UFC Fight Night 173 ‘Brunson vs. Shahbazyan’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

By Jay Pettry Aug 1, 2020
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Chris Gutierrez (135.5) vs. Cody Durden (135.5)

Round 1

We are back at the UFC Apex after a month at the fabulous “Fight Island” that turned out to be the same location as three events in the UFC’s past, and we kick off this nine-fight ESPN+ card at the bantamweight division. In this card opener, Gutierrez (15-4-1, 3-1 UFC) will look to make Octagon newcomer Durden (11-2, 0-0 UFC) feel quite unwelcome on the roster. Drawing the first assignment of the night is referee Chris Tognoni, and a touch of gloves between these two commences the violence for the night. As has become a weapon for him, Gutierrez starts off feinting with his low calf kicks. Just drifting the leg out makes Durden flinch, but it is the debuting Durden who lands one first. Gutierrez returns fire with one, and Durden checks it, presses forward, and hits a single leg takedown. Gutierrez tries to muscle out of the position, but Durden stays calmly on top of him. When “El Guapo” tries to break free, Durden circles around and takes his back, where he gets his hooks in and softens Gutierrez up with short punches. Leaned up against the fence, Durden does not have the leverage for a choke, so he sits comfortably as he smacks Gutierrez in the side of head repeatedly. Durden sees an opportunity and grabs hold of a brute force neck crank of a rear-naked choke, and it is not under the chin and just more of a jawbreaker, but Gutierrez outlasts it. After Durden keeps drilling him on the side of the head, Gutierrez rolls to his stomach and gets clubbed like Angel Face as played by Jared Leto. Gutierrez eats punch after punch, grimaces and turns back to the previous position, where Durden keeps punching him. When we hear the 10-second clapper, Gutierrez rolls him over, but he cannot do anything with it as the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Durden
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Durden
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Durden

Round 2

Gutierrez opens up with his patented leg kick, and Durden takes it and then absorbs another. Durden tries to fire one back at him, but this time Gutierrez checks it as Durden backs away. Durden shoots in from a wide distance to pursue a double leg takedown, and Gutierrez stands him up with his back against the fence. Durden backs off, and takes a hard leg kick, so he rushes in from afar on an ill-fated takedown. Gutierrez pushes him down to the canvas as he stuffs it, and when Durden stands, Gutierrez tries to fire out a knee but the end of his foot nails Durden in the cup. The action pauses immediately as we hear Durden yell out in pain from the inadvertent groin shot. Tognoni gives Durden all the time he needs to recover, and he takes it. The fight resumes with Durden coming out aggressively, firing out hard low kicks and rushing after his opponent. He tries to set up a chain of punches that backs Gutierrez against the fence, but “El Guapo” evades them and stings him with a heavy leg kick. Gutierrez gets clipped in the nose with a long left, but he zings back yet another leg kick. The two trade jabs, and Gutierrez digs to the body with a left hand and follows it with a short uppercut. Gutierrez keeps chopping down the lead leg, targeting the left calf of Durden repeatedly, and he is landing it practically at will. Durden looks to respond, but when it is checked, he falls to his back. Instead of diving at him. Gutierrez whips a wild kick at the same spot, forcing Durden to scramble back to his feet. When Durden gets back up, Gutierrez goes back to it again. Durden shoots in from across the cage for a single, and Gutierrez sprints away while pulling his leg out. On the second effort, Durden manages to get him down, but Gutierrez instantly sets up for an armbar on his back. Durden is trapped and in a bad way, and he rolls belly down to try to get free. He cannot secure the submission before the round ends, but this was a much better effort for Gutierrez this round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Gutierrez
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Gutierrez
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Gutierrez

