Join us tonight on Bloody Elbow for live results, discussion and play-by-play as the preliminary cards for UFC 197: Jones vs. Saint Preux transpire from The MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.
Before the five-fight pay-per-view begins at 10 p.m. ET, seven matches are spread out between Fox Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass. Notable preliminary card action includes flyweight Sergio Pettis taking on Chris Kelades, former strawweight champion Carla Esparza facing Juliana "Ju Thai" Lima, a sure-fire slug-fest between light-heavyweights Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Clint Hester and surging prospect Kevin Lee versus veteran Efrain Escudero.
Atop the featured pay-per-view lineup, polarizing talent Jon Jones returns to face Ovince Saint Preux for the interim light-heavyweight title and flyweight overlord Demetrious Johnson defends against Olympic gold-medalist wrestler Henry Cejudo.
Live coverage will coincide with the Fight Pass prelims at 6:30 p.m. ET. The full preliminary card lineup follows. Check out this week's MMA Vivisection for UFC 197 predictions, analysis and betting odds.
(Fox Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET)
R1: Pettis switches to southpaw and lands a double jab. Outside low kick now from Pettis. More sharp jabs from Pettis as Kelades struggles to implement offense. No dice on Kelades' clinch attempt and Pettis gets him with a one-two and another low kick.
Pettis dances from side to side and Kelades grabs a single leg, using it to drive him to the fence. Pettis circles off and counters with an outside trip, then breaks contact when Kelades defends it. Pettis catches a lazy left kick and sweeps out Kelades' support leg, landing in his guard. Kelades gets wrist control on the left side, looking for a triangle. Pettis senses it and backs out, letting Kelades stand up. 10-9 Pettis.
R2: Pettis keeps his jab whirring in the face of Kelades. Kelades springs forward during a Pettis low kick and completes a takedown after off-balancing him. Pettis works for a triangle but Kelades passes the leg and stacks Pettis. Beautiful sweep with a butterfly hook for Pettis, who takes top position in Kelades' guard. Sharp elbow from Pettis. Kelades works for a sweep, then goes for a counter single leg as Pettis tries to scurry away. Kelades puts Pettis on the fence, threatening to slip behind him in the rear waist lock.
Pettis circles off the fence and then Kelades follows suit, and they separate. Kelades slips a right hand through the guard of Pettis. Pettis catches a kick but can't convert it into a takedown, but he does put Kelades on the fence. Pettis steps away and breaks the clinch with a left high kick. Kelades answers with a knee downstairs on the next exchange. 10-9 Pettis.
R3: Pettis hits a duck-under takedown a minute in, then steps over into half guard. Pettis gets right wrist control and tries to trap it in the half crucifix, but Kelades peels it free. Kelades throws heel strikes to the calf in half guard, then elevates the hips of Pettis, creating enough room to stand up. Pettis lands a knee upstairs but we pause for the ref to return his mouthpiece.
Pettis tries another duck-under takedown but Kelades resists it. Pettis, with Kelades on the fence, switches to a single leg. Kelades forces him to let go with a few spike elbows. Kelades barges into range, forcing a clinch. Pettis counters with a guillotine, then snaps the head down and fires a knee at it. Kelades glances with a right. Pettis a forces a late takedown and Kelades tries a last-minute Peruvian necktie. 10-9 Pettis. I have it 30-27 Pettis.
- Sergio Pettis defeats Chris Kelades by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
R1: Steele counters a front kick with a nasty one-two and Roberts goes down. Roberts maneuvers for a triangle but Steele, in beast-mode early, picks him up and power-bombs his way out of the attempt. Heavy left forearms for Steele in the guard of Roberts. Roberts shows slippery hips in creating space and getting back to his feet, though Steele keeps him on the fence with a strong under-hook.
Roberts tags him with a knee to the body to separate into open space. Left body kick is there for Roberts, then he stiffens Steele's legs with a vicious straight left. Roberts puts him on the cage and they trade heavy knees to the body before Steele circles off the fence. Steele throws a knee from the Thai plum and then transitions into a takedown, hoisting Roberts off the canvas before slamming him down. Roberts gets back to his feet but he takes a knee downstairs before Steele drives him back into the fence. 10-9 Roberts, mostly for the big right hand.
R2: Steele lands a knee to the body. Roberts scores a front kick and returns the same knee. Roberts with a clean left upstairs. Steele manages to check a kick and shove Roberts to the canvas in one motion, though Roberts pops back up. Roberts with a clean front kick to the body, then a half-blocked left kick and a clean left to the head.
Steele puts him on the cage but Roberts circles off with a knee to the body, then a glancing left hook with Steele's back on the cage. Roberts steps back with a triple hook combo, landing one. Roberts thwacks him with a horizontal elbow from the clinch but Steele puts him on the fence. Roberts circles off and separates. Steele shoots on a Roberts front kick, then gets in the rear waist cinch Roberts hand-fights his grip. 10-9 Roberts.
