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UFC Fight Night 200 ‘Hermansson vs. Strickland’ Play-by-Play, Results & Round Scoring

Sherdog's live UFC Fight Night 200 coverage will begin Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

Check out the MMA Forums to discuss the card or enter your comments and predictions below.

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Denys Bondar (125) vs. Malcolm Gordon (126)

Round 1

A whole 13 fights are on the docket for the UFC’s 200th numbered Fight Night card, but the divisional relevance is fairly low despite 26 competitors on the lineup as only the main event includes ranked fighters. Nevertheless, we persist with this all-ESPN+ show that begins in the flyweight division as Canada’s Gordon (13-5, 1-2 UFC) welcomes “Psycho” Bondar (14-2, 0-0 UFC) to the organization. No matter what the UFC and other recordkeepers list, the Ukrainian’s record is not in fact 16-3. Referee Mark Smith clocks them in before the fighters touch gloves, and it’s on with the show! Bondar comes out marching forward, and has a leg kick checked. Gordon is right there to throw back at him, and he absorbs a short, chopping leg kick. Two big punches from Gordon rock Bondar, leading the Ukrainian to shoot in for a takedown. Bondar hits it quick, and he pushes the legs aside when a setup from the Canadian comes up high. Gordon uses an armbar to sweep Bondar over, and although he does not secure it, he works his way back up to his feet. “Malcolm X” spins around and hits a throw to put Bondar down on the mat. Bondar hits the ground hard, and as he posts up, his elbow separates completely. “Psycho” screams loudly in pain as his arm is wrecked, and Gordon turns to Smith, who stops it immediately. In the post-fight interview, Gordon explains that he believes his initial armbar broke his foe’s arm, and that Bondar toughed it out until it gave way.

The Official Result

Malcolm Gordon def. Denys Bondar R1 1:22 via TKO (Arm Injury)

Philip Rowe (170.5) vs. Jason Witt (171)

Round 1

With a win here, one of these two welterweights will lift their UFC record above. 500. Whether it will be “The Vanilla Gorilla Witt (19-7, 2-2 UFC) or “The Fresh Prince” Rowe (8-3, 1-1 UFC), that remains to be seen. Referee Chris Tognoni will be the first to know, and he observes the glove touch to start things off. Rowe walks forward, hands down, and he takes a thudding kick to his calf right out of the gate. Witt keeps on the outside until he darts in with a few punches, and a right hand pops right into the beard of “The Fresh Prince.” Witt swats away several long, range-finding jabs so that he can push forward, and he changes levels to secure a double-leg takedown. “The Vanilla Gorilla” elevates his opponent and grounds him, where he lands in half guard keeping Rowe stuck on his back. Rowe scrambles, pushes off the legs, and fights his way back to his feet. The success is short-lived, as Witt lands a mat return and gets back to half guard on the other side. Witt stalls out the action with his heavy shoulder pressure, preferring control time over dealing damage. Rowe recovers back to a closed guard eventually, and he hooks one of Witt’s arms beneath his shoulder in hopes of a sweep of some kind. Rowe keeps a high guard in search of a triangle as Tognoni asks the fighters to stay busy. Rowe scoots his way towards the wall, and Witt is glommed on to him tightly as Tognoni once more tells them to do something. Rowe tries and fails to hit a sweep, and he elects to close his guard with a body triangle due to his long limbs. Witt drives Rowe into the corner of the fence and the floor, and he postures up to land a few punches. Rowe locks him down again, and with 15 seconds left in the round, he explodes out and back to his feet. Witt starts swinging wildly, and Rowe meets him with a pair of sharp counters before the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Witt
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Witt
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Witt

Round 2

The welterweights touch hands, and Witt powers his way forward shortly thereafter with a looping right hand. Witt wings another, and Rowe waves him on. They trade high kicks, and Witt crashes forward in pursuit of a takedown. This time, Rowe uses the fence as his ally to stay upright, but his defends slowly falls as Witt trips him to a knee. Rowe stands back up, only to get wrenched down to the mat. “The Vanilla Gorilla” leans heavily to disallow Rowe from standing back up, and Rowe appears frustrated as he is seated with his back to the wall. Witt holds on tightly until he wraps his arms around Rowe’s waist, and Rowe uses this moment to stand back up. Rowe manages to break the grip, and he blocks a pair of looping shots that come at him from the Missouri native. Rowe begins to walk Witt down, and he tees off with a trio of punches that rock Witt badly. The legs betray “The Vanilla Gorilla,” who crumbles to the ground, with his eyes rolling around in his head as Tognoni leaps in to stop the fight. What a comeback!

The Official Result

Philip Rowe def. Jason Witt R2 2:15 via TKO (Punches)

Jailton Almeida (203) vs. Danilo Marques (205.5)

Round 1

It’s an all-Brazil battle royale between finishers in this light heavyweight contest, when recent Contender Series signee Almeida (14-2, 0-0 UFC) comes to blows with Demian Maia protégé Marques (11-3, 2-1 UFC). With 23 finishes in their combined 25 victories, a stoppage is almost sure to materialize, and referee Mike Beltran will be on top of the action for as long as it lasts. The countrymen show a sign of respect by touching gloves, and Almeida takes the center of the cage with a front kick. Shooting in from a wide distance, “Malhadinho” somehow circles around to the side, lifting Marques high in the air and slamming him down. Marques on his side keeps wrist control to protect himself from any oncoming strikes, but Almeida turns to take side control in the process. Marques keeps his foe’s wrist tightly gripped, halting any offense coming from the man on top. Almeida traps the legs beneath his own as he slithers his way to three-quarter mount, and Marques twists but gets popped with several right hands. Almeida secures mount in a hurry, and he starts raining down blistering blows. Marques turns over, and he has to fight off a rear-naked choke quickly. Marques turns to his back again, and Almeida sits up and batters him with hammerfists. The punches keep landing, and Marques manages to block some but others get through. Beltran is paying full attention to what is happening, and Marques is intelligently defending himself but getting clobbered. “Malhadinho” continues his bombardment of brutal blows until Beltran intervenes, and Marques says he is alright but the fight is over. That is one way to make your promotional debut, as Almeida keeps his 100% finish rate intact with a quick win in one-sided fashion.

