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There’s a blueprint for defeating Kevin Holland, and Marvin Vettori followed it perfectly on Saturday afternoon.
The Italian middleweight took Holland down repeatedly, remained heavy on top and battered his opponent with ground-and-pound en route to a unanimous decision triumph in the UFC on ABC 2 headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. All three cageside judges saw the fight 50-44 in favor of Vettori (16-4-1, 7-2-1 UFC), who has won five straight fights at 185 pounds. Holland (21-7, 8-4 UFC) was a short-notice replacement for Darren Till, who withdrew from the event with a broken collarbone.
“I’m not too happy with what I did,” Vettori said. “I wanted to finish this guy and I was not able to. But it was a dominant win and I keep improving. I’m not the happiest right now, but I keep winning and I keep progressing.”
Holland, who gave a lackluster performance in a five-round decision loss to Brunson at UFC on ESPN 21 on March 20, offered more resistance this time around against a wrestling-minded adversary. However, Vettori was still able to expose the holes in Holland’s takedown defense.
After an opening stanza in which Holland appeared to get the better of Vettori with rangy striking, “The Italian Dream” grounded his opponent within the first 45 seconds of Round 2. From above, Vettori did solid work with ground-and-pound, including landing an elbow that nearly swelled Holland’s left eye shut.
It was essentially rinse-and-repeat from that point on. Vettori appeared to be on the verge of finishing the contest in Round 3 with an arm-triangle choke, but when that didn’t pan out, he was generally content to drag his foe to the mat, control positioning and land periodic punches from above the rest of the way. Holland was more aggressive from his back than he was against Brunson, but that didn’t prevent Vettori from setting a UFC middleweight record with 11 takedowns.
Allen Holds Off Yusuff, Wins 8th Straight UFC Bout
Two key lapses wound up costing Sodiq Yusuff dearly against Arnold Allen.
In a closely-contested bout, Allen (17-1, 8-0 UFC) authored the fight’s most significant moments, which allowed him to defeat Yusuff (11-2, 4-1 UFC) via unanimous decision in the evening’s featherweight co-main event. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 for the Englishman, who has won eight consecutive fights in UFC competition and 10 in a row overall.
Yusuff tried to pressure Allen early, but the Tristar Gym representative gave his opponent pause by landing several solid counter left hands. One of those punches dropped Yusuff in the opening stanza, but the Lloyd Irvin protégé was able to regain his senses in relatively short order.
Allen’s other signature moment came in Round 2, when he staggered Yusuff with a head kick. To his credit, Yusuff once against survived until the horn by forcing a tie-up with Arnold. The action slowed significantly in the final five minutes, as Allen adopted a conservative approach and the combatants clinched repeatedly. By then, the damage had already been done.
“I wanted a finish. I’ve had a lot of decisions in the UFC,” Allen said. “Sodiq’s as tough as they come. All respect to him.”
Related » UFC on ABC 2 Round-by-Round Scoring
Marquez Puts Alvey to Sleep
Julian Marquez went toe-to-toe with Sam Alvey, but it was his grappling that ultimately made the difference.
Marquez (9-2, 3-1 UFC) scored his second consecutive submission victory in UFC competition, as he rendered Alvey (33-14-1, 1 NC, 10-10-1 UFC) unconscious with a modified rear-naked choke in a featured middleweight tilt. Alvey, 34, is winless in his last six promotional appearances.
Marquez flashed some power in Round 1, when he bloodied Alvey’s nose and dropped him to a knee with a right hand. The former Maximum Fighting Championship title holder survived until the horn, however, and the action intensified in the second frame. Both men continued to throw with reckless abandon, but it was Marquez who rocked his foe with a right hook during an exchange. “The Cuban Missile Crisis” proceeded to blitz Alvey with heavy punches against the fence and then pounded away with hammerfists to the side of the head when the Team Quest product shot out of desperation. That barrage allowed Marquez to lock in a rear-naked choke as he stood behind Alvey, who eventually went out from the squeeze.
Dern Armbars Nunes
Mackenzie Dern has the look of a serious contender in the UFC’s strawweight division.
The former Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Fighting Club gold medalist put her grappling front and center against the returning Nina Nunes, submitting her foe with an armbar 4:48 into the opening stanza of their featured 115-pound clash. It was Nunes’ -- formerly Nina Ansaroff -- first bout since June 2019.
Dern (11-1, 6-1 UFC) wasted little time punching her way into the clinch, where she was able to score a single-leg takedown against her opponent. From there, the Black House product transitioned from guard to side control to full mount with ease. Then, it was only a matter of time before she was able to set up the fight-ending maneuver, and Nunes (10-7, 4-4 UFC) could only keep her hands locked for so long before Dern was able to extend the arm and force the tapout.
Rodriguez Batters Slumping Perry
BMF Ranch representative Daniel Rodriguez picked Mike Perry apart for three rounds to garner a clear-cut unanimous decision triumph in a preliminary welterweight encounter. All three judges saw the fight for Rodriguez: 30-27, 30-27, 30-26.
Perry’s battered and bloodied visage told the tale of the fight. Rodriguez (14-2, 4-1 UFC) looked extremely comfortable in exchanges, as he tagged his foe repeatedly with straight punches and kicks to the legs and body. Perry’s best moment occurred when he was able to take Rodriguez down at the end of Round 1, but for the most part “D-Rod” was able to keep the action upright with sturdy defensive wrestling. By the end of the bout, Perry (14-8, 7-8 UFC) had a cut and swelling near his left eye, and his already-mangled nose was crooked once again — a product of eating one too many stiff jabs from Rodriguez.
Perry has lost four of his last five UFC bouts dating back to August 2019.
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