UFC 266 ‘Volkanovski vs. Ortega’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

By Jay Pettry Sep 25, 2021
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Omar Morales (145.5) vs. Jonathan Pearce (145.5)

Round 1

At long last, UFC 266 is upon us. The 13-fight show comes to excited fans inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and three five-round tilts will be on the docket later. For now, we begin in the prelims with a fun style matchup between men signed from the third season of Dana White’s Contender Series. In the featherweight division, Pearce (10-4, 1-1 UFC) and Morales (11-1, 3-1 UFC) throw down to kick things off, and referee Chris Tognoni is assigned to their pairing. Morales offers a glove touch but “JSP” waves him off, and now the fun begins. Pearce stalks Morales down as he is amped up to start throwing, cutting angles and trying to load up on right hands. Morales looks to back him off with a head kick, but he misses so far that he falls over. Pearce thinks about chasing after him, but Morales springs back up and surprises him with a quick right hand. “JSP” wears it well and backs away, but he gathers himself to put together a one-two and a front kick to the solar plexus. When Morales reaches out with a jab, Pearce counters him with an overhand right. Morales retreats to chop the legs down, but a kick gets checked. After some inactivity, the crowd already begins yelling “woo” as if they all want to be Ric Flair. Those cries quickly subside when both start slinging leather, and “JSP” lands the better of the strikes but eats a solid right hand for his efforts. Pearce checks another leg kick on the way in, and he tags Morales with a right hand and chains that into a takedown try. The American hits the takedown, dragging Morales to his back, but he cannot keep him down for long until Morales pulls himself up partially using the fence. Pearce aims to hit a mat return with a trip, and although Morales hops away to keep himself upright on the first attempt, Pearce manages to throw him down to the ground. As Pearce looks to pass guard, Morales succeeds with a well-timed sweep, and “JSP” looks irritated as he fights his way back to his feet. Pearce lifts Morales up off the ground and pounds him down with a move that looks like it would be at home in pro wrestling. Morales is able to scramble back to his feet, and he hacks at Pearce’s head with elbows, but Pearce still scoops the legs out and puts him back down. Pearce is never able to keep Morales on his back for long, but he is controlling the majority of the situations. One last failed takedown try from Pearce ends the round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Pearce
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Pearce
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Pearce

Round 2

Pearce comes out firing from his corner, swinging looping shots as he pushes his way in to try to take the fight down. He is unable to put Morales on his back in the early going, and he grinds the Venezuelan against the wall as Morales grimaces. In an unusual scramble during a takedown try, Morales surrenders his back but is able to buck Pearce off of him. When both are on their knees, Morales locks up a brabo choke, and he tries to roll into it to get the finish, but in doing so, he actually loosens it up. Pearce turns his way out and speedily takes Morales’ back, where he secures a body triangle. Morales tries to twist his way out, but he only allows Pearce to assume full mount, so he abandons this track and tries to buck Pearce off of him. Morales fights the hands as Pearce hunts for a choke, and Pearce smacks him in the head with a double punch a la Kazushi Sakuraba. Pearce snags mount and jumps over for an arm-triangle choke, but when he does not have it, he lets go and allows Morales to turn around and stand back up so that he can take his back. Pearce rides his foe like a malicious backpack, and he hooks his arm beneath the neck and sinks in the rear-naked choke. Morales falls to his knees, hopes to break the grip but cannot, and he succumbs to the submission by tapping out. In victory, “JSP” hands Morales his first career stoppage loss, doing so in impressive fashion to start the night off with a bang.

The Official Result

Jonathan Pearce def. Omar Morales R2 3:31 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)

Martin Sano (170) vs. Matthew Semelsberger (170.5)

Round 1

Moving right along to the welterweights, the man known as “Semi the Jedi” Semelsberger (8-3, 2-1 UFC) takes on the first representative of the Nick Diaz academy in Sano (4-2-1, 0-0 UFC). Sano has been away from the sport for several years, and Semelsberger made his professional debut and competed 11 times since Sano last stepped in the cage. Referee Mark Smith is on the call for the bout carrying the biggest betting favorite – among men, with Semelsberger near 5-to-1 odds – of the night, and the 170-pounders do touch gloves before throwing down. Semelsberger instead rushes at him, pumping out a few jabs to the head and body. “Semi the Jedi” fakes with a left, and as soon as Sano’s hands drop to defend his midsection, he looses a jackhammering right hand that smashes square into Sano’s jaw. “The Spartan” is out like a light, his knees lock up and he collapses to the ground as if he were hit by a force push. One single hammerfist slams into Sano’s head as an unnecessary follow-up, but it does not register as Sano is already fast asleep. Smith dives over to save Sano from any further punishment, and in celebration, Semelsberger lands a picture-perfect back flip.

The Official Result

Matthew Semelsberger def. Martin Sano R1 0:15 via KO (Punch)

Cody Brundage (185.5) vs. Nick Maximov (185.5)

Round 1

In a battle of organizational newcomers, unbeaten Nick Diaz Academy rep Maximov (6-0, 0-0 UFC) moves down from heavyweight to middleweight to take on short-notice replacement Brundage (6-1, 0-0 UFC). Taking charge of the cage for this 185-pound affair between finishers with matching 83% stoppage rates is referee Chris Tognoni, and they touch gloves as they are happy to be in the cage tonight. Brundage starts the fight by leaping in the air with a flying knee, and it is nowhere to be found. Both men clash together in a striking flurry, and when Maximov considers a takedown, Brundage sees it coming and fires off a high knee that makes Maximov back away out of concern. Maximov fires off a head kick that comes up short, and the two again come together throwing hammers. Maximov stings Brundage with a right hand as Brundage looks to get out of the way in time, but Brundage pays it no mind. Maximov catches Brundage with a left hand and misses with a head kick, and Brundage retaliates with a chopping calf kick that nearly knocks Maximov off his feet. Maximov winds up with a heavy punch, and Brundage counters with a well-timed kick that makes Maximov switch stances. Maximov crashes in to take the fight down, and he cannot get Brundage down but he does knee Brundage in the face a few times. Brundage smiles as he absorbs the knees to the thigh and chin, and he ignores a foot stomp but sprawls when Maximov drops down for a low double. Brundage defends with a standing kimura, and he uses it effectively to break the grip and get back to his feet and gain some space. Maximov gets kneed in the chin when Brundage comes in to attack, and he tags Maximov with a right hand. Maximov returns fire with a looping hook that is more of a distance-closer, and he grabs hold of Brundage and drags him down to the mat. Brundage against defends with a kimura, but this time Maximov blocks it with his own legs and steps over to take mount while Brundage sits with his back against the cage. Maximov tries to get off some punches, but Brundage holds on to his waist and attempts to fight his way back up. Maximov leans forward a little too far, and Brundage snags a guillotine choke that allows him to stand back up. The round ends with Brundage standing over his opponent, smacking him upside the head with his fists.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Brundage
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Brundage
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Brundage

