UFC Fight Night 188 ‘Font vs. Garbrandt’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring
- Rob Font (136) vs. Cody Garbrandt (135.5)
- Xiaonan Yan (116) vs. Carla Esparza (116)
- Justin Tafa (265.5) vs. Jared Vanderaa (264)
- Felicia Spencer (145) vs. Norma Dumont (146)
- Bill Algeo (145.5) vs. Ricardo Ramos (146)
- Jack Hermansson (186) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (185)
- Ben Rothwell (265.5) vs. Chris Barnett (263)
- Claudio Silva (169.5) vs. Court McGee (170.5)
- Bruno Silva (125.5) vs. Victor Rodriguez (125.5)
- Joshua Culibao (146) vs. Yilan Sha (146)
- David Dvorak (126) vs. Juancamilo Ronderos (128.5: Missed Weight)
- Yancy Medeiros (155) vs. Damir Hadzovic (156)
- Rafael Alves (154.5) vs. Damir Ismagulov (155.5)
Check out the MMA Forums to discuss the card or enter your comments and predictions below.
Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream the UFC live on your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.
Rafael Alves (154.5) vs. Damir Ismagulov (155.5)
Round 1We’re back in action for the final week of UFC fights before fans get a much-needed week off, wrapping up a punishing seven-week stretch of events with UFC Fight Night 188 that promises some fireworks in the main event. Before we get there, we have 11 matches to plow through. We begin in the lightweight division, as Alves (19-9, 0-0 UFC) gets a second chance to make a first impression after blowing weight over a full weight class in his last attempt against streaking Russian Ismagulov (22-1, 3-0 UFC). The first bout of the evening draws officiating from referee Chris Tognoni, and there is a respectful glove touch to clock in the night. Ismagulov punches out a few jabs and takes a big body kick, and Alves surges forward and slams his fists into the Russian’s face. Ismagulov is flustered, and he trips to his knees as Alves swarms him. “The Turn” grabs hold of a guillotine choke and pulls guard to lock it down, with one leg hooked around the waist but the other beneath Ismagulov. The Boets MMA fighter slowly and methodically lifts his neck out of the danger zone, and he starts to deliver some left hands on the chin of the grounded Alves. The position is not quite half guard, as Alves is stuck on his hip taking punches with no way to kick off or explode to his feet. Ismagulov keeps plugging away with heavy left hands, and Alves squirms to push off Ismagulov’s neck to sit up, but his foe is right there to keep working him over with thumping body punches. At least a dozen punches right to the side land heavily for Ismagulov, and Alves flinches and twists to recover full guard. Ismagulov stands up, absorbs an upkick as Alves grabs the fence, and ducks down to hold on to an ankle. Ismagulov lords over his foe with punches to the head and body from standing up, before he climbs back down into half guard. Ismagulov shoves Alves over when the Brazilian sits up, and he uses short elbows to pin Alves down. Ismagulov postures up and his right hand fights the body again and again, and these thumping shots are adding up fast and all to the same spot. This slow pounding carries on right to the bell.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ismagulov
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Ismagulov
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Ismagulov
Round 2There is a glove touch to open the second frame, and Ismagulov ducks down before loosing an inaccurate head kick. “The Turn” blitzes him with punches, but this time, Ismagulov does not get caught with his pants down. Instead, Ismagulov stays loose and fires off a few stiff jabs to break up Alves’ aggression, and Alves drops his hands and swings with a spinning wheel kick. Ismagulov evades the strike, stays composed and paws out several more jabs. Alves rips a kick to the inside of Ismagulov’s knee, and Ismagulov responds with a few jabs and a push kick. Alves gets frustrated with the jabbing and presses forward to attack, but he is met with accurate, piston-like strikes. The Brazilian aims a big overhand right, and Ismagulov counters him with a sharp jab that shakes Alves up. Alves is stunned in place, and he takes a moment to react before backing off. Ismagulov follows him with this continuous left jab, which is paying dividends and doing some damage as well. Ismagulov and Alves both swing with big punches, and a left hand drops Alves to his backside. The Brazilian springs back up to his feet, and Ismagulov bears down on him with a few more punches and a spinning back kick that comes up short. Alves appears to have his feet back beneath him again, as he lands a blistering body kick in a response. Ismagulov continues to pepper Alves with jabs, and he follows one with a right hand and an uppercut that splits the guard and catches Alves on the chin. Ismagulov plants his foot on Alves’ chest, and lets loose a wide uppercut that would make a “Mortal Kombat” character blush. Alves takes a fierce left hand on the chin, and he goes for an unorthodox trip takedown, only for the Russian to plow him over and take top position. Alves closes his guard but he is doing little else besides getting his body punched. Like the last round, Ismagulov ends this stanza on top with effective ground-and-pound.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ismagulov
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Ismagulov
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Ismagulov
Round 3Alves is fired up to begin the round, so much so that Tognoni has to ask him to back off a few times. The two embrace to begin the last round, and Ismagulov picks up where he left off with a sharp jab. Alves kicks at him, and a few land but do not slow the oncoming jab that lands again and again. Ismagulov gets warned for outstretched fingers as he leaves his left hand out while measuring the jab, and Alves uses the opportunity to load up on a left hand. Ismagulov sees it coming and jabs the body, and he ducks a looping Alves strike. Alves backs off, jumps forward with a flying knee only without the knee extended, and Ismagulov grabs him and puts him on his back. Alves tries to uses this moment to snag a guillotine choke, but Ismagulov is not concerned in the slightest as he pulls his head out. Ismagulov tries to keep his man down, only for him to stand up and try to drop down with strikes. Alves scrambles acrobatically, and the two get back on their feet again, where Ismagulov jabs at him. A left hand from Alves has opened up a cut above Ismagulov’s eye, and Alves lands a few body kicks. Ismagulov comes back at him with a knee to the body, and Alves is in his face landing strikes in volume. Ismagulov appears to be slowing and his right eye is busted up, and Alves keeps targeting it to great effect. The Russian, who might be in trouble, changes levels to take the fight down. Alves defends not with a guillotine choke but with a sprawl as he tracks across the cage, and he stops the takedown while remaining upright. Alves pushes off and cracks Ismagulov with a spinning heel kick, and Ismagulov eats it like borscht. Alves wades forward to knee his opponent in the body, and he latches on to a guillotine choke to set up a big knee to the head. Ismagulov takes it on the chin and spins the Brazilian around, and the fight ends with Ismagulov clinging to him against the wire.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Alves (29-28 Ismagulov)
Tristen Critchfield scores the round: 10-9 Alves (29-28 Ismagulov)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Alves (29-28 Ismagulov)
The Official ResultDamir Ismagulov def. Rafael Alves via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Yancy Medeiros (155) vs. Damir Hadzovic (156)
Round 1The match was canceled on Saturday afternoon after Hadzovic was forced to withdraw due to illness, with the news first reported by MMA Fighting.
