The first four main card fights at UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Teixeira have all wrapped up. Jack Hermansson got things started off nicely with a quick finish of Alex Nicholson, Nordine Taleb took care of business against newcomer Oliver Enkamp, Omari Akhmedov handed Abdul Razak Alhassan his first loss, and Peter Sobotta turned in a terrific performance against Ben Saunders. Here’s how the fights played out.
Peter Sobotta def. Ben Saunders by TKO (strikes) at 2:29 of round 2 - Welterweights
Sobotta got off to a flying start with a left hand that dropped and rocked Saunders, who recovered quickly. “Killa B” went to work with his vaunted kicks, attacking both the legs and the head. The improved boxing of Sobotta opened up a cut on the left eye of Saunders, and then another left hand dropped Saunders. Sobotta searched for the finish and Saunders was in trouble, but Ben was able to get rubber guard and throw elbows off of his back. It was no doubt a Sobotta round with the two knockdowns.
Saunders started off round 2 brightly with a sharp jab from his southpaw stance. Sobotta caught Saunders’ kick and rocked him with a left that turned his legs to jelly. Saunders was being swarmed but did everything he could to stay upright. A straight left just about sat Saunders down, and that was the beginning of the end. The onslaught of strikes from Sobotta continued, then a knee crumpled Saunders for good. That was a pure beatdown delivered by Sobotta, who is now 4-1 since returning to the UFC in 2014. Saunders drops 8-5 inside the Octagon.
Omari Akhmedov def. Abdul Razak Alhassan by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27) - Welterweights
Akhmedov caught a kick and immediately took Alhassan down, eager to avoid the dangerous quick knockout abilities of Alhassan. The Ghanaian returned to his feet fairly quickly, but was taken down again. By the midway mark of round 1 he’d already exceeded the longest previous bout of his career. Alhassan threw a couple of damaging leg kicks, but Akhmedov did well not to get caught with a major power shot. They traded big punches, with Akhmedov perhaps getting the better of the exchanges as the round came to a close.
The brawling nature to the end of round 1 continued into round 2, but this time Alhassan was finding a home for his right hand. Akhmedov changed things up and powered through with a takedown, and he landed some good elbows from the top. The poor defensive wrestling of Alhassan benefited Akhmedov, but he wasn’t able to hold him down for any extended period of time. Alhassan kept cracking Akhmedov with the right over the top, but Akhmedov again took him down and delivered some punishing ground-and-pound to end the second stanza.
After a slow start to the third, Akhmedov was in on another takedown but Alhassan elevated and reversed position before getting to his feet. Alhassan was noticeably tagging Akhmedov more frequently, so Akhmedov stemmed the tide with another takedown, this time into full mount. After extended time in a dominant position, Alhassan returned to his feet, but Akhmedov just draped all over him to run out the clock and pick up the win. Akhmedov has won two straight, while Alhassan’s undefeated record has come to an end.
Nordine Taleb def. Oliver Enkamp by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) - Welterweights
Sweden’s Enkamp took this fight on short notice, replacing the injured Emil Weber Meek. The karate specialist threw a variety of kicks in the early stages. Taleb stopped the initial takedown from Enkamp, who shot from a long way out, but Enkamp was persistent and did put him on the mat for a brief second. They exchanged hard knees in the clinch for several seconds before Taleb tossed him down and wound up on top. Taleb avoided Enkamp’s submission attempts from the bottom to close out round 1.
A left hook by Taleb stunned Enkamp early in round 2. The flashy kicks of Enkamp were still being thrown but they weren’t landing or really bothering Taleb, who was letting his hands go more. Taleb sprawled on a takedown but nearly wound up on the bottom after falling off balance. He was able to scramble and get Enkamp on his back and in side control. Enkamp rolled his way into at least gaining guard as the middle phase of the bout drew to a close.
Neither fighter created much offense in round 3, but Taleb was doing well to find spots to counterpunch with his left hand. Taleb took Enkamp down and had to defend a guillotine, which he managed successfully. The remainder of the bout saw Taleb remain on top while Enkamp’s active guard and submission attempts were not enough to turn the result of the contest in his favor. Taleb bounces back from his loss to Santiago Ponzinibbio, while Enkamp gave it a good effort in his Octagon debut.
Jack Hermansson def. Alex Nicholson by TKO (strikes) at 2:00 of round 1 - Middleweights
Hermansson immediately shot for a takedown and advanced to side control as Nicholson sought the guillotine. After some ground-and-pound, Hermansson advanced to mount, then back mount, and just delivered an ungodly amount of punishment until the referee intervened for the stoppage. Wall-to-wall domination by Hermansson, who gets himself back in the win column, and improves to 2-1 in the UFC. Nicholson is now 1-3 inside the Octagon.