Round 2

The gloves are touched to begin the round, and Brundage opens up with a head kick that is barely blocked in time. Brundage charges across the cage for a takedown, and Maximov is able to reverse him and sit Brundage on his backside. Maximov takes his back while Brundage is on his knees, and he gets both hooks in and sets up a body triangle. Maximov uses the position to start raining down punches on his opponent, and Brundage twists and turns so he can break the leg grip but he still takes shots. Brundage defends with two-on-one wrist control to yank Maximov off of him, but the Nick Diaz Academy fighter hangs on tight and keeps a hook in to maintain control. Brundage fights his way to his feet by working to his knees and standing using the cage, but all the while, Maximov is landing punches. When Brundage gets up, Maximov starts pounding on his foe’s thigh with knees, and he turns around to knee Brundage in the face. Maximov goes for a takedown, and Brundage sees it coming and snares a guillotine choke while pulling guard. Maximov frees himself briefly, and Brundage adjusts, but Maximov escapes the danger a second time and winds up on top. Maximov starts opening up with ground-and-pound all while Brundage scrambles, and he takes Brundage’s back as they fight for position. Maximov links up a rear-naked choke and sets up a body triangle at the same time, but Brundage is savvy to defend the choke with two-on-one wrist control. Maximov keeps his back and punches him in the side of the head every so often, and he holds this position until the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Maximov
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Maximov
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Maximov

Round 3

To clock in the final round, the gloves are touched, and Brundage is amped up and thinks he needs a finish to win the fight. He swings a pair of huge right hands, and Maximov easily defends himself from the strike and tries to go up top with a head kick. Brunson continues to spam overhand rights, but it is left hand that disrupts Maximov and drops him. Maximov might have been changing levels, but he hits his knees as a result. Maximov recovers and practically crawls at Brundage to pursue a takedown, and he presses Brundage into the fence and wrestles him down to the ground. Maximov gets a hook in as Brundage is face-down while on his knees, but Brundage stands back up and tries to defend himself with hammerfists to the side of the head. Maximov wrenches him back down to the canvas momentarily, and Brundage appears flustered and he starts smashing Maximov in the side of the head with fierce elbows. Maximov does not like these strikes, so he commits to a takedown try to protect himself from these shots. Brundage uses the chaos to stand back up, but Maximov leans heavily on his opponent as he embraces the grind. Maximov eats several more elbows by the ear, and he might be hurt as Brundage bullies him over to the ground and starts pounding on him. A few strikes from Brundage open a cut on Maximov’s head, and Brundage continues to hack at him with elbows. Maximov pursues desperation takedowns and scoots his way around to take Brundage’s back. Brundage pulls himself up to his feet, and he swings his fists around and flails as Maximov dives after him for a takedown try. As the two scramble, Maximov ends up on top, and he fires off some ground strikes that are largely blocked. The round ends in this exciting flurry, and both men celebrate their hard-fought battle after the final bell sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Brundage (29-28 Brundage)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Brundage (29-28 Brundage)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Maximov (29-28 Maximov)

The Official Result

Nick Maximov def. Cody Brundage via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Uros Medic (156) vs. Jalin Turner (156)

Round 1

In this early preliminary headliner, neither the undefeated Medic (7-0, 1-0 UFC) nor his opponent “The Tarantula” Turner (10-5, 3-2 UFC) have ever gone the distance in victory. It’s going to be a wild one between these two lightweights, and referee Jason Herzog will be holding on tight for as long as it lasts. The gloves are touched before they are traded, and Turner takes the center of the age and advances with a reaching right hand. He sticks out a jab and a low kick, but Medic is well out of harm’s way from anything Turner is throwing at him. They suddenly come together throwing heavy hands, but they are only glancing blows, so Medic backs off the kick his foe’s lead leg. Medic slings a head kick, and even though it clangs into the side of Turner’s head, Turner grabs that leg and throws Medic down to his back. In side control, Turner holds heavy shoulder pressure on the neck while thumping his shoulder into Medic’s chin every so often. As Turner hunts for full mount, Medic times a kick-off so that he can recover his full guard. “The Doctor” scoots his way to the wall, ignoring punches as he tries to work back up. Turner notices this and ties his foe’s leg up to keep him grounded. Medic pushes off with the ball of his feet, and Turner climbs back on top but grabs the fence and has his hand slapped. Turner lets Medic back up so that he can lay into him with heavy punches, and he rips a left hand to the body that makes Medic double over. “The Tarantula” swarms his hurt foe with punches, and he smashes him with heavy punches and rocks Medic and knocks him back against the cage wall. As the damage continues to mount from Turner’s combinations to the body and the head, he slams his foot into to Medic’s liver and Medic winces. A speedy salvo of devastating punches makes Medic drop to his knees, and Turner leaps after him and takes his back. Like a spider trapping a fly, “The Tarantula” grabs hold of the neck and wrenches a rear-naked choke for all he is worth. He does not need to torque it for long before Medic taps out, and Turner has now become the first fighter to defeat Medic as a pro with a slick performance leading to a submission.

The Official Result

Jalin Turner def. Uros Medic R1 4:01 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)

Roxanne Modafferi (125.5) vs. Taila Santos (125)

Round 1

Commencing the ESPNews – not ESPN or ESPN2 – prelims, the most experienced female fighter in the history of the sport in Modafferi (25-18, 4-6 UFC) competes for a record 44th time against Astra Fight Team rep Santos (17-1, 2-1 UFC). This flyweight tilt with a spot in the top 10 on the line draws oversight from referee Chris Tognoni, and the women show nothing but respect by touching gloves before getting down to business. Santos walks Modafferi down and sticks her with a jab, but Modafferi’s herky-jerky style surprises Santos as she lands at a distance a few times. Santos winds up with power punches and connects with Modafferi, but Modafferi is in and out while landing leg kicks. Santos gives her one kick back that is far more damaging than all of Modafferi’s combined, and she swarms forward to grab “The Happy Warrior” and unhappily throw her on her back. Modafferi holds on to half guard from her back as she fishes for an arm in hopes of a kimura sweep, but Santos stays heavy on top and clings to her tightly. Modafferi pulls on the fence to try to get a better position, and Tognoni slaps her hand away. Santos sits up and drills her with an armbar, and Modafferi notices this and transitions into an armbar threat. Santos punches her way out of the setup and lands a few to the body, but Modafferi forces her way up standing. Santos tries to take her back standing, and Modafferi turns herself around and ties her up the clinch before turning Santos into the fence. Santos delivers several knees to the veteran’s midsection while Modafferi grinds on her and considers a headlock throw, but Santos is wise to it and changes it up to put Modafferi on her back. This time, the Brazilian lands in side control, and she starts working Modafferi over with elbows and punches from above. Modafferi rolls to her knees to stop the strikes from coming, and she manages to get upright and press Santos into the wire. The American aims to trip up Santos’ leg, but Santos defends with several powerful knees to the body and head. One such knee lands after the bell, but Modafferi shrugs it off and the round officially ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Santos
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Santos
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Santos

