Philadelphia’s Sean Brady continued to impress in welterweight action, as he rebounded from a slow start to win a three-round unanimous decision over Ismail Naurdiev.
Scores were 29-28 twice and 30-27.
Naurdiev (19-4) got off to an impressive start as he used his jabs and kicks to control the standup action in the first five minutes. But once Brady got the fight to the mat in the second minute of round two, he took over, dominating with his takedowns and ground control, wrapping up his second consecutive UFC win in two tries, upping his perfect record to 12-0.
Spike Carlyle made quite an impression in his UFC debut, stopping fellow debutant Aalon Cruz in the first round of their featherweight bout.
The much taller Cruz appeared to be in control early on as he used his kicks to keep his foe at bay, but when Carlyle landed a kick of his own upstairs, the Contender Series alum got rattled and looked to secure a takedown. Carlyle responded with a series of close range strikes, and as Cruz hit the mat, “The Alpha Ginger” followed with more strikes until referee Scott Howard halted the bout at 1:25 of round one.
It was a bit belated, but featherweight up and comer Jordan Griffin got the best birthday present ever, as the newly-minted 30-year-old submitted TJ Brown in the second round to earn his first UFC victory.
Brown rocked Griffin with the first right hand he landed and followed it up with a takedown. Griffin got back to his feet, but he remained in Brown’s grasp and another takedown followed. After some more grappling exchanges controlled by the Arkansan, Griffin roared back in the final minute, nearly sinking a choke in twice.
Griffin got off to a fast start with his striking in round two, but Brown regained control once more on the mat and appeared to have found his key to victory. But out of nowhere, Griffin found a guillotine choke from an odd angle and a few moments later, the fight was over, with referee Mike King halting the bout at 3:38 of the second stanza.
With the win, Milwaukee’s Griffin moves to 18-7. Little Rock’s Brown falls to 14-7.
Lightweight up and comer Luis Pena picked up his fourth Octagon victory, shutting out Steve Garcia over three rounds.
All three judges saw it 30-27 for Pena, now 8-2. Garcia, who replaced Alex Munoz on less than a week’s notice, falls to 11-4.
Pena had a dominant first round, shaking off some early strikes from Garcia to get the fight to the mat, where he controlled much of the frame as he took his foe’s back and looked for a choke. He didn’t get it, but after another rush by Garcia to kick off round two, it was back to the canvas and another one-sided round for the “Violent Bob Ross.”
Pena roared out of his corner with a flying knee to start round three, and while it didn’t land clean, it did put Garcia on the mat. This time, the Albuquerque product nearly locked up a triangle choke, but Pena got free and took the newcomer’s back once more. And though he didn’t get the finish, Pena got the clear-cut win.
Marcin Tybura broke a two-fight losing streak in heavyweight action, winning a three-round unanimous decision over Serghei Spivac.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Tybura, now 18-6. Moldova’s Spivac falls to 10-2.
The first round was close early on, but once Tybura got the fight to the mat, he took over, as Spivac had no answers for the Poland native’s ground attack. There was more of the same in the second round, adding to Tybura’s lead, and though Spivac had some success early in the final frame on his feet, once Tybura secured another takedown, it was a wrap as “Tybur” stayed in control until the final horn.
Rising middleweight star Brendan Allen spoiled the return of England’s Tom Breese, stopping his foe in the first round.
In control from the start, once Allen had the fight to the mat, he kept it there, first working for a kimura and then opening up with ground strikes that went unanswered by Breese, prompting referee Bill Bookwalter to halt the fight at 4:47 of the opening round.
With the win, Louisiana’s Allen moves to 14-3. Birmingham’s Breese, making his first start since May 2018, falls to 11-2.
After appearances on Dana White’s Contender Series and The Ultimate Fighter, Kyler Phillips finally got his chance to shine in the Octagon and he did just that, winning a three-round unanimous decision over fellow bantamweight prospect Gabriel Silva.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Phillips, now 7-1. Silva falls to 8-2.
Silva kept the pressure on Phillips for much of the first round, but Phillips was the much busier fighter, and he bloodied Silva’s nose with a steady stream of varied strikes. Silva did trip Phillips to the canvas late, but it wasn’t enough for the Brazilian to steal the round.
Able to keep the fight in his world in the second, Silva utilized his grappling throughout, but Phillips wasn’t far behind, getting the full mount briefly while also using scrambles and hammerfists to show that he was just as effective on the mat.
