The UFC Tampa main card is underway and Niko Price just knocked out James Vick with an upkick in the first round. Price finds himself back in the win column as he spoils the welterweight debut for Vick, who has now lost four straight and three of those by way of knockout. Before that, Amanda Ribas was all aces against the formerly undefeated Mackenzie Dern. She landed all of the strikes and stuffed all of the takedowns en route to a dominant unanimous decision. That’s two UFC fights up for Ribas, and two down as her appears to be a bit of a problem in the strawweight division.
Matt Frevola and Luis Pena put on an exciting back and forth battle for the Tampa crowd. It was all effort on both sides of the fence, and despite the damage caused by the striking of Pena, it was Frevola who walked away with the split decision. Opening up the main card, Eryk Anders and Gerald Meerschaert went to a split decision. Both men had moments of rocking the other, but it was Anders who took home the judges’ nod. Making his return to middleweight, Anders has now won back to back fights.
**See complete results below
Niko Price def. James Vick by KO at 1:44 of round 1: Welterweight
Price went right at Vick, looking for the big right hand. He was able to knock him to the ground, but Vick worked his way up to his feet. Going for a takedown, Price ended up on the bottom and Vick went hard with the ground strikes. In the frenzy, Price struck with an upkick that knocked out Vick on impact. Price landed a couple of ground strikes before the referee stepped in.
Amanda Ribas def. Mackenzie Dern by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Strawweight
Ribas struck first, knocking Dern off balance in the opening moments. She was countering Dern’s overhand right with a stiff cross. Dern went for the takedown but was tossed to her back. Once there, Dern instantly started attacking, but Ribas was able to nullify and stay safe.
Ribas continued to out-strike Dern in the second round, and was stuffing the takedown attempts. Dern was overcommitting with her right hand, and kept getting countered because of it. Even off of her back, Dern was unable to mount any significant offense. Dern continued to struggle at securing a takedown, leaving her to face Ribas on the feet. Ribas continued to outclass her opponent in the striking department, avoiding the overhand right of Dern and successfully countering.
Matt Frevola def. Luis Pena by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Lightweight
Frevola started hot! He got right in the face of Pena winging massive punches. Pena was avoiding the brunt of his opponent’s attack by fading away, using the most of his height advantage. Frevola scored a pair of slamming takedowns, but Pena used some crafty techniques to stand back up. Pena began to land clean strikes right before the bell, punches and knees alike.
Pena picked up in the second round right where he left off in the first. He started to piece up Frevola, prompting a poor takedown attempt. Frevola was busted up at this point as Pena was completely in the driver’s seat. Off of a busted Kimura attempt, Frevola scored a big slam before the bell. The action slowed down a bit to start the final round, but then heated back up. Frevola started winging his punches again, backing up Pena. The output of Pena dwindled, but he started to pressure again down the stretch.
Eryk Anders def. Gerald Meerschaert by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Middleweight
Anders was the aggressor. He backed up Meerschaert and was able to score an early knockdown. Instead of following his sub-savvy opponent to the ground, Anders allowed Meerschaert to stand back up. Meerschaert started slipping the punches of Anders and began working his jab, but was hurt again with a big shot just before the bell.
Meerschaert started to throw more volume in the second round as Anders stalked forward looking for the big punch. Anders struggled to hurt Meerschaert, and allowed his opponent to rack up points. Anders did land one solid strike at the end of the frame, but ate a strong body kick as a result.
Meerschaert continued to land his hands in the final act. He worked off his jab and touched his target while Anders kept looking for his power left. Anders was able to land that left on a few occasions, which were substantially more damaging than the punches of Meerschaert. Towards the end of the fight, Meerschaert clipped Anders with a left hand that had him briefly on skates.