David Dvorak (126) vs. Juancamilo Ronderos (128.5: Missed Weight)
Round 1Moving along to the lone catchweight contest of the card, surging Czech finisher Dvorak (19-3, 2-0 UFC) now unexpectedly meets newcomer Ronderos (4-0, 0-0 UFC) on a day’s notice. As Ronderos took the fight on short notice, he missed weight by 2.5 pounds and has been fined, instead of the promotion scheduling the match for a catchweight since Ronderos stepped in to preserve the matchup. Say a quick prayer for nonsense, for it has been slain inside the cage thanks to referee Keith Peterson, and Dvorak offers a glove touch to thank his opponent for taking the fight. Ronderos reaches out with a leg kick, and the two jabs at one another to begin. The newcomer reaches out with a front kick up high, and he lands a leg kick that gets caught. Dvorak winds up with a right hand that nearly makes him topple over, as the debutant barely ducks away in time. Ronderos sneaks in a right hand that gets Dvorak’s attention, and the two are swinging with everything they have. Ronderos lands with a looping shot, and Dvorak shoves him away and kicks him in the leg. Dvorak tries to time a knee when Ronderos shoots in, but he settles to instead stuff the attempt. Dvorak loads up with a right hand that slams in the side of Ronderos’ head, and he plans another to the same spot as Ronderos reels. The Colombian gathers himself and fires off a kick, only for Dvorak to be right in his face landing bombs. A huge right hand clips Ronderos right on the temple, and the newcomer is wobbled. Ronderos tries to take the fight down, but it fails. In the ensuing scramble, Dvorak circles around to take his back, and he gets one hook in as he hunts for a rear-naked choke. Dvorak’s left forearm is locked in under the chin, and his right hand is tied up by his opponent. The squeeze from that choke is lethally tight even with just one arm in play, and Ronderos suddenly realizes that he is about to go out, so he taps out. In the process, Dvorak just handed Ronderos the first loss of the short-notice replacement’s career and earned his own 10th career first-round finish.
The Official ResultDavid Dvorak def. Juancamilo Ronderos R1 2:18 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
Joshua Culibao (146) vs. Nuerdanbieke Shayilan (146)
Round 1It’s an international battle in the featherweight division next, as Aussie Culibao (8-1-1, 0-1-1 UFC) tries to earn his first UFC win in his third attempt against Chinese newcomer Shayilan (19-6, 0-0 UFC). The third man inside the Octagon is referee Herb Dean, and there is touch of gloves to start things off. Culibao keeps a wide stance, and he chops at the newcomer’s lead leg early. Shayilan looks to return fire, but he instead takes another heavy leg kick. The kick leads the Chinese fighter to press into a takedown, and he aims for a trip while slugging his man in the face with a left hand. Shayilan lifts his opponent in the air, and Culibao wraps his legs around Shayilan to stay upright, and may have gotten away with a fence grab in the process. Shayilan times an escape to hit a trip, and as soon as Culibao hits the ground, he pops back up. Shayilan gets a mat return from behind, but Culibao is quickly to his knees to break free. Shayilan has a hold of him, and he looks for a choke attempt with his left arm, but instead slowly slides down to put Culibao on his backside. Culibao sits up, turns about and blasts to his feet, but Shayilan is not letting him off the hook. “Wolverine” ties up the leg but cannot put Culibao on his back, and Culibao starts smiling at the failed attempt. Shayilan continues to keep heavy pressure, mashing Culibao into the wall and nullifying the Australian striker. Shayilan turns his shoulder to come close to putting the fight down, but Culibao is ready to stop it and he fights it off until Shayilan lifts him up and slams him down. Culibao once more bursts back to his feet, and he pushes Shayilan off and lands a right hand. Culibao stings him with a left hand, and catches Shayilan with an elbow as Shayilan advances. Shayilan returns fire with a one-two, and he has his lead calf kicked hard. Culibao reaches out with a jab and avoids a looping right hand, and Shayilan’s hands are by his waist as he gets his calf kicked again. One more leg kick from the Aussie ends the first frame.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Shayilan
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Shayilan
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Shayilan
Round 2The two featherweights touch gloves, and Culibao takes the center of the cage and rails Shayilan with a right hand. The Chinese fighter wears it well and tries to fire back, only to take a front kick to the chest as he winds up with booming shots. Shayilan absorbs a kick on the calf and a right hand, and he changes stances and switches back to get kicked again. Culibao flicks out a sharp jab, and a leg kick from him lands with a thud. The Aussie goes back to the well by hacking at the calf, and his hands are wide as he eats a big overhand right. Culibao continues to damage the lead leg with kicks, leading Shayilan to charge forward with a takedown attempt. Shayilan lifts his foe’s leg up, but all he gets is several slaps in the face and ear as Culibao breaks free. Culibao chases down his adversary and nearly connects with a right hand from the depths, and he winds up with another that catches the Chinese fighter standing still. Shayilan punches his way into a takedown attempt, but he gets pushed off before it succeeds. Culibao continues to pepper the low leg of Shayilan, forcing stance switches when he lands. A few lefts chain into a solid right hand from Culibao, and Shayilan does not seem that concerned about it. Culibao stings him with another, and a low kick makes Shayilan take a funny step. Culibao circles along the outside and stuffs a very low double from afar against the cage, and a few short elbows while defending allow him to fight off the try. In a subsequent scramble, Culibao takes his opponent’s back and pushes him down to the ground, but the round ends before he can do anything with it. Both men appear to land strikes after the bell, and Dean intervenes to pull them apart.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Culibao
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Culibao
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Culibao
Round 3There is one final glove touch to check in the last round, and Culibao reaches out with several jabs to begin the exchange. The Aussie ducks a big strike to fire back with a leg kick, and Shayilan is not thrilled by this. Shayilan takes a right hand across the forward bow, and he blocks a head kick and just comes up short with a heavy counter. Culibao chops down the leg with a few more calf kicks, and he blocks the left hand that flies his way. A quick left into a cracking right hand shakes up Shayilan, and Culibao dances out of the way of any potential counters. The right hands and leg kicks keep coming, as Culibao is feeling himself as he finds his targets without issue. A calf kick disrupts Shayilan’s forward movement, and Culibao twirls his hands around and fires off a few sharp punches. Culibao’s punches have busted up Shayilan’s nose and welted up the leg, but Shayilan is undeterred as he shoots in for a single leg takedown. The Aussie remains upright, but after getting a shoulder slammed into his face, Shayilan wrenches him down. Culibao climbs back to his feet seconds later, and he survives a mat return as Shayilan circles around to take his back standing up. Culibao defends as Shayilan has his hands locked around his waist, and he turns back around to stuff a double by setting up a brabo choke. The Chinese fighter sees it, twists and turns, and falls into a second attempt. A clubbing right hand from Culibao in the exchange does some damage to Shayilan’s nose, and the two stand back up and get into striking range. Shayilan comes up short with punches and a spinning back fist, and Culibao is there to greet him with a few left hands. “Wolverine” doggedly pursues the takedown, but there is nothing doing as Culibao stops him and lets loose a huge right hand. The fist grazes the temple, and he follows it with a head kick that makes him fall over. As soon as he hits the ground, the final bell sounds.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Culibao (29-28 Culibao)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Culibao (29-28 Culibao)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Culibao (29-28 Culibao)
The Official ResultJoshua Culibao def. Nuerdanbieke Shayilan via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Bruno Silva (125.5) vs. Victor Rodriguez (125.5)
Round 1Switching gears to the flyweights once more, what happens when a man named “Bulldog” takes on a fighter that goes by “Vicious”? In this meeting, Brazil’s Silva (11-5-2, 1 NC; 1-2, 1 NC UFC) squares off against Alaska native Rodriguez (5-3, 0-1 UFC), in a battle of two fighters aiming to even their UFC records to .500. The 125-pound pairing draws oversight from referee Chris Tognoni, who cracks his neck and observes a clean glove touch right before the action begins. The flyweights come out tentative, reaching at one another with jabs from a great distance. Both men wind up with right hands, and neither find their mark as the action is largely stalled. Silva gets off a slapping leg kick, and he twirls out of the way and tags Rodriguez behind the ear with a big right hand. The Alaska native is hurt, and Silva steps in with a knee that rings Rodriguez’ bell. “Bulldog” smells blood, and he blitzes forward with a massive overhand right that smashes into the side of Rodriguez’ head and puts him down. Rodriguez falls to his knees and may be out cold, and Tognoni rushes in to halt the contest as Silva chains together some punches that are purely academic at that point. A one-punch knockout is rare at the flyweight division, and even more rare to take place within the first minute. That is two knockouts in just over two months for the Brazilian, who holds up a sign that says “$75K Dana” as he asks for post-fight bonus money. On his way out of the cage, Silva breakdances his way to his interview.
