UFC 267 ‘Blachowicz vs. Teixeira’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

By Jay Pettry Oct 30, 2021
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Allan Nascimento (126) vs. Tagir Ulanbekov (125)

Round 1

Good evening, Abu Dhabi, and good morning, fight fans! UFC 267 is upon us at the island, with 14 huge fights bucking the recent trend of no rankings relevance by putting on a barrage of battles with immediate divisional implications for most. We kick things off in the flyweight division in the first of eight matchups pitting Russia against the world, commencing with Dagestan’s Ulanbekov (13-1, 1-0 UFC) against the debuting Brazilian Nascimento (18-5, 0-0 UFC). The gloves get touched in front of referee Dan Movahedi, and let the early morning violence begin! Ulanbekov takes the center of the cage and has his lead leg kicked early. Ulanbekov tries to counter the Brazilian over the top, but Nascimento slips the strike and lands with a few more low kicks. Mixing things up, Nascimento throws out a front kick that collides with the chest and forces Ulanbekov to exhale sharply. Ulanbekov times a leg kick of his own to surprise Nascimento, and he pulls back to ding Nascimento with a right hand on the way out. Ulanbekov leaps in the air with a knee, and Nascimento grabs hold of him and falls on his back from a body lock to drag Ulanbekov into his guard. The Brazilian throws his legs up for a triangle, and although he cannot set it up fully, he does use it to sweep his opponent and put him on his back. Nascimento does not keep his foe grounded for long, as they both walk together up the wall in a tight clinch. A trip from Ulanbekov allows him to plant Nascimento down on the ground again, but Nascimento is quick to defend with a leglock to force Ulanbekov to protect himself. A scramble ensues, and Ulanbekov latches on to a guillotine choke that is incredibly tight. The Brazilian does not panic, instead slowly and miraculously working his way out of the dangerous position even after Ulanbekov mounts him. Although he winds up on his back, Nascimento does escape the submission and stays busy on his back with additional submission setups. Ulanbekov remains in half guard, only to have to fight off a kimura sweep attempt from his opponent. Ulanbekov steps over to free his arm, and the round ends with an armbar attempt from Nascimento.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ulanbekov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ulanbekov
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Ulanbekov

Round 2

Both hands get touched to start off the second round of this fun flyweight fight. Ulanbekov backs off to establish his jab in the early stages of the round, but Nascimento crashes in repeatedly to try to land clubbing power punches. Ulanbekov keeps his opponent at bay long enough to dart in low, and a double leg by Nascimento’s ankles drops the Brazilian to his knees. Nascimento fights his way back to his feet, and after they stall out, Movahedi warns them to keep going. This prompts Ulanbekov to drop low for a single, and although he pulls Nascimento’s leg out beneath him, Nascimento isolates Ulanbekov’s right arm with a kimura trap. Nascimento continues to torque the arm, and he threatens briefly with a triangle off his back as well to turn this armlock into something successful. The Russian does not appear remotely concerned, and he wrenches his arm free from the two-on-one grip while Nascimento’s guard closes around his midsection. Trying to stay busy, a few short elbows get off from Nascimento, who is find himself getting grinded out by the gritty grappler. Nascimento turns his high guard into a triangle try, but that too falls short when Ulanbekov pushes his legs to the side. This opening allows Nascimento to slash at his opponent with unexpectedly heavy elbows, and the looming question may be whether Ulanbekov is winning this lengthy exchange simply by being on top. As Ulanbekov turns to take a better position, Nascimento snatches an armbar, and when there is no tap to be found, he elbows Ulanbekov on the side of the head until and after the bell sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Nascimento
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Nascimento
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Nascimento

Round 3

The flyweights hug it out to start the last round in a competitive battle, and Ulanbekov surges out of his corner to hit a takedown. Nascimento is instantly ready with a kimura sweep, and he turns this into a triangle choke to keep Ulanbekov honest. Like all the previous submission attempts and setups, Ulanbekov pays it little mind and calmly breaks the grip to take comfortable top position. The activity level seems to favor Nascimento at this point, even on his back, as he is constantly throwing his legs up for subs or landing short strikes. The Brazilian’s high guard continues to make Ulanbekov cautious of passing to a better position, although Ulanbekov does work his way over to half guard without exposing himself to possible harm. The Russian grinds his elbow on his opponent’s face, and Movahedi tells them to keep going. Ulanbekov answers the call for action by scoring a solid single elbow that makes Nascimento’s head bounce off the canvas. Ulanbekov clings to Nascimento like a problematic ex, not letting “Puro Osso” get any space to maneuver or finagle any savvy submissions like before. Nascimento rolls to his side, and he is quick to tie up a kimura that he turns to an armbar. Ulanbekov stands up to get a better position, and Nascimento grabs his wrist when he lowers himself into the guard so that he can get hold of a partial armbar. Nascimento continues to kick his legs when Ulanbekov gets out of the submission move, and he stays active while Ulanbekov lands a few partial strikes to end what could be a very, very closely scored matchup.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ulanbekov (29-28 Ulanbekov)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ulanbekov (29-28 Ulanbekov)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Ulanbekov (29-28 Ulanbekov)

The Official Result

Tagir Ulanbekov def. Allan Nascimento via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Damir Ismagulov (163.5: Missed Weight) vs. Magomed Mustafaev (156)

Round 1

The fight was canceled after Ismagulov missed weight by 7.5 pounds.

Andre Petroski (185.5) vs. Yaozong Hu (186)

Round 1

Hu’s not on first, but he is on second tonight. To the surprise of many, former heavyweight Hu (3-2, 0-2 UFC) is still on the UFC roster, having last competed nearly three years ago up a division. Petroski (6-1, 1-0 UFC) will greet him in his return fight, who has competed in all but one of his career bouts since Hu last fought. Referee Jason Herzog presides over this middleweight clash, and the fighters do not touch gloves to get started. Instead, Hu paws out long left jabs to find any semblance of range, and Petroski fakes a level change to come over the top with a left hand. Hu walks into a left hand, and Petroski sees the success of it and blasts his Chinese foe with another. As Petroski loads up on another, Hu tries to counter, but the sheer impact of them leads Hu to fall to his back. Petroski leaps on top of him, claiming mount and latching on to a guillotine choke. Hu barely moves in this position, apparently not in submission danger, and he wriggles his neck free with tiny movement after tiny movement. Petroski follows Hu when Hu scrambles to land some strikes, and then take Hu’s back. Petroski snags a rear-naked choke, and when it is not under the chin, he bails on it and turns it into an anaconda choke. Hu does not fall victim to this either, and he gets to his knees and stands up. When they both get back up, Petroski clocks him with a left hand. The American lays into his opponent with strikes, and a solid front kick surprises him to the chest. Petroski loads up on power punches, each of them winging, and Hu walks through most of them although he is getting dinged up. This sloppy brawl may be emptying the gas tanks of both men, as technique is out the window and they are throwing nothing but wild power strikes. With a minute left in the first round, Petroski starts taking deep, deep breaths. Petroski turns a kick into a takedown, and Hu tries to defend with a submission off his back, so Petroski abandons ship and stands back up. A kick from Petroski knocks Hu all the way across the cage to ricochet off the wall, but he comes back with a vengeance with a few heavy punches. Petroski lands a right and a left before the round ends, and he avoids the counters that zoom past his face.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Petroski
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Petroski
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Petroski

