The UFC 225 FS1 prelims have just concluded with the promotion’s #4 Curtis Blaydes scoring multiple takedowns on the #2 Alistair Overeem, to ultimately elbow the veteran into oblivion in the third round. Blaydes is now on a six-fight unbeaten streak as he now sits at 10-1-1 in his MMA journey. Top tier strawweights were on display, as the #3 Claudia Gadelha overcame being hurt early to barely squeak by the #6 Carla Esparza.
Also on the card, Mirsad Bektic put on a grinding performance en route to a split decision over veteran Ricardo Lamas. Bektic now sits at 13-2 in his pro MMA career, and Lamas has lost back to back bouts to up and comers. A slobber knocker of a bout opened up the FS 1 prelims, when Chris de la Rocha and Rashad Coulter straight brawled it out for the bulk of the opening round, with de la Rocha ultimately sniffing out a second round TKO.
Curtis Blaydes def. Alistair Overeem by TKO at 2:56 of round 3: Heavyweight
We saw a lot of feints and fake’s to kick off this heavyweight tilt, with tons of respect being shown by each man. At about the midpoint of the round, Blaydes blasted a big takedown into the half guard of Overeem. A whole lot of control was going on and not a lot of striking, transitioning, or submission attempts.
Overeem clipped Blaydes with a big knee to open the second round, followed by a big haymaker that forced Blaydes to shoot in and get a takedown. Overeem attacked a heel hook, but Blaydes was wise to it and returned to top position. Once back on the feet, Overeem landed another knee, but Blaydes again snatched up a takedown as a result. A few ground strikes landed for Blaydes, as Overeem was unable to make it back to his feet.
Blaydes let his hands go to kick off the final frame, and used it as an opportunity to secure a takedown and land a big elbow. From the full guard, Blaydes started unloading with a series of elbows that seemed to explode open the forehead of Overeem. Luckily, the referee was right on top of the action and jumped in to save Overeem from any further damage. Wowsers!
Take a gander at Blaydes throwing bombs there in the final frame:
OVEREEM FORCED TO COVER UP!@RazorBlaydes265 #UFC225 pic.twitter.com/SgnE5nHrZN— UFC (@ufc) June 10, 2018
Overeem is well known for his knees:
Opening round two FAST! #UFC225 pic.twitter.com/YYCJFwE58g— UFC (@ufc) June 10, 2018
Claudia Gadelha def. Carla Esparza by split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29): (W) Strawweight
Gadelha dropped Esparza early into the opening round, and successfully stuffed the desperation takedown attempts. Out of seemingly nowhere, a mean straight from Esparza wobbled Gadelha. Esparza pounced on her opponent with a flurry, punching Gadelha to the ground. Gadelha scrambled back to her feet and blasted a takedown of her own, landing some ground strikes before cinching up a tight guillotine. There were only a few moments left in the round, so Esparza hung tough and made it out.
Esparza continued to let her hands go in the second round, prompting Gadelha to close the distance, but it was Esparza who was winning the cage control. Gadelha managed to muscle a takedown, and worked from top position with sporadic strikes. When Esparza finally did get back to her feet, Gadelha just took her right back down. Esparza did finish the round on top, but didn’t do anything with it before time ran out.
Esparza appeared to have more spring in her step to start the final frame, landing some solid leather on her opponent without absorbing much of any damage herself. At about the midway point, Gadelha scored an authoritative takedown into side control, but Esparza scrambled and found top position herself.
Esparza was really letting her hands go:
Tagged her again! @CarlaEsparza1 #UFC225 pic.twitter.com/2DAIvW0CXO— UFC (@ufc) June 10, 2018
Esparza has those hands, too:
SHE'S WOBBLED!@CarlaEsparza1 returns fire in round one. #UFC225 pic.twitter.com/ZKFSEb50Iq— UFC (@ufc) June 10, 2018
Gadelha packs a serious punch:
On the hunt.@ClaudiaGadelha_ is looking for the finish early. #UFC225 pic.twitter.com/vYrc4srXou— UFC (@ufc) June 10, 2018
Mirsad Bektic def. Ricardo Lamas by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29): Featherweight
Bektic dictated the pace of this one early on, coming forward and grinding on his foe against the cage. Lamas did create some separation, but it wasn’t long before Bektic closed the distance again, and actually scoring a takedown. Lamas was back up to his feet, but was stuck up against the fence, eating short shots from his opponent.
Aggressive is how Bektic opted to start the second round, throwing some serious heat in the direction of Lamas, opening up a cut on the face. Lamas tried to get the fight to the ground, but Bektic wasn’t having any of it and continued to grind on Lamas against the cage. The referee broke up the fighters, allowing the athletes to trade a bit before the horn sounded.
Lamas again found himself with his back to the cage, absorbing chipping shots from Bektic. Whenever Lamas did find open space, he threw a spinning kick that got him taken down. Lamas hit a slick reversal, but then jumped on a guillotine that put him right back on the bottom. Attacking the neck was the go to move for Lamas, but he just couldn’t quite pull anything off before the time expired.
Check out this crafty spinning elbow from Ricardo Lamas:
BIG spinning elbow from @RicardoLamasMMA. #UFC225 pic.twitter.com/fc2ef2O0gy— UFC (@ufc) June 10, 2018
Chris de la Rocha def. Rashad Coulter by TKO at 3:53 of round 2: Heavyweight
Chris de la Rocha came out aggressive, smothering his opponent up against the cage. Coulter found opened space and uncorked a haymaker, but de la Rocha found a takedown and instantly locked up a mounted guillotine. Coulter escaped back to his feet and connected with a heavyweight flurry, but de la Rocha somehow remained on his feet. The big men started brawling up against the fence with each man swinging wildly. The chin of de la Rocha was outstanding to say the least, eating all sorts of heavy punches before securing a takedown.
The doctor checked out both athletes before the start of the second round. Coulter gave up an early takedown, and then de la Rocha transitioned to the back where he worked for an RNC and dropped some rather labored volume. Coulter did tough it out, forcing de la Rocha to continue to work from the top. Switching from punches to elbows seemed to the extra oomf that de la Rocha needed for the ref to finally step in and wave off the bout.
Look at these haymakers from Coulter:
LET'S GO!— UFC (@ufc) June 10, 2018
RASHAD IS LAUNCHING! @Rashad_Coulter #UFC225 pic.twitter.com/fvKHzhhw7X
Coulter was throwing some serious thunder:
SWINGING HARD! @Rashad_Coulter #UFC225 pic.twitter.com/yS9B9B0DSS— UFC (@ufc) June 10, 2018