Round 2

Modafferi is the first to engage in the second round, with a right hand and several jabs to follow so she can close in. Santos fires back, but the blows come up missing as Modafferi dodges and weaves before ducking down for a single leg takedown try. Santos does not lose her balance as she hops back to the fence, and she starts kneeing Modafferi in the chest as she did to end the prior frame. Although Modafferi cannot get Santos down, she does impose her body weight on her Brazilian adversary, and she keeps tightly pressed much to the delight of the crowd that starts wooing during the stalemate. Santos frames off to set up a Thai clinch, but Modafferi breaks free before she takes anything cleanly. Santos fires off a pair of powerful punches, and a right hand hurts Modafferi and cuts her, with swelling starting to form quickly around her left eye. Santos continues with forward momentum and she throws Modafferi on her back, where she starts targeting that damaged eye with ground-and-pound. Santos keeps Modafferi pressed with her back against the fence as Modafferi is on her seat, and she ties Modafferi’s legs up long enough to start blasting her with punches. Modafferi quickly scrambles and fights to her feet so she does not take more damage, but Santos makes it all for naught by ripping her legs out beneath her again and landing with a thud in half guard. Santos tries to advance position as Modafferi flails her legs to protect herself, but this allows Santos to sit up and nail her with a few sharp elbows. Santos remains in this top placement until the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Santos
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Santos
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Santos

Round 3

Between rounds, Modafferi expresses concerns about her hearing, but her corner does not seem concerned and sends her out for the final round. She begins by chopping at Santos’ lead leg, and chains together a barrage of punches before getting backed up from a single solid counter right hand. Santos opens up with her strikes, smashing Modafferi with heavy hands and knocking her off her feet. The Brazilian follows her down to the ground to finish the job, but Modafferi ties her up and gets her wits about her. Santos breaks Modafferi’s grip every so often to posture up and drill her with elbows and punches, and Modafferi can do little but take them flush and try to sit back up. When Santos gets kicked off momentarily, she leaps back down to try to trap her on the canvas. Modafferi pops back up to her knees, and Santos jumps around to take her back and fish for a power rear-naked choke. The veteran sees it coming and breaks the grip, and in the ensuing scramble, she springs back to her feet. Santos ignores a few punches so that she can kick at Modafferi’s lead leg, and Modafferi is out of range trying to reach her adversary. Santos continues to work the leg as Modafferi presses forward, but the power punches of Santos break up combinations from Modafferi. “The Happy Warrior” rushes in to clinch up with Santos with 30 seconds left, and when she looks for a takedown, Santos reverses her and throws her down into half guard. Santos lands a punch or two as Modafferi recovers her guard, and the fight ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Santos (30-27 Santos)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Santos (30-27 Santos)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Santos (30-26 Santos)

The Official Result

Taila Santos def. Roxanne Modafferi via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Shamil Abdurakhimov (258) vs. Chris Daukaus (231)

Round 1

Weighing more than both of the two women that just competed combined, 40-year-old Dagestan native Abdurakhimov (20-5, 5-3 UFC) prepares to face the surging Daukaus (11-3, 3-0 UFC), with the latter on a streak of three first-round knockouts since debuting inside the Octagon. In what some are seeing as a potential “passing of the torch” bout, referee Mark Smith keeps a watchful eye, ready to jump in at any moment when fists start flying. The two heavyweights touch gloves, and away we go. Neither man engage for the first 30 seconds, until Abdurakhimov ducks in for a body shot and backs away just in time from a nasty uppercut. Daukaus takes a punch to the chest as he keeps a high guard and holds his hands above his head. They rush in to brawl, and both land with solid shots, but neither appears flustered. Abdurakhimov spins with a kick to the body, and Daukaus walks through it and tries to make him pay with an overhand right. The Dagestan native reaches out a few jabs, and “USA” chants rain down from the building, prompting a brief brawl. Daukaus comes out the better of it, but Abdurakhimov slips a punch and tags him with a left hand back. Abdurakhimov loads up on a right hand, and it gets blocked just in time, but he sneaks in a left hand as they close the distance. They get a little too close, and clank their heads together, and as they back up, Daukaus checks his forehead for a cut – there is none. Abdurakhimov swats at him with left hands, picking and poking at the American with single shots, and he is able to hop out of the way before getting countered. He jabs Daukaus a few times, leading Daukaus to nod at him and stalk him down. Abdurakhimov catches him with a left hand as Daukaus bears down on him, and Daukaus kicks him in the leg so hard that Abdurakhimov falls over to the ground. When Abdurakhimov scrambles to get back to his feet, Daukaus is able to get off a few punches but he cannot connect cleanly. Abdurakhimov lands a few punches before Daukaus rushes in to clinch, and the American rings an elbow home to break apart. Abdurakhimov digs to the body and backs away with sharp left hands, successfully countering his foe. Daukaus winds up with a left hook from Hades, and he lifts Abdurakhimov off the ground with it. When Abdurakhimov falls to his back, the police officer from Pennsylvania leaps on top of him, takes full mount, and tries to finish the fight with merciless ground-and-pound. He continues to batter Abdurakhimov, but the Dagestan native survives to the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Daukaus
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-8 Daukaus
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Daukaus

Round 2

The burly brawlers start off firing, and after an exchange, Daukaus flips Abdurakhimov the bird. Abdurakhimov gathers himself and lands a left hook but comes up short with an uppercut. “Abrek” continues to get his bearings about him, but Daukaus strings a combination of punches to the head and body. Daukaus eats a clean jab, and he wings a hellacious right hand that sends Abdurakhimov crashing to the cage floor, and Daukaus considers a walk-off but realizes he needs to finish the fight. Abdurakhimov’s eyes are glazed over but he is still defending himself just enough to stay in the bout, until Daukaus hammers him with a few punches. The Philadelphia native sits up and demolishes Abdurakhimov with a few more elbows, until Smith notices that the lights are on but no one’s home in Abdurakhimov’s noggin, and he halts the fight. A new heavyweight contender is quickly on the rise, with four knockouts in four UFC appearances since debuting in August 2020.

The Official Result

Chris Daukaus def. Shamil Abdurakhimov R2 1:23 via TKO (Punches and Elbows)

Nasrat Haqparast (154.5) vs. Dan Hooker (155.5)

Round 1

A few days ago, many did not even expect that Hooker (20-10, 10-6 UFC) and Haqparast (13-3, 5-2 UFC) would be competing as both experienced unexpected visa issues. Both lightweights arrived in Las Vegas on Thursday, and not only did they get here on time, but miraculously, they made weight without issue. Referee Jason Herzog is as impressed as we are, and this classic battle between New Zealand and Germany gets underway after a sporting glove touch. Hooker is first to strike, throwing a front kick and a few punches to make Haqparast retreat around the cage. Hooker gives chase, reaching out several long jabs and a head kick that is blocked easily. The crowd begins showering Hooker with chants of his name, but he does not channel this into any additional offense, rather just walking Haqparast down. Haqparast loads up with a huge left hand, but Hooker sees it coming a mile away and stays at a safe distance to kick Haqparast in the midsection a few times. Hooker slides a high kick up, and a second slaps the German in the face. Haqparast springs forward suddenly with a right hand, and Hooker shakes it off and continues to walk Haqparast down. Hooker stabs with long, rangy punches, and Haqparast is stuck trying to figure out his own distance. Hooker goes up high with an axe kick, and the leg in the air breaks up a punch combination from Haqparast that comes right at him. Haqparast attacks with a burst of punches, and Hooker blocks most of them and returns fire with a kick to the body. Hooker paws out a high kick as Haqparast backs away consistently, and he walks Haqparast down and slips on the way in. Haqparast tries to take advantage of that by throwing bombs, but Hooker evades the blows and gets back into his own rhythm. Suddenly, the Kiwi switches things up with a single leg takedown try, and when he is unable to land it, he works on Haqparast’s thigh with multiple knees. Hooker traps his foe’s leg scissored between his own, and Haqparast yanks it out and gets clipped with a right hand. Of all people to celebrate, it is Haqparast who is fired up, lifting his hands in the air as the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hooker
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Hooker
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Hooker