Round 3

The last round begins with a glove touch, and Gutierrez opens with a leg kicks and a solid one-two. Durden returns fire with a leg kick a mile away, and Gutierrez shrugs it off and tosses one back at him. Durden unsuccessfully lands a takedown, but he does get off a low kick on the separation. The primary method of attack for both of these men is a leg kick, although Gutierrez flicks up a quick high kick that gets blocked. When they both kick at one another, one of Durden’s soars a little high and clips him on the cup. Gutierrez takes a very short break to hopefully keep a pace on his man, and he begins again with a low kick and a left hand. Durden slams his own leg kick home, and Gutierrez checks a second and fires up a head kick that is narrowly protected against. Gutierrez chains a leg kick into a spinning back kick, and the latter pounds the body. Durden does not like this strike, and he races forward for a takedown, only to be rebuffed and shoved away. Gutierrez backs off, keeping his distance with low kicks and jabs to keep Durden at a distance. Durden again presses in, but he does not appear to have enough steam to drag Gutierrez down. He takes a breath when they separate, only to charge in for a single. Gutierrez keeps his balance impressively, and while Durden has the leg held up, Gutierrez drops him with a short left like Anderson Silva vs. James Irvin. Durden gets back up, and catches another kick to try the same thing, so Gutierrez loads up on a pair of elbows. When Durden gathers himself and advances, Gutierrez catches him with a knee that plants Durden on his back. Gutierrez jumps on top this time, landing a few punches before backing away. With a couple seconds left, Gutierrez flips in the air with an unusual strike, but nothing comes from it as he falls to his back while time expires. It will be interesting to see how the judges score this one, as we could be looking at a draw here.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Gutierrez (28-28)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Gutierrez (28-28)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Gutierrez (28-27 Gutierrez)

The Official Result

Chris Gutierrez vs. Cody Durden is Ruled a Unanimous Draw (28-28, 28-28, 28-28)

Jamall Emmers (146) vs. Vince Cachero (145)

Round 1

Up at the featherweight division, a bout – like many tonight – affected by a short-notice change in opponent is up next, as Emmers (17-5, 0-1 UFC) greets fellow LFA vet Cachero (7-2, 0-0 UFC). With both men searching for their first UFC win, referee Jason Herzog is on top of the action. The two do not touch ‘em up before they start swinging for the fences, and instead begin with high intensity and big kicks. Emmers fires off a body kick, all while avoiding the low kick. Cachero comes back with a one-two, and ducks out of the way when Emmers flies at him with a knee. Emmers picks at him with a few low kicks, and catches Cachero on the way in with low kicks and punches over the top. Cachero recoils for a moment, and then advances rapidly. Emmers stings him with a right hand, but Cachero walks through it and into a clinch. “Prettyboy” snags a Thai clinch and knees the newcomer in the head a few times before Cachero backs away. Cachero comes back out firing quickly, and it is Emmers who lands to the body and with a couple long punches. Emmers checks a leg kick and sneaks up a front kick to the midsection, and Cachero catches a kick with the opposite leg and tosses Emmers to the canvas. Emmers gets back to his feet, so Cachero circles to his back. Emmers spins out and takes a glancing knee to the cup, where the action pauses. Emmers shakes it out and we resume, with Cachero charging at him but taking a few punches. Emmers clips him with a knee, and then a punch nearly drops Cachero. Emmers gets off a few body kicks, and in the clinch, strings together a bevy of knees that all drill Cachero square on the chin. Emmers chains together a quick combination of punches and kicks, and Cachero’s chin holds up as he wades forward into the fray. Emmers steps in with a knee, and Cachero tries to grab his leg to take him down, but Emmers halts it and wraps up another Thai clinch. Emmers cracks him to the body and head with a few more knees, and Cachero takes one after the other as he is getting bullied. Emmers lands one more flush up the middle, and changes levels to hit an easy takedown. Although he takes half guard, Cachero gets him back to full guard and rides out the round on his back.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Emmers
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Emmers
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Emmers

Round 2

They clap hands to begin the round, where Emmers immediately opens up with kicks to the body. Three punches from Emmers glance off his intended target, and Cachero swings and misses in a response. Cachero commits to a trio of leg kicks, and the third makes Emmers’ knee nearly buckle. “The Anomaly” is unconcerned about the damage he is taking, and blocks a head kick while walking through powerful strike after powerful strike. Emmers tags him hard with an overhand right, and the damage finally appears to add up as Cachero is wobbling a little. Emmers keeps on the pace, landing with big hooks that make Cachero try to tie him up. Emmers flirts with a big knee, but ends up lifting and putting Cachero down on the ground. Cachero walks back up and makes his way to the fence while Emmers has his back, and Emmers is landing shots all the while. Cachero turns about in the clinch and whiffs with an elbow, so Emmers sets up one more Thai clinch. Emmers unloads a few knees until Cachero breaks free, and the short-notice replacement starts swinging wildly. Emmers pushes him away, and then shoves him to the fence. Cachero regains his composure and puts together a few punches, and Emmers targets the body to try to burn out the gas tank of his opponent. Emmers appears to be tiring as well, but Cachero keeps an active offense going with long, straigt shots. Emmers gets his attention with a right, and then another makes Cachero take a backward step. Emmers puts it on him with a few more punches, and Cachero practically stands in front of him and trades back. When Cachero is off-balance, Emmers bullies him down to the ground and gets into full guard. Cachero tries to wing a few elbows from on his back, and Emmers seems more content to hold on tight to end the round. The horn sounds with Emmers on top, catching his breath.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Emmers
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Emmers
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Emmers

