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Jan Blachowicz did his part.
The former KSW titleholder avenged a 2015 defeat and staked his claim as the No. 1 contender in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight division by knocking out Corey Anderson in the first round of the UFC Fight Night 167 headliner on Saturday at the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. Blachowicz (26-8, 9-5 UFC) brought it to an emphatic close 3:08 into Round 1, then took aim at reigning 205-pound champion Jon Jones.
After a tepid start, Anderson (13-5, 10-5 UFC) marched toward the Polish powerhouse. A sweeping right hook sent him crashing to the canvas, where he was met with a brutal standing-to-ground hammerfist before referee Herb Dean arrived on the scene.
The victory was Blachowicz’s third straight and seventh in eight fights.
Pereira Knee Prompts Bizarre DQ
Michel Pereira was on his way to what appeared to be a certain victory when he was disqualified for an illegal knee strike on “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 winner Diego Sanchez in the welterweight co-main event. Sporting a nasty horizontal gash on his forehead, Sanchez (30-12, 19-12 UFC) sounded alert when questioned by referee Jason Herzog but elected not to continue 3:09 into Round 3.
Pereira (23-11, 1-2 UFC) established his superiority in the standup exchanges throughout the first two rounds and even mixed in a pair of takedowns. He zeroed in on Sanchez’s body with front kicks and knees, avoided return fire and pressed his advantages on the feet. Pereira doubled over “The Nightmare” with a volley of knees to the body in the third round, only to see the foul unravel his work.
Sanchez, 38, has notched three wins across his past four outings.
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De La Rosa Outgrapples Frustrated Borella
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 26 quarterfinalist Montana De La Rosa rebounded from a June 22 decision defeat to Andrea Lee and won for the fifth time in six appearances, as she laid claim to a unanimous decision over Mara Romero Borella in a three-round women’s bantamweight showcase. De La Rosa (11-5, 4-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks from all three judges.
The 33-year-old Borella (12-7, 2-3 UFC) made the first move in the first round, where she caught a kick and turned it into a takedown. However, success was fleeting for the American Top Team export. De La Rosa scrambled to her back to close out Round 1, did the same in the second and turned up the heat in the third. There, she floored Borella with a right hand, assumed top position and threatened with an arm-triangle choke in the waning moments.
Borella now finds herself on a two-fight skid.
Illegal Knee Disqualifies Vargas
Combate Americas veteran Rodrigo Vargas was disqualified for a blatant illegal knee strike on Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Brok Weaver in the first round of their featured lightweight affair. The foul handed Weaver (15-4, 1-0 UFC) his eighth consecutive victory 4:02 into Round 1.
Vargas (11-4, 0-2 UFC) built an early lead with clean leg kicks, crisp right hands and a takedown. Weaver threatened with a guillotine choke, fished for a kimura and shifted to a seated position when he was struck in the face by the illegal knee. The impact left him in a semi-conscious state and resulted in an immediate stoppage.
The 34-year-old Vargas has lost back-to-back bouts since he joined the UFC roster in August.
Merciless Borg Stifles Bontorin
Takedowns, positional advances, heavy ground-and-pound and an active submission game carried former Sugar Creek Showdown champion Ray Borg to a unanimous decision over Rogerio Bontorin in a three-round flyweight showcase. Borg (13-4, 7-4 UFC)—who missed weight for the fight—swept the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 30-25 marks from the judges.
A woefully ineffective Bontorin (16-2, 2-1 UFC) could not stay upright. Borg struck for multiple takedowns in all three rounds, transitioned to the Brazilian’s back on more than one occasion and hunted cranks and chokes. When he was not threatening Bontorin’s neck, he was racking up points with punches and elbows from top position, all while bleeding valuable time off the clock.
The loss snapped Bontorin’s four-fight winning streak.
Vannata Handles Struggling Medeiros
Jackson-Wink MMA standout Lando Vannata outstruck Yancy Medeiros to a unanimous decision in a three-round lightweight feature. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Vannata (11-4-2, 3-4-2 UFC), who has won two of his last three fights.
Medeiros (15-7, 6-7 UFC) had issues decoding his counterpart’s constant stance switches and herky-jerky movements. Vannata hammered away at the Hawaiian with leg kicks while darting in and out with punching combinations. Medeiros countered effectively in spurts and tried to lure “Groovy Lando” into a firefight, though his efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful.
The 32-year-old Medeiros has lost three fights in a row.
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