The Official ResultBruno Silva def. Victor Rodriguez R1 1:00 via KO (Punches)
Claudio Silva (169.5) vs. Court McGee (170.5)
Round 1From Silva to Silva we go, as “Hannibal” Silva (14-2, 5-1 UFC) aims to crush “The Crusher” McGee (19-10, 8-9 UFC) at welterweight. Since joining the roster in 2014, the Brazilian has as many fights (six) as McGee has suffered losses in that time frame. Despite this, the odds are dead even as a pick ‘em, and referee Keith Peterson will make sure that there is no more nonsense in the building. Ever the sportsmen, the two touch gloves before throwing down. Silva opens with a head kick, and McGee blocks it and fires back with a right hand. Silva bears down with another head kick, and McGee takes it flush on the beard without issue. McGee gets off a single right hand to make Silva back off, and the Brazilian jabs the body only to dance out of the way of a one-two. McGee suddenly charges forward and tackles “Hannibal” to the mat, and the Brazilian closes his guard tight around the waist. Silva looks to set up a submission on his back, and McGee bails on it and powers back to his feet. A body kick from “The Crusher” gets caught, and McGee hops around until he gets his foot beneath him. Silva retreats when he takes an overhand right flush on the temple. Silva looks to change levels as he is getting tagged, but McGee sees them coming and counters him. Silva charges like a bull low with a double leg takedown, and the American sees it coming and is able to defend it against the wall. Silva knees the thigh several times as he mashes McGee against the wire, and sells out for the takedown. McGee spins out of harm’s way and stands back up, and he fires off a flying head kick that just comes short. A big left hand staggers McGee, and the two clinch up in the center of the cage until the horn blares.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 McGee
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 McGee
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 McGee
Round 2Silva strides out of his corner with a big body kick, and a left hand counters him across the bow. Silva reels and backs off, only to rush in with his hands down with a head kick. Silva scores a solid right hand, and Silva appears surprised but gathers himself to take the fight down. Silva succeeds in landing a takedown, but “The Crusher” explodes out of the position and stands back up. Silva redoubles his effort, only to get stuffed and bowled over, where McGee steps into his full guard and starts working the body with punches. The Brazilian looks to lock him down and even fight off his back, but McGee sits up and elbows him in the face. Silva’s head bounces off the canvas from the strike, and McGee continues to work him over with sporadic elbows and punches. Silva sits up and gets to his knee, but McGee pushes him right back over and nearly takes mount. The two jockey for position on the ground, as “The Crusher” thwarts the sweeps and winds up on top. Silva turns around and snags McGee’s leg, and he turns a heel hook into a kneebar. Silva goes belly-down for the leglock, and McGee smashes him with right hands until Silva bails on it. “Hannibal” is able to get to his knees for a moment, but McGee shoves him over and mounts him. McGee fishes for an arm-triangle choke, and he cinches it up without stepping over to the opposing side. As “The Crusher” crushes down with the choke attempt, he looks to step over to finish the job, but he cannot secure the finish and Silva survives.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 McGee
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 McGee
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 McGee
Round 3The last round begins with a flurry from a seemingly spent Silva, who lands several big body kick and flails with a few huge left hands. One left hook catches McGee flush, and McGee takes a funny step as he gets hurt. Silva is pouring everything he has left into the strikes, and he spends his gas tank hunting for a finish and then a takedown attempt. McGee pushes him back and hits his own takedown, where he lands in half guard and works him from on top. Silva looks to sit up as he takes right hands to the face, and McGee presses his full body weight on a spent Silva, and a few more right hands get in as the pace dwindles. McGee’s strikes do not appear to have much lasting impact, as Silva is able to slowly and calmly stand to his feet. Silva winds up with a huge elbow, and a strike gets ducked by McGee as the American hits a well-timed double. Silva closes his guard and gets punched a few times, as McGee has firmly embraced the grind. McGee scores a few short elbows and pushes Silva’s legs away whenever the Brazilian looks to set up a submission or a sweep, but Silva cannot get anything going off his back. McGee postures up every so often to drill him with an elbow or a punch, and he concludes the fight in a dominant position and may very well have snapped the longest losing streak in his career with a fairly one-sided performance over a tough Brazilian adversary.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 McGee (30-27 McGee)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 McGee (30-27 McGee)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 McGee (30-27 McGee)
The Official ResultCourt McGee def. Claudio Silva via Unanimous Decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
Ben Rothwell (265.5) vs. Chris Barnett (263)
Round 1Capping off the prelims is a heavyweight slobberknocker between two men that love the knockout in Rothwell (38-13, 8-7 UFC) and the man formerly known as “Huggy Bear” Barnett (21-6, 0-0 UFC). One may not escape that nickname so easily, even if he tries to go by “Beastboy” now. Referee Mark Smith will have his hands full, as feet and fists may be flying very soon. There is a glove touch, and the next strikes will be coming much faster. Barnett opens up with a chopping leg kick, and he lands another as Rothwell hops away. Rothwell plods forward and slaps out a left hand, only to get his leg kicked again. Rothwell marches in to throw hands, but Barnett runs out of the way and kicks the leg. Barnett gets off a left straight and an overhand right after landing a kick, and Rothwell stands in front of him and bangs. Barnett takes them on the chin and fakes for a few takedowns, only to duck out of the way from a Rothwell jab. Rothwell slams his right hand into the midsection of Barnett, and the two start loading up and swinging. Barnett just misses with a wild left hand, and Rothwell stings him with a straight right hand down the middle. “Beastboy” spins with a kick, throws a superman punch and chains a few punches into a combination, but Rothwell does not budge. Instead, Rothwell marches forward and lands a big right hand, only to get countered on the way out. Rothwell walks through a strike to grab hold of the shorter fighter, and he bullies Barnett to the ground with the body lock takedown. Rothwell lands in half guard, where he starts working the body with punches and face with elbows. Barnett tries to hold Rothwell down and lock him up, but Rothwell punches his way out with several left hands on the chin. Rothwell steps over into mount, and he catches Barnett when Barnett turns around with a choke attempt. Rothwell locks up the rear-naked choke, but miraculously, Barnett explodes out of position and frees his neck. When they stand back up, Barnett clubs him with a right hand, and Rothwell ignores it and knees him in the belly. The two clinch up, and Rothwell scores several punishing uppercuts to end the round.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Rothwell
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Rothwell
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Rothwell
Round 2Rothwell marches out of his corner to take the center of the cage, and he offers a glove touch that Barnett accepts. Barnett rolls through a punch to land a leg kick, and he ducks a shot to get off another that makes Rothwell take an odd step. Rothwell shrugs off a few shots on the chin to land a painful leg kick, and when he loads up on punches, “Beastboy” sprints out of the way. Barnett leaps forward with a superman punch, and Rothwell blocks most of it and scores a crisp uppercut. Barnett eats a right hand, and a few more have Barnett swinging wildly and inaccurately. Rothwell nails him with a thumping right hand, and Barnett turns around to escape. Rothwell bears down on him with lethal punches, and methodically stalks him down to blast him with uppercuts and other power punches as Barnett continues to escape. Barnett is barely staying on his feet, but he continues to throw big punches and eat flush uppercuts. Barnett shoots in for a desperation takedown, and Rothwell meets him in the middle and stuffs it well. As “Huggy Bear” tries to hold on for dear life, Rothwell hunts for the exposed neck with a guillotine choke. He wraps his hands beneath the throat and squeezes with what could be a 10-finger guillotine, and Barnett turns to his side and is trapped with no way out. Barnett taps out, lest he get put to sleep with Rothwell’s sneaky submission. In victory, Rothwell handed Barnett the latter’s first career submission defeat.
