UFC Orlando delivered! The welterweight headliner was a potential ‘Fight of the Year’ contender, and the welterweight co-headliner had a former UFC champion get back to his winning ways.
The preliminary portion of the card saw Yazmin Jauregui get her second UFC win with a second-round TKO of Istela Nunes. The undefeated fighter brutalized Nunes on the ground with punches and elbows (that caused some serious swelling around her eyes) until the referee stepped in. Excellent win for Jauregui! Francis Marshall turned in a red-hot performance against Marcelo Rojo. The ‘Fire’ found a home for a right hand that sent the ‘Pitbull’ to the canvas, where Marshall finished off with follow-up punches. What a debut! Natan Levy earned a unanimous decision over Genaro Valdéz. Jonathan Pearce dominated Darren Elkins for his fifth consecutive win. ‘JSP’ found success in every department, outstriking and outwrestling the ‘Damage’ over three rounds. And of course, because this was a Darren Elkins fight, a lot of blood spilled in the Octagon. Like, a lot. Michael Johnson returned to the win column against Marc Diakiese. The ‘Menace’ turned up the pressure and staved off takedowns from the ‘Bonecrusher’ in the second and third rounds for the unanimous decision. The 30-27 was odd, but the correct fighter won. Clay Guida eked out a split decision over Scott Holtzman, who appeared to hint at his retirement from mixed martial arts after the judges’ scorecards were read. Angela Hill handed Emily Ducote her first UFC loss. ‘Overkill’ was sharp! She connected with punches and knees to the body, all of which ‘Gordinha’ had no answers for.
The main portion of the card began with Phil Rowe ending his ‘Fight of the Night’ contender against Niko Price with a third-round TKO. The ‘Fresh Prince’ was nearly finished, but survived and stepped on the gas to the ‘Hybrid’ out of there. And his post-fight speech? Wonderful. Eryk Anders pummeled Kyle Daukaus for the second-round TKO. ‘Ya Boi’ sent Daukaus to the canvas several times, and the final time was when he followed him and unleashed some ground-and-pound before referee Keith Peterson waved off the fight. Roman Dolidze showed up and out in his short-notice fight against Jack Hermansson, which he finished in the second round. The Georgian used a calf slicer (!) to hold the ‘Joker’ in place, take his back and ground-and-pound his way to the TKO. By Tuesday, Dolidze should be ranked in the top ten of the middleweight division (Hermansson was No. 8). And he set his sights on Khamzat Chimaev for his next fight. Sergei Pavlovich needed less than a minute to dispatch Tai Tuivasa. WOW! That should get him an extra $50k and a higher ranked opponent when he returns (Gane, Blaydes?). Matheus Nicolau flexed his speed and power against Matt Schnell for a second-round KO. The Brazilian told Daniel Cormier that he is ready for his first post-fight bonus in the UFC, and after a finish like that, he is more than deserving of one. That was the sixth consecutive win for Nicolau, who revealed he competed his current contract with the promotion. Re-sign him, UFC! Rafael Dos Anjos submitted Bryan Barberena via rear-naked choke in our co-main. ‘RDA’ also made history, surpassing Frankie Edgar for the most time spent in the Octagon at eight hours and moving up on the all-time wins list with 21 under his belt. For his next appearance, Dos Anjos asked for Conor McGregor, who he was supposed to fight seven years ago.
Stephen Thompson vs. Kevin Holland was a scrap! A strong start from the ‘Trailblazer’ saw him hurt ‘Wonderboy,’ who recovered and returned fire with some stiff punches and kicks. As the fight went on, it was clear the tide had turned in favor of Thompson, who was now catching Holland often (how he ate some of those shots is beyond me). After four rounds and a hand injury to Holland, his corner decided to call off the fight, which saw Thompson declared the winner by TKO.
Performance of the Night: Roman Dolidze and Sergei Pavlovich
Yazmin Jauregui def. Istela Nunes by TKO (punches) at 4:06 of Round 2
Francis Marshall def. Marcelo Rojo by KO (punches) at 1:14 of Round 2
Phil Rowe def. Niko Price by TKO (punches) at 3:26 of Round 3
Eryk Anders def. Kyle Daukaus by TKO (punches) at 2:45 of Round 2
Roman Dolidze def. Jack Hermansson by TKO (punches) at 4:06 of Round 2
Sergei Pavlovich def. Tai Tuivasa by TKO (punches) at 0:54 of Round 1
Matheus Nicolau def. Matt Schnell by KO (punches) at 1:44 of Round 2
Rafael Dos Anjos def. Bryan Barberena by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:20 of Round 2
Stephen Thompson def. Kevin Holland by TKO (corner stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 4
Fight of the Night: Stephen Thompson vs. Kevin Holland
Natan Levy def. Genaro Valdez by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Jonathan Pearce def. Darren Elkins by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Michael Johnson def. Marc Diakiese by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Angela Hill def. Emily Ducote by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)