The Official Result

Jailton Almeida def. Danilo Marques R1 2:57 via TKO (Punches)

Alexis Davis (135) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (135.5)

Round 1

Up next in the bantamweight division in the lone women’s bout of the evening, venerable veteran and former title challenger Davis (20-11, 7-6 UFC) will try to make Lithuania’s Stoliarenko (9-5-2, 0-3 UFC) 0-4 in her UFC career. Drawing the assignment is referee Mark Smith, and he is well out of the way before the two go at it. The gloves get touched, and Stoliarenko opens with a front kick. Davis walks through it to bowl Stoliarenko over, and she claims top position in a hurry. Stoliarenko throws her legs up in search of an armbar, but there is nothing to be found from the ex-Strikeforce fighter. Davis steps over and finds herself suddenly in huge danger as Stoliarenko locks up an armbar. Davis does not panic even though it is deep, and she twists through to partially free herself. Stoliarenko goes for an ankle, and when she does, Davis jerks her elbow out of the bad position to turn back over and re-enter Stoliarenko’s guard. Davis starts slugging away from on top, and Stoliarenko goes after another armbar. This one is not nearly as precarious, as Davis smoothly moves through it to shift over to side control. Davis scores several big punches from above when she gets back to the guard, and Stoliarenko is constantly working her legs in the hunt for a sub. Davis fights off setup after setup, as she works Stoliarenko from on top with punches and short elbows. Stoliarenko is not finished looking for an armbar, and she traps Davis but cannot get the elbow through to lock it up. Davis turns Stoliarenko into the wall, using it to push through and get her arm out. “Ally-Gator” turns it up with ground-and-pound when the armbar fails again, bloodying the Lithuanian’s face up with powerful blows. Stoliarenko flails from her back, and an illegal upkick nails Davis in the face. Smith stops the action, and he calls in the doctor to assess Davis’ condition. Davis gets cleared, and Smith resumes the position where they left off while issuing Stoliarenko a warning. Stoliarenko starts again with an armbar try, and Davis stacks Stoliarenko up and rides the position out.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Davis
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Davis
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Davis

Round 2

The bantamweights meet in the middle and start trading, with both women landing flush. Davis lets loose a leg kick, and she gets countered with a left hand from her opponent. Davis sits down on a pair of punches, and she scores a body kick on the way out. Stoliarenko backs off after eating a strike, and she gets clipped when reaching forward with a right hand. Davis chops at Stoliarenko’s lead leg, and she eats a one-two from the Lithuanian in response. They continue to throw hands, with Davis landing cleaner and harder. A crisp right hand knocks Stoliarenko back, and she tries to get some space with a high kick. Davis walks through it to connect with a right hand, only to walk face-first into a counter right hook. Stoliarenko connects with a standing up-elbow and a few punches, and Davis is right there in her face to pop her with punches and a low kick. Davis ignores a strike coming at her jaw so she can elbow Stoliarenko in the face, and she follows it with another that gets ducked. They stand before one another and slug it out, and Davis finishes a combination with a calf kick that makes Stoliarenko wince. The Canadian clubs Stoliarenko with a right and another leg kick, and she makes Stoliarenko wobble again. The responsive strikes from Stoliarenko open a cut on the corner of Davis’ eye, and both ladies are bleeding from their striking exchanges. Stoliarenko gets off a few left hooks, targeting the damaged spot again and again. Despite the bleeding, Davis continues marching forward like a Terminator, and she loads up on punches but her best strikes are her leg kicks. Stoliarenko wings a head kick that connects right on the button, and Davis eats it like poutine and continues on her path of aggression. Stoliarenko retreats as Davis gives chase, but she gets off her solid left hook a few times. Davis boots the body and evades a counter just in the nick of time, only for Stoliarenko to wade forward and connect with a few strikes to end the close round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Stoliarenko
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Stoliarenko
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Stoliarenko

Round 3

Both women come out to touch gloves, and they pick up right where they left off with a back-and-forth striking exchange. Davis moves forward, and she gets off a solid right hand that makes her corner cheer in unison. The Canadian sits down on a powerful calf kick, deadening the leg of Stoliarenko for a moment and making her hit the ground on her seat. Davis dives down into the guard expecting an armbar to come her way, and she starts raining down ground-and-pound in Stoliarenko’s guard. Davis turns her punches to hacking elbows, as her team shouts for her to “split her head open.” Stoliarenko goes back and forth from opening the guard to closing it, all while taking strikes and losing precious seconds on the clock. Although Stoliarenko occasionally throws a punch or two off her back, Davis is the far more active of the two, elbowing Stoliarenko again and again. Stoliarenko gets framed up against the wall, sitting up for a second until Davis sucks her back down flat again. Davis keeps her offense going, with constant, effective ground strikes staving off any thought of a standup. Stoliarenko closes her guard tight, and Davis opens it up with a handful of jackhammering elbows. Davis smacks her opponent several more times while tied up in the guard, and she is comfortable in this position as she wails on Stoliarenko without answer. A few strikes in her onslaught slice a huge cut open on Stoliarenko’s right cheek, and the blood flows immediately. Davis goes right to the bell with her attack, and we have reached the scorecards for the first time of the night.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Davis (29-28 Davis)
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Davis (29-28 Davis)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Davis (29-28 Davis)

The Official Result

Alexis Davis def. Julija Stoliarenko via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-27)

Marc-Andre Barriault (184.5) vs. Chidi Njokuani (185)

Round 1

At long last, Njokuani (20-7, 1 NC; 0-0 UFC) will be making his promotional debut after many bouts with Bellator, LFA, Tachi Palace Fights, RFA and LFC on his way up. Here, he will be taking on hard-hitting Canadian Barriault (13-4, 1 NC; 2-3, 1 NC UFC) who will be aiming for an even UFC record should he get his hand raised. The Octagon ranger for this 185-pound matchup that can end in a flash is referee Herb Dean, and he watches on as the fighters touch gloves before getting down to business. Njokuani begins with a leg kick, and a body kick from the other leg as Barriault walks away. Njokuani reaches out with a jab, and he follows it with a blistering right hand that sends the Canadian crashing down to the mat in a heap. To finish the job, “Chidi Chidi Bang Bang” pounds on his downed adversary with clobbering left hands one after another. Barriault is going nowhere fast, and Dean jumps in to stop the fight with the Canadian clearly done and barely clinging to his consciousness. That’s how to make a statement in your UFC debut, putting away a man that had never been finished in about 15 seconds. Wow!

