Join us today (Saturday, April 13th) on Bloody Elbow for live results, discussion, round scoring, and play-by-play as UFC 236 goes down in Atlanta, Georgia.
We have not one, but TWO interim title fights headlining this show. The main event sees men’s featherweight champion Max Holloway move up to lightweight to rematch Dustin Poirier, seven years removed from when Holloway lost his UFC debut to Poirier. This time around it’s five-rounds and for the interim lightweight championship. The co-main features strikers Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya fighting for the interim middleweight belt, with the winner slated to fight Robert Whittaker.
This post will cover the preliminary card.
The show kicks off on UFC Fight Pass (and ESPN+ for PPV purchasers) at approximately 6:15 PM ET with four fights. The card then moves to ESPN at 8 PM ET for four more bouts, then onto the main card at 10 PM ET. The full lineup and schedule follows. The main card will be covered in a separate post.
ESPN, 8 PM ET
Jalin Turner vs. Matt Frevola
Round 1 - Right hand by Frevola but Turner catches Frevola with a knee! Frevola gets a takedown and scrambles to back mount. He’s a little high on the back so he scoots back. Big shots from mount, turns to back mount again. Frevola fires some lefts hands and ten loses the position. Wild scramble and Turner escapes. Huge right hand has Frevola searhing for a takedown right away. It’s stuffed. Turner landing big shots but he’s taken down again. The guillotine fails and Frevola has top position. He gets to side control. Frevola with the arm-in guillotine and now he’s got that choke while in mount. Frevola lets go but he’s in mount. Turner springs off the cage and gets out of danger. Straight right connects for Turner. They trade shots to end a crazy opening round. 10-9 Frevola.
Round 2 - Frevola whiffs on two punches. He misfires on a left hook but shoots for a takedown. Solid defense by Turner and he’s free. Nice body kick from Frevola. Deep shot in the middle of the cage gets Turner down momentarily but he can’t keep him there. He never turned the corner. Strong right hand by Frevola and then a left hook. Frevola connects on a couple of jabs. Turner stops a takedown again.He scores with a right hand. Big knee by Turner as Frevola shoots for a takedown. Guillotine by Turner but Frevola is out of it. Turner still has the headlock and is on top. Reversal by Frevola! He’s in half-guard and he drops down for a guillotine. Turner is out of it and then Frevola just illegally upkicked Turner while he was downed. It was heel right to the eye. No point deducted, fight continues. 20-18 Frevola.
Round 3 - Frevola starts out with a leg kick and a straight right. Good left hand by Turner but no follow-up. Turner with a kick to the body. Solid combination work by Turner. Frevola with a leg kick. Stiff left hand by Turner backs Frevola up. Frevola with the shot and another takedown. Turner goes for a triangle choke but can’t get it. Frevola in side mount with less than two minutes left. Nice knee to the body by Frevola. Scramble nsues and Turner is back to his feet and he cracks Matt with a knee. Spinning back kick by Turner. He misses on the flying knee. Hard right hand by Frevola but Turner digs the liver with a left hook. Another good shot by Turner and then Frevola takes him down as the horn sounds. 29-28 Frevola.
Official result: Matt Frevola def. Jalin Turner by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Wilson Reis vs. Alexandre Pantoja
Round 1 - Good right hand by Pantoja to counter Reis’ naked low kick. Head kick by Pantoja and then a missed short right hand. Hard knee to the body by Pantoja. Reis goes for the takedown but Pantoja is defending it so far. Goes for the trip but Pantoja stops it. Now he throws him down and completes the takedown. Pantoja is back to his feet and circles out. Straight right hand floors Reis and he is in trouble! Pantoja going for the finish with ground strikes and that’s it!
Official result: Alexandre Pantoja def. Wilson Reis by TKO (punches) at 2:58 of round 1
Zelim Imadaev vs. Max Griffin
Round 1 - They’re swinging early but Griffin changes things up with a trip-takedown. Imadaev is back to his feet and then commits a blatantly illegal fence grab and loses a point. Hard knee by Imadaev on the restart. Griffin with another takedown despite good head pressure from Imadaev. Max looking for a choke but he has no hooks in. Griffin switches to a neck crank but Imadaev defends it and Griffin lets go momentarily. He goes palm to palm and cranks again. Griffin goes for the neck crank again and fails again, and Imadaev just grabbed the fence. They’re back to their feet. Spinning elbow and wheel kick by Imadaev! Good jab by Griffin. He ducks under the spinning elbow. Imadaev turning the tables and looking for the clinch. Knee to the body by Griffin. Imadaev lands one in return. Good leg kick by Imadaev before the horn sounds. 10-8 Griffin.
