The UFC 265 preliminary card is in the books, and it began with a slick finish and was followed by a trio of decisions. The featured prelim of the night saw Rafael Fiziev win a scrappy war with longtime UFC veteran, Bobby Green. Fiziev relied on his sound fundamentals to address the standard Bobby Green funk, and held off a late surge to walk away with win. Rafael extends his winning streak to four, and adds another impressive name to his resume.
In the bantamweight division, we got a technical battle between Drako Rodriguez and Vince Morales. The fight was competitive throughout its entirety, with neither man really taking over at any point, but each man holding their own. As it was, the judges sided with Morales, who has gotten himself back into the win column.
The first decision of UFC 265 was basically due to the sheer toughness of 25 UFC-fight veteran Ed Herman. Alonzo Menifield threw everything he had at Herman, ultimately walking away with three scores of 30-27. Menifield viciously attacked the lower lead leg of Herman, dropping him several times, and even causing some swelling so bad that the doctor came in at one point to take a look at it. Not only did Alonzo showcase a lot more composure than he has in the past, but he has now also pieced together back to back victories.
Kicking off this portion of the prelims, Jessica Penne hit a first-round armbar on Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Oddly enough, it was Kowalkiewicz who initiated the grappling exchange, and that’s when Penne took over. She out-classed Kowalkiewicz on the mat, chasing down an armbar while making all the proper adjustments en route to the tap. This is the first time in a long time (2014) that Jessica has pieced together consecutive wins. Sadly, this is Kowalkiewicz’s fifth straight loss in the UFC, which means this could be the last time we see her in the Octagon.
**See complete results below
Rafael Fiziev def. Bobby Green by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Lightweight
Green was up to his usual elusive self to get things going here. Fiziev was delivering smooth and technical combinations, but Green was rolling with a lot of those strikes. Green snuck in a couple of clean counters, but the antics didn’t seem to discourage Rafael any. Fiziev started blasting the body with kicks and taunting Bobby right back.
Fiziev started hot in the second round, attacking Green right away with an aggressive flurry, and following up his punches with body kicks. Green was doing his best to flow with them, but Fiziev rocked him with a set of right hands. Fiziev unloaded another flurry, but Green somehow came alive with a flurry of his own.
Green came out swinging in the third round, doing his best to make it a dog fight. Fiziev started to slow down with his output, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Green was surging and racking up numbers on the strike count. Fiziev went back to kicking the body, and Bobby was steadily letting his hands go. As the round came to an end, the fighters let it all hang out and threw down until the final bell.
Vince Morales def. Drako Rodriguez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Bantamweight
Morales was aiming with his right hand right away in this one. He wasn’t really landing, but he was being aggressive. Rodriguez remained relaxed, firing back quick jabs that were touching their target. Morales stayed consistent with his right hand, and a couple of them started to get through. This round got a little sticky at times, causing the road to have spurts of restlessness.
As Rodriguez threw a kick to begin the second round, Morales floored him with a clean right hand. Morales elected to stand up, and allowed his adversary to stand as well. Rodriguez then shot in for a takedown against the cage, where he hit a series of short-lived takedowns. Back in open space, Morales connected a couple of times on the inside, and Rodriguez was able to connect with some counters that cut him off.
Morales continued to pressure in the final frame, still staying fully committed to his right hand. Rodriguez landed his quick straights and then got right back on defense. Morales switched gears and hunted for a takedown, but Rodriguez was having none of it and returned to open space. Morales was still being the aggressor, pushing the pace even if we was missing a lot of strikes.
Alonzo Menifield def. Ed Herman by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Light Heavyweight
Menifield was head hunting right out of the gate, loading up and looking to launch his right hand. He was also mixing in kicks to the lead calf, which weren’t being checked at all. Herman responded with a crafty check hook that had Menifield covering up while backpedaling. Menifield started working his jab at the advice of his corner, and then went back to brutalizing Herman’s lead leg.
Menifield slipped into the turtle position in the second act, and although Herman tried to pounce on him and take the back, Alonzo was too explosive to be held down. That’s when Menifield started to storm the castle of Herman, to the point where he was shelling up against the cage. Herman broke free and started walking down Menifield, but kept walking into right hands. Credit to Herman for eating them like a champ. Menifield went back to the leg, causing Ed to switch up his stance for the rest of the round. He even snuck in one that dropped the veteran at the bell.
The doctor came in before the final frame to check out the leg of Herman, and deemed him fit to continue. The third round started and Menifield exploded into Herman and muscled top position. He then elected to stand back up, which seemed to be smart since Ed was basically operating on one leg. The pace slowed down significantly, with Menifield taking fewer risks than the previous round, and not doing anything to get himself knocked out.
Jessica Penne def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz by submission (Armbar) at 4:32 of round 1: Strawweight
Kowalkiewicz caught a kick in the first act that gave her top position, but Penne quickly reversed her and took top position. Penne weathered several up kick attempts before she was able to drop some strikes of her own. Kowalkiewicz rolled for a leg, but Penne defended well and went for an armbar of her own. Penne stayed after the arm, adjusting and flowing with Kowalkiewicz’s escape attempts, until the the submission was fully sunk and a tap was achieved.