The UFC 234 prelims just concluded with Devonte Smith stopping Dong Hyun Ma with strikes in the opening round. Smith has now won both of his UFC fights, enjoys a six-fight winning streak, and has finished each of his 10 wins. Before that, Shane Young pressed forward and let his hands go on Austin Arnett to pick up three 30-27’s from the judges. Young now sits at 13-4 in his career and has back-to-back wins in the UFC.
Kai Kara-France and UFC newcomer Raulian Paiva went the full fifteen minutes at flyweight. Kara-France landed some big punches throughout which aided him in walking away with the split decision to move to 2-0 in the UFC. Kicking off the ESPN portion of the prelims, Kyung Ho Kang overcame being dropped early in the fight to realize a first-round tech-sub of Teruto Ishihara.
Closing out the Fight Pass prelims, Dana White’s Contender Series vet Jalin Turner dusted Callan Potter with strikes in just 53 seconds. Opening up the card, Wuliji Buren and Jonathan Martinez grappled back and forth for the bulk of three rounds. Martinez did enough to walk away with the unanimous decision.
Devonte Smith def. Dong Hyun Ma by TKO at 3:53 of round 1: Lightweight
Smith took the center of the Octagon to start the fight with Ma comfortable sitting back reacting. Several calf kicks landed for Smith as Ma continued to be defensive. A big right hand rocked Ma, and Smith went into kill-mode. A couple of ground strikes later and the referee was stepping in to rescue Ma.
Shane Young def. Austin Arnett by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Featherweight
The right hand of Young was connecting often early in the first round. Arnett responded with his jab and straight punches, which kept Young on the outside. Arnett was able to remain on the outside for the rest of the round, until young snuck in a few shots right before the bell.
Arnett went back to his straight punches and effective range management for round two. Young struggled to close the distance, getting picked off on his way in. Young began to find his range in the final minute of the round. He was able to touch Arnett multiple times with his hands. Arnett let out a roar, and started throwing some heat of his own. Young clocked his foe a few more times, and Arnett roared again before time ran out.
Young pressed forward in the final act and Arnett responded with his jab. Young pushed the pace, finding his moments to land as Arnett moved away. Arnett was able to land some quality strikes moving backwards, but Young was the one throwing more. The fighters agreed to trade leather in the pocket for the closing moments of the round, and Young was able to drop Arnett just as time ran out.
Kai Kara-France def. Raulian Paiva by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Flyweight
Kara-France landed a major overhand right that briefly dropped Paiva in the opening moments. A lot of footwork was on display from Kara-France, which led to him landing some more heavy punches on the taller man. Paiva attempted to get the fight to the ground, but Kara-France did a sound job of remaining vertical.
Kara-France went for a takedown to open up the second round, but ended up on his back. Kara-France returned to his feet and went back to the takedown, but Paiva showed off some descent takedown defense and remained standing. Paiva scored with a couple of kicks, but ate a few more big punches from Kara-France. The punches of Paiva began to hit their target towards the end of the round.
The hands of Paiva continued to land into the third round. An accidental cup kick landed for Paiva, resulting in a break in the action. The footwork of Kara-France wasn’t serving him as well as it did in the first round. Paiva kept catching him with punches as he would leap in. Kara-France blasted a takedown right before the bell rang to close out the fight.
Kyung Ho Kang def. Teruto Ishihara by technical submission (RNC) at 3:59 of round 1: Bantamweight
Ishihara let his hands go to open the first round. Pressuring back, Kang was dropped with a heavy counter punch from Ishihara. Kang recovered and landed a knee that changed the momentum of the fight. Then, a wild brawl broke out! Back and forth they went, exchanging punches with a lot of the strikes missing. Kang took the back and found the neck of Ishihara. Staying with the choke, Ishihara opted to nap rather than tap.
Fight Pass prelims:
Jalin Turner def. Callan Potter by KO at :53 of round 1: Lightweight
Potter pressed forward aggressively but ended up on his back. After a few failed submission attempts, Potter was forced to stand back up. Turner tee’d off on the feet, connecting with heavy punches that hurt Potter. A body kick followed by a right to the jaw dropped Potter, and a few followup ground strikes sealed the deal.
Jonathan Martinez def. Wuliji Buren by decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Bantamweight
Buren worked for an early takedown, but Martinez reversed the position. Martinez worked his way out of a guillotine and Buren worked his way back to his feet. The bantamweights scrambled for position as the round came to a close.
A combination of punches and kicks scored right out of the gate in round two for Buren. Martinez gave up top position but reversed his opponent to take top position. Around and around they went, switching positions until the bout returned to its feet. Martinez was able to grind on Buren for the remaining moments of the round.
Buren successfully scored a trip takedown to start the third round. Martinez was able to fend off a super-tight armbar, and used the scramble to take the back of his opponent. Buren rolled over to take top position, but it wasn’t very long before another switch occurred. Martinez finished up the third round landing quality ground strikes as Buren was turtled up.