Round 2 - Imadaev going with flashy fancy spinning strikes and Griffin takes his back in a scramble. They separate and Imadaev lands a left hook. Imadaev rolls and springs back to his feet. Zelim with an uppercut that’s blocked. Griffin with a right hand and Imadaev sticks his tongue out. Easy takedown for Griffin but Imadaev is instantly back up. Imadaev and Griffin working in the clinch and now Imadaev throws a head kick on the exit. Spinning attack fails and Griffin gets him down. Imadaev tags Griffin with a hard right hand. Griffin taking some shots but Imadaev goes for a spin and whiffs. Griffin appears to be fading. Elbow lands for Imadaev. Vicious knee by Imadaev. Griffin eating uppercuts in the clinch. Left hook by Imadaev! Griffin is in trouble. He survives the round. 19-18 Griffin.
Round 3 - Griffin connects with an overhand right. Massive uppercut by Imadaev and that catches Griffin’s attention. Left hook catches Griffin on the jaw. Jump knee by Imadaev. Griffin eats three straight punches and Imadaev wants the finish. Griffin with a short right hand on the break. Sweeping left hook jacks up Griffin but he’s still there. Imadaev whiffs on a wild overhand right. Griffin with the takedown but Imadaev is already back up. Now it’s Imadaev going for a takedown. Griffin reverses position and may have hurt Imadaev with two knees to the body! Imadaev grimaced. Now it’s a stalemate in the clinch with the seconds ticking away. Ten seconds and they clock each other with big shots. Griffin gets hurt! They’re slugging away as this one comes to a close. Fun, if occasionally weird fight! 28-28.
Official result: Max Griffin def. Zelim Imadaev by majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
Boston Salmon vs. Khalid Taha
Round 1 - HUGE left hook by Taha and Salmon is absolutely wrecked! Two more shots and that’ll do it. That was what, 25 seconds? What a finish by Taha!
Official result: Khalid Taha def. Boston Salmon by TKO (punches) at :25 of round 1
UFC Fight Pass/ESPN+, 6:15 PM ET
Curtis Millender vs. Belal Muhammad
Round 1 - Millender with a jump knee and a head kick. They both miss but he started out aggressively. Good low kick by Millender. And another one that’s countered by a Muhammad jab. Left hook scores for Muhammad. Strong leg kick by Millender yet again. Muhammad is cut on the eyelid. Two-punch combo by Muhammad but Millender answers with a good shot. Hard left hook to the liver by Muhammad. Belal shoots for a takedown but Millender has an underhook. Millender able to stay upright. Muhammad changes levels, switches to a single, but even with the deep entry and pulling him away from the fence, Millender denies the takedown. Time is called for an eye poke. Muhammad is fine and action resumes. Millender finding success with that jab. Good finish to the round by Millender landing several clean shots along the way. 10-9 Millender.
Round 2 - Muhammad wasting no time pushing forward for a takedown this time. Millender stopping it and now Belal lifts the leg... still no success. They trade good shots in the center of the cage. Left hook by Millender. Nice right hand over the top by Muhammad, then Millender lands his own right hand. Leaping left hook connects for Belal. Good level change and a completed takedown this time for Muhammad. Belal on top and landing a few strikes on the ground in half-guard. Millender able to regain guard but nowhere closer to getting back up. Big ground-and-pound by Muhammad. He’s got this round secured. 19-19.
Round 3 - Good leg kicks by Millender. Hard knee by Millender after stopping a Muhammad takedown. Jab by Muhammad snaps Millender’s head back, then he gets in a sneaky uppercut. Nice right hand over the top by Muhammad. Left hook by Muhammad. Millender might be hurt! Deep entry and a takedown by Muhammad. He might have this fight won as long as nothing crazy happens over the last three minutes. He’s in half-guard and landing punches to the head and body, staying busy. Muhammad advances to mount and Millender is in trouble. He gets it back to half-guard but Millender needs to stand back up ASAP. Side control for Muhammad, now passes to full mount. Curtis gives up his back with :30 left and Muhammad is pouring on the punishment. Millender back to his feet but it’s too late. 29-27 Muhammad.
Official result: Belal Muhammad def. Curtis Millender by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-26)
Montel Jackson vs. Andre Soukhamthath
Round 1 - Soukhamthath begins with two quick low kicks. Swift counter straight left from Jackson. Nice jab by Jackson. Real slow start to this one two minutes in. Soukhamthath catches a kick and lands one of his own. Jackson sticking out his southpaw jab. Hard body kick by Jackson. Knee to the body by Soukhamthath. Good left by Jackson stuns Andre, as Montel looks for the takedown. Chains to the single leg and he’s got it. Soukhamthath able to return to his feet but Jackson throws him back down. 10-9 Jackson.
