Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) opens up its relationship with ESPN with its inaugural event TONIGHT (Sat., Jan. 19, 2019), courtesy of the UFC Fight Night 143 mixed martial arts (MMA) event inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., which includes additional “Prelims” undercard bouts airing on both ESPN and ESPN+. Headlining the event is the 125-pound championship bout between Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo and two-time Bantamweight kingpin T.J. Dillashaw. In the Heavyweight co-main event, controversial ex-NFL player Greg Hardy will be challenged by fellow “Tuesday Night Contender Series” veteran Allen Crowder. In addition, all eyes will be watching as popular “Dancing With the Stars” veteran Paige VanZant faces Hawaii’s Rachel Ostovich.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 143 fight card below, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 6 p.m. ET (free trial here), followed by the ESPN “Prelims” undercard bouts at 8 p.m. ET, before the main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
Keep in mind that we will also be the spot for the latest news, recaps, and post-fight analysis following “Cejudo vs. Dillashaw.” Without further delay, see below for the latest UFC Fight Night 143 results:
UFC FIGHT NIGHT 143 QUICK RESULTS:
Henry Cejudo vs. T.J. Dillashaw — Cejudo TKO 0:32 R1.
Greg Hardy vs. Allen Crowder — Crowder via DQ of Hardy 2:28 R2.
Gregor Gillespie vs. Yancy Medeiros — Gillespie TKO 4:59 R2.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz — Benavidez UD 29-28 X3.
Paige VanZant vs. Rachael Ostovich — VanZant sub (armbar) 1:50 R2.
Glover Teixeira vs. Karl Roberson — Teixeira sub (arm triangle) 3:21 R1.
Donald Cerrone vs. Alexander Hernandez — Cerrone TKO 3:43 R2.
Joanne Calderwood vs. Ariane Lipski — Calderwood 30-26 X2, 30-27 UD.
Alonzo Menifield vs. Vinicius Castro — Menifield TKO 3:56 R1.
Mario Bautista vs. Cory Sandhagen — Sandhagen sub (armbar) 3:31 R1.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Te Edwards — Bermudez UD 30-26 X3.
Belal Muhammad vs. Geoff Neal — Neal UD 29-28, 30-27 X2.
Kyle Stewart vs. Chance Rencountre — Rencountre sub (RNC) 2:25 R1.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT 143 PLAY-BY-PLAY:
Henry Cejudo vs. T.J. Dillashaw
Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo is 13-2 and stands 5’4” with a 64” reach, fighting out of Phoenix, Arizona. Bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw is 16-3 and stands 5’6 and 1/2” with a 67” reach, fighting out of Angels Camp, California. Dillashaw cut down to Flyweight for this fight — we’ll see if that affects his performance or if it makes him the larger more dominant man inside the Octagon. Dillashaw has the blue gloves and trunks for this fight. Red gloves and black trunks for Cejudo. Our referee in charge is Kevin MacDonald.
Round 1: Cejudo lands the first couple of hands and Dillashaw lands two leg kicks. Cejudo rocks Dillashaw and gets tagged by a second and a third right and it’s over in 31 seconds!! Every time Dillashaw tried to get up another right hand rocked him. The replay lasts longer than the fight itself because they slow it down just to show us each devastating blow. Dillashaw was upset with the stoppage but he was stumbling around when he got back up to his feet. It was a good call.
Final result: Henry Cejudo retains via technical knockout at 0:32 of round one.
Greg Hardy vs. Allen Crowder
The controversial Greg Hardy is 3-0 in his MMA career thus far. He stands 6’5”, has an 80” reach, and has to cut to meet the 265 limit for Heavyweights. Allen Crowder is 9-3, 1 NC with the “one” being a loss to Justin Willis in his UFC debut. He’s 6’3” and 252.5 pounds with a 76” reach. Hardy fights out of Coconut Creek, Florida and Crowder out of Mebane, North Carolina. Blue gloves and black trunks for Crowder. Red gloves and blue trunks for Hardy. Our referee is Dan Miragliotta.
