The UFC Vegas 24 prelims were rather entertaining, with some cool finishes that included the ever-sexy technical submission, a back and forth split decision in the strawweight division, and then closing out with a rather weird heavyweight situation that resulted in a technical decision.
In the third-round of Alexander Romanov vs. Juan Espino, Romanov ate a knee to the cup resulting in him unable to continue. The bout went to the scorecards, since it was so late into the fight, and Romanov went on to take the decision. It may not be how he wanted to win, but “King Kong” is still undefeated at 14-0.
Before that, promotional veteran Jessica Penne made her return to the Octagon after four-years on the sideline to win a grueling split decision over UFC newcomer, Lupita Godinez. Penne had to eat some heavy punches from Godinez, but it was the slick grappling of Penne that swayed the judges. This marks Jessica’s first win in over six-years.
We got a wicked technical submission on the prelims when Gerald Meerschaert put Bartosz Fabinski int the first round with a guillotine choke. It was Fabinski who shot in for the takedown, but GM3 was ready and waiting with what would be a fight-ending submission hold. Fabinski opted to not tap out, so he went ahead and took a little nap. The broadcast brought it to everyone’s attention that Gerald has finished 30 of his 32 wins, and that is an insane finishing rate.
Opening up the event, Tony Gravely dropped Anthony Birchak with a right hand in the first round, and then again with a left hand in the second act, before scoring a ground and pound finish. Gravely looked great tonight and showcased some power in his hands to compliment his suffocating wrestling game.
**See complete results below
Alexander Romanov def. Juan Espino technical decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Heavyweight
It took less than 60-seconds for Romanov to close the distance and get takedown. Espino quickly worked up to his feet, but Romanov pulled him back to the ground and made him work all over again to get up. Espino ate a southpaw left hand before getting pressed against the cage again. After spending some time carrying his opponent’s weight, Espino hit a toss to take top position. In a show of pure strength, Romanov just simply stood up.
The heavyweights came out swinging in the second act, exchanging leather before Romanov closed the distance. As Romanov was complaining to the referee about something, Espino clocked him in the face with a knee. Romanov responded by snagging a takedown and dropping some mean ground strikes from inside of the full guard. Espino endured the punishment and eventually worked up to his feet. Romanov went for another takedown, but Espino held on to the cage to stay on his feet, and was warned by the referee for the infraction.
Espino hit an early takedown to start the third round. Romanov fought to stand up, but Espino stayed connected. Against the cage, Espino kneed his foe in the cup. Romanov rolled around in agony, doing his best to recover, prompting the referee to bring the doctor in. Romanov was unable to continue from the blow, and the bout went to the scorecards.
Jessica Penne def. Lupita Godinez by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Strawweight
Godinez was quick to let her hands go in this one. She was throwing heat at Penne, who was trying to clinch up. Godinez threw Penne to the mat on several occasions, but opted to not follow her foe to the floor. One of those occurrence resulted in a scramble to that gave Penne the back. Godinez stood to her feet with Penne attached, and maintained safe all the way until the bell.
Godinez opened the second act with some more solid punches before Penne clinched up. Penne jumped onto the back again, rendering her opponent defensive. Godinez was finally able to spin around and break free, and when she threw Penne to the floor she again refused to follow her there. Penne was tenacious with closing the distance, and forced some more scrambles before the bell.
The final frame saw the match go right to the inside. The fighters clinched up, with Godinez being the stronger athlete, but Penne being the more technical tactician. In open space, Godinez would throw some clean punches, but then couldn’t stop Penne from closing the distance. Penne even attempted a flying triangle at one point, but Godinez tossed her to the mat. Penne again went for the triangle at the end of the round, but ran out of time.
Gerald Meerschaert def. Bartosz Fabinski by technical submission (guillotine) at 2:00 of round 1: Middleweight
The middleweights started slinging leather right away, with both men connecting. Meerschaert then clinched up against the cage, using his head fighting to control Fabinski. Once Fabinski shot in, Meerschaert quickly attacked the neck with a guillotine. Fabinski rolled to his back, but Meerschaert was adjusting as he went along and maintained his strangle hold. Fabinski went to sleep instead of tapping.
Austin Hubbard def. Dakota Bush by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Lightweight
Bush started strong, throwing a bunch of variety at Hubbard and leading the dance. Hubbard just sort of sat back and worked his defense while steadily pressing forward. The work rate of Bush began to slow, and the output of Hubbard began to pick up. That’s when Bush was poked in the eye, followed by a brief break. The rest of the round was a bit sticky, with Hubbard scoring a takedown at the buzzer.
The second act saw Bush initiate the takedown, just to concede bottom position to Hubbard. From there, Hubbard stayed ahead of his adversary. He wasn’t doing anything wild or crazy, but stayed busy and maintained control. Bush did not make it back to his feet. The final act saw a violent exchange on the feet before a scramble turned into Bush taking the back. Hubbard quickly spun around into top position, but it wouldn’t be long before Bush began to scramble. Hubbard had to work hard to get himself back into top position, and was able to sprinkle down some strikes and stay in control until the final horn.
Tony Gravely def. Anthony Birchak by TKO at 1:31: Bantamweight
The fighters got right to work, with Birchak kicking at his foe’s calf. Gravely responded with some big punches that prompted Birchak to clinch up. It was Gravely who hit the takedown and began to grind away. As soon as the broke apart, Gravely dropped Birchak with a well-placed right hand. Somehow, Birchak recovered and found top position, landing a few elbows before jumping on a guillotine. The failed submission attempt gave Gravely top position, and he made the most of it by landing all sorts of devastating ground and pound. The referee could have stepped in at any point.
The second round saw Gravely close the distance right away, looking for the takedown, but Birchak was able to keep the fight standing. That turned out to be a bad thing for him, as Gravely cracked him with a left hook that sat him down. Gravely pounced with fight-ending ground and pound to get the stoppage.