Stay up to date with what’s happening today at UFC Vegas 65, which is going down at an earlier than usual start time from the APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The top of the billing will include ranked heavyweights when the UFC’s #7 ranked, Derrick Lewis, gets busy with the #12 ranked, Sergey Spivak.
**Update: The fight between Derrick Lewis and Sergey Spivak has been cancelled due to an undisclosed Lewis illness. Ion Cutelaba vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu is the new main event, but will still only be a three-rounder.
Lewis was finished in three of his last four fights, but he is lethal for every second he’s in there with that one-hitter-quitter power. To be fair to Derrick, he has been competing against much, much more elite opposition. Spivac hasn’t made his way to the top of the mountain yet, but he has won four of his last five — and finished three of them with ground and pound.
In the UFC Vegas 65 co-main event, the light heavyweight division will be featured when Ion Cutelaba meets Kennedy Nzechukwu.
Like the main event, the co-main also features a matchup where one guy is coming off of a win, and the other a loss. Cutelaba was submitted in the first round of his previous two fights, and has only won one of his last six, but he is always entertaining. Nzechukwu is looking for back-to-back wins after knocking out Karl Roberson back in July of this year. Kennedy has been in some fun scraps, and for better or worse, five of his seven UFC appearances ended inside the distance.
The main card is slated for 4:00pm ET/1:00pm PT, and the preliminary bouts begin at 1:00pm ET/10:00am, PT — all of which can be streamed on ESPN+.
Derrick Lewis vs. Sergey Spivak: Heavyweight
Kennedy Nzechukwu def. Ion Cutelaba by TKO at 1:02 of round 2: Light Heavyweight
Cutelaba surprised Nzechukwu right away with some big punches, and then Ion changed levels and started to grind away. He pressed Nzechukwu against the cage, making his taller opponent carry his weight. Cutelaba got earned a takedown and landed right in full mount, but Nzechukwu was able to stand back up before any real damage could be dished out. Despite making it to his feet, Nzechukwu was taken right back down to the mat. The round ended with Nzechukwu getting back up and hunting for his own takedown against the cage.
Nzechukwu intercepted a Cutelaba takedown with a well-timed knee. From there, Nzechukwu started to let his hands go, overwhelming a dazed Cutelaba. Nzechukwu went on to drop Cutelaba, and then pounded away with punches until the referee stepped in. What a finish!
Waldo Cortes-Acosta def. Chase Sherman by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Heavyweight
Sherman came out working his leg kicks, with Cortes-Acosta failing to defend them. It was Sherman who was being the more polished strike out there, using basic fundamentals to score points. A coupe of big punches got through for Cortes-Acosta towards the end of the round, but Sherman came up with a late takedown.
Cortes-Acosta let his hands go to begin the second stanza. He was tagging up Sherman with multiple punches to swing the momentum in his favor. The output of Sherman severely dwindled in this round. He wasn’t throwing feints and got away from his leg attack, but he was showcasing tremendous heart by staying on his feet in the face of so many punches.
Both heavyweights were a bit labored to start the final round, but that’s to be expected with this sort of pace from the big guys. Sherman was being more busy than he was in the second round, and got back to kicking the leg, but the more impactful strikes were coming from Cortes-Acosta.
Muslim Salikhov def. Andre Fialho by TKO at 1:03 of round 3: Welterweight
This one started out a little sticky, with neither man being able to get their striking going. It was Salikhov who changed levels and hit a takedown, but it didn’t last very long. When Fialho stood up, he clocked Salikhov with a sneaky right hook that sent him stumbling. There was some instant swelling around the left eye of Salikhov, but it didn’t seem to bother him much.
Salikhov closed the distance to begin round two, but Fialho was able to stuff the takedown attempt. In open space, Salikhov was connecting with explosive spinning back kicks to the midsection that seemed to be catching Fialho off guard. The output of Fialho slowed down, meanwhile Salikhov was landing with various powerful spinning techniques. Salikhov then wobbled Fialho with a huge punch, and then he got on top and started to drop hammers. This was quite a dominant round for the “King of Kung Fu.”
Salikhov hurt Fialho within the first-minute of the final round with a wicked spinning back kick to the body. He followed up with a nasty spinning wheel kick that discombobulated Fialho to the point where the referee needed to step in and stop it. What a victory!
Jack Della Maddalena def. Danny Roberts by TKO at 3:24 of round 1: Welterweight
Della Maddalena went right to tagging up Roberts with his boxing. Roberts was in big trouble early, getting lit up with heavy leather. Jack knocked down Danny with a beautiful combo, and then took top position for a bit. Roberts worked back to his feet, but Della Maddalena was on the hunt. The gorgeous punches kept coming from Della Maddalena, and he dropped Roberts with another sensational combination. The referee stepped in this time to prevent any further damage to Roberts. Sheesh!
Charles Johnson def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov def. by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Flyweight
We got an eye poke early on in this one, with Zhumagulov getting caught with an open palm to the eye, which is actually a legal strike. According to the rules, Zhumagulov should not have gotten any time to recover. Upon the restart, Zhumagulov started to get aggressive. He was launching heaters at Johnson, and was finding success. Johnson regained his composure and started to sting back, but then landed a nasty cup shot to bring a second halt to the action. Zhumagulov landed an overhand right to get things going again, but Johnson went right back at him with crushing body kicks.
Zhumagulov was actively attacking the legs of Johnson in the second stanza, with none of them getting checked. Just as Zhumagulov was taking over, it was his turn to attack the cup of Johnson for yet another timeout. Johnson came out more aggressive to restart the match, but Zhumagulov was delivering power to back him off. In the final minute, Johnson was able to clinch up against the cage and dish out some piercing knees to the body.