Round 1: Hardy lands two left hands early, Crowder’s chin holds as Hardy unloads a flurry against the cage, and Crowder clinches with him against the fence. Miragliotta calls for more work. Hardy turns Crowder around and starts winging shots again. He backs up and resets then lands a left and a left to the body. Hardy sticks the left jab out and throws a leg kick. Hardy misses with a left hook and Crowder trips him to the ground and is on top in guard. Hardy wall walks on the fence but Crowder takes him right back down and passes to side control, then to the mounted crucifix. Hardy tries to spin and push off the fence with his feet to get out of trouble. He gets back to his feet and Crowder has a front headlock and almost gets a jump guillotine. Hardy winds up on top when Crowder can’t hang on. Crowder is trying to secure an arm from his back. Crowder lands an elbow from the bottom and gets to his knees then back to his feet. Hardy throws one last right hand at the horn. Hardy is sucking wind hard as he goes back to the stool.
Round 2: Crowder goes for a big left hook early and Hardy gets out of the way. Hardy throws a front kick and a superman punch. Crowder throws a couple haymakers in return. Hardy lands a left and misses with an uppercut. Neither man is moving very fast now. Right hook by Hardy. Right hook by Hardy. Crowder is saying something that got bleeped out. Crowder comes forward emptying out the gas tank, then he shoots for a takedown, and Hardy sprawls to block it. Hardy hits an illegal right knee to the temple when Crowder was on one knee himself and the referee runs in to stop it. Miragliotta says if Crowder can’t continue Hardy will be disqualified. He can’t. The fight’s over.
Final result: Allen Crowder wins by disqualification at 2:28 in the second round.
Gregor Gillespie vs. Yancy Medeiros
Gillespie fights out of Long Island, New York with an undefeated 12-0 record. He stands 5’9” and has a 71” reach. Medeiros fights out of Makaha, Hawaii with a 15-5 (1 NC) record. He stands 5’10” and has a 75.5” reach. Medeiros has the black trunks and blue gloves. Silver trunks and red gloves for Gillespie. Our referee in charge is Todd Anderson.
Round 1: Medeiros evades the first single leg takedown but Gillespie drags him to the ground and goes for his back against the fence, landing a knee to the head and rolling with him to throw a knee to the ribs when he gets in a linebacker stance. Gillespie keeps trying to drag him back down and settles for attacking him with knees when he can’t. Medeiros almost manages to roll on top with Gillespie but he’s just too good of a wrestler to not power through it and put him against the fence. Jon Anik reminds us he was a All-American as a freshman at Edinboro. Gillespie rides Medeiros from behind until he stands back up. Another takedown for Gillespie and another escape for Medeiros. Rinse lather repeat. Gillespie throws knees from behind as the crowd boos. 10-9 Gillespie.
Round 2: Gillespie finally lands a strike — a right hook. Medeiros backs up and Gillespie shoots for the leg. He trips Medeiros to the ground at 53 seconds and naturally he gets back up. Gillespie takes him down again. Three minutes are left as Gillespie slowly looks to pass to full mount... and does. Cormier teases us with the idea that he’ll go for an arm triangle. Gillespie is finally starting to do some damage on top with lefts and rights. Medeiros stands up with 80 seconds left. Gillespie with knees from behind. Thanks to actually having an offense this round Gillespie is up 34 to ONE on total strikes. Gillespie has a back mount with 20 seconds left. Lefts and rights and the ref is taking a close look as Medeiros stops defending and covers up. The ref has waved it off.
Final result: Gregor Gillespie by technical knockout at 4:59 in the second round.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz
The experienced Benavidez comes in 26-5 fresh off a first round TKO of Alex Perez. He stands 5’4” with a 65” reach. Ortiz is on a three fight win streak, he’s 19-7 overall, and he stands 5’5” with a 65” reach. Benavidez fights out of Las Cruces, New Mexico and Ortiz fights out of Franklin, Tennessee. Ortiz has the blue gloves and trunks. Benavidez has red gloves and dark gray trunks. Our referee in charge is Blake Grice.
