The UFC Vegas 50 prelims are in the books and they were a boat load of fun! Across eight bouts, we were gifted with five finishes and three decisions. Closing out the prelims, Matt Semelsberger won a grueling decision over UFC newcomer AJ Fletcher. It was Fletcher who had a dominant opening round with a lot of top control, but then Semelsberger came back and had strong second and third rounds. We even got a wild brawl in the final 10-seconds. Before that, JJ Aldrich ran away with the scorecards against Gillian Robertson, and Javid Basharat won a unanimous decision over Trevin Jones.
Also on the prelims, Damon Jackson put on a dominant performance on Kamuela Kirk, ultimately sniffing out a second-round submission by way of arm triangle. Jackson started to take over in the opening round with his boxing, and as soon as he realized he had an even bigger advantage on the floor, it was only a matter of time before Kirk was tapping. Jackson has now won four of his last five.
Miranda Maverick got herself back in the win column tonight with a second round rear-naked of Sabina Mazo. Maverick used her punches to set up her takedowns, and found her moment in the second to sink the choke. The formerly ranked Miranda is still one of the brightest up and coming flyweights in the UFC, so don’t be surprised to see her pitted against another top-15 opponent very soon.
We got a crazy comeback on the undercard when Cody Brundage was losing just about every second of his fight with Dalcha Lungiambula, until he jumped a guillotine to pull off the first-round finish. Lungiambula was taking it to Brundage, landing a bunch of explosive punches and almost getting a standing TKO at one point. Then, Lungiambula hit an ill-advised takedown and quickly found himself tapping to a guillotine. What a crazy turn of events!
Earlier on the prelims, Guido Cannetti ran right through Kris Moutinho, landing all sorts of clean punches to score a standing TKO in the very first round. At 42-years-old, Cannetti is still picking up dubs and doing so in the world’s premier MMA league.
Opening up the UFC Vegas 50 main card, Azamat Murzakanov made good on his promotional debut by stopping Tafon Nchukwi with a nasty jump knee in the third round. Murzakanov extends his unbeaten record to 11-0, and proves that he can be just as dangerous in the opening round as he is in the third.
**See complete results below
Matt Semelsberger def. AJ Fletcher by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Welterweight
Fletcher was looking for the takedown early, and although Semelsberger was able to stop the first attempt, the second shot brought the fight to the floor. There, Fletcher remained in top and in control, threatening with a couple of guillotine attempts and an arm triangle at one point.
Semelsberger came out working his boxing in the second act, but accidentally poked Fletcher in the eye. After a brief pause, and a warning, the fight got back underway. Fletcher exploded with another takedown, but Semelsberger quickly stood back to his feet and got ready to sprawl. Fletcher went back to the takedown, but it resulted in Semelsberger getting on top. Semelsberger stayed there, sprinkling in a few strikes while he maintained the position for the rest of the round.
Semelsberger scored some quality strikes to begin the final frame, including a sweet front kick to the chops. Fletcher blasted himself another takedown, but didn't do anything with it before v was able to scramble back up. Then in a somewhat unexpected turn of events, Semelsberger hit a big takedown of his own to get back on top. He split open Fletcher with an elbow, before the warriors stood back to their feet for one final brawl.
JJ Aldrich def. Gillian Robertson by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): (W) Flyweight
There was some feeling out going on to begin the match. Aldrich was keeping Robertson on the outside, while staying ready for the takedown attempt. JJ was the cleaner puncher out there, piercing right through the guard of Robertson with straight punches. Robertson attacked back with her kicks, going to the legs and the head.
Robertson continued to kick at JJ in the second act, but whenever she got too close Aldrich would catch her with some leather. Then, Robertson was able to transition from a single leg to a back take, but Aldrich spun around on top for a bit. Back in open space, Aldrich worked her boxing while stuffing the takedown attempts.
Robertson was forced to stand again in the final frame, and not from a lack of effort. Aldrich was just well-prepared to defend the takedown attempts. In open space, Robertson was landing some quality strikes, but wasn’t ever really able to get ahead of JJ. Gillian ended up pulling guard at the end of the round to try and hit a desperation armbar, but Aldrich again defended properly to remain safe.