Round 2 - Soukhamthath comes up short on the superman punch. Jackson lands a knee to the body. Soukhamthath connects on a kick but takes one to the legs straight after. Jackson with wrist control and ties him up. He exits and then whacks Soukhamthathwith a strong left hand. Jackson teeing off with big shots against the fence. Soukhamthath forced to retreat after taking several massive punches! Jackson looking for the finish and Soukhamthath is showing a hell of a chin because he was getting rocked. Jackson stops the onslaught of punches but gets a takedown once more. Jackson dominated that round. 20-17 Jackson.
Round 3 - Jackson stings Soukhamthath with the left hand. He’s jabbed up Soukhamthath effectively too. Aaaaand he’s just accidentally kicked Soukhamthath in the groin. They restart and Soukhamthath goes for a takedown and gets it, but he’s instantly swept by Jackson right into full mount. Jackson now into three-quarter mount and dropping down some ground-and-pound. Jackson now in half-guard. Montel going for a kimura but it’s not there. Jackson with some good elbows as he’s controlling the terms of this fight. One minute left and Jackson is on his way to a win. Last-ditch armbar by Soukhamthath but Jackson slams him and lands hammerfists. And that’ll be that. Dominant win for Montel Jackson. 30-26 Jackson.
Official result: Montel Jackson def. Andre Soukhamthath by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
Poliana Botelho vs. Lauren Mueller
Round 1 - Outside leg kick connects for Botelho. And a second one. Mueller fires a couple of right hands. Third leg kick by Botelho. Missed spinning kick by the Brazilian. Body kick hurts Mueller badly. That was a THUD. But she’s still in the fight and Botelho clinches up with her against the fence. Takedown by Poliana into half-guard. Tries to pass into mount but Mueller gets her into guard. Botelho dropping some elbows from half-guard, both to the head and body. Mueller gets back to her feet and instantly absorbs a knee to the body. Mueller with double underhooks but now Botelho has her against the fence. Some foot stomps by Botelho. Hard elbow by Poliana as the round ends. 10-9 Botelho.
Round 2 - Good right hand by Mueller, but Botelho counters. She keeps landing those low kicks on Mueller. Lauren lands a couple of good strikes and now they’re in the clinch. Botelho with some knees to the body. Mueller isn’t getting much done here. But then she slams home an elbow on Botelho, who returns fire before completing the takedown. Mueller eventually returns to her feet without taking much damage. It’s a relative stalemate in the clinch and the crowd is a bit restless, so the ref separates them. Body kick and right hand by Mueller. Good jab by Botelho but she might be fading. 20-18 Botelho.
Round 3 - Leg kick noticeably buckles Mueller. Lauren with a teep to the body as she’s looking to be more aggressive. Botelho initiates the clinch. Nice clinch knees from Botelho. Action is scarcely existent and they’re separated by the ref. Mueller with a jab but Botelho counters her and then lands a body kick. Back into the clinch. Ref a little less tolerant for inactivity from this position so he pulls them apart again. Botelho gets clocked with a right hand and a big knee! She has a minute to get something done! Botelho falls after throwing a kick. Mueller follows her to the ground, which seems questionable. Botelho holding on for dear life as she’s exhausted. The horn sounds. 29-28 Botelho.
Official result: Poliana Botelho def. Lauren Mueller by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Brandon Davis vs. Randy Costa
Round 1 - Right hand by Costa clips Davis right away! He’s back up and now they’re trading in the pocket. Davis with a leg kick. Davis now on the attack and lands a hard knee to the body. Davis going for the takedown and he’s stuffed. Costa with a right and a head kick! Davis stands up to those shots. Straight right connects for Davis. Counter left hook by Costa but Davis now has a body lock and can’t do much more. Davis tags Costa with a right hand! This is wild! Hard leg kick by Davis. Costa responds with another right hand. Lead leg kick lands for Davis and then again. Costa seems bothered based on the way he’s moving around in the cage. Costa with jabs and a right hand and a head kick, then a knee to the body. Davis with a left hook and Costa wobbles again seemingly because of the earlier leg kicks. Elbow by Davis on the exit from the clinch. That was a hell of a round. 10-9 Costa.
Round 2 - Right hand wobbles Davis! Costa going for the finish and now he’s tied up against the fence. Davis pops a jab his way and now he fights back. Big knee by Davis and Costa might be hurt. Costa changes levels and pushes for a takedown. Davis sprawls and takes the back! He goes for the rear-naked choke and gets it! What a win against the UFC newcomer.
Official result: Brandon Davis def. Randy Costa by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:12 of round 2