Round 3

The two touch gloves to start the final round, and like before, Emmers’ offense gets off first. A few jabs that are followed by a front kick and a body kick all land to a degree. When Cachero tries to come back at him, Emmers ducks away and lands a body kick. Cachero charges forward, and Emmers jumps in the air and circles to allow Cachero to practically fall into the cage. Emmers goes after a takedown attempt, lifting Cachero up, but he cannot get his man down. He throws a few punches to set up another attempt, and this time, he secures it and places himself comfortable into his opponent’s guard. Cachero’s elbows are bouncing off Emmers’ head while he has Emmers’ hand tied up, but Emmers pulls his arm free and hops over to half guard. Emmers gets two-on-one wrist control to pursue a kimura, and Cachero rolls to his stomach to defend it. While he protects himself from the maneuver, Emmers manages to take side control briefly. Cachero keeps rolling, and manages to squirm and get to his knees and feet, where he is shoved to the fence. Cachero reverses this position and gets off a couple short knees, but Emmers targets the clinch to ring home an elbow or two. They break, and Emmers comes back at him with a double leg takedown attempt. Cachero stands him up but surrenders his back as they line up toe the fence. When Cachero turns out, Emmers practically lifts him up in the air with a knee to the body. Emmers scoops out his opponent’s legs and drags Cachero down, where he is already in side control. Cachero scrambles to get out of danger, but it gets worse for him, as he gives up his back and Emmers secures his hooks. Cachero clings on to Emmers’ wrist to prevent a choke, and tries to turn and buck to get free, but gives up mount at the final bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Emmers (30-27 Emmers)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Emmers (30-27 Emmers)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Emmers (30-27 Emmers)

The Official Result

Jamall Emmers def. Vince Cachero via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Johnny Munoz Jr. (145.5) vs. Joseph Nathan Maness (144.5)

Round 1

Staying at 145 pounds with another matchup slammed by opponent changes, King of the Cage mainstay Munoz (10-0, 0-0 UFC) and former TKO bantamweight champ Maness (11-1, 0-0 UFC) will both be making their promotional debuts against one another. The third man inside the cage is referee Mark Smith, and there is no touch of gloves as these two want to get things going early. They trade punches, and both evade most of the shots, but Munoz sticks him with a couple popping body kicks. Maness follows after him with a right hand, and Munoz circles away with a kick. Munoz may have landed a groin shot, but we do not stop as Munoz keeps his distance with kicks to the body. Munoz shoots in with a body lock takedown, and dings Maness to the groin again; this time, we do pause. Maness shakes it out, and the first second the action resumes, Munoz drills him in the cup again. Maness gets time to recover, and Smith warns Munoz about these strikes and lets him know that one more and he will fill out his punch card for a free submarine sandwich. Munoz abandons the kicks when we unpause, and he grabs hold of his opponent and bullies him to the fence. Munoz complains that Maness is grabbing the fence, so he resets and elevates Maness, planting him down on the ground. Munoz jumps into half guard, and tries to slice into side position, and does. Munoz gets off a few shoulder strikes and punches that fluster Maness, and he considers an arm-triangle choke and bails on it for a kimura. He lets it go briefly to take north-south position, and goes after the arm again while he has his knee pressed on Maness’ shoulder. Munoz keeps a tight grip on the arm, so Maness looks to kick off the fence to survive the position. Munoz slams him in the face with a few punches, and Maness turns and gets his in the back of the head. Smith warns Munoz, and Munoz ignores it and takes mount, where he starts to rain down punishment. Munoz keeps on pounding right until the horn, and Maness may have been saved by the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Munoz
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Munoz
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Munoz

Round 2

The two take the center of the cage to begin the round, and Munoz flicks kicks at him until he shoots in for a takedown. Maness manages to stuff it, so when Munoz backs away, he flails with a side kick to the torso. Maness walks him down and sticks him with a left, and then a right to force Munoz to shoot again. Maness stuffs this one and gets pressed to the cage wall, where he breaks free and eats a right hand. Munoz tries to transition from a double to a single, and Maness is jammed against the fence while trying to punch him in the body. Munoz is singularly fixated on this leg, but Maness yanks it free and turns out. When Maness is striking on the inside, one opens up a cut on the top of Munoz’ head. Munoz is streaming blood, and the two jockey for position as Maness complains about yet another groin strike. Smith waves it off, so Munoz continues to grind until Smith separates them when Muhoz grabs the fence. When Munoz lobs out a leg, Maness dings him with a right hand, forcing Munoz to go after another takedown. Maness rebuffs him and turns him about on the fence, where the action once again grinds to a stalemate on the fence. Munoz considers to take him down again, and Maness does not allow it as he takes another knee that could have been low. Maness leaps in the air with an attack, and he does not land the strike but bowls Munoz over. Maness allows him to stand up, and for his kindness, Munoz races towards him, scoops him on the ground and slams him to the canvas. Maness tries to get some punches off from his back, but Munoz ignores them and tries to advance position until we hear the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Munoz
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Munoz
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Munoz

