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Alexander Romanov moved another step closer to relevance in the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight division, as he disposed of Team Quest’s Jared Vanderaa with punches in the second round of their featured UFC Fight Night 194 prelim on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The undefeated Romanov (15-0, 4-0 UFC) drew the curtain 4:43 into Round 2.
Vanderaa (12-6, 1-2 UFC) never moved out of his defensive posture. Romanov chipped away at the Team Quest product with takedowns in a largely one-sided first round, then turned up the heat in the second. The Moldovan tripped his counterpart to the floor, landed in side control and ultimately climbed to full mount, at which point he started to cut loose with damaging ground-and-pound. Vanderaa tried and failed to get back to his feet, ate a sustained barrage of punishing blows and failed to answer referee Mark Smith’s calls to intelligently defend himself.
Romanov has finished 14 of his 15 opponents, 12 of them inside two rounds.
Bloodied Jackson Handles Rosa
Repeated takedowns and dogged top control carried Fortis MMA’s Damon Jackson to a unanimous decision over Charles Rosa in a three-round featherweight affair. Jackson (19-4-1, 2-2-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28, 29-27 and 30-27 marks from the cageside judges.
The first two rounds were relatively straightforward, as Jackson operated behind an active kicking game and remained a step ahead in a majority of the wrestling and grappling exchanges. Everything changed at the start of Round 3. Rosa (14-6, 5-6 UFC) blindly connected with an upward reverse elbow and opened a horrendous vertical cut close to the onetime Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder’s right eye. Blood streamed from the wound, pooled on the Octagon floor and drenched the two men in plasma. It turned all subsequent scrambles into 50-50 propositions and made control virtually impossible—a development that proved unfavorable for Rosa, who found himself in a two-rounds-to-none hole from which there was no escape.
The 33-year-old Jackson has rattled off eight wins across his last 10 appearances.
Godinez Armbar Submits Juarez
Former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Lupita Godinez submitted Silvana Gomez Juarez with an armbar in the first round of their women’s strawweight clash. A short-notice substitution for Sam Hughes, Juarez (10-3, 0-1 UFC) conceded defeat 4:14 into Round 1.
Godinez (6-1, 1-1 UFC) closed the distance with jab-cross combinations and executed multiple takedowns. She eventually advanced the Entram Gym rep’s back, secured a dominant position with her legs and went to work. Godinez, 28, caught the belly-down armbar on the transition, activated her hips and forced the tapout.
The setback was Juarez’s first since March 3, 2018.
Resilient Garcia Batters Ontiveros
Jackson-Wink MMA export Steve Garcia rebounded from a Feb. 29 decision loss to Luis Pena, as he put away Charlie Ontiveros with punches in the second round of their lightweight pairing. Garcia (12-4, 1-1 UFC) brought it to a close 1:51 into Round 2.
Ontiveros (11-8, 0-2 UFC) had the “Mean Machine” reeling early in the first round, where he staggered the Bellator MMA veteran with an axe kick and decked him with a left hook. Garcia did not go away. He struck for a pair of takedowns, settled in the north-south position and snuck in a between-the-legs elbow strike that opened a deep gash near Ontiveros’ right eye. It was a harbinger of what was to come. Garcia moved into top position again at the start of the second round, climbed to full mount and unleashed elbows before sealing the deal with a burst of punches and hammerfists.
Garcia has won five of his past six bouts.