R3: Roberts blasts Steele with a left hand and it causes him to stumble a bit. Steele locks horns and looks for a double, then switches to a single leg. Roberts, with his back on the fence, spikes down an elbow to the head, allowing him to stand up. He separates shortly after. Roberts plugs him with a left to the body, then whiffs with a slow-motion left.
Steele shoots a double and drives Roberts across the cage, allowing Roberts to stay upright with the cage on his back. Steele, possibly gassing out, stays on the single leg. Roberts with a few more downward elbows to the head before they're stood up by the ref. Front kick to the body from Roberts after the reset. Steele answers with a right cross but Roberts responds with a left cross before Steele reattaches, again on his knees in pursuit of a double leg. Steele lands a knee to the body as Roberts stands up, then another to the head. 10-9 Steele. I have it 29-28 Roberts.
- Danny Roberts defeats Dominique Steele by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
R1: Esparza marches to the fringe and holds her ground, hesitant to enter the Muay Thai artist's wheelhouse. Esparza flashes her hands and fakes a takedown, intending to come back up high with strikes, but Lima clinches her up and puts her on the fence with a knee to the ribs. Esparza cross-faces and pushes her away but Lima chases her down with a series of clean rights to the face. Esparza changes direction and lowers her level, hitting a takedown. Lima immediately angles for an armbar in guard and Esparza, sensing it, backs out and passes to half guard.
Esparza looks to peel her leg free and pass to mount but Lima regains full guard in the transition. Lima goes to a closed, high guard, controlling Esparza's posture to nullify the short hammer-fists. Esparza backs out and stands up, and Lima tags her with two consecutive up-kicks to the face before she falls back into her guard. Esparza struggles to land ground-and-pound as Lima is defending well and blocking most of the shots. Lima tries to buck her off and loses control, allowing Esparza to land a few clean shots before the horn sounds. 10-9 Lima.
R2: Esparza catches a front kick and sweeps out Lima's support leg for a successful takedown. Double palm-post to the face from Lima in guard but Esparza lands a series of short rights to the head, then passes to half guard. High half guard for Esparza and pestering right hands while trying to knee-trap Lima's left arm.
Esparza again backs out and stands up but this time lets a up-kick whiz by her head. Lima goes back to a high closed guard and Esparza lifts her off the canvas and slams her back down. Lima angles slightly for an armbar but Esparza is leading the dance in this round, quickly adjusting her position to defend. Lima transitions to a leg lock and switches it to a sweep as Esparza defends. Lima lands a quick counter takedown but Esparza pops back up. 10-9 Esparza.
R3: Esparza glances with an overhand right, then hits a double leg as Lima's engaging. Esparza grinds away in top position, maintaining control and throwing enough ground strikes to avoid a stand up. Esparza passes to side mount and Lima briefly attempts an inverted triangle.
Lima goes for it again and gets it deep enough to sweep Esparza with just over a minute left, landing in side mount. Lima telegraphs a mount pass and Esparza shuts it down. Lima works a combination mount pass and arm-triangle attempt but she runs out of time. 10-9 Esparza. I have it 29-28 Esparza.
- Carla Esparza defeats Juliana Lima by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
R1: Franca comes out flinging low kicks, then he blasts Vick in the jaw with a right cross and flows into a completed takedown. Vick over-hooks the head and tries to scoot back to the fence for a cage walk, and succeeds, standing up. His efforts are for naught as Franca takes him back down, grape-vining a leg in Vick's open guard. Vick gets up to one knee but is forced to fall back into his guard to avoid Franca taking his during the get-up.
Pestering right hands from Franca on top. Vick uses a butterfly hook to elevate Franca, then gets in guillotine position to back Franca off. Vick has enough space to stand and does, though the ref separates them soon after. Franca tags him with a right cross and Vick accidentally pokes his eye while defending, and the ref doesn't notice. Vick attacks as Franca's pawing at his eye, landing a right hand and clinching. Vick breaks the clinch with a spinning kick to the body. Vick stays after him, throwing a lot of leather, until Franca changes levels and puts him on his back. 10-9 Franca.
R2: Franca lands a knee downstairs but Vick doubles up on clean jabs and dings him with a right cross. More tight-range combos from Vick as Franca, looking lethargic, covers up. Franca lands a spinning back-fist as Vick's circling out, then clinches up. Franca hits a trip despite Vick's whizzer, landing in his open guard. Vick again posts an arm to sit up with a butterfly hook and looks for the guillotine, and Franca bursts forward with a body lock to flatten him back out.
Vick scoots his back on the cage and uses it to stand, landing more crisp flurries coupled with active lateral movement. Franca catches him with a shot to slow Vick's momentum. Another glancing right from Franca. Outside low kick is good for Vick, followed by a jaw-rattling right cross. Franca reaches out for a takedown that's not there. Clean jab to the jaw from Vick while backpedaling. Spinning back kick to the gut from Vick. 10-8 Vick.
