UFC on ESPN 12 Prelims: Khama Worthy Continues Underdog Run, Chokes Luis Pena

By Tristen Critchfield Jun 27, 2020

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Khama Worthy is thriving as an underdog in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Worthy pulled off his second consecutive upset in the Octagon at UFC on ESPN 12, tapping out the favored Luis Pena with a guillotine choke in the third round of a lightweight preliminary bout at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The end came 2:53 into Round 3, as Worthy won his seventh straight professional outing overall. Worthy shocked prospect Devonte Smith in his short-notice promotional debut last August.

Worthy (16-6, 2-0 UFC) attacked Pena (8-3, 4-3 UFC) with crisp counter punching and kicks to the legs and body in the opening round, but “The Deathstar” encountered adversity in the second stanza. Pena landed a takedown approximately 30 seconds into the round and spent much of the frame either in mount or attached to his opponent’s back. Worthy was able to avoid his opponent’s submission attempts, however.

The Pittsburgh native improved his takedown defense significantly in the final period. After stuffing a Pena single-leg, Worth landed a pair of solid elbows to the side of the head before locking in a modified guillotine when “Violent Bob Ross” completed the takedown. The choke was deep, and Pena had no choice but to tap.

Boser Wallops Lins

Tanner Boser made short work of former Professional Fighters League champion Philipe Lins, scoring a first-round knockout in a heavyweight clash. Boser (18-6-1, 2-1 UFC) brought the contest to the close 2:41 into Round 1 with a pair of hammerfists as his foe’s head bounced off the canvas.

After a measured beginning, Boser made Lins (14-5, 0-2 UFC) stumble forward with an overhand right behind the ear. From there, the Canadian uncorked a barrage of accurate power punches that floored the Brazilian, and Boser sealed his victory with a couple follow-up blows on the ground before referee Herb Dean could intervene on Lins’ behalf.

“I came in over 10 pounds lighter than I did my last fight. I felt genuinely good going into this fight. I came in here knowing I did everything I possibly could, and I'm glad it paid off,” Boser said.

“I’m not one of the big power-punching, superpowerful heavyweights. I’m fast and I’m precise.”

Related » UFC on ESPN 12 Round-by-Round Scoring

Youthful Hansen Armbars Frey

Kay Hansen showcased some serious savvy with her ground game, as she submitted former Invicta Fighting Championships atomweight queen Jinh Yu Frey with an armbar in the final stanza of their strawweight encounter. The end came 2:26 into Round 3, giving the 20-year-old Californian her third straight professional triumph.

Frey (9-5, 0-1 UFC) enjoyed some success landing counter left hands in Round 1, but once the contest went to the ground, Hansen was in complete control. Hansen (7-3, 1-0 UFC) landed a takedown in Round 2 and spent the better part of three minutes in top control. Frey connected with another hard counter left early in the final frame, but shortly thereafter, Hansen was able to transition to an armbar as her opponent attempted to defend a takedown. From there, Hansen locked in a triangle and extended the arm. Frey resisted for a moment before calmly tapping out.

“I knew I was gonna have to be patient,” Hansen said. “I know I need one takedown and that’s all I need.”

Striking Carries Zalal Past Griffin

Factory X representative Youssef Zalal relied on a superior standup arsenal to earn a unanimous decision over Jordan Griffin at featherweight. All three cageside judges submitted 29-28 scorecards in favor of “The Moroccan Devil,” who has won his last three professional bouts.

Griffin (18-8, 1-3 UFC) did his best to make the fight ugly by attempting takedowns and forcing tie-ups, but Zalal for the most part was able to remain upright. Zalal (9-2, 2-0 UFC) took the wind out of Griffin’s sails with a straight right to the body in Round 2, and the 23-year-old Legacy Fighting Alliance veteran kept the pressure on in the final stanza, picking his opponent apart with a variety of straight punches, knees and elbows.

“I’m learning man,” Zalal said. “I’m still young. I’m only 23, I’m getting better.” Advertisement
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