The Official Result

Chidi Njokuani def. Marc-Andre Barriault R1 0:16 via KO (Punches)

Hakeem Dawodu (146) vs. Michael Trizano (145.5)

Round 1

In this next contest at 145 pounds, Dawodu (12-2-1, 5-2 UFC) will try to bounce back from the first decision loss of his career against underheralded TUF 27 winner Trizano (9-1, 3-1 UFC). Together, they have notched only one finish in their total eight UFC wins, so referee Chris Tognoni may be in it for the long haul. They would rather begin quickly and do not bother touching gloves, as Dawodu wants to throw several kicks outright. Most of them moss, others are blocked, and a spinning kick goes wide. “Mean Hakeem” goes low with a kick, and Trizano wears it well and tries to reply with boxing. Trizano rips the liver with a left hand, and he gets jabbed in the face for his effort. They trade leg kicks, and Dawodu swipes out with a few punches that miss the mark. A kick from Trizano glances off the cup, and Tognoni checks to make sure everyone is fine before letting them continue. Dawodu spams more kicks high and low, and he ducks back from a head kick so that he can connect cleanly on Trizano’s planted calf. Dawodu lets loose a kick and punches, and Trizano gets knocked back and comes forward with a pair of sharp punches. Dawodu lets his hands go, with a left to the body and a right to the head in the midst of a quick combination. Dawodu does not let Trizano off the hook with low kicks, but he has one get checked. When Trizano throws a punch, Dawodu counters him with a kick to the same spot. Dawodu keeps bombarding the lead leg of his opponent, and Trizano lifts his leg up preemptively but still gets tagged by a few more. Trizano reaches out with a jab, takes one back on the chin, and is forced to absorb a few body kicks. They both land flush as they come together throwing hard, and Dawodu grabs hold of him and presses him to the wall. On the break, Trizano scores flush, but Dawodu does not budge and continues marching forward. They trade one after the other, working the jab and following them with power shots. Dawodu’s head kick gets blocked, but one to the lower extremity does not get defended. Trizano gets tired of eating these leg kicks, and he chains together a heavy one-two. Dawodu replies in kind, busting Trizano’s nose up. The tense round ends after they both land on each other.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Dawodu
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Dawodu
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Dawodu

Round 2

Dawodu lands first with a jumping front kick to the midsection, and Trizano does not appear fazed as he avoids the brunt of the damage. Dawodu keeps kicking, and he slips a punch to counter right back. A slapping left hook pops Trizano in the chops, and he is forced to retreat when Dawodu gives chase and lands his heavy leg kick at the end of every striking exchange. Trizano catches Dawodu coming in, and Dawodu charges in to clinch up as he might have been hurt. Trizano breaks free and lifts up a high knee, but it does not reach the target. Dawodu regains his composure, landing flush with a left and a looping right that wraps around the guard. Trizano finds himself staring at Dawodu’s handiwork, and he gradually gets his offense going in the form of a few jabs. Trizano pays Dawodu back with a low kick, and they both start slugging it out momentarily. “The Lone Wolf” may have clipped Dawodu again as they trade, as Dawodu pushes in to tie them up against the fence. Dawodu targets the body a few times, and Trizano shakes him off to gain space. As soon as he does, Dawodu lets him have it with a leg kick and a spinning back kick that collides off the midsection. Dawodu snaps out a crisp jab, and he ducks a big punch coming his way. A left to the body is followed by a kick on the other side from Dawodu, and he doubles up with his liver shot as he targets the breadbasket. The volume of Dawodu is giving Trizano problems, with punches high and kicks low to keep Trizano guessing. Trizano ties his foe up this time, and when he does, Dawodu pounds on his ribs with a big left. A cut has opened beneath Trizano’s right eye, likely from the jabs of his opponent, and they jockey for position in the clinch. When they break apart, the horn sounds.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Dawodu
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Dawodu
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Dawodu

Round 3

The featherweights meet in the middle of the cage, and once again, Dawodu strikes first with a low kick, a high kick and a trio of jabs. Trizano starts loading up on punches, sensing he might be down on the scorecards, and he just misses an intercepting knee when Dawodu closes in on him. They go to the fence clinched up, but it does not take long for Dawodu to gain space and start lining jabs up again. The jabs turn to right hands, and they are quick enough to not allow Trizano to counter him. As Dawodu continues to land, Trizano ducks down to change levels, scooping Dawodu’s legs out and gingerly setting him down to the mat. Dawodu pops right back up without issue, and he begins to work the body with short punches and knees as they remain in the clinch. Dawodu keeps his foe stuck in the position at least in part thanks to a few fence grabs, but after a warning or two and a couple of powerful strikes, he backs off. They trade one-twos right on the chin, and Dawodu pushes forward to clinch up as he might have been stung. A shoving contest ensues as they try to bully the other to the wire, and Trizano is the one scoring with short shots on the inside. They give one another knees to the body, and Trizano breaks off with a high knee that is just short. A brief but furious exchange follows until Dawodu grabs hold of his adversary to press him into the wall. The pace has waned as they deliver strikes to the body, and Dawodu is the one to disengage so he can fight at a distance. A few jabs and a kick land until Trizano grabs him to hold tight, and Dawodu pushes him back to the chain links. This grueling clinch battle keeps on going until Dawodu takes a step back to fire off three big punches. Trizano swings and misses with a knee, and a big right hand from each land right before the final bell.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Dawodu (30-27 Dawodu)
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Dawodu (30-27 Dawodu)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Dawodu (30-27 Dawodu)

The Official Result

Hakeem Dawodu def. Michael Trizano via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

John Castaneda (136) vs. Miles Johns (135.5)

Round 1

The prelims conclude with a bantamweight battle as Fortis MMA standout Johns (12-1, 3-1 UFC) takes on longtime Combate Americas vet Castaneda (18-5, 1-1 UFC). Without wasting any more time, the fighters meet in the middle and touch gloves as referee Mike Beltran keeps a watchful eye. Castaneda swings a head kick that misses the mark by a wide margin, and Johns is holding on to a healthy distance as he circles against the outer edge of the cage. Johns blocks a high kick, but he does not throw much more back than a jab. Castaneda continues throwing his kick up on high, and it does not succeed again. Johns remains elusive but is not swinging much of his own, and he suddenly bursts forward with a left-right combo. Castaneda walks forward and gets his head snapped back with a right hook, and Johns takes a step back to avoid a possible counter. “Sexi Mexi” has a kick slap off Johns’ leg, and Johns is waiting with an overhand right counter that brushes off his chin. Castaneda reaches out with his fingers outstretched, and one grazes the eyeball of his opponent to force a brief stoppage. Johns clears his eye and they resume, as Castaneda gives chase but cannot land much on his defensive foe. Johns blocks a head kick and absorbs a low kick, and he misses with a left hand. The accuracy rate and volume this round are quite low, as both men are largely content to swing with single strikes. Johns looks for an uppercut counter, and he bumps into Castaneda’s chin but does not land flush. A right hand from “Chapo” drills into Castaneda’s jaw, but he wears it well and does not take much more than a step back. Castaneda connects with a loud body kick, stepping back just in the nick of time to avoid a looping punch from the Fortis MMA fighter. They feint and fake at one another, and three head kicks from Castaneda are all blocked right before the round concludes.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Castaneda
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Johns
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Johns

