UFC on ESPN 9 is underway from the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada and the preliminary portion had a bunch of cool subs and stoppages, including the ultra-rare TKO by way of leg kicks. The prelims closed out with the UFC’s #2 ranked women’s flyweight, Katlyn Chookagian, grossly running away with the scorecards against the #12 ranked, Antonina Shevchenko.
Chookagian was able to ground her opponent and completely dominate the fight there. Shevchenko just didn’t have answers for the grappling of Chookagian, spending the bulk of the fight defending from her back. Chookagian may have lost her title shot to current champ Valentina Shevchenko, but she got herself back into the win column by completely dominating her sister.
Up and coming light heavyweight, Jamahal Hill, used a wicked knee to the body to pick up a first-round TKO of Klidson Abreu. Hill is now 8-0 in his young career, and is definitely a breath of fresh air at 205-pounds. Making his UFC debut, Brandon Royval upset the promotion’s #11 ranked flyweight, Tim Elliott, with a second round arm triangle. This fight was just about one big scramble, with top position being switched back and forth between the two. What a way to make a splash on the MMA big stage!
Also on the prelims, Casey Kenney picked up a quick first round submission of Louis Smolka. Kenney rocked his foe with a stinging right hand, and the countered a takedown attempt with a fight-ending guillotine. Kenney now finds himself back in the win column. Opening up the event, Chris Gutierrez landed all of the leg kicks on Vince Morales to achieve a second round TKO. Morales was tough, but Gutierrez was just miles ahead in the polish department. Gutierrez is now enjoying a three-fight winning streak.
**See below for complete results
Katlyn Chookagian def. Antonina Shevchenko by unanimous decision (30-25 x3): (W) Flyweight
Chookagian quickly closed the distance and went right to the back. She instantly attacked an RNC, rendering Shevchenko totally defensive. Shevchenko fought off the sub attempt for quite some time before giving up the full mount. Chookagian started to punch away, scoring points and prompting Shevchenko to give up her back again. Shevchenko did make it back to her feet just before the bell in what was a bit of a moral victory.
Chookagian closed the distance right away in the second round, shoving Shevchenko against the fence. It was just a matter of time before Chookagian got the takedown and got back into full mount. Shevchenko ate a bunch of shots and did not return to her feet in that round.
Shevchenko was able to stay on her feet long enough to land some clean strikes in the final frame. Despite all of the success Chookagian had on the floor in the two previous rounds, she was content to keep it standing, until she scored a takedown with about 30-seconds left on the clock. The former title challenger finished strong, landing punches in bunches until the bell.
Daniel Rodriguez def. Gabriel Green by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Welterweight
Rodriguez came out working his punching combinations from his southpaw stance. Green was looking to attack with kicks to the body and legs. It was Rodriguez who was getting the better of the exchanges, but Green was far from discouraged.
Rodriguez worked off of his jab right away in the second round, landing cleanly and moving forward. Green was showing off his beard, eating a lot of southpaw crosses and swinging back. Making things ugly began to benefit Green as he was able to back off his foe and interrupt his rhythm. Rodriguez was still connecting, but not without something coming back his way.
Green started hot in the final round, being aggressive and trying to make something happen. The fighters started to brawl it out, trading punches in the pocket. The initial aggression of Green had worn out, and his output began to dwindle. Rodriguez hit a late takedown to ride out the rest of the round on top.
Jamahal Hill def. Klidson Abreu by TKO at 1:51 of round 1: Light Heavyweight
Hill dropped Abreu with a right hand in the opening sequence of the match. Abreu survived a blitz of knees and recovered, but Hill wasn’t done. Another brutal knee to the body came crashing in, sending Abreu falling to the floor in agony. A couple of followup strikes got through before the referee stepped in and called it off.
Brandon Royval def. Tim Elliott by submission (Arm triangle) at 3:18 of round 2: Flyweight
Elliot was quick to get a takedown to open up the match. Royval worked his way back to his feet, but Elliot stayed attached and a scramble ensued. Back in open space, Royval landed with a couple of solid shots, including a spinning backfist, but Elliot turned the fight back into a scrambling grind.
Royval found top position early in the second act and was able to rack of some control time. After botching a guillotine attempt, Elliot took the top position. That didn't last very long, as a a botched guillotine form Elliot gave Royval the top position. Royval was able to cinch up an arm triangle and get the tap.
Casey Kenney def. Louis Smolka by submission (Guillotine) at 3:03 of round 1: Bantamweight
Smolka came out looking to use his boxing, working both the head and the body. Kenney responded with some really hard leg kicks. Then, Kenney landed a hard right hand that staggered Smolka, who responded with a poor takedown attempt. Kenney quickly attacked a guillotine and Smolka was forced to tap.
Chris Gutierrez def. Vince Morales by TKO at 4:27 of round 2: Featherweight
Gutierrez came out throwing hard strikes, stalking Morales who was on the back step. The punches were stinging and the leg kicks were debilitating. The damage started to add up and Morales was forced to switch his stance back and forth to avoid further damage.
The brutal leg kicks of Gutierrez continued into the second round, causing Morales to continue to switch stances in an attempt to survive. The toughness of Morales is undeniable. He kept eating kicks but at no point showed any signs of giving up. Gutierrez was relentless with his attack and ultimately scored a knockdown with a leg kick to get the TKO victory.