For the primary time since 2007, the UFC will host its annual, marquee, pay-per-view occasion for the month of July at a location different than Las Vegas, as UFC 251 shall be held Saturday on “Struggle Island.” It will likely be the primary of 4 consecutive playing cards on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.
The occasion options three title fights, together with a principal occasion, welterweight matchup during which the challenger — Jorge Masvidal — accepted the battle on six days’ discover, and the champion — Kamaru Usman — was informed to fly dwelling simply over every week in the past, as a result of his battle seemed to be off after Gilbert Burns examined optimistic for COVID-19.
The buildup to UFC 251, which can happen inside a “protected zone” amid the coronavirus pandemic, has been something however standard, however we have nonetheless arrived at arguably one of the best MMA card of the yr.
Along with Usman (16-1) vs. Masvidal (35-13), UFC 251 will see a featherweight title rematch between Alexander Volkanovski (21-1) and Max Holloway (21-5), and a bantamweight championship that includes Jose Aldo (28-6) and Petr Yan (14-1).
One other key bout options the return of Rose Namajunas, who faces Jessica Andrade in a rematch of their Could 11, 2019, bout during which Namajunas misplaced her title through second-round KO. Andrade went on to lose the belt to Zhang Weili, and Saturday’s winner could possibly be Weili’s subsequent opponent.
Comply with all of the motion right here with reside outcomes, evaluation and social media response from varied fighters.
Struggle in progress:
Recap to come back.
The Paige VanZant period within the UFC is probably going coming to an in depth. However the Amanda Ribas period? That is simply getting began.
Ribas stopped VanZant through submission with an armbar at 2:21 of the primary spherical within the main-card opener. VanZant has handled proper arm points since she broke the limb in 2018, together with a number of surgical procedures. And that was the precise arm Ribas torqued on Saturday night time.
— GILBERT BURNS DURINHO (@GilbertDurinho) July 12, 2020
This was the ultimate battle on VanZant’s UFC contract and she or he has made her want recognized that she plans on testing her worth on the free-agent market.
After a tough change from each in a clinch, Ribas was capable of take VanZant down close to the cage with a hip throw. VanZant tried to get on high, however in doing so gave up her arm. Ribas locked it up and when VanZant tried to roll into a greater place the leverage solely tightened. VanZant had no selection however to faucet.
Ribas (10-1) has received 5 straight, together with all 4 of her UFC fights. The Brazil native, who lives and trains in Florida, stated she is going to transfer again all the way down to strawweight after this bout, which occurred at flyweight. Ribas, 26, has cemented herself as a professional prospect within the 115-pound division and, with a pedigree in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo, could possibly be a future contender.
VanZant (8-5) was as soon as some of the common names within the UFC, getting a spot on Dancing With The Stars in 2016. Weight-cutting points and accidents have hampered her in recent times. The Oregon native has dropped three of her final 4 fights. VanZant remains to be simply 26 years outdated and will definitely have curiosity from different promotions.
There have been lots of people excited to see Jiri Prochazka’s first battle within the UFC. There shall be much more individuals excited to see his second one.
Thats a star
— Sodiq Yusuff (@Super_Sodiq) July 12, 2020
Prochazka delivered in his UFC debut, knocking out former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir on the 49-second mark of the second spherical. The end got here after Prochazka surprised Oezdemir with a left head kick, damage him with a follow-up proper hand after which fully separated him from consciousness with a last proper.
Combating out of the Czech Republic, Prochazka is a former gentle heavyweight champion of Japanese promotion Rizin FF. His model is very unorthodox, as he always dropped his fingers towards the hard-hitting Oezdemir and spoke to him all through the bout. Oezdemir did have loads of success with the counter left hand early on, which Prochazka acknowledged instantly after.
“I really feel wonderful, however the efficiency was horrible,” Prochazka stated. “A lot punches [absorbed]. I need to take the title, that is all. That is my mission. However not simply the title, my efficiency — I have to work on it.”
Main as much as the end, Oezdemir truly out-landed Prochazka in strikes 44 to 33, however Prochazka confirmed off his means to put on a shot, in addition to give one. Prochazka has now received 11 in a row courting again to December 2015. He has recorded 23 knockout finishes in his skilled profession.
