The preliminary portion of the UFC 263 card just closed out with an absolute banger between the company’s #13 ranked lightweight, Drew Dober, and a surging Brad Riddell. Both men came to throw, and both men did just that. This one was wild, with both men swinging for the fences and both men doing damage. Takedowns were also being mixed in by both fighters, but it was Riddell who rocked Dober late to leave a lasting impression on the judges and earn himself the decision win. Brad has now won all-four of his UFC bouts, and just bested a top-15 UFC fighter.
Before that, Eryk Anders took a grinding decision over Darren Stewart in their rematch. Anders relied on his grappling, shoving Stewart up against the fence and then owning top position late in the match. It wasn’t the most exciting or pretty matchup, but Anders has gotten himself back into the win column for the first time since October of 2019.
Earlier on the prelims, we got a competitive women’s flyweight scrap between the #3 rated, Lauren Murphy, and the #6 rated, Joanne Calderwood. The first round was close, Murphy dominated the second, and then Calderwood rallied in the final frame. After it was all said and done, Murphy walked away with a split decision to extend her winning streak to five.
Opening up the main card, the UFC’s #14 ranked featherweight, Movsar Evloev, put the #15 ranked, Hakeem Dawodu through the wash cycle, grinding his way to a decision. It wasn’t total smooth sailing for Movsar, as he stood with Hakeem in the final round, and got wobbled a few times by some stiff jabs. Nonetheless, Evloev got the dub and remains undefeated, extending his record to 15-0.
**See complete results below
Brad Riddell def. Drew Dober by unanimous decision (29-28 x3) : Lightweight
This one started hot! Riddell landed first, catching Dober in the opening sequence. Dober then responded by staggering Riddell with a mean left hand. Dober started to tag up his foe, prompting Riddell to shoot in. Back on the feet, the firefight continued, and a cut formed on the hairline on Riddell. Both men were throwing and landing, but Dober seemed to have the edge in punching power.
The second round started on fire, too. The fighters stood in the pocket, right in front of each other, swinging combinations with both men landing. Then, Dober changed levels and scored a takedown, but Riddell quickly reversed the position. Back on the feet, the athletes went right back to swinging for the fences. What a war!
Riddell started the final round with a massive right hand that seemed to rock Dober. Riddell came crashing in with more heavy strikes, but Dober changed levels to regain his composure. Riddell was doing a nice job of slipping in some elbows whenever the fight hit the inside. Then, Riddell wobbled Dober with a nasty haymaker, and tried to get the finish but ran out of time.
Eryk Anders def. Darren Stewart by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27 x2): Light Heavyweight
There wasn’t a ton of action to get things going, with a bit of feeling out going place. Then, to slow things down even further, Stewart started to grind on Anders against the cage. The crowd was not too pleased at all, especially when Anders reversed the position and started to lean on Stewart. With about 40-seconds to go in the round, Stewart hit a takedown which was actually the most action up until this point.
The second began with Anders shoving Stewart against the cage again. After a lengthy stall, the referee mercifully broke the fighters apart. It didn’t matter though because Anders went right back to the clinch. When the fight eventually moved into open space, Anders just closed the distance yet again. Stewart opened up the final round with a takedown, but was instantly reversed. Anders took top position and totally controlled his foe, landing plenty of strikes along the way.
Lauren Murphy def. Joanne Calderwood split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): (W) Flyweight
This one got off to a bit of a slow start. Both athletes were throwing, but nobody was really connecting flush. Murphy was focused on her boxing, while Calderwood was down to mix in kicks. In the clinch, Calderwood scored with a couple of sneaky elbows, prompting Murphy to get out of there.
Murphy shot in early in the second stanza, looking to snag a single leg up against the fence. Calderwood tried to fight it off and remain vertical, but Murphy put her on the floor and began punching away. Calderwood was stuck on the bottom, seemingly without any answers, and did not return to her feet until the bell.
Calderwood showed up with some urgency in the final round. She went at Murphy with clean punches and kicks, and was also stuffing the takedown attempts. They clinched up, and fighters were landing strikes, but those from Calderwood seemed a bit more meaningful. Down the stretch, it was Calderwood who was landing the volume.
Movsar Evloev def. Hakeem Dawodu by unanimous decision (29-27 x2): Featherweight
It didn’t take very long for Evloev to close the distance. He stayed attached to Dawodu, giving him zero space to breathe. Dawodu kept working to improve his position, but Evloev was relentless with his pursuit. Evloev made his way to the back and threatened with an RNC. The sub wasn’t there, so Evloev elected to punch away from the back of his opponent.
The second stanza saw Evloev quickly close the distance again, and go right to the back of his foe. Dawodu was able to explode up and back to his feet, but Evloev immediately jumped onto the back again. That’s where Dawodu remained for the rest of the round, eating punches and getting controlled.
Evloev wasn’t so quick to grapple in the final frame. He chose to stand in open space, trading with Dawodu. This gave Dawodu opportunity to land some strikes of his own to get on the board. The jab of Dawodu stung Evloev, and then another one dropped him to one knee. That’s when Evloev finally closed the distance to put Dawodu in the wash cycle for the rest of the time.