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The Ultimate Fighting Championship beefed up its ranks by signing four competitors -- heavyweight Jared Vanderaa, featherweight Luis Saldana, welterweight Ignacio Bahamondes and light heavyweight Carlos Ulberg -- from Week 8 of Dana White’s Contender Series on Wednesday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Perhaps the most intriguing talent to land a contract, Ulberg blew away American Top Team’s Bruno Oliveira with punches in the first round of their encounter at 205 pounds. Oliveira (8-2) bowed out 2:02 into Round 1, losing for the first time in more than four years.
Operating out of the City Kickboxing camp in New Zealand, Ulberg (3-0) measured distance with leg kicks and waited for an opportune time to strike. The Israel Adesanya stablemate countered a lazy jab from Oliveira with a ferocious multi-punch burst -- right and left hooks did the damage --that dropped the Brazilian facedown on the mat. No follow-up shots were required.
Bahamondes Front Kick Levels Gomez
Valle Flow Striking Academy rep Ignacio Bahamondes knocked out King of the Cage champion Edson Gomez with a front kick to the face in the second round of their welterweight scrap. Gomez (6-2), who missed weight for the match by three pounds, met his end 2:31 into Round 2.
Bahamondes (11-3) kept his counterpart at bay with jabs, leg kicks, body-head combinations and effective counters. Gomez spent much of his time walking into the traps being set by the Chilean kickboxer. Bahamondes in the second round lulled the Californian into a false sense of security with pitter-patter punches, then uncorked a devastating front kick that split the guard and sent the Combined Martial Science product crashing to the canvas in an unconscious heap.
The setback was Gomez’s first in more than two years and closed the book on his three-fight winning streak.
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Saldana Punts Overmatched Murdock
Fight Ready standout Luis Saldana took care of Vince Murdock with punches in the third round of their featherweight confrontation. Operating behind nine-inch reach and five-inch height advantages, Saldana (14-6) drew the curtain 44 seconds into Round 3.
Murdock (11-6) offered little in terms of meaningful offense. Saldana made smooth stance switches, fired straight punches with both hands, brought his jab into play and softened the Team Alpha Male rep with kicks to the body and legs. He turned up the heat at the start of the third round, where he staggered and floored Murdock with a pair of front kicks to the face. Saldana swarmed with punches, moved to a high mount and sealed the deal with continued ground-and-pound.
The 29-year-old Saldana has delivered all 14 of his victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.
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Heavyweight Vanderaa Batters Hunsucker
Team Quest export Jared Vanderaa posted his fifth win in six appearances, as he put away Harry Hunsucker with punches in the first round of their heavyweight affair. A former Extreme Fighting Championship titleholder, Vanderaa (11-4) brought it to a close 3:34 into Round 1.
Hunsucker (6-3) flexed his superiority in the standup exchanges, where he connected with multiple left hooks and overhand rights. However, Vanderaa switched gears, executed a takedown and applied his ground-and-pound, cutting loose with unanswered punches and hammerfists until the job was done.
The loss snapped Hunsucker’s five-fight winning streak.
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