Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) touches down in "Windy City" for a spectacular UFC on FOX 16 mixed martial arts (MMA) event inside United Center TONIGHT (Sat. July 25, 2015), featuring a Bantamweight title fight main event between 135-pound king T.J. Dillashaw and former pound-for-pound star Renan Barao.
The headliner is a rematch of the pair's epic UFC 173 clash back in May 2014, where Dillashaw upset the dangerous Brazilian, finishing him in the final frame. Both fighters have each won one bout since their first scrap for the belt and are eager to prove they are the more dominant champion.
In the co-main event, a women's Bantamweight title shot is up for grabs when former championship challenger Miesha Tate takes on No. 5-ranked Jessica Eye. "Cupcake" is gunning for her fourth-straight victory, while "Evil" is still searching for her first win in the Top 10, although she had proved to be a formidable foe in each of her three Octagon ventures.
However, before the stars align later in the evening, fight fans are treated to a slate of eight "Prelims" bouts, which begin at 4:15 p.m. ET on Fight Pass.
Below are real-time recaps for the four "Prelims" tilts scheduled on Fight Pass undercard:
Daron Cruickshank vs James Krause
It was the classic striker versus grappler matchup when these two struggling lightweights collided.
Cruickshank starts with a one-two combination. The 30-year-old takes Krause down briefly after the latter goes for a high kick. Front kick to the body scores for "The Detroit Superstar." Krause lands a knee to the body. The 29-year-old Krause scores with a trip takedown, secures the back of Krause in a hurry and sinks the hooks in for a rear-naked choke victory just over a minute into round one. Krause improves his overall record to 22-7 as he snaps a two-fight losing skid. Cruickshank drops to 16-7 and loses his second-straight bout.
Ramsey Nijem vs Andrew Holbrook
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 13 veteran Nijem faced the undefeated grappler and Octagon newcomer Holbrook in a tilt that was contested mostly on the mat.
Nijem misses early with an uppercut. The 27-year-old lands a good body kick. Holbrook clinches shortly after and gets Nijem down to the ground. The Skrap Pack member is back to his feet in a hurry. The Indiana native Holbrook scores with solid knees in the clinch. Nijem strikes up the middle with a front kick and then hits the single-leg takedown. Holbrook is using the neck of Nijem to try and get back to his feet and is doing a good job of not letting Nijem slide into full guard. Nijem eventually slides into side control. Holbrook does a good job on the ground limiting damage and advancement. The pair of lightweights are back to the feet and Holbrook attempts a flying knee. Nijem coming with the pressure and has Holbrook pressed up against the cage. Nijem tagged him with a straight punch against the cage. The TUF veteran slips a punch and secures his second takedown of the round. Nijem lands a heavy right hand as Holbrook is pinned against the cage. Holbrook lands an upkick. More scrambling ensues, with Holbrook trying to strike from the bottom.
Nijem kicks of second round with a huge flurry, which was started by a flying knee. The Utah native stuns Holbrook with huge haymakers. Holbrook is hanging on in the clinch, but is taken down by Nijem. He was looking for the guillotine choke, but Nijem escapes. Holbrook uses a leg of Nijem's to scramble and get up to his feet. He is in Nijem's full guard now. Holbrook advances to half guard and cinches up a d'arce choke moments later. Nijem stays composed and is free with 90 seconds left. Holbrook is staying on Nijem and keeps looking for the choke. Nijem reverses and is on top now, with Holbrook pressed up against the cage as round two comes to a close.
Nijem starts the last round like a mad man, pushing the pace and overwhelming Holbrook with punches. The pair drop to the mat as Holbrook searches for the kimura. He switches to a kneebar and Nijem escapes. The latter now takes the fight to Holbrook. Nijem straddling the back of Holbrook. He has the back of the undefeated fighter. Nijem is clobbering Holbrook with short punches. The last two minutes of the fight goes to Nijem, who drops the curious split-decision to UFC newcomer Holbrook. Holbrook improves his overall record to 10-0 , while Nijem falls to 9-6.
Jessamyn Duke vs Elizabeth Phillips
Struggling women's bantamweights Duke and Phillips sized each other up in a bout that was completely one-sided until the last round.
Duke takes the center of the Octagon in a hurry, which causes Phillips to swing back in a flurry, not landing much clean. Ducking her head often is Phillips, who is at a serious reach disadvantage. The 28-year-old Phillips cracks her with a right. Duke is walking in a straight line; this is not good. "Gun" lands a trip on Phillips, who had just rocked her again. The Washington native Phillips almost had an arm wrapped up, but it is Duke working in full guard now. Duke is working on landing ground and pound with two minutes left in the round. Phillips is doing a solid job of eliminating offense off of her back. Phillips overtakes her, as Duke tried to advance. She gets her back rather quickly and is landing shots. Phillips has the body triangle and spends the last few seconds of the round trying to cinch up the rear-naked choke, just as Duke reverses her and lands in Phillips guard to end the first frame in top position.
Phillips begins round two with a heavy right hand that connects. Duke plods into striking range, throwing a head kick, securing the clinch. Duke snatches up the guillotine choke and drops to the mat, but it was not secured correctly. Phillips begins work in her half guard now. The Glendale Fight Club representative Duke is doing a good job of controlling the posture of Phillips as we head past the midway point of the fight. Phillips gets full mount momentarily, but Duke is back to full guard and attempts a choke. Nothing there. The Sikjitsu fight team member Phillips has the back of Duke now. The latter is able to reverse and goes for a leg lock and loses it. Round two comes to an end.
Duke starts the final frame off by trading in the pocket, landing a solid left hand. She is stalking Phillips and connects with a huge knee. The Kentucky native continues her hot start by scoring with a body kick. Duke finds the takedown and a scramble ensues. She stays on top of Phillips by latching onto a choke attempt. It looked deep, but she lost it. Phillips is exhausted; Duke is keeping up the pressure. Big round for Ronda Rousey's training partner. Duke lands two straight right hands. A flying knee attempt. Duke gets the fight to the mat and has Phillips' back. She's raining down punches trying to end the fight. A desperation armbar attempt from Duke comes too late as the final bell sounds. Phillips is your winner by unanimous decision. She improves her overall record to 5-3, while Duke loses for the third-straight time.
Zak Cummings vs Dominique Steele
Welterweights looking to continue their climb up the 170-pound ranks took to the Octagon for a fast start to tonight's fights.
Cummings starts off pawing with the jab. The southpaw cracks Steele with a straight left, which drops the 30-year-old. Cummings follows up with barrages of left hands against Steele, who was out on his feet to end the bout 45 seconds into round one. Cummings improves his overall record to 18-4 and captures his first 'W' of 2015. Steele sees his two-fight win streak end.
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