The opening two main card bouts at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi have wrapped up, and the action got started with a surprisingly dominant performance by Carlos Diego Ferreira against heavy favorite Mairbek Taisumov, while Curtis Blaydes tore through Shamil Abdurakhimov to continue his march towards a heavyweight title shot. Here’s how the fights played out.
Curtis Blaydes def. Shamil Abdurakhimov by TKO (strikes) at 2:22 of round 2 - Heavyweights
Blaydes immediately shot and took Abdurakhimov down in side of 30 seconds. Abdurakhimov got back to his feet, but went for a ride again and into side control. Blaydes lost that position and then Abdurakhimov hand-fought his way free of his grasp. Blaydes would find his third takedown of the round mere seconds after eating an uppercut. This time he had extended control time, but not a ton of damaging offense. He slammed him down a fourth time and got to full mount. A completely one-sided round in Blaydes’ favor and he nearly finished it with a series of elbows and punches that bounced Shamil’s head off the mat. Time ran out as Abdurakhimov was in bad shape.
Abdurakhimov caught Blaydes with a couple of power shots to start round two, but Blaydes walked through them to complete a double leg and get Shamil on his back again. Blaydes had dominant position and belted Abdurakhimov with right hands aplenty, with Marc Goddard threatening to stop the fight. The onslaught of punishment continued and Goddard stopped it. Abdurakhimov’s nose was wrecked after a vicious elbow.
Diego Ferreira def. Mairbek Taisumov by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27) - Lightweights
As you might expect, Taisumov looked for the KO straight away. He landed a few uppercuts on the Brazilian, who shook them off well. A leg kick by Taisumov dropped Ferreira. Taisumov got hit with a right hand but Ferreira would find himself dropped with a right hand behind the ear. He eventually steadied himself after the flash knockdown, and they each had their moments for the rest of the opening frame.
Ferreira slugged it out with Taisumov in round two and it was very entertaining to watch. In the middle of a clinch against the fence, Taisumov was headbutted by Ferreira and Herb Dean warned him about it. Ferreira was tagging Taisumov with accurate, precise shots that had the Russian backing up. A hard left hook by Taisumov clocked Ferreira cleanly, but it looked as if he was tiring. It was a strong second round for Ferreira to even things up.
A flying knee and a right hand from Ferreira began the final round, as he looked far fresher and aggressive than his heavily favored opponent. A bad takedown attempt by Ferreira was easily stuffed, but Taisumov was the one getting outstruck and struggling to deal with Ferreira’s pressure. A head kick rocked Taisumov and was was on the retreat. Ferreira mixed his attack to the head and body and Taisumov didn’t have any adjustment.