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Rafael Fiziev throws the kind of heat that triggers nightmares.
The Phuket Top Team standout continued his climb on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight ladder, as he cut down Renato Carneiro with a blistering three-punch combination in the first round of their UFC 256 prelim on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Fiziev (9-1, 3-1 UFC) drew the curtain 4:05 into Round 1.
Carneiro (14-4-1, 6-4 UFC) held his own initially, honing in on the Kyrgyzstani police officer with penetrating jabs and overhand rights. However, when his first pass at a takedown failed, the American Top Team rep found himself trapped on the feet with one of the most frightening strikers in the 155-pound weight class. Fiziev stepped forward with a left hook to the body late in the first round, followed with a right hook to the head and then closed the show with a sweeping left hook upstairs that floored the Brazilian and prompted referee Chris Tognoni to intervene.
Fiziev, 27, will enter his next assignment on the heels of three straight wins.
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Revitalized Swanson Fells Pineda
Cub Swanson disposed of former Fury Fighting Championship titleholder Daniel Pineda with punches in the second round of their featherweight clash. Swanson (27-11, 12-7 UFC) finished it 1:52 into Round 2 and did so with some sizzle, netting his first knockout in more than seven years.
Pineda (27-14, 4-5 UFC) had the World Extreme Cagefighting veteran hobbling with leg kicks but grew overzealous in his success and allowed his defenses to slip. Swanson turned the tide late in the first round, where he dropped the Texan to his knees with a searing right cross. Even with the one-minute respite between rounds, Pineda was never the same. Swanson stuffed an attempted takedown early in the middle stanza, backed into the fence, created some space with a pair of uppercuts and connected with a crushing overhand right. Pineda hit the deck in a dazed state and was in no condition to guard against the diving right hand that followed. Referee Mark Smith was on the scene soon after.
Swanson has recorded back-to-back victories for the first time since 2017.
Tucker Slows Quarantillo Surge
Repeated takedowns, sharp boxing and straightforward commitment carried former Extreme Cage Combat champion Gavin Tucker to a unanimous decision over Billy Quarantillo in a three-round featherweight affair. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Tucker (13-1, 4-1 UFC), who extended his run of consecutive victories to three.
Quarantillo (15-3, 3-1 UFC) was in a state of retreat for much of the match. Tucker cut loose with two-, three- and four-punch volleys, stepping knees, a potent jab and punishing shots to the body. All of it took a toll on Quarantillo, who seemed to grow more frustrated by the minute. Tucker incorporated trips at close range and traditional takedowns to keep the onetime King of the Cage titleholder guessing and off-balance.
The setback was Quarantillo’s first since April 2016 and snapped his eight-fight winning streak.
Dominant Torres Routs Hughes
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 20 quarterfinalist Tecia Torres was awarded a technical knockout over promotional newcomer Sam Hughes in between the first and second rounds of their women’s strawweight tilt. A short-notice substitute for Angela Hill, Hughes (5-2, 0-1 UFC) prompted the stoppage when she informed her corner that she could not see out of her left eye.
Torres (12-5, 8-5 UFC) was a whirling dervish of violence and purpose. She unloaded on Hughes with accurate multi-strike flurries, front kicks to the body, spinning backfists, Superman punches, close-range knees and virtually every other weapon at her disposal. Hughes tried and failed to close the distance, absorbed a significant amount of punishment and even conceded a last-second takedown to “The Tiny Tornado.”
Still just 31 years of age, Torres has posted back-to-back victories.
Hooper Heel Hook Stuns Barrett
Chase Hooper rebounded from a June 6 decision defeat to Alex Caceres, as he rallied to submit Team Sityodtong export Peter Barrett with a heel hook in the third round of their undercard pairing at 145 pounds. Likely in a two-rounds-to-none hole, Hooper (10-1-1, 2-1 UFC) brought it to a dramatic close 3:02 into Round 3.
Barrett (11-5, 0-2 UFC) did everything right—up until the finish. He hammered Hooper’s lead leg with kicks, countered effectively with both hands and denied the Dana White’s Contender Series graduate’s bids for takedowns. However, midway through the third round, Hooper attacked the legs with an Imanari roll and pestered the seated Barrett with punches and hammerfists before working himself into position for the heel hook. It was a stunning turnaround.
The 21-year-old Hooper has rattled off four wins in five appearances.