Round 2

The second frame begins with a glove touch, and Castaneda opens up with a kick that pounds square into Johns’ cup. Johns tries to say he is good to go, but Beltran gives him more time to recover. When they begin again, Johns is there with a big right hand. Castaneda kicks low again but this one is legal, and Johns suddenly burst into activity as he swarms his man with a barrage of punches. Castaneda shakes them off, but Johns is fired up and throwing with bad intentions. “Sexi Mexi” blocks and dodges many of the strikes, and he marches Johns down and gets punched in the stomach. Johns catches a head kick right on the side of his head, and he shakes it off somehow and tries to suck Castaneda into a brawl. Johns sets a trap to lure Castaneda in and bomb him with hooks, but Castaneda does not fall for it and keeps pressuring Johns around the cage. Castaneda lands a right hand on the side of the head, and Johns’ face looks far less confident than the previous round. Castaneda keeps bullying Johns back, and even though not all of his strikes land, he is constantly forcing the Fortis fighter to fight off his back foot. Castaneda clips Johns with a right hand, and Johns staggers back and may have remained upright thanks to the fence behind him. Castaneda charges at him, lands again and pushes Johns to the ground. Castaneda willingly climbs into the guard, slowly working with ground-and-pound all while he passes to half guard. Johns turns to his side and gets elbowed on the side of the head, and with a surge of adrenaline, he kicks Castaneda off of him and powers back to his feet. Johns loads up on a big right hand, but his target is several feet away. Castaneda wades into the danger zone to let loose with a head kick, and several more punches as Johns is predominantly aiming with a home-run shot. The second round ends with Johns winging a right hand that clatters off the guard.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Castaneda
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Castaneda
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Castaneda

Round 3

Castaneda opens the final round the aggressor, forcing Johns to back away as he avoids punches that loom. Castaneda scores a low kick, and he ducks a huge punch from Johns. Castaneda dodges and weaves, cracking Johns with a right hand and staying safe from the reckless, wide hooks coming back at him. Johns wobbles back, and Castaneda lays into him with a knee and a body shot. Johns throws a punch so hard he spins around, and Castaneda charges. With “Sexi Mexi” laying into his tired foe with a couple punches, a powerful knee and an uppercut, Johns’ legs give way beneath him and he falls to the floor. Castaneda pounces, landing in three-quarter mount while he hooks up an arm-triangle choke. Johns defends off his back by hooking his arm beneath his knee, but his arm grows weary and he retracts it. “Chapo” considers tapping out, but he goes out on his shield, with the arm-triangle choke sending him off to dreamland. Beltran notices that Johns’ is fast asleep and intervenes, and Castaneda is now the first fighter to ever submit Johns.

The Official Result

John Castaneda def. Miles Johns R3 1:38 via Technical Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke)

Julian Erosa (145.5) vs. Steven Peterson (149: Missed Weight)

Round 1

The main card begins in an unexpected catchweight due to an unfortunate weight miss by several pounds. Erosa (26-9, 4-5 UFC), making the most of his third stint in the UFC with three wins opposite one defeat on this current run, will be facing off against the heavy Fortis MMA ex-bantamweight Peterson (19-9, 3-3 UFC) at 149 pounds. The dark horse “Fight of the Night” candidate receives oversight from referee Mark Smith, and there is no glove touching as these two want to get after it right away. Erosa slings a head kick, Peterson blocks it and fires a right hand down the pipe. Peterson catches a body kick so he can aim a big right hand again, and that comes up short. The forward momentum of the heavier fighter allows him to clinch up and pursue a takedown, but Erosa stops it from succeeding and breaks away. Erosa sits down on a kick to the body, and his foe takes it with a sharp exhale. Erosa marches Peterson down, ignoring leg kicks so he can reach out with punches. Erosa loads up with his right hand as he keeps his arms low, and Peterson catches him with a short left hand. “Juicy J” walks Peterson down, shrugging off leg kicks so that he can kick the fighter that missed weight in the midsection. They jab at the same time, and Erosa chains a few punches together that knock Peterson around but do not appear to hurt him. Erosa goes up high with a hook kick that just misses, leading Peterson to try to counter with a big left hand that brushes off the hair. A right hand from Erosa cuts Peterson beneath his left eye, and Peterson spins around with a back fist that Erosa sees coming. Peterson goes for another spinning back fist that is similarly inaccurate, leading Erosa to charge ahead and wind up a bomb of a right hand that whiffs. Peterson backs up to the fence, tripping as he is up against it, and Erosa nails him with a crisp right hand. “Ocho” looks to back Erosa off, but Erosa is not giving ground and continues to plod ahead even while the Fortis MMA fighter lands at him. Erosa scores a leg kick, ducks a spinning back fist and leaps in the air with a flying knee. Peterson connects with a big right hand, and Erosa gives it right back and snaps Peterson’s head back with a trio of clubbing hooks. Erosa has his man on the ropes, and he tries to finish the job, but time expires before he can secure a stoppage.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Erosa
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Erosa
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Erosa

Round 2

Erosa takes the middle of the cage first, but Peterson meets him there and they both start throwing bombs. Peterson shakes Erosa up, Erosa gives it right back, and the punches from Erosa have busted Peterson’s nose open. Erosa kicks low and spins with a back fist to give Peterson a taste of his own medicine, and Peterson sees it coming and aims a jab to the body. They land leg kicks one after the other, and Peterson cracks Erosa with a right hand and leaps after him with a superman punch. Erosa gets tagged again, leading him to shoot in for a takedown. “Ocho” stuffs it and gets off another clean right hand, and Erosa’s face is starting to get marked up as well. Peterson’s power is giving Erosa issues, as the volume of Erosa has diminished as a result. The Fortis MMA fighter absorbs a leg kick, and instead of backing away, he jumps forward. Peterson blasts Erosa with a huge right hand, and he begins an onslaught that backs Erosa up to the fence and nearly off his feet. Peterson continues pounding on Erosa, and out of nowhere, Erosa drills Peterson in the face with a back fist that drops Peterson to his knees. What an exchange, and what a momentum change! Erosa charges forward, still hurt, and he pushes Peterson over and tries to secure top position. Peterson does not allow himself to be grounded and he pops back up, and the two throw caution to the wind and start brawling. Erosa ducks a spinning back fist and goes for a takedown, but he cannot secure it. With a second or third wind, Erosa connects with a few looping hooks, and Peterson’s nose is positively spraying blood. Erosa ducks a spinning back fist, and he jumps in the air with a leaping punch that makes Peterson smile. This close, furious round comes to an end as a bloodied Peterson is grinning at his opponent.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Peterson
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Peterson
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Peterson