Round 2

Hooker picks up right where he left off the last round, walking Haqparast down and kicking at him from afar. Haqparast tries to counter him with a big salvo of strikes ending with a wide right hand, and Hooker ignores it as he targets the body with a few more kicks. Haqparast returns fire with a body kick of his own, and Hooker marches forward, knees Haqparast in the face and pursues a single. Haqparast protects himself from the takedown try and a subsequent attempt that follows, but Hooker is able to knee him in the midsection a few times before setting up a third. The German stays standing, and Hooker blasts him in the face with a knee that dislodges Haqparast’s mouthpiece. Herzog gets it, replaces it after a brief exchange, and the two begin trading quickly. Hooker rips the body and head with knees, and Haqparast’s pace also improves as he starts landing to the body. Hooker strides forward to punch his way into a clinch situation, and before getting up close, Hooker lifts a knee up high to pop Haqparast in the chops. “The Hangman” manages to drag Haqparast down to the ground, but Haqparast springs back up with ease. Hooker lets him go so that he can start railing Haqparast with knees up to the sternum and jaw, and after landing a few, he elevates Haqparast and slams him hard to the ground. The Kiwi lands in side control and stops Haqparast from bucking him off, and he starts grinding his elbow on the chin. Hooker lifts up a few knees and delivers them to the body and gluteus maximus, and like a crowd watching a Thai fight, the audience cheers each time one of these surprisingly heavy knees lands. Hooker pours them on until the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hooker
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Hooker
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Hooker

Round 3

The lightweights touch gloves to start out the last round, and Haqparast is ready to start brawling. He engages with a few big punches, and Hooker backs off and a kick to the body clatters off the cup to force a brief stoppage. Twenty seconds are all Haqparast needs to recover, and both men start off after the pause to kick one another at the same time. They trade kicks, and Haqparast follows one with two punches. Hooker swings back, but his strikes are not finding their mark while Haqparast is more aggressive. Hooker leans into a right hand, and Haqparast starts walking him down. Hooker seeks to keep him at bay with jabs and body kicks, and Haqparast gives him a kick back. Hooker changes levels when Haqparast throws at him to hit a double, and he puts the German on his back where he assumes side control. “The Hangman” tries to set up a crucifix position as he lands short punches with his left hand, and Haqparast is trapped, flat on his back. Haqparast attempts to bench press Hooker off of him, but the Kiwi stays in this troublesome position as he keeps mounting punches. Haqparast bucks and knees Hooker in the side, but this allows Hooker to take north-south posture before switching over to the other side. Hooker lands elbows until Haqparast turns around, and Hooker smoothly rolls with him to take his back. Haqparast, on his knees, takes several powerful punches to the side of the dome, and Hooker tries to get hooks in. As Haqparast muscles his way back up, Hooker wrenches him by the neck but cannot keep him down. As soon as Haqparast stands, Hooker quickly takes him back down, and Haqparast appears disappointed as he goes to his back. Hooker stands up so that he can nail Haqparast with a standing-to-ground right hand, and he hops over to the side to start pounding on Haqparast. Hooker ties his foe’s left arm up so that he can clobber him with punches, but the unanswered shots are not enough to force a finish as we hear the final horn.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hooker (30-27 Hooker)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Hooker (30-27 Hooker)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Hooker (30-27 Hooker)

The Official Result

Dan Hooker def. Nasrat Haqparast via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Marlon Moraes (135.5) vs. Merab Dvalishvili (135.5)

Round 1

A spot in the top 5 at bantamweight may be up for grabs between former title challenger Moraes (23-8-1, 5-4 UFC) and a takedown machine appropriately nicknamed “The Machine” Dvalishvili (13-4, 6-2 UFC). The referee taking charge of the cage for this marquee preliminary battle is Keith Peterson, who just escorted nonsense out of the Octagon. There is a touch of gloves to make this fight official, and Dvalishvili shouts loudly. Moraes calmly walks forward, and he avoids a spinning kick without concern. He reaches out with a leg kick, and Dvalishvili is able to dance away in time. Dvalishvili targets the Brazilian’s leg with his own kick, but Moraes returns fire with one that makes Dvalishvili hop away. Dvalishvili already preemptively lifts his leg up to protect himself from another, and Moraes tags him with one. Moraes lands a few punches, and when he tries to get his kicks going, Dvalishvili sprints forward and hits a double. Moraes scrambles back to his feet, and Dvalishvili smiles at him and punches him in the face. The Georgian gets off a one-two, and when Moraes chambers a kick, Dvalishvili is several feet away. Moraes gets clipped behind the ear, and he stands up and clocks Dvalishvili with a counter left hand. Dvalishvili shakes it off, and he charges in but walks face-first into a brutal left hand. Moraes blasts him with a surge of punches, and Dvalishvili falls across the cage and still survives. Dvalishvili falls to the ground, and Moraes searches for a choke but he bails on it to let the Georgian stand up and keep brawling. “Magic” keeps slamming his fists into the side of Dvalishvili’s head, and Dvalishvili wobbles, topples over, gets back up and gathers his thoughts enough to clinch up with Moraes and push him into the wire. “The Machine” suddenly hits a body lock takedown, landing in half guard, and he sits up to elbow Moraes in the face. Moraes defends himself from most of the strikes to the face, allowing Dvalishvili to work his body so that he can hold on and possibly force a standup. When Dvalishvili sits up to rain down blows, Moraes ties him up with a closed guard. Dvalishvili continues to land punches, trapping Moraes and laying into him. Dvalishvili hurts him badly with his punches, and Moraes goes out but wakes back up again with seconds to spare. The round ends with Dvalishvili hammering on his foe, and what an incredible round that was!

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Moraes
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Moraes
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Moraes

Round 2

Moraes comes out of his corner hopping around, and Dvalishvili quickly lifts up a high kick to nearly catch Moraes off-guard. Moraes smashes his fist into Dvalishvili’s chin, and Dvalishvili rushes through it to hit a takedown and put Moraes on his back again. When Moraes sits up, Dvalishvili starts drilling him with unanswered punches. Dvalishvili sits in half guard, with powerful ground-and-pound to the body and head, and Moraes scrambles and recovers his full guard but is still taking damage. Dvalishvili begins to hack at his foe with vicious elbows, and Moraes blinks it out but is taking serious damage from above. Peterson takes a close eye on the proceedings as Dvalishvili is brutalizing Moraes, but the Brazilian keeps his wits about him enough to stay in the fight. Moraes absorbs relentless ground punishment, as Dvalishvili saps his will and smashes him in the face again and again. “The Machine” holds a wrist down so that he can demolish Moraes with punches and elbows, and Moraes can do little but get beaten. Out of nowhere, Moraes powers his way back up to his feet, and he pursues his own double leg takedown miraculously. Dvalishvili reverses him with a head lock, and he sits Moraes down and begins to pound on him. The strike totals may be frightening as the Georgian continues to deal damage. A few shots land to the back of the head, and Moraes drops down to all-fours as he continues to get bludgeoned. Moraes has not given back any offense, and Dvalishvili takes him behind the woodshed as he wrecks Moraes with ground-and-pound. The magic of “Magic” has faded as he slumps down on his face, and Peterson mercifully stops the fight amidst one final barrage of blows. What an unbelievable display of heart for Dvalishvili, who survived a veritable meat grinder of offense to come back and finish his foe in the next round.