Round 1: Ortiz is the aggressor early and Benavidez is happy to circle on the outside and throw a body kick and a leg kick. Ortiz shoots for a single and Benavidez widens his stance. Benavidez traps Ortiz’ head for a potential guillotine choke but Ortiz survives and gets back to his feet. Benavidez considers a single leg takedown but pulls away. Ortiz knocks Benavidez off balance but not down. Takedown by Benavidez at 2:35. Ortiz scrambles to his feet quick and pushes Benavidez into the cage looking for his own takedown. Benavidez drops levels and gets Ortiz back down. Benavidez is back up with 90 seconds to go but Benavidez drags him down again. He’s up again 10 seconds later and exits with a knee. Benavidez rocks Ortiz with a left and jumps on top. 10-9 Benavidez.
Round 2: Benavidez goes for a single leg, Ortiz tries to trap the head and throw a knee to the body and some hard lefts to said same, then backs up at 44 seconds to reset. Benavidez swings and misses with a right. Body kick by Ortiz. Right hooks by Ortiz. Left hook Ortiz. Benavidez is backing up and letting Ortiz come forward to attack. He tries to turn it into a takedown when Ortiz gets into range but it’s a stalemate when Benavidez tries to take the back and now Ortiz wants his own takedown. He gets it and takes the back with one hook in. Benavidez rolls through and now he’s got the back with both hooks in. Ortiz spins out on top and Benavidez stands back up. Benavidez comes forward with a right hook. Ortiz goes for another takedown and then throws Benavidez down and gets both hooks in on the back trying to get a rear naked with short time left. Benavidez survives. 10-9 Ortiz.
Round 3: Ortiz is taken down 27 seconds into R3. Ortiz is given a warning about the “spiking elbows.” Ortiz tries to roll but Benavidez gets right back on top as they keep on scrambling. Benavidez goes behind and Ortiz throws a reverse elbow. Benavidez gets a body triangle and Ortiz can’t squirm out now. Benavidez has 2:50 left to look for a rear naked choke. Benavidez lets go of the triangle to try and get a better position, Ortiz gets up, Benavidez takes him back down and both men roll for position on the canvas. It’s like a Division I wrestling match in the Octagon right now. They go to the fence and Benavidez has a front headlock, Ortiz briefly escapes, Benavidez drops for a leg and Ortiz tries to spin to his back. Benavidez gets back up and almost grabs the fence. Big left hand by Benavidez at the end. 10-9 Benavidez.
Final result: All three judges score it 29-28 for Joseph Benavidez by unanimous decision.
Paige VanZant vs. Rachael Ostovich
VanZant comes in 7-4 having lost three of her last four fights. Ostovich’s record is only slightly better as she’s batting .500 in her last four fights and in her career as a whole at 4-4. Given their popularity neither one is likely to be released off another loss, but it will certainly be tought o get momentum in the Flyweight division going forward. Ostovich has a black top and trunks with blue accents along with the blue gloves. Black top and trunks for VanZant with the red gloves and “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” Playing her to the cage. VanZant has a three inch reach advantage, 65 to 62”. Ostovich fights out of Waianae, Hawaii and VanZant out of Portland, Oregon by way of Reno. Our referee is Kevin MacDonald.
Round 1: Both women touch gloves to start. VanZant goes for a head kick and a clinch but it’s Ostovich who gets a takedown with half guard on top. VanZant gets her back to a closed guard but this just results in a stalemate with neither woman doing anything. The crowd realizes it 1:45 in and starts booing, and MacDonald brings them back to their feet. Ostovich throws a right hand and gets an immediate takedown off it, working her way to side control. VanZant tries hard to keep the left leg trapped. The crowd is getting restless again. Ostovich could go for a choke if she could get the leg free... but she can’t. Time keeps on ticking by. VanZant rolls for an ankle lock and Ostovich is in some trouble but manages to break free with 22 seconds left and secure another takedown going right to full mount and quickly attempting an armbar from there. VanZant survives it to the horn. 10-9 Ostovich.
Round 2: VanZant goes for a superwoman punch. Ostovich responds with the overhand right and another takedown. Ostovich quickly moves to take the back but VanZant escapes and goes for the exact same thing and she’s unloading with lefts and rights to the head from behind. Ostovich almost rolls to escape but VanZant hands on and keeps on pouring on damage. It almost looks like Ostovich can slip out because VanZant is riding so high but VanZant’s weight comes down on Ostovich’s elbow in an armbar and she suddenly taps out.