Round 2

It’s anyone’s guess if Petroski’s cardio can hold up for two more rounds of exhausting action, because Hu appears fired up and ready to put on pressure. They flirt with a glove touch, but pull it back, allowing Petroski to drop down and hit a takedown. Hu falls to his back but springs back up into action, and he breaks the grip of an anaconda choke setup and turns with a gator roll to keep his neck safe. Petroski stands back up and lands a big right hand that slams into Hu’s face, and he chains that into a more successful takedown. After some ground-and-pound, Petroski grips on to a guillotine choke, and he pulls guard with it. When that does not succeed, he turns into a brabo choke setup. This too comes up short, and Petroski hops on top and over to the side to set up an arm-triangle choke. Hu hooks his arms beneath his knee to keep enough space so that the choke cannot be tight, and he does so until Petroski lets go of the grip. “Totoro” turns to his side and looks to stand up, but this allows Petroski to hook up an arm-triangle choke on the other side. Hu goes back to his leg grip to stop the choke from succeeding, and Petroski lets it go so that he does not burn himself out on something that is not there. Hu uses the moment of success to roll to his knees, but Petroski is on him like a cheap suit, holding him down to the mat and not allowing Hu to get back up. Hu ends up giving his back up as they continue to scramble, and Petroski gets a hook in and tries to wrap up a rear-naked choke that is not under the neck. Hu does survive the choke, but both hooks are in, and he is now content to ride out the round in this position. Hu explodes out of the position, and when he stands back up, Petroski nails him with two powerful elbows.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Petroski
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Petroski
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Petroski

Round 3

After two rounds of grueling action, Hu’s on third along with Petroski. Hu walks out of his corner only to get kicked in the body, and he tries to walk his opponent down. The forward momentum allows him to fight off a takedown, as he can stuff it in time. Petroski backs up, and like a wrestling version of Bald Bull from “Punch Out,” he charges from the edge of the cage wall all the way across the ring to hit a double and put Hu on his back at the other side of the Octagon with dramatic effect. The most telegraphed takedown try in recent memory succeeds, and he steps over to land some vicious elbows before taking Hu’s back. With a single hook in, Petroski goes after a rear-naked choke, and Hu’s submission defense holds up. When Hu turns, Petroski goes after a brabo choke, and Hu uses the posture to get to his knees and back up. Petroski is a man possessed, and he pounds Hu in the face with ferocious punches that knock his Chinese opponent’s head around. Petroski blasts Hu with shots, and then turns the forward-heavy approach into a takedown. Petroski instantly mounts Hu like a hot knife through butter, and after a failed rear-naked choke, he postures up to hammer Hu with elbows. Hu is hurt but still has his wits about him, and Petroski’s offense slows perhaps because of his gas tank. Petroski lands a few punches, and then hops over to side control to link up an arm-triangle choke. Hu’s savvy hands-under-the-knee approach does not come in time, and when he finally gets his hands there, it is too late and the choke is too tight. Hu cannot answer the telephone, or any of the other colloquially named arm-triangle defenses, and he has no choice but to surrender to the submission. What an outstanding performance for Petroski, who was well on his way to a dominant decision win over a tough out in former heavyweight Hu. With this tapout added to his ledger, Petroski keeps a perfect 100% finish rate in victory.

The Official Result

Andre Petroski def. Yaozong Hu R3 4:46 via Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke)

Makwan Amirkhani (146) vs. Lerone Murphy (146)

Round 1

In a battle of differing career trajectories, “Mr. Finland” Amirkhani (16-6, 6-4 UFC) will try to right the ship against unbeaten Brit Murphy (10-0-1, 2-0-1 UFC) in the featherweight division. Referee Marc Goddard is on top of the action in this one, and there is no interest in a touch of gloves to start off. Murphy hops out of the way from a low kick, and he calms himself so that he can stretch his right hand. A few pump-fakes make Amirkhani start guessing, and in response, Amirkhani dives in for a double-leg takedown to lift Murphy’s legs off the ground. The takedown is completed and Murphy finds himself with his neck against the cage wall, with his opponent in side control already. There is little offense mounted from Amirkhani on top, with a few sporadic strikes, but he is more intent on advancing position. “Mr. Finland” steps over briefly to three-quarter mount, but settles for half guard on the other side as he lands an elbow from on top. Murphy’s scrambles prove effective enough to keep Amirkhani from taking dominant position for long, and Murphy scoots his body to the fence to look to stand. “The Miracle” proves that it was no miracle in defending himself from this danger, as he walks his way back up the fence and does not appear remotely concerned that Amirkhani has his back standing up. Amirkhani trips his foe back down to the mat, and thinks about taking standing back control but instead puts Murphy back down in a quick mat return after Murphy gets up. In an effective maneuver, Amirkhani throws Murphy over to the open cage floor away from the wall, and he puts Murphy flat on his back for a moment. The unbeaten fighter rolls over to his knees, and his subsequent effort to get himself upright leads to Amirkhani sucks his legs out beneath him. Amirkhani drags him back down to the floor, and lands a pair of punches before the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Amirkhani
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Amirkhani
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Amirkhani

Round 2

Amirkhani takes the center of the cage to begin the round, and Murphy decides to get his hands going, and he slugs Murphy in the face with a right hand. Murphy lands a few more punches, and Amirkhani ducks down for a takedown. Just then, a perfectly timed counter knee from Murphy smashes into the undefended chin of Amirkhani, and Amirkhani is completely out cold. Just to make sure, a couple punches from Murphy smack an unconscious Amirkhani on the jaw before Goddard can reach him to officially stop the fight. What an incredible turn of events for Murphy, dropping the first round in a big way to come back and use Amirkhani’s takedown against him to stay undefeated. The medical staff attends to a fallen Amirkhani, and he does manage to come to, much to the relief of those watching.

The Official Result

Lerone Murphy def. Makwan Amirkhani R2 0:14 via KO (Knee)

Shamil Gamzatov (206) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (206)

Round 1

At light heavyweight, Dagestan native Gamzatov’s (14-0, 1-0 UFC) undefeated record will be on the line when he takes on proud Polish brawler Oleksiejczuk (15-4, 1 NC; 3-2, 1 NC UFC). The only four decision wins for Gamzatov have come in his last four fights, while Oleksiejczuk has yet to lose on the scorecards, so something might have to give here. Drawing the assignment is referee Dan Movahedi, who will be ready in case he needs to intervene suddenly. The gloves are not touched, and Oleksiejczuk starts to put on the pressure and lands a quick left hand to the body. Gamzatov stays on the outside, winging a few punches, and Oleksiejczuk avoids them and is ready to fight off the inevitable takedown try. He stuffs the first attempt, breaks the clinch and dodges a nasty uppercut. Gamzatov sits down on a right hand, and another careens off Oleksiejczuk’s head. Oleksiejczuk winds up with a looping left hand that rings Gamzatov’s bell, and he does not chase the finish and instead continues to rip lefts to the body. Gamzatov is throwing punches and appears to be closing his eyes when doing so, and Oleksiejczuk is not giving him much space to breathe. Gamzatov cracks his opponent with a right hand, but Oleksiejczuk eats it like a bowl of bigos and marches Gamzatov down. The punches from Gamzatov do not appear to have nearly the emphasis of his opponent, and Oleksiejczuk walks through strikes to land some of his own. Gamzatov lets loose a body kick, and he counters Oleksiejczuk on the way in with a clean right hand. After the midpoint of the round, Gamzatov takes a deep breath as he is constantly having to backpedal. Oleksiejczuk walks straight into an uppercut, and he laughs it off and stuffs a takedown that follows. Oleksiejczuk lines up a big power punch, and he just dodges a huge right hand that comes at him. When Oleksiejczuk targets the body, Gamzatov nails his opponent with a big right hand. The body shots pay dividends for the Polish fighter, but it is a lancing uppercut that splits the guard and makes Gamzatov’s legs crumble beneath him. Some might imagine a purple-shirted man appearing in the bottom corner of the screen to shout "Toasty" as the uppercut wrecks Gamzatov. A small swarm of punches is all Oleksiejczuk needs to finish the job, as the unbeaten fighter is turtled up and is now no longer undefeated when Movahedi calls a stop to the fight. What a performance for “Lord,” who lorded over his opponent with constant pressure and brutal body work to hand the Russian the first loss of his career.