Round 3

The two clap hands, and Munoz opens the round by nailing Maness in the cup with a left kick. Maness collapses in a heap against the fence, and Smith is not happy and deducts one point from Munoz for repeated low blows. Maness is able to continue, and Munoz crashes in for a double. Maness stands him up and works the body a few times while Munoz embraces the grind. Smith presses the fighters to keep working, and Maness tries to fight out but gets turned back and kneed in the side. Munoz, who is quickly developing a bad reputation in his promotional debut, is again urged to stop grabbing the cage. Munoz sneaks in a knee up the middle that thankfully is clean, and he puts a few more on him to stay busy enough to avoid referee intervention. Maness grimaces as one might have connected with the cup, and Smith tells Munoz to keep the strikes clean. He separates the two, and Maness comes out swinging. Munoz backs away with a kick, and he shoots for a double that he turns into a single. Maness defends both attempts but is getting mashed on the fence. Smith chides the fighters to continue, so Maness muscles his way around to reverse the position, but Munoz turns him back over and drops down for a single. Munoz commits for it as he readjusts high, and Maness stops it and turns his opponent to the fence. The undefeated fighter does not abate, so Maness manages to hit his own takedown with 45 seconds left. Maness lands a shot from on top, and Munoz sets up a leg lock that looks like a calf slicer. Munoz screams, and Smith almost steps in, but it may have been from effort and not some pain on his own side. The horn sounds, and this strange fight is mercifully over.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 9-9 (29-26 Munoz)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 9-9 (29-26 Munoz)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 9-9 (29-26 Munoz)

The Official Result

Nate Maness def. Johnny Munoz via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)

Frankie Saenz (136) vs. Jonathan Martinez (140.5: Missed Weight)

Round 1

Remaining practically at the featherweight division – this fight is officially a 141-pound catchweight after Martinez missed weight -- Saenz (12-6, 5-4 UFC) takes on Martinez (11-3, 2-2 UFC) in the preliminary headliner. Our Octagon ranger is referee Chris Tognoni, and they opt to touch gloves to start the fight. Saenz is quickly on his bike, as he sets up a big right hand that he turns into a double leg takedown. Martinez walks up the fence, so Saenz rewards him for his effort with several knees up the middle. Saenz yanks him off the fence and tries to hit a takedown, but Martinez keeps upright and lands a knee to force a separation. Saenz backs off with his right hand cocked back, but he does not unload it as Martinez kicks him in the body. Saenz responds with a low kick, and he blocks a high kick that zooms at his head. Martinez sneaks up a front kick through the middle, and he follows suit with a knee that backs Saenz off. Saenz tries to get back at him with a looping right hand, and when he wades forward, Martinez catches him coming in with a knee and a few punches. Saenz slaps with a heavy leg kick, but it is one-and-done as Martinez gets two body kicks off and a head kick that gets blocked. Martinez stings him with a check knee, and Saenz backs off and loops a right hand at him. Martinez again lands the knee when Saenz advances, and he chains together a couple punches over the top. Saenz rushes in and just narrowly avoids a big knee, but Martinez backs him against the fence and unloads on him with punches and kicks until the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Martinez
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Martinez
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Martinez

