The UFC 231 prelims are in the books, and the promotion’s #11 strawweight Nina Ansaroff just upset the #3 ranked Claudia Gadelha. This marks the biggest win of Ansaroff’s career and shoots her right up that 115-pound ladder. Before that, Gilbert Burns had strong showing tonight. He was able to drop Olivier Aubin-Mercier in both rounds one and two, before going on to earn the unanimous nod.
Also on the prelims, the promotion’s #9 ranked women’s flyweight Jessica Eye beat the #3 ranked Katlyn Chookagian in a rather sticky split decision. The win should catapult Eye up the division to be considered next in line for a shot at the title. Opening up the FS1 prelims, Elias Theodorou picked up a gritty split decision over Eryk Anders. Anders landed the harder shots, but Theodorou landed more of them.
Check out the complete results below.
Nina Ansaroff def. Claudia Gadelha by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): (W) Strawweight
Gadelha closed the distance and planted Ansaroff on her back to begin the bout. Ansaroff returned to her feet and looked to move forward behind her strikes. The comfort level of Ansaroff new the longer the fight went on.
The striking of Ansaroff was crisp, and she was successfully stuffing the takedown attempts of Gadelha. Ansaroff was also doing well at keeping her opponent on the outside, where Gadelha was unable to connect with her own strikes. With about 90 seconds remaining in the round, Gadelha found herself a takedown to finish up with top position.
Ansaroff probed away with her jab in round three, busting up the nose of Gadelha. The backwards footwork of Ansaroff kept her out of harms way as Gadelha pressured forward. The matador style continued to be a wise move for Ansaroff as Gadelha was unable to close the distance and land anything substantial before time ran out.
Gilbert Burns def. Olivier Aubin-Mercier by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Lightweight
It didn’t take very long for Burns to plant OAM on his back, but OAM scrambled back to his feet before sustaining any damage. Burns blasted OAM, dropping him with a left hook. OAM gave up his back but was able to recover and regain composure as the round ended.
OAM pressured his foe to start the second round, backing Burns up to the fence. Burns landed a right hand that wobbled OAM, but the Canadian continued to be the aggressor. It was a much better round for OAM. Burns was able to snag up a takedown in the closing moments of the round to finish in top position.
Burns let his hands go in the final round, showing great improvement in his boxing abilities. Around the three-minute mark, Burns blasted a takedown right into side control. OAM exposed his back and Burns was all over him. A bunch of strikes added up for Burns, even a couple of ear slaps. OAM slipped back to his feet for one last attempt to finish, but time ran out before he could land a fight-ending blow.
Jessica Eye def. Katlyn Chookagian by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): (W) Flyweight
Chookagian opened up popping her jab, trying to force Eye to respect the distance. Eye pressured forward being the aggressor, leaping in a throwing punches. It was a bit of a sticky first round. Eye took the center of the Octagon again to open the second act. Chookagian would use her footwork to slide just out of the way of her opponent’s strikes in order to land her own. Eye had her moments as well, landing her strikes on the inside. The stickiness continued.
Eye landed a heavy right hand early in the final round, but slipped and ended up on bottom. A nasty cut opened up below the right eye of Chookagian. Eye would return to her feet where she regained control of the center. The closeness of the fight continued on until the final bell.
Elias Theodorou def. Eryk Anders by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Middleweight
Anders was content to lead the dance as Theodorou played the outside. Theodorou was able to clinch up and land a few strong knees up against the cage. The unorthodox strikes of Theodorou seemed to frustrate Anders. Anders came out aggressive in the second stanza, pressuring forward but not really doing much with it. Theodorou was doing a solid job of tagging Anders and racking up some volume as he came forward.
Theodorou looked up at the clock several times. Anders was able to hurt his foe and kept punching after him. A huge southpaw cross briefly sat down Theodorou in what became a big round for Anders. Anders continued to stalk his opponent in the final round. Theodorou used his lateral movement to escape the pressure and although Anders was landing the harder shots, Theodorou landed more strikes of his own.