Unstoppable Michael Chiesa Suffocates Neil Magny in UFC on ESPN 20 Headliner

By Brian Knapp Jan 20, 2021

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Michael Chiesa imposes his will as well as anyone in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 15 winner rode repeated takedowns, smooth positional advances and crushing top control to a unanimous decision over Neil Magny in the UFC on ESPN 20 headliner on Wednesday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. All three judges scored it 49-46 for Chiesa (18-4, 11-4 UFC), who improved to 4-0 since relocating to the welterweight division.


Magny (24-8, 17-7 UFC) looked hapless at times, frustrated at others. Chiesa did just enough on the feet to give the Elevation Fight Team mainstay pause, pursued him in the clinch and went to work after dragging him to the ground. The scene repeated itself over and over again in the five-round clash. Magny had a few glimmers of hope — he threatened Chiesa with an inverted triangle in the fourth round — but too few of them to make any real headway.

Alves Obliterates Favored Lazzez


“The Ultimate Fighter Brazil” Season 3 winner Warlley Alves cut down the favored Mounir Lazzez with a burst of body kicks and follow-up punches in the first round of their welterweight co-main event. Lazzez (10-2, 1-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 2:35 into Round 1.

Alves (14-4, 8-4 UFC) stormed out of the gate, caught the Tunisian off-guard and never took his foot off the gas. He executed a trip takedown, then pinned Lazzez to the fence after he returned to an upright position. Once the two men separated, Alves uncorked three savage body kicks. Lazzez folded and was in no condition to withstand the volley of punches that came next.

Still just 30 years of age, Alves has won four of his past six bouts.

Villanueva One-Punch KOs Moreira


Former Fury Fighting Championship titleholder Isaac Villanueva knocked out Vinicius Moreira in the second round of their light heavyweight showcase. Moreira (9-5, 0-4 UFC) met his end 39 seconds into Round 2, transported to another dimension by a counter right hook from the brick-fisted Texan.

Villanueva (18-11, 1-2 UFC) chipped away with body shots through an uneventful first round, bided his time and waited for an opportunity to present itself. Moreira wandered into the danger zone early in the second, let his hands fly and exposed his head to the counter. Villanueva did not miss.

Moreira remains winless in four UFC appearances.

Resurgent Araujo Dominates Modafferi


Exquisite standup and airtight takedown defense spurred Cerrado MMA standout Viviane Araujo to a one-sided unanimous decision over Roxanne Modafferi in a featured flyweight confrontation. Scores were 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 for Araujo (10-2, 4-1 UFC), who continues to distance herself from a lackluster defeat to Jessica Eye a little more than a year ago.

Modafferi (25-18, 4-6 UFC) was resolute, but the skill gap proved too wide to cross. Araujo connected with one blistering combination after another, leaving “The Happy Warrior” with significant damage around her left eye. The Brazilian also excelled in the grappling exchanges, using Modafferi’s attempts to drag her to the ground to her advantage. In the end, there was nowhere for the affable 43-fight veteran to turn.

A finalist on Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Modafferi has alternated wins and losses in each of her last nine outings.

Fast-Handed Schnell Edges Nam


“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 24 quarterfinalist Matt Schnell rebounded from his December 2019 knockout loss to Alexandre Pantoja, as he eked out a split decision over Tyson Nam in a three-round flyweight feature. All three judges struck 29-28 scorecards: Michael Bell and Anders Ohlsson for Schnell, Eric Colon for Nam.

The 31-year-old Schnell (15-5, 5-3 UFC) was quicker on the draw and routinely beat the heavy-handed Hawaiian to the punch. He pieced together two-, three- and sometimes four-punch volleys and his chin stood the test against Nam’s nuclear right hand whenever it was called upon. Nam (20-12-1, 2-3 UFC) stepped up his activity in the third round, but his 15-minute hunt for the knockout shot came up empty.

A dark horse in the 125-pound weight class, Schnell has won five of his last six fights.

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Undefeated Murphy Denies Silva de Andrade

Manchester Top Team prospect Lerone Murphy cleared another significant hurdle in his development, as he took a unanimous decision from Douglas Silva de Andrade in a three-round featherweight attraction. The undefeated Murphy (10-0-1, 2-0-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 nods from the judges.

Silva de Andrade (26-4, 4-4 UFC) exacted a toll with his overhand right and briefly achieved full mount in the second round, but he otherwise struggled to do business. Murphy punched effectively to the head and body, attacked his lead leg with a series of devastating calf kicks and even mixed in a late takedown to cut off a late surge from the Brazilian.

The 35-year-old Silva de Andrade has lost three times in his past five appearances.

Akhmedov Arm-Triangle Submits Breese


American Top Team’s Omari Akhmedov submitted former British Association of Mixed Martial Arts champion Tom Breese with an arm-triangle choke in the second round of their middleweight showcase. Breese (12-3, 5-3 UFC) conceded defeat 1:41 into Round 2, as he lost for the third time in five outings.

Akhmedov (21-5-1, 9-4-1 UFC) executed a takedown in the first round, freed himself from an attempted guillotine and launched a sustained barrage of ground-and-pound that had the Team Renegade rep in real danger for several tense moments. Breese rebounded late in the frame, advanced to the back and fished for a rear-naked choke, only to run out of time. Akhmedov powered through the Brit’s bid for a calf slicer early in Round 2, transitioned to full mount and cinched the choke for the tapout.

The submission was Akhmedov’s first since May 11, 2013.

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