The final round started with an accidental cup kick from Johnson, for one more timeout. Zhumagulov hurt Johnson with an inside leg kick on the restart, causing Charles to repeatedly stomp the mat to try and work it out. Johnson then started to up his volume, and that’s when he was finding his most success. He started to pour it on as Zhumagulov seemed to be fading, but he was unable to come up with a finish.
Jennifer Maia def. Maryna Moroz by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): (W) Flyweight
Maia was letting her hands go to kick this one off. Both athletes were predominantly boxing, but Maia was the one connecting. The rest of the round saw Maia clinch up and hold Moroz against the fence until the horn sounded.
The boxing match with tiny gloves continued in the second act. Moroz was working her straight punches, but Maia was being more effective with her looping strikes. Moroz started to find her rhythm as the round went on, and she was able to hit her target a lot more regularly. It was a reasonably close five-minutes.
The punches kept flying in the final frame. Moroz was showing more urgency, but Maia seemed ready to handle the aggression with counters. The movement of Maia was also making it difficult for Moroz to connect on a lot of her punches. We got some pretty sweet exchanges, but the bigger strikes were coming from the side of Maia.
Miles Johns def. Vince Morales by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Bantamweight
There was a ton of feeling out in the opening round here. There was a lot of measuring and feinting going on, with both men standing too far away to connect on the other. There was little flurry at the end of the round, but overall this five-minutes was pretty uneventful.
The fighters went back to being respectful to begin the second round, with neither man being willing to open up. Johns closed the distance for a takedown, but Morales was hip to it and remained vertical. If the fight wasn’t slow enough, we got an accidental eye poke to further reduce the pace. Upon the restart, Johns pressed forward looking to wing his overhand right. He then scored a last-second takedown before the bell.
Johns landed the shortest-lived takedown to start the final frame, but Morales immediately jumped right back up to his feet. Morales was throwing more volume this round, but he wasn’t connecting clean. Johns was going to the takedown, and although Morales’ defense held up, Vince was being defensive.
Ricky Turcios def. Kevin Natividad by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Bantamweight
We got all sorts of fun scrambles in the opening round. Turcios was refusing to let this fight take place in open space. He relentlessly initiated grappling exchanges, and Natividad was hanging with him, but just Turcios was just a step ahead.
It was Natividad’s turn to work his wrestling in the second act. He took Ricky down and controlled him for a bit. As Turcios stood up, Natividad wobbled him with a sneaky hook on the break. Turcios quickly recovered and started to offensively wrestle. They jockeyed for position, and Turcios got away with a fence grab to hit a switch and get back to open space.
Natividad went back to the takedown to begin the final round, but Turcios was quick to scramble up. Then, as Turcios was dipping his head, Natividad blasted him with a jump knee that hurt him. Somehow Ricky recovered right away, and got back to wrestling. Turcios found a way to the back, and after coming close on an RNC, he punched away in dominant fashion as time expired to make this an incredibly close round.
Vanessa Demopoulos def. Maria Oliveira by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Strawweight
Oliveira took the center of the Octagon to get things going, and began walking down Demopoulos with steady pressure. Demopoulos had to find a way to get inside of the reach of Oliveira, and once the opportunity presented itself, she blasted a takedown. She worked her into full mount, and postured up to drop some angry elbows just before the bell.
Demopoulos came out looping punches to get around the length of Oliveira. One of them landed perfectly and dropped Oliveira to the mat. Demopoulos took top position and started to rain down hammers. She went back to full mount, and then against dropped some bows just before the bell.
Oliveira came out aggressive in the final round. She pushing the pace and letting her hands go, but that opened up a crucial takedown opportunity for Demopoulos. After being controlled for some time, Oliveira found her way back to her feet. Oliveira ran down Demopoulos, tagging her up with several punches, but was unable to produce the finish she needed.
Brady Hiestand def. Fernie Garcia by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Bantamweight
Garcia dropped Hiestand with one of the first punches he threw. Hiestand instantly started to wrestle, and after a scramble, he came up with top position. From there, Hiestand went to the back and did a lot of controlling and threatened with a couple RNC attempts, but Garcia was able to remain safe.
Hiestand opened the second act with a set of head kicks that landed, but Garcia wore them really well. Garcia was pressuring, but Hiestand switched levels and snagged a takedown. Garcia spun out and started to look for takedowns of his own to make it a pretty close round. Hiestand went right to his wrestling in the final round. He was able to get Silva down and went right to the back, and kept the position until the bell.
Natalia Silva def. Tereza Bleda by TKO at 1:27 of round 3: (W) Flyweight
The fighters clinched up early in the match, and jockeyed for position against the cage for some time. They took turns trying to take down the other, but Bleda ultimately came up with the takedown. Silva found a way to sweep, but Bleda attacked with a triangle until the bell.
The second stanza opened with Silva snapping back the head of Bleda with a stiff right hand. Bleda then started to wrestle, pressing Silva against the cage as she hunted for a takedown. Silva was doing a good job of fighting off the attempts, but she was being mostly defensive. Once she finally broke free, she started to put hands on a seemingly fatigued Bleda.
The ending came abruptly in the final round. As Bleda was changing levels to shoot in for a takedown, but at the same time Silva was uncorking a spinning back kick. The blow landed right to the face, instantly stunning Bleda. Silva pounced with a flurry of fists to finish off her foe and get the win.