R3: Vick unbolts quick one-twos and starts tacking on hooks, still using creative side-to-side motion as Franca lumbers after him in a straight line. Two lefts off the back foot land for Vick as the gap continues to widen. Franca reaches out for another desperation double-leg but Vick resists it and puts him on the cage. They separate without incident.
Wild, flailing spinning back-fist whiffs for Franca. They trade right crosses but Vick steps off-center and touches him with a jab. Franca glances with a low kick. Another jab for Vick, followed by a switch jump-knee that looks to land clean upstairs. Double one-twos for Vick but Franca sits down on a heavy right and it lands. Outside low kick now for Franca. Running inside low kick lands for Franca, but then he jogs right into a Vick front kick. 10-9 Vick. I have it 29-27 Vick.
- James Vick defeats Glaico Franca by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Fight Pass Prelims
(UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)
R1: East lands an inside low kick. Harris answers with a front kick to the body and a heavy jab. Now a jab downstairs from Harris. They trade body kicks. East lands another, then glances with a right upstairs. East grazes with an uppercut during a four-punch combo, then lands another right down the middle. East's front kick catches Harris in the cup and we pause while he recovers.
Harris lands a low kick on the restart, then a left kick to the ribs. East rushes him with both hands whirring, flinging tight combinations and forcing Harris to cover up on the fence after he fires a few back. East lands a hard right cross and Harris plasters him with a left cross in response, and East goes down. Harris swarms him with big punches, and the ref lets it go though East doesn't seem entirely lucid whilst recovering. Harris keeps pouring it on until the ref shows mercy.
- Walt Harris defeats Cody East by TKO (punches) R1 4:18
R1: De Lima opens with a sharp low kick, then goes high with a kick but it's blocked. Hook/cross combo finds the mark for de Lima, then he drops Hester with another combo. De Lima follows him down, falling into Hester's half guard. Mediocre ground-and-pound from de Lima as the pace slows. De Lima tries a mount pass, switches to punches and lands two, then mounts Hester at the halfway mark.
Hester controls posture decently but lays flat on his back, absorbing a steady humdrum of short strikes to the head and body. Hester threads a leg through for half guard, then recomposes full guard impressively. De Lima backs off enough to posture up and rain down heavy shots, forcing Hester to cover. De Lima switches to elbows and the ref warns Hester to protect himself. De Lima gets in arm-triangle position and Hester taps before De Lima can hop to the other side and wrench it.
- Marcos Rogerio de Lima defeats Clint Hester by submission (arm-triangle) R1 4:35
R1: Lee comes out popping jabs and switching stances, then mixing in a few kicks. Escudero with a right body kick to back him off followed by an inside low kick. Lee looks a full speed faster in both output and delivery, dancing fluently from side to side behind a busy jab. Counter left hook is good upstairs from Lee in southpaw.
Escudero knifes in to clinch and briefly gets the rear waist cinch but he's unable to hoist Lee off the canvas. Now it's Lee who transitions to the rear waist lock and he's able to get Escudero down briefly, but he separates after he gets back up. Escudero rushes him with a wave of short rights and at least one lands hard and clean. Escudero continues the flurry until Lee counter-clinches and separates. Escudero with a jab as Lee glances with a right hand to close the round. 10-9 Lee.
R2: Escudero lands a low kick but Lee snaps his head back with a long counter cross. Lee keeps short left hands in Escudero's face, then goes to one knee before thwarting a takedown attempt. Lee snatches a single leg in open space and uses it to drive Escudero onto the fence. Escudero lands a few elbows while Lee's level is lowered, then a knee to the body to break the clinch.
Escudero puts Lee on the fence but Lee circles off and lands a knee downstairs. Escudero separates and eats two quick lefts before putting Lee back on the cage with a body lock. Lee goes to the front headlock to wheel off the fence and separate. Clean right cross lands for Escudero, then a jab. Lee answers with a jab, then an uppercut from the clinch. 10-10.
R3: They kick simultaneously and Lee catches it in the groin; we pause for his recovery. Escudero puts him on the cage after the restart, again securing a body lock and landing knees to the thigh. Lee swims an arm in for an under-hook, circles off the fence and takes Escudero down, landing in half guard.
Lee bases down and throws short hammer-fists to the head. Lee shuffles Escudero back until his head is on the fence, then postures up with more enthusiastic ground-and-pound. Escudero shifts off the cage and gets in guillotine position, mostly to stop the punches. Lee slips his head out and obliges Escudero with a guillotine of his own from the top. Escudero again angles off the fence and counters with a leg lock. Lee stands up and steps out of it, returning to Escudero's guard with a strong hammer-fist. Right hands to the ribs from Lee as time ticks away. 10-9 Lee. I have it 30-28 Lee.
- Kevin Lee defeats Efrain Escudero by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)