The Official ResultBen Rothwell def. Chris Barnett R2 2:07 via Submission (Guillotine Choke)
Jack Hermansson (186) vs. Edmen Shahbazyan (185)
Round 1The main card commences with a high-stakes middleweight showdown as “The Joker” Hermansson (21-6, 8-4 UFC) will try to take more shine away from “The Golden Boy” Shahbazyan (11-1, 4-1 UFC). Two finishers will collide here, with 27 stoppage wins among their 32 career victories, so referee Herb Dean will need to mind his P’s and Q’s. There is no sign of a glove touch, as the two would rather get right down to business. Hermansson hops around as he takes the center of the cage, where he lets go with several front kicks to the knee. Shahbazyan loads up on a few punches down the middle, and Hermansson swats them away and kicks his lead leg. Shahbazyan sneaks in a right hand, and he follows it with a few more powerful strikes that give Hermansson some pause. “The Joker” sits down on a jab, and he gets countered with a left hand on the way in. Three big punches from Shahbazyan ricochet off Hermansson’s guard, and he splits that guard with an uppercut. Hermansson looses a few head kicks and a leg kick, and a jab that comes his way stings him on the chin. A long shot from Hermansson is unsuccessful, as Shahbazyan hops back and lands a big uppercut as the Swede stands. Hermansson rushes in to throw hands, but Shahbazyan’s sharper jab gives him some pause. A few punches from Shahbazyan have marked up Hermansson’s face, but the Swede gives him a response with a few kicks. Shahbazyan’s hands continue to land, and a single leg kick from Hermansson finds its home. Shahbazyan mixes it up with body shots as he jabs, forcing Hermansson to shoot in on him from a distance. “The Golden Boy” shines as he stuffs it, and he cracks Hermansson with a right hand. Hermansson walks through everything, until he meets a one-two that wobbles his knees. “The Joker” is not laughing as he stalks Shahbazyan down, but Shahbazyan is the one landing practically at will. Shahbazyan circles on the outside and reaches out with a front kick, and he sticks Hermansson with a few jabs. Hermansson fires off a kick on the inside leg, and one on the outside, but Shahbazyan ignores them and drills him in the face with a pair of punches. Hermansson gets busted up with a nasty jab, and Hermansson throws wildly with power strikes but is largely inaccurate. Hermansson attacks, but those strikes do not find their home as the round ends.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Shahbazyan
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Shahbazyan
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Shahbazyan
Round 2Hermansson is ready to throw bombs as he starts the second round, and he clips Shahbazyan with an uppercut as he closes the distance. The Swede gets in close with his strikes, and he attempts a single leg takedown when he has Shahbazyan pushed against the fence. “The Joker” scoops up the legs, and he plants Shahbazyan firmly on his back. Shahbazyan closes the guard, but he is eating some serious ground-and-pound as Hermansson starts to unload on him. As a cut opens on his eyebrow from a strike, Shahbazyan wildly scrambles to burst back to his feet. Hermansson keeps him held tight with the threat of a guillotine choke as he leans against the cage wall, and he tightens it when Shahbazyan tries to step out. One solid elbow from Shahbazyan lands, but Hermansson tackles him down right into a guillotine choke from Shahbazyan. The Swede welcomes the exchange, as he is not concerned about the arm around his neck, and instead puts Shahbazyan down to the ground and hops to mount. Shahbazyan recovers position slightly, and Hermansson sits in a high half guard as he elbows Shahbazyan. A few more elbows for Hermansson land as he puts a knee on the belly to slice to full mount, but Shahbazyan is bucking like a bronco. Hermansson is unable to pass position, but he isolates an arm to hunt for a kimura. When Shahbazyan kicks to get out, Hermansson jumps a bit too high and Shahbazyan slides out the back door. Hermansson falls over, and Shahbazyan climbs on top to land a single elbow. “The Golden Boy” reaches down for a guillotine choke to keep the Swede in a position he would prefer, and bails on it to get into half guard. One big thudding elbow from Shahbazyan lands as Hermansson sits up, and “The Joker” twists and turns but falls short in his escape attempt. Hermansson kicks him off, and misses with a few upkicks. This is the perfect moment for Shahbazyan, who dives down with heavy ground-and-pound to end the round violently.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Hermansson
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Hermansson
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Hermansson
Round 3The middleweights meet in the center of the cage, and both land single strikes on the other. Shahbazyan sticks out a few jabs, and Hermansson shrugs them off only to get stung with an uppercut. “The Joker” blocks a front kick up the middle, and Hermansson shoots in for a single. He is able to scoop Shahbazyan off the ground, and a second attempt puts “The Golden Boy” on his back. Hermansson, sitting in half guard, frees his right hand to start raining it down on the jaw of the American. Hermansson clubs him with punches and squeezes down with shoulder pressure to pass to mount. Hermansson elbows him a few times, and lands some thudding right hands that bounce Shahbazyan’s head off the cage floor. The Swede continues to pour it on with punches and elbows, and a big cut has opened up around Shahbazyan’s right eye. Hermansson stays comfortable in half guard, thwarting any of Shahbazyan attempts to get up and making him pay for each one with strikes. The blood continues to flow from the man on bottom, and Hermansson opens up with a barrage of nasty elbows as he looks to force a stoppage. Dean keeps a close eye on the proceedings as Hermansson wails on him, and Hermansson sits up to hammer down with a huge elbow. Hermansson steps over into side control as he lands hammerfists, and he turns it into a north-south before taking the other side. Hermansson steps to mount with seconds to go, and he unloads with a fury of punches until the final bloody round ends. As soon as the bell rings, Hermansson gets up and helps a battered Shahbazyan back up to his feet.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Hermansson (29-27 Hermansson)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-8 Hermansson (29-27 Hermansson)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-8 Hermansson (29-27 Hermansson)
The Official ResultJack Hermansson def. Edmen Shahbazyan via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Bill Algeo (145.5) vs. Ricardo Ramos (146)
Round 1Up next at featherweight, Algeo (14-5, 1-1 UFC) will need to contend with spinning Brazilian “Carcacinha” Ramos (14-3, 5-2 UFC). Although both possess highlight-reel knockouts on their resumes – Algeo with a flying head kick, and Ramos with a spinning back elbow -- they both have notched just three knockouts apiece in their careers. Drawing the charge is referee Mark Smith, who watches on as the two 145-ers clap hands to begin. Ramos begins the fight with a sweeping leg kick, and Algeo hops around and has his face slapped with a quick head kick. When Ramos goes wide with a strike, Algeo is there to fire back at him. Ramos closes the distance quickly, and he lifts “Senor Perfecto” up in the air and drops him down. The American is able to shake off back control, but he gets dragged back to the cage. Once more “Carcacinha” elevates him and slams him down, where he quickly hunts for a rear-naked choke as Algeo stands up. Algeo fights off the choke and pushes Ramos in the wall, but Ramos bullies him back and the two start swinging. Algeo throws a head kick that gets blocked, and he falls over. Ramos charges at him, but he cannot capitalize on the situation. Algeo eats an uppercut as he stands up, and the Pennsylvanian wears it well and lets loose a high kick that Ramos ducks. Ramos steps forward into an uppercut, and Algeo is there to greet him with another strike. Algeo looks down as Ramos misses, and Ramos launches a spinning kick that brushes Algeo’s hair back. Ramos lands a looping left at the end of a combination, and Algeo looks surprised, but he buries his shin into Ramos’ midsection. Ramos steps in with a swooping left hand, and Algeo ignores it as he jumps with a switch kick. A kick from Algeo bounces off the cup, but there is no pause, as Ramos gathers his thoughts and charges in for a takedown attempt. Like earlier in the round, Algeo gets slammed to the ground. Ramos redoubles his effort to put Algeo on his back when Algeo stands up, and the Brazilian gets one hook in as Algeo surrenders his back while on his knees. Ramos is able to get both hooks, but Algeo slides out the back door when a choke attempt nearly comes. Algeo looks to take him down, and the two jockey for position in the clinch while landing knees to the body. Ramos pushes his man over, and the round ends.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Ramos