Round 3

The featherweights show a new level of respect for another in the last round, as they high five before going after it. Erosa advances, scoring with a couple wild hooks as Peterson throws similar winging shots. Erosa gets tagged with a huge right hand, and he shoots in low for a takedown. Peterson knows it is coming, and he latches on to a guillotine choke. “Ocho” grimaces as he squeezes with all of his might, and the squeeze is causing Peterson to pour blood out of his nose. Erosa slides his neck out, partly because of the blood, and they get back to their feet. Jabs come from each, landing at the same time, and Erosa swings mightily and hits air. Peterson replies with a right hook, and he reaches out with a front kick. Peterson walks into a stiff jab, and they both snipe one another with powerful strikes. Peterson lines up a one-two, and another as Erosa shakes them off and advances, swinging wildly. Technique is largely out the window as these two slug it out, with heavy blows and deep breaths from each. Peterson sweeps the leg with a low kick, and “Juicy J” springs back up so he can keep on trading. Peterson misses with a looping punch, and Erosa gives it right back with a huge shot that sends Peterson reeling. These two are giving it all they have, busting each other in the chops and not flinching. One lands, gets rocked, and throws back to rock his opponent. Erosa shouts his excitement for the fun fight, and he shoots in for a takedown. Peterson aims for a guillotine, but with the blood all over his arms, Erosa easily slips his neck out. Erosa fights off a shoulder lock try to sit up, and he starts landing ground-and-pound. Peterson closes his guard and starts slugging it out from his back, and he suddenly opens it to kick Erosa off. When Peterson charges at him for one final barrage, Erosa jumps in the air with a cartwheel kick that bounces off the side of Peterson’s head. “Ocho” dives down as Erosa falls over from the kick, landing a hammerfist or two until the final horn blares. These two fighters hug it out after a mighty battle, one that seems like a lock for $50,000 checks for each man after 15 minutes of mayhem – unfortunately for Peterson, he is not eligible for a bonus after missing weight.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Erosa (29-28 Erosa)
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Erosa (29-28 Erosa)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Erosa (29-28 Erosa)

The Official Result

Julian Erosa def. Steven Peterson via Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Bryan Battle (185.5) vs. Tresean Gore (186)

Round 1

The true finale for the 29th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” is up now, as finalist Gore (3-0, 0-0 UFC) returns from injury to face eventual tourney champ Battle (6-1, 1-0 UFC) in the middleweight division. Both men’s last win came over Gilbert Urbina by second-round finish, although Gore’s on the show came a little quicker than Battle’s in the finale. A little bad blood has been brewing as of late, but they still decide to touch gloves in the presence of referee Herb Dean. Before the fight begins, Gore is yelling at his opponent, and Gore comes out marching forward without a care in the world. Battle stays on the outside kicking away with front kicks to the body and low kicks to the calf. Gore does not let any kick bother him, and he throws a single kick back as Battle is spamming them. Gore measures his right hand, but instead he looses a head kick that pounds into Battle’s guard. Gore gets peppered with body kicks and jabs as he largely does not throw back with anything of merit. Battle works the body with kicks, and he keeps his guard up when Gore slings a head kick. The leg kicks from Battle force Gore to switch stances, and Battle connects with a solid high kick of his own. Gore’s primary method of attack is a head kick that is blocked each and every time, and Battle is marking him up with kicks high and low. The volume is far higher for Battle, and he defends himself from looping strikes as Gore is not taking a step back. Battle lets go with a pair of punches, and they give Gore pause for a moment before “Mr. Vicious” unleashes a vicious overhand right that glances off the side of the head. Battle slips out the side when Gore crashes forward, and he keeps up his high-volume attack that do not let Gore close in on him. Gore lets his hands go with two wide punches, and Battle strikes back and splits the guard with a one-two. Battle slaps leg kicks off his foe’s lead leg, sticking out piercing front kicks and landing cleanly. Battle’s mouthpiece flies out, and Dean replaces it while the clock keeps ticking, The round ends shortly thereafter, and they start trash talking each other in the center of the cage until Dean separates them and sends them back to their corners.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Battle
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Battle
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Battle

Round 2

While they do touch gloves to start the round, Gore comes out of his corner a man on a mission. Battle does not deviate from his game plan of jabbing with his hands and feet, and Gore loads up on strikes but does not land flush with much. Battle lets loose with a string of punches, getting around the guard or crashing right through it, and Gore shakes them off. “Mr. Vicious” throws a single body kick, and while it is heavier and harder than anything Battle threw at him, the volume is so far in Battle’s favor. Battle gets cracked in a short exchange, and his mouthpiece goes flying. Gore does not pounce as Dean does not realize it is out, and he allows Dean to replace it for him. When they resume, Gore walks Battle down, whips a head kick and a pair of punches that rock Battle momentarily. Battle considers a takedown, but Gore takes a step back to let him fall forward until catching himself. “Pooh Bear” chains together multiple punches into a takedown entry, and he does not get it but manages to push Gore up against the wall. Battle rips a knee to the body before shooting forward again for another takedown. Gore lifts up a pair of heavy knees to the midsection while Battle is in hot pursuit of a takedown, and they split apart for a moment. Battle ducks a huge looping punch to duck down low for a takedown, and this time he gets Gore to one knee. The unbeaten fighter powers back to his feet, and Battle continues to press on him. Battle takes a single step back, claps Gore in the face with a right hand, and changes levels. Gore snatches up the neck with a front choke, and he uses it to push Battle down to the mat when he cannot elicit a tap. Gore climbs into the half guard of his grounded opponent, and he holds on to this top position as the round concludes.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Gore
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Gore
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Gore

Round 3

Between rounds, Battle’s right eye nearly swells all the way shut. Battle offers a glove touch, and Gore does not oblige him this time. The TUF winner steps back and lets go with a head kick, and he gets over the guard with another. Gore is continually advancing, only to block or swat away straight punches that come his way. Gore clubs Battle with a right hand, and Battle blinks it out and goes back to chipping away with low kicks. On one such kick, Gore rushes ahead and secures a takedown, planting Battle hard on the mat. Battle gets to a knee, squirming his way up the fence until he is upright again, and he turns the tables to push Gore’s back to the wall in pursuit of a takedown. Gore does not go down, and they sneak in short knees before Gore explodes to try to pick Battle up off the ground. When Battle does not fall, Gore unleashes a three-hook flurry that Battle barely blocks in time. Battle returns fire with three of his own, and he begins jaw-jacking Gore as he backs Gore up against the fence. “Pooh Bear” punches his way into a takedown entry, and Gore sees it coming a mile away and stuffs it to stand Battle up straight. The two middleweights jockey for position against the wire, and Battle hunts for a single that he turns into a double. Neither try succeed, but Gore is mashed up against the fencing defending himself. “Mr. Vicious” has a knee go up the middle before pushing Battle away, and they start swinging. Battle lands a few, ducks a counter and goes after a takedown. Gore once more shoves him away, and a high kick is not close enough. Gore lets loose with a right hand, and Battle takes a step back and eats another. The second forces a takedown try for Battle, who keeps himself up as does his adversary. With space, Battle kicks the body a few times, and Gore cannot catch him before the final bell sounds. This is a close one, delivering an officially unofficial end to the 29th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” after a real nailbiter.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Battle (29-28 Battle)
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Battle (29-28 Battle)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Battle (29-28 Battle)

