The UFC Vegas 28 preliminary card was short on finishes, and just closed out with a set of heavyweights going the distance in the form of Tanner Boser vs. Ilir Latifi. Boser did the bulk of his work on the feet in open space across the first two rounds, while Latifi had his moment late on the ground. At the end of the day, two of the three judges saw the fight in favor of Latifi, with the remaining official siding with Boser. This split decision win breaks up a three-fight losing skid, and is his first win in the bigger division.
Earlier in the night, Muslim Salikhov took all three scorecards against an always-game Francisco Trinaldo. It was the hand speed and counter strikes of Salikhov that kept him ahead of Trinaldo, aiding him in his fifth straight UFC victory. Might be time for the “King of Kung Fu” to take a step up in competition.
We got an unfortunate no contest in the UFC’s lightweight division when Alan Patrick was poked in the eye by Mason Jones in the second-round. It’s especially unfortunate for Jones, who was having a stellar fight and seemed to be en route to a possible finish before the fight-ending foul. Both men were looking to get back into the win column, s perhaps they’ll run it back?
The women’s flyweight division saw a spectacular showcase from Manon Fiorot, who absolutely stormed the castle of Tabatha Ricci, pulling off a standing TKO in the second round. Fiorot unleashed some savage boxing skills, complete with tremendous power for the division. The stakes two up and two down in her UFC career, both by way of finish.
**See complete results below
Ilir Latifi def. Tanner Boser by split decision (29-28 x2, 27-29): Heavyweight
Boser opened the match with cracking kicks to the body. Latifi responded by catching one of those kicks and putting Boser on his back. Latifi made Boser carry his weight, staying on top and eating clock. Boser finally scrambled up top his feet, and kept Latifi on the outside until the bell.
Boser looked to stick and move in the second round, all while still keeping Latifi on the outside. Whenever Latifi tried to close the distance, Boser would light him up and thwart his forward momentum. Then, Latifi dropped to the canvas holding his eye, but the referee did not step in for a break, and Boser pounced for the kill. Several strong ground strikes rained down, but Latifi somehow worked his way up and out of harms way. Latifi went back to the takedown early in the final round. From the full guard, Latifi roughed up his opponent with short hammers. He slowly transitioned into the half guard, dropping more blows along the way as time ticked away. Boser did not return to his feet.
Muslim Salikhov def. Francisco Trinaldo by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Welterweight
Trinaldo applied early pressure, while Salikhov looked to counter him with stinging kicks. Trinaldo would wade in with haymakers, but Salikhov would grab ahold of the Thai plum to put him back on the defensive. Then, Salikhov clipped Trinaldo with an uppercut on the inside that dropped him. Salikhov tried to finish with ground strikes, but ran out of time.
Salikhov continued to work his counters in the second round. He rocked Trinaldo with a counter hook, but somehow Francisco recovered and got back to swinging haymakers. It really came down to the speed advantage of Salikhov. Trinaldo would rush in with some heat, but couldn’t help but eat some counters for his troubles.
An accidental eye poke is what sadly started the third round. After some time, Salikhov was finally able to continue and the match was restarted. Trinaldo applied the pressure, getting in Salikhov’s face and doing his best to make it ugly. Salikhov handled the pressure rather well, sticking to his counters and being the faster fighter out there. With less than a minute to go, Salikhov hit an aggressive takedown to finish up the match on top.
Kamuela Kirk def. Makwan Amirkhani by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Featherweight
This one started out a bit slow, with a bunch of feeling out going on. Then, shot in and got himself a slamming takedown. Kirk was instantly back up, but then was instantly put right back down. Kirk eventually worked back to his feet, but was briefly dropped with a check hook. The round ended with Kirk landing a kick to the face with his foot.
Kirk came out for the second round touching Amirkhani with his hands. Amirkhani responded by changing levels and putting Kirk on his back. Kirk was throwing small strikes from his back, and then locked up a tight triangle armbar. Somehow, Amirkhani hung tough and escaped.
In the final frame, Amirkhani used his punches to set up his takedown. He planted Kirk on his back, and went back to controlling from the top. Kirk threw up another brief triangle attempt, but Amirkhani was hip to it this time and easily shucked it off. Amirkhani botched a takedown attempt, and Kirk gladly took top position until the bell.
Alan Patrick vs. Mason Jones ruled a no contest 2:14 of round 2: Lightweight
Patrick threw all sorts of unorthodox strikes at Jones to get things going. He was spinning and swinging from funky angles, but wasn’t really connecting with much. Jones stayed composed and defensively responsible, countering Patrick when appropriate. He even took top position after some Patrick wildness, and dropped some damaging blows that cut open Alan.
Jones closed the distance early in the second round, planting Patrick on his back. He allowed Patrick to stand up, just to blast him with a series of hard counters. Then, an accidental eye poke to Patrick brought a halt to the bout. The doctor was brought in, and Patrick stated that he was unable to see, so the fight was waved off.
Manon Fiorot def. Tabatha Ricci by TKO at 3:00 of round 2: (W) Flyweight
Fiorot pressured forward behind her strikes, backing up Ricci and keeping her defensive. Fiorot was mixing up her hands with angry head kicks. Ricci shot in a couple of times, but Fiorot was having none of it. The second round saw more of the same. Fiorot bullied her way forward, peppering Ricci with all sorts of punches. She even dropped Ricci with a piston-like cross. Ricci somehow stood up, but the punches kept coming until the referee had seen enough. Wow!
Sean Woodson def. Youssef Zalal by unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Featherweight
Woodson came out throwing a stiff jab, while Zalal was deploying a calf kick attack. Zalal was leaping in with his left hook, connecting on the taller fighter. Woodson was struggling to connect as Zalal was being rather slick on the feet. Zalal also switched things up by shooting in and pressing Woodson against the fence. Woodson gave up the takedown with about ten seconds to go, but did scramble up just before the horn.
Woodson pressured with more urgency to kick off the second act, but Zalal stayed crafty with his foot work, and went back to working for the takedown. He broke free and Woodson started to work a takedown attempt of his own, but Zalal remained vertical and returned to open space. Woodson started to show more urgency, and jumped a guillotine at the end of the round.
Zalal stayed with his takedown attempt attack to start the final round. He pressed Woodson against the fence, but just couldn’t get the fight to the floor. The strike count was favoring Woodson, as Zalal was mostly looking to grapple. Woodson jumped another guillotine attempt, but Zalal scrambled out, and the fighters exchanged for the final moments until the bell.
Claudio Puelles def. Jordan Leavitt by unanimous decision (29-28 x3) : Lightweight
The match started with the fighters exchanging leg kicks back and forth, before Leavitt shot in for a single leg. That initiated a fun and lengthy back and forth scramble. Leavitt stayed with the single, but just struggled to keep Puelles down. Puelles fought his way up on several occasions, and then attempted a double leg of his own. Leavitt fought off the advance, but ultimately conceded the bottom position. That’s where the round ended.
The second round started off with Leavitt going right back to his single leg attack, but Puelles was ready for it. Puelles stuffed the attempt and took top position because of it. He stayed there, controlling and not allowing Leavitt to get back to his feet. Puelles transitioned to the back, and held on there until the bell.
Puelles went right for a takedown to open the final frame, putting Leavitt on his back in the center of the Octagon. Leavitt tried to move and improve his position, but Puelles did a sound job of maintaining control. The referee decided there wasn’t enough action going on and elected to stand up the fighters. Puelles just took Leavitt right back down to the mat and finished up the round on top yet again.