The UFC 254 preliminary card just wrapped up with Tai Tuivasa stopping Stefan Struve with just one second remaining in the opening round. Tuivasa had his opponent hurt up against the cage at the end of the first five-minutes, and kept ripping away until Struve dropped down and the referee had seen enough. Too bad for Struve, because there was only one more second that he had to survive. Struve has gone 1-5 in his last six outings, but Tuivasa is back in the win column and back in the UFC after being cut following three-consecutive losses.
Before that, Casey Kenney and Nathaniel Wood were involved in three-round banger at 140-pounds. The fighters threw down in a high-volume striking affair at a pace that would make a flyweight exhausted. Despite a valiant effort from Wood, it was Kenney who swayed the judges to take the unanimous decision.
Also on the prelims, UFC newcomer Shavkat Rakhmonov made good on his promotional debut by choking out Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira with a guillotine in the first-round. Cowboy had Rakhmonov pressed against the cage, but Shavkat jumped a guillotine and forced the tap. The former M-1 Challenge champion remains perfect in his MMA journey, moving to a clean 13-0.
Opening up this part of the prelims, Da Un Jung and Sam Alvey fought to a rare split draw. This was predominantly a sloppy standup affair with a bunch of volume from Alvey, and Jung sneaking in some pretty elbows which did damage. At the end of the day three different judges saw the same fight three different ways. One judge had it for Alvey, one voted for Jung, and then the final official scored it even.
**See complete results below
Tai Tuivasa def. Stefan Struve by TKO at 4:59 of of round 1: Heavyweight
Tuivasa pressed forward looking to come over the top with his big hooks. He pressed Struve against the fence a couple times, landing hooks on the inside. In open space, Struve landed clean with a head kick, but it came so slow that it seemed to have no effect on Tuivasa. Leg kicks became an important weapon for Tuivasa, who started to force Struve to switch stances. back in the clinch, Tuivasa throws his foe to the floor, and as Struve stood up, Tuivasa blasted him with power punches. Struve crumbled to the canvas and Tuivasa pounced with ground strikes. The referee was right there to stop the fight, correctly ignoring the fact that it was in the final moments of the round.
Con KO regresa @bambamtuivasa #UFC254— ufcespanol (@UFCEspanol) October 24, 2020
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Casey Kenney def. Nathaniel Wood by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): 140-pounds
This fight had a crazy pace to it. The combatants met in the middle and began going combo for combo. As soon as one man finished throwing, the other man would launch their attack. kenney landed a hard stinger early on, but Wood got his volume going to lead the strike count. What a great round this was!
The second-round got off to the same exact start, with both men launching volume at a frenetic pace. They were quite evenly matched, too, until the pace of Kenney started to slow down a little bit while Wood was still operating like he was in round-one. Wood was doing a great job of managing the distance and staying just outside of Kenney’s punching range.
The fighters went blow for blow to start the final round, with neither man really being able to take over. Kenney shot in for a takedown and hung on Wood for a little bit, but didn’t do any real damage with the position. They fighters gave it all they had down the stretch, throwing out the combos they could while periodically colliding int he clinch.
Así arrancamos round 2! #UFC254— ufcespanol (@UFCEspanol) October 24, 2020
ESTELARES 2 PM ET / 1 PM / 3 PM / 8 PM pic.twitter.com/fuVKVTMqB3
Miren estos intercambios!!!! #UFC254— ufcespanol (@UFCEspanol) October 24, 2020
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Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Alex Oliveira by submission (Guillotine) at 4:40 of round 1: Welterweight
Cowboy opened up the bout with a smooth darting right hand before skirting out of the way. Rakhmonov responded with a brutal knee that staggered Cowboy, and then followed up with some more knees to the body against the cage. Cowboy was able to gain control of the clinch and pressed Rakhmonov against the fence, but he was all but safe. Rakhmonov wrapped up the neck and jumped guard with the guillotine. Cowboy was stuck and was forced to tap!
**It should be noted that Oliveira missed weight by 2 pounds
Shavkat grabs the neck and is now a name to watch at welterweight! #UFC254pic.twitter.com/FQIKcGMKjX— MMA mania (@mmamania) October 24, 2020
Da Un Jung vs. Sam Alvey ends in a split draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28): Light Heavyweight
Jung pressed forward to get things going, and ALvey willfully backed himself up to the cage. The fighters began trading punches back and forth and Alvey started to land his left hand amid the chaos. Jung was the aggressor, but Alvey was fighting him off with multi-punch combos. It appeared as if amidst was poked in the eye at the end of the round, but the referee did not see it.
Jung did a good job of being first to start the second round, not allowing Alvey to get off with his strikes. Alvey began attacking the lower calf of his opponent, and then started connecting with his hands. He was being the busier fighter while Jung was more looking for single strikes. Jung dropped Alvey with a wicked elbow to start the final frame. Alvey sprung right back up to his feet but he was bleeding from the nose. Alvey responded with a series of lead uppercuts, but Jung scored with another powerful elbow to take back control of the momentum.
Qué derecha!!! #UFC254— ufcespanol (@UFCEspanol) October 24, 2020
ESTELARES 2 PM ET / 1 PM / 3 PM / 8 PM pic.twitter.com/1awBSKhH3E