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Ramos
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Ramos
Round 2The featherweights touch ‘em up in the center of the cage, and Algeo comes out with his hands low in a traditional martial arts stance. Algeo gets clipped with a superman punch with his hands by his waist, and he ducks out of the way and reaches forward with a few punches and a front kick to the torso. Ramos chains a pair of punches into a body kick, and Algeo sits down on a left hand that knocks Ramos back. The American flicks out a few jabs and blocks a head kick, and Ramos mixes things up with a leg kick. A high kick slaps past the face of Algeo, who tries to counter with a big left hand. Ramos strides forward to clinch up, and Algeo pushes him off and nails him with a right hand. The commentary booth begins to discuss the King of Prussia Mall as Ramos trips Algeo down to the canvas. “Carcacinha” lets him stand back up so that he can latch on to a brabo choke, and Algeo shakes it out and gets some distance. “Senor Perfecto” lands a few perfect shots to the body, and Ramos returns fire with a leg kick that makes Algeo immediately stumble. Algeo steels himself and jumps forward with a flying knee, but Ramos turns away right before it collides with his chin. Algeo appears the far fresher fighter as he lands strikes from range, and he slips a few labored punches to land a leg kick. Ramos explodes forward, ducks a punch and circles to take Algeo’s back with a standing arm-triangle. Algeo turns him around and breaks the grip, putting Ramos into the wire and landing a knee. The two separate, and Ramos surprises him with a quick left hand. Algeo has a head kick caught, and he topples over but stands back up without issue. A lengthy combination from Algeo leads to a spinning back elbow, and it does not do the damage that Ramos’ did on Aiemann Zahabi in the past. Instead, Ramos gathers his thoughts, presses forward and shoots for a double. At the waning seconds of the round, the Brazilian lands the takedown, and time expires before he can take advantage of it.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Algeo
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Ramos
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Algeo
Round 3The two greet in the beginning of the last round with a glove touch, and Algeo rushes out with a punch and a spinning back kick. Ramos stays composed to lands a few punches, but his intention is more to close the distance and pursue a body lock takedown. Algeo gets put to his knees, but he stands back up without fully going down, and they break. Both trade single strikes, and Algeo turns a leg kick into a three-punch combination. A huge body shot from Algeo gets Ramos’ attention, and the Brazilian shakes it off and sticks out his left hand a few times. Both men attack leg kicks, and a spinning back fist from Algeo bounces off the guard. A pair of punches get blocked, but the spinning back kick from Algeo pushes off Ramos’ body. Algeo paws out a front kick and gets countered with a left, and Algeo backs off to lead Ramos in on him. When Ramos advances, Algeo rings his bell with a right hand, and he pushes Ramos across the cage into the wire. Both spin around without holding dominant position for long, and they break with a head kick attempt from Algeo. Ramos leaps through the air after a jab with a flying kick, and he closes the distance to mash Algeo into the fencing. After a few turns, they break free, where Algeo digs three strikes to the body. Algeo just barely ducks a spinning back elbow in time, and he steps through to land a left hand. Ramos winds up with a right hand, and Algeo walks through it to reach out with his left hand to the body. Ramos sells out for a takedown, and the Pennsylvania native stuffs it and makes Ramos pay with a left hand to the body. Ramos steps back, takes a breath, and hits a double to put Algeo down. As Algeo stands up, Ramos takes his back, with his hands around Algeo’s waist. The American does not let him keep this position for long, breaking the grip and advancing forward. A body kick and a fierce elbow land flush for Algeo, and he has a spinning back elbow guarded. As Ramos attacks for one final salvo, Algeo kicks out and falls to his backside. The round ends in this position, and Ramos helps him back up to celebrate their incredibly close battle.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Algeo (29-28 Algeo)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Algeo (29-28 Ramos)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Algeo (29-28 Algeo)
The Official ResultRicardo Ramos def. Bill Algeo via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 20-27, 29-28)
Felicia Spencer (145) vs. Norma Dumont (146)
Round 1In what could be the final women’s featherweight contest in UFC history depending on how things shake out, former title challenger Spencer (8-2, 2-2 UFC) will try to put the nickname of “The Immortal” Dumont (5-1, 1-1 UFC) to the test. Gloves are not touched in front of referee Chris Tognoni, as the two women look to handle their business. Neither is willing to engage in the early going, with both in the center of the cage but not within striking range. When Dumont reaches out a jab, Spencer rushes at her with a few punches and a side kick. The Canadian blitzes forward to throw strikes, and Dumont rolls with them and tries to counter. Spencer again loads up with a few shots, and Dumont can do little but take them on the nose. The Brazilian lands a single inside leg kick, and the action stalls out again until Dumont slaps with another. Spencer comes up just short with a hook kick, and Dumont is on her bike avoiding the bigger strikes. Spencer walks through a leg kick to try to land, and Dumont is sitting back with counters and inside leg kicks. Spencer switches stances and checks a kick, and she reaches out with a side kick. A follow-up right hand scores effectively for Spencer, and the two women trade hands in a brief but heavy exchange in the middle. An inaccurate high kick from Spencer leads to a wild flurry from both women, and Spencer chains a few strikes into a body lock takedown attempt. Dumont stands tall against the fence, and she breaks the grip thanks to knee up the middle. Spencer misses with a big elbow, but a front kick pierces the guard. Dumont responds in kind, and she sits down on a kick to the knee that lands with an audible slap. Spencer connects in an exchange, scoring an elbow and backing off. Dumont chases after her with a punch, and the round ends.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Spencer
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Spencer
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Spencer
