The UFC on ESPN 8 card is underway and the preliminary card just finished up in the welterweight division where up and coming prospect, Miguel Baeza, knocked out longtime MMA veteran, Matt Brown, early in the second round. This was quite the firefight, with Brown coming on strong early with hard punches and elbows, and then Baeza rallying and doing damage. With the win, Baeza has now finished both of his UFC fights, keeping his squeaky clean record intact at 9-0.
Before that, Kevin Holland was all business when he took out Anthony Hernandez with strikes in the opening round. It was a knee to the body that dropped Hernandez, and then ground strikes were what sealed the deal. It took all of 39-seconds for Holland to get himself back in the win column. Also on the undercard, former UFC strawweight, Cortney Casey, moved up to the flyweight division to realize a first-round armbar of Mara Romero Borella. Casey wanted to keep the fight on the feet, but once Borella got the takedown, the submission attempts came flying in. Could Casey find new life in a new division?
Opening up the UFC on ESPN 8 event, promotional newcomer, Rodrigo Nascimento, sniffed out a second-round submission of Dontale Mayes. Nascimento was aggressive throughout, and seemed quite comfortable under the UFC lights. HIs perfect record now extends to 8-0 as he adds some new blood to a rather aged heavyweight division.
**See complete results below
Miguel Baeza def. Matt Brown by KO at :18 of round 2: Welterweight
Brown pressed forward with Baeza countering with straights and leg kicks. Brown stayed aggressive, and threw his punches in bunches, mobbing Baeza and knocking out the mouthpiece. Several elbows landed for Brown, before the ref called a brief timeout to give Baeza his gum shield back. The fight resumed and Brown landed a stiff combo, but Baeza countered with a one-two that dropped Brown. Baeza had top control for a moment, but Brown rose to his feet and was able to land a few punches before the bell. What a round!
Pressing forward early in the second round, Brown got countered with a blistering left hook that sat him down. Baeza pounced with a savage ground strike before the referee came diving in to stop the fight.
Kevin Holland def. Anthony Hernandez at :39 of round 1 : Middleweight
Holland started hot, launching strikes and going right at Hernandez. After landing a slick elbow on the inside, Holland hit a mean knee to the body that dropped Hernandez. Holland was right on top of the action to deliver fight-ending ground strikes before Hernandez had a chance to recover.
Giga Chikadze def. Irwin Rivera by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27 x2): Featherweight
Chikadze came out throwing his patented hard kicks. Rivera responded with a funky style, attacking with unique angles. Chikadze remained composed, not seeming to be thrown off by the unorthodox approach of Rivera. The clash of styles led to a couple of feeling out moments.
Rivera exploded forward behind his punches to start the second act, but Chikadze responded with his laser-like straights to get some respect. Chikadze then began to pick apart Rivera from the outside. The former GLORY kickboxer began to fire at will, leaving Rivera stuck defensively on the outside. This round was all Chikadze.
Chikadze dropped his foe with a well-timed knee to open the final frame. Rivera somehow survived and stood back up, where he continued to eat strikes. Rivera kept trying to win, he was just completely outclassed on the feet against Chikadze, and was unable to get the fight to the floor.
Nate Landwehr def. Darren Elkins by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Featherweight
Landwehr took the center of the Octagon to kick things off but the boxing of Elkins was landing. Elkins shot in and secured the takedown, but Nascimento was able to stand up before sustaining any damage. Nascimento landed a couple of punches on the feet, and an accidental head butt opened up Elkins, but he was still behind on the strike count.
Landwehr let his hands go to start the second round, tagging Elkins and getting his timing down. Elkins kept throwing back, racking up some volume and staying busy. Landwehr started to go Terminator mode, putting his hands at his waste and marching forward. He then began to tag up Elkins some more, causing even more blood to shed. The referee passed the action to bring in a doctor to look at the cut on Elkins. Landwehr used this time to scream ‘Dana’ to the UFC president.
Elkins pressed forward behind his strikes in the final round. He closed the distance and tried to get a takedown, but Landwehr remained vertical. They went back and forth on the feet trading blows, with Landwehr now wearing a lot of Elkins’ plasma. The power was still on the side of Landwehr, but the volume was on the side of Elkins. What a war!
Cortney Casey def. Mara Romero Borella by submission (Armbar) at 3:36 of round 1: (W) Flyweight
Borella looked to control Casey against the cage early in the fight. Casey did a good job of fighting off the takedown at first, but Borella stayed tenacious and brought the fight to the floor. Casey stayed active off of her back, throwing up armbar and triangle attempts. Borella remained safe at first, but Casey snagged up another armbar attempt and was able to fully extend to get the tap.
Rodrigo Nascimento def. Dontale Mayes by submission (RNC) at 2:05 of round 2: Heavyweight
Nascimento came out aggressive, chucking heat and looking to close the distance. Mayes worked hard to find some separation, but Nascimento kept up the pressure. Mayes ultimately ended up on his back, but was able to get up before the bell. Mayes started out the second frame with more activity, but that was slowed down with a head kick from Nascimento. He then controlled Nascimento against the fence for a bit, but once a scrambled ensue, Mayes imploded. Nascimento took the back and quickly locked up an RNC for the tap.