The main card of UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Belfort 3 had a lot to live up to after a preliminary card full of finishes. Saturday's opening main card bouts featured a pair of ranked Light Heavyweight fighters, a Cowboy who was looking for the knockout victory, and a pair of bantamweights looking to steal the show.
(#8) Thomas Almeida def. Anthony Birchak via KO (punch) at 4:24 of round 1
Birchak began the fight springing back and forth, switching in and out of stance while looking for the takedown. Almeida caught Birchak with a nice counter, but Birchak quickly fired back with a couple of solid punches. Both fighters quickly scrambled on the ground after trading shots in the pocket. Almeida landed a beautiful combination, working both the body and head. Birchak shot in for the takedown, but was Almeida was able to stuff it and punish Birchak with punches. Almeida gets Birchak against the fence, unleashes a barrage of punches that send Birchak to the mat Rashad Evans style, out cold while folded up against the bottom of the cage.
In a word...brutal. Just brutal. #UFCSP https://t.co/P9fSr3tyaJ— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) November 8, 2015
Alex Oliveira def. Piotr Hallmann by KO (punches) at 0:51 of Round 3
Oliveira used his reach advantage early on to land some solid but wild hooks against Hallmann. Both fighters swung wildly until Oliveira pressed Hallmann against the cage to clinch. Oliveira landed knees in the clinch while also pressuring for the takedown. Just as Hallmann broke free from the fence, Oliveira began working on a takedown, driving to the fence. The fighters clinched against the fence again, with Oliveira landing the better strikes. A great combination from Oliveira stunned Hallmann for a moment as the round closed.
Hallmann came out in the second round with his face battered from the punishment he took in the first. Oliveira continued to work his clinching game, landing knees and uppercuts before Hallmann shot and completed a double leg takedown. After a minute of little work on the ground, both fighters were stood up by the ref. A leg kick from Oliveira buckled Hallmann, leading to a takedown, but Hallmann reversed the position and ended up in north-south. Hallman ended the round on top, spending most of the round on top of Oliveira.
Hallmann and Oliveira started the third round by trading in the center of the cage. Oliveira slipped a punch and ripped a solid right counter that put Hallmann out. Oliveira followed Hallmann to the mat, landing one more strike before the ref stepped in. After getting grappled for the entire second round, Oliveira put a stamp on the fight with a huge knockout victory.
ICYMI: M-M-M-MONSTER KILL #UFCSP https://t.co/oWmpNRxXF9— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) November 8, 2015
Rashid Magomedov def. Gilbert Burns via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Burns hit the early trip on Magomedov, getting slammed after trying to get up from the initial takedown. Magomedov escapes after a minute on the ground. Magomedov began to establish his range, hitting Burns with several kicks to the body. As the round went on, Magomedov continued to dodge every strike of Burns while putting together nice combinations of punches and kicks. Burns looked very hesitant on the feet within the closing minute while Magomedov looked like he had found his stride.
The second round started with a continuation of the end of round two. As Magomedov continued to get the better of the standup, Burns shot in for a takedown, which was stuffed. Magomedov hit Burns with a looping overhand right that landed right on the temple, wobbling Burns. Burns went down after a straight right, but Magomedov hesitated going to the ground, waiting for Burns to stand up. Burns wobbled around the cage for the last two minutes of the round while Magomedov picked his strikes. Burns ended the round seemingly recovered from getting rocked.
A wild scramble began the third round with Burns trying to bait Magomedov into following him to the ground. The fighters stood and traded on the feet for a couple of minutes before Burns shot in for a deep double leg. Magomedov was some able to stuff the takedown and bring Burns up against the fence. The rest of the round saw Magomedov stalk Burns around the cage while Burns attempted to throw flashy kicks that weren't close to landing.
(#14) Corey Anderson def. (#12) Fabio Maldonado via unanimous decision (30-27 x3) - Light Heavyweight