Final result: Paige VanZant wins by submission (armbar) at 1:50 in round two.
Glover Teixeira vs. Karl Roberson
Roberson is 28, Teixeira is 39, but Teixeira has a 2” reach advantage at 76”. Roberson has the blue gloves and matching trunks. He fights out of Neptune, New Jersey with a 7-1 record. Teixeira has black trunks and red gloves, fighting out of Danbury, Connecticut via Brazil with a record of 27-7. Our ref is Dan Miragliotta.
Round 1: The announcers are teasing that both men will “let it fly” but they spend the first 45 seconds circling each other until Teixeira shoots for a takedown and gets rocked with elbows to the head. Roberson pours it on on the ground as Teixeira wilts and moves to a full mount at 1:20 to throw big right hands. Teixeira escapes and goes back to looking for a takedown and finally gets it at 1:46 and now he’s the one with the full mount. Roberson tries to hold Teixeira chest to chest to avoid taking big shots. He finally gets his left hand free to start drilling Roberson in the head and almost cinches up an arm triangle. Teixeira passes to side with the arm triangle and Roberson taps.
Final result: Glover Teixeira wins via submission (arm triangle choke) at 3:21 in round one.
Donald Cerrone vs. Alexander Hernandez
You already know “Cowboy” Cerrone — nine knockouts, 17 submissions, UFC legend. Hernandez is the man with something to prove at 10-1 facing him but his eight fight win streak and 42 second knockout of Beneil Dariush have him in the kind of good standing to main event to headline the ESPN preliminary card. Cerrone is 6’1” with a 73” reach and Hernandez is 5’9” with a 72” reach. Cerrone has the blue trunks and gloves, fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico by way of Denver. Hernandez has the silver trunks and red gloves, fighting out of San Antonio, Texas. Our referee is Todd Anderson.
Round 1: Hernandez comes forward limbs flying and lands the first right hand. Hernandez tags Cerrone with a left hand that seems to stun him briefly but Cerrone counters by dropping levels for a takedown, then getting another when Hernandez tries to scramble. He finally gets free of “Cowboy” at 52 seconds. Anderson warns them both to watch their fingers as the Brooklyn crowd chants for Cerrone. Cerrone lands a right. Cerrone and Hernandez trade head ringers. 2:30 gone. Knee up the middle for Hernandez. Cerrone clinches up then throws a flush head kick as Hernandez tries to get free. Cerrone lands a hard right. Hernandez is bleeding heavily and getting tagged with combos. Cerrone comes forward with a three piece and a lot of biscuits. Hernandez tries to tie up and land elbows but it backfires as Cerrone breaks free and unloads again. Cerrone with a huge knee at 4:22. Hernandez could wind up with a medical TKO if he’s not careful. Head kick and a furious flurry. 10-9 Cerrone.
Round 2: Hernandez tries to drive Cerrone into the fence to open R2. Cerrone spins free and comes back to the center to bang. Leg kick by Cerrone. Left hook and a right. Cerrone walks forward throwing blows. Hernandez with a body kick. Cerrone hurts Hernandez as he comes forward with rights. Hernandez’ left eye looks to be swollen shut. Cerrone throws the right knee and a vicious body kick. Another body kick. Hernandez is in a bad way here. Left hand by Hernandez. Multiple knees to the body by Cerrone. Vicious right elbow by Cerrone as they clinch. Right hand flush on the break. Two minutes left in R2. Left hook for Cerrone. 1-2-3-4 from every angle. Big right head kick rocks Hernandez and thanks to his left eye he never saw it coming. Cerrone pours on the rights and the ref stops it!
Final result: Donald Cerrone via technical knockout at 3:43 in the second round.
