In the bantamweight opener, Mongolia’s Danaa Batgerel earned his first UFC victory, knocking out Guido Cannetti in the first round.
Both fighters were leaving nothing to chance in the opening stages of the fight, with each landed strike making an audible thump. But ultimately, it was Danaa hitting paydirt with a flush left hook that dropped Cannetti. The Argentina native attempted to cover up, but after a series of unanswered blows, referee Chris Tognoni had seen enough, stopping the fight at 3:01 of round one.
With the win, Danaa moves to 7-2. Cannetti falls to 8-6.
Danaa Batgerel finishes Guido Cannetti for his first UFC victory.
Georgia’s Giga Chikadze won a hard-fought three-round split decision over Octagon newcomer Jamall Emmers in their featherweight bout.
Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Georgia’s Chikadze, now 9-1. Emmers falls to 17-5.
Chikadze scored a flash knockdown of Emmers with a right hand in the opening minute, and while the Californian rose, unhurt, the rest of the first round remained on the feet, where Chikadze maintained control from long range.
In the second minute of round two, Emmers got the fight where he wanted it, as he took Chikadze to the mat. Midway through the round, Chikadze reversed position and then got back to his feet, but an inadvertent eye poke by Chikadze brought a momentary halt to the action. Once the fight resumed, Chikadze stayed standing but was slowing down by the end of the frame.
With Chikadze’s fatigue playing a part, a confident Emmers stayed in the pocket with the decorated kickboxer in the third round and then added a takedown and some ground-and-pound that secured the round, but not the fight.
Hear what Giga Chikadze had to say after earning a victory at UFC 248.
Gerald Meerschaert settled his score with middleweight rival Deron Winn, winning by submission in the third round.
Meerschaert began the fight with kicks, one straying low and bringing a momentary halt to the action. When the fight resumed, Winn swept Meerschaert to the canvas but let him back up, preferring to do work on the feet, where he got off some solid shots when he got his foe against the fence. In between, Meerschaert calmly worked his striking attack, using his height and reach advantage well, but Winn did draw first blood when he cut Meerschaert under the right eye.
It was a big second round for Meerschaert, who simply outworked Winn for the middle five minutes, scoring with a variety of strikes as he pushed his foe backward.
Winn rocked Meerschaert with a right hand in the opening minute or round three, but wasn’t able to capitalize. Meerschaert returned the favor moments later, and as Winn stumbled to the mat, the Milwaukee veteran took his foe’s back and sunk in the rear naked choke that produced a tap at 2:13 of the final frame.
With the win, Meerschaert moves to 30-12. Winn falls to 6-2.
Gerald Meerschaert talks backstage after his victory at UFC 248.
Watch Gerald Meerschaert submit Deron Winn to earn his victory at UFC 248.
Rodolfo Vieira once again showed off his world-class ground game in his middleweight bout with Saparbeg Safarov, winning via first-round submission.
Vieira got staggered in the opening minute of bout, prompting a takedown by the Brazilian. Safarov jumped back up immediately, but Vieira, his left eye now cut and swollen shut, put him back down and took his back. Safarov tried to stay in the fight, but Vieira adjusted his position, got the Russian in a head and arm choke, and that was what it took to get the tap at 2:58 of the first round.
With the win, Rio de Janeiro’s Vieira moves to 7-0. Safarov, who was making his middleweight debut, falls to 9-2.
Watch Rodolfo Vieira submit Saparbeg Safarov with an arm triangle during their UFC 248 middleweight fight.
Lightweight prospect Mark O. Madsen kept his unbeaten record intact, but he had to hold off a late charge from Austin Hubbard before taking a close, but unanimous, decision.
Madsen (10-0) got some pop from the crowd for his suplex of Hubbard (11-4) in the opening minute of the fight, and while Hubbard fought to get back to his feet, the Dane kept him locked up against the fence. Just before the midway point of the frame, Hubbard got loose, with a little over two minutes remaining, it was back to the mat. Hubbard made it upright before the horn, but it was a clear round for “The Olympian.”
There was more of the same for Madsen in round two, but in the third, Hubbard surged as Madsen fatigued. A knee in the opening minute rocked Madsen, and Hubbard kept the pressure on throughout, but he ran out of time, with the three-time Olympian taking the win by identical scores of 29-28.
