The UFC 276 early prelims started with a 42-second bang, then saw the final professional fight of a veteran’s career, followed by a top-15 middleweight likely moving into the top-10.
Closing out this portion of the preliminary card, the UFC’s #13 ranked 185-pounder, Andre Muniz, out-grappled the #9 ranked, Uriah Hall, for pretty much the entire match. Muniz spent a lot of time either on top of Hall, or on his back, with Uriah unable to mount much of any offense himself. This win should get Muniz into the top-10, which sets up a whole slew of fresh middleweight matchups.
Before that, Maycee Barber leaned on her striking from the clinch, and open space, to win a unanimous decision over longtime veteran Jessica Eye. Barber navigated the clinch with sneaky elbows, and then worked her head kicks from range to sway the judges. This was the final fight on Maycee’s contract, and in her post-fight interview she seemed interested in re-signing with the UFC to chase a world title. Also after the match, the former title contender in Eye left her gloves in the center of the Octagon to retire from the sport with an overall record of 15-11. Jessica put together a three-fight winning streak in 2018 that culminated with a shot at the champ Valentina Shevchenko in 2019.
Opening up the show, Julija Stoliarenko weathered an early standup storm before getting the fight to the floor and snagging an armbar to get the win in a sporty 42-seconds. Although Clark tapped, her arm was still hyperextended in gruesome fashion before the official had a chance to stop the fight. Fair play to Stoliarenko, who just captured her very first UFC win by taking home Clark’s arm for her mantle.
**See complete results below
Andre Muniz def. Uriah Hall by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Middleweight
Muniz was steadily pressuring Hall backwards to begin the match. He even connected with a rear head kick that was partially blocked. Once Hall’s back was to the cage, Muniz seized the moment to grab a takedown. He methodically worked his way to full mount, but got overzealous on locking up a triangle and lost position. Hall got to his feet, but right away Muniz closed the distance and went right to the back. That’s where the round came to a close.
Muniz continued to come forward in the second round, but Hall was able to thwart the initial takedown attempt. Hall was even able to stop the second single leg attempt, but the third try from Muniz brought the fight to the floor. Muniz went back to the full mount, and then from there he took the back. With a few seconds left in the round, Muniz went from an armbar, but Hall exploded out and landed some ground and pound before the bell.
Muniz punched his way into the clinch in the third act, which resulted in a single leg takedown. Once again he worked his way to the back, and proceeded to control Hall. In an attempt to escape, Hall stood to his feet and tried to slam his way out, but Muniz maintained control. Hall did spin around into guard with ten-seconds left, but nothing happened before time expired.
Maycee Barber def. Jessica Eye by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): (W) Flyweight
The fighters entered into the clinch right away, with Eye pressing Barber against the fence. Despite having her back to the cage, Barber was able to sneak in some elbows. Barber reversed the position to land some more elbows, and Eye developed a huge lump over her right eye. All Eye was managing to do was hold on and jockey for position.
The second round saw Barber land a few solid punches before the fight drifted back to the clinch. Eye was holding her opponent against the fence, but was unable to produce a takedown. Barber reversed the position, and then landed another elbow before breaking free. Eye found her moment to blast a takedown, and controlled Barber for the rest of the round.
The third round spent a lot more time in open space, with Barber launching plenty of head kicks. Eye was managing the blows, and kept trying to clinch up. Barber was quickly escaping close quarters, opting to let her strikes go from range. Eye wasn’t offering up much in terms of strikes, but was focused more on taking away the open space.
Julija Stoliarenko def. Jessica-Rose Clark by submission (armbar) at :42 of round 1: (W) Bantamweight
Clark was cracking right out of the gate with stinging strikes, putting Stoliarenko in a world of trouble. Stoliarenko was able to change levels and snag a doubleleg takedown, and quickly transitioned to an armbar. Clark had no choice but to tap out, but her arm was hyper-extended before the referee could stop the match. EEK!