Joanne Calderwood vs. Ariane Lipski
Calderwood’s pro record is 12-3 and her last win came via triangle choke at UFC Fight Night 135 last year. Lipski is the self-proclaimed “Violence Queen” making her Octagon debut on a nine fight win streak. The only standout stats are that Lipski has a 1.5” reach advantage at 67” and that Calderwood is nine years older at 33. Lipski fights out of Curitiba, Brazil and sports the yellow top and trunks with blue gloves. Calderwood fights out of Glasgow, Scotland with the black top and trunks wearing red gloves. Our ref is Blake Grice.
Round 1: Lipski pours on the combos in the center until Calderwood clinches up and tries to push her to the fence. Lipski briefly dominates the position but Calderwood spins her around. Calderwood throws right hands and Lipski answers with left knees. They break at 1:15. Calderwood shoots drops levels and gets the outside leg trip at 1:28. Calderwood with right hands to the head as she spins to the side. Lipski is warned not to manipulate the gloves as Calderwood moves to take her back and sink in a rear naked choke. Lipski avoids it but Calderwood is on top in complete control. Calderwood is looking for an arm triangle. Lipski gives up her back to survive. Calderwood drags her back down with both hooks in from behind and a full minute left. Calderwood goes for the armbar with short time left and throws left hands at her head the whole time. Lipski survives but it’s 10-9 Calderwood.
Round 2: The “Violence Queen” has bruises all over her face and forehead after R1. Calderwood misses with a spinning kick. Lipski lands a body kick. Calderwood keeps using pushes kicks and lefts. Lipski with a left kick upstairs. Good right hook from Calderwood. Calderwood with repeat lefts and body kicks. Another right hook lands. Combo from Lipski. Lipski licks the taste of blood from her mouth. Body head by Calderwood. Another good right hook from Calderwood. The one thing Lipski had early on was her stand-up and now Calderwood is out striking her in the exchanges. Stiff left jab by Calderwood. Lipski with a right. Calderwood teases dropping levels, throws an elbow, then pushes Lipski into the cage. Calderwood mauls her from this position and backs up with 10 seconds to go. She lands the body kick and strikes before the horn. 10-9 Calderwood.
Round 3: Calderwood comes forward with her hands and kicks and looks just as fluid as she did a minute ago. Lipski is probably praying she can land one home run shot at this point but such power isn’t easy to come by at 125 pounds. Spinning back elbow for Calderwood connects. Calderwood grabs the muay thai clinch but Lipski counters into a takedown with side control. Calderwood forces her back into the full guard and closes it. She’s keeping her eyes open for an opportunity to throw her legs around the head or an arm and finds it. Calderwood is pulling hard and all Lipski can do is defend without scoring any damage. She doesn’t need that when she’s two rounds in the hole. One minute to go. Lipski appears to be safe with 42 seconds left but not at all close to any kind of finishing sequence. Calderwood goes for another submission late. 10-9 Calderwood.
Final result: Joanne Calderwood wins via 30-26, 30-26, 30-27 unanimous decision.
Alonzo Menifield vs. Vinicius Moreira
The 7-0 Menifield hails from Dallas, Texas and has two TKO wins on Tuesday Night Contender Series. Moreira is also a Tuesday Night veteran and hails from Brasilia, Brazil with a pro record of 9-1. He’s also the taller fighter at 6’4” vs. 6’0” but the reach is identical at 76” apiece. Moreira has the yellow trunks and blue gloves, Menifield the blue trunks and red gloves. Our referee in charge of this fight is Dan Miragliotta.
Round 1: Menifield quickly knocks Moreira down with two right hands but nearly winds up in a triangle before he backs out and both men reset to the center. Moreira eats a 1-2 after landing a spinning heel to the body. Menifield and Moreira circle each other warily. Menifield puts two left hands on Moreira’s chin. Moreira is trying to keep his hands up to block the shots but some are slipping through. His corner reminds him to keep his hands up too. Moreira goes for a takedown and puts Menifield on the fence. Moreira is warned not to grab the fence. He goes for a leg trip but Menifield keeps his balance. Moreira tries to take his back and that doesn’t work. Menifield widens his stance as Moreira drops down, then nearly traps Moreira’s head in a choke. They both let go and reset back to the center. Menifield knocks him down again and fires away with right hands on the ground until Miragliotta steps in and stops it.
Final result: Alonzo Menifield wins via technical knockout at 3:56 in round one.