After two years away from the Octagon, “Sugar” Sean O’Malley returned in style, stopping Jose Quinonez in the first round of their bantamweight matchup.
O’Malley opened with a front kick to the body that briefly put Quinonez on the deck, but “Teco” was unhurt and back in the pocket with the Arizonan. That proved to be a mistake for Quinonez, who soon got rocked with a right head kick. An uppercut followed as Quinonez looked for a takedown, and after some ground strikes, O’Malley had his third UFC win, with referee Dan Miragliotta stepping in at 2:02 of the opening frame.
With the win, O’Malley moves to 11-0. Quinonez falls to 9-4.
An emotional Sean O'Malley talks about becoming a star and his triumphant return at UFC 248.
Sean O'Malley returns to the Octagon and finishes Jose Quinonez in Round 1 at UFC 248.
Welterweights Alex Oliveira and Max Griffin brought the heat in the main card opener, with Oliveira snapping a three-fight losing streak with a win via split decision.
Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Oliveira, now 20-8-1 with 2 NC. Griffin falls to 15-8.
Griffin rattled Oliveira just before the midway point of the first round, but the Brazilian locked up immediately, leading to a trip to the mat that saw Griffin controlling matters from the top position. Oliveira made it back to his feet late, only to be on the receiving end of another takedown in the closing seconds.
Oliveira got off to a fast start in round two, and after some hard kicks to the leg, he landed with an uppercut that cut Griffin, prompting a visit from the Octagonside physician. After being cleared to continue, Griffin showed an extra level of urgency, but that kind of fight is the one Oliveira craves, and he performed accordingly.
Looking to pull away in the third, Oliveira took Griffin to the mat in the second minute, and his ground strikes from the mount opened the cuts even more, but with two minutes to go, the gutsy Griffin reversed position and began unloading his own strikes, but it wasn’t enough to take the fight on two of the three judges’ scorecards.
It was a triumphant return for welterweight standout Neil Magny, who came back from 16 months on the sidelines to shut out China’s Li Jingliang over three rounds.
Scores were 30-27 across the board.
Li looked for a takedown in the second minute of the fight, but when he wasn’t able to keep Magny grounded, it was back to the feet, where “The Leech” briefly rocked Magny with a right hand. Magny took it well and scored his own takedown, but Li rose fairly quickly and the back and forth action continued until a late charge by Magny.
Magny’s workrate with his strikes and his grappling game was giving Li fits in round two, and in the final 30 seconds he fired off a barrage of strikes and ended the flurry with a takedown just before the horn.
Li remained game and he tried to make a run early in the final round, but Magny wasn’t going to give any ground, and it was another dominant frame for the Coloradan, who improves to 22-8. Beijing’s Li falls to 17-6.
Hear what Neil Magny had to say after a dominant victory at UFC 248.
Beneil Dariush made it four consecutive wins in a wild one, as he stopped Drakkar Klose in the second round of their lightweight bout.
Klose (11-2-1) landed some hard shots to begin the fight, but Dariush (18-4-1) quickly nullified his offense with a takedown. Klose got back up quickly, but Dariush stayed locked on while standing and he took his foe’s back and stayed there until the end of the round, nearly locking in a choke in the process.
In the second, Klose attacked Dariush’s legs, and when he moved upstairs, he rocked the Californian. But as Klose went in for the finish, he got reckless and was caught with a right hand that wobbled his legs. Now it was Dariush’s turn, and a single left hand ended matters, with referee Jason Herzog stepping in at 1:00 of round two.
Hear what Beneil Dariush had to say after an amazing KO victory over Drakkar Klose at UFC 248.
Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk delivered the greatest fight in women’s MMA history Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and when it was over, the result of the UFC 248 co-main event was almost secondary due to the epic nature of the bout, but it was Zhang retaining her UFC strawweight title for the first time via five-round split decision in a fight that raised the stock of both ladies and the sport.
Scores were 48-47 twice and 47-48 for Zhang, now 21-1. Jedrzejczyk falls to 16-4.
Both fighters were busy to start, but a minute in, Jedrzejczyk landed a hard right hand upstairs and her combinations at close range had the former champ smiling and in the lead. Zhang began to find her rhythm midway through the frame, though, and she was throwing with power every time, clearly getting Jedrzejczyk’s attention.