Round 2

Martinez flicks up a high kick that is easily blocked, and a right hand gets through the guard as Saenz comes back at him with a few punches. Martinez nails him with a head kick, and a body kick as he is doing work while Saenz is headhunting with punches. Saenz gets a leg kick checked, which makes him circle around the fence, so Martinez targets the leg with a kick of his own. Saenz connects with a right hand that allows him to close the distance and hit a double, but Martinez is sharp and springs back up, before landing to the body. A left kick from Martinez buckles Saenz’ legs, and Martinez keeps working the body again and again with front kicks and left hands. Martinez steps in with a flush knee that snaps Saenz’ head back, and he goes to the body again while Saenz tries to defend it. Martinez springs forward with a knee, and clacks a head kick off Saenz’ dome, sending the Arizona native to the canvas. Martinez dives after him with punches, and opens up a cut on Saenz’ head while he pounds on him. Saenz manages to recover and get back to his feet, successfully escaping the top control over “Dragon.” Saenz attempts to regain his composure and goes to the body, but Martinez slaps a body kick that gets his attention again. Saenz tries to close the distance with a kick and a right hand, but Martinez sees it coming, sneaks in his own right and circles away to connect with a head kick. Saenz sells out for a takedown from far off, and Martinez easily stuffs it. When he stands back up, he nails Saenz in the head with a kick, sending Saenz crashing to the cage wall and slumped over. Martinez darts in to finish the fight, and Tognoni warns that Saenz needs to keep fighting or he will stop it. Saenz clings on tight to ride out the round, and he barely survives to the bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Martinez
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Martinez
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Martinez

Round 3

Saenz has not recovered with that minute break, coming out of his corner like he was on ice skates. Perhaps luckily for Saenz and unluckily for those keeping score, Martinez pops him to the cup with a kick, and the action halts. Saenz takes the time to recover, and when we start up again, Martinez is back at him with a body kick and then a blazing head kick. Saenz charges in with a last burst of offense and gets blasted in the chin with a knee and set down, and Martinez pours it on with a barrage of punches until Tognoni rescues him. This is a huge win for Martinez, with the only downside of his victory that he missed weight by several pounds. The weight appeared to make a difference, but Martinez still got his hand raised at the end.

The Official Result

Jonathan Martinez def. Frankie Saenz R3 0:57 via TKO (Knee and Punches)

Trevin Giles (185) vs. Kevin Holland (184)

Round 1

The bout was scratched on Saturday night shortly before it was scheduled to take place when Giles passed out backstage and the commission called off the fight.

Ed Herman (206) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (204.5)

Round 1

The bout was canceled Saturday afternoon after Meerschaert tested positive for COVID-19. The news was first reported by Combate's Ana Hissa.

Lando Vannata (155.5) vs. Bobby Green (156)

Round 1

Unexpectedly kicking off this now four-fight main card is a rematch between two exciting lightweight fighters, as Vannata (11-4-2, 3-4-2 UFC) and Green (25-10-1, 6-5-1 UFC) try to settle the score after their 2017 “Fight of the Night” draw. Trying not to get hit by an errant blow will be Dan Hardy’s favorite referee, Herb Dean; there is a quick glove touch before they start fighting. Green takes a leg kick and stares at Vannata, before throwing one back. He comes at Vannata with a right hand, and then get swarmed and tags Vannata with a right hand. “Groovy” boots him in the head, and they both land heavy right hands and laugh them off. Green ducks a power right and gets stuck with a jab, causing him to swing and miss with a booming right. Green lands a leg kick, and another gets checked, so Green targets the same spot. Vannata sits down on a right hand that wobbles Green, and not to be outdone, Green hurts Vannata with his own. They both shake it off, and Vannata catches a kick to try to take Green down, but Green walks out of it. Green picks at him with a few long jabs, and his hands are down as his waist while Vannata looks to time an uppercut up the middle. Green backs off and lands a front kick, and stings Vannata with a short right. When Vannata charges towards him, he gets another one in. Vannata slips a right hand and scores his own, but Green cracks him with a thudding short check hook that puts Vannata down. “Groovy” manages to spring back up, and he manages to keep his balance as Green lifts his left up and walks him across the cage. When Green separates, he tries a spinning elbow, but Vannata times a perfect left to interrupt the strike and stun Green momentarily. Both men land flush and hurt one another, and Green’s short right hooks have busted up the nose of his opponent. Green doubles up a jab to follow with a right, and then eats a Vannata strike to score a one-two. Green wades forward through a punch to land his own, and they crack each other at the sound of the horn.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Green
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Green
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Green

