One of the more promising MMA cards of the year will unravel later tonight (Sat., Oct. 7, 2017) at UFC 216 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, when Tony Ferguson puts his nine-fight win streak on the line in an interim lightweight title bout opposite Kevin Lee. In addition, Demetrious Johnson will aim to defend his UFC flyweight strap for the 11th-straight time when he takes on surging youngster Ray Borg.
But, before the premier bouts get underway on PPV starting at 10 p.m. ET, UFC 216's “Prelims” action will go down on Fight Pass starting at 6:30 p.m. ET and FX starting at 8 p.m. ET.
Find out what happened right here as the UFC 216 undercard recaps roll in real-time:
Tom Duquesnoy vs. Cody Stamann
The FX preliminary headliner featured an ultra-important bantamweight clash between up-and-coming prospects Duquesnoy (15-2, 1 NC) and Stamann (16-1). Stamann pressured Duquesnoy early with leg kicks and a slick takedown. Duquesnoy responded with his own leg kick and hard body kick. The French prospect then landed a barrage of strikes, including hooks, elbows, and knees, as well as a beautiful sprawl on the end of a desperate takedown attempt by Stamann. In Round 2, Duquesnoy landed a nasty head kick that backed Stamann up against the cage. Stamann returned some of his own offense in the form of front body kicks and a powerful double leg takedown. Once there, Stamann didn’t land much offense but was able to control the pace and score some top time. The final frame saw Stamann backing Duquesnoy up with high kicks and combinations on the go. Duquesnoy responded with crisp jabs, but looked a little less explosive during the exchanges. In the end, it was Stamann who did enough on the scorecards over the final two rounds to capture the split-decision win.
Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata
One of the most exciting and underrated fights of the evening saw wily veteran Green (23-8-1) attempt to end a three-fight losing streak when he locked horns with top-flight finisher “Groovy” Vannata (9-2-1). Green was able to bloody Vannata early on and put some pressure on against the cage. Vannata came back with a head kick and gained some respect. During an inside exchange, Vannata caught Green with a hard right hand that dropped “King.” Unfortunately, Vannata landed an illegal knee on Green as he was trying to get back to his feet. Vannata was deducted a point and the fight continued. Once the two started to throw punches Vannata grabbed a hold of a standing guillotine and nearly locked it in. In Round 2, Vannata unloaded more offense, including straight rights, body kicks, and leg kicks. Green responded with a ton of his own shots, which really started to bust “Groovy” up. Vannata scored a brief takedown after getting tagged along the cage, but it didn’t result in much. Once it stood back up Vannata started to blast Green at will with body punches and leg kicks. The third round saw both men land early. Vannata was consistently bobbing and weaving while landing from various angles. Green countered with combinations and forced Vannata to cover up. Green hung in tough and drilled shots into Vannata’s face that produced even more blood. Right before the end of the round Green blasted Vannata with a huge combination that temporarily stiffened “Groovy” as the bell rang. In the end, the judges believed both lightweights did enough to leave Las Vegas with a draw.
Pearl Gonzalez vs. Poliana Botelho
In the first women’s matchup of the evening, strawweight submission guru Gonzalez (6-3) aimed to capture her first UFC victory when she welcomed Brazilian knockout artist Botelho (6-1) to the Octagon. Gonzalez pressured early with sharp leg kicks and clinch work along the cage, but Botelho landed Travis Browne-like elbows to the side of Gonzalez’s head. The second round offered much of the same as Gonzalez immediately shot inside and tied the action up along the cage. Botelho defended nicely but still struggled to get Gonzalez off of her. The Brazilian started to go back to the elbows but Gonzalez stayed heavy with a low base. In Round 3, Botelho started to land her left hand from distance and score some valuable points. However, Gonzalez worked her way in again and commanded control along the cage with a clinch. It wasn’t the most exciting strawweight battle, but Botelho’s elbows inside ultimately outweighed Gonzalez’s leaning pressure to the tune of a unanimous decision victory.
Matt Schnell vs. Marco Beltran
The first matchup to touch down on the FX preliminary card was a flyweight scrap between former Ultimate Fighter standout Schnell (10-4) and Mexican submission specialist Beltran (8-6). Both men were riding a two-fight losing streak coming into the bout. The longer Beltran played the range game early by snapping leg kicks and getting out of the way of Schnell’s offensive outbursts. Schnell walked through a Beltran front kick to land a barrage of strikes inside as he possessed the clear boxing advantage. In Round 2, Schnell continued to find a home for his hands, while Beltran relied on a rather predictable kicking arsenal with little setup. Beltran landed a huge left leg kick that rattled Schnell, but he didn’t follow it up with anything worthwhile. The third round offered much of the same as Schnell dictated the pace and distance of the action, connecting on a few exchanges on the inside. Beltran tired to raise the bar a little bit by letting his hands go, but Schnell was able to gauge the pressure well and avoid anything significant. In the end, Schnell did more than enough over the course of three rounds to walk away with the unanimous decision win.
John Moraga vs. Magomed Bibulatov
In the first of three flyweight bouts on the card, former UFC title challenger Moraga (18-6) was tasked with disposing of undefeated Russian contender Bibulatov (14-1). It didn’t last long for Bibulatov who seemed a little hesitant to unload his offense. After stunning Bibulatov with a slick overhand right, Moraga slumped the Russian with a crisp left hook at the end of a combination inside. Moraga jumped on for a few extra shots before the referee peeled him off for the first-round knockout stoppage.
Thales Leites vs. Brad Tavares
The opening bout of the evening saw former UFC middleweight title challenger Leites (27-8) try to win his second bout of 2017 in a matchup against proven veteran Tavares (16-4). Leites controlled most of the action early with attacks to the legs, but it was Tavares who did the most damage with a short left hook that temporarily stunned the Brazilian. Tavares ended up hurting Leites again to begin the second round, landing a crisp counter that put the former title challenger on his heels. Leites’ face started to bloody as the veteran offered little versatility on his feet and kept eating jabs by Tavares. In Round 3, Leites leaned on the Hawaiian against the cage in the clinch and tried to leverage a takedown. Tavares defended well and forced Leites to remain standing and strike. From there, Tavares peppered Leites with hard leg kicks and combinations to seal the deal and walk away with the unanimous decision win.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 216 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass "Prelims" matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FX at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.