The UFC 263 early prelims just wrapped up with the promotion’s #11 ranked women’s bantamweight, Pannie Kianzad, holding off a quite-game Alexis Davis to take a unanimous decision. She had to grit through a couple of men calf kicks, but it was the boxing of Kianzad that aided her in taking the unanimous nod. In her post-fight interview, the now winner of four-straight called for a bout with Raquel Pennington.
Before that, Terrance McKinney made good on his UFC debut with a wicked seven-second knockout of Matt Frevola. All it took was a blistering 1-2 to drop Frevola, and then a short barrage of ground strikes sealed the deal. This was quite an exceptional showing, but unfortunately McKinney injured his knee by jumping off of the top of the Octagon in celebration. Hopefully that injury won’t hinder his return.
Earlier in the night, Steven Peterson took a grinding decision over Chase Hooper. Peterson wasn’t afraid to grapple with the ground fighter, and in fact thrived there. It was a solid win for Peterson, but he did miss weight for this and was forced to give up a percentage of his purse to Hooper.
We got a tale of two fights in Fares Ziam vs. Luigi Vendramini. Ziam got off to a great start across two rounds, pumping his jab and commanding the cage, but then the third round was all Vendramini. He rocked Ziam with a blitz of punches, and then found some more success in top position. Despite the late surge, the judges decided that Ziam did enough in the first-two frames to avoid the draw, and take home the majority decision.
Opening up the event, Carlos Felipe and Jake Collier tried on the feet for just about the full 15-minutes. The heavyweights went back and forth, trading hefty leather with a reasonable amount of volume for the division. When the dust had settled, it was Felipe who took home the split decision. Don’t look now but Carlos is on a three fight winning streak.
**See complete results below
Pannie Kianzad def. Alexis Davis by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28) : (W) Bantamweight
Kianzad got off to a good start, using her jab and cross to bust open the face of Davis early on. Davis was getting caught moving forward, with Kianzad picking her off as she closed the distance. Davis responded with a hard calf kick, and began to work some boxing of her own, but Kianzad was being slicker with her punches.
Davis went back to her calf kick in the second round. They were starting to add up and Kianzad began to show signs of her leg being compromised. Kianzad was still throwing out her punches, but Davis was coming forward behind volume... and more calf kicks. The round ended with Davis hitting a trip and scoring a couple of ground strikes before the bell. The final round saw Kianzad slow down a bit in terms of output. Davis kept working the leg and being the fighter with more bounce in her step. She was the one applying pressure and bloodying up Kianzad’s face.
Terrance McKinney def. Matt Frevola by KO at :07 of round 1: Lightweight
Well, this one didn’t last very long! McKinney came out and just blasted Frevola with a crisp jab-cross that floored him. A couple of ground strikes later and McKinney won his UFC debut. Wow! Just wow!
Steven Peterson def. Chase Hooper by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Featherweight
Peterson stung his foe early in the match, prompting Hooper to pull guard. Peterson smashed down with a couple of elbows, and thwarted several sweep attempts. Hooper eventually got to his feet, and actually hit a takedown. He then dropped back to attack a leg, and ate a couple of blows for his troubles, but started a lengthy game of footsie.
Hooper shot in right away in round two, but Peterson fought hard and stayed on his feet. Peterson jumped a guillotine to defend a takedown, but was able to quickly work back to his feet. Hooper then pulled guard again, but Peterson was content to chip away with ground strikes and fend off some far submission attempts.
Peterson touched gloves to start the final round and threw a punch with his other hand at the same time. Hooper tried to shoot in, but Peterson stuffed it and and ended up snagging a takedown of his own. Peterson went for an arm triangle, but Hooper used the moment to escape and take the back with about a minute to go in the match. That’s where the fight stayed until the horn.
Fares Ziam def. Luigi Vendramini by majority decision (29-28 x2, 28-28): Lightweight
Ziam took the center of the Octagon to start the fight, throwing a lot of feints and working his jab. Vendramini stayed on his back foot, looking to counter but spending a lot of time waiting. He was struggling to get close enough to land without getting stuck with something coming in. Ziam showcased excellent cage generalship.
Vendramini was able to close the distance at the beginning of the second stanza, but Ziam effortlessly shucked off the advance. That left Vendramini stuck in open space having to deal with the polished standup of Ziam. It was a bunch of jabs and feints, but they were quite effective at disrupting whatever rhythm Vendramini was trying to build.
Vendramini rallied in the final frame, rocking Ziam with a right hand and going in for the kill. Ziam tried to back pedal, but Vendramini kept landing. Ziam hit the floor and Vendramini happily followed him down there. Vendramini tried to set up a couple of submission attempts, and a few ground strikes, but Ziam was able to scramble up back to his feet.
Carlos Felipe def. Jake Collier by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Heavyweight
The big men got busy right away, sawngin’ and bangin’ and staying right in each other’s face. Felipe was one the pressing forward, with Collier looking to counter. Both men exchanging in the pocket, and both were connecting. A mouse formed under the right eye of Felipe towards the end of the round, but it didn’t seem to affect his vision at all.
The second round saw more brawling to get things going. Collier was still trying to counter, but Felipe was doing his best to lure Jake into an ugly fight. Felipe started to attack the body, ripping to both sides with hooks. It looked as if Collier was slowing down.
Felipe brought the heat to begin the final round. He went right after Collier, launching hooks in combinations. Jake ended up shooting for a takedown just to ease the pressure, but Carlos sprawled beautifully. As the round went on, Collier started to throw and land his jab and cross, but Felipe was still unleashing his hooks and overhands. The fighters brawled it out for the final 10-seconds in what was a rather entertaining affair.