UFC 248 Prelims: O’Malley Makes Triumphant Return, Stops Quinonez in First Round

By Tristen Critchfield Mar 7, 2020

The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 248 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.

Sean O'Malley looks more than ready to resume the “Sugar” show.

Perhaps the most highly-touted prospect to emerge from Dana White’s Contender Series thus far, O’Malley justified the hype in his first fight in two years at UFC 248, as he scored a spectacular technical knockout of Jose Alberto Quinonez in the evening’s featured preliminary bantamweight bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The end came at the 2:02 mark of Round 1, giving O’Malley (11-0, 3-0 UFC) his first stoppage in UFC competition.

“It’s definitely the Sugar Show 2.0,” O’Malley said. “I have so many more tools and so (many) more sweet finishes. I wanted to show more, but it is what it is.”

O’Malley showed plenty in a limited amount of time. O’Malley rocked his foe with a right hook and a follow-up head kick near the fence before sending Quinonez (8-4, 5-3 UFC) to the canvas for good with a short right uppercut. From there, the 25-year-old MMA Lab representative unloaded with a series of unanswered hammerfists on his defenseless foe before referee Dan Miragliotta came in to halt the contest.

Madsen Holds Off Hard-Charging Hubbard

Olympic silver medalist Mark O. Madsen held off a furious rally from Austin Hubbard in the final frame to capture a unanimous decision triumph in a welterweight encounter. All three judges submitted 29-28 scorecards in favor of the Dane, who went the distance for the fourth time in his professional tenure.

“This is exactly why I’m in the UFC. I want to be pushed,” Madsen said. “I want to fight the best MMA fighters out there. I just beat an LFA champ.”

Madsen (10-0, 2-0 UFC) dominated the first two stanzas with his wrestling, consistently forcing his way to the clinch and dragging his foe to the canvas — including one spectacular suplex in the opening frame. After struggling to pull the trigger early on, Hubbard (11-4, 1-2 UFC) came out with a sense of urgency in Round 3, and he had Madsen reeling with several knees to the head and hard low kicks. However, he was unable to secure the necessary finish before the final horn.

Related » UFC 248 Round-by-Round Scoring

Jiu-Jitsu Ace Vieira Overwhelms Safarov

Rodolfo Vieira saw red, and that was the worst possible outcome for Saparbek Safarov.

The seven-time ADCC world champion rebounded from absorbing a front kick to the face during an initial exchange to submit Safarov with an arm-triangle choke 2:58 into the opening stanza of their middleweight scrap. “The Black Belt Hunter” has finished all but one of his career triumphs by way of submission.

“I knew I had to end it in the first round because it would have been hard to be able to continue the fight without being able to see out of my left eye,” Vieira (7-0, 2-0 UFC) said through a translator.

Shortly after Safarov (9-3, 1-3 UFC) opened a cut above his opponent’s left eye with the aforementioned kick, Vieira shifted gears to score an explosive double-leg takedown. The Brazilian took Safarov’s back and landed some solid ground-and-pound before transitioning to full mount, where he quickly secured the fight-ending submission.

Meerschaert Chokes Out Cormier Protege Winn

Once Gerald Meerschaert got rolling, there wasn’t much Deron Winn could do to stop him.

The 32-year-old Roufusport product shook off a slow start to submit Winn (6-2, 1-2 UFC) with a rear-naked choke at the 2:13 mark of the third stanza of their middleweight clash. Meerschaert rocked Winn with a series of punches, chased down the Daniel Cormier protege and took his back. From there, it was only a matter of time before Meerschaert (31-12, 6-4 UFC) was able to lock in the fight-ending maneuver. Though the choke wasn’t completely under the chin, it was more than enough to make Winn tap.

Winn did well early, as he was able to navigate the superior reach of his adversary to land explosive punching combinations in the first period. Meerschaert gained momentum in Round 2, particularly with strong work to the body. He shook off getting rocked early in the third frame to win for the third time in his last three Octagon appearances.

Chikadze Takes Competitive Split Verdict Over Emmers

Giga Chikadze edged Jamall Emmers via split decision in a competitive featherweight matchup between former Dana White’s Contender Series alums. Two judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of the former Glory Kickboxing standout, while a third had it 29-28 for Emmers. Chikadze has won his last four professional fights.

Chikadze (9-2, 2-0 UFC), who stepped in to take the bout on a little more than one week’s notice, rocked Emmers (17-5, 0-1 UFC) with a counter right hand in Round 1 and made his foe stumble backward toward the fence with a short left in Round 2. However, Emmers turned the tide somewhat with his wrestling in the second stanza, when he landed a takedown and later forced Chikadze to work from the clinch. The final frame was Emmers’ best, as he found the range on his right hand and finished the fight landing ground-and-pound from top position. Still, it wasn’t enough to sway the scorecards in favor of the Pinnacle MMA representative.

“I knew it was close,” Chikadze said. “I’m very happy I got a win today.”

Batgerel KOs Cannetti, Earns First UFC Triumph

Danaa Batgerel earned his first UFC triumph in emphatic fashion, knocking out Guido Cannetti in a preliminary bantamweight clash. The end came 3:01 into the opening stanza, as Batgerel floored his opponent with a left hook to the chin. The 30-year-old Mongolian clinched his victory with four follow-up punches as Cannetti (8-5, 2-4 UFC) curled up on the canvas.

Prior to the finish, Batgerel had success landing several straight rights as he began to time the low kicks of the 40-year-old Argentinian. Batgerel (8-2, 1-1 UFC) has won four of his last five bouts. Cannetti, who competed for the first time since November 2018, has lost two straight in the Las Vegas-based promotion. Advertisement
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