The UFC Vegas 35 event just concluded after a six-bout main card, all capped off with the promotion’s #10 rated featherweight, Giga Chikadze, stopping the #9 rated, Edson Barboza, with a barrage of blows in the third round. The fight was close up until the third, and that’s when Giga stormed the castle of the longtime ranked veteran. Chikadze has won all-seven of his UFC matches, including Cub Swanson and now Edson barboza. In his post-fight interview, Giga asked for a fight with Max Holloway, or to be an alternate for the upcoming 145-pound title fight between the champ, Alexander Volkanovski, and the challenger, Brian Ortega.
In the TUF middleweight finale, Bryan Battle overcame some early adversity to submit Gilbert Urbina with a rear-naked choke in the second-round. Battle was in serious trouble in the opening act, but he weathered the storm and fought his way back into it. Come round-two, Battle managed to take the back, sink the sub. and win the reality show.
The TUF bantamweight finale was decided in an all out war when Ricky Turcios took a unanimous decision over Brady Hiestand. Both men left everything out there in a gritty war of attrition, but tonight belonged to Turcios. Both were scoring in open space, but it was Ricky who was the one dishing out punishment during the scrambles. Turcios is officially in the UFC, and honestly Hiestand put up such a good fight that he’ll probably be back with the promotion sooner rather than later.
Earlier on the UFC Vegas 35 main card, Daniel Rodriguez picked up a gritty unanimous nod to spoil Kevin Lee’s return to welterweight. Lee had a strong opening round, but Rodriguez wobbled his foe in the second, and out-struck Kevin in the third to take the win. Rodriguez is someone who has been consistently rising to the occasion, posting up an impressive 6-1 promotional record.
In what was a successful UFC debut, Andre Petroski removed the need for judges by stopping Micheal Gillmore in the third round with some mean ground and pound. Petroski hit a takedown right away in the third, and was able to lock up a gift wrap where he dropped a whole lot of elbows to end the match.
Opening up the main card, Gerald Meerschaert overcame some early adversity to sniff out a second-round RNC and upset the card’s biggest betting favorite, Makhmud Muradov. It was Makhmud bombing away in the first frame, but Gerald got his act together in round-two, and started letting his hands go. That’s what enabled him to secure the back, and then it was only a matter of time before Muradov was tapping. This makes back-to-back wins for GM3, both by way of strangulation.
**See complete results below
Giga Chikadze def. Edson Barboza by TKO at 1:44 of round 3: Featherweight
Barboza took the center of the Octagon, with Chikadze skirting along the outside. The fighters went back and forth with kicks, with proper blocking going down on both sides. Chikadze seemed to have the faster hands, and was the fighter mixing in the unorthodox strikes. Barboza was sticking to the fundamentals. Giga unleashed a flurry towards the end of the round, causing Barboza to back pedal.
Chikadze was exploding in with his straight punches in the second act. He was catching Barboza off guard with his speed and timing, but Edson was pressuring. Barboza was keeping Giga’s back to the fence, and he started attacking the calf. The output of Chikadze started to slow down towards the end of the round.
Chikadze did early damage in the third act. After landing a mean knee to the body, he stormed Edson’s castle with a series of laser straights. He wobbled Barboza before dropping him, and threatened with an anaconda choke, before standing up and letting his hands go again. That when another laser staggered Barboza, enticing the referee to stop the fight.
Bryan Battle def. Gilbert Urbina by submission (RNC) at 2:15 of round 2: Middleweight
Urbina started hot! He rocked Battle early with heavy punches on the inside. From there, he put Battle on his back, and landed a barrage of heavy ground strikes. Battle eventually made it back to his feet, but he had a lot of ground to make up. He actually landed some descent punches and kicks, but Urbina switched back to his wrestling to get Gilbert defensive. Battle battled his way into a dominant position in the clinch, and even landed some quality bows before the bell.
Gilbert started strong in the second act, unloading some volume at his opponent and backing him up. Urbina responded by grabbing ahold of a body lock, and used the position to try and land some sneaky elbows. Battle switched the position and managed to take the back. He locked up a RNC and Urbina elected to tap.