The Official Result

Michal Oleksiejczuk def. Shamil Gamzatov R1 3:31 via TKO (Punches)

Benoit St. Denis (171) vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (170.5)

Round 1

The organization has no fear in throwing new prospects to the wolves, as evidenced in this welterweight battle pitting 11-fight UFC vet Zaleski dos Santos (22-7, 8-3 UFC) against the debuting Frenchman St. Denis (8-0, 1 NC; 0-0 UFC) and his perfect record. The third man inside the Octagon is referee Vyacheslav Kiselev, and there is a sign of respect as they touch hands before getting after it. The first strike lands from Zaleski dos Santos in the form of a body kick. St. Denis answers with his own kick, but a subsequent one lands to the cup. Kiselev does not pause the fight as he did not witness it, so they play on. Zaleski dos Santos fights off a clinch try, and St. Denis punches his way into a clinch so that he can pursue a takedown. Zaleski dos Santos defends the double with a guillotine choke, but the Frenchman lifts him up and slams him down to break the grip and ground the Brazilian. “Capoeira” fights his way back up to his feet and lands a leg kick when they separate, and he scores a kick to the midsection after. The kicks continue to score effectively for the Brazilian, and every one draws a visceral reaction from the newcomer. St. Denis scores a single kick of his own low, and when he goes kick, Zaleski dos Santos chops him down with a kick to the plant leg. St. Denis loads up on a kick to the body, and Zaleski dos Santos hacks at his lead leg with a kick. They both sling hooks, and “Capoeira” slugs St. Denis in the face and rocks him badly. There is a desperation takedown from the damaged Frenchman, and Zaleski dos Santos fights it off and cannot quite make St. Denis pay for it. Zaleski dos Santos jumps up with a knee, and he blocks a high kick that flies at him. St. Denis wings a punch and get countered over the top, and he sits down on a body kick that Zaleski dos Santos ignores. St. Denis charges and swings wildly, but the punches largely do not connect. Zaleski dos Santos slings up a quick head kick and changes levels for a single, only to abandon it before it goes anywhere. St. Denis again goes after a head kick, only for Zaleski dos Santos to kick him hard on the remaining plant leg. St. Denis walks his opponent down, only for Zaleski dos Santos to land more effectively with punches, cutting angles and getting punches and kicks off. The round ends, and the two pat the other on the chest.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Zaleski dos Santos
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Zaleski dos Santos
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Zaleski dos Santos

Round 2

The two get after it to start the round, spamming kicks and laying into one another with crisp punches. Zaleski dos Santos steps back from a kick to score a right hand. The Frenchman presses forward into a clinch, and Zaleski dos Santos ducks down and drills him with a right hand. Zaleski dos Santos ducks down to threaten with another takedown, and St. Denis fights it off. Getting in his groove, Zaleski dos Santos leaps forward with a knee that splits the guard. St. Denis is rocked but throwing back, and Zaleski dos Santos nails him with a few more punches. Zaleski dos Santos backs away to smash St. Denis in the face with another jump knee, and St. Denis is barely able to stay on his feet from the damage he is absorbing. “Capoeira” continues to pound on St. Denis, landing effective punches while avoid most of the looping counters. St. Denis is tough, and he shoots for a telegraphed takedown. Zaleski dos Santos stuffs it and gets back to lacing punches and knees on his opponent. Zaleski dos Santos bullies his man to the wall and smashes him with punches and knees, and Kiselev is letting St. Denis survive and giving him more than enough leeway to keep going. St. Denis falls across the cage in dire trouble, and his face is bloodied and battered as Zaleski dos Santos looks to Kiselev to intervene. The commentary booth is calling for the fight to be stopped due to the punishment that the Frenchman has absorbed, and St. Denis is able to stay on his feet. Zaleski dos Santos continues to clobber his opponent with punches as blood pours from his face, and suddenly “God of War” winds up with a punch from the underworld to rock Zaleski dos Santos. St. Denis uses his moment of success to go after a takedown, and he puts Zaleski dos Santos to his knees briefly. The Brazilian manages to fight his way back up, and they are both completely spent. Before the round even ends, Zaleski dos Santos walks back to his corner, wiped out. It is shocking this fight is still continuing, and there may be some negligence involved in how it was allowed to continue in the first place. It may behoove St. Denis’ corner to call the fight and let him fight another day.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Zaleski dos Santos
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-8 Zaleski dos Santos
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Zaleski dos Santos

Round 3

The third round does begin, much to the chagrin of the commentary team and many viewing this one-sided pummeling. They get right to striking, and Zaleski dos Santos lands a few punches and reaches a hand out to push off the face of his opponent. The finger goes into the eye, and St. Denis claims he cannot see and there is no doctor called in. Despite this insane turn of events, Kiselev does not do anything, and he has the fight continue. This is madness. This referee should not officiate any more fights tonight, based on his sheer incompetence in this bout. When they get back to fighting, Zaleski dos Santos predictably hurts his opponent, and St. Denis falls to his back in pain. Zaleski dos Santos takes top position and easily slides out of a triangle choke setup to land a few punches. The submission is enough to make Zaleski dos Santos stand back up, and St. Denis gets his way back up as well. Zaleski dos Santos chips at his foe with kicks from a distance, and he sees the lumbering strikes that come at him from a ways away. Zaleski dos Santos sits down on a leg kick, and the pace has slowed for obvious reasons. St. Denis thumps Zaleski dos Santos with a left hand, and he pushes forward to tie him up, only to be thrown to his back. The newcomer fights his way back up to his feet, and he is showing remarkable resilience but not a lot else here. St. Denis does manage to wrestle Zaleski dos Santos to his knees, but the Brazilian powers his way back up and turns his opponent into the wire. In an exchange, a knee from “Capoeira” glances the cup on the way up, and Kiselev gives St. Denis 30 seconds to recover. Without a warning or any significant notice, Kiselev takes a point from Zaleski dos Santos. What is happening. They touch hands to get the last 45-second stint going, and Zaleski dos Santos attacks with kicks to the body. St. Denis can do nothing but run away, all while getting chased, so that he can survive to the final bell. He does make it after turning his back to run from absorbing any more punishment, drawing a close to a fight that should not have gone on as long as it did. Kiselev was assigned to the later Ankalaev-Oezdemir contest, and thankfully, he has already been pulled from that assignment.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 9-9 (29-26 Zaleski dos Santos)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 9-9 (29-26 Zaleski dos Santos)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 9-9 (29-26 Zaleski dos Santos)

The Official Result

Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos def. Benoit St. Denis via Unanimous Decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-26)

Albert Duraev (186) vs. Roman Kopylov (186)

Round 1

Ye olde striker vs. grappler matchup is on deck now, between recent Dana White’s Contender Series signee Duraev (14-3, 0-0 UFC) against the power-punching Kopylov (8-1, 0-1 UFC). This Russia-on-Russia middleweight affair draws officiating from referee Jason Herzog, who watches on as they touch gloves. Both middleweights are jittery in the early going, standing in front of each other but not throwing much of note. Kopylov throws a calf kick as Duraev reaches out with a right hand, and he knocks Duraev off his feet. Kopylov does not pounce, instead letting the grappler get back up so that he can stay in kickboxing range. Duraev lands a body and then a leg kick, and when he bends over to dodge strikes, Kopylov dings him with a right hook. Duraev stalks his man down, punching his way in, but Kopylov is quick to counter him with swatting punches. They go tit-for-tat with single strikes, not putting many combinations together as they are tense and trying to counter the other. Duraev lands a left hand on the side of the head and gets shoved away before more can mount, and Kopylov stays on the outside peppering him with strikes. Duraev lands a jab, and he follows it with three punches, while Kopylov tries to find an answer. A quick hook staggers Kopylov for a second, and he catches a high kick and keeps the leg above his shoulder so that he can pound Duraev to the body. Duraev hops around with his leg up in the air without toppling, and he breaks free so that they can swing at one another. Duraev lands a few punches from range, and he takes a two-punch combination in the face right before the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Duraev
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Duraev
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Duraev

