Damon Jackson with sub No. in his UFC return.
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Persistence was Damon Jackson’s strongest ally.
The Fortis MMA mainstay returned to the Ultimate Fighting Championship for the first time in nearly five years and did so with spectacular results, as he submitted Mirsad Bektic with a mounted guillotine choke in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 178 prelim on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Bektic (13-4, 6-4 UFC) waved the white flag 1:21 into Round 3.
Jackson (18-3-1, 1-1-1 UFC) refused to be denied. Bektic largely dominated the first two rounds with takedowns, ground-and-pound and positional control. In response, Jackson employed an active submission game, threatening the Tristar Gym representative with guillotines and kimuras. Behind on the scorecards, “The Leech” countered a Bektic takedown early in the third round with another guillotine. He then shifted to a mounted position, torqued the choke and forced the tapout.
Once regarded as a can’t-miss prospect, Bektic now finds himself in a three-fight tailspin.
Dvorak Hobbles, Subdues Espinosa
David Dvorak continued his climb on the flyweight ladder, as he cruised to a unanimous decision over Jordan Espinosa in a three-round undercard battle at 125 pounds. All three judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Dvorak (19-3, 2-0 UFC), who has rattled off 15 straight victories dating back to 2012.
Espinosa (15-8, 2-3 UFC) was a step behind the Czech from the start. Dvorak chewed up his base with repeated kicks to the lower leg, scored with counters from both hands and controlled a majority of their standup exchanges. Espinosa was clearly compromised throughout the second half of the fight. Despite uncorking a few leg kicks and stout right hands of his own, he failed to muster the offense necessary to give his opponent pause.
The 30-year-old Espinosa has lost three times in his past four outings.
Silva Armbar Dismisses Borella
Chute Boxe’s Mayra Bueno Silva rebounded from her first career setback—a decision defeat to Maryna Moroz on March 14—and submitted Mara Romero Borella with an armbar in the first round of their preliminary bantamweight confrontation. Silva (7-1, 2-1 UFC) drew the curtain 2:29 into Round 1.
Borella (11-9, 2-5 UFC) executed a takedown and mixed in some ground-and-pound while trying to navigate an attempted triangle choke. However, Silva transitioned to the armbar, cut off avenues of escape and prompted the tapout.
The 34-year-old Borella has lost four fights in a row.
Clark Bludgeons Bloody Alpar
Combat Sports Academy standout Jessica-Rose Clark put away Sarah Alpar with a barrage of knee strikes and punches in the third round of their undercard clash at 135 pounds. In her first assignment in nearly a year, Clark (10-6, 3-2 UFC) drew the curtain 4:21 into Round 3.
Alpar (9-5, 0-1 UFC) pursued the clinch and takedowns with little success. Clark turned the tables with close-quarters elbows, knees to the body and excellent topside grappling with accompanying ground-and-pound. In the third round, she smashed Alpar’s nose with a devastating knee to the face while she was in a crouched position. Believing the strike may have been illegal, referee Chris Tognoni paused the action, took a look at the replay and, against Nevada Athletic Commission rules, restarted the fight once he deemed the knee clean. Bleeding profusely from the nose, Alpar was a sitting duck the rest of the way and absorbed further punishment until the stoppage was called.
The win closed the book on Clark’s two-fight losing streak.
Minner Guillotine Submits Laramie
Premier Combat Center product Darrick Minner submitted T.J. Laramie with a guillotine choke in the first round of their preliminary featherweight tilt. Laramie (12-4, 0-1 UFC) conceded defeat 52 seconds into Round 1, his four-fight winning streak at an end.
When the Canadian wrestler shot for a takedown, Minner (25-11, 1-1 UFC) was waiting. He braced himself on the fence, bit down on the guillotine and completed the maneuver by securing full guard. By the time Laramie became aware of the dire nature of his situation, it was too late.
Minner now has 22 submission wins on his resume, 11 of them via guillotine choke.
Costa Kick Sinks Newson
Lauzon MMA rep Randy Costa wiped out Journey Newson with a head kick and follow-up punches in the first round of their undercard encounter at 135 pounds. Newson (9-3, 0-2 UFC) succumbed to blows 41 seconds into Round 1 and remains winless inside the Octagon.
Costa (6-1, 2-1 UFC) hid the kick behind a jab, and his opponent never saw it coming. Foot met face with a concussive smack, as Newson collapsed backward at the base of the cage. Costa then swarmed with punches until the job was done, recording the fourth sub-minute finish of his seven-fight career.
High-Paced Ewell Outduels Rivera
Crisp punching combinations, effective counters and stellar takedown defense carried former CES MMA champion Andre Ewell to a split decision over Irwin Rivera in a three-round bantamweight affair. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Junichiro Kamijo for Rivera, Dave Hagen and Michael Bell for Ewell.
Length was a major factor. Ewell (17-6, 4-2 UFC) exploited a discernible reach and height advantage, as he attacked the legs, body and head with equal aplomb. Rivera (10-6, 1-2 UFC) had his moments but too often saw his single punches answered by two-, three- and four-punch combos from his counterpart. He executed a takedown on Ewell in the waning moments of Round 3 and paired it with some elbow-laced ground-and-pound, but his bid for a late finish failed.
Ewell has won eight of his last 10 fights.
Nam Waylays Newcomer Rivera
Sports Lab export Tyson Nam cut down Jerome Rivera with punches in the second round of their undercard pairing at 135 pounds. Nam (20-11-1, 2-2 UFC) brought it to an emphatic close 34 seconds into Round 2, as he put his second straight stoppage victory in the books.
Rivera (10-3, 0-1 UFC) enjoyed some success with leg kicks and stepping knees, but the Dana White’s Contender Series graduate was fighting on borrowed time. Nam countered a leg kick with a devastating right hook early in the second round, trailed his fallen counterpart to the canvas and closed the deal with a sustained barrage of ground-and-pound.
The loss snapped Rivera’s three-fight winning streak.