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Ryan Spann can work with the narrowest of windows.
The promising Fortis MMA product continued to establish himself as an emerging threat in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight division, as he submitted Devin Clark with a guillotine choke in the second round of their featured UFC Fight Night 161 prelim on Saturday at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. Clark (10-4, 4-4 UFC) raised the white flag 2:01 into Round 2.
Spann (17-5, 3-0 UFC) did not show much interest in engaging throughout a tepid first round. He gathered strength in the second, dazed Clark with a sweeping left hook out of nowhere, flurried with punches and snapped down on the guillotine choke. Spann tightened his squeeze while the “Brown Bear” retreated to a kneeling position, the tapout following soon after.
Spann has pieced together a seven-fight winning streak that includes six finishes.
Replacement Davis Brutalizes Gifford
Dana White’s Contender Series alum Mike Davis knocked out a woefully overmatched Thomas Gifford in the third round of their lightweight encounter. Gifford (17-9, 0-2 UFC) met his end 4:45 into Round 3 after absorbing one of the worst beatings of 2019.
A short-notice replacement for the injured Brok Weaver, Davis (8-2, 1-1 UFC) did his business on the feet, where he smashed the Factory X representative with explosive multi-punch combinations that had the audience groaning in discomfort. Gifford, perhaps to his detriment, refused to go away. Davis unleashed on him at every turn and appeared to be closing in on a merciful finish on numerous occasions. Finally, in the closing seconds of the third round, he delivered a left hook-right hook combination that sent Gifford crashing to the mat face down.
Davis has recorded three wins in his past four outings.
Gritty Morono Outduels Griffin
Former Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder Alex Morono extended his run of consecutive victories to three with a unanimous decision over Max Griffin in a three-round welterweight clash. All three judges sided with Morono (17-5, 6-2 UFC): 29-28, 29-27 and 29-27.
Griffin (15-7, 3-5 UFC) put up substantial resistance — he executed four takedowns in the third round — but the big moments belonged to his adversary. Morono floored him with a head kick in the second round and followed with a burst of punches, a spinning backfist and a series of knee strikes for a near-finish. Griffin survived, but he entered Round 3 in a deep hole from which he could not escape.
The 33-year-old Griffin has lost three times in his last four outings.
Figueiredo Guillotine Submits Elliott
Deiveson Figueiredo submitted former Titan Fighting Championship titleholder Tim Elliott with a guillotine choke in the first round of their flyweight confrontation. In his first appearance in nearly two years, Elliott (15-9-1, 4-7 UFC) conceded defeat 3:08 into Round 1.
Figueiredo (17-1, 6-1 UFC) needed some time to navigate the Xtreme Couture export’s unorthodox approach, which included punches from odd angles and upward elbows in close quarters. Perhaps sensing he was outgunned on the feet, Elliott shot for an ill-advised takedown, wandered into the choke and soon realized there was no escape.
It was Figueiredo’s first submission victory since Dec. 1, 2016.
Surging Vera Overwhelms Ewell
Team Oyama’s Marlon Vera put away former CES MMA champion Andre Ewell with punches in the third round of their bantamweight tilt. Ewell (15-6, 2-2 UFC) bowed out 3:17 into Round 3, as he lost for the second time in three outings.
Vera (15-5-1, 9-4 UFC) gradually wore down his opponent with nonstop offense. He threatened Ewell with a standing arm-triangle choke in the first round, then hit the accelerator. Vera buried a series of kicks into the inside of the Apex MMA representative’s lead leg, corralled him along the fence with overwhelming aggression and hammered the body and head with a volley of knees. He stepped up his assault in the third round, where Ewell began to wilt. Vera used a guillotine choke to power into top position and let fly with punches to prompt the stoppage.
The 26-year-old Vera has rattled off five straight wins.
Unbeaten Baeza Wrecks Aldana
MMA Masters standout Miguel Baeza kept his perfect professional record intact, as he chopped down “The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” Season 2 semifinalist Hector Aldana with leg kicks and follow-up elbows in the second round of their welterweight scrap. Aldana (4-3, 0-3 UFC) succumbed to blows 2:32 into Round 2.
Baeza (8-0, 1-0 UFC) circled and probed at the outset, then zeroed in on his opponent’s leg. Repeated kicks to the calf took their toll, the last of them dropping Aldana where he stood in the center of the cage. Baeza pounced on his turtled adversary and cut loose with elbows until referee Michael Cardoso had seen enough.
The 31-year-old Aldana has lost three fights in a row, his place on the UFC roster precarious at best.
Impressive Vettori Stymies Sanchez
Former Venator Fighting Championship titleholder Marvin Vettori picked apart “The Ultimate Fighter 23” winner Andrew Sanchez across three rounds on his way to a unanimous decision in their pairing at 185 pounds. Vettori (14-4-1, 4-2-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27 marks from all three judges.
Sanchez (11-5, 4-3 UFC) connected with a spinning backfist in the third round but was otherwise ineffective. Vettori was quicker on the draw, swarmed with punches and often punctuated his combinations with knees to the head and body. He also shut down Sanchez’s efforts to lure him into grappling exchanges and mixed in the occasional kick and left hook to the gut for good measure.
Vettori has recorded back-to-back victories since his split decision loss to current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in April 2018.
Determined Aldrich Downs Mueller
J.J. Aldrich posted her fourth win in five appearances, as she took a unanimous decision from Alliance MMA export Lauren Mueller in a three-round women’s flyweight affair. All three cageside judges scored it for Aldrich (8-3, 4-2 UFC): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Aldrich attacked the body, head and lead leg of the Dana White’s Contender Series alum throughout the first round, then withstood significant difficulty in the middle stanza. There, Mueller (5-3, 1-3 UFC) drew the 303 Training Center rep into a dogfight, bloodied her nose and pushed her backward in a successful bid to alter the narrative of the fight. Aldrich returned fire in Round 3, where she staggered her counterpart with a straight left, leaned on her superior hand speed and connected with clean punching combinations.
Mueller, 27, now finds herself on a three-fight losing streak.