Round 2

The second round begins explosively, as Kopylov blasts Duraev in the face with a left hand to put Duraev down to all-fours. Kopylov’s punches bounce off the side of Duraev’s head as he recovers. Duraev manages to survive, and he goes after a takedown to put Kopylov down. Kopylov survives thanks to a flagrant fence grab, and Herzog stops the action to very aggressively warn Kopylov of the foul before resetting them in the same position. Duraev waits until Herzog says go, and he instantly hits a takedown. “Machete” slices over to full mount with ease, and instead of landing punches, he sets up an arm-triangle choke. When that is not there, he elects to start slugging it out, with sharp elbows and heavy punches that connect consistently on Kopylov’s face. Kopylov throws back from on his back, and he bucks and kicks, only to inadvertently kick off the fence and put himself in a worse position in the open cage. Duraev continues to smash elbows into Kopylov, putting his weight into them as he lumps Kopylov up. Duraev does not let Kopylov off the hook, beating on him with elbows and punches as Kopylov’s resistance begins to fade. Duraev pursues another arm-triangle choke, and bails on it quickly to go back to his ferocious elbows. Kopylov continues to survive, and he wriggles his way back to the fence, but Duraev pounds on him some more. Kopylov rolls to his side, and Duraev snatches up a rear-naked choke as blood pours off Kopylov’s face. The round ends before a tap can be elicited, and there is no doubt Kopylov was saved by the bell after that thrashing.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Duraev
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-8 Duraev
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Duraev

Round 3

Before the round begins, the doctor comes in to check on Kopylov, who is wearing it. Duraev’s left eye is also badly damaged as well. The doctor informs Herzog that Kopylov is barely in the fight, and he is already bleeding before they clock in. Kopylov stays on the outside and scores a head kick, so Duraev presses the action and goes after a single. Kopylov stays upright after the first attempt, and he stops a second try from transpiring by pulling his arms out and backing off. Kopylov swings so hard his shorts nearly fall over, and Duraev dodges it and shoots in for a single. Kopylov’s TDD holds up again, and Duraev slumps over to his knees when Kopylov pulls his leg out. The faces of these two middleweights are busted, and Kopylov puts his hands by his waist in exhaustion. When Duraev advances, Kopylov suddenly springs to action with a heavy right hand on the smashed eye of Duraev. Both of these two are totally gassed and barely able to stay standing, and the blood is flowing freely from Kopylov’s face. Kopylov is so fatigued that his mouthpiece keeps on falling out, and Herzog replaces it a few times. Kopylov is showing to be physically spent, hands on his hips, and yet a one-two from him is surprisingly sharp. Kopylov’s gumshield dislodges again, and Herzog warns him to keep it in his mouth. Kopylov lands a few punches, and Duraev lumbers forward into a takedown try. Kopylov counters him with a left hand, and he turns the tables to put “Machete” on his back. With seconds to spare, Duraev fights his way back to his feet, and this bloody, exhausting battle comes to an end as Kopylov falls to his knees when the bell sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Kopylov (29-27 Duraev)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Kopylov (29-27 Duraev)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Kopylov (29-27 Duraev)

The Official Result

Albert Duraev def. Roman Kopylov via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-27, 29-27)

Ricardo Ramos (146) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (146)

Round 1

The prelims roll on with an important featherweight tilt between Team Alpha Male product Ramos (15-3, 6-2 UFC) and the tumultuously tenured Tukhugov (19-5-1, 4-2-1 UFC). The Octagon ranger for this interesting style matchup is referee Marc Goddard, and there is no glove touch as these two want to handle their business in the cage. Ramos opens up with leg kicks, as they bounce in and out towards and away from one another simultaneously. Tukhugov times one such bounce with a left hand, and a follow-up strike knocks Ramos back a step. Ramos goes back to his effective leg kicks, while any subsequent punches go wide. A kick draws a counter from Tukhugov, and Tukhugov swipes at him with a trio of punches. Ramos sticks out a long jab, keeping a wide berth from the grappler, and he pumps it out a few more times to decent range-keeping effect. Tukhugov hurts Ramos with a left, and a right knocks the Brazilian to the wall. A shovel uppercut left hook marks Ramos up, and he does not Ramos off the hook as he rings home a right hook that busts Ramos’ left eye up. Ramos counters, and they land at the same time, and both of them now have cuts above their eyes. The blood is trickling down Ramos cheek down to his body, and Tukhugov targets the spot with a few more heavy punches to open the cut up more. Tukhugov winds up with a big right hand, and Ramos backpedals around the cage to try to get his bearings. Ramos is getting marched down, but he does score a single uppercut to surprise the Russian. “Warrior” continues to stalk him down as the right hands mount, and out of nowhere, Ramos spins with an elbow that clocks Tukhugov and busts him open. Tukhugov is suddenly in the danger zone, wobbling back as Ramos gives chase, seeming revitalized after that powerful blow. Tukhugov’s right eye begins to close after the elbow smashed it up, and the round ends with Ramos trying to get the upper hand.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Tukhugov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Tukhugov
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Tukhugov

Round 2

The gloves get touched to start off the second round, with a sign of respect having each hurt the other in the last five-minute stretch. Tukhugov gets back to his marching orders of constant forward movement, with right hands that at least partially land on Ramos’ face repeatedly. They crack each other at the same time with heavy blows, but neither take a back step. Ramos starts to get off a few shots, and Tukhugov smiles and points at him. When Tukhugov is enjoying himself, Ramos lands again and he starts pointing. The momentum shifts are wild in this featherweight battle, with Tukhugov getting the edge and then Ramos landing cleanly to turn the tide. Tukhugov starts to work a jab, and when he does, Ramos scores a very heavy leg kick. Ramos has a lazy one-two get countered with a solid punch, and a big right hand from Ramos forces a takedown response from Tukhugov. The attempt fails, and Ramos gets off a right hand to make him pay for trying. Tukhugov gets a right hand over the top, and a jab from him stops Ramos in his tracks briefly. Ramos reaches out with several strikes that are all out of range, and Tukhugov effectively keeps range while not falling victim to another big power punch. Ramos backs off and stays light on his feet, and Tukhugov scores a solid right hand only to have his calf kicked hard. Tukhugov charges in with a salvo, and a right hand stings the Brazilian. Ramos stays on his bike, not staying against the cage wall for long, and he throws his jab out a few times to stifle Tukhugov. The Russian blasts forward with a double, and he manages to trip Ramos’ legs out beneath him so that he can seal the round in a tight clinch position in his favor.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Tukhugov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Tukhugov
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Tukhugov

Round 3

The gloves are quickly touched as both men sprint out of their corners to get after it. Tukhugov scores first, but Ramos’ response is cleaner with a heavier right hand. Tukhugov pops Ramos with a few jabs to frustrate him, and Ramos spins with a kick that partially lands on its intended target. Tukhugov is right back in Ramos’ face, walking him down and making him constantly fighting off offense. Ramos sinks his shin into the side of the Russian, and Tukhugov punches his way in to a takedown in a response. Ramos stops it and knees Tukhugov in the face to rock him. Tukhugov eats a few punches, and a thudding leg kick wobbles him as well. Whenever Ramos gets going for long, Tukhugov sticks out a few jabs to flustering effect. They both smack each other at the same time and each take a step back, but they are quick to get right back after it as they both land cleanly one after the other. Ramos swipes with a left, and Tukhugov returns with a solid right hand. The sheer number of simultaneous strike connects on the chin is an impressive one, as their timing and speed is dead-on. Ramos tries to get his own jab going, and a step-in elbow hits nothing but air. They continue to trade leather, taking turns as they connect with punches, and Ramos mixes things up with a quick head kick. When Tukhugov bounds towards him to pay him back for the kick, Ramos dials up a kick to the body. Ramos slips a punch to tag Tukhugov with a right hand, but neither man shows any concern for their chin with a minute to go in the fight. Ramos lands a few kicks as he backs off, and Tukhugov takes advantage of his kicking array so that he can take the fight down. Ramos keeps his feet underneath him and may have gotten away with a fence grab, and he fights off the try with a standing kimura. The round ends, and the two men embrace after a hard-fought battle.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ramos (29-28 Tukhugov)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ramos (29-28 Tukhugov)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Tukhugov (30-27 Tukhugov)