The Official Result

Bryan Battle def. Tresean Gore via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Brendan Allen (205) vs. Sam Alvey (205)

Round 1

Due to a late replacement, Alvey (33-16-1, 1 NC; 10-11-1, 1 NC UFC) now finds himself taking on Allen (17-5, 5-2 UFC) in the light heavyweight division. The two men that hail from an area in Wisconsin about a half hour from one another meet in the center of the cage, and referee Chris Tognoni serves as the onlooker. The gloves do not get touched, as Allen would prefer to come out fighting. Allen comes out swinging, and Alvey backs up to the wall. When Allen throws recklessly, Alvey counters him with a quick, clean right hook that shocks Allen. “All-In” shoots in for a takedown, and Alvey sprawls and pushes Allen down to the mat. “Smile’n Sam” tosses Allen away, and he backs away awaiting an advancing Allen. Allen does just that, marching forward to attack, and Alvey is prepared with a counter right hook again. Allen is wary of this strike, and as he pays attention to it, Alvey kicks his lead leg hard. Alvey connects with a one-two, and Allen shakes it off and walks face-first into a sharp punch. Allen does not slow down, kicking up high with a kick. Alvey catches it, sets the leg down and lands a fast one-two again. Allen tries to find a way in, and he reaches out with a jab to the body. As he lets loose with a high body kick, Alvey reaches out with a long left hand across the bow. Alvey’s one-two just misses again, and he lines another up right when Allen takes the forward step to him. Alvey’s range is giving Allen issues, and he again clips Allen with a right. Allen rushes in, gets pushed away and runs forward with a spinning back fist. The strike is blocked by both of Alvey’s arms, and Allen calmly backs away to start hacking at Alvey’s lead leg. Alvey tags Allen once more with a pair of punches, leading Allen to blitz in and pursue a takedown. Allen splits off and rocks Alvey with a right hook. They both throw at the same time, hurting each other, and a follow-up from Allen drops Alvey to a knee against the wall. Alvey gets up, they brawl it out for a few more seconds, and the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Alvey
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Alvey
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Alvey

Round 2

Allen leads the dance to start off the second round, with a few head kick that are blocked fully. Alvey backs off, and a foot from Allen’s spinning wheel kick grazes his jaw. Alvey blitzes ahead with a surge of punches, and he does this again to give Allen pause. Allen gathers himself and marches Alvey down, and Alvey is there with a heavy leg kick to meet him. “All-In” goes all-in with a body kick, and Alvey takes it like a champ and reaches out with a right. Allen throws up another head kick, and he punches the body and dips back out of the way when Alvey prepares to counter. Alvey charges ahead, and this assault misses the mark. Allen fires off a right to the body and a left to the head, and “Smile’n Sam” is no longer smiling from the strikes. Alvey falls to his knees in big trouble, and Allen instantly jumps on to take Alvey’s back. Alvey leans towards the fence, only to find that Allen has set up a rear-naked choke without any hooks in. Hooks? “All-In” don't need no stinkin’ hooks. Allen crushes the windpipe with all his might, and Alvey reluctantly surrenders. The unfortunate winless streak continues for Alvey, who took on a new opponent in a different weight class on a week’s notice.

The Official Result

Brendan Allen def. Sam Alvey R2 2:10 via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)

Carlston Harris (169) vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov (170.5)

Round 1

It’s a welterweight rumble on the docket now between two surging prospects each looking for their third win in as many tries when Rakhmonov (14-0, 2-0 UFC) takes on Harris (17-4, 2-0 UFC). This classic battle of Kazakhstan vs. Guyana will draw the attention of referee Mike Beltran, although the tensions are not high as they show respect with a touch of gloves. The center of the cage immediately belongs to Rakhmonov, who swats away a punch to the body as he slowly advances. Harris kicks the body and swipes out with a left as Rakhmonov comes towards him, and Harris whiffs on a big right hand as well. Harris has a left hand bounce off the cheek, only to walk into a one-two that makes him bend over. Harris fires back with a strike to the body, as he lunges in with a few right hands to the torso. Rakhmonov’s volume is low, as the Kazakh picks his shots from range. Rakhmonov catches a swinging Harris with a right hand, and Harris recklessly attacks and gets kicked hard to the body with a spinning kick. Rakhmonov races ahead, sensing he might have hurt “Mocambique,” and he lands a body shot before Harris grabs hold of him. They dance back and forth in pursuit of takedowns from each man, and Rakhmonov pushes him hard against the fence before lifting Harris in the air. Harris manages to keep his balance as Rakhmonov lifts him up, sets him down and picks him up again to elevate and drop. The Guyana native turns Rakhmonov to the fence, and he starts stomping on toes in an old-school manner. While Harris thwarts one trip attempt, the second succeeds, and Rakhmonov drops his foe right on his head. Harris keeps moving, scrambling well enough to get back to his feet without issue. In the blink of an eye, Rakhmonov spins with a hook kick to the head, and the heel smashes into the side of Harris’ dome. Harris topples to the mat, and Rakhmonov leaps down to hunt for a finish. Harris throws his legs up to try to keep Rakhmonov off of him, but Rakhmonov tosses them aside and drops down hammers in the form of punches. “Nomad” blasts Harris a couple times with long standing-to-ground punches until Harris’ consciousness is stripped away, and Beltran is quick to notice this and halt the fight. That’s 15 wins in 15 tries for Rakhmonov, with all 15 ending inside the distance. As he makes the sign to the crowd for dollar bills, he also signals to the UFC that he is a serious contender on the rise at 170 pounds.