Round 2Spencer rushes out of her corner, and when she launches a front kick, Dumont is there with a leg kick and a jab. The Brazilian peppers Spencer with leg kicks as Spencer looks for an angle to come in, with Spencer’s responsive head kick coming up short. The two trade punches, and Spencer slaps her foe in the face with a lead hook kick. Spencer rushes in with a potential takedown, and Dumont shoves her away and waves her finger at her and points to the ground to strike. Spencer walks through a few big punches, and Dumont rocks her with a trio of huge hooks. Ever the tough woman, Spencer walks forward like a Terminator and intercepts a Dumont kick with her own leg kick. The Canadian gets off a straight right hand as Dumont backs off, with Dumont sticking her leg out with a front kick to get Spencer off of her. Spencer sits down on a big punch, but Dumont blasts her back with a stunning overhand right. Spencer aims a kick to the calf, and she barely dodges a head kick that soars at her. Both women come together to trade, and Dumont gets a right hand off to the head and a left to the body. Spencer absorbs the strikes and wades forward to clinch up, but Dumont is not having it, backing off to wing a huge right hand. A hook kick comes up short for Spencer, and she pushes in to grind Dumont into the chain-link fence like a cheese grater. Dumont delivers a solid knee up the middle to break free, and Spencer pays her back with a side kick to the face. A quick head kick finds its home for Spencer, who backs away from a punch to the body. The second frame ends with a tense staring contest.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Dumont
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Dumont
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Dumont
Round 3Spencer rushes out with a front kick to the chest, and she digs to the body with a liver kick shortly thereafter. The Canadian just barely gets out of the way from a salvo that flies at her, and Spencer reaches with an axe kick and a side kick to get Dumont to back away. Dumont crashes in when Spencer puts her foot down to take Spencer down, where the Brazilian lands in half guard. Before Dumont can get any strikes off, Spencer recovers her guard and threatens with a possible triangle choke. Dumont ignores it and fights off the potential kimura setup, where she thinks about passing guard but bails on it all to stand back up. Spencer thanks her with a punch in the face, where she follows the strike with a few more. A big kick up the middle leads to a counter from Dumont, and Dumont hits a trip but cannot get top position. As Spencer pushes her against the fencing, she elbows Dumont in the face and knees her in the breadbasket. A few more elbows from Spencer get Dumont’s attention, as Spencer presses her full body weight on the Brazilian. Dumont fights her off and tries to trip her down, but gets reversed and allows Spencer to wind up on top. “The Immortal” locks her down with a tight guard, and Spencer wriggles her arms out to land a couple elbows. Spencer squeezes with a can opener in the waning seconds of the fight, and this close fight comes to an end in this position.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Spencer (29-28 Spencer)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Spencer (29-28 Spencer)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Spencer (29-28 Spencer)
The Official ResultNorma Dumont def. Felicia Spencer via Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Justin Tafa (265.5) vs. Jared Vanderaa (264)
Round 1In our growingly common “what is this fight doing high on the main card above several other ranked fighters” heavyweight banger, Tafa (4-2, 1-2 UFC) and Vanderaa (11-5, 0-1 UFC) will try to reach the .500 mark as UFC fighters. It’s anyone’s guess who will make it to the end, as the two combine for just one decision win across their respective careers. Referee Mark Smith needs to watch out for errant blows, and there is a glove touch before they try to take the other’s head off. Tafa stays light on his feet as Vanderaa shifts forward, and they both land chopping leg kicks. Tafa loads up on a left hand, but it glances off the shoulder. Tafa marches forward throwing bombs, and Vanderaa rolls with most of them but takes a few flush. The Aussie digs to the body with a punch, and he barely blocks a head kick that flies at him. Vanderaa recoils his leg from a kick that comes towards him, and he responds in kind with a pair. Vanderaa reaches out with a few jabs, and the follow-up left hand comes up short of the mark. Tafa closes in, lands a shot to the body, and gets kneed in the face on the way out. Tafa charges like a bull, and he gets clipped but seems not to register any damage taken. Instead, he bites down on his mouthpiece and throws back at Vanderaa. Vanderaa stabs to the body with his toes, and he tags Tafa with a left hand as “Bad Man” advances wildly. Vanderaa walks into a few punches as he tries to engage, and Tafa hits nothing but air with a huge left hand. Vanderaa delivers a kick to the body and one to the outside of Tafa’s leg, and Tafa throws so hard he nearly falls over. Tafa looks to counter a leg kick with an overhand left, and Vanderaa dances out of the way and kicks his body. Vanderaa sticks him with a left hand and ducks a counter, and he scores a solid knee and a kick to the torso. Both men trade heavy shots, and Tafa charges in and has his neck caught with a choke attempt. Vanderaa uses the position to knee him in the face, and the two trade head shots to end the first frame.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Vanderaa
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Vanderaa
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Vanderaa
Round 2The second round begins as Vanderaa checks a leg kick and lances Tafa with a straight left hand. The American counters a body kick with a big right hand, and he stomps the knee and kicks the body as Tafa retreats. Vanderaa fires off a head kick that still has some impact even though it gets blocked, and Tafa wears it well and reaches out with several jabs. Vanderaa chains a punch into a leg kick, and then a body kick, as he is not throwing single strikes like his opponent is. Tafa looks frustrated as he takes a leg kick, and he blasts Vanderaa with a left hook. “The Mountain” stands tall like a mountain as Tafa loads up to throw huge shots, and a head kick hurts Tafa. Vanderaa sees that he is doing some serious damage, and he loads up on an elbow and gets caught on the way back. Vanderaa presses forward and slams elbows on the side of Tafa’s head, but it is Tafa that lands the strike that causes a cut. Vanderaa has his temple slashed open from a strike, and he is bleeding like a stuck pig immediately. Tafa appears recovered, and Vanderaa is showing some major damage as he is positively pouring blood out of his head. Despite this, Vanderaa slings another head kick that is blocked, and the sheer force is enough to move Tafa. Vanderaa checks a leg kick, and has his body punched on the way out. “The Mountain” lifts up a head kick, and he changes it up with one to the body. Vanderaa chips away at Tafa, who stands there when he absorbs a leg kick. Tafa crashes the pocket to engage, and both men throw looping shots but do not land flush. They both land bombs right at the end of the round, and the doctors are going to check in on that nasty cut between rounds.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Vanderaa
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Tafa
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Tafa
Round 3We begin the final round as the cut has been closed thanks to the cutman, and Tafa sits down on a left hand on the chin. When Vanderaa throws a naked leg kick, Tafa counters him over the top. Tafa targets the body and head, but Vanderaa backs off to boot him in the belly. Vanderaa dances around on the outside to sneak in a leg kick, and he connects with the kidneys with a body kick that makes Tafa drop his left hand. “Bad Man” takes yet another body kick as he retreats, and he gets off a shovel uppercut but has one fly at him shortly after. Tafa cracks him with a left hand, but Vanderaa eats it like a steak and knees Tafa square in the body. A teep kick to the body makes Tafa backs off, and Vanderaa chains it with a question mark kick up high. When that is blocked, Vanderaa works his body with his shin. Three big punches including an uppercut land for Vanderaa, who avoids the brunt of the counter and backs away from danger. When Tafa responds with his own body kick, Vanderaa is there to counter him over the top. Vanderaa is in Tafa’s face with punches and kicks, and he lands a pair of right hands as Tafa swings wildly. Six crisp punches connect for Vanderaa, and Tafa does not like this, so he rushes in to clinch. “The Mountain” turns him around and knees him in the body, but Tafa is ready with a counter elbow. A booming strike from Tafa wobbles Vanderaa and backs him off, and the cut is opened up again. Tafa hurts Vanderaa with a body shot and a right hand to the head, and Vanderaa grabs him in the clinch and knees him. An errant knee careens off the cup, and Tafa crouches down in pain. The Aussie takes a good 80 seconds to recover, and we are likely in for a sprint with 40 seconds to go. Tafa jabs to the body as Vanderaa jabs to the head, and Tafa uploads on him with a big punch. Vanderaa ducks and kicks the body with a popping sound, and he backs away while throwing punches to catch Tafa unaware. Vanderaa chains together a lengthy barrage of punches and body kicks, and Tafa brawls with him right to the final bell.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Vanderaa (30-27 Vanderaa)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Vanderaa (29-28 Vanderaa)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Vanderaa (29-28 Vanderaa)