The Official Result

Merab Dvalishvili def. Marlon Moraes R2 4:25 via TKO (Punches)

Jessica Andrade (126) vs. Cynthia Calvillo (126)

Round 1

It might come as a shock to some that the woman known as “Bate Estaca” – this mean “Pile Driver” – Andrade (21-9, 12-7 UFC) is four years younger than Calvillo (9-2-1, 6-2-1 UFC). The flyweights open the main card while the champion of the division competes in a few hours, and referee Herb Dean will serve as the cage overseer for this one. The ladies touch gloves, and Calvillo is first to throw something with a front kick that is a foot away from her intended target. With a height and reach advantage, Calvillo keeps a few jabs out there, but Andrade is stalking her down and unloads a heavy leg kick. Andrade continues to march ahead and ignore strikes coming at her, and she attempts to catch a side kick to the chest. She winds up with a left and a right, and Calvillo lands in response but Andrade’s strikes are much heavier, wobbling Calvillo briefly. The American circles away and reaches out with a kick, and Andrade wings a right hand that just misses. Andrade is throwing nothing but power as she stalks Calvillo down, while Calvillo is content to touch her with strikes. Calvillo lands a jab but takes a heavy right hand that shakes her up again. Andrade fires off a leg kick, and Calvillo reacts and tries to fire back to get the former champ off of her. Calvillo’s jabs are landing leanly, but they are drawing no reaction as Andrade charges ahead with heavy punches. Andrade scores a thudding leg kick and a few punches, backing Calvillo off, and she gives chase to drill Calvillo with a few left hands. Calvillo circles away and paws out with a front kick, and Andrade aims to catch it and counter with an overhand right, but she comes up short. Calvillo sticks and moves, circling constantly, and she pursues a takedown try but is easily shoved aside. Calvillo gets off a side kick, and Andrade kicks at the lead leg and pummels her with a trio of left hooks. Calvillo stabs at the midsection with jabs, but Andrade is on her with an assault of blows. Calvillo escapes, but Andrade lays into her with a barrage of punches and hurts her badly. As Andrade continues to pound on her, Calvillo bends over from the absorption of punishment until Dean has no choice but to stop the fight. With seconds left in the first round, “Bate Estaca” made good on her promise to become the first woman to stop Calvillo, doing so with style points on her birthday.

The Official Result

Jessica Andrade def. Cynthia Calvillo R1 4:54 via TKO (Punches)

Curtis Blaydes (261) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (257)

Round 1

Like earlier in the card, heavyweights follow a big women’s flyweight tilt. This time, however, either man stepping in the cage weighed in more than the total weight of the two women that fought moments ago. Both Blaydes (14-3, 1 NC; 9-3, 1 NC UFC) and the properly named “Bigi Boy” Rozenstruik (12-2, 6-2 UFC) exceed 250 pounds in this heavyweight rumble, as the big man try to scratch and claw their way back up the division after humbling defeats in February – even though Rozenstruik has won since. Referee Mark Smith will try to keep a lid on this one, with each sporting knockout rates above 70 percent. There is no glove touch, as these big men want to get after it in a hurry. Blaydes lands a few punches, and Rozenstruik is right there to give him a couple back, welcoming an exchange. Rozenstruik ignores a leg kick to try to time a left hand counter, and Blaydes sticks him with a jab. Blaydes pump-fakes a few times before crashing forward in a takedown try, and the forward momentum bowls the Suriname native over. Blaydes lands in side control, and he drops down an elbow or two as he knees Rozenstruik in the body. Keeping Rozenstruik pinned on his back with his side to the cage, Blaydes has the ability to sit up and land blows without a response. Rozenstruik muscles his way to a knee, and Blaydes keeps his full body weight pressing “Bigi Boy” back down. All the while, “Razor” hammers his foe with punches, but Rozenstruik is able to work through them to stand up. Rozenstruik wings an elbow, expecting Blaydes to be in close range, but Blaydes backs off to reset. Blaydes reaches out with outstretched fingers as he evades a Rozenstruik strike, and he nods when he is warned for this. Blaydes stays elusive as he picks away with leg kicks and jabs, and Rozenstruik loads up in response but hits nothing but air. Blaydes fakes with an ankle pick to draw out a reaction, and Rozenstruik counters and hits Blaydes in the shoulder blade as Blaydes runs away. When the American resets, he tries to land a leg kick and a few jabs from alternating stances. Rozenstruik releases one single strike, and he gives chase but cannot find his range while Blaydes pushes him away.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Blaydes
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Blaydes
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Blaydes

Round 2

The round begins with both heavyweights landing flush, and Blaydes wears the strikes well as he tries to set his jab up again. The action stalls out as the heavyweights try to find their range, and the crowd does not love the inaction from the two. Rozenstruik tries to break the pause with a winging shot, but Blaydes is able to protect himself from any harm and reach out with a leg kick. Blaydes sticks out a few jabs, and Rozenstruik whiffs with a counter right hand. Blaydes targets the lead leg with a kick, and he keeps Rozenstruik at bay with a jab. “Bigi Boy” stuffs a takedown try and makes Blaydes pay, and a stalemate ensues again as neither commit to anything of note. Blaydes occasionally paws out with a jab, and Rozenstruik tries to respond with a power punch, but much of the time is spent with them feinting and faking. Rozenstruik catches Blaydes cleanly with a knee on the chin when the American hunts for a takedown, and Blaydes eats it like a steak and pushes through hit to hit the takedown he so desperately wants. Blaydes steps over to half guard as he keeps Rozenstruik down with a forearm on the neck, and he uses his elbow to land while Rozenstruik defends with several punches to the back of the head. “Razor” does not use his sharp elbows, instead popping his foe with a few short punches until the horn sounds. Blaydes stands up, and there is major damage underneath his right eye from the strike he absorbed. It is swelling fast.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Blaydes
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Blaydes
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Blaydes