The Official Result

Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Carlston Harris R1 4:10 via KO (Spinning Hook Kick and Punches)

Nick Maximov (185) vs. Punahele Soriano (185)

Round 1

With little in the way of pomp and circumstances, we have reached the co-main event. It comes in the middleweight weight class between once-beaten Hawaiian Soriano (8-1, 2-1 UFC) and undefeated Nick Diaz student Maximov (7-0, 1-0 UFC). Making sure nothing goes pear-shaped is referee Mark Smith, and the fighters decide a glove touch is necessary before throwing down. Both men are cautious of the other’s power early on, feinting and faking but missing on punches. Maximov shoots for a takedown from a distance, and he gets shucked away. Maximov stands back and boots Soriano in the belly, and he absorbs a right hand flush. The unbeaten fighter shakes the punch off to drop down for an ankle pick, and he pulls Soriano’s leg out and puts the Hawaiian on his seat. Soriano turns him around, pushing off to power up but succumbing to a second effort after doing a split. Soriano gets away, and he just avoids a head kick that soars past his head. Maximov sits down on a right hand, and he gets away from an overhand right that comes back his direction. “Story Time” has a kick go low to the cup, and they pause for a moment. Maximov shoots from afar for a takedown, and Soriano stops it, stands him up and blasts him in the face with a knee. Maximov’s nose busts open, as blood flows immediately from the strike. The Nick Diaz Academy fighter still manages to keep his composure in an attempt for a takedown, and he forces Soriano up to the wall and takes his back. Maximov hops on the back like a backpack, and he instantly searches for a rear-naked choke. Soriano leans face-first into the fence to hold him up and not let Maximov secure a choke, but Maximov goes for it anyway in a palm-to-palm power move that is more of a neck crank. Soriano grits it out and continues to stay on the fence until Maximov slides off his back. Maximov doggedly pursues the low single, getting low enough to not absorb any strikes and force Soriano to defend himself. Soriano turns around, grabs the fence and still gets planted on his backside for a moment. Maximov lifts himself up, and when gunning for a takedown, gets kneed in the face in what might be an illegal strike. Maximov remains on his knees, with no foul assessed, and Soriano pounds on him until the round ends.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Soriano
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Soriano
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Soriano

Round 2

The middleweights come out fighting, and they land cleanly on one another. Soriano swipes with looping punches, and Maximov returns fire with a straighter punch down the middle. Maximov attacks a low takedown, and the Hawaiian scrambles and fights up to his feet. Soriano walks away, and Smith tells Maximov to stand up. A few punches from Soriano land hard until Maximov dives into another takedown entry. Maximov pulls Soriano to the mat, but Soriano bursts back upright in seconds. Soriano breaks the grip and gains some separation, and he chains several punches together and blocks a head kick. Maximov scores once, and Soriano lands three times to make Maximov bleed more from the face. The Californian drops down for a takedown again, and his odd-angled entries trip Soriano down. Soriano is able to surge back upright, and he fights off another attempt as he hammers Maximov on the side of the head with hammerfists. Maximov stays tightly pressed to the Hawaiian like an ill-fitting Hawaiian shirt, and he takes Soriano out of his offensive mindset as he continues to get grounded for short stints. Maximov drags Soriano down, leading Soriano to scramble and get to his knees before long. When Soriano stands, he gets kneed in the face hard, forcing Soriano to twist with all his might to get out. Maximov clings to him to the end of the stanza.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Maximov
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Maximov
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Maximov

Round 3

The fighters meet in the middle and touch gloves, and Maximov strikes first with two low kicks and a jumping switch kick. Maximov dives forward and secures a takedown, and Soriano scoots his way to the wall and gets to a knee. Maximov lands a few punches on the side until the Hawaiian gets upright. Maximov does not let him off the hook in pursuit of a single, and he scoops the legs out and secures the clearest takedown of the fight. Soriano does not stay down on the mat for long before returning to a knee. Maximov moves around to get Soriano’s back, and he exerts chest pressure to push Soriano down but cannot keep him there. Soriano stands, and he fights off a single-leg mat return that succeeds. Soriano continues to fight his way up to his feet, getting up a few seconds later, and Maximov is not giving him a moment to breathe. All the while, Maximov is pounding on Soriano’s thigh from behind with knees. Soriano grabs the fence to spin around defending a takedown, and he grimaces as he stands up. Maximov goes low to his own knees to take the fight down, and Soriano lords above him with heavy body shots until Maximov pulls him down again. The Hawaiian climbs up in an odd position to ride Maximov like a bronco, smacking Maximov in the waist a few times until Maximov pulls him back down. Soriano’s face is one of pain as he stands back to his feet for the umpteenth time, but he unloads on Maximov’s side until Maximov stands up to get away. Soriano’s last effort is a head kick that gets blocked, and Maximov hops on his bike to circle far enough away to not be in range for a final salvo of Hawaiian punches. When the bell sounds to end the fight, Soriano nearly collapses to the ground, and he holds on to his knee as Maximov walks away proud of his performance. Based on the second round, it could be anyone's fight.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Maximov (29-28 Maximov)
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Maximov (29-28 Maximov)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Maximov (29-28 Maximov)

The Official Result

Nick Maximov def. Punahele Soriano via Split Decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)

Jack Hermansson (185.5) vs. Sean Strickland (185.5)

Round 1

Top-10 middleweights come to blows for the marquee matchup atop UFC Fight Night 200, with possible championship implications in play. “The Joker” Hermansson (22-6, 9-4 UFC) will try to blunt the momentum of the fast-swinging “Tarzan” Strickland (24-3, 11-3 UFC) in a clear-cut style matchup of a savvy grappler against a solid striker. Referee Herb Dean draws the final assignment of the evening, and he may have his hands full depending on where the fight goes. The gloves are touched, the fighters are ready, and it’s time for some action. The middleweights meet in the middle, and Hermansson lands first with a leg kick. Strickland checks the second one that comes to that target, and he flicks out a few jabs as Hermansson comes towards him. Strickland pops out his jab to split the guard repeatedly, and he blocks one from Hermansson but does not block the sweeping low kick. Strickland keeps his jab flowing, and he gets forced to fight off a takedown effort about a minute into the round. Strickland backs up to the fence, keeping himself upright, while Hermansson goes low for a single. Hermansson hooks the leg between his own, and Strickland defends with a few body shots but gets wrenched down to his hands and knees. “Tarzan” swings right back up to his feet, and Hermansson holds him from behind against the wire. Hermansson bails on the single so that he can knee the body, and he kicks Strickland’s calf on the way out. Strickland returns a jab, and Hermansson pushes one back that is far less snappy. Strickland blocks a body kick and is comfortable with his left jab finding the spot again and again. Strickland checks another leg kick, and Hermansson kicks it from the other side when he does. Strickland’s jab pierces the guard again and again, and he keeps at a safe range to dodge a three-punch salvo that swings his way. While Strickland powers out a jab, he eats a heavy body kick and a slapping inside low kick. Hermansson varies his targets while Strickland is primarily focused on sticking out a jab on the nose. Strickland follows a jab with a right, and Hermansson wears it well and replies with a low kick. The American opens up with another one-two, and it gives Hermansson pause for a moment but “The Joker” bites down on his mouthpiece and throws with a right hand and a leg kick. Strickland’s jab continues to find its home, and he adds in a front kick to the body. “Tarzan” dances out of the way of punches right at the end of the round.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Strickland
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Hermansson
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Strickland