On the feet and the mat, Phillips broke the fight wide open, and while Silva gave a gritty effort, there was no question who the winner was at the end of 15 minutes.
Featherweight prospect Grant Dawson held off a spirited charge from late replacement foe Darrick Minner, ultimately submitting the newcomer in the second round.
Minner nearly sunk in a guillotine choke in the opening minute of the bout, but Dawson got loose and wound up in the top position. Minner continued to look for submissions from his back and when that came up empty, he scrambled his way into another guillotine attempt. Again, Dawson escaped, and in the final minute he surged, landing a series of hard strikes before his own submission attempt at the horn.
Dawson used another Minner guillotine attempt to get the fight to the canvas in the second, and this time he moved quickly to mount. Even quicker was Dawson’s transition to his opponent’s back, and the rear naked choke that followed forced the tap from Minner at 1:38 of round two.
With the win, Dawson, who came in overweight for the bout at 149.4 pounds, moves to 15-1. Minner, who took the fight on less than two weeks’ notice, replacing Chas Skelly, falls to 24-11.
Brazil’s Norma Dumont was confident coming into her UFC debut against Megan Anderson, but the former Invicta FC champion handed Dumont her first pro loss via first-round knockout.
Dumont used her striking to lock up with Anderson and against the fence, and while she ultimately got the Aussie to the mat, Anderson quickly got back to her feet and once standing, a single right hand put Dumont on the deck. Anderson moved in for the finish, but it was already over, as referee Kevin MacDonald halted the bout at 3:31 of round one.
With the win, Anderson moves to 11-4. Dumont falls to 4-1.
It was a controversial end to the bout between Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba, but Ankalaev emerged victorious via first-round stoppage to extend his current winning streak to four.
The two light heavyweights got into it during Bruce Buffer’s introductions, Cutelaba marching across the Octagon to get in Ankalaev’s face. Once the fight properly began, Cutelaba was his usual aggressive self, but Ankalaev fired back with a series of punches and kicks that wobbled his foe. The wobbling of Cutelaba brought in referee Kevin MacDonald to halt the fight, drawing boos from the crowd and an immediate protest from Cutelaba, who appeared unhurt. The call stands though, with Russia’s Ankalev improving to 13-1 at 38 seconds of the first round.
Moldova’s Cutelaba falls to 15-5 with 1 NC.
On a card featuring four featherweight standouts, Felicia Spencer joined Megan Anderson in making an impressive case for a shot at champion Amanda Nunes, as she stopped Zarah Fairn in the first round.
Fairn’s striking looked good as the bout got underway, but as soon as Spencer was able to lock up with the France native, it was her fight, and after taking Fairn to the mat, she unleashed a barrage of strikes from the mount position. Fairn tried to escape, but Spencer wasn’t having it, and at 3:37 of the opening frame, referee Dan Miragliotta stepped in to stop the fight.
With the win, Spencer moves to 8-1. Fairn falls to 6-4.
A wild couple days ended with a definitive result in the Octagon on Saturday at Chartway Arena in Norfolk, but more cloudy skies for the 125-pound weight class, as Deiveson Figueiredo’s second-round stoppage of Joseph Benavidez earned the Brazilian a signature win but left the UFC flyweight title vacant due to Figueiredo’s inability to make weight on Friday.
It was a crushing blow for the popular Benavidez, who would have been eligible to take the title vacated by Henry Cejudo had he won.
“I feel like this isn’t real right now,” said Benavidez, who lost two previous shots at the flyweight title against Demetrious Johnson.
The scrambles started early, with Figueiredo nearly catching Benavidez in an armbar before the Las Cruces product got free and rose back to his feet. Once standing again, Benavidez mixed up his strikes well as the two took turns pressing the action. A couple takedown attempts by Benavidez were defended well by the Brazilian, but a couple right hands got through with a little over a minute left, and another pair also hit their mark by the end of the frame.
Figueiredo landed some hard shots of his own in the first minute of round two, only to have Benavidez fire right back, intent on ending the fight with his fists. It was Figueiredo who got the victory with his hands, though. An accidental clash of heads bloodied Benavidez, and then a flush right to the jaw sent him down to the canvas. Moments later, the fight was over, with referee Dan Miragliotta stepping in at 1:54 of the second frame.
With the win, Figueiredo, who weighed in at 127.5 pounds, moves to 18-1. Benavidez falls to 28-6.