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Trevin Giles stood tall under less-than-ideal circumstances.
The Legacy Fighting Alliance and Resurrection Fighting Alliance veteran threw the brakes on a two-fight losing streak, as he captured a split decision over James Krause in the featured UFC 247 prelim on Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: J.J. Ferraro and Joe Soliz for Giles, Patrick Patlan for Krause.
Krause (27-8, 8-4 UFC)—who agreed to replace Antonio Arroyo on one day’s notice—enjoyed a dominant first round, where he executed a takedown, moved to the back and hunted rear-naked chokes for several tense moments. Giles (12-2, 3-2 UFC) withstood his advances and had him reeling with power punches in the middle stanza. Late in the frame, he extricated himself from an armbar, blasted Krause with ground-and-pound and nearly finished it with a rear-naked choke of his own. Only the bell prevented the submission. Krause righted himself in Round 3, where he tried and failed to keep Giles at bay with lunging right hands.
Resurgent Murphy Downs Lee
Former Invicta Fighting Championships titleholder Lauren Murphy continued her resurgence at 125 pounds, as she escaped with a split decision over Andrea Lee in a three-round women’s flyweight confrontation. Scores were 29-28 and 30-27 for Murphy, 29-28 for Lee.
Lee (11-4, 3-2 UFC) did her business with kicks, a sharp jab and occasional multi-punch bursts but failed to keep her foot on the gas long enough to put meaningful distance between herself and the game opponent across from her. Murphy (11-5, 3-5 UFC) kept throwing punches and appeared to turn the tide in the second round, then freed herself from an attempted anaconda choke to assume top position again in the third. It was enough to sway two of the three judges.
Murphy, 36, has won three of her last four bouts.
Related » UFC 247 Round-by-Round Scoring
Replacement Williams Ambushes Morono
King of the Cage veteran Kalinn Williams could not have made a stronger first impression, as he disposed of Alex Morono with punches in the first round of their welterweight tilt. A short-notice substitution for the injured Dhiego Lima, Williams (10-1, 1-0 UFC) drew the curtain 27 seconds into Round 1.
Morono (17-6, 6-3 UFC)—who entered the cage on a three-fight winning streak—decided to engage the Octagon rookie in a firefight and wandered into immediate danger. Williams sent him careening backward with a left hook, pursued him to the fence with a ferocious volley of punches, bailed on a takedown and connected with a thudding uppercut that folded the Fortis MMA representative where he stood.
The 25-year-old Williams has rattled off seven straight wins.
Bautista Knee Feels Johns
MMA Lab’s Mario Bautista put away former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Miles Johns with a flying knee and follow-up punches in the second round of their bantamweight scrap. Johns (10-1, 1-1 UFC) fell from the ranks of the unbeaten 1:41 into Round 2.
After a tepid first round in which neither man established much of a foothold, Bautista (8-1, 2-1 UFC) found a gap in his opponent’s defenses. He floored Johns with a flying knee, chased him to the canvas and cut loose with punches to prompt the stoppage.
Bautista, 26, has delivered six of his eight wins by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
Newson Waylays Pilarte in Sub-Minute Stoppage
Onetime Cage Sport titleholder Journey Newson cut down Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Domingo Pilarte with punches in the first round of their encounter at 135 pounds. Newson (10-2, 1-1 UFC) brought it to a close 38 seconds into Round 1, winning for the seventh time in eight outings.
The 30-year-old Pilarte (8-3, 1-1 UFC) connected with an early head kick but lowered his guard in his overzealous pursuit of a finish. The price was steep. Newson stepped into a devastating overhand right that floored the Texan, then pounded away with follow-up punches until referee Jacob Montalvo had seen enough.
Pilarte has suffered consecutive defeats for the first time in his career.
Surging Ewell Edges Martinez
Former CES MMA champion Andre Ewell posted his seventh win in nine appearances, as he eked out a split decision over Factory X standout Jonathan Martinez in a hotly contested three-round bantamweight affair. Scores were 29-28 and 30-27 for Ewell, 29-28 for Martinez.
Martinez (11-3, 2-2 UFC) doubled over the Apex MMA export twice with body kicks and spent much of the fight moving forward. Ewell (16-6, 3-2 UFC) suffered an arm injury blocking a kick and threw his right hand with less and less conviction as time ticked away. However, he did his best work in Round 2, where he picked up his pace and zeroed in on Martinez’s body with straight left hands and crushing knees.
The loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for Martinez.
Zalal Befuddles Undefeated Lingo
Factory X prospect Youssef Zalal impressed in his promotional debut, as he cruised to a unanimous decision over Fortis MMA’s Austin Lingo in a three-round featherweight pairing. All three cageside judges arrived at the same verdict: 30-27 for Zalal (8-2, 1-0 UFC).
Lingo (7-1, 0-1 UFC) seemed to be a step behind on the feet and on the ground. Zalal blended together his skills beautifully, firing off leg kicks, knees and sneaky hooks, one of which bloodied his counterpart’s nose in the first round. The 23-year-old struck for takedowns in all three rounds, applied his ground-and-pound in spurts and ran through a series of choke attempts, from the anaconda and the brabo to the guillotine. While his efforts failed to result in a finish, Zalal left no doubt as to who was the superior fighter.
A former Legacy Fighting Alliance headliner, Zalal has recorded back-to-back victories.