You get a finish! You get a finish! You get a finish! The UFC 259 early prelims saw five of six matches end inside of the distance! The lone decision closed out this portion of prelims, with the #12 ranked flyweight, Tim Elliot, taking a grinding decision over Jordan Espinosa. There was a rather raw moment at the end of the second-round where Elliot said something to Espinosa about being a “woman beater” as he was on top of him. Nonetheless, Elliot has won back to back fights for the first time since 2016.
In the light heavyweight division, we got a slobber knocker between Kennedy Nzechukwu and Carlos Ulberg. Ulberg started strong, hurting his foe badly but was unable to manifest the finish against his gritty opposition. Fatigue set in for Ulberg and Nzechukwu began to rally, ultimately scoring the knockdown and finishing with ground and pound. What a fight this was!
In the welterweight division, undefeated prospect Sean Brady submitted Jake Matthews in the third round with an arm triangle. Brady was controlling on the ground. He hurt Matthews on the feet with a left hook. He sniffed out a late finish when he seemingly already had it in the bag. In his post-fight interview, Sean called for a match with “The Leech” Jingliang Li or Belal Muhammad.
In the strawweight division, Amanda Lemos knocked down Livinha Souza twice in the first-round before scoring a merciful TKO. She put on an impressive display of punching power and precision, and has the sort of striking polish that is mandatory at the top of 115-pounds. Don’t be surprised to see her ranked very soon.
Also on the early prelims, UFC newcomer Uros Medic put on an electric performance against Aalon Cruz, achieving a rather-tardy first-round TKO stoppage. Cruz tried to go right at Medic, but Uros met him with even more aggression and ended the fight in 100-seconds — although it should have ended much sooner.
Opening up the show, the 135-pound division saw Trevin Jones score a second-round TKO on Mario Bautista. Jones connected with a unique lead uppercut/hook hybrid that sent Bautista falling to the floor. A couple of hammerfists later and Trevin was enjoying his first official UFC win.
**See complete results below
Tim Elliot def. Jordan Espinosa by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 30-25): Flyweight
Espinosa was looking to strike, launching head kicks that were coming really close. Elliot responded by forcing a takedown and attaching himself to his opponent. The veteran stayed on top until the bell. The second round saw Elliot go right back to the takedown. Espinosa quickly got up, but Tim took him right back down. Espinosa was unable to get back to his feet. At the end of the round, Elliot said something about “woman beater.” Yikes! It didn’t take very long for Elliot to get the takedown in the final round. He stayed attached to Espinosa, forcing him to carry his weight. Espinosa did not get back up.
Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Carlos Ulberg by TKO at 3:19 of round 2: Light Heavyweight
Nzechukwu stalked forward, but Ulberg blasted him with a combination that ended with a head kick. Nzechukwu was rocked and covering up. Ulberg started teeing off as his foe shelled up. Nzechukwu weathered the storm and got back to pressuring forward, as Ulberg seemed to start to fade. Ulberg landed a counter that caused Nzechukwu to shell up again. He then ripped to the body with hooks, but somehow Nzechukwu regained his composure and got back to pressuring, landing straight punches.
Ulberg had more pep in his step to begin the second round. He was sticking and moving as his opponent pressed forward without any real volume. An accidental eye poke to Nzechukwu briefly paused the match. Upon the restart, Ulberg went back to throwing and landing, and then Nzechukwu had his turn returning punches. Nzechukwu stepped on the gas, pressing forward and letting his hands go. It was a right hand that dropped Ulberg, and a couple of follow up ground strikes sealed the deal.
Sean Brady def. Jake Matthews by submission (arm triangle) at 3:28 of round 3: Welterweight
Both fighters came out looking to strike, with both men throwing but not a lot of early connecting. Then, as Brady threw a kick Matthews blasted him with a straight that sat him down. Brady used the moment to take top position and solidify side control. Matthews did not return to his feet.
Matthews got back to being busy on the feet in the second round. He was leading the dance and backing up Brady. Then came the level change and Matthews found himself on his back. Brady went back to controlling and methodically hunting for the guillotine. Matthews kind of just hung on and tried his best to stay safe. He did not return to his feet again.
A left hook from Brady wobbled Matthews at the start of the third round. Matthews biting on a fake shot attempt resulted in Brady taking the back with a wrestler’s ride. He continued to grind on Matthews, pressuring from the top until an arm triangle presented itself. Matthews felt the squeeze and was forced to tap.
Amanda Lemos def. Livinha Souza by TKO at 3:39 of round 1: Strawweight
Lemos walked down Souza, landing crisp strikes and scoring an early knockdown. She took top position, hunting for a guillotine, but that gave Souza time to recover and start threatening a leg. Lemos started dropping hard ground strikes, but Souza scrambled up to her feet. That’s exactly where Lemos wanted to be anyways, and the crispy striking resumed. It was a stiff jab that sat down Souza again, and after a couple of more ground strikes the referee rescued the down fighter.
Uros Medic def. Aalon Cruz by TKO 1:40 of round 1: Lightweight
Cruz tried to start hot but Medic met him with powerful kicks. After being stunned by a hook, Cruz went hard for a takedown. Medic defended well and put started to light up Cruz. The desperation takedowns weren’t working out, and Medic unleashed an lengthy onslaught of ground strikes. The referee should have stopped the fight way sooner than he did.
Trevin Jones def. Mario Bautista by TKO at :47 of round 2: Bantamweight
Jones closed the distance early, pressing Bautista against the cage. He was able to solidify the position, but wasn’t dishing out much damage. Bautista began to knee the body and legs before breaking free into open space. In the standup, Bautista was just a bit more active. Early in the second round, as the fighters were exchanging Jones connected with a lead uppercut/hook hybrid that dropped Bautista. He pounced with hammerfists, landing one after another until the referee waved it off.