Closing out the preliminary portion of UFC Nashville, Bryce Mitchell edged out a gritty decision over Bobby Moffett to remain undefeated. Mitchell is now 2-0 within the UFC promotion. Marlon Vera came up huge tonight, dropping Frankie Saenz with a jab and then finishing him off with ground strikes in just 85 seconds into the opening round. Vera is now riding a three-fight winning streak, all by way of finish.
Also on the prelims, Jennifer Maia secured her first UFC victory by winning a hard fought decision over the promotion’s #5 ranked women’s flyweight Alexis Davis. Knocking off someone as highly ranked as Davis should catapult Maia up the flyweight ladder. Before that, the company’s #15 ranked strawweight Randa Markos realized a first-round armbar of Angela Hill. After a long string of decisions, this is Markos’ first victory by finish since 2014.
The undercard also saw Chris Gutierrez put on a striking clinic against UFC newcomer Ryan MacDonald. Despite tons of heart, MacDonald was simply out-classed on the feet. This marks the first official UFC win of Gutierrez’ career. Opening up the event, Jordan Espinosa made good on his UFC debut by picking up a unanimous decision over the promotion’s #11 ranked flyweight Eric Shelton.
Bryce Mitchell def. Bobby Moffett unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Featherweight
Mitchell drew first blood, dropping Moffett with a straight punch early in the opening round. Moffett responded with trying to achieve the takedown, but ended up fighting off a triangle attempt. Mitchell bailed on the sub attempt and the fight went back to its feet. Moffett found top position early but Mitchell was able to scramble back to his feet. Back in a scramble, Moffett locked up an anaconda choke, but Mitchell gutted through it and escaped. Mitchell held on to a back-mounted crucifix as time clicked away.
Moffett came up with an early takedown to open up the final round, but Mitchell made it back to his feet. Mitchell gave up another takedown and found himself pinned to the mat. Moffett lost the position and Mitchell took his opponent’s back. Mitchell worked hard for the RNC, but Moffett survived until the bell.
Marlon Vera def. Frankie Saenz by TKO at 1:25 of round 1: Bantamweight
Saenz started quickly, throwing with a lot of power early. Then, Vera cracked his opponent with a straight left that dropped Saenz. A series of unanswered ground strikes came crashing down and the referee was forced to stop the fight. Wow!
Jennifer Maia def. Alexis Davis by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): (W) Flyweight
The flyweights exchanged punching combos in the pocket right out of the gate. Davis found some success pressing and controlling her foe up against the fence. Back in open space, Maia clipped Davis, sending her stumbling. Maia allowed her opponent to stand back up and went back to bombing on Davis. The round ended in the clinch, where Davis was able to recover.
Davis took the center of the Octagon and began mixing in her kicks with her punches. Maia gave up the takedown off of a caught kick. Davis controlled from the top and dropped an assortment of ground strikes. Maia did not make it back to her feet until the round ended. Maia let her hands go again early in the third round as Davis looked to kick. Each flyweight was landing, with Davis being the one pressing forward. It became quite the sticky round with the athletes going back and forth the way they were.
Randa Markos def. Angela Hill by submission (Armbar) at 4:24 of round 1: Strawweight
Markos went after her opponent, running after Hill behind her punches and taking the fight to the floor. Hill exposed her back and Markos attacked with an armbar. Hill held on for quite some time, but Markos was steadfast on taking that arm home. After an adjustment, Markos peeled away the arm of her opponent, prompting Hill to tap.
Chris Gutierrez def. Ryan MacDonald by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Bantamweight
The bantamweights came out exchanging kicks back and forth. Gutierrez began getting the better of his opponent, flowing with his combinations. MacDonald struggled to get anything going. He was reacting to almost every feint that Gutierrez threw.
MacDonald started the second round bleeding from his scalp. Gutierrez got back to work, landing his combinations and disrupting whatever MacDonald was trying to do. The kicks of Gutierrez had MacDonald switching stances on several occasions. MacDonald showed off a ton of toughness, but only because he was taking a beating.
Gutierrez went right back to the leg kick in the final frame. MacDonald never quit. He tried to pressure forward, but just couldn’t quite get his strikes going. MacDonald shot in with just over a minute remaining on the clock but Gutierrez had no issue remaining vertical. Gutierrez went for a flying submission and ended up on his back, but MacDonald couldn’t capitalize on the position.
Jordan Espinosa def. Eric Shelton by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Flyweight
A lot of measuring went on across the first-two rounds. The fighters mostly exchanged solo strikes, which made for a bit of a slow fight. Espinosa was the busier of the two, throwing more volume and using more footwork. Espinosa landed a sweet head kick early in the third round, but an accidental poke to the eye of Shelton caused a pause in the action. Shelton pressed forward in the final round, throwing more than one strike at a time and connecting much more than he did in the previous rounds.