The Official Result

Zubaira Tukhugov def. Ricardo Ramos via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Virna Jandiroba (116) vs. Amanda Ribas (115.5)

Round 1

Capping off the lengthy preliminary portion of the early show is the lone women’s match of the night, between savvy grapplers Ribas (10-2, 4-1 UFC) and Jandiroba (17-2, 3-2 UFC). Neither woman has ever been submitted, and referee Dan Movahedi draws the charge in case the first occurs in this fight. The Brazilian strawweights rush out to touch gloves with a great show of respect, and Jandiroba quickly shoots in for a takedown to start off the fight. Ribas stuffs it with ease and lands a knee on the inside to make Jandiroba break the grip and back off. Jandiroba lands a one-two, and Ribas gives the same combination right back to her. Jandiroba forces her way into a body lock that she tries to turn into a trip takedown, but Ribas keeps her balance and backs off. Several inaccurate punches come from Jandiroba, who is trying as hard as she can to ground her fellow countrywoman. As she doggedly pursues the takedown in the open mat, she manages to wrest Ribas off her feet and put her on her back. Ribas keeps a somewhat closed guard with one leg wrapped around her foe’s waist, before closing it completely to shut down any ground-and-pound that starts. Ribas throws up a very high guard that turns into a triangle choke that is more of a leg-scissor choke. Ribas squeezes her thighs together like a regular Xenia Onatopp to get a submission, but Jandiroba puts a thumb up to signal she is fine. Ribas notices this and abandons the brute force crushing choke, and Jandiroba starts to land short punches to the body. Jandiroba stacks her opponent up to preemptively thwart any additional submission setups, and she hacks down with a sharp elbow to try to open the guard. Jandiroba continues to grind from above, and Movahedi warns them to fight it out twice until he stands them up. Out of nowhere, a sudden bomb of a right hand from Jandiroba knocks Ribas off her feet, and before she can capitalize on the strike to great effect, the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Jandiroba
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Jandiroba
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Jandiroba

Round 2

The gloves get touched to start the second round, and Jandiroba throws with fire in her overhand rights. Ribas counters her with crisp right hand, and Jandiroba smiles at her and puts her arms out to welcome more. Jandiroba gets her bearings and scores a pair of one-twos, and Ribas spins with a kick to the body hard on the way out. Ribas calms down as she walks Jandiroba down, and Jandiroba lands with a successful combination ending with a body kick. The two women land single strikes, and Ribas punches her way into a close exchange before Jandiroba is the one to break free and get back to striking range. Jandiroba tries to potshot from afar, and she ducks and moves while her hair bounces to avoid the punches that come her way. Jandiroba aims a pair of looping right hands at Ribas, and they both land strikes at the same time as this round has stayed primarily on the feet. Ribas has a right hand crash across the bow, forcing Jandiroba to pursue a takedown. Ribas defends the takedown and puts Jandiroba on her back hard with dramatic effect. Jandiroba pops back up without much concern, and they sling heavy hands at one another. Ribas scores effectively from range, and she avoids the brunt of the power strikes that fly past her face. Ribas sticks and moves, and she stuffs an oncoming takedown try so that she can knee Jandiroba in the chest. Ribas stands her opponent up and pushes her into the wire, where she lands several knees up the middle. Although Ribas hits a trip to put Jandiroba on her backside, she cannot keep her there as time expires.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ribas
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ribas
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Ribas

Round 3

The strawweights from Brazil touch hands to clock in the last round, and Ribas starts with her foot on the accelerator as she leads the dance with punch combinations that end with leg kicks. This style of combo succeeds a few times before Jandiroba resets and tries to stop this from happening. Ribas marches her opponent down, stringing punches together to knock Jandiroba back. A right hand opens a cut on Jandiroba’s cheek, and she puts together a line of punches to mark her up further. Ribas lifts a high kick up that slides under her opponent’s arm, and she stuffs a takedown that is soon to follow. Ribas nearly succeeds with a counter trip, but she elects to back off and get back to her bread-and-butter of effective strikes. Jandiroba swings and misses with wild punches, and one left hand catches Ribas cleanly. Ribas outlands her opponent’s single strikes with multiple-punch salvos, and she spins to end one such array of blows with a kick to the body. Ribas laces a three-punch combination and a low kick to solid effect, and she stuffs a takedown attempt with ease. Jandiroba whiffs on a pair of punches, and a counter head kick rocks her badly. Jandiroba falls into the cage, and she wobbles around the Octagon as Ribas tries to finish the job. Ribas spins and misses with a kick to the midsection, and Jandiroba is still hurt as she tries to counter. Ribas backs off to not spent the gas tank and instead set up strikes, including another head kick. Ribas is in her groove, countering smoothly while evading the power strikes of her adversary. Ribas slips a punch and counters with a right, and she pops Jandiroba with sharp jabs. Jandiroba sits down on a big uppercut, and it grazes the chin and does not register to Ribas. From a great distance, Jandiroba shoots in from afar, and Ribas stuffs it. When Jandiroba slowly stands, Ribas times a head kick, but Jandiroba is able to block it just in the nick of time. The round ends, and the two women hug it out.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ribas (29-28 Ribas)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ribas (29-28 Ribas)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Ribas (29-28 Ribas)

The Official Result

Amanda Ribas def. Virna Jandiroba via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Magomed Ankalaev (205.5) vs. Volkan Oezdemir (205.5)

Round 1

Six, not five fights are on the UFC 267 main card, which will start and end in the light heavyweight division. The surging Ankalaev (14-1, 6-1 UFC) will be taking some time to face “No Time” Oezdemir (17-5, 5-4 UFC) in a top-five contender match. Referee Vyacheslav Kiselev was once assigned to this fight, only to be pulled for his poor performance in the Zaleski dos Santos vs. St. Denis debacle. In his place will be gold-standard referee Marc Goddard, who gives the camera a cheeky wink. The gloves are touched, and the intensity is high. Oezdemir is the aggressor early, walking the Russian down but simply cocking back a heavy right hand. Ankalaev throws first, with punches that bounce off Oezdemir’s guard. Oezdemir continues to advance, and he misses on his first few strikes. A crisp uppercut stings Ankalaev, and when they close in, Ankalaev tries to take the fight down. As he does this, the Swiss fighter leaps in the air with a knee, and he flies over Ankalaev and down on the ground on the other side of him. The quick scramble that follows leads to Ankalaev pushing his foe against the fence, and Oezdemir tries to frame off with his hands on Ankalaev’s shorts to nearly pull them down and give fans a wardrobe malfunction. When they separate, Ankalaev tags Oezdemir with a left hand that produces some quick swelling under the corresponding eye. Oezdemir takes a breath and rips the body with a kick, only for Ankalaev to return in kind. A straight left hand knocks Oezdemir off his feet, and Oezdemir drops down to the ground while Ankalaev pounces on him. Ankalaev tries to polish him off with some hammerfists, but Oezdemir gets his composure and stands back up to get back to striking range. Ankalaev stabs him in the torso with a kick, and Oezdemir looks for a right hand. A left and a right from the Dagestani fighter snap Oezdemir’s head back, and “No Time” is struggling to get his striking going as Ankalaev is marking him up. Ankalaev reaches out with a straight left hand, and Oezdemir responds with a thudding leg kick. In a fierce striking exchange, Ankalaev lands harder, and he backs out of the way to dodge a swift head kick. The tense round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ankalaev
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ankalaev
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Ankalaev

