Beneil Dariush with a second-round rear-naked choke at UFC on Fox 19 “Teixeira vs. Evans” on Saturday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. Dariush (12-2, 6-2 UFC), who had never before been submitted, tapped out 1:20 into round two.
Early returns were not promising for Chiesa (14-2, 7-2 UFC). Dariush chewed up his lead leg with kicks and knocked him off-balance with left hooks and overhand rights in a one-sided first round. “The Ultimate Fighter 15” winner was not dissuaded. Chiesa struck for a takedown 30 seconds into round two, advanced to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt’s back and cinched the choke in a standing position. After a brief struggle, Dariush raised the white flag.
Chiesa, 28, has put together three straight wins, two of them via rear-naked choke.
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Pennington Awarded Split Verdict
Invicta Fighting Championships veteran Raquel Pennington won for the third time in four appearances, as she eked out a split decision over Bethe Correia in a three-round undercard matchup at 135 pounds. Scores were 29-28 and 29-28 for Pennington, 29-28 for Correia.
Neither woman established her superiority across 15 minutes. Pennington (7-5, 4-2 UFC) stung the Brazilian with a number of right hands and fought well in the clinch, where she attacked the body with knees and the head with standing elbows. Correia (9-2, 3-2 UFC), in her first appearance since being knocked out by Ronda Rousey in August, countered effectively throughout, opened a cut near Pennington’s right eye with a sneaky left hook and held her own in close quarters. Unfortunately for “Pitbull,” the scorecards had the final say.
Ponzinibbio First to Finish McGee
Santiago Ponzinibbio cut down “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 winner Court McGee with first-round punches in a preliminary welterweight confrontation. McGee (17-5, 6-4 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:15 into round one, as he was finished for the first time in his 22-fight career.
Low kicks and right hands were Ponzinibbio’s weapons of choice, and he used them to great effect. The American Top Team-trained Argentinian denied a McGee takedown, blasted him with a straight right and followed him to the canvas. “The Crusher” tried to return to his feet, only to be met by a violent burst of punches that prompted referee Herb Dean to act.
Ponzinibbio (22-3, 4-2 UFC) has won four of his last five fights.
Graves Choke Submits Brown
American Top Team’s Michael Graves submitted former Ring of Combat champion Randy Brown with a second-round rear-naked choke in their undercard pairing at 170 pounds. Brown (7-1, 1-1 UFC) conceded defeat 2:31 into round two.
Graves (6-0, 2-0 UFC) corralled his counterpart with takedowns and a stifling top game. Brown’s inability to stay upright cost him in the second round, where he surrendered a single-leg takedown and ate a few elbows. Graves scrambled to his back, threaded his hooks and flattened out Brown, forcing him to expose his neck. The choke came next, followed by the tapout.
Dodson Blitzes Gamburyan in Bantamweight Return
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 winner John Dodson needed less than a minute to dispose of Manny Gamburyan with punches in the first round of their bantamweight clash. Gamburyan (15-9, 6-7 UFC) wilted 47 seconds into round one, his modest two-fight winning streak at an end.
Dodson (18-7, 7-2 UFC) -- who has twice challenged Demetrious Johnson for the UFC flyweight championship -- drove the Armenian judoka to a seated position with three straight lefts and then flurried with a series of left uppercuts that netted the stoppage. Gamburyan never had a chance to recover.
Ferreira Outpaces Explosive Bamgbose
Takedowns and punishing ground-and-pound carried MMA Masters rep Cezar Ferreira to a unanimous decision over Oluwale Bamgbose in a three-round undercard tilt at 185 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Ferreira (9-5, 5-3 UFC): 29-28, 29-28 and 29-27.
Bamgbose (6-2, 1-2 UFC) had his chance in the first round, where he floored the Brazilian with a right hook and pounced for a near-finish with punches and hammerfists. Ferreira withstood the assault, forced the onetime Ring of Combat titleholder to travel deeper into the fight than he wanted and capitalized on his superior conditioning and experience. Bamgbose -- who replaced Caio Magalhaes on short notice -- faded in the second and third rounds, as he yielded takedowns and absorbed brutal ground-and-pound. He spent more than four minutes on his back in round two alone.
The victory snapped Ferreira’s two-fight losing streak.
Dos Santos Volley Buries AkhmedovFormer Jungle Fight champion Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos took out Omari Akhmedov with a third-round volley of punches and knees in a preliminary welterweight affair. Dos Santos (15-5, 1-1 UFC) finished it 3:03 into round three, as he recorded his fifth win in six appearances.
After two closely contested rounds that saw Akhmedov execute multiple takedowns, dos Santos turned up the heat. The 29-year-old Brazilian twice staggered Akhmedov with punches, first with a right hook and then with an overhand right. Dos Santos pushed the rattled Dagestani brute against the fence and cut loose with standing elbows, punches and knees until referee Dan Miragliotta had seen enough.
Akhmedov (15-4, 3-3 UFC) has dropped back-to-back bouts for the first time in his career.