Javid Basharat def. Trevin Jones by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Bantamweight
Jones found himself counter punching right away as Basharat pressed him, and he was connecting. Basharat started to settle in and open up a bit more. As Jones shot informed a takedown, Basharat blasted him with a knee to the body. A knee then landed upstairs for Basharat, who seemed to be falling apart at the seams.
Jones marched forward behind his punching combos to begin the second act. He was backing up Basharat and being more aggressive than he was in round-one. Basharat battled back behind his straight punches to slow down the advancing of Jones. Soon it was Jones who was backing up again, trying to avoid being on the end of Basharat’s knuckles.
Basharat continued to come forward in the final round behind his straights. Jones was backing himself up to the fence, and then countering with haymakers that were only landing every so often. Basharat even landed a spinning kick to the neck, but Jones ate it like a champ and kept throwing. Things heated up in the final 90-seconds when Jones bit down and started wing shots at his opponent. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to manifest a finish.
Damon Jackson def. Kamuela Kirk by submission (Arm Triangle) at 4:42 of round 2: Featherweight
Kirk came out leading the dance, stinging Jackson whenever he tries to close the distance. Kirk was doing a good job of blasting knees up the middle, helping to make Jackson think twice about moving on the inside. As the round grew on, Jackson began to find his range with his boxing. He was throwing in combination, and steadily began pushing Kirk backwards. Jackson was overwhelming Kirk, and then hit a takedown where he got on top and dropped a bunch of strikes.
Jackson went right back to the takedown in the second round, where he continued to enjoy an advantage. There was one brief moment where Kirk threw up an armbar, but it wasn’t even close and easily shucked off. It’s actually what led to Jackson getting into a position to lock up an arm triangle and get the tap.
Miranda Maverick def. Sabina Mazo by submission (RNC) at 2:15 of round 2: (W) Flyweight
Mazo took the center to get things going, but Maverick was the one darting in and out with strikes. Maverick then changed levels and hit a double leg to put Mazo on her back. Mazo threatened with an armbar frothier back, but Maverick was hip to it and shut it down. Mazo would work up to her feet, but just to get taken right back down. Maverick came out of that round with a large hematoma around her left eye.
Mazo came out working her jab in the second stanza, trying to keep Maverick on the outside. Maverick was trying to use her punches to set up her takedown. She landed a couple of strikes before she found a clean entry to a takedown. Then it wasn’t long before she snuck around to the back and grabbed ahold of a rear-naked choke. Mazo was stuck and respectfully tapped out.
Cody Brundage def. Dalcha Lungiambula by submission (Guillotine) at 3:41 of round 1: Middleweight
Lungiambula was his usual powerful and explosive self to start the fight, causing Brundage to force his wrestling attack. Lungiambula sprawled and then unloaded some heavy ground strikes. He stayed all over Brundage, landing a ton of strikes with very little coming back his way. Just when it looked as if Lungiambula had this one in the bag, he mysteriously shot a takedown, but ended up right in a guillotine. Believe it or not, Lungiambula tapped out!
Guido Cannetti def. Kris Moutinho by TKO at 2:07 of round 1: Bantamweight
Moutinho pressed forward right away, but Cannetti met him with crisp counters. Moutinho had the forward pressure, but just couldn’t get out of the way of the counters coming at him. Cannetti was clocking him with flush punch after flush shot, but Moutinho just wouldn’t fall. The referee then stepped in to rescue Moutinho who is too tough for his own good.
Azamat Murzakanov def. Tafon Nchukwi by TKO at :44 of round 3: Light heavyweight
Murzakanov was launching his overhand left to get things going, but Nchukwi was managing them well. As the round went on, Nchukwi started to connect with more frequency, and was doing a good job of attacking the body. By the end of the round, Nchukwi seemed to be in the driver’s seat.
A left hand from Murzakanov knocked Nchukwi off balance, but he was unable to get on top before Tafon scrambled back up to his feet. Nchukwi went back to throwing his volume, attacking the legs and the body with kicks. Murzakanov shot in for the takedown, but it wasn’t there so he was forced fight in open space. The kicks of Nchukwi kept coming, and he started to bring them up to the head. The third round saw Murzakanov sting Nchukwi with a big overhand right. Then, he followed up with a clever jump knee to the face that put Nchukwi out. WOW!