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Ayari wins debut; Sobotta, Evans-Smith get impressive victories

Read on for Fight Night Hamburg prelim results...
AYARI vs WALLHEAD



In a highly anticipated clash of welterweight newcomers on Saturday, Germany’s Jessin Ayari survived some rough third round moments to take a split decision victory over England’s Jimmy Wallhead in UFC Fight Night action at Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany.

Scores were 30-27, 29-28 and 28-29 for Nuremberg’s Ayari, now 16-3. Loughborough’s Wallhead falls to 29-10.

Wallhead pushed the pace in the first UFC round of his career, and while he was forced to chase Ayari for most of it, he still threw and landed enough shots to take the frame.

Ayari’s counters began to land with more frequency in round two, but Wallhead kept pressing, and when the two stood and exchanged, the Brit was landing the harder shots. Ayari’s movement was giving Wallhead a lot of trouble though, as he couldn’t put together a consistent attack.

Getting more aggressive in the final round, Ayari bloodied Wallhead and began walking him down, silencing the boos from the crowd. But with less than two minutes left, Wallhead made Ayari pay for keeping his hands down, as he dropped him with a shot to the head. After a brief stay on the mat, the two rose and Ayari went on the attack in an attempt to even the score. Wallhead was clearly winded, but a right hand just before the horn nearly knocked Ayari out, putting a stamp on an exciting final frame.

More from Fight Night Hamburg: Results | Postfight bonuses | Barnett submits Arlovski in Hamburg main event | Gustafsson mauls Blachowicz; Bader, Hein win | Ayari wins debut; Sobotta, Evans-Smith get impressive victories | Backstage interviews: Ashlee Evans-Smith | Octagon interviews: Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski, Alexander Gustafsson | Best images from Fight Night | Replay all the fights on UFC FIGHT PASS

SOBOTTA vs DALBY



Welterweight veteran Peter Sobotta got an impressive victory in his home country, as he shut out Denmark’s Nicolas Dalby over three rounds.

Scores were 30-26 across the board for Balingen’s Sobotta, now 16-5-1; Dalby falls to 14-2-1.

Showing off an improved striking attack, Sobotta dropped Dalby to the canvas in the opening minute of the fight and nearly finished it right then and there, but the now bloodied Dalby was able to survive. The Copenhagen product tried to hold on to force a restart, but Sobotta kept the pressure on and took his foe’s back in the final minute. The gutsy Dalby was able to survive the round though.

An inadvertent eye poke from Dalby kept Sobotta from keeping the momentum going as round two began, but after a brief break, Sobotta got back to work and put his opponent on the mat, where he dominated once more.

Dalby finally found some daylight for his striking in the third round, which was the catalyst for some back and forth exchanges, but with the final two minutes closing in, Sobotta was able to bring the fight back to the mat, allowing him to lock up the victory over the 15-minute distance.

EVANS-SMITH vs. MACEDO



No. 13-ranked women’s bantamweight Ashlee Evans-Smith won her second straight, stopping Venezuelan newcomer Veronica Macedo in the third round.

Macedo impressed early with her striking attack, but as the final two minutes approached, Evans-Smith was able to get the fight to the mat, and she nearly locked up an arm. Macedo coolly escaped though, getting back to her feet before the final horn.

Despite having issues with the size of her opponent, Macedo continued to try and make things happen, whether with head and leg kicks or by dropping down into a leglock attempt. But when those attempts came up short, Evans-Smith took full advantage as she mauled her foe.

Evans-Smith got the fight to the mat in round three and she closed the show in style, locking up Macedo and firing off a barrage of strikes until referee Neil Hall stepped in to halt the bout at the 2:46 mark.

With the win, California’s Evans-Smith moves to 5-1; the 20-year-old Macedo, the youngest female fighter on the current roster, falls to 5-1-1.

LAPILUS vs ISSA



French bantamweight prospect Taylor Lapilus moved to 11-2 as a pro with a three-round unanimous decision over Brazil’s Leandro Issa.

After spending much of the first frame grappling with jiu-jitsu ace Issa (13-6), Lapilus got free and tagged his opponent repeatedly with hard shots, with only a slip to the mat in the middle of a flurry apparently keeping the Frenchman from an early finish.

Lapilus was patient in the second frame, but at the same time he was pulling away, as the tiring Issa was unable to get him to the mat or deal with the strikes of “Double Impact.” And while Issa kept pushing to take the bout to the mat in the final round, it was not to be, as Lapilus took the bout by scores of 30-27 twice and 29-28.

COLOMBO vs DANHO



A first-round point deduction cost Christian Colombo his first UFC win, as the heavyweight newcomer was forced to settle for a three-round draw with Nuremberg’s Jarjis Danho.

Scores were 29-27 Colombo and 28-28 twice.

Colombo (8-1-1) had a good first round, as he largely dodged Danho’s wild blows and steadily worked well in the clinch. But it all went for naught when a borderline illegal knee to Danho’s head while the German had his fingertips on the mat cost him a point on the scorecards as referee Marc Goddard penalized him.

Danho (6-1-1, 1 NC) showed no ill effects from the previous round’s knee in round two, as he ate another knee but was able to take advantage of a Colombo fall to the mat with several hard ground strikes. All the frantic action was tiring him though, allowing Colombo to drill him with more knees, and as the round progressed, The Denmark product surged and had his foe on the verge of a stoppage before the horn intervened.

Colombo appeared to be on his way to a finish early in round three, but a fall to the mat gave Danho a brief opportunity to get back in the fight. Once that flurry of activity was over though, Colombo regained control

HERMANSSON vs ASKHAM



European middleweight standouts Jack Hermansson and Scott Askham put on an entertaining three-rounder, but when the dust settled, it was Norway’s Hermansson taking the nod over England’s Askham via unanimous decision.

Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Hermansson, now 14-2; Doncaster’s Askham falls to 14-3.

Hermansson used his distance and solid leg kicks to keep Askham at bay for much of the opening stanza, but when Askham did close the distance, he was able to land the harder shots, making it a close round. That wasn’t the case in round two, as Hermansson picked up his work rate and began tagging the Brit both from the outside and inside, with his uppercuts being a particularly effective weapon. Askham was far from out of the fight though, and he nearly nailed a leg lock in the closing seconds after a sloppy takedown by “The Joker.” The same scenario played out early in round two, but again, Hermansson broke free, and when the fight returned to the feet, the Sweden native surged ahead in the clinch, with a few hard shots snapping Askham’s head back and sealing the victory on the scorecards.

KHABILOV vs SILVA



Lightweight veterans Rustam Khabilov and Leandro Silva didn’t do much to excite the crowd in the opener, but Dagestan’s Khabilov will take the win, which he earned by unanimous decision.

Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice for Khabilov, now 20-3; Brazil’s Silva falls to 19-4-1 with 1 NC.

There was little action in the opening round until the final minute, when Silva rocked Khabilov with a left hand and parlayed that into a takedown into the mount position. Khabilov was able to reverse position by the end of the frame though.

The pace didn’t improve much in rounds two and three, but Khabilov was a little busier, with two takedowns likely being the difference-maker in the bout.

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