Round 2

The light heavyweights take to the center of the cage, and Oezdemir throws first with a few jabs and a slapping leg kick. Ankalaev misses with a front kick, but when his opponent closes in, he greets him with several knees. The left hand is money for Ankalaev, who rings Oezdemir’s bell with one such strike. Oezdemir steels himself and lands a few more leg kicks as he switches stances, and he just comes up short with a head kick. The calf kicks have reddened the leg of the Russian already, and they force Ankalaev to change stances after absorbing a few flush. As soon as Ankalaev goes back to southpaw, Oezdemir targets the leg with a kick on the inside. A right hand counter from Ankalaev splits Oezdemir’s eyebrow open, and the cut is directly above Oezdemir’s eye in a precarious position. Oezdemir winds up on punches, perhaps concerned that the cut could be in a fight-ending place, and he clips Ankalaev with a right hand. The leg kicks continue to land for Oezdemir, who is chipping away from down low. Ankalaev is fearlessly engaging with Oezdemir, walking him down relentlessly, while ignoring leg kicks that come his way. As Oezdemir keeps working the leg, Ankalaev develops a hitch in his step from the blows. Frustrated from these unanswered strikes, Ankalaev closes the distance to grab hold of Oezdemir and push him into the wire. Several heavy knees are scored by Ankalaev, who works the lead thigh over repeatedly. The round ends as they separate, and it will be a question whether the doctor allows this fight to continue with the bad cut above the Swiss fighter’s eye.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ankalaev
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ankalaev
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Ankalaev

Round 3

Goddard does not call in the doctor between rounds to check on it, as the Just Bleed mentality has been embraced in Abu Dhabi, and the fight goes cleanly into Round 3. They both start off the round slinging heavy kicks to the body one after the other. Oezdemir continues to land sporadic leg kicks, and suddenly, he changes levels for his own takedown try. Ankalaev shrugs it off without batting an eye, and he avoids an overhand right that comes at him. Ankalaev steps through a punch combination into a head kick, and the kick is blocked but the sheer impact makes Oezdemir take a step back. They collide with punches, and one right hand opens the cut and starts the bleeding all over again. Oezdemir’s eyebrow needs a doctor, as part of the skin is draped over his eye now, obscuring his vision. Despite this, Goddard allows them to continue. Where is Keith Peterson and his no-nonsense approach when you need it? Ankalaev sticks this busted eye with a few punches, and Oezdemir is rattled but still able to survive. The offense from the Swiss fighter slows to practically nothing, and an ankle pick from him fails. Ankalaev counters his opponent with a right hand, ducking the strike that comes his way, and keeping Oezdemir hitting little but air. Ankalaev paws out a few punches, and he changes levels for a double with seconds to spare. Oezdemir stays on his feet, and he has survived to the final bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ankalaev (30-27 Ankalaev)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Ankalaev (30-27 Ankalaev)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Ankalaev (30-27 Ankalaev)

The Official Result

Magomed Ankalaev def. Volkan Oezdemir via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Khamzat Chimaev (171) vs. Jingliang Li (171)

Round 1

Currently the biggest underdog on the card, “The Leech” Li (18-6, 10-4 UFC) will come to blows against 2020 fan-favorite Chimaev (9-0, 3-0 UFC) after the latter’s long layoff. Watching on to see if a big upset will happen in the welterweight division is referee Jason Herzog, and there is no interest in a glove touch here. The welterweights are intense, and Chimaev shoots within the first five seconds for a takedown. Li defends it, and Chimaev takes his back and lifts the Chinese fighter in the air. While holding Li in the air, Chimaev says a few words to UFC President Dana White, and then slams Li down. Li gets on his knees, and Chimaev lands a few left hands as he revs up his grind engine. Li sits up only to get dragged back down on his face, and Chimaev starts smacking him upside the head. Chimaev looks outside the cage a few times while fighting, and Li keeps fighting the hands and defending himself from much of the most damaging blows. Chimaev gets a hook in as he circles around to partially take Li’s back, and he looks to flatten Li out and pound on him with right hands. With Li flat on the ground, Chimaev smashes him with punches, and Li is trapped unable to get up. Li defends against the punches, but Chimaev latches on to a rear-naked choke and Li is in the danger zone as his face changes color. Li does not tap out, and Chimaev reverses the grip to the other side. The choke is lethally tight, and Li chooses not to surrender and goes out on his shield. Li goes limp as he is choked to unconsciousness, and Herzog tests the arm and determines that Li is communing with his ancestors. Knowing he has choked his foe out, Chimaev releases the grip and climbs the cage to stand atop it and call to White for more fights. Even after a long time away, Chimaev is back with a vengeance, putting on a flawless performance against a tough opponent while not absorbing a single significant strike. The sky is the limit for “Borz.”

The Official Result

Khamzat Chimaev def. Jingliang Li R1 3:16 via Technical Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)

Marcin Tybura (249) vs. Alexander Volkov (263)

Round 1

Top-10 heavyweights go to battle next, as former Bellator champ Volkov (33-9, 7-3 UFC) tries to put a lid on the resurgent grappler Tybura (22-6, 9-5 UFC). Holding on tight between these two big men is referee Marc Goddard, and the two do not touch gloves as they are eager to see what happens tonight when 512 pounds of man clashes together. Volkov gets his hands going early, landing heavy punches as Tybura reels. A kick to the body and a long right hand connect cleanly on his Polish opponent’s face. Tybura comes in aggressively, with a left and a right to knock Volkov back. “Tybur” crashes the pocket to take the distance away from the Russian, but Volkov stays on his bike to avoid the brunt of the strikes. Tybura attacks on the inside, considering a possible takedown entry, but Volkov fights it off and takes a right hand upside the head. Tybura pursues a double, and Volkov stays upright without much concern to get put on his back. When he gains space, he lands a solid right hand, and Tybura ducks another punch and rips the body. Tybura punches his way into a clinch, only for Volkov to frame off and push him away. A one-two from Volkov makes Tybura shoot in for a takedown, and “Drago” simply shoves his opponent over and climbs on top of him to pound on him with elbows. When only a few elbows come from this top position, Goddard calls for them to work. Volkov crushes his forearm on Tybura’s throat to keep him flat on his back, but the Polish fighter still sits up and leans on his side. Volkov in half guard just misses with an elbow, and the fight ends in this place.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Volkov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Volkov
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Volkov

Round 2

The heavyweights are slow to engage in the start of the second round, and Tybura eats punches as he lumbers forward to grab hold of Volkov. As Tybura plods forward, Volkov tees off on him with crisp punches and prodding front kicks to the body, and he meets an advancing Tybura with a knee to the body. Tybura gets off a solid combination over the top, and Volkov takes the wind out of his sails with a knee to the torso. Volkov gets away from the oncoming clinch attempt so that he can land long punches, all while grabbing Tybura’s wrist to land shots. Volkov digs a knee to the body, but of the two, he is the one with his mouth wide open, taking very deep breaths. Tybura pursues a takedown, and he gets stood up, so he tries another. “Tybur” ducks down to get hold of a single, and Volkov defends with a few elbows on the side of the head before landing up top. Tybura waves him on as he eats strikes, and Volkov meets him with a knee to the sternum. They crash together, and Tybura tries to get short strikes off on the inside. Volkov aims to keep himself at the range of his fists, and out of the way of his opponent’s. The two trade punches, and Volkov has slowed drastically while his offense largely comes in the form of single shots. Tybura pursues a takedown that is once again stuffed, and the round ends with them tightly pressed in the clinch.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Volkov
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Volkov
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Volkov

