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UFC 189 main card result recap: Almeida and Stephens score flying knee knockouts

Bloody Elbow recaps the fights from UFC 189 on Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here, we look at the opening-main card bouts, including a fight between prospects Gunnar Nelson and Brandon Thatch

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Last night, UFC 189 took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada and was headlined by a pair of title fights that pitted defending champion, Robbie Lawler against Rory MacDonald and Chad "Money" Mendes against the outspoken Irishman, Conor McGregor.Following a disappointing preliminary card the first 3 bouts of the main card really set the mood for the amazing main and co-main events.

Thomas Almeida vs. Brad Pickett

Official result: Thomas Almeida defeated Brad Pickett by knockout (knee), :29 of round 2

What was the high point of the fight?

This fight was unexpectedly competitive for one round. Many expected burgeoning talent, Thomas Almeida, to dominate from the opening bell, but it was Brad Pickett who got the better of exchanges in the opening stanza. Things changed rapidly in the second round however, as Thomas Almeida landed a picture-perfect knee to knockout Brad Pickett in spectacular style.

Where do these two go from here?

In victory Almeida showed some vulnerability however, I feel this fight will make Almeida an even more dangerous talent. Knocking out Brad Pickett is incredibly impressive and this win could be the beginning of a title run for the young Brazilian Brawler.

From his days in Cage Rage to his stints in the WEC and UFC, Brad Pickett has always been a fan favorite. Time isn't on Pickett's side and his recent slide has all but ruined any title aspirations that the Brit has. I expect Pickett to retire and focus on coaching at ATT alongside his close friend Mike Brown

Watch now, later, or never?

Now. This one is very fun.

Gunnar Nelson vs. Brandon Thatch

Official result: Gunnar Nelson defeated Brandon Thatch by submission (rear naked choke), 2:34 of round 1

What was the high point of the fight?

The oddsmakers really wrote off Gunnar Nelson coming into this fight and he was a big underdog, but he proved them wrong by putting in a career-best performance against Brandon Thatch. Thatch's propensity to attack aggressively would prove his undoing as he was dropped coming in. Once Thatch was on the canvas it was the beginning of the end, Nelson used his slick jiu-jitsu to get the the rear-naked choke early.

Where do these two go from here?

Gunnar Nelson is on the road to stardom, make no doubt about and the fact that he a stable-mate of Conor McGregor will only benefit his popularity. In a dreamworld we would see Rory MacDonald vs. Gunnar Nelson next but that isn't going to happen. I think the most realistic fight, for the native of Iceland, would be a headlining spot at UFC Dublin.

Brandon Thatch is very talented but last night just wasn't his night. Thatch may be on a two-fight skid but I expect him to be back with a bang.Thatch vs. Tim Means could be pretty fun but I feel like the UFC may try rush a fight between Thatch and Pendred for UFC Dublin in October.

Watch now, later, or never?

Watch now. This fight was short but perfectly displayed the vast array of talents that Nelson has at his disposal.

Jeremy Stephens vs. Dennis Bermudez

Official result:Jeremy Stephens defeats Dennis Bermudez by TKO (strikes), ;32, round 3

What was the high point of the fight?

This fight was a highlight maker's dream. From round 1 both Stephens and Bermudez engaged in an epic war of wills with Bermudez coming out on top for the first two rounds. Jeremy Stephens has made a name for himself as a knockout machine. Entering the 3rd round he needed a finish and boy, did he deliver. After just 32 seconds Stephens landed an exquisite flying knee knockout.

Where do these two go from here?

Jeremy Stephens has toyed with contender status over the last few years. Just as he begins to climb the rankings he seems to suffer a loss. Although Ricardo Lamas is coming off a loss I feel he would be a great test to see if Stephens can hang with one of the best the featherweight division has offer.

Dennis Bermudez has lost 2 in a row but oddly, has looked improved in each of his defeats. I feel that over the next few years Bermudez will emerge as a legitimate contender but, in the mean time some fights against lower ranked opponents may extend his career's longevity.