Resuming their high-volume striking battle in round two, Jedrzejczyk was mixing things up nicely, and in the second minute, the two locked up against the fence, taking turns in control, with Zhang landing elbows and Jedrzejczyk responding with knees. With a little over two minutes left, Zhang rattled Jedrzejczyk with a right hand, forcing the Poland native to reset. By the end of the round, the crowd was roaring at the fast-paced action, but Zhang’s eye was rapidly swelling.
Zhang came out fast for round three and got in some hard shots before Jedrzejczyk settled back in and continued unleashing combinations. And once Jedrzejczyk switched to southpaw, she had more success. With two minutes left, Zhang locked up with Jedrzejczyk briefly, and once they broke, it was Zhang roaring back, raising a welt on the challenger’s head in the process. But Jedrzejczyk finished the round strong, making it another nightmare for the judges to score.
The high-level action continued in round four, with neither fighter backing down and each taking turns rocking the other. And while Zhang was in the championship rounds for the first time, she was still swinging for the fences, but it was Jedrzejczyk who was clearly the fresher of the two. With two minutes left, Zhang landed a hard shot to the forehead, but Jedrzejczyk kept moving forward, landing an elbow before the two locked up against the fence. Jedrzejczyk glanced at the clock in the final 30 seconds, but that didn’t stop her from bringing the heat.
Both fighters showed the wears of battle on their face, but there would be no let-up once the final round began, and the exchanges were as ferocious in the fifth as they were in the first. A left hook by Zhang briefly rocked Jedrzejczyk in the second minute, and the champion surged forward. But then it was Jedrzejczyk’s turn, and she scored with several hard blows. With a little over two minutes left, Jedrzejczyk clinched to grab a well-deserved second’s rest, but then it was back to work and both fighters were determined to leave nothing left in the tank. And they didn’t, Jedrzejczyk landing a spinning backfist and Zhang responding with a punch of her own just before the horn ending the leading candidate for 2020 Fight of the Year.
After a spectacular 2019 campaign, UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya’s first fight of 2020 wasn’t as crowd-pleasing, but he did retain his undisputed title for the first time, taking a unanimous five-round decision over Yoel Romero in the main event of UFC 248 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I did what I had to do to win that fight,” said Adesanya.
Scores were 48-47 twice and 49-46 for Adesanya, now 19-0. Romero falls to 13-5.
Romero came out of the corner with his guard high and he stood in the center of the Octagon, daring Adesanya to attack. Adesanya took his time to find his opening to move in, but it wasn’t there in the first three minutes and the crowd was getting restless, not surprising given the fight they had just witnessed between Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. With a little less than two minutes left, Adesanya made his move but got hit with a left to the head for his trouble. Romero followed up in the final minute with a kick to the body, and those two shots may have been enough for the challenger to steal the round.
Romero landed a hard counter left early in the second round, prompting Adesanya to start getting a little busier with his kicks to the legs. Just before the three-minute mark, Romero exploded with a flurry, but Adesanya took the shots well and got back to the outside. Romero was frustrating the champion – and the crowd – though.
Adesanya sent a high kick flying at Romero in the beginning stages of round three, only to have the Cuban duck out of danger. The action was starting to heat up, Adesanya getting in some hard kicks while Romero showboated in between kicks of his own.
Before round four, the fighters were warned by referee Dan Miragliotta for the lack of action, and though Romero marched forward with more aggression, he wasn’t throwing anything. For Adesanya’s part, he continued to land kicks, but nothing fight-altering. An inadvertent eye poke from Adesanya brought a momentary halt to the action and a visit from the Octagonside physician with less than three minutes to go, and Romero seemed to get charged up by the brief break, but outside of two quick and sloppy rushes at the champion, the “Soldier of God” wasn’t able to get any offense going.
Romero was showing the wear on his leg from Adesanya’s kicks, and it was looking like those kicks were going to be the difference in the fight, as they were the only significant shots landed in the fight. Romero did make a few more rushes at Adesanya in the fifth round, but there would be no furious finish, with the two getting more animated after the final horn than during the previous 25 minutes.