Round 3

The big men think about touching gloves, but instead land kicks down low. Volkov dodges a looping left hand and stays light on his feet, evading the looping strikes of his opponent. As Tybura charges in, Volkov knees him in the body. Tybura lands one such bomb, although it only partially connects on the side of Volkov’s head. Tybura follows it with a takedown setup, but he cannot decide if he wants to snatch a single or a double when he gets up close. Volkov takes that out of the equation when he stings him with a few punches, and he scores an uppercut on the chin when Tybura is trying to find his way in. Tybura gets caught with a couple strikes advancing, and he turns a takedown try around and separates in the center of the cage. A swinging back fist glances off the side of Volkov’s face, with Tybura practically flailing at his opponent to desperately close the distance. While the Russian’s cardio has not been perfection in this bout, Tybura’s appears to be abandoning him as well. Tybura goes after a takedown, and he fights off a counter trip so that he can hang on to Volkov’s back and knee him in the posterior. Volkov breaks the grip and snaps Tybura’s head back. Volkov picks his shots from range, and he narrowly avoids a spinning back fist from the Polish fighter. Tybura ties him up, only to get pushed back and marked up by “Drago.” Volkov slings a head kick that is blocked in time, and Tybura’s forward momentum gets him met with a kick to the midsection. This slow heavyweight fight comes to an end after 15 minutes of plodding pace and few moments of drama.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Volkov (30-27 Volkov)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Volkov (30-27 Volkov)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Volkov (30-27 Volkov)

The Official Result

Alexander Volkov def. Marcin Tybura via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Dan Hooker (156) vs. Islam Makhachev (155.5)

Round 1

A litmus test at the lightweight division is in the “featured fight of the night” slot on the main card, when suffocating sambo master Makhachev (20-1, 9-1 UFC) takes on recent victor Hooker (21-10, 11-6 UFC). Can Makhachev rise to the occasion, or will Hooker man the gates of the top echelon of 155 pounds? Just like referee Dan Movahedi, we will find out within the next 15 minutes or less. They touch gloves, happy to be competing on the card, and Hooker is the first to throw strikes in the form of a few long jabs. Hooker’s left hand stretches out several times, and he chops at the Russian’s lead leg with a kick. Hooker loads up on a punch, gets countered with a hook, and Makhachev drops down for a successful double. Putting Hooker flat on his back, Makhachev starts dropping down hammerfists. Several strikes from Makhachev land to the back of the head, and Movahedi warns Makhachev for these blows. Hooker does not appear remotely concerned on his back now, as he has not absorbed much in the way of damage, while locking Makhachev down. The Russian steps over to half guard and looks to isolate a wrist so that he can set up a kimura. Hooker fights it off only for Makhachev to advance to side control. Makhachev wrenches the two-on-one wrist lock with all his might, and he nearly yanks Hooker’s shoulder out of its socket. Hooker appears to yell out because his other wrist is trapped behind his waist, which signals Movahedi to intervene due to a verbal tap. Hooker protests the stoppage, claiming he never tapped out, but there is nothing he can do to change the result. To celebrate his victory, recently popular Hasbulla runs into the cage and gets lifted in the air like Simba. Makhachev’s training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov then holds his little buddy on his shoulder as they are thrilled for his win, and Makhachev makes a serious case for a title shot with a one-sided performance over an eternally tough out.

The Official Result

Islam Makhachev def. Dan Hooker R1 2:25 via Submission (Kimura)

UFC Interim Bantamweight Title Fight:
Cory Sandhagen (135) vs. Petr Yan (135)

Round 1

Even though the UFC bantamweight belt traded hands less than eight months ago, the interim strap is now up for grabs when ex-champ Yan (15-2, 7-1 UFC) gets another crack at gold against fellow recently defeated Sandhagen (14-3, 7-2 UFC). This will be the first title fight in UFC history where both challengers are coming off a loss, but the excitement is still palpable. Even referee Jason Herzog is pumped up about this potential 135-pound thriller, and the fighters do not want to touch gloves as they would rather use their fists to slug the other in the face. Yan takes the center of the cage, eager to come out firing, but he stops short of throwing anything when Sandhagen sticks a jab in his face. Sandhagen scores a leg kick, and chants in support of Yan rain down through the arena. Sandhagen continues to work the lead leg with accurate strikes, and he pegs the ball of his foot to the sternum to surprise Yan. Yan walks him down but is getting kept at bay with effective kicks. One such kick makes Yan do a slight turn, and Yan’s left hand is cocked back with nowhere to go. The strikes from Sandhagen are effective enough to thwart much of the offense of his opponent, but a left hook from Yan partially gest through. Sandhagen works the body, and he gets poked in the eye and rubs it out as Yan offers a glove touch apology. Yan lands a kick to the body, and Sandhagen returns with a left to the liver. Yan succeeds with a leg kick, and Sandhagen swarms him with a salvo of punches. The American catches his foe off-guard by changing levels and threatening with a sudden takedown. Although he does not get Yan down, he makes Yan think about one more element. They both land to the body when they get free, and Yan scores a left hand counter as Sandhagen lands from afar. Sandhagen punctuates combinations with leg kicks, with his volume being the difference maker so far in the opening frame. Yan keeps his fingers outstretched and nearly pokes Sandhagen in the eye again, but Sandhagen fights through it. Sandhagen pressures his foe with a long string of punches, landing without putting everything behind every blow. When Yan guards high, Sandhagen goes low. Yan walks Sandhagen down but gets tagged in response, and the ex-champ scores a solid pair of leg kicks. Sandhagen ducks down for a single, and Yan nails him with an elbow over the top to force them to separate. Sandhagen eats a leg kick and jumps in the air with a knee, and this fast-paced round ends as Herzog warns Yan for his fingers pointed straight out.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Sandhagen
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Sandhagen
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Sandhagen

Round 2

The second round begins as Yan loads up on power strikes, with a few leg kicks to start on the calf. Yan backs off and stomps down with a kick, and Sandhagen punches his way in to a combination. Sandhagen delivers some damage to the body, but Yan is right there to do the same with his own salvo of strikes. Sandhagen counters several Yan strikes so that he can slap him in the face with a kick. Yan gets stung with a strike from his opponent, and he loads up with a right hand that rocks Sandhagen for a moment. “Sandman” appears no worse for wear, although his body is getting marked up as he is getting red all over – this may be simply from the lightness of his complexion, and not that he is absorbing an unusual amount of punishment. Sandhagen slides out of the way from looping punches from the former champ, and he gets off several punches to back him off. Sandhagen stands in front of his opponent and decks him with a few punches. Yan spins after absorbing a blow to spin with a back fist, and the blocked impact is still substantial. Both men land with fast punches, and Yan goes to the body with kicks while Sandhagen attacks the lead leg. A low single from Sandhagen gets stuffed, and Yan defends with a guillotine choke setup before elbowing Sandhagen to make him step off. Sandhagen leaps in the air with a knee that clatters off Yan’s guard, and he sticks Yan and moves with several jabs. Sandhagen stays on his bike as Yan is looking for a home run right hand, although the American does absorb a crisp left hand. The round is quite close, and it ends as they stare the other down.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Yan
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Yan
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Yan

Round 3

The third frame commences as Sandhagen lands on the outside with kicks. When he lands one, Yan tries to pay him back, and Sandhagen checks it hard to make Yan wobble back as it seemed to hurt badly. Yan recovers well enough to spin with a back kick to the body, and Sandhagen pays it no mind as he lances through Yan’s guard with straight right hands. Sandhagen has a few more punches penetrate Yan’s shell of a high guard, before going low with kicks. Yan keeps his fingers pointed towards his opponent despite the warnings of Herzog. Yan swings for the fences, only for Sandhagen to duck and tag him with a counter left hook. “Sandman” resets and puts two punches together into a leg kick, and Yan checks this one. Yan appears to slap Sandhagen in the side of his head with an open palm, and Sandhagen is fired up from this as he pressures Yan and lands several blows. Yan manages to snap Sandhagen’s head back, but the American dodges most of the remainder of the barrage. Sandhagen’s head movement keeps him safe from harm, and Sandhagen keeps a safe range and consistently lands on his opponent from afar. Whether jabs or low kicks, Sandhagen continues to keep Yan from unloading his most dangerous combinations. A pair of power punches from Yan gets Sandhagen’s attention, and he nails Sandhagen with a few more punches. Suddenly, Yan follows a punch with a spinning back fist and a left hook that knocks Sandhagen off his feet, and Yan chases him down to the ground to try to pound him out. The scrambles for Sandhagen allow him to not take much damage or fall into submission danger, but Yan is constantly fishing for something or trying to get strikes off. When they finally get back up, Yan lands with a big left hand and Sandhagen back off but takes a knee to the body to end the round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Yan
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Yan
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Yan