Round 2

The Swede comes out of his corner much more aggressively than the previous frame, swinging wildly with looping shots and heavier kicks. Strickland remains composed with his jabs and effective defense, checking the low kicks and blocking the bigger punches aimed at his head. They both trade strikes, and Hermansson rushes in with a combination that gets intercepted by a pair of punches. Hermansson hammers Strickland’s lead leg with another kick, and the calf is starting to change colors. Without setting it up, Hermansson ducks down for a takedown attempt, and Strickland shucks it off and pushes him aside. Strickland marches ahead with jabs and follow-up right hands, and he swats down a punch aimed at his face. Hermansson may be throwing harder, but the accuracy rate of his vicious strikes is low. Hermansson bites down on his mouthpiece to throw hands, and they begin to trade it out right in front of one another. Hermansson slugs Strickland in the face, and Strickland’s pace does not change that significantly, keeping to jabs and occasional twos. Hermansson has another takedown try stuffed with ease, allowing Strickland to get to his preferred range and smack him in the face with a jab and body with a right hand. Hermansson kicks the body, and Strickland does not register the blow as he checks a leg kick. Strickland picks out with punches and a single body kick, and Hermansson blitzes forward with a wide combination that mostly misses the mark. A heavy low kick connects for the Swede, but it is one-and-done as he backs away to reset. Strickland lands cleanly with a power jab, and he winds up with a power punch only for Hermansson to greet him with one of his own. They club one another in the face with big punches, and Strickland scores a few kicks to the body. Strickland sits back, avoids a punch and lets go with a right hand that knocks Hermansson cleanly off his feet. Strickland does not give chase, letting Hermansson up as the round comes to a close.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Strickland
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Strickland
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Strickland

Round 3

Strickland’s jab starts off again in the round, as he stabs out his fist while Hermansson keeps a high, tight guard. Hermansson’s low kicks have ranging success, as some land cleanly while others get checked. The hand speed shifts in favor of Strickland, catching Hermansson on the way in when Hermansson loads up on powerful strikes. The kicks are marking Strickland’s legs up as well, but Strickland keeps a stiff upper lip and does not change his approach. Hermansson keeps the leg attack going as he eats punches, giving up jabs to land calf kicks. Hermansson tries to bob and weave, and Strickland’s accurate jab is able to still find the target as Hermansson’s face begins to change color. Hermansson sells out for a heavy body kick, and it pounds into Strickland’s liver. Strickland does not budget, and he proceeds to let loose a high kick that glances off Hermansson’s shoulder. “Tarzan” smoothly dodges punches while feeding Hermansson a steady diet of jabs, and he gets tagged with a looping left hand. Strickland gives it back with a body kick, allowing him to take a moment in case he needs to shake off the cobwebs. Hermansson’s variety is much more noteworthy than Strickland, as Strickland sticks to a few fundamentals while Hermansson is trying everything he can to close the distance and land with power punches. Strickland slips and moves, sticking Hermansson with jabs and occasionally mixing in a front kick. Strickland snipes Hermansson with a right hand, and he slings a high kick that is blocked just in the nick of time. They both trade heavy shots, with Strickland scoring a right hand while Hermansson gets off a head kick, and the third frame wraps.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Strickland
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Strickland
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Strickland

Round 4

The jab keeps right on coming from Strickland, but Hermansson is motivated to turn this into a wild brawl. The powerful punches of the Swede hit little but air, as Strickland calmly dodges and counters with jabs up the middle. Hermansson swings wide, using his forward momentum to go after a single-leg takedown, and Strickland keeps smart neck control by pushing Hermansson’s head down to fail on the attempt. The American is able to stop the try and gain some space, where he starts to add right hands in after stinging Hermansson with jabs. One such right hand stuns the Swede momentarily, but Hermansson shakes it off and throws back with bad intentions. Hermansson tries to punch around the jab, getting off a few right hands that loop around Strickland’s outstretched arm. Strickland doubles up on a jab, and Hermansson swings wild and goes wide. Strickland’s defensive nature does not put him into much danger, but it is damaging Hermansson to any noticeable degree. Strickland scores a leg kick, and he backs off as Hermansson goes for broke by ducking down and winging punches. Strickland does not absorb them and stays loose and light, jabbing out while windmilling punches go past him. Hermansson finally lands with a big right hand, but Strickland does not budge. Strickland continues to play the matador to Hermansson’s bull, and he pokes and prods Hermansson from a distance until the bell sounds. Both men appear to be bleeding after exchanges, with Strickland’s nose leaking while Hermansson has a cut under his right eye.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Strickland
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Strickland
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Strickland

Round 5

Sensing he is likely down on the scorecards, Hermansson attacks recklessly with whipping punches. Strickland’s composure never changes, with his jab and footwork keeping him safe from the majority of harm. On the other hand, Hermansson throws so hard he nearly topples over, unable to find the range with more than a single strike in a salvo. Hermansson kicks the legs and body, and Strickland does what he does best with straight, sharp jabs right down Broadway. While Strickland gets off a one-two, Hermansson leaps ahead with a superman punch that pops Strickland on the cheek. Hermansson walks Strickland down, putting everything he has into his punches, and Strickland’s guard remains active and effective at staving off the worst that comes at him. Hermansson does not bother reacting to jabs any longer, and he throws hard at his opponent. Strickland gives it right back with a pair of one-twos, but he settles back to his calm, methodical pace while Hermansson shouts kiais after every strike. Strickland smoothly walks through a leg kick to push out a few jabs, and he leans to the side to slap Hermansson in the side of his calf. A whiff from Hermansson allows Strickland to counter heavily, but Hermansson does not falter. Instead, the Swede crashes forward in pursuit of a single-leg takedown, and Strickland’s takedown defense remains immaculate as he pushes Hermansson away. Strickland shrugs off a low kick so that he can belt Hermansson in the face with a right hand, and he jabs out a few more times for good measure. Strickland starts talking trash, telling Hermansson to brawl with him. Hermansson appears confused at this, and his confusion lets Strickland blast him in the face a few times. Hermansson obliges him in one final throwdown, and they let it go right to the final horn. There is no bad blood after the last exchange, as they slap one another on the shoulder and laugh after five hard-fought rounds. After the head-scratching split decision score is read, Strickland thanks the UFC for the opportunity and says he is a “company man” and would be more than willing to fight the person that holds the belt next, if that is who’s next for him. The middleweight championship will be decided next week in Houston at UFC 271, with Sherdog in the building covering the fight card, so we will absolutely be there for it. We hope you are too.

Sherdog Scores

Jay Pettry scores the round: 10-9 Strickland (50-45 Strickland)
Tudor Leonte scores the round: 10-9 Strickland (49-46 Strickland)
Tyler Treese scores the round: 10-9 Strickland (50-45 Strickland)

The Official Result

Sean Strickland def. Jack Hermansson via Split Decision (49-46, 47-48, 49-46)
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