Ricky Turcios def. Brady Hiestand by unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Bantamweight
Hiestand closed the distance immediately, planting Turcios on his back. Turcios landed a bunch of punches from his back, but as soon as he stood to his feet, he was taken right back down. Ricky hit a switch, but lost back control and locked up a triangle. The whole time Turcios was throwing hammerfists and punches, causing bleeding from the face of Hiestand. Back on the feet, the fighters brawled it out. Both men landed, with Turcios seeming to just get the better of the exchanges.
Hiestand closed the distance again to begin the second act. He pressed Turcios against the fence, and ate elbows as he secured the takedown. Turcios worked back up to his feet, scoring with some more elbows before entering open space. Hiestand landed a big overhand punch, which prompted Turcios to blast a takedown of his own. Turcios went right to the back, but Hiestand scrambled out and went to the back of Ricky. A crazy scramble ensued, with Turcios jumping a guillotine, losing it, and then working back to his feet.
The athletes traded in the pocket to open the final frame. Neither man was willing to give an inch. Then, Turcios wobbled his foe with a cross, and then dropped him with another one. Hiestand switched into wrestling mode, pinning Ricky against the cage. Several Travis Browne elbows landed for Turcios as Hiestand held on trying to control. Turcios stood up and pressed Hiestand against the fence. The fighters brawled back and forth, giving everything they had until the final bell.
Daniel Rodriguez def. Kevin Lee by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Welterweight
Lee opened up the match with a set of kicks to the body, followed by him commanding the center of the cage. Rodriguez stayed on the outside, pumping his jab and launching leg kicks. He was able to fend off the first takedown attempt from Lee, but not the second. Lee landed a slick cross to ankle pick to take top position, where he stayed for the rest of the round. Some words were exchanged between the fighters after the bell, forcing the ref to usher Lee to his corner.
Rodriguez took the center of the cage to open the second stanza. He stuffed the initial takedown drive, but not the second. Lee took the back, but lost position when Rodriguez spun around on top of him. Back on the feet, Lee was scoring with his jab, and Rodriguez was connecting with more leg kicks. In an exchange, Rodriguez clipped Lee with a left hook that wobbled him. The round ended with Lee shooting for a takedown.
Rodriguez pressed Lee to start the final round. He was landing a bunch of punches while shutting down the takedown attempts. Lee came up with a big leg kick, that led to him scoring a takedown. It took a little bit, but Rodriguez was ultimately able to free himself without sustaining much damage. The fighters traded potential fight-enders down the stretch, with both men missing wide.
Andre Petroski def. Micheal Gillmore by TKO at 3:12 of round 3: Middleweight
Petroski was rushing in trying to find an entry on the inside, but Gillmore was picking him off with his boxing. It took Petroski landing a big overhand for him to get under the hips and score a lifting takedown. Petroski was all over his opponent, flowing from position to position and keeping Gillmore in a defensive position for the rest of the round.
Petroski pressured to start the second round, with Gillmore using leg kicks to keep the distance. Gillmore was successfully stuffing the takedown advances of Petroski, which seemed to tax the gas tank of Michael. The fighters the started going blow for blow. One man would land a hard punch, and then it was the other man’s turn. Petroski switched thing up by changing levels, blasting a takedown and taking top position. He was also able to drop a couple off hammers before the bell.
Petroski went right tot he takedown to open the final act, putting Gillmore on his backside with tons of time on the clock. He landed several short punches while maintaining control. Gillmore was trying different tactics to get up, like kicking his legs off of the cage, but Petroski was just too good on top. Petroski locked up a gift wrap, and dropped elbow after elbow until the referee stepped in.
Gerald Meerschaert def. Makhmud Muradov by submission (RNC) at 1:49 of round 2: Middleweight
Meerschaert went right after Muradov, until an accidental eye poke from Gerald caused a momentary pause. The fight restarted and Muradov clipped Meerschaert rushing in. He landed several more hard blows, putting Meerschaert in a bit of danger. Gerald began shooting desperation takedowns, but he was also throwing effective kicks. Well, effective until one went to the cup and sent Muradov crashing to the floor in agony. Upon the restart, Meerschaert started blasting his foe with several punches, and even landed a head kick. He closed the round on the back of Muradov punching away.
Meerschaert pressed forward to open the second round. He was eating punches and leg kicks, but he was getting through with some bombs of his own while pushing the pace. Meerschaert jumped on the back again, and quickly started fighting for the RNC. Muradov was caught slipping and GM3 earned the tap!