UFC 253 Prelims: Brad Riddell Deepens Lightweight Footprint, Handles Alex da Silva Coelho

By Brian Knapp Sep 26, 2020

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Brad Riddell may not be a household name in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division, but he appears to be moving in that direction.

The City Kickboxing standout weathered some early adversity, hit the accelerator and climbed another rung on the 155-pound ladder, as he took a unanimous decision from Alex da Silva Coelho in the featured UFC 253 prelim on Saturday at the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. All three judges scored it 29-28 for Riddell (9-1, 3-0 UFC), who now finds himself in possession of a six-fight winning streak.

Coelho (21-3, 1-2 UFC) secured two takedowns and threatened the Kiwi with a tight guillotine choke in the first round. However, he became less and less effective as time went on. Riddell flummoxed the Brazilian with pace across the final 10 minutes and left him with serious damage to his right eye with a crushing left hook in the third round.

Resurgent Matthews Shreds Sanchez

Quick hands and damaging ground-and-pound lifted Jake Matthews to a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 1 winner Diego Sanchez in a three-round welterweight encounter. All three judges scored it the same: 30-26 for Matthews (17-4, 10-4 UFC), who has won three fights in a row.

A shell of his former self, Sanchez (30-13, 19-13) never got out of neutral. He pursued Matthews in straight lines and ate straight punches to the face for his efforts. The outcome all but a forgone conclusion, the Aussie turned up the heat in the third round. There, Matthews knocked down the former King of the Cage champion, blasted him with punches and tore open a diagonal cut above his right eye. Blood gushed from the wound, leaving red puddles all over the cage. Matthews dodged a few submission attempts down the stretch and settled for the decision.

Sanchez, 38, has lost twice in his past three appearances.

Related » UFC 253 Round-by-Round Scoring

Newcomer Klein Blitzes Young

Cage Warriors Fighting Championship and Absolute Championship Berkut alum Ludovit Klein put away Shane Young with a well-hidden head kick and follow-up punches in the first round of their catchweight confrontation at 150 pounds. A short-notice replacement for Nate Landwehr, Klein (17-2, 1-0 UFC) brought it to an emphatic close 76 seconds into Round 1.

Young (13-5, 2-2 UFC) pawed at the Slovakian newcomer with his jab and circled on the perimeter while he probed for weakness. Klein flurried with punches, distracted the City Kickboxing export with a backfist and buzzed the tower with a head kick. Young stumbled backward, at which point he was bombarded with accurate punches—an uppercut put him down—and wound up staring at the lights wondering what happened.

Klein has posted eight straight wins, seven of them finishes.

Knight Overpowers Unbeaten Camur

Dana White’s Contender Series graduate William Knight overpowered and overwhelmed Strong Style Fight Team export Aleksa Camur to a unanimous decision in a three-round undercard scrap at 205 pounds. Knight (9-1, 1-0 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 marks from the judges.

The previously unbeaten Camur (6-1, 1-1 UFC) held his own while upright. On the ground, it was another story. Knight secured takedowns in the second and third rounds, advanced to dominant positions and threatened with either ground-and-pound or submissions. The 32-year-old CES MMA vet nearly finished it at the end of Round 2, where he pretzeled Camur’s arm in a keylock. Only the bell saved him. Camur’s situation did not improve in the latter stages of the match, as frustration continued to build and resignation set in.

Knight will carry a three-fight winning streak into his next assignment.

Espino Scarf Hold Submits Hughes

American Top Team’s Juan Espino submitted former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Jeff Hughes with a scarf hold in the first round of their heavyweight tilt. Hughes (10-4, 0-3 UFC) raised the white flag 3:48 into Round 1 and remains winless in three starts inside the Octagon.

Dieppa (10-1, 2-0 UFC) had a plan and stuck with it. He routinely closed the distance, swooped in for takedowns and worked his magic on the ground. Late in the opening frame, he climbed to full mount and made a smooth transition to the scarf hold, burying Hughes with a devastating squeeze.

A late bloomer who turns 40 in less than a month, Dieppa has rattled off eight consecutive victories.

Debuting Marques Tops Ibragimov

Former Gladiator Combat champion Danilo Marques made a successful albeit forgettable promotional debut, as he laid claim to a unanimous decision over Khadis Ibragimov in a tepid undercard pairing at 205 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Marques (10-2, 1-0 UFC): 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.

Neither man mustered much offense. Marques was the aggressor, executed multiple takedowns and fished for chokes against the onetime M-1 Global titleholder. Ibragimov (8-4, 0-4 UFC) was woefully ineffective, resorted to repeated fence grabs to prevent takedowns—referee Jason Herzog issued several warnings but did not deduct a point—and fought at a glacial pace for the better part of 15 minutes.

The 25-year-old Ibragimov now finds himself on a four-fight losing streak. Advertisement
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