The UFC 264 prelims just came to a close in the welterweight division when Max Griffin earned a unanimous decision over former interim champion, Carlos Condit. Griffin looked sharp right out of the gate, battering the calf of Condit and even scoring a first-round knockdown. Condit would rally in the second stanza as the output of Griffin wasn’t what it was in the previous round, and the final frame was close. Both men were landing their respective shots, but Griffin had the more meaningful moments. Max “Pain” Griffin has now put together three straight wins, with Condit being the largest feather in his cap thus far.
We got grueling war in the welterweight division when Niko Price and Michel Pereira threw down for the full 15-minutes. This was a tale of two fights as Pereira got off to a strong start, including a patented back flip guard pass. Then, Price started to rally late in the second and into the third. By the end of the fight, Michel was in survival mode while Niko tried his best to pour it on. The decision went to Pereira, who is now riding a three-fight winning streak.
We got a brutal knockout on the ground when Ilia Topuria brutalized Ryan Hall on the floor in the first-round. Hall tried to execute his usual funky Imanari rolls, but Topuria was well prepared and dropped a fight ending barrage of ground strikes that put Hall completely to sleep. Topuria extends his unblemished record to 3-0 in the UFC, and 11-0 overall.
Opening up this portion of the prelims, Dricus Du Plessis pulled off a sensational second-round knockout of Trevin Giles. It was just as Giles started opening up and had Du Plessis backed up to the cage that it happened. Du Plessis exploded forward with a powerful right hand that sent Giles crashing to the canvas. A brief barrage of ground and pound occurred before the referee stepped in and waved off the bout. In his debut he stopped the show with his left hand, and this time around it was his right. The future is looking quite bright for one Du Plessis.
**See complete results below
Max Griffin def. Carlos Condit by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Welterweight
Griffin attacked right away, going after the legs of Condit. The kicks kept coming from Griffin, and Condit wasn’t blocking any of them. The left calf of Condit was starting to show some redness from the blows. Carlos was really struggling to get anything going. Then things went from bad to worse as Max dropped Condit with a left hook. The former interim champ recovered and started to return fighter, but wasn’t even close to to taking back the momentum.
Griffin continued to attack the leg in the second round, but Condit was coming alive with some crafty veteran salt. He was scoring with an assortment of tricks and his confidence seemed to be growing. The output of Griffin had dwindled down a lot from where it was in the opening round. He didn’t appear to be gassing out, but for some reason he wasn’t throwing as much and Condit was back in the fight.
Griffin pressured right away in the third frame, and Condit went right back at him. Condit took the center of the Octagon, making Griffin have to come forward to strike. Both fighters were throwing and both men were landing, particularly with their respective left hooks. Carlos looked for a level change and shot in for a takedown, but Griffin wasn’t having it and blasted him with a right hand. Max then hit a takedown of his own with less than a minute to go. Condit got up and used a Kimura sweep to take the back as time expired.
Michel Pereira def. Niko Price by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Welterweight
The bout was paused just as quick as it got going. An accidental eye poke from Price brought a time out in the first 30-seconds. The fight resumed and Price shot in for the takedown against the cage. Pereira remained vertical and freed himself into open space. Price pressured and Pereira was content to counter off the back foot. Solid round for Pereira, but Price was definitely right there with him.
Price fell to his back while throwing a kick, and Pereira elected to back flip onto Price. As price complained to the referee about being hit in the head by a foot, Pereira took full mount. Pereira attacked with an Americana and an arm triangle, but Price was able to survive. Niko used a kneebar attempt to get back to his feet, where Pereira took a deep breath. Price started to pour it on, pushing the pace and throwing volume. He switched to grinding Pereira into the fence, before the fighters started trading in the pocket just before the bell.
Price went right at Pereira in the final frame, flurrying his way on the inside. Pereira continued to look labored, and then got himself a break when he kicked Price in the cup. Niko didn’t take much time, though, and went right back to swinging his punches in bunches. Pereira was doing his best not to get overwhelmed, but Price was coming. By the time the bell had sounded, Niko was completely in control in the driver’s seat.
Ilia Topuria def. Ryan Hall by KO at 4:47 of round 1: Featherweight
Hall kept his distance right away, and then launched a spinning back kick to the head. Topuria wore it well, and then quickly had to fight off a rolling leg attack. Several more rolling attacks came flying in, but Topuria was defending well and landing strikes along the way. Then, as Hall was doing his funk, Topuria unloaded some mean ground and pound that wasn’t blocked at all. hall went unconscious. Yikes!
Dricus Du Plessis def. Trevin Giles by KO at 1:41 of round 2: Middleweight
Du Plessis attacked with a variety of kicks to the legs and body, but which Giles was able to block most of them and remain defensively sound. Du Plessis began leaping in with explosive strikes, but wasn’t able to hit his mark. Giles then threatened with a guillotine to fight off a takedown, but that turned into an exciting scramble. Giles reversed into a dominant position, but Du Plessis used a Kimura sweep to get on top and finish the round there.
Giles looked to work the body early in the second round, with with punchers and knees. Du Plessis was attacking the lead calf of Giles, and he was getting through. Giles backed up Du Plessis to the cage, but that would turn out to be a grave move. Giles lands a hard combination, but Du Plessis responded by blasting forward with a sinister cross that landed on the money. The blow completely floored Giles, and a couple of follow up punches sealed the deal.