The Official ResultJared Vanderaa def. Justin Tafa via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Xiaonan Yan (116) vs. Carla Esparza (116)
Round 1The co-main event comes in the form of a potential women’s strawweight title eliminator, as the streaking Yan (13-1, 1 NC; 6-0 UFC) tries to overtake former champ Esparza (17-6, 8-4 UFC) for another crack at gold. This 115-pound tilt is very close on the books, with Yan slightly favored – the line on this fight reaching the scorecards, however, is -365, and by far the highest of any matchup tonight. The sporting glove touch is neither offered nor accepted to start off the fight, and referee Keith Peterson once more shuts down on any potential nonsense. Esparza charges out immediately in pursuit of a takedown, and she gets Yan down in a hurry. The two scramble wildly, and Esparza manages to drag her back down and sit in her foe’s closed guard. Esparza attacks with huge ground-and-pound to leap over to side control, and Yan appears surprised at this quick dominant position against her. Esparza keeps heavy shoulder pressure on the chest, and she knees Yan in the shoulder repeatedly but is more intent on holding position. Yan opens up with several hacking elbow from below that cause Esparza to explode up and move, but Yan’s offensive guard momentarily brings some concern to Esparza. “Cookie Monster” stands up, smashes down and regains side control, with Yan holding on to her foot from beneath to lock the American down. Esparza works over to north-south position as Yan tries to pull her neck out of harm’s way, and Esparza grinds her down with elbows and keeps Yan pinned flat on her back. A short swarm of left hands and elbows from Esparza land, and Yan throws her legs up to get the former champ off of her but to no avail. Yan bucks and kicks, but she is getting elbowed in the face with no sign of a referee standup in sight. Yan again threatens with a few elbows, but Esparza’s are more damaging and effective. Yan throws her legs up, and Esparza latches on to a two-on-one wrist control to fish for a kimura. When she does not have this locked down, she transitions into an armbar. With little time to spare to set it up, Esparza blasts Yan with elbows and punches, slashing open the Chinese fighter right before the bell.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-8 Esparza
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Esparza
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Esparza
Round 2The cut on Yan’s forehead is still bleeding when she comes out of her corner, and Esparza walks right into a head kick but is not flustered when the round begins. Esparza ducks down for a single, and she snatches the leg up and puts a furious “Fury” on her back. Esparza gets into her foe’s full guard, and she starts smashing Yan with strikes from above. Punches and elbows allow Esparza to pass into half guard, and she pushes off but gets back to the guard. Esparza climbs over on the other side with ease, passing to side control where she begins to mount damage with thumping right elbows. “Cookie Monster” pours it on with devastating elbows, and she locks one of Yan’s arms down for a near crucifix. Peterson is taking a close eye on the proceedings as Esparza continues to hammer Yan, and she bloodies Yan up badly with her strikes. Esparza’s punches are not heavy, but they are continuous and unrelenting. Like Roy Nelson when he fought Kimbo Slice in “The Ultimate Fighter” years ago, the crucifix is locked up and Esparza is smacking Yan around with right hands. Eventually, Peterson has seen enough as Yan is unable to defend herself from taking any more damage. This is Esparza’s first knockout win since 2012, and her first stoppage victory since her promotional debut in 2014. It also may very well line her up for a rematch with champ Rose Namajunas, who now sits on the strawweight throne.
The Official ResultCarla Esparza def. Xiaonan Yan R2 2:58 via TKO (Punches)
Rob Font (136) vs. Cody Garbrandt (135.5)
Round 1Like the previous fight, this bantamweight headliner may have title aspirations on the line between Font (18-4, 8-3 UFC) and ex-champ Garbrandt (12-3, 7-3 UFC). A striker’s delight is expected for the fans, and nothing more need to be said about their resumes coming into this main event. Drawing the final assignment of the card is referee Herb Dean, and with a glove touch, it’s on with the show! Garbrandt instantly takes the center of the cage and swings with a low kick, but he pulls he back when he is out of range. Font keeps his range and sticks out long jabs, but none are anywhere near the mark. Both men trade single strikes, and Garbrandt chops down Font’s lead leg with a surprisingly hard kick. Font paws out a left hand and blocks a head kick, and he is not flustered as he lunges with jabs. “No Love” targes the lead leg again, and he circles along the outside when Font advances. Font whiffs on an overhand right when Garbrandt starts to showboat by kneeling down, and he loads up on a leg kick. The two trade single jabs, and Font prepares to check a kick so Garbrandt recoils it before it connects. Font slaps out his own leg kick as he chases Garbrandt around the cage, and he stings the former champ with a fierce one-two. Garbrandt shoots in low with a takedown, and Font tosses him aside and does not get reckless. Instead, he backs off and allows Garbrandt kick him in the leg. Font just misses with an uppercut as Garbrandt ducks down, and they throw haymakers at the same time. As Font stumbles, Garbrandt gets off a head kick when Font stands up. Garbrandt lands a crisp left hook as Font is not fazed, and the Boston native lands a few punches and a knee on the way in. As Font advances, Garbrandt catches him and hits a takedown to press Font in the corner of the cage and the floor. Garbrandt sits up and lands a trio of punches, and when Font stands up, Garbrandt tries to kick him in the head. Font marches Garbrandt down, and Garbrandt looks to set up that deadly right hand with his back to the wall that he put Raphael Assuncao away with. Instead, Font commits with a stiff right hand, and the ex-champ lands another takedown with ease. Garbrandt gets elbowed in the back of the head, and he punishes Font with several powerful punches as Font explodes to his feet. When Font finds his range with a jab, Garbrandt hurts him with a few punches. This close, tense round ends before Garbrandt can capitalize.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Garbrandt
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Garbrandt
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Garbrandt
