Join us today on Bloody Elbow for live results, discussion, round scoring, and play-by-play as UFC 257 goes down live on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
Today’s show will feature the return of Conor McGregor to the Octagon, as he fights for the first time in a year when he meets former interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier. The co-main event also takes place in the lightweight division, with three-time Bellator 155-pound champion Michael Chandler making his UFC debut against Dan Hooker.
This post will cover the preliminary card. The featured prelim bout came together at the last second, with Matt Frevola taking on Arman Tsarukyan at bantamweight.
Today’s show is a standard PPV even though it’s taking place in the UAE. There are two Fight Pass fights, which should kick off around 7pm ET/4pm PT. Things will move to ESPN and ESPN+ for four more fights at 8pm ET, and then we’ll go over to PPV at 10pm ET as per the norm.
Arman Tsarukyan def. Matt Frevola via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Brad Tavares vs. Antonio Carlos Junior
Round 1 - Hard lefts traded to start the fight. Tavares with a low kick. And another. ACJ stalks forward with a couple 1-2s. Tavares back to sticking the jab and low kicks.Tavares forces ACJ back. Low kick from ACJ. Tavares with a 1-2 and a big low kick. Another low kick and they trade hard hooks. ACJ follows it with a hard body kick and dives on a double leg. Tavares defends.
Knee straight to the dick from Antonio Carlos Jr. Tavares drops to a knee as the ref steps in. Got him right in the Islands.
ACJ with lots of shoulder pressure as he hunts for short knees and trips from the clinch. Tavares staying solid as ACJ grabs the high crotch. Nice overhand from Tavares. ACJ gets deep on a counter shot as Tavares throws, but can’t get it. Rock solid takedown D from Tavares. ACJ going for the single leg. Tavares defending well against the cage. ACJ lets it go. Tavares with a low kick.
Tough first round to score. 10-9 ACJ is my guess. He was more determined with his offense even if Tavares’ low kicks were the biggest strikes of the round.
Round 2 - Low kick from Tavares to start round 2. Nice counter right hand as well. Low kick again from Tavares. Huge right hand from Tavares and a low kick. ACJ hits the reactive doubel and gets him down. Tavares springs up with some ridiculous agility. ACJ driving hard for another double leg, but Tavares fighting him off well as ACJ presses him on the cage. Tavares pushes him back and eats a jab.
Jabs from ACJ. Eats a much harder one in return. Another hard jab from Tavares. And a 1-2 behind it. ACJ returns one. Tavares pops the jab and lands a lunging right hand. ACJ drops a jab and looks for a single, but can’t get it. Low kick from Tavares.
Hard low kick from ACJ and he eats two right hands and gets dropped. ACJ clings to a single leg, gets stuffed and Tavares clips him in the cup for a ref stoppage.
Jabs traded on the restart. And a low kick from Tavares. Tavares with a right hand and ACJ lands a quick hook. Tavares goes jab to body kick at the bell. I’ve got it 19-19 after two.
Round 3 - Tavares starts round 3 pressuring behind his jabs and low kick. ACJ returns the low kick and Tavares pops him with the jab. ACJ with his own jab and another low kick. Tavares returns the low kick and they trade left punches upstairs. ACJ shoots the double.
Tavares stuffs the takedown and ACJ settles into throwing short knees in the clinch. ACJ with a quick trip but can’t get Tavares down.
Ref breaks the clinch and ACJ lands a low kick. Tavares popping his jab and low kicks. Nice left hook from Tavares. ACJ shoots, gets stuffed and eats a knee. Low kick again from Tavares. ACJ returns one and eats a huge right hand and a snapping jab.
Low kick from Tavares again. ACJ grabs him and drives him to the fence. Tavares defending well again. Knees from ACJ. Picks Tavares up but can’t get him to the mat.Hard knee from Tavares as the bell rings. 29-28 Tavares from me.
Brad Tavares def. Antonio Carlos Jr. via UD (30x27x2, 29-28)
Julianna Pena vs. Sara McMann
Round 1 - Slow start. Leg kick from McMann. Two shots from McMann. Two nice rights from McMann. She shoots a single and gets Pena to her knees. She takes the back and sinks hooks. Pena grabs the fence to get up. Back to the ground, with McMann on top. Good pressure against the cage. 10-9 McMann.
Round 2 - McMann looks for a takedon bt falls into a guillotine. She uses the cage to bust out and work from top position. They stall out there, as McMann tries to readjust the guillotine. Eventually Pena squirms away, and they battle on the fence. Nice combo from Pena on the break. McMann with a right hook. Not a lot happening. 10-9 McMann.
Round 3 - They clinch immediately. Pena hits a sweet throw on McMann and has her stuck. She opens up with hammerfists. Up high on McMann’s back. Full back mount from below with a body triangle. She sinks a choke! McMann taps! NICE!