Round 3

Blaydes is cleared to continue, and he tries and fails to kick the lead leg of the Suriname representative. Rozenstruik is sitting on counters, not committing to much else and his volume has dwindled to almost nothing. Blaydes is not much better on the offensive side for the first minute, with a few labored, inaccurate punches. “Razor” hacks at his foe’s plant leg with a kick, and he chains together a jab or two. Rozenstruik fires off a right hand, and Blaydes ducks and counters him. This same exchange repeats itself exactly, and the crowd begins to grow tired of the inaction. Blaydes suddenly runs forward to knock Rozenstruik over with a takedown, and his momentum carries him flipping over Rozenstruik. Blaydes is able to gain top position as “Bigi Boy” cannot stand back up quickly enough, although he gets kicked off shortly thereafter. Rozenstruik targets several upkicks on the face and knees, and Blaydes walks through them to climb down into his foe’s half guard. The slow, methodical ground-and-pound mounts for Blaydes, who elbows and punches Rozenstruik on the jaw every so often. Rozenstruik tries to buck him off, and he gets to his side, but the American wrestler controls him well enough to trap him back down. With light, insignificant strikes from above, the crowd expresses itself freely and loudly about this lackluster heavyweight clash. Blaydes keeps top pressure and holds Rozenstruik down, but he does little more as precious seconds tick off the clock. The audience lets them have it as Blaydes smartly keeps his foe on his back until the final horn. If there is any solace that one can take from this matchup, it is that it is now over.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Blaydes (30-27 Blaydes)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Blaydes (30-27 Blaydes)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Blaydes (30-27 Blaydes)

The Official Result

Curtis Blaydes def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Nick Diaz (185.5) vs. Robbie Lawler (184)

Round 1

We’ve made it to the people’s main event now, which comes in the form of a five-round non-title middleweight rematch between ex-Strikeforce champ Diaz (26-9, 2 NC; 7-6, 1 NC UFC) and former UFC champion Lawler (28-15, 1 NC; 13-9 UFC). Seventeen long years have passed since their first meeting, which came at UFC 47 in 2004 in which Diaz won by knockout. Diaz has been away since the beginning of 2015, while Lawler has defended the welterweight strap and competed eight times. The fans in the building are fired up, referee Jason Herzog is fired up, and practically everyone else watching is equally fired up for what’s about to come here. If you bet on no glove touch, cash that slip in a few minutes, because it’s on now. Diaz begins with a jumping spin kick, and Lawler ignores it as Diaz falls down. Diaz shoots for a takedown, and Lawler lets him stand back up so he can brawl with him. Lawler starts unloading on Diaz, stinging him with a few shots, and backing Diaz into the wall. Diaz grins and fires right back, and the two trade heavy blows one after the other. Diaz grins at Lawler and rips the body a few times while Lawler headhunts, and the former UFC champ backs away to catch his breath while Diaz kicks the body a few times. Diaz keeps working the body, and he keeps Lawler at bay with his boxing. Diaz digs a right hand to the body, and Lawler kicks him back to the leg. Lawler jumps forward with a few punches to the head and body, and Diaz walks through them and kicks low. Diaz ties him up the clinch and works Lawler with an uppercut, and he catches Lawler with a left hand. Diaz starts connecting with surprisingly quick punches, and Lawler returns with bad intentions as Diaz keeps a poker face. Lawler hacks at the calf of his opponent, and Diaz puts his boxing combinations together to land cleanly on Lawler. Diaz walks forward to throw hands, and Lawler takes them on the chin and body. Lawler marches through everything to blast Diaz with power punches, and Diaz’ combinations are marking Lawler’s head up already. Lawler backs Diaz into the cage wall and slams his right hand into the midsection, and he holds on to Diaz’ glove so that he can hit him with his other hand. The two brawl again, and Diaz does not care that he is backed up as he is landing flush to the body. They keep connecting with one another, and Lawler strings a combination together until Diaz slings one back. The pace is incredible from these two men, and they both blast one another again and again until the horn stops them.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Diaz
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Diaz
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Lawler

Round 2

Lawler comes out of his corner ready to brawl again, and he marches through a head kick so that he can throw hammers at Diaz. The former UFC king ignores punches so that he can land a knee and a few punches, and he pushes Diaz against the fence. Diaz lands a long series of right uppercuts, and Lawler shakes it out so that he can slam his shin into Diaz’ liver. Diaz is hurt now, and he backs up to try to gather himself. When Lawler comes towards him to finish the job, Diaz’ boxing is the difference-maker as he lands repeatedly and disrupts the big shots from Lawler. The offense never stops from Diaz, and Lawler does not mind as he is happy to trade leather. Every punch is followed by another for Diaz, while Lawler aims single heavy kicks and power punches. Lawler again targets the liver with a kick, and Diaz keeps a stiff upper lip as Lawler attacks. Diaz manages to stifle Lawler as he tattoos Lawler’s face with punches in punches, and Lawler gives chase as Diaz retreats around the cage. Lawler rips the body with a few more shots, and Diaz keeps busy with a phenomenal volume that has not slowed one iota since the beginning of the round. Lawler swings heavily, and the numbers are already off the charts less than ten minutes in. “Ruthless Robbie” swings ruthless punches to the body and head, and Diaz greets him with a stiff right hand and a chain of punches that follow. Lawler clips Diaz with a right hand, and Diaz drops his hands and winds up with wider punches. Lawler slips a few but gets tagged with a right hand, and he notices the body is still hurt as he connects with a clean left hand to the liver. Lawler ends the round strong with several more punches, but Diaz gives a few back for good measure.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Lawler
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Lawler
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Lawler

Round 3

Lawler appears a man possessed as he comes out of his corner, but Diaz is the one who lands first and with volume. Lawler bites down on his gumshield and swings for the fences, while Diaz touches him back with slowing punches. Diaz has his back to the wall as he throws body shots, and Lawler aims with a few back of his own. “Ruthless Robbie” ruthlessly cracks him with a left and crisp overhand right that drops the ex-Strikeforce champ to a knee. Diaz falls over to his back, in clear pain as his nose starts bleeding quickly. Instead of chasing him down and tangling with the ground game, Lawler backs off and tells Diaz to get back up. Herzog asks Diaz to get back up, and Diaz does not want to stand. He thinks to himself about carrying on, and instead signals that he is done. Lawler celebrates his win and thanks him for taking the fight as he helps him back up, and in his post-fight interview he expresses his gratitude for Diaz taking the fight and making it a fun battle. Gracious in defeat, Diaz explains his decision to call it a night, saying, “I was leaking, and I didn’t want to make a mess.” The rematch 17 years later was worth the wait, and delivered plenty of entertainment for as long as it lasted.

The Official Result

Robbie Lawler def. Nick Diaz R3 0:44 via TKO (Retirement)

UFC Flyweight Title Fight:
Valentina Shevchenko (124) vs. Lauren Murphy (125)

