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Colby Covington may be the most hated man in mixed martial arts, but more often than not, he backs up his bravado with his performance.
High-volume striking, a stifling clinch, opportunistic takedowns and damaging ground-and-pound spurred the MMA Masters representative to a fifth-round injury stoppage of former Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight titleholder Tyron Woodley in the UFC Fight Night 178 headliner on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Having been thoroughly dominated for four-plus rounds, Woodley (19-6-1, 9-5-1 UFC) surrendered to an apparent rib injury 79 seconds into Round 5.
Covington (16-2, 11-2 UFC) turned on the afterburners in the fourth round, where he executed a high-crotch takedown and sliced open his former American Top Team stablemate with a slashing elbow. Blood gushed from the wound near Woodley’s right eye, making an already miserable experience that much tougher to stomach. Covington secured another takedown at the start of the fifth round and was in the process of extricating himself from a guillotine choke when Woodley twisted the wrong way, cried out in pain and prompted an immediate stoppage.
Cerrone, Price Battle to Draw
Donald Cerrone and Niko Price fought to a majority draw in the welterweight co-main event. Judge Eric Colon scored it 29-27 for Cerrone, while Ron McCarthy and Chris Lee struck matching 28-28 scorecards. A point deduction for multiple eye pokes in the first round ultimately came back to bite Price, preventing the former Fight Time champion from getting his hand raised.
Price (14-4-1, 6-4-1 UFC) stormed out of the grate with overwhelming aggression, as he assaulted “Cowboy” with powerful punching combinations, body kicks and standing elbows. Cerrone (36-15-1, 23-12-1) drew on his guile and experience, withstood the attack and settled into a rhythm with which he was more comfortable. His thudding jab, multi-punch bursts to the body and a slick standing elbow to the face at close range leveled the playing field in the second round, and he made further progress in the third. There, he threatened with a takedown, briefly advanced to the still-standing Price’s back and continued to strike with his hands, feet, knees and elbows.
Cerrone remains winless over his last five appearances.
Unbeaten Chimaev KOs Meerschaert
Allstars Training Center prospect Khamzat Chimaev knocked out former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Gerald Meerschaert with a devastating right cross in the first round of their middleweight showcase. Meerschaert (31-14, 6-6 UFC) folded 17 seconds into Round 1, the victim in the third-fastest finish in the history of the UFC’s 185-pound weight class.
Chimaev (9-0, 3-0 UFC) marched down the Roufusport rep, fired a body kick and corralled him along the fence. As soon as Meerschaert’s feet stopped moving, he was met with a brutal shot to the jaw that found the off switch. Chimaev managed to get off a few more punches on his unconscious adversary before referee Mark Smith could arrive on the scene.
The 26-year-old Chimaev has stopped all nine of his opponents inside two rounds.
Walker Rallies, Dismisses Spann
SBG Ireland’s Johnny Walker put away Ryan Spann with elbows and punches in the first round of their featured light heavyweight clash. Spann (18-6, 4-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 2:43 into Round 1, as he experienced his first defeat since July 2017.
It was chaotic while it lasted. Spann floored the Brazilian with a clean counter left hook, gave chase with punches and advanced to full mount, a potential finish within reach. Walker (18-5, 4-2 UFC) escaped to his feet and staggered the Fortis MMA export with a clubbing right hand. A dazed Spann shot for a takedown, left himself exposed and absorbed a series of hammerfists and elbows—some of them appeared to stray to the back of the head—that prompted referee Dan Miragliotta to act.
The victory halted a two-fight losing streak for Walker.
Dern Armbar Submits Markos
Mackenzie Dern disposed of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 20 semifinalist Randa Markos with an armbar in the first round of their strawweight showcase. Markos (10-9-1, 6-8-1 UFC) bowed out 3:44 into Round 1, as she was submitted for the first time in more than four years.
Dern (9-1, 4-1 UFC) slipped on a kick, then lured her counterpart into a ground exchange. The 2015 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist threatened with a triangle, swept into top position with an omoplata and briefly achieved full mount. Dern stayed composed, isolated a limb and made the topside transition to lock in the armbar. Following a brief struggle, she extended Markos’ arm beyond its bounds and forced the tapout.
A longtime Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Dern now sports six submissions among her nine professional wins.
Holland Outlasts Stewart to Split Verdict
Phalanx MMA Academy standout Kevin Holland leaned on his creative offensive skills in laying claim to a split decision over Darren Stewart in a three-round middleweight feature. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Ron McCarthy for Stewart, Eric Colon and Sal D’Amato for Holland.
The two men seemed to enjoy one another’s company in the cage, their occasional trash talk supplemented by violent exchanges on the ground and on the feet. Holland (19-5, 6-2 UFC) rushed out to a lead with a high-output effort in the first and second rounds, where he attacked the legs with kicks and handled his business in the clinch. There, he utilized everything from ear slaps and foot stomps to shoulder strikes and hammerfists to the thighs. An undeterred Stewart (12-6, 5-5 UFC) executed multiple takedowns in Round 3 and applied damaging ground-and-pound through elbows, punches and hammerfists, urging the Travis Lutter protégé to respond as he went. Despite his late dominance, the finish he needed failed to materialize.
Holland, 27, will carry a three-fight winning streak into his next assignment.
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