It wasn’t the form of all-action battle some anticipated, nevertheless it was one other strong notch within the belt of the surging Salikhov.
In a really shut battle, Salikhov was capable of get the nod in a cut up resolution over Zaleski dos Santos. The bout primarily remained standing — as anticipated — with each males having their moments.
Maybe probably the most important strike of the night time got here proper on the finish of the primary when Zaleski dos Santos dropped Salikhov with a proper hand. Exterior of that, Salikhov was capable of combine his hanging — his nickname is the “King of Kung Fu” for a purpose — together with his expertise within the grappling arts. At one level within the second, he landed a tough throw after catching a Zaleski dos Santos kick.
Zaleski dos Santos truly outlanded Salikhov in important strikes within the battle (46-40).
Salikhov (17-2) has received 4 straight and has not misplaced since his UFC debut in 2017 towards Alex Garcia. The 36-year-old Dagestan native has solely that one loss on his report since 2012. The win over Zaleski dos Santos represents his largest within the UFC and will earn him a step up in competitors.
Zaleski dos Santos (22-7) has dropped two of his final three following a seven-fight profitable streak. The 33-year-old Brazilian owns wins over the likes of Lyman Good and Max Griffin.
Makwan Amirkhani continues so as to add to his popularity as some of the entertaining featherweights on the earth, as he submitted Danny Henry through anaconda choke simply 3:15 into the bout.
Amirkhani, who had received two efficiency bonuses in seven UFC appearances coming in, locked within the choke as Henry tried to scramble to his toes after an early takedown. Amirkhani turned solely the third fighter in UFC historical past to complete a number of fights through anaconda choke. He defeated Chris Fishgold with the identical transfer in 2019.
“I am fairly slick with this transfer,” Amirkhani stated. “John Kavanagh, my coach, he is at all times laughing on the health club after I do that to all people. Individuals come and ask how they will defend it, John says it is a by no means ending story. I am simply manner too slick with this. There isn’t a protection for this one.”
It additionally marked the third first-round end of Amirkhani’s profession. The 31-year-old Finnish featherweight has now received three of his final 4. This win will get him again on observe after a troublesome TKO loss to Shane Burgos in November.
Bogatov landed a knee under the belt that brought about Santos to take virtually all the 5 minutes allotted to get better. Then Bogatov landed one other knee to the groin and, minutes later, an unlawful knee to Santos’ head.
Referee Marc Goddard had no selection however to deduct two factors from Bogatov for the repeated fouls. The bout ended up ending with Santos profitable a really weird unanimous resolution (29-26, 29-26, 29-26).
Santos practically completed Bogatov within the second spherical. He landed a giant proper hand out of a clinch that rocked Bogatov. Santos adopted up with a number of extra proper fingers that despatched Bogatov reeling. Goddard got here near stepping in on two events as Santos poured it on. However Bogatov survived and truly ended the spherical on high touchdown floor and pound on Santos, who was clearly drained from his earlier onslaught.
Santos (18-3-1) stays unbeaten within the UFC and has eight straight fights with out a loss. Regardless of the spectacular streak, the 40-year-old Brazil native hasn’t constructed a ton of momentum. This was solely his third battle since 2015. However Santos has received six in a row, tied for the third longest energetic stretch within the light-weight division. Bogatov (10-1), a 29-year-old Russia native, is the previous M-1 light-weight champion.
When historical past appears to be like again on the UFC’s first occasion at Struggle Island, Saturday’s heavyweight battle between Marcin Tybura and Maxim Grishin is not going to be one of many first issues talked about.
Tybura, of Poland, picked up a unanimous-decision win over former PFL gentle heavyweight Grishin, in one of many slower-paced fights of the night. In the long run, Tybura picked up his sixth win within the UFC through scores of 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 — though the efficiency was not essentially as dominant because the scores recommend.
Tybura appeared intent on getting Grishin to the ground, however struggled to take action within the first and second rounds. He landed a complete of 87 strikes within the contest, in comparison with simply 56 for Grishin, however none of them brought about any important injury. Nearly all of the battle was both spent locked right into a stalemate within the clinch, or with a substantial amount of house between the 2.