Round 1

In the first of two championship bouts, Shevchenko (21-3, 10-2 UFC) will aim to keep an iron grip on her flyweight throne. Her opponent tonight is “Lucky” Murphy (15-4, 7-4 UFC), who hopes that luck is on her side as she aims to spring the biggest upset in UFC history as a monumental +975 underdog. With one swift kick, referee Keith Peterson has booted all of the remaining nonsense out of the T-Mobile Arena. The 125-pounders do not bother touching gloves before getting after it. Shevchenko hops out of the way when Murphy swings at her, and she kicks the challenger’s lead leg. Shevchenko catches Murphy coming in with a solid right hand, and Murphy abandons her forward track to circle along the outside. “Bullet” lands a quick leg kick, and she comes up short with a one-two as Murphy is fighting from a wide berth. Murphy swings with a few punches, and only one grazes the target. Shevchenko steps in, strikes the body and follows it with a low kick. Murphy walks into a body kick, and she catches the leg only to get belted with a few right hands that force her to drop it. Murphy considers a takedown approach, but Shevchenko is able to push her away without concern. Murphy takes a one-two and a body kick as she looks for a way in, and when she waits, Shevchenko scores a leg kick. Murphy lands a right hand in a flailing combination, and Shevchenko pays her back with a few kicks. Murphy leaps forward with a superman punch, but she is a foot away from her intended target by the time she looks to reach it. Shevchenko continues to work on the lead leg with quick kicks, and she stings Murphy with a right hand. Murphy’s eye is marked up already, and Shevchenko lands another on the same spot as it swells. When Shevchenko misses with a few punches, she chains a kick into the end of the strikes. The crowd is not amused by the lack of activity from the challenger, and Shevchenko gives them something to cheer for when she drills Murphy with a spinning back fist. Murphy comes forward, and Shevchenko trips her down with a body lock to put a stamp on the round. Murphy manages to hold her down until the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Shevchenko
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Shevchenko
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Shevchenko

Round 2

Murphy comes out and takes the center of the cage, but she does not do anything as Shevchenko slowly walks her down and paws out a front kick. When Murphy does commit to a left hand, Shevchenko is well out of the way in time. Shevchenko closes in, punching her way in, and Murphy spins her around and pushes her into the chain-link fence. Murphy gets a few short strikes off, and she pursues a single leg takedown but Shevchenko punches her way out of it and spins out. The American throws a body kick, and Shevchenko counters her with a trio of punches. Shevchenko is able to again counter Murphy as Murphy comes in, and she intercepts a superman punch with a clean right hand that knocks Murphy back. Shevchenko targets the body a few times with kicks, and Murphy winces when she absorbs them. “Bullet” again decides to wade forward in search of a body lock, and she tosses Murphy to her back easily. The champ holds her foe on her back, but she mounts little in the way of offense and instead is racking up control time. While Shevchenko is in half guard, she thinks to set up an arm-triangle choke, and Peterson tells them to keep working. Shevchenko holds Murphy down with her shoulder, and a few light punches to the side land as the crowd quickly grows reckless. Shevchenko speedily sits up and slashes down with a single elbow, and thumps one more down right before the horn.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Shevchenko
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Shevchenko
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Shevchenko

Round 3

Murphy appears amped up to start the third round, bouncing up and down before sprint forward to action. When she reaches the champion, however, she does not throw a single strike and is instead kicked a few times. Murphy reaches out with a left hand, only to be countered with a right over the top. Murphy’s subsequent punches all come up shy of the mark, with Shevchenko dancing out of the way each time. “Bullet” gets off a solid one-two, and she just misses with a spinning wheel kick. When Murphy stands in front of her feinting and faking, Shevchenko is throwing and connecting with kicks and punches. Murphy gets countered on her way in, and Shevchenko chips away at her legs while Murphy is stuck guessing. “Lucky” is not so lucky when she throws a front kick, as Shevchenko swats it away and strings together punches followed by low kicks. The champ lands to the rear leg with a kick, and she triples up on her jab and chains it into a head kick that is barely blocked. Shevchenko’s jab finds its home repeatedly on the damaged eye of the challenger, and she leaps forward with a successful superman punch. Murphy has a three-punch salvo deflected, and Shevchenko replies with one that actually lands. Shevchenko hops forward with a low kick and a few punches, and she dodges the strikes from Murphy or blocks them. Shevchenko plants the ball of her foot on Murphy’s solar plexus, and as the fight stalls out, the crowd voices its disapproval. Shevchenko gets spurred into action, sprinting forward to grab Murphy, where she circles around and pushes her into the fence until the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Shevchenko
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Shevchenko
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Shevchenko

Round 4

If there is a positive for the challenger, it is that she has reached the championship rounds. Murphy avoids a few punches and a head kick that zooms past her face, and she swipes back with a left hand. Shevchenko gets off a one-two and a leg kick, and Murphy absorbs that but blocks a spinning kick. Murphy rushes in with a right hand, and there appears to be a bit of drama as Shevchenko falls to her back, but it is that Murphy stepped on her foot and tripped her up, and not that there was a knockdown landed. The champ springs back to her feet, and she starts putting kicks together as Murphy serves as little more than a mobile heavy bag. Shevchenko partially gets off a jumping switch kick, and Murphy takes kick after kick to all targets multiple times. Shevchenko cracks Murphy with a front kick that gives Vitor Belfort flashbacks, and she suddenly springs to action with a right hand that hurts Murphy. When Murphy’s knees buckle and she bends over, Shevchenko boots her in the head and runs towards her damaged foe to try to finish the job. “Bullet” unleashes a lengthy combination of punches to batter Murphy into the wall, and Peterson is coming dangerously close to stopping the fight. Instead of ending things on the feet, she takes Murphy down. Shevchenko flattens Murphy out and starts unloading elbows on the face, and one conclusive barrage of punches finish the job as Peterson has seen enough. Practically flawless in the cage, Shevchenko showed once again she has no equal in the UFC’s flyweight division.

The Official Result

Valentina Shevchenko def. Lauren Murphy R4 4:00 via TKO (Elbows and Punches)

UFC Featherweight Title Fight:
Alexander Volkanovski (144.5) vs. Brian Ortega (144)

Round 1

The main event is upon us, as featherweight king Volkanovski (22-1, 9-0 UFC) looks for his second successful title defense against “T-City” Ortega (15-1, 1 NC; 7-1, 1 NC UFC). A season on “The Ultimate Fighter” and multiple prickly interactions has raised the bad blood from a simmer to a boil between these two men, but they do opt to touch gloves. With referee Herb Dean watching on, it’s time for some action! Both men paw out strikes to figure out their range, and Volkanovski just misses a head kick early on. Ortega sticks out several jabs and a leg kick, and the champ shrugs it off and lands a body kick. “T-City” commits to a head kick that gets blocked, and he throws another that is similarly defended. Ortega trips his foe on the way forward, but he does not land anything of note as Volkanovski is able to keep his balance. Volkanovski pops his opponent with a solid jab, and Ortega responds in kind. Volkanovski gets off a heavy right hand, only to be met with a counter from the challenger. Volkanovski scores a clean right hand across the forward bow, and Ortega looks surprised as Volkanovski follows it with a kick to the midsection. The kicking attack does not stop from the champion, who does not let Ortega off the hook. Ortega steps in with a big punch, and Volkanovski kicks at his lead leg enough times to force Ortega to switch stances. Volkanovski stings Ortega with a power jab, and a leg kick to the other leg gets Ortega’s attention. Ortega lands a quick right hand that opens a cut below Volkanovski’s left eye, and Volkanovski pays it no mind as he kicks at Ortega’s left leg. The Aussie rushes in fearlessly, throwing hands with Ortega and backing away from the potential counters. Volkanovski gets off a body kick, and Ortega catches it but Volkanovski recoils it in time. The challenger goes after another kick to the body, and he staggers Volkanovski with a piston-like jab. The champ has to gather himself, and he catches a body kick only to get nailed with a left hand. The round ends after the tense exchange.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Volkanovski
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Volkanovski
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Volkanovski