Round 4

The first championship round begins as Sandhagen appears to have gotten his bearings about him. Yan is the aggressor, throwing big strikes at his opponent in hopes of dropping him again. Sandhagen has a flying knee blocked, and he goes back to his successful strategy of making Yan miss as he tags him from out far. Sandhagen appears to get clipped with a left hand, but he shakes it off and just dodges two windmilling punches that whiz by him. Two punches from Sandhagen get countered with much heavier blows from the former champ, and he puts a front kick to the body to get Yan to back off for a moment. Yan is staying in Sandhagen’s face, kicking him to the body and going up top with power punches that knock Sandhagen’s head back. The power advantage remains firmly on the side of the Russian, and Sandhagen recognizes this and shoots in for a takedown. This time, Sandhagen hits it, and Yan is aware and threatens with a leg lock from his back. The submission forces Sandhagen to scramble, and they both stand up. Sandhagen again shoots for a low single, but this time he decides to get off some standing elbows. A spinning back fist from Sandhagen makes Yan laugh, and the Russian Terminator that is Yan stalks Sandhagen down and works him to the body. The punches make Sandhagen bounce off the cage, as he has timed Sandhagen’s movement and counter effectively. Sandhagen counters a spinning back fist with short elbows, but Yan blasts him in the face with a few punches that force Sandhagen to attack a takedown. When Yan stuffs him, Sandhagen does not instantly get back up, instead holding on to Yan’s leg perhaps in an effort to take a breath. Sandhagen has a punch transition into an elbow, and a knee he throws is not fast enough to get through the guard. Yan gives chase as Sandhagen’s hands are down by his side, and the boxing range is where the round concludes.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Yan
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Yan
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Yan

Round 5

Sandhagen talks to his foe between rounds, and he keeps this intensity going when the round begins by sticking his hand in Yan’s face repeatedly. None of the punches have much behind them, as Sandhagen is careful to not stay anywhere for long so that he does not eat a big power punch. When he stays in one place, Yan lands a left hand and a leg kick that spins him around. When Sandhagen comes back around, he lands an inside leg kick that makes a thud sound. Yan winds up with a left hand that scores right on the nose, and he fakes with a left hand so that he can get off a body kick. Yan ignores a leg kick so that he can close in and get off a big left hand, and Sandhagen reacts and escapes. The offense largely falls off a cliff as Sandhagen stays on his bike, while Yan swings for the air. Sandhagen pushes in for a takedown after a body kick, and he lands a few jabs on the way out. Yan slings a head kick that appears to blast Sandhagen in the face as clean as can be, and Sandhagen just looks at him and raises his arms in the air like a Diaz brother. Sandhagen sticks out a few jabs and stays far enough away from the big shots of his opponent, and Yan is consistently giving chase but not able to connect with much of note. Yan does land one to take three, and he connects at the end of a right when Sandhagen escapes. The American dodges a spinning back fist this time, and he keeps moving and gets a jump knee through. Two punches and a spinning wheel kick from Sandhagen bounce off his shoulder, and he again throws his hands up and runs at Yan to tag him with another flying knee. The two bantamweights swing it out to the bell, and when it sounds, the crowd is so excited by the final exchange, they cannot hear it. Instead, they keep on throwing everything they have until Herzog leaps in and just misses absorbing a significant strike or two. They shake hands after 25 minutes of action, and Yan has likely won the de facto number one contender belt -- the interim title, as it were -- and a rematch with Aljamain Sterling.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Sandhagen (48-47 Yan)
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Sandhagen (48-47 Yan)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Sandhagen (48-47 Yan)

The Official Result

Petr Yan def. Cory Sandhagen Via Unanimous Decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)

UFC Light Heavyweight Title Fight:
Jan Blachowicz (205) vs. Glover Teixeira (205)

Round 1

At long last, the main event of UFC 267 is here. A Cinderella story himself, Blachowicz (28-8, 11-5 UFC) will look to keep an iron grip on his throne thanks to his renowned Polish power against fellow Cinderellian fighter Teixeira (32-7, 15-5 UFC). It is feel-good story on both counts between the 38-year-old Blachowicz and the 42-year-old former challenger Teixeira, but one will have to lose when it’s all said and done. Referee Marc Goddard is ready for wherever the fight takes him, and the light heavyweights show each other the utmost of respect, touching gloves before throwing down. Blachowicz leads the dance with a thumping leg kick, and Teixeira ducks down after a right hand to fake an ankle pick. Blachowicz does not bite, and instead kicks the lead calf again. Teixeira swarms with a few punches, and he charges in for a double and lifts the champion off the ground before slamming him to the mat. Teixeira, in the center of the cage, is tightly grasped by Blachowicz’ closed guard. Blachowicz holds on to not allow Teixeira to get off much in the way of ground-and-pound, and he sneaks up a short but effective elbow in a defensive blow. Teixeira calmly starts to work some strikes from on top, not forcing anything or allowing Blachowicz to gain any space to kick off or otherwise fight his way back up to his feet. Teixeira utilizes the can opener, grabbing Blachowicz on the back of his neck and wrenching his head up, in an effort to open the guard up. Blachowicz does not appear to appreciate this, but he does not loosen up his guard posture. The challenger hacks down with a few elbows, each of them landing loudly. Blachowicz stays on his back, riding out this position for most of the round without taking a great deal of damage. Teixeira latches on to the can opener one last time, and Blachowicz wriggles his neck free as the horn blares. When they stand up, Blachowicz acknowledges to Teixeira that the Brazilian won that round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Teixeira
Brian Knapp scores the round: 10-9 Teixeira
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Teixeira

Round 2

The second frame begins as Blachowicz is tentative, jabbing out from a distance while not committing to follow-up strikes. Teixeira charges with strikes, and Blachowicz backs away and trips on the outskirts of the cage. When Teixeira ducks into a takedown after eating a body shot, Blachowicz pulls his leg out with all his might to get away. The Polish fighter scores a solid combination to make Teixeira pay for the try, and he dings him with a sharp uppercut. The Brazilian pursues a takedown, but Blachowicz is ready for this one this time, and he turns his foe around on the fence while starting to land some knees. Blachowicz pushes off and aims an uppercut, and he tries to time another when Teixeira shoots. The shots are more telegraphed, and as Blachowicz tries to counter with another uppercut, a looping left hand catches Blachowicz on the side of the head, hurting the champion. Instead of following up with the strikes, he pursues a single, and he manages to wrestle the champ to his back. Unlike the last round, Teixeira does not stay in guard for long, instead passing to mount like a hot knife through butter. Blachowicz eats shots from on top, and he turns over to surrender his back. Teixeira flattens him out instantly, and he grabs hold of a rear-naked choke and is ready to set the hook. Crushing the forearm grip with all his might, the choke does not even go under Blachowicz’ chin, squeezing the jaw like a vice. Knowing his time is up, Blachowicz surrenders and lives to fight another day. Unbelievable! At the age of 42, Teixeira is now a UFC champion, and he is the second-oldest champ in UFC history trailing only to Randy Couture at 45. As he says in his post-fight interview, promises done, and he comes home with the belt. He invites likely challenger Jiri Prochazka to the cage to face off with him, and he hopes to meet him in May. Prochazka does not join him in the Octagon, but he does pose in the crowd, excited for the opportunity. In a final moment of pure inspiration, the new champion tells people to never give up on their dreams. Next week, another pair of belts will be on the line at UFC 268 in New York, and we will be here for it. We hope you are too.

The Official Result

Glover Teixeira def. Jan Blachowicz R2 3:02 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
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