Round 2

They lead off with a respectful touch of gloves to start the round, and Green stands in front of him to goad him into standing and banging. Vannata instead clinches up with him and pushes him to the fence, but Green fights his way out. Vannata connects with a hard left kick that spins Green around, and Green blocks a high kick to shove Vannata to the canvas. “Groovy” pops back up, and he takes a stiff left as Green closes in on him. Vannata pushes free, so Green greets him with a few stomping kicks to the knee and low kicks to the calf. Green pops him with a few jabs, and he strings one into a one-two as Vannata tries to come back at him. They start jawing at one another as they continue to land, with Green getting jabs off as Vannata’s nose continues to grow red. Vannata nails him with a head kick, and Green partly rolls with it and shoots in for a takedown. Green gets it, and falls into a guillotine choke, but he manages to step over to get his neck out of a dangerous position. Vannata kicks off to get back up, and he swings and misses with a head kick. Green sticks a few jabs in his face, and a stomping kick irritates Vannata. Vannata swarms him with a few punches, but Green stays away and rolls with most of the impact, but Vannata is connecting. Green keeps his jab out there, and Vannata is committing to power strikes. Whey they come together, Vannata hits a takedown and takes Green’s back, but Green is not concerned as he stands back up. On the break, Vannata lands an elbow, so Green spins with one. Green flicks out a few more jabs, and Vannata tries to reply with a spinning wheel kick, but it comes up short. Green ducks out of the way of a few punches as the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Green
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Green
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Green

Round 3

The two touch ‘em up to start off, and Vannata comes out firing and hurts him with a few punches. Vannata spins and drills Green to the body with a kick, and Green tries to play it off like it did not hurt. Vannata keeps coming forward, and he walks into a clinch. Green lands knee after knee to the granite chin of “Groovy,” but a picture-perfect right hand sets Vannata down hard. Green pounces on him, and rains down elbows and punches as he is busting up his opponent. Vannata turns to his stomach, and Green immediately pursues a rear-naked choke. Vannata slides him off and hunts for a heel hook, but Green pushes him off and the two get back to their feet. Green clubs him with an uppercut, and a jab followed by a right hand hurts Vannata again. Green jabs, ducks the counter, and shoots in for a takedown. Vannata fishes for a guillotine choke again, but it is not tight and Green advances to half guard, where he slashes down with elbows. Vannata turns and gives up his back again, and like before, Green hunts for the rear-naked choke. This time, he is not too far over, but Vannata is still able to get to his knees and stand back up. Green circles away to poke at him with a leg kick, and narrowly misses a booming right hook. They clinch up, and Green tries to score the knee but is just short. Vannata loads up with a right hand and snaps Green’s head back, but Green wears it well as Vannata charges at him. Vannata kicks to the body, and when he bounces Green off the fence, he is out of range of a few big punches. Vannata targets him with a right hand, but Green avoids it and scores a one-two. Vannata bites down on his mouthpiece with a big punch, and in a Hail Mary, fires off a spinning back kick. Vannata falls to the canvas after his kick glances off Green's midsection, and we hear the blare of the horn to conclude this exciting fight. This one should produce a winner, and it is easily in the running for “Fight of the Night” so far – but stay tuned, we may have some surprises around the corner coming up.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Green (30-26 Green)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Green (30-26 Green)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Green (30-26 Green)

The Official Result

Bobby Green def. Lando Vannata via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

Vicente Luque (170.5) vs. Randy Brown (170.5)

Round 1

Two welterweights with an eye towards the finish are squaring off now, with Luque (18-7-1, 11-3 UFC) and Brown (12-3, 6-3 UFC) combining for four decision wins across their 30 career victories. Keeping a watchful eye on what many consider to be the dark horse “Fight of the Night” candidate is referee Mark Smith. They do not touch gloves, as Brown takes the center of the Cage and Luque walks towards him. Luque digs a kick on the outside of Brown’s long legs, and Brown tries to respond. Brown lands a jab that marks up Luque’s nose, and the Brazilian kicks him in the calf that spins Brown around. Brown fires one back at him, and Luque absorbs it without moving nearly as dramatically. Brown tries to flip out his jab, and Luque targets the lead calf a few times to already force a stance switch just over a minute in. When Brown goes back to orthodox, Luque drills it two more times. Brown is committing to a jab, and actually lands an open-handed slap, but backs away when Luque keeps after the leg. Luque swings and misses with a bomb of a right hand, and Brown rolls with it and tries to fire back but is also off the mark. Luque keeps working the leg, and Brown is trying to back him of with straight lefts. When they crash together, Luque slams him in the face with a right hand that drops Brown like a sack of bricks. Luque dives down to attack, and Brown ties him up with a guillotine choke that is not very tight. Luque considers a submission, but abandons it to stand back up. Brown keeps his range with long punches and kicks, and Luque catches one and slaps it hard with a responding kick that makes Brown change stances. Brown doubles up with a left kick low and high, and Luque blocks it and walks forward while Brown loads up on shots. Luque aims and lands at the same spot on Brown’s calf, and he wings a right hand over the top that Brown rolls with. A body kick followed by a left hand makes Brown stumble and fall across the cage, and he grabs the fence to stay upright as Smith warns him to knock it off. Brown gathers himself and closes the distance to stop the leg kicks, and cannot land much of note in the clinch as they break. Brown tries to sting him with a flying knee, but Luque protects his face and takes a left hand that may have opened up a cut on the corner of his right eye.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Luque
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Luque
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Luque

