The UFC Vegas 21 preliminary card just finished up with the UFC’s #12 ranked flyweight, Angela Hill, running away with the scorecards against Ashley Yoder in their rematch. Hill outclassed Yoder on the feet, brutalized her in the clinch, and neutralized her opponent’s ground advances. Hill really has developed into a world class talent right before our very eyes.
Before that, Charles Jourdain pulled out a late third-round TKO of UFC newcomer, Marcelo Rojo. This was a fantastic fight from start to finish! Rojo started strong with powerful punches and damaging calf kicks, but then Jourdain started to pour it on late as Rojo began to fade. Despite limping from the leg kicks, Jourdain pressed forwarded late in the fight to earn himself yet another finish and avoid the scorecards.
Earlier in the night, submission ace Rani Yahya choked out Ray Rodriguez in the second round. Yahya totally dominated on the ground and was able to sniff out his 21st career submission, and holds the record for most finishes in UFC and WEC history. What an accolade! In the women’s flyweight division, JJ Aldrich took a questionable split decision over Cortney Casey. Aldrich found success with top control in the second, but pretty much got pieced up in the first and third rounds. Nonetheless, two of the three judges saw it 29-28 for JJ.
Opening up the event, Matthew Semelsberger, also known as Semi the Jedi, swiftly knocked out Jason Witt in just 16-seconds. As Witt was throwing a naked leg kick, Semelsberger unleashed the perfect counter right hand that shut out the lights. One followup ground strike scored before the referee even had a chance to react to what had happened. At 2-0 in the UFC, Semelsberger seems like one welterweight to surely keep an eye on.
**See complete results below
Angela Hill def. Ashley Yoder by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Strawweight
Hill took the center, steadily pressing her opponent backwards to the cage. She crashed in and pressed Yoder against the fence, landing a hard elbow to the face. Yoder was getting controlled on the inside, and pieced up on the outside. Hill also earned a takedown at the end of the round to rack up a bit of ground and pound.
Hill brought the pressure again in the second act. She backed up her foe with punches and continued to lead the dance. The head of Yoder kept getting snapped back by the punches of Hill. She was getting outclassed everywhere. To make matters worse, Hill hurt her to the body with a viscous knee, and then dumped a flurry of hands on her. Yoder managed to hit a takedown to survive the round.
Yoder aggressively closed the distance to kick off the final frame, but Hill reversed her and put her back to the cage again. Hill chipped away with knees to the body and slick elbows upstairs, while still controlling her against the fence. After eating a trio of knees, Yoder hit a takedown to get on top. She wasn’t able to capitalize on the position before Hill got back to her feet, sending the fight to the scorecards.
Charles Jourdain def. Marcelo Rojo by TKO at 4:31 of round 3: Featherweight
Rojo took the center of the Octagon to get things going. Both men threw their respective combos in a controlled manner. Rojo seemed to be the one landing the more powerful strikes. Jourdain was mixing in kicks to the head, while Rojo’s kicks were going to the leg. In the clinch, Rojo was launching knees while Jourdain punched the body.
An eye poke to Rojo occurred early in the second round, but after a break the fight continued. Upon the restart, Rojo started pressing forward. He was ripping to the body with heavy punches, causing Jourdain to shell up. Jourdain weathered the storm and started to rally towards the end of the round, landing a flying knee and some followup punches.
A hug between the fighters started the final round. Rojo kicked the lead leg, causing Jourdain to limp a bit. Jourdain still pressed forward behind his punches, scoring as Rojo was only attacking the legs. A straight right hand dropped Rojo, and Jourdain pounced with ground strikes. He even threw a “Showtime” ground strike off of the cage. Jourdain backed away allowing Rojo to stand up. He then started to pour it on his labored opposition, ripping to the body until Rojo finally flopped to his back and the referee stepped in to rescue him.
Rani Yahya def. Ray Rodriguez by submission (arm triangle) at 3:09 of round 2: Bantamweight
Yahya was quick to close the distance and press Rodriguez against the cage. He hit a bodylock takedown and began to work his magic. Rodriguez did not return to his feet. Yahya backed his foe up to the fence in the second round and began hunting for his takedown. Rodriguez ended up on his back again,
Nasrat Haqparast def. Rafa Garcia by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Lightweight
The lightweights went right to work, standing in front of each other and trading punches. Garcia mixed in a couple of takedown attempts, but Haqparast was keen to them and remained vertical. In open space, Garcia stunned his foe with a heavy right hand, and then started pressing forward. Haqparast was unable to rock Rafa that round.
Haqparast came out pumping his jab in the second act. That was preventing Garcia from pressuring him, and opened up opportunities for his other punches. Rafa was swinging hard punches, but Haqparast was doing a good job of making him miss. When Garcia did get on the inside, Haqparast would trip him to the floor without following him there.
Haqparast was feeling it with his boxing in the final frame. He was flowing and landing, but then Garcia caught him clean with a flurry to gain back some ground. Haqparast was kicking at the body too, which seemed to slow down Rafa a bit. Garcia was wearing at this point, but to his credit he kept pushing forward.
JJ Aldrich def. Cortney Casey by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): (W) Flyweight
Aldrich clinched up early against the cage, hunting for the takedown, but Casey was able to fight it off to stay on her feet and return to open space. Casey attacked with leg kicks, while Aldrich was more focused on her boxing. In the clinch, it was Casey who was scoring with knees to the body and dirty boxing to the head. Aldrich responded with a takedown, but again Casey worked back to her feet. At the end of the round, Aldrich briefly with a guillotine, and the Casey’s turn with a Kimura attempt.
The fighters exchanged hard right hands to start the seocnd stanza. Then, Casey jumped guard, giving Aldrich top position. From there, Aldrich began to control Cortney, while sprinkling ground strikes in the appropriate. Casey eventually worked to her feet and back into open space. Not too much took place before Aldrich earned another takedown just before the bell.
The final round saw the fighters trade more on the feet. Casey was seeming to get the better of the exchanges, landing more than Aldrich was. The fighters would crash into the pocket with combos, and then both would back out and reset. With just over 90-seconds to go, Aldrich hit a takedown, but just couldn’t keep Casey down. Cortney returned to open space and started charging, swinging punches in two’s and three’s. Then with three-seconds remaining, Casey ate a spinning kick to the groin area.
Jinh Yu Frey def. Gloria de Paula by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Strawweight
Frey came out and found herself with top position early in the opening act. She controlled her opponent from the top, thwarting any and all submission attempts from De Paula. She wasn’t doing a ton of damage, but Frey was dominating De Paula on the ground for almost the entire round.
The second act spent much more time on the feet, with De Paula finding much more success. She was able to pick away at range, staying long and making the most of her reach advantage. Frey wasn’t pulling the trigger that much and wasn’t really hunting for the takedown.
Frey closed the distance right away in the final round and scored a bodylock takedown. De Paula threatened with a Kimura attempt from her back, but the position stalled out and Frey transitioned into full mount and then the back. Frey attacked with a rear-naked choke, and although De Paula escaped, she was still controlled for the rest of the round.
Matthew Semelsberger def. Jason Witt by KO at :16 of round 1: Welterweight
Well, this one didn’t last very long. Witt pressed forward behind some naked leg kicks, but Semelsberger was ready to counter with a blistering right hand. Witt went out on impact, falling backwards to the canvas. Semelsberger came crashing in with an academic ground strike to seal the deal. Wow!