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Alonzo Menifield exploited the narrowest of openings.
The Dana White’s Contender Series graduate submitted Ultimate Fighting Championship newcomer Fabio Cherant with a Von Flue shoulder choke in the first round of their featured UFC 260 prelim on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Cherant (7-2, 0-1 UFC) capitulated 71 seconds into Round 1.
Menifield (10-2, 3-2 UFC) swooped into range and countered an attempted guillotine from the Legacy Fighting Alliance champion with a high-amplitude takedown. Cherant failed to release his grip on the way down and wandered into the fight-ending choke. Once Menifield connected his hands, the conclusion became a formality.
Nurmagomedov Handles Overmatched Gooden
American Kickboxing Academy export Abubakar Nurmagomedov registered his first win inside the Octagon with a one-sided unanimous decision over Jared Gooden in a three-round welterweight encounter. Nurmagomedov (16-3-1, 1-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with matching 30-27 nods from the judges.
Gooden (17-6, 0-2 UFC) was met with a multi-pronged standup attack from the developing sambo stylist. Nurmagomedov unleashed thudding combinations with his hands and integrated kicks to the body and head at opportune times, keeping his Atlanta-based adversary honest. Gooden nullified the Russian’s grappling game until the third round. There, Nurmagomedov executed a takedown with a little less than four minutes to go and bled the remaining time off the clock in top position.
The 27-year-old Gooden will carry a two-fight losing streak into his next assignment.
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Aggressive Oleksiejczuk Edges Bukauskas
Michal Oleksiejczuk threw the brakes on a two-fight losing streak with a split decision over former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Modestas Bukauskas in a competitive three-round battle at 205 pounds. All three judges scored it 29-28: Ron McCarthy and Tony Weeks for Oleksiejczuk, Eric Colon for Bukauskas.
Pressure provided the difference. Oleksiejczuk (15-4, 3-2 UFC) moved forward with an almost maniacal purpose, firing power punches to the body and head with no apparent regard for his own well-being. Bukauskas (11-4, 1-2 UFC) countered effectively off the back foot and scored with various kicks but spent almost the entire fight in a backpedal. Oleksiejczuk connected with perhaps the most consequential blow in the third round, where he delivered a crushing left hook to the liver that forced the Lithuanian to retreat to the fence.
Bukauskas, 27, has lost two fights in a row.
Morales Tops Reeling Young
Sanford MMA’s Omar Morales rebounded from a Oct. 10 defeat to Giga Chikadze with a unanimous decision over Shane Young in a largely uneventful three-round featherweight confrontation. All three judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Morales (11-1, 3-1 UFC).
Young (13-6, 2-3 UFC) struggled to navigate a noticeable disparity in physical strength. Morales pushed him backward with jabs and leg kicks, incorporated occasional combinations and even mixed in a takedown roughly 90 seconds into the third round. Young advanced in spurts but exacted little damage with his efforts.
Operating out of the City Kickboxing camp in New Zealand, Young has suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in his 19-fight career.
Barriault Batters Exhausted Azaitar
Former TKO Major League MMA champion Marc-Andre Barriault put away Abu Azaitar with punches in the third round of their middleweight pairing. Barriault (12-4, 1-3 UFC) brought it to a close 4:56 into Round 3, securing his first victory since Sept. 21, 2018.
Azaitar (14-3-1, 1-1 UFC) enjoyed a strong start with repeated leg kicks, looping power punches and close-range knee strikes. However, his body broke under the merciless pace being pushed by his counterpart. Barriault withstood a sweeping left hook from the Moroccan in the second round, piled up points with volume punching and incorporated sharp elbows in the clinch. Round 3 was a massacre. Once the visibly depleted Azaiatar surrendered top position while reaching for his mouthpiece, the scene grew increasingly gruesome. Barriault achieved full mount on four separate occasions, assaulting the World Series of Fighting veteran with sustained ground-and-pound until referee Jerin Valel had seen enough.
The loss was Azaitar’s first in more than eight years and closed the book on his 10-fight unbeaten streak.