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Sijara Eubanks can rest a little easier.
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 26 finalist rebounded from back-to-back losses with a unanimous decision over Sarah Moras in the featured UFC Fight Night 171 prelim on Wednesday at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. Eubanks (5-4, 3-2 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 marks from the judges.
Outside of two armbar attempts, Moras (6-6, 3-5 UFC) was largely ineffective. Eubanks fired knees in close quarters, landed in combination, countered when appropriate and applied heavy ground-and-pound once the Canadian engaged her on the floor. By the end of their 15-minute encounter, Moras was bleeding from the nose and showing visible signs of wear and tear.
Undefeated Ferrer Sinks Benitez
Omar Antonio Morales Ferrer kept his perfect professional record intact with a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” semifinalist Gabriel Benitez in a three-round lightweight prelim. All three cageside judges scored it for Ferrer (10-0, 2-0 UFC): 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Benitez (21-8, 5-4 UFC) continued to compete despite suffering a horrendous vertical cut on his rear leg—his shin bone was visible—due to stellar low kick defense from the Venezuelan. Ferrer operated behind an effective jab, traditional one-twos and a steady diet of kicks to the body and head. With blood streaming down his leg and onto his foot, Benitez did some of his best work in the third round, where he slammed a series of left hooks into his opponent’s body, scored with jabs of his own and landed a handful of straight lefts. Those efforts fell short.
The 31-year-old Benitez has lost back-to-back fights since his slam knockout of Humberto Bandenay in May 2018.
Kelleher KOs Unbeaten Azure
Former Ring of Combat champion Brian Kelleher knocked out the previously undefeated Hunter Azure in the second round of their undercard pairing at 145 pounds. Kelleher (21-10, 5-3 UFC) sealed the deal 3:40 into Round 2, as he kept his head above water in the featherweight division.
Azure (8-1, 1-1 UFC) was the aggressor out of the gate, unleashing punches with ill intent through much of the first round while denying all four of his opponent’s takedown attempts. Kelleher did not appear as though he had designs on turning the tide in the second—until he connected with a devastating left hook that sent the Fight Ready prospect crashing to the canvas. He followed up with a few hammerfists on the unconscious Azure before referee Jason Herzog could arrive on the scene.
Sherman Elbow Melts Villanueva
Chase Sherman made a triumphant return to the Octagon, as he cut down promotional newcomer Isaac Villanueva with a standing elbow strike in the second round of their heavyweight prelim. Villanueva (16-10, 0-1 UFC) bowed out 49 seconds into Round 2, the Fury Fighting Championship titleholder’s four-fight winning streak at an end.
Sherman (15-6, 3-5 UFC) took charge of the exchanges and proved particularly effective with kicks to the legs. Villanueva threw caution to the wind at the start of the middle stanza, ran into a thudding right hand and retreated to the fence, where he was met with a burst of offense punctuated by the fight-ending elbow.
The 30-year-old Sherman has rattled off four straight victories.
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