Mario Bautista vs. Cory Sandhagen
Late LATE replacement Bautista makes his UFC debut with an undefeated 6-0 record. His opponent Cory Sandhagen comes in a heavy favorite with a 9-1 record after finally getting someone finalized to face him. He sports red gloves and black trunks. Bautista has matching blue gloves and trunks. Sandhagen is two inches taller at 5’11” and has a one inch reach advantage at 70”. Our referee is Kevin MacDonald.
Round 1: A glove tap starts is off. Sandhagen comes forward with leg kicks and Bautista lands a body kick. Sandhagen begs Bautista to come to him and he does by catching a leg kick. Sandhagen breaks free landing body shots and a left hook. Sandhagen throws a right to the nose. Bautista catches a leg again but Sandhagen drops him with a right knee. He tries to take the full mount but Bautista gets back up and goes for a takedown. Sandhagen gets back up and widens his stance but Bautista goes for a takedown and Sandhagen gets a reverse triangle choke then goes for a knee. Bautista escapes both. Sandhagen goes for an armbar and finally gets Bautista to tap.
Final result: Cory Sandhagen wins via submission (armbar) at 3:31 in the first round.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Te Edwards
The 16-9 Bermudez has had a hard road of late, dropping four straight fights before this preliminary bout. He has on the blue trunks and red gloves. Edwards comes in looking to redeem himself after a head kick KO in his official UFC debut last year, wearing dark trunks and blue gloves. On the tale of the tape Edwards is 2” taller at 5’8” and also owns a 6” reach advantage at 72”. Edwards fights out of Phoenix, Arizona and Bermudez fights out of Lindenhurst, New York. Our referee is Blake Grice.
Round 1: Bermudez comes forward and lands the first left hook, eating a leg kick and throwing several in return. Edwards works the kicks and Bermudez charges forward as Grice warns them to watch the headbutts. Bermudez tries to keep Edwards on the fence but he gets out with a head kick and a right hook on the break. Edwards hurts him with two rights but Bermudez gets back up quickly. Edwards is warned to watch fingers to the eye. Bermudez misses on a single leg and is turned around against the fence. Body shot from Edwards. Leg kick for Bermudez. Uppercut by Edwards. Another single leg attempt for Bermudez. Edwards slips out but eats a knee. Bermudez shoots again and Edwards spins away. Bermudez throws wild right hooks that miss and then goes for a takedown that puts Edwards on his back in half guard. Bermudez is dropping big left elbows with short time. Almost a 50/50 round. Bermudez was winning at the end so it may edge 10-9 his way.
Round 2: Bermudez has a takedown 20 seconds into this frame and is in almost the same position he was to end R1. Bermudez passes to side and he’s working hard for a kimura. Edwards is gamely defending but time is not on his side. Bermudez steps over the head and Edwards is in big trouble now. Bermudez leg is quivering with the intensity he’s trying to push off from the fence to get more leverage. He finally lets it go but immediately switches to a front guillotine choke. Edwards lips out at 2:50 and comes forward swinging. Body shot from Bermudez and a left. Edwards looks a bit winded as he’s taken down again at 3:55. Bermudez grinds the left elbow into his chin, unloads with left hands, and his corner is screaming “VOLUME VOLUME.” A much more definitive 10-9 for Bermudez.
Round 3: Glove tap opens R3. Bermudez attacks with leg kicks and a knee. Bermudez shoots for the single at 1:04 and Edwards just accepts it and lets Bermudez onto his back. Bermudez steps over for a guillotine choke and Edwards is in big trouble. Edwards keeps rolling trying to defend and or escape but Bermudez rides with him until he’s on top in half guard at the halfway point. Bermudez gets full mount and postures up with lefts and a right elbow. Grice warns Bermudez to watch the back of the head. Edwards rolls because he’s tired of getting wailed on and Bermudez immediately goes for the armbar. Edwards slips out but Bermudez goes for the leg and they both stand up at 3:51. Bermudez takes him down again at 4:08. Edwards is up right before the horn throwing wild. 10-9 Bermudez. After the scorecards are read Bermudez announces his retirement to a standing O.
