Gillespie, Harris snag big finishes on Utica main card


Fighting in his upstate New York backyard, unbeaten lightweight prospect Gregor Gillespie delivered his fifth consecutive Octagon win, submitting Vinc Pichel in the second round of their UFC Fight Night co-main event at Adirondack Bank Center in Utica.

Gillespie got Pichel to the mat in the opening minute and he went right to work, moving into side control. Pichel scrambled his way out of trouble, but another single leg takedown grounded the Californian. The two rose with a little over a minute left, but it wasn’t long before the fight hit the ground for a third time, Gillespie nearly locking in a choke before the end of the frame.

Getting the fight back to the mat early in round two, Gillespie was dominating the action, but Pichel was hanging tough. After more and more pressure from “The Gift,” though, Gillespie finally found the opening for an arm triangle choke, and once it was locked up, Pichel was forced to tap out at 4:06 of the second stanza.

Gillespie moves to 12-0 with the win. Pichel falls to 11-2.


Heavyweight power hitter Walt Harris showed off his finishing ability once more, stopping Daniel Spitz in the second round.

Harris controlled the action from the start, and while neither fighter was overly active, the harder shots were being landed by “The Big Ticket,” who landed a crushing left hand with less than 30 seconds left in round two. Remarkably, Spitz remained upright, but he hit the canvas after a follow-up flurry from Harris, who ended the fight with a series of unanswered blows that brought in referee Kevin MacDonald at 4:59 of the second frame.

Harris moves to 11-7 with the win. Spitz falls to 6-2.


In a clash of welterweight veterans, Ben Saunders got back in the win column, snapping a two-fight skid with a first round stoppage of Jake Ellenberger.

After taking a few kicks from range, Ellenberger caught one in the second minute and used it to score with two right hands and bull Saunders into the fence. The two proceeded to battle it out at close range until Saunders landed a left knee to the body that sent Ellenberger crashing to the canvas. Referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in moments later, halting the fight at the 1:56 mark of the opening round.

With the win, Saunders moves to 22-9-2. Ellenberger, who has lost three straight, falls to 31-14.


Bantamweight prospect Julio Arce showed off a complete MMA game in his second UFC bout, dominating on the feet before finishing Daniel Teymur on the mat, earning a third-round submission victory.

Darting in with strikes and getting out before Teymur could respond, Arce built up a nice lead over the first two rounds, but his corner called for a takedown in the final frame, and the New Yorker delivered, taking Teymur to the mat, where he ended the bout with a rear naked choke that produced a tap out at 2:55 of round three.

Queens’ Arce moves to 15-2 with the win. Stockholm’s Teymur falls to 6-2.


Sam Alvey made it to in a row at light heavyweight, winning a three-round split decision over the No. 15-ranked Gian Villante.

Villante (16-10) took his foot off the gas in the opening round, eschewing his usual aggressive attack for a more measured pace, as he landed several kicks from long range and didn’t allow Alvey (33-10, 1 NC) to get off his powerful counters. But just before the horn ending the round, Alvey landed a left that dropped and hurt Villante. Villante got back to his feet, but was still in trouble as the round came to a close.

The second round remained close, with Villante patiently stalking while Alvey sought to make his opponent pay for any defensive lapses.

As in the previous two rounds, the action heated up in the closing seconds of the third frame, but before that, it was still a war of nerves between the two light heavyweights, with Alvey emerging victorious via scores of 29-28 twice and 28-29.

Sunday, February 24
Prague, Czech Republic


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