Round 2

Brown opens the round with a front kick and a body kick, and Luque responds with a heavy kick that connects hard on Brown’s cup. It’s groin strike night in the Apex, and Brown does not take long before resuming action. Brown starts of with a spinning back kick, and Luque absorbs it and a right hand to walk through them and swing with harder punches. Brown is able to avoid those shots, and he has a leg kick checked. The two trade jabs, and one of Luque’s backs him off. Luque loads up on his low kick, and Brown crumples to the canvas. Luque whips a few kicks to that same spot, before backing away to allow Brown back to his feet. After a few jabs from Luque, he targets the inside of that damaged leg. Brown fires an uppercut that blows the hair back, and Luque ignores it and lands the leg kick again to make Brown switch stances. Luque lumps it up again and Borwn comes up ginger, and clinches up, but Luque shoves him away. Brown tries to keep the advancing Brazilian at bay with long jabs, but Luque practically laughs them off to go to the legs and head. He lets a few go, and Brown grabs him and clinches up, where he connects a hard knee that may have busted him up. Luque tries to come in, and Brown times a perfect spinning back elbow that rings Luque’s bell. Brown walks forward with long kicks, and tries to grab hold of him and get a standing arm-triangle choke. Brown clinches up, and he pushes through to land a body lock takedown, where he lands in side control. Luque pops back up without much effort before absorbing any strikes, and Luque spins him around with a leg kick. They close in on the fence, and Luque elbows him in the jaw for good measure. Brown ducks down and Luque clobbers him with a knee right on the side of the head right before Brown grounded himself. Luque actually pulled Brown up land the knee and keep it legal, and Brown falls down lifelessly like a puppet that just had its strings snipped. A few finishing punches are academic, and Smith stops the fight to rescue a doomed Brown at the tail end of the round. This was an impressive performance for Luque, who takes a bow after admiring his work.

The Official Result

Vicente Luque def. Randy Brown R2 4:56 via KO (Knee and Punches)

Joanne Calderwood (126) vs. Jennifer Maia (124.5)

Round 1

In the co-main event, we are treated to the only women’s bout of the night, and it is a pivotal one at 125 pounds between presumptive title challenger Calderwood (14-4, 6-4 UFC) and powerful Brazilian Maia (17-6-1, 2-2 UFC). “Jojo” is putting her title shot on the line with this bout, and both the two women and referee Jason Herzog understand the gravity of this bout. They touch gloves, and Calderwood starts off with a light leg kick. Maia tries to gauge her range with a few punches, and takes a leg kick before firing a right hand back at “Jojo.” Calderwood keeps her quick leg kicks going, and the Brazilian times a right hand over the top. They stand in front of one another and trade hard punches, and Calderwood is already marked up early. Maia gets off a one-two, and when she tries to follow it, she takes a front kick to the torso. Calderwood flicks out her front kick and body kick, and Maia walks through them to clinch up and land a hard knee on the midsection. “Jojo” lets fly a head kick, and Maia rolls with it and connects with a right hand. Calderwood brings up a front kick to the slap Maia in the face, so Maia returns fire with a few punches. Maia slings a high kick, and Calderwood catches it to take Maia down. The Scot stays heavy to keep Maia down, and Maia looks for a submission off her back to possibly set up a triangle or an omoplata. She pulls back to aim for a straight armbar, but Calderwood is wise to it and gets free from all of this danger. Maia throws her legs up again, and Calderwood breaks it up with a few punches. Maia ties her up to thwart most of the offense, and she quickly puts her legs up for an armbar setup. She gets the position she wants, and the arm is tight, so Calderwood rolls to her back while Maia locks it up. Calderwood thinks to tap, and instead she twists and turns, but there is no way out. Calderwood has no choice but to surrender, thereby awarding Maia the biggest win of her career and possibly lining up a new challenger to Valentina Shevchenko.

