The UFC Vegas 25 prelims struggled to find a finish with five straight bouts going the distance before Luana Pinheiro defeated Randa Markos by disqualification in the first-round. Pinheiro was rag-dolling Randa before an illegal upkick brought a sudden halt to the fight. When the strike landed, Pinheiro fell backwards as if she was knocked out, promoting the doctor to come into the cage and the fight being stopped. UFC commentator Paul Felder hinted that a bit of acting may have been going on, but then after the replay and seeing how hard the foul landed, he went on the fence as to the severity of the situation. Regardless, Pinheiro makes good on her UFC debut and quite frankly looked great in doing so. It’s a shame to have such a wonky ending.
Before that, Kai Kamaka and TJ Brown fought their hearts out in a bout that one judge saw for Kamaka 30-27, and the other two officials scored the fight 29-28 for Brown. Both men caused damage with their hands in the second act, with both men being able to recover. Plenty of fun scrambles occurred as well, as this was a pretty fun fight. Despite the radically different viewpoints from the judges, Brown has earned his first UFC win.
We got a grueling war to open up the event in the form of Luke Sanders vs. Felipe Colares. Sanders started strong, landed a frenzy of punches and knocking down Colares in the first round. Colares started to rally as the output of Luke started to dwindle, putting Sanders in a couple of bad spots at both the second and third rounds. When it was all said and done, Colares did enough to pull three scores of 29-28.
**See complete results below
Luana Pinheiro def. Randa Markos by DQ at 4:16 of round 1: Strawweight
Markos bull rushed forward to get things going but ate a big counter punch before getting taken down. Pinheiro hit a trio of tosses to put the veteran on her back, but opted to let her back up. A heavy calf kick dropped Markos, making Pinheiro seemed dialed in. An accidental eye poke to Markos brought an abrupt pause to the action. The fight restarted and Markos blitzed again, and got clocked again and then tossed on her head. Then, after getting tossed again, Markos threw and landed an illegal up kick to the face of Pinheiro. The strike cause Pinheiro to fall to her back, seeming to be out of it. The doctor came in and the fight was waved off.
TJ Brown def. Kai Kamaka by split decision (29-28 x2, 27-30) : Featherweight
Kamaka struck first, clocking Brown with a right hand. Brown was pumping his jab, but Kamaka was attacking his calf. Just as Brown started to throw his cross behind his jab, he slipped and gifted Kamaka top position. Brown had to work to get back up, but he did just that and the striking contest continued.
The second round started with a leg kick from Kamaka, ands were with a bunch of straight strikes for Brown. Kamaka responded with a clean head kick, but Brown ate it without issue. Brown continued to let his hands go and briefly rocked Kamaka. Kai quickly recovered and returned fire, clocking Brown and knocking him to the ground. Brown fought back by locking up a Kimura from half guard, using the hold to get back up. With about 30-seconds to go in the round, Brown shot in for the takedown to take the dominant position.
The final frame saw Brown shoot in, but Kamaka sprawled beautifully to take top position. Brown eventually worked back to his feet, but Kamaka was able to push him right back to the ground. He had to dig deep, but Brown scrambled up to his feet and started swinging. He knocked Kamaka over to the floor, but lost position going for a leg lock. Kamaka ended the round on top.
Luana Carolina def. Poliana Botelho by split decision (29-28 x2, 29-28): (W) Flyweight
This one started to a bit reserved, with Botelho pressuring forward but not really landing. It took about half-a-round for Botelho to unload with a flurry and close the distance. She then quickly got a takedown and held the position for the rest of the clock. The second round saw Botelho close the distance much earlier in the round, but struggled to actually get the fight tot he floor. Carolina fought hard to stay on her feet, and even reversed the position and put Botelho against the fence. Several knees to the body scored for Carolina before Botelho was able to hit a reversal of her own. Carolina turned up with a cut above her right eye, which was caused by an elbow in the clinch. The final frame saw a Carolina give up a takedown, but roll with the momentum to end up on top. Botelho tried to scramble to, but ended up exposing her back. Carolina put her hooks in, and maintaining position and threatening with a choke until the bell.
Loma Lookboonmee def. Sam Hughes by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Strawweight
Lookboonmee began launching kicks right away here. She was blasting the midsection and legs of her opponent, before a takedown opportunity presented itself. From the top, Lookboonmee unloaded a few elbows before allowing Hughes to stand back to her feet. Hughes clinched up looking for a takedown, but Loma hit a trip and then stood back up.
Hughes hit a takedown against the cage to begin the second act. Lookboonmee was caught in a grind, and spent a lot of time fighting off the takedown. She scored with some mean knees from the clinch with her back to the cage, while Hughes was continuing to work for the takedown. In the closing moments of the round, Lookboonmee found some open space to land a couple of strikes, and core a last-seocnd takedown.
The final round stayed in open space for a bit, with not a ton of volume being thrown out by either side. Hughes closed the distance and went back to holding Loma against the cage. The fighters separated and both fighters landed some punches. Loma was the fighter mixing in the kicks, while Hughes clinched up yet again in a fruitless effort.
Andreas Michailidis def. KB Bhullar by decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Middleweight
This one took a little bit to get going. Well, it took Michailidis blitzing with a barrage of haymakers to be able to close the distance and connect with a couple. Bhullar threw a couple in return, but was more defensively focused than anything. Michailidis ended up getting the takedown and working his way to the back until the bell.
Bhullar opened up the seocnd round with a blow to the cup, causing a pause to the match. The bout resumed and Bhullar started to throw low kicks out there, being much busier than before. It took Michailidis awhile before he was ready to open up again, and when he did, he reminded everyone of the power discrepancy in his favor. The third round was a rather sticky, with Bhullar throwing a lot of low-powered leg kicks, and Michailidis being somewhat reserved with his powerful output. Bhullar did land another cup kick.
Luke Sanders def. Felipe Colares by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Featherweight
Sanders opened the bout with a connecting flurry of punches, to which Colares ate them and waved Luke on. The fighters then exchanged kicks for a moment, until Sanders came with a haymaker that dropped Colares. Luke did not let up at all, in fact he turned it up. He blasted his foes with a savage knee to the face from the clinch, and then mauled Felipe with elbows on the ground. Colares tied up, looking to recover, and eventually worked his way back up to his feet. Sanders wasn’t done swinging leather, though, and kept cracking his foe. Somehow, Colares recovered and began to swing back.
The second act didn’t start with the same sort of urgency as the opening round. Sanders took a little more time before opening up, but when he did, he was knocking the head of Colares all over the place. Felipe ate several punches, but again was able to lock up and recover. Colares then scooped up Sanders and ran across the Octagon before dumping him tot he canvas, shades of Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg. He took the back of Luke and started to punch away, but was unable to get a finish before the bell.
Colares went to the takedown to start the final round, but Sanders was keen to it and was able to keep the fight standing. Sanders continued to work his boxing, while Felipe was looking to sneak in kicks to the head and body. Felipe pressed forward, attacking the body with kicks and knees, while Sanders stuck to his punches. With less than a minute to go, Colares hit a toss and took the back of Sanders, but lost the position just before the bell. What a grueling fight!