UFC 264 Prelims: Max Griffin Takes Competitive Verdict Over Ex-Interim Champ Carlos Condit

By Tristen Critchfield Jul 10, 2021

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Max Griffin finally has a centerpiece victory to call his own.

The former Tachi Palace Fights champion captured a hard-fought three-round verdict over former interim welterweight king Carlos Condit in the featured bout of the UFC 264 prelims at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Griffin (18-8, 6-6 UFC) secured scorecards of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 for his third consecutive triumph within the Octagon.

“I used to look up to him; I still do. He’s one of the best in the world, a legend. I tried to get the finish, but much respect to that man,” Griffin said.

Griffin set the tone for his victory with a dominant first round, as he attacked Condit (32-14, 9-10 UFC) with stinging leg kicks before dropping his adversary with a right hand late in the period. “Pain” swarmed for the finish with ground-and-pound, but Condit was able to survive until the horn.

From there, the bout was much more competitive, as Condit’s unorthodox striking became more successful behind a rangy straight right hand. While the New Mexican’s output certainly improved over the final 10 minutes, Griffin fought with the appropriate sense of urgency in Round 3, tagging Condit with multiple hard combinations before sealing his triumph with a takedown in the waning moments.

The 37-year-old Condit has won just two of his last eight promotional appearances.

Pereira Survives Late Price Push

Michael Pereira racked up an early lead on the scorecards and then held off a furious final push from Niko Price to earn a unanimous decision triumph at welterweight. Pereira received a trio of 29-28 tallies from the cageside judges for his third straight triumph within the Las Vegas-based promotion. Price has been victorious in just two of his last seven Octagon appearances.

Pereira (26-11, 2 NC, 4-2 UFC) controlled Round 1 behind his jab, kicks to the body and knees in the clinch, but it wasn’t until the second period when he truly asserted himself. After shoving his foe to the canvas, “Demolidor” backflipped his way into mount, where he attacked with ground-and-pound and framed an arm-triangle choke before threatening with a rear-naked choke when Price gave up his back. Eventually, Price used a kimura to scramble back to his feet, which set the stage for a spirited third-round rally.

Price (14-5, 6-5, 2 NC UFC) pushed the pace in the final stanza, unloading with heavy punches on a visibly-fatigued Pereira. Though the round clearly belonged to “The Hybrid,” Pereira was able to survive one final brawling sequence to make it to the final horn.

Related » UFC 264 Round-by-Round Scoring

Topuria Pounds Out Unorthodox Hall

No amount of unorthodox grappling technique could save Ryan Hall from the thunder in Ilia Topuria’s hands.

The 24-year-old Spaniard kept his perfect record intact, earning a knockout victory over Hall 4:47 into the opening stanza of their featherweight encounter. Topuria took his man down after an ill-advised spinning kick and followed him to the ground. From there, Topuria passed to side control and put “The Wizard” to sleep with a barrage of punches and hammerfists from above.

Prior to the finish, Hall (8-2, 4-1 UFC) did his best to engage Topuria (11-0, 3-0 UFC) in a ground battle, as he attempted multiple rolls in hopes of locking in a submission. Topuria resisted Hall’s efforts while occasionally dropping timely ground-and-pound before pouncing for the finishing sequence.

Du Plessis Secures Fourth Straight Finish

Former KSW and Extreme Fighting Championship title holder Dricus Du Plessis continues to look like a talent to watch in the Octagon, as he scored a second-round knockout against Trevin Giles at middleweight. The South African standout brought the contest to a close 1:41 into Round 2 for his fourth consecutive finish as a professional. Giles, meanwhile, saw a three-bout winning streak snapped in defeat.

After a competitive opening frame in which Du Plessis (16-2, 2-0 UFC) got the better of his opponent in grappling exchanges, “Stillknocks” capitalized on Giles’ aggression in the second round. When Giles (14-3, 5-3 UFC) connected with an elbow and attempted to move forward with punches, Du Plessis floored his foe with a straight right hand to the chin. From there, Du Plessis pounced, dropping ground-and-pound until referee Chris Tognoni intervened on Giles’ behalf.

Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream UFC 264 live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.

Maia Holds Off Eye

Jennifer Maia took a big step toward maintaining relevance at flyweight, as she captured a unanimous decision against Jessica Eye in a matchup of former 125-pound title challengers. All three judges submitted tallies in favor of the Chute Boxe representative: 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27. Eye (15-10, 5-9 1 NC UFC) has lost three straight Octagon appearances.

Eye led the dance for much of the way, pushing forward behind a solid jab. However, Maia (19-7-1, 4-3 UFC) landed with more power and began countering effectively with her right hand while occasionally mixing in close-quarters knees as the bout progressed. An accidental clash of heads opened a significant gash on Eye’s forehead in Round 2, but the blood did little to deter the Ohioan’s pace down the stretch. Ultimately, it was Maia who was able to rebound from a five-round decision defeat to reigning flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 255 this past November.

Tavares Earns Split Verdict Over Akhmedov

Stinging leg kicks, crisp straight punches and sturdy takedown defense carried Xtreme Couture export Brad Tavares to a split-decision triumph over Omari Akhmedov at middleweight. Two judges submitted 29-28 scorecards for the 33-year-old Hawaiian, while a third saw it 29-28 for Akhmedov (21-6-1, 9-5-1 UFC).

Akhmedov connected flush with a left hand that made Tavares (19-7, 14-6 UFC) stumble in Round 1, but “The Ultimate Fighter 11” cast member found his footing shortly thereafter. He compromised Akhmedov’s movement with repeated attacks to the lead leg while effectively mixing in punches to the head. When the Russian attempted to take the fight to the canvas, Tavares either stuffed the takedowns or returned to his feet in short order.

Tavares punctuated his victory with a strong Round 3, when he sent Akhmedov to the canvas with a low kick early and then wobbled his foe with an uppercut and swarmed with offense in the waning moments of the period.

Zhumagulov Hands Rivera Fourth Straight Defeat

Zhalgas Zhumagulov may have just jettisoned Jerome Rivera from the UFC with a submission victory in a clash of flyweight fighters searching for their first promotional triumph. The Kazakhstan native tapped Rivera with a modified guillotine choke 2:02 into Round 1, sending “The Renegade” to his fourth straight defeat -- three of which have come inside the distance.

The rangy Rivera (10-6, 0-4 UFC) fought with a sense of urgency early on, as he kept the former Fight Nights Global champion at bay with a variety of kicks to the legs and body. Eventually Zhumagulov (14-5, 1-2 UFC) was able to find the range on a left hand that buckled his adversary, prompting Rivera to shoot out of desperation. Zhumagulov deftly locked in a standing guillotine and cranked the maneuver at an awkward angle, forcing a quick tapout from Rivera. Advertisement
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