Round 2

Volkanovski begins the second frame with several kicks high and low. Ortega tries to paw out jabs to get Volkanovski to give him some breathing room, and he walks through a chopping leg kick to land a trio of punches on the inside. A kick from Volkanovski glances the cup, and Ortega does not slow down and signals that he wants to fight through it. Volkanovski dings his foe with a left hand and a leg kick, and Ortega responds with one that makes Volkanovski turn in a circle. A speedy body kick connects for the champ, and he surprises Ortega with a right hand. The Ortega jab allows him to back Volkanovski away from him just enough to catch his breath, but Volkanovski is on him with a pair of clean right hands. Ortega slings a right hook back at his opponent, and the Aussie walks through it as he lands a stomping kick to the knee. When Ortega ambles forward, Volkanovski chops down his leg a few times, and he gets slapped in the face by the challenger’s foot in response. Two big punches back Ortega up, and Volkanovski is amped up as he elbows Ortega on the nose and draws blood with it. Ortega does not react, and instead attacks with a leg kick and punches. Volkanovski uses a jab to snap the head back, and he gets countered as he sinks in yet another heavy leg kick. Volkanovski slips a punch to land a one-two, and the faces of both men start to turn shades of red as they continue to take damage. The challenger connects with a kick to the thigh, and Volkanovski winces but pays Ortega back effectively. Volkanovski runs forward to throw four punches, and when Ortega retreats, Volkanovski gives chase. A punch from Ortega causes blood to come from the champ’s ear, and Volkanovski does not even know he is bleeding as he continues to throw without concern. A few leg kicks end the round, and both men jaw-jack one another as the horn sounds. They squash the intensity by clapping hands.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Volkanovski
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Volkanovski
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Volkanovski

Round 3

The featherweights again touch hands to begin the round, and legs are kicked shortly thereafter. Ortega pierces out with a few jabs, and Volkanovski hurts his leg with a few kicks. Both men get body kicks off, as Ortega changes stances to protect his left leg. When he does this, the champion kicks the other leg. Volkanovski puts his hips into a few more kicks, and he hops back when Ortega throws at him. Volkanovski catches him on the way in with a right hand, and Ortega’s chin holds up but he is stunned by a second right hand. Volkanovski comes in to land several strikes, and Ortega fights off a clinch and catches the champ with a right hand and an uppercut. The challenger goes low to catch a kick, and Volkanovski starts to feel himself as he busts Ortega up with his strikes. Volkanovski continues to work his foe with a stiff left hand, and Ortega’s strikes appear to have less impact as Volkanovski is more keen on walking through them to back Ortega up. Ortega takes a kick and catches it, and he drops the champion with a clean left hand. Ortega jumps guard for a guillotine choke, and he takes mount with it and the choke is tight as can be. Volkanovski kicks with all his might, and he calms down and gathers himself even when the choke is locked up. Volkanovski miraculously gets his way out, and he winds up on top to start pounding on Ortega with vicious ground-and-pound. As he continues to blast Ortega with punches, the challenger craftily hooks his legs around the neck and secures a shockingly tight triangle choke. Ortega rolls over and sets the hook, and Volkanovski stays patient and incredibly fights himself out of this as well. The champ shoves Ortega over and sits on top to hammer him with ground punches. The horn ends the round, and Ortega lays flat on his back but makes it to the fourth round. What an insane turn of events!

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Volkanovski
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Volkanovski
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Volkanovski

Round 4

Ortega barely passes the medical test to continue into the fourth round after that tremendous punishment, and Volkanovski is energized and ready to carry on as he did not spend his gas tank hunting for the finish. Volkanovski attacks the leg and throws a right hand, and he knocks the challenger back with a big follow-up right. “T-City” gets off a right hook, but Volkanovski ignores it so that he can blitz forward with a left that shakes Ortega up again. Ortega is tough, and he throws hands until the two run into one another and clinch. Ortega hits a takedown, and he grabs the neck of the champion with a choke off his back. Volkanovski signals the thumbs-up, and he turns himself over so that he puts Ortega on his back. In half guard, Volkanovski sits up and starts raining down blows on the battered and bruised challenger. Ortega does land a single elbow from his back, but Volkanovski gives him three back. Ortega looks to kick the champ off of him, and Volkanovski falls into a triangle choke setup but powers through it to squeeze Ortega back on his back. In his opponent’s guard, Volkanovski delivers nasty ground-and-pound with punches and elbows that slam Ortega’s head off the canvas. When Ortega threatens with a submission off his back, Volkanovski simply stands up. Keeping Ortega stacked up, his standing-to-ground punches smash repeatedly into the chin and Ortega eats them all. Dean recommends that Ortega fight back, but it is Volkanovski who continues to throw powerful punches from above. The champ decides to let Ortega stand back up, and with a deep breath, Ortega slowly gets to his feet. Volkanovski lands a leg kick and a punch as Ortega is still in trouble, and Volkanovski winds up with a right hand that nearly knocks him off his feet. Volkanovski charges in with a few punches, and the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Volkanovski
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Volkanovski
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Volkanovski

Round 5

The doctor comes in again to check on Ortega, and he says he’ll be alright so the last round begins. They touch gloves to clock in the last round, and Ortega’s toughness is unquestioned. He darts forward to throw hooks, and Volkanovski ducks him and responds with a few shots of his own and a low kick. Ortega gets off a head kick, but Volkanovski defends against it and one that comes from the other leg. Volkanovski stands Ortega up with a left hand, and his strikes are all drawing large reactions out of the challenger. Ortega clinches up, but Volkanovski tosses him aside without concern. Ortega tries again to pull the fight to the canvas, and this time, Volkanovski elbows him in the face and slashes him with an elbow. The two clash heads, and Volkanovski apologizes as a cut opens up on the side of Ortega’s head. Dean checks them back in, and Ortega is fired up as he chains together a solid combination. Volkanovski absorbs them square on the chin and swings back at him, and the two throw caution to the wind and nail one another with punches. Ortega catches a leg and makes Volkanovski stumble to get his balance, but he cannot do anything with it before Volkanovski stabilizes. Ortega gets his nose busted up again from punches from the champ, and he targets the body and scores a right hand that makes Volkanovski nod at him. Ortega marches on to land a combo that opens up a cut on Volkanovski’s eye, and Volkanovski stands in front of him and chases after him. A trio of punches land for Volkanovski, and he goes to the body and the head to follow. Ortega does not register the blows, and instead ties up with the champ but lets go when nothing comes of it. A bloody Ortega runs forward and leaps in the air with a knee to the body, and Volkanovski ignores it and snaps Ortega’s head back. A few more jabs from Volkanovski lead to the featherweights touching gloves, and they swing and land heavily. Ortega rocks the champ, and they throw down right to the final buzzer. What an incredible fight, and a terrific night of action from start to finish. It will be hard to match this event in year-end accolades, both from this thriller and from the violence fans were treated to across 13 memorable bouts. The next event may see a foreseeable step down in quality, but several entertaining matchups on the card can still deliver. We will be here for it, and we hope you are too.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ortega (49-45 Volkanovski)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ortega (49-46 Volkanovski)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Ortega (49-46 Volkanovski)

The Official Result

Alexander Volkanovski def. Brian Ortega via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-44)
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