Halfway by way of the third spherical, Tybura lastly obtained the takedown he was searching for and he did finally transfer to full mount, however there was nonetheless not a ton of offense to talk of. Grishin took the bout on quick discover after Tybura’s unique opponent, Alexander Romanov, was compelled to tug out on the final minute.
Exercise. Quantity. Stress.
These three issues appeared to be what helped Paiva earn a unanimous resolution (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) over Zhumagulov in a really shut battle.
Paiva pushed the tempo from the start and routinely pushed Zhumagulov’s again towards the cage together with his hanging. Zhumagulov had moments in every spherical. Within the second, he landed a phenomenal judo throw to floor Paiva. And within the third, Zhumagulov landed a left hand that wobbled Paiva momentarily, the most effective blows of the bout.
However Paiva, although his photographs did not do a ton of injury, threw extra and was the extra aggressive fighter, which the judges appeared to offer the nod in the long run.
Paiva (20-3) missed weight coming in by three kilos and forfeited 20% of his purse to Zhumagulov. The Brazilian fighter has received two straight. Paiva, 24, dropped his first two UFC fights, however has emerged as a flyweight prospect. Zhumagulov (13-4), a 31-year-old Kazakhstan native making his UFC debut, had a four-fight profitable streak snapped.
Brazilian bantamweight Karol Rosa has been scheduled to battle on 4 separate events in 2020, solely to see all of them fall by way of as a result of circumstances brought on by the coronavirus. When she lastly obtained to make an look on Saturday, she didn’t disappoint.
Rosa totally dominated her Brazilian counterpart Vanessa Melo over the course of three rounds, en path to a unanimous resolution. Rosa received on all three judges playing cards, through scores of 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27.
Melo, who falls to 0-Three within the UFC, confirmed coronary heart within the loss, nevertheless it was apparent she was fully out-matched. Rosa picked her aside on the toes for 15 minutes, touchdown jabs, inside leg kicks and proper fingers at will. In keeping with UFC Stats, Rosa out-landed Melo in whole strikes 159 to 85.
Rosa was scheduled to face Julia Avila in March, April and Could, however each date fell by way of as a result of logistical challenges. Avila finally moved on to a brand new opponent as nicely, as she knocked out Gina Mazany at a UFC Struggle Night time occasion in June. Rosa is now 2-Zero contained in the Octagon.
Grant fights extremely sometimes. This was solely his sixth UFC battle within the final seven years. But, when he is within the Octagon he is normally good for some thrills. He introduced these to Struggle Island.
Grant put Day to sleep with a left hand to notch a knockout at 2:38 of the third spherical within the UFC 251 opener Saturday night time. Grant completed a punching mixture with a left hook. Day did not get his hand up in time to dam it — he was trying to counter — and ended up falling to the canvas unconscious.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 11, 2020
Afterward, Grant stated he broke his jaw earlier within the bout. Day dropped Grant within the first spherical. Grant was capable of come again with quick punching combos that damage Day within the second. It was a really enjoyable, fast-paced bout all through.
Grant appeared drained within the third, however each time Day landed a mixture, Grant got here again with each extra quantity. On the finish, Grant whipped a proper hand that Day blocked and shortly got here with a left, which Day by no means noticed. That was it.
Grant (12-4) has received two straight following a two-fight dropping streak. The 34-year-old England native has solely been to a choice twice in his UFC run, although this was his first time incomes a end in a UFC win. Day (8-4), a 31-year-old Hawaii native, has misplaced two straight to start his UFC profession.
“I knew what he was coming for and I knew what I needed,” Grant stated. “I assumed I’ll try to be technical within the first two rounds. I assumed if it was all working, I would go to city after which have a conflict. I needed the primary battle on UFC Struggle Island to be conflict. I believe we gave them that.
“I knew that if I might get inside (I might knock him out). I knew he has actually good kicks and good fingers. He dropped me within the first and I did not know the place I used to be at. I assumed I am nonetheless going to face and commerce with him. I needed a battle like this within the UFC. I really feel like I have been a bit cautious. I needed to face within the pocket and bang — that is the way you get the knockout. I need to be a main-card fighter.”
Nonetheless to come back:
PPV (through ESPN+), 10 p.m. ET
(c) = defending champion