We are approaching the end of the the UFC Jacksonville main card, and the co-main event just experienced former 205-pound mainstay, Ovince St. Preux (OSP), move up to heavyweight and tangle with big ol’ Ben Rothwell. The bout was rather grueling, with Rothwell landing knees and controlling in the clinch, and OSP with the strikes in open space that actually caused some wobbling. When the dust had settled, it was Rothwell who took home the decision win. This makes it two straight wins for Rothwell, who used his post-fight interview to call out the UFC’s #10 ranked heavyweight, Aleksei Oleinik.
Before that, streaking lightweight Drew Dober pulled off a standing TKO of the UFC’s #15 ranked lightweight, Alexander Hernandez. The 155-pounders went right at one another, but as the fight went on it was Dober who began to take over with his boxing. Once he smelled blood in the water, he kept firing away until the referee had seen enough. Dober has now won three in a row and six out of his last seven. He will likely have a number next to his name come next week.
Ray Borg and Ricky Simon went back and forth in hard fought three-rounds. Both men landed clean shots on the feet, but it was Simon who also found some success with his takedowns. At the end of the day, Simon took the split decision to get himself back into the win column.
In a clash of heavyweights, former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski and promotional newcomer, Philipe Lins, fought a standup battle to a decision. Lins tried to swarm with punches, but Arlovski used his footwork coupled with an active jab and quick leg kicks to do enough to take the scorecards. Andrei has gotten himself back into the win column. Opening up the main card, Thiago Moises pulled off a crafty second-round ankle lock on Michael Johnson to get the submission win. Johnson was on fire in the opening round, putting pressure and hands on Moises, but once the fight hit the floor in the second stanza, it was a wrap. Moises is now 2-2 within the UFC promotion.
**See complete results below
Ben Rothwell def. Ovince St. Preux by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Heavyweight
Rothwell plotted forward as the smaller fighter tried to fight off of the back foot. Rothwell would land whenever OSP got stuck and wasn’t able to move off of the cage. OSP kept looking for the head kick, but one of them was eventually caught, which led to Rothwell taking the front headlock position. OSP had to fight off a guillotine attempt and eat a few punches before getting back to his feet.
OSP stayed active with his footwork in the second round, and he was still hunting for the head kick. Rothwell was able to close the distance behind some strikes, and controlled OSP against the fence for a bit. OSP broke free and scored with a couple of straight punches. Rothwell closed the distance again and stalled out his foe on the wall. They broke apart and when Rothwell charged in, he was clipped with a punch that wobbled him. The bell wasn’t far behind and Rothwell survived the round.
OSP landed some single punches to start the final frame, but then ate some knees in the clinch. OSP literally ran away to the other side of the cage to escape his larger foe. Rothwell came crashing in with a flurry that connected both to the body and head. He then leaned on OSP, racking up a bunch of control time. OSP escaped and landed a series of flush punches and kicks that staggered Rothwell.
Drew Dober def. Alexander Hernandez by TKO at 4:25 of round 2: Lightweight
No feeling out was needed for this one. The lightweights immediately began banging it out. Technical kickboxing combinations were flying in from both sides, but then Hernandez shot in for the takedown. Dober worked and found open space where he landed some stinging punches. He controlled the center of the cage and had Hernandez playing the outside. The round ended with an eye poke from Dober.
The second round started with an eye poke from Hernandez. Time was briefly called, and upon the restart Hernandez began to connect. Dober was coming forward but was getting countered. Then, Dober scored threw a sequence of punches that resulted in a short-lived knockdown. Hernandez blasted a takedown, but couldn’t hold on to it. Dober stuck with the pressure and began to land his hands at will. Hernandez was in full survival mode, eating shot after shot, and that’s when the referee stepped in to wave off the bout.
Ricky Simon def. Ray Borg by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Bantamweight
Simon was willing to let his hands go right away, but as soon as Borg started throwing back, Ricky hit the takedown. Borg, being the clever grappler that he is, was able to escape and return to his feet. Borg connected with a slick four-piece, prompting Simon to close the distance and search for the takedown.
Simon went back to the takedown in the sound round, but Borg was again able to make it back to his feet. The fighters exchanged quick combos in the pocket while also talking to one another. Simon closed the distance again, forcing Borg to carry his weight. Borg escaped and started ripping his punches to the body and head just before the bell.
Borg let off some volume to open up the final round. He was able to land several cracking body shots before Simon was able to score a takedown. Borg spun into top position, but Simon quickly regained control of the grappling. Simon landed a sneaky elbow on the break, and Borg returned a smile to acknowledge it. The warriors then slugged it out on a napkin for the final ten-seconds of the fight.
Andrei Arlovski def. Philipe Lins by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Heavyweight
The heavyweights got right to work. Lins came forward looking to throw his punches in bunches. Arlovski fought off of his Blackfoot, looking to land kicks. Lins landed some clean punches in his flurries, but Arlovski was able to eat them without much apparent issue.
Lins continued to stalk forward in the second act. Arlovski would backpedal to the fence, trying to strike from range, working off of his jab. An accidental cup kick landed straight on, causing Arlovski to double over in agony. The referee called time out to give the former champ proper time to gather himself. The fight resumed and the athletes exchanged combos in the pocket, with both men landing.
Lins took the center of the Octagon again for the final round. Arlovski stuck with his jab and stick and move approach. Lins was only throwing one strike at a time, which wasn’t as effective as when he was flurrying earlier in the bout. Arlovski attacked the legs and kept pumping his jab from the outside, leaving Lins looking from a distance unable to return fire.
Thiago Moises def. Michael Johnson by submission (Ankle Lock) at :25 of round 2: Lightweight
Johnson came out aggressive, pressing Moises backwards. The sprawl of Johnson was quite sharp, and he was able to shutdown the wrestling attempts coming at him. The straight left hand of Johnson was getting through the guard, keeping Moises in a defensive stance. Moises just couldn’t get away from the pressure with Johnson doing a sound job of cutting off the Octagon. Moises blitzed in for a takedown right away to kick off the second round, but settled for pulling guard. He quickly attacked with a leg lock, forcing Johnson to tap out.