Jailton Almeida never bought into the hype.
The LG System representative was one of five competitors to land Ultimate Fighting Championship contracts on Week 3 of Dana White’s Contender Series, as he submitted the previously unbeaten Nasrudin Nasrudinov in the second round of their light heavyweight attraction on Tuesday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Almeida (14-2) drew the curtain 1:49 into Round 2, extending his winning streak to nine fights.
“Malhadinho” pressured Nasrudinov (9-1) until he broke. The Russian sambo practitioner conceded a takedown to Almeida in the first round but managed to return to his feet and connect with a few standing-to-ground punches. He was not as fortunate in the second. Almeida executed another takedown, advanced to the back and flattened out the Akhmat Fight Club export. From there, he hunted the choke, tightened his squeeze and prompted the tapout.
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In addition to Almeida, UFC President Dana White signed Albert Duraev, Jack Della Maddalena, Lukasz Brzeski and Jasmine Jasudavicius.
Duraev put away Caio Bittencourt with a neck crank in the first round of their middleweight feature. Bittencourt (14-7) capitulated 3:29 into Round 1, having been thoroughly dominated by the former Absolute Championship Berkut titleholder.
The 32-year-old Duraev (14-3) put forth a superb effort in his first appearance in more than three years. He struck for a takedown and climbed to full mount inside the first 90 seconds, then went to work with relentless ground-and-pound. Short punches softened the fading Brazilian, who left his neck exposed and paid the price. Soon after, Bittencourt found himself facedown and tapping the mat.
Duraev now finds himself on a nine-fight winning streak.
Della Maddalena outstruck Sanford MMA prospect Ange Loosa to a unanimous decision in a three-round welterweight barnburner. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Della Maddalena (10-2), who has rattled off 10 consecutive victories.
The Australian leaned on multi-punch bursts to the body and head, kept Loosa (7-2) off-balance with stance switches and incorporated occasional knees to the body. Della Maddalena escaped a tight arm-triangle choke from the Titan Fighting Championship alum in the second round, rose to his feet and hacked open a horizontal gash near Loosa’s left eye with a standing elbow strike. Blood seeped and then poured from the wound for the remainder of the match. Della Maddalena fought through fatigue in Round 3, withstood a takedown and closed with a flourish, unleashing with punches, knees and a head kick in the waning seconds.
After a 6-0 start to his career, Loosa has lost twice in his last three outings.
Timely takedowns, stifling top control and damaging ground-and-pound carried Niagara Top Team’s Jasudavicius to a unanimous decision over reigning Shooto Brazil champion Julia Polastri in a three-round women’s flyweight pairing. All three judges struck 29-27 scorecards for Jasudavicius (6-1).
The Canadian set the tone with a strong first round, where she grounded, pounded and nearly finished Polastri (8-3) with a sustained barrage of elbows and punches. However, it was far from over. The 23-year-old Brazilian rattled Jasudavicius with multiple head kicks and did a much better job of staying upright across the final 10 minutes. However, Polastri surrendered a takedown with roughly 90 seconds left in the bout, remained on her back and allowed her adversary to pile up points and control time.
The setback snapped Polastri’s six-fight winning streak.
Kotwica MMA’s Brzeski submitted Dylan Potter with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their heavyweight battle. Brzeski (9-1-1) brought it to a close 3:51 into Round 3, even though there was legitimate controversy about whether or not his opponent tapped. Replays showed he did not.
Potter (10-6) was ineffective for the entirety of the fight. Brzeski broke down the CageSport champion with leg kicks and thudding punches on the feet, but he did his best work on the mat. He advanced to a mounted crucifix in the second round, cut loose with elbow-laced ground-and-pound and appeared to be a shot or two away from closing the deal. Neither man had much left in the tank for Round 3. There, Brzeski scrambled to the back, trapped Potter in a kneeling position along the fence and snaked his arms in place for the choke.
Brzeski, 29, has won three fights in a row.
Meanwhile, Strong Style Fight Team prospect Mo Miller kept his perfect professional record intact, as he laid claim to a clear-cut unanimous decision over Brandon Lewis in a three-round bantamweight scrap. Miller (6-0) swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks on all three scorecards.
Lewis (5-1) pieced together some success with leg kicks but could not stay upright against the decorated amateur wrestler. Miller executed repeated takedowns, applied his ground-and-pound and piled up serious control time across all three rounds, turning the contest into an exercise in futility for his frustrated counterpart.
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