The Official Result

Jennifer Maia def. Joanne Calderwood R1 4:29 via Submission (Armbar)

Derek Brunson (186) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (185.5)

Round 1

We have rapidly reached the main event, which is a three-round middleweight tilt as two knockout artists in Brunson (20-7, 11-5 UFC) and Shahbazyan (11-0, 4-0 UFC) come to blows. Sharing 20 knockout wins across their 31 career triumphs, referee Herb Dean may have his work cut out for him in this abbreviated affair moved to the headliner spot on short notice. They have no interest in touching gloves, as Shahbazyan marches forward and takes a punch to the body. Brunson swings and misses with a low kick, and a body kick comes up mostly short. Shahbazyan leans down to land a punch to the body, and then goes for another as Brunson backs off. They come together, and Shahbazyan clips Brunson with a short check hook. Shahbazyan changes levels briefly, and Brunson grabs hold of his neck, so “The Golden Boy” breaks free and disengages. Shahbazyan whips a head kick up high that comes up shy of the mark, and a right hand that follows catches Brunson standing. Brunson tries to get a few more kicks off, and Shahbazyan circles to his left and sneaks in a left hand. Brunson charges at him with a few punches, only to change levels and go after a takedown. Shahbazyan rips a few elbows to the side of Brunson’s head, but Brunson tosses him down anyway. Shahbazyan tries to get back to his feet, and avoids damage while getting to his knees. When he stands up, Brunson mashes him on the fence, so Shahbazyan delivers a big right hand that forces a break. Shahbazyan loads up on a few more rights, and Brunson backs off to shoot for a takedown. Shahbazyan nails him a few more times, and Brunson wobbles but keeps his composure as he eats these power shots. Shahbazyan ends the night well with a groin kick, and Brunson shrugs it off so there is not much of a pause. Brunson rushes in with looping hooks and elbows, and Shahbazyan backs away to reconsider his position. Brunson comes forward to implement a takedown, and Shahbazyan catches him on the chin with a knee. Brunson is not concerned, and he keeps pushing heavy, but Shahbazyan shoves him away. Brunson leads with a knee and a left hand, so Shahbazyan gives it back with a knee to the body and a right of his own. Brunson slaps low with a kick, and goes to the body, so Shahbazyan slings a few punches and an elbow as the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Shahbazyan
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Shahbazyan
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Shahbazyan

Round 2

Perhaps surprising to some, we see a second round. Shahbazyan leads off with a head kick, and Brunson eats it like a steak and tries to throw back. Shahbazyan counters that offense with a right hook, and Brunson returns fire with a left hook. Shahbazyan overextends himself with a looping hook, allowing Brunson to take his leg and lift him up, setting Shahbazyan on his back. Shahbazyan springs right back up without effort, and in the clinch, we hear someone landed a cup shot. Neither pay it any mind, and they separate, which allows Brunson to kick to the body. When Shahbazyan advances, Brunson holds his fingers outstretched and jabs Shahbazyan in the eye, so Dean pauses the fight. On the break, Dean warns both fighters to keep track of their fingers, and Brunson sticks out a right hand to re-introduce it to Shahbazyan’s face. Shahbazyan digs him to the body with a kick that nearly makes Brunson double over, and as he tries to pour it on, Brunson counters him and bullies him against the fence. Brunson separates to string together a heavy series of punches, and he punctuates it with a knee. Shahbazyan loads up on a pair of enormous right hands, and they whiz by the bleach blonde hair of Brunson. Shahbazyan’s punches are more loose now, and his one-two is labored as Brunson ignores it. Brunson pressures him against the fence again, and lands a few shots while keeping his weight on the undefeated fighter. Brunson scoops the legs out and puts Shahbazyan down, where he drops down some powerful hammerfists as he takes side control. Shahbazyan rolls to his stomach, and Brunson keeps him trapped with punches, pounding on him while Shahbazyan twists and turns. Brunson is in half guard raining down punches, and Shahbazyan eats practically all of them as he is trapped on his back. Brunson postures up to hack at Shahbazyan with a nasty elbow, and Shahbazyan’s eyebrow is split wide open. The horn sounds, and when Shahbazyan sits on his stool between rounds, he nearly falls off as Dean calls in the doctor.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Brunson
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-8 Brunson
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Brunson

Round 3

Shahbazyan may be hurt, but the cut is not in a bad enough spot to end the fight, so he requests to continue. Brunson comes out firing with a leg kick and looks much fresher, as he chases Shahbazyan around the cage. Brunson leaps forward with a few reaching punches, and he rips Shahbazyan off his feet and starts clubbing him in the face with sledgehammers. Only a few more need to come down before Dean has seen enough, and Brunson has now handed “The Golden Boy” the first loss of his career in devastating fashion. That spells the end of this shortened fight night, so see you next week for more action!

The Official Result

Derek Brunson def. Edmen Shahbazyan R3 0:26 via TKO (Punches)
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