UFC Vegas 35: Barboza vs. Chikadze was a fun night of fights. The featherweight headliner between two of the most elite strikers in the division resulted in a highlight-reel knockout. The return of the Ultimate Fighter saw two new names join the exclusive club of show winners.
The preliminary portion of the card opened with the promotional debut of Mana Martinez, who got his first UFC win after besting Guido Cannetti by way of split decision. Pat Sabatini went toe-to-toe on the ground with Jamall Emmers and secured a nasty heel-hook submission over his opponent in less than two minutes. JJ Aldrich welcomed a short-notice replacement in Vanessa Demopoulos to the Octagon and outstruck the ‘Lil’ Monster’ en route to a unanimous decision win. Dustin Jacoby turned things violent again with a rare standing technical knockout over Darren Stewart in the first round. Wellington Turman and Sam Alvey saw their fight tainted with a number of unfortunate fouls, but the former walked away with a split decision over the latter. Abdul Razak Alhassan closed the preliminary fights out with an insane 17-second head kick knockout of Alessio Di Chirico.
The main portion of the card saw middleweights Gerald Meerschaert and Makhmud Muradov stun each other in some exciting exchanges, but ‘GM3’ was able to take the fight to the ground and sink in a rear-naked choke. Another middleweight fight followed and it was between alumni of the Ultimate Fighter 29 and promotional newcomers Andre Petroski and Micheal Gillmore. Petroski elbowed his way to victory and stopped Gillmore in the third round. Daniel Rodriguez earned what is arguably the biggest win of his professional career thus far with a unanimous decision over Kevin Lee on just two weeks’ notice. Ricky Turcios and Brady Hiestand went to war in their bantamweight finale fight for TUF 29, but it was Turcios who came out on top and was ultimately crowned the next Ultimate Fighter. Bryan Battle battled back from early adversity and ended his middleweight finale fight for TUF 29, submitting Gilbert Urbina with a rear-naked choke to become the second Ultimate Fighter.
The main event delivered exactly what was promised as Edson Barboza and Giga Chikadze kept the fight standing and opted to punish each other with violent kicks. The Georgian fighter wobbled Barboza in the third round and, after threatening with a few submission attempts, finished it on the feet. Chikadze has now stopped his last three opponents by way of technical knockout.
Performance of the Night: Pat Sabatini, Abdul Razak Alhassan, Gerald Meerschaert and Giga Chikadze
Pat Sabatini def. Jamall Emmers by submission (heel hook) at 1:53 of round 1
Dustin Jacoby def. Darren Stewart by TKO (punches) at 3:04 of round 1
Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Alessio di Chirico by KO (head kick) at :17 of round 1
Gerald Meerschaert def. Makhmud Muradov by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:49 of round 2
Andre Petroski def. Micheal Gillmore by TKO (elbows) at 3:12 of round 3
Bryan Battle def. Gilbert Urbina by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:15 of round 2
Giga Chikadze defeated Edson Barboza via TKO (strikes) at 1:44 of round 3
Fight of the Night: Ricky Turcios and Brady Hiestand (undisclosed bonus)
Mana Martinez def. Guido Cannetti by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
JJ Aldrich def. Vanessa Demopoulos by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Wellington Turman def. Sam Alvey by split decision (27-28, 28-27, 28-27)
Daniel Rodriguez def. Kevin Lee by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Ricky Turcios def. Brady Hiestand by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)