Final result: Dennis Bermudez wins by unanimous 30-26 from all three judges.
Belal Muhammad vs. Geoff Neal
Muhammad comes in on a four fight win streak with a 14-2 record overall fighting out of Chicago, Illinois, and the last victory came over prelim opening bout winner Chance Rencountre. The 10-2 Neal’s last win is more memorable though as he stopped Frank Camacho at UFC 228 in an insane back and forth war. Neal has the blue gloves and silver trunks fighting out of Dallas, Texas. Muhammad wears red gloves and black trunks. Both men are on four fight win streaks. Neal owns the three inch reach advantage at 75” but “everything else is virtually identical.” Our referee is Todd Anderson.
Round 1: Neal is the aggressor coming forward to start and Muhammad dances around him back to the center. Neal pushes him toward the outside again looking to land a big left and does after eating a body kick. They clinch against the fence. Muhammad breaks free at 1:31. Neal lands a combo and then to the body. Muhammad’s nose is already turning red. Another stiff left lands. Muhammad shoots and Neal keeps his balance on one hand to block the takedown. Muhammad’s left eye is starting to swell. Knee to the body and hard left hook against the cage for Neal. Combo and an uppercut from Neal. Blood is coming out of Muhammad’s nose. Head kick for Neal is checked but the right hook and left hand both connect. Muhammad’s single leg doesn’t work. 10-9 Neal.
Round 2: Muhammad throws a right head kick early but Neal walks through it and keeps landing to the chin. Neal takes a leg kick lands a stiff left then unloads with a combo against the fence. Muhammad now has raccoon eyes. Right hook hits him at the minute mark. Muhammad is trying to go strike for strike but Neal cracks him with a left. Muhammad goes for a single leg but Neal rolls through and gets right up. Muhammad’s trying to get off first with the strikes now but even when he does the counter shots hurt. Still Muhammad is doing some good damage with body shots. A hard right to the body seems to pause Neal for a split second. 90 seconds left. Muhammad’s face is bloody and battered. His latest takedown attempt fails. Neal lands the 1-2. Muhammad with the body shot. Takedown stuffed with a huge left hook and a battering right up to the horn. 10-9 Neal.
Round 3: Neal steps forward and pops Muhammad immediately. An accidental low blow is waved off by both men with a glove tap. Muhammad’s single leg is blocked. Neal with a body kick. He checks an elbow over the top from Muhammad. Another takedown is stuffed and a right hook is followed by a heavy left that puts Muhammad on his back. Neal lets him back up and he’s woozy. 2:40 remains. Muhammad with a body kick. The left hand lands again for Neal. Muhammad falls backward and rebounds off the fence. Head kick makes Muhammad back up. He gets rocked with a head kick at 3:40. He shoots and Neal stuffs it. Neal unloads on Muhammad and the blood is pouring down his chest. There’s no quit in Muhammad — maybe there should be. Another head kick lands at 4:36. 10-8 Neal.
Final result: Geoff Neal wins a unanimous decision of 29-28 and 30-27 X2.
Kyle Stewart vs. Chance Rencountre
Gray trunks and blue gloves for Rencountre as he looks for his first UFC win tonight. His career record to date is 12-3. Kyle Stewart has the black trunks, red gloves and a career record of 11-1 tonight for his UFC debut. Stewart has the reach advantage at 76.5” to 75” but Rencountre is 2” taller at 6’2”. Rencountre fights out of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Stewart fights out of Gilbert, Arizona. Our referee in charge is Dan Miragliotta.
Round 1: Rencountre stands at the center and delivers two left hooks, Stewart kicks him right in the cup, and Miragliotta gives him a “hard warning” during our time out 15 seconds into the bout. Rencountre goes for a double on the restart and Stewart scoots backward to the fence and gets back up. Rencountre stays on him from behind as the early Brooklyn crowd lets off a series of Ric Flair cat calls. Rencountre finally drags him backward to the ground at 89 seconds with one hook in. Stewart gives up his back getting up to one knee and Rencountre immediately seizes the rear naked choke for a quick tapout.
Final result: Chance Rencountre wins via submission (RNC) at 2:25 of round one.