UFC Fight Night 144 Prelims: Markus Perez Anaconda Choke Taps Anthony Hernandez

By Brian Knapp Feb 2, 2019

Markus Perez could only smile at his handiwork.

The former Legacy Fighting Alliance titleholder strengthened his position in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight division, as he submitted Anthony Hernandez with an anaconda choke in the second round of their featured UFC Fight Night 144 prelim on Saturday at Centro de Formacao Olimpica do Nordeste in Fortaleza, Brazil. Hernandez (7-1, 0-1 UFC) bowed out 67 seconds into Round 2.

Perez (11-2, 2-2 UFC) remained calm in the face of immense forward pressure and let his skills do the rest. He gave Hernandez pause in the first round with an overhand left and right uppercut, followed later by a spinning back elbow. Perez doubled over the Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series alum early in Round 2, moved to his back in a standing position and framed the anaconda choke during a subsequent scramble before dragging him to the mat for the finish.

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Borella Outlasts Undefeated Santos

American Top Team’s Mara Romero Borella posted her fifth win in six appearances, as she took a split decision from the previously undefeated Taila Santos in a three-round women’s flyweight tilt. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with Borella.

Neither woman did much to distinguish herself. Borella (12-5, 2-1 UFC) did her best work in close quarters, particularly in the first and second rounds. The 32-year-old Italian answered a Santos takedown with one of her own and pursued a plodding clinch in an effort to neutralize her opponent’s advantages in the standup department. Santos (15-1, 0-1 UFC) hit her stride in the third round, as she pumped a consistent jab, chipped away with punching combinations and let fly with the occasional low kick. However, her efforts fell short.

Determined Alves Decisions Griffin

American Top Team mainstay Thiago Alves threw the brakes on a two-fight losing streak with a contentious split decision over former Tachi Palace Fights champion Max Griffin in a memorable three-round confrontation at 170 pounds. All three cageside judges struck 29-28 scorecards: Michael Bell for Griffin, Guilherme Bravo and Hallison Pontes for Alves.

Griffin (14-6, 2-4 UFC) had the Brazilian teetering on the brink more than once in the first round, where he piled up points with a sharp jab while mixing in the occasional head kick and right cross. In the waning moments of the period, he dropped Alves (23-13, 15-10 UFC) with a knee strike and chopping right hand, only to be cut off by the bell. “Pitbull” responded in the middle stanza. There, he drew Griffin into a brawl and forced him to retreat with kicks to the body and punches upstairs. “Max Pain” appeared to stem the tide in the third round, as he executed two takedowns and briefly climbed to full mount. However, the scorecards told a different tale.

The 33-year-old Griffin has lost three of his last four bouts.

Replacement Rozenstruik Downs Albini

Rizin Fighting Federation alum Jairzinho Rozenstruik dispatched Junior Albini with a head kick and follow-up punches in the second round of their heavyweight scrap. A short-notice substitution for the injured Dmitry Sosnovskiy, Rozenstruik (7-0, 1-0 UFC) brought it to a close 54 seconds into Round 1.

Albini (14-5, 1-3 UFC) controlled the early exchanges, as he struck for multiple takedowns in the first round, moved to advantageous positions and threatened with a kimura. His efforts did not yield the desired fruit. Rozenstruik clipped the Brazilian with sweeping punches inside the first minute of Round 2, floored him with a head kick and pounced with punches until the job was done.

It marked the third consecutive defeat for Albini.

De Freitas Outduels Unbeaten Colares

Former Shooto Americas champion Geraldo de Freitas Jr. excelled in his Octagon debut, as he cruised to a unanimous decision over Team Nogueira prospect Felipe Dias Colares in a three-round battle at 135 pounds. De Freitas (12-4, 1-0 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 marks from the judges.

Colares (8-1, 0-1 UFC) was outgunned in all phases. De Freitas punished him with power punching combinations, executed repeated takedowns and achieved full mount on multiple occasions. He staggered and cut Colares in the second round and punctuated his efforts in the third, where he integrated knees and landed damaging shots with both hands.

De Freitas, 27, has won seven straight fights.

Nurmagomedov Kick Sinks Ramos

Akhmat Fight Team export Said Nurmagomedov cut down Ricardo Ramos with a spinning back kick to the body and follow-up punches in the first round of their bantamweight clash. Ramos (12-2, 3-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 2:28 into Round 1, as he suffered his first defeat in nearly three years.

Nurmagomedov (13-1, 2-0 UFC) asserted himself from the start, firing off leg kicks and spinning backfists while pushing the Brazilian backward. Midway through the first round, he buried his heel into Ramos’ gut, forced him to the fence and unleashed with unanswered punches until referee Joao Claudio Soares had seen enough.

The 26-year-old Nurmagomedov now finds himself on a seven-fight winning streak.

Debuting Bontorin Upsets Bibulatov

Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series graduate Rogerio Bontorin eked out a split decision over former World Series of Fighting champion Magomed Bibulatov in a three-round encounter at 125 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Guilherme Bravo for Bibulatov, Michael Bell and Joseph Terrell for Bontorin.

Bibulatov (14-2, 1-2 UFC) was the more effective and efficient striker, as he worked over the Brazilian with knees, punches and kicks to the body. Bontorin (15-1, 1-0 UFC) counteracted his advantages with occasional punching bursts, opportunistic scrambles and well-timed reversals. He advanced to the back and threatened with a rear-naked choke in the first round and did the same late in the third, doing just enough to get by on the scorecards.

Bontorin, 26, has rattled off three straight wins.
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