Today’s early UFC FIGHT ISLAND 8 card is underway, and the preliminary portion just finished up with Ricky Simon bodying Gaetano Pirrello, pulling out a second-round arm-triangle. It was a classic wrestling approach that Simon utilized to wear on his opponent, and then it was his sub skills that finished the fight. This makes two wins in a row for Simon who continues to climb the bantamweight ladder.
The prelims also got a predominantly standup war of attrition between lightweights Mike Davis and Mason Jones. Both men threw and landed a ton of strikes with neither man willing to fall down. It was so close that either fighter could have taken the victory, but three scores of 29-28 went to Davis to hand Jones his first professional loss. Davis has now earned two-straight wins.
Showing out in his promotional debut, undefeated Umar Nurmagomedov put fellow UFC newcomer Sergey Morozov to sleep with a rear-naked choke in the second act. Nurmagomedov also hurt his opponent on the feet with a gorgeous lead leg head kick, so this was quite the rounded performance. With Khabib Nurmagomedov in his corner, this is definitely someone to keep an eye on.
Opening up the event, Manon Fiorot made good on her UFC debut by scoring a standing TKO on Victoria Leonardo in the second round. Fiorot established her dominance right away, showcasing solid distance management coupled with some rather crafty striking. This is the sort of striking that could present some problems for a lot of fighters at 125-pounds.
**See complete results below
Ricky Simon def. Gaetano Pirrello by submission (Arm Triangle) at 4:00 of round 2 : Bantamweight
Simon looked to work his usual wrestling attack. He clinched up and pinned Pirrello’s back to the cage. After a bit of a stall out, Simon was able to connect his hands and lift Pirrello over his head. Simon spun around before dropping his foe to the floor. Pirrello stood to his feet but had Simon still attached. The grind of Simon ensued. Simon stuck to the script in the second round. He got himself a takedown and grinned away. When Pirrello did work to his feet, he was just taken right back down. On the ground, Simon locked up an arm triangle from the top of half guard, and Pirrello elected to tap out.
SuMudaerji def. Zarrukh Adashev by unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 30-27): Flyweight
SuMudaerji took the center of the Octagon and began commanding the cage with his polished striking. The less rangey Adashev was stuck on the outside with seeming few answers on how to get his strikes to land. SuMudaerji wisely picked his shots, landing the better blows to take the round.
Adashev opened the second act with a combo that registered, prompting a smile from SuMudaerji. Command was then gained for SuMudaerji, as his southpaw cross began to land. They clinched up and Adashev was able to score with a couple of hard ground strikes before the bout returned to open space. Then, SuMudaerji stung Adashev with a check hook, and then again with a jab. The final frame was fought predominantly at range. The fighters stood pretty far apart. Adashev was the one too far out to land, while SuMudaerji was just able to connect with his long range weapons.
Dalcha Lungiambula def. Markus Perez by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Middleweight
Lungiambula shot in for a takedown early in the first round, and Perez immediately jumped on an arm-in guillotine from half guard. Perez released the hold, giving Lungiambula top control for some time. The thing is, Perez was the only one doing anything, whether it be submission attempts or striking. Perez ultimately used a guillotine attempt to stand up and unleash a flurry just before the bell.
Lungiambula knocked Perez over with a body punch early int he second round to take top position. Perez instantly threw up a triangle attempt, which Lungiambula shucked off. Perez kept attacking with submission attempts, keeping Lungiambula defensive. The fight sort of stalled out on the floor, with Lungiambula being the one on top. There was a bit of blood going from the forehead of Perez at the bell.
Perez pressed forward behind kicks to start the final act, with Lungiambula looking to meet him with explosive hooks. Perez started to wing overhand rights before the fighters engaged in the clinch for some time until the referee broke them apart. They exchanged overhands and went right back to clinching with Lungiambula’s back against the cage. An accidental cup check from Lungiambula brought a brief pause to the fight, and Perez landed a sweet spinning kick to the face upon the restart. Lungiambula ate it like a boss and the fight came to a close.
Francisco Figueiredo def. Jerome Rivera by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Flyweight
Figueiredo took the center of the Octagon and started to hunt his opponent. Rivera circled along the outside trying to avoid the strikes. Once they clinched up, Figueiredo hit a trip to find top position. Rivera stayed active with his strikes from his back, prompting Figueiredo to stand back up.
Figueiredo quickly found top position in the second act. Rivera went back to throwing short strikes from his back, but still spent some time on the floor. When Figueiredo did strike, the impact seemed much more significant. On the feet, Figueiredo did a great job of tying up Rivera in the clinch whenever they got close.
Rivera started the final round with some urgency, throwing more volume at first. Then, Figueiredo went back top he takedown which slowed down that aggression. A lot of jockeying for position went on in the clinch, with Rivera being the one striking along the way. Rivera was going for it. He was launching punches in bunches and he was landing. Figueiredo managed to tie up and hit a takedown just before the bell.
Mike Davis def. Mason Jones by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Lightweight
Jones was willing to walk forward, but Davis was there to meet him with some slick slips and hard counter punches. Davis even mixed in a takedown to take top position for just a moment. As the round grew on, Jones started score some hard leather of his own. Davis responded with another takedown, but again didn’t spend much time on top. When it was back on the feet, Jones was pushing the pace and landing volume, prompting Davis to go back to the wrestling.
A hard leg kick from Davis scored an early drop, but Davis again did not solidify top position. Jones went back to his pressure volume attack, backing up Davis and having him look a bit desperate. Davis would explode with beautiful combo, but then go right back to weathering the storm of volume coming his way. With about 30-seconds to go in the round, Davis came alive with a flurry, knocking out the mouthpiece of Jones.
Davis got off to strong start in the final frame. He was peppering Jones with hard boxing combos to combat the aggression. Jones responded with more volume as the war of attrition went on. Both men were digging deep and leaving it all out there, absorbing blows in order to score their respective strikes. What a gritty war this turned out to be!
Umar Nurmagomedov def. Sergey Morozov by technical submission 3:39 of round 2: Bantamweight
After some competitive back and forth on the feet, Nurmagomedov was a bel to jump on the back of Morozov while standing. A rinse and repeat wrestling attack ensured, with Nurmagomedov using the bodylock to take his foe for a ride. Back on the feet, Morozov pressed forward, backing up Nurmagomedov to the fence. Nurmagomedov was able to hit a level change and take the back again, this time on the ground, just before the bell.
Nurmagomedov stung his opponent right away in the second round with a lead leg head kick. Morozov backed up as Nurmagomedov rushed him with a frenzy of punches, and somehow found a way to recover. Nurmagomedov went back to the wrestling, attaching to the back of Morozov and grinding away. Once the opportunity to lock up a rear-naked choke presented itself, Nurmagomedov went for it. He made a couple of adjustments and Morozov opted to pass out instead of tapping.
Manon Fiorot def. Victoria Leonardo by TKO at 4:08 of round 2: (W) Flyweight
Fiorot showcased excellent distance management in the opening round, landing her strikes while staying just outside of Leonardo’s range. She used a lot of side kicks to the body to keep her opponent away, and then came over the top with the hands to do damage. Leonardo was getting burned at every turn.
The second round saw more of the same, with the Fiorot adding in a takedown for a brief stint with top control. Credit to Leonardo for staying in the fight and continuing to throw, despite being outclassed. Fiorot proved to be too much though, and overwhelmed Leonardo with a head kick to punching flurry to achieve a standing TKO.