Round 2The bantamweight contenders touch gloves to clock in the second round, and Font opens up with a body kick. Garbrandt responds with a right hand that he chains into a takedown, where he lands it in the center of the cage. Garbrandt postures up to land bombs, but Font holds him tight and tries to scramble off the ground without absorbing much in the way of damage. Font throws his legs up to threaten with a choke, and Garbrandt rolls through it but finds his arm snagged with a Font kimura attempt. Font sweeps Garbrandt with the kimura, and the two stand back up, where Garbrandt greets him with a few punches. Font lands a jab and finds himself defending a takedown attempt from the former champ. Garbrandt knees Font in the chest on the way out, and Font sticks out a few jabs to solid effect. Two big punches connect for Garbrandt, but a chain of jabs into a right hand are much more effective for Font. Font commits to the jab, which is flustering the former champ, and Garbrandt wipes his eye after he takes a few. Font fakes high to kick the leg, and one of his jabs gets countered with part of an overhand right. Font catches Garbrandt on the way in with an uppercut, and he advances to throw heavy leather. Garbrandt greets him with a few strikes of his own, so Font loads up on a forearm strike that pounds Garbrandt in the chin. A one-two from Font gets Garbrandt’s attention, and a front kick leads to an audible groan from the former champ. The Bostonian tries to land the same strike again, but he turns it into several punches that hurt Garbrandt. When a right hand lands, Garbrandt shoots in for a takedown, and it is stuffed right before the horn.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Font
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Font
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Font
Round 3The two touch gloves to start out the third round, and Font clips Garbrandt with a right hand. Garbrandt retreats, only to get jabbed to the head and body. A stern leg kick makes Font recoil his leg, and as Font looks to make him pay, Garbrandt stings him with a right hook. Font gathers himself and plants the ball of his foot in Garbrandt’s solar plexus. Font flicks out several jabs as Garbrandt is trying to measure his right hand, and he lands two punches to make Font back away. Font hurts Garbrandt with a right hand, and Garbrandt bounces off the fence before circling away. The jabs have bloodied the nose of the former champion, who cannot seem to find the timing or range of this strike. Garbrandt again jabs with his foot, and he stutter-steps to make Garbrandt take a funny step back int the cage. Font smashes Garbrandt on the chin with an uppercut, and Garbrandt is dazed and pursues a takedown. Font reverses the position after stuffing it, and he considers his own takedown as he wraps his arms around Garbrandt’s waist. Font abandons it to land a few left hands in the clinch, although he does flirt with a few mild trip attempts with his legs. Font tosses Garbrandt down to the ground, and he drops down several punches to the midsection before Garbrandt explodes back up. Font paws out several more jabs when both are upright, and a one-two bothers Garbrandt. Although Garbrandt responds with a counter, the strike is more for a setup to take the fight down. Font sprawls, and he gets back up and frees himself. Back in the center of the cage, Font’s jab is paying dividends as he lands it one after the other. Garbrandt lands one, and when Font rips the body, Garbrandt nods and tries to initiate a brawl. Font does not bite on the reckless exchange, but he still gets caught on the outside from a big punch. Garbrandt’s hands are by his waist as he wants the home-run punch, and Font does not change his rhythm and instead keeps the jab flowing. Garbrandt slips a jab and lands a left hand, but Font scores a leg kick right as the horn ends the round.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Font
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Font
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Font
Round 4As the fourth round is about to begin, Dean halts them momentarily so that a piece of tape can be cut from Garbrandt’s wrist. The fight resumes as Font gets back into his rhythm, and he absorbs a leg kick in the early going. Font’s feints and fakes get Garbrandt to bite, and he lands a few long punches to make Garbrandt backpedal. The two bantamweights trade single jabs, and Font has two punches skim past the bears. When Garbrandt loads up on a punch, Font is right there to walk through it and hit him back harder. Font ends a combination with a body shot, and then strides after Garbrandt to sting him with a leg kick. Garbrandt responds with one to the calf, and Garbrandt changes levels for a takedown. Font stuffs it and deals some damage with body shots, and Garbrandt’s hands fall by his waist. Font knows not to challenge him when this counter trap comes together, and he backs off until Garbrandt puts his guard back up. Font walks in with several jabs, and a few punches get through the guard and ring Garbrandt’s bell. Two to the body and two to the head come from Font, who is feeling himself right now as Garbrandt’s face bloodies up fast. Font ducks a looping shot to ring home an uppercut, and his jab is interspersed between combinations. Garbrandt fakes a takedown attempt, and Font nearly sprawls before gathering himself and jabbing his foe. A few jabs from Font lead to a right hand, and Font boots Garbrandt in the head for good measure. The jabs continue to mount for Font, as Garbrandt is forced into a defensive posture as he eats a clean right hand across the forward bow. Garbrandt’s chin has held up, even as Font stops a takedown and drills him in the face with an elbow. Font’s lightning-quick jabs break up any momentum Garbrandt tries to put together, and several land consecutively as Garbrandt grimaces. Font just misses with a looping right hand, and we have reached the 20-minute mark.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Font
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Font
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Font
Round 5There is one last glove touch to begin the final frame, and Font picks up where he left off in the last round with several sharp jabs. Garbrandt looks to meet him with a few of his own, and he catches Font ducking down with a few stern uppercuts. Garbrandt crashes forward into a clinch, and he lands a few short punches that surprise Font. The Boston native breaks free and slings a front kick, before landing several punches as Garbrandt circles and escapes. Garbrandt is fully loaded up on his punches, and a big left hand catches Font standing still. Garbrandt follows him with two more, but Font is there with body shots. A clinch leads to strikes from both men, with Font landing to the body and Garbrandt getting off several uppercuts. Garbrandt sets up his hands-down approach to lure Font into a bad situation, and Font sees it and rolls out. Font slips a punch to blast the former champ with an uppercut, and Garbrandt is wobbled but not going down. Instead, Garbrandt reaches out with a kick, and Font grabs it and throws his opponent into the cage wall. Garbrandt stays on his feet and throws back with reckless abandon, but Font is nowhere to be found. Fond wades forward with jab after jab, and Garbrandt’s hands go back down to his waist as he takes a jab on the chin. Garbrandt rings home a huge right hand that staggers Font for a second, but Font gathers his bearings and lands a few more jabs. A kick for Garbrandt allows Font to throw him down, but Garbrandt springs back up and looks at the ground to start a brawl. Garbrandt backs away from jabs, but Font measures him and hurts him with a right hand. Font marches forward with a head kick and another one-two, and Garbrandt’s chin appears to be fading fast. Garbrandt shoots in for a takedown, and Font sees it coming, tosses him aside and lands three punches. When Garbrandt looses a head kick, Font pushes it away and fires off several more jabs. A bit of blood from Garbrandt’s face splashes on to the camera lens, and Font keeps working him with punches. Garbrandt swings for a desperation spinning back fist, and when Font ducks it, the ex-champ shoves him over to climb into top position. With seconds to spare, Garbrandt pounds away, but Font is protecting himself from harm and rides out the round. This will be a huge win for Font, who puts himself on an impressive four-fight win streak with his sights set on a future championship opportunity. The UFC is off next weekend after this long run, so we will be back in two weeks with a jam-packed Fight Night show.
Sherdog ScoresJay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Font (49-46 Font)
Ben Duffy scores the round: 10-9 Font (49-46 Font)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Font (49-46 Font)
The Official ResultRob Font def. Cody Garbrandt via Unanimous Decision (48-47, 50-45, 50-45)