The UFC 268 prelims have come to a close and we got some pretty exciting finishes including a jump knee debut, a quick TKO amongst veterans, and a crazy comeback knockout for another debuting fighter. Closing out the preliminary card, former GLORY Kickboxing superstar Alex Pereira wiped out Andreas Michailidis with a nasty jump knee in the second-round. Alex had to navigate a wall and stall gameplan from his opponent, but once he had his moment in open space, he made it count! Pereira is well-known for knocking out current middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, in a kickboxing bout back in the 2017. He has now arrived in the UFC!
Before that, Bobby Green picked up a quick TKO of Al Iaquinta, just 2:25 into the match. Al came out aggressive per usual, looking to throw his hands. Green was diligent with his footwork, staying on the outside until he saw his opening. It was a crisp 1-2 that dropped Iaquinta, and then rapid fire ground strikes sealed the deal. This is actually Green’s first finish since 2013.
Also on the UFC 268 prelims, Chris Curtis got peppered by Phil Hawes for the bulk of the opening round, until he unleashed a trio of left hands to score the upset knockout. Hawes looked so great out there, too. He was mixing up his punches and kicks really well, and even presented the threat of the takedown on several occasions. None of that mattered, though, because Chris would not be denied. He didn’t win many moments of the fight, but he did win the fight-ending exchange, which is all that truly matters. This was also the UFC debut for the 34-year-old Curtis, who improves his record to 27-8.
Kicking off this portion of the prelims, Nassourdine Imavov used his ground and pound to put away the UFC’s #11 ranked middleweight, Edmen Shahbazyan, in the second-round. It was a mounted crucifix that had Shahbazyan unable to improve his position, and then it was a non-stop barrage of bloody elbows that warranted the stoppage. In his post-fight interview, the now 11-3 Imavov called for a match with someone ranked in the top-5.
**See complete results below
Alex Pereira def. Andreas Michailidis by TKO at :18 of round 2: Middleweight
It didn’t take very long for Michailidis to score a takedown here. Pereira quickly got to his knees, and then slowly worked his way back to his feet. The bout stalled out with Michailidis pressing his foe against the cage. After a referee separation, Michailidis went right back to his wall and stall tactic until the bell. To start the second round, Pereira threw a flying knee that landed right on the button. Michailidis fell out, and the referee gave him a chance to come back, but Pereira was on him with ground strikes.
Bobby Green def. Al Iaquinta by TKO at 2:25 of round 1: Lightweight
Iaquinta took the center to get things going, with Green countering on his back foot. Just as Al was coming forward to punch, Bobby clipped him with a clean 1-2 that dropped Iaquinta. Green pounced with a barrage of ground strikes to get Iaquinta out of there. Well then!
Chris Curtis def. Phil Hawes by KO at 4:27 of round 1: Middleweight
Hawes went right at Curtis with a crisp striking attack. He was attacking the body with leg kicks, and then going to the head with the hands. Curtis was kind of just hanging back looking to weather the storm. The right cross of Phil was piercing through the guard of Chris, without much consequence coming back his way. Then, a big left hand from Curtis stunned Hawes. Another follow up left rocked him further, and a knee to the body got through before Hawes fell over to the ground. A big hammerfist landed before the referee had a chance to step in. WHOA!
Nassourdine Imavov def. Edmen Shahbazyan by TKO at 4:42 of round 2: Middleweight
Shahbazyan looked to utilize leg kicks to open the fight. Imavov was commanding the center of the cage, but was struggling to land his own strikes. They clinched up against the fence, and that’s where we saw a cut near the right eye of Imavov. Then, Shahbazyan hit a takedown and to immediately defend a guillotine. Imavov scrambled back to his feet and landed some clean right hands, and then proceeded to pick up his pace.
Imavov opened the second stanza with some urgency, taking the fight right to Shahbazyan. To defend a takedown, Imavov locked up a ninja choke, but Shahbazyan was able to escape and maintain his position on the takedown. Imavov went right back to the ninja choke, and Shahbazyan dropped to his back to defend it. He managed to free himself, and then escaped a high elbow guillotine, just to jump a guillotine of his own and end up on his back. A big bloody elbow split the wig of Shahbazyan, and then things got worse. Imavov locked up a mounted crucifix and rained down all the elbows. The referee mercifully rescued Shahbazyan by stopping the fight.