Julianna Pena defeated Sara McMann via submission (rear naked choke, 3:39 of round 3
Khalil Rountree vs. Marcin Prachnio
Round 1 - Front kicks from Rountree. Head kick from Prachnio. Side kick to the body from Prachnio. More body work. Nice counter right from Prachnio. Leg kick from Rountree. They exchange. Two straight lefts from Rountree. Rountree with a right hook. Prachnio with the side kick. Rountree presses with kicks, but Prachnio cracks back. 10-9 Prachnio.
Round 2 - Leg kicks from both men. A bit timid so far. Two lead rights from Prachnio. Rountree tries to counter but he’s too late. Prachnio is pressing. Rountree is trying to counter but not landing enough. He was putting major pressure on his opponent but backed off. Straight left from Rountree staggers Prachnio! He’s still there, but that rang his bell. 10-9 Rountree.
Round 3 - They trade shots early. Lentz shoots but gets stuffed, nothing there. Rountree misses with the lead right but eats the counter. Rountree looks for the takedown but gets touched. Rountree with a big shot! But he doesn’t seem to get how hurt this feels. Rountree cracks his opponent. Rountree looks for combos. Prachnio lands a couple of shots. I have it 10-9 and 29-28 Rountree, but it’s a toss up.
Marcin Prachnio defeated Khalil Rountree via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Movsar Evloev vs. Nik Lentz
Round 1 - Lentz lands a nice left uppercut. He drops for a guillotine, but Evloev fights it off and drops some nice punches on Lentz. He ended the round on top. 10-9 Evloev.
Round 2 - Lentz presses with strikes. Evloev with a response. Leg kicks from Lentz. He looks for a takedown but settles for a guillotine attempt. He tries to gator roll with no success. He jumps on a guillotine again but no dice, back to the feet. Evloev with a jab. Lentz wades in for a takedown, but there was a headbutt there that went undetected. Lentz looks for a guillotine again. Nada. Back to the feet. Nice right from Lentz. 10-9 Lentz.
Round 3 - Nice jab from Lentz, and a kick. Evloev with a right hook, and again. Evloev presses with punches but can’t land. Lentz shoots and looks for a kimura to drag him down, but no dice. Nice right from Evloev. Head kick too. Hard jab. The tide has turned. They trade shots. 10-9 Evloev, but 29-28 Lentz.
Mosvar Evloev defeated Nik Lentz via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Amir Albazi vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov
Round 1 - (This is Mookie on PBP for this fight so if I have a weird score please blame Tim anyway) Albazi working the jab. Lands a leg kick. Nice left hand upstairs by Zhumagulov. Just misses on the right hand. Body kick by Albazi. Jab to the body by Zhumagulov. Albazi gets drilled by a jab and then a right hand. Albazi on the offensive but not landing anything of substance. Good countershot by Zhumagulov but back comes Albazi with another leg kick. Albazi with the double leg takedown and he completes it with about two minutes left in the opening round. Zhumagulov uses the fence to stand back up. Leg kick by Zhumagulov and Albazi returns fire with the same strike. Solid right gets through for Albazi. Spinning backfist by Zhumagulov as Albazi was coming forward. Zhalgas with the late takedown as the final 20 seconds tick away. Zhumagulov in full guard and Albazi throwing elbows from his back. Late elbow by Zhumagulov and the horn sounds. 10-9 Zhumagulov.
Round 2 - Albazi lands yet another lead leg kick. Left hand scores for Zhumagulov but Albazi’s leg kick attack continues. Right hand by Albazi and then another one after missing the knee. Zhumagulov digs a left hook to the body but the calf kicks are not being stopped. Albazi with a sharp jab to the head of the Kazakh fighter. Outside leg kick by Albazi as Zhumagulov switches to southpaw for a brief moment. Albazi keeping up the pressure but eats a left to the side of the head. Smooth jab by Albazi, who looks like the faster of the two. One more hard leg kick by Albazi with two minutes left in the round. Right hand by Albazi looks to have partially landed. Zhumagulov can’t get the takedown but does land a jab. Uppercut by Zhumagulov but there’s one from Albazi and in a late sprawl he’s on top. Zhumagulov stands back up and the round ends. 19-19.
Round 3 - Leg kick by Albazi to begin the final round. Nifty knee to the body and then a shot upstairs by Albazi. Takedown by Albazi is denied but not the next one. He works inside Zhumagulov’s closed guard. Lands a left elbow and then a right one. Albazi passes to half guard with three minutes to go. Gets the other leg free to get into side control. Amir looking for back mount and he has one hook in. Almost gets the body triangle but he does have both hooks in. Slick grappling by Albazi as he searches for a fight-ending choke or a crank. Zhumagulov fighting the hands and trying to turn into Albazi but Amir adjusts and keeps control of the back. Nice job by Zhumagulov to get back to his feet but he surely needs something spectacular in order to win the round if not the fight. Aggressive striking by Zhumagulov as he lets his hands and kicks go. Leg kick by Albazi. They trade right hands but only Amir’s lands cleanly. Jumping knee to the body by Albazi. Short left from southpaw by Albazi. Zhumagulov misses on a standing hammerfist and then runs towards his opponent to throw a leg kick to end things. 29-28 Albazi.
Official result: Amir Albazi def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)