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UFC Fight Night analysis: Khamzat Chimaev keeps rolling; Cowboy Cerrone hangs tough

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Chimaev needs only one punch to knock out Meerschaert (1:01)

Khamzat Chimaev needs 17 seconds and one punch to knock out Gerald Meerschaert at UFC Fight Night. (1:01)

One punch. Seventeen seconds.

As impossible as it might seem, Khamzat Chimaev outdid himself.

He burst on the scene in July, posting two UFC wins within 11 days, out-landing his opponents by a combined 162-2. It was as dominant a start to a UFC run as the promotion has seen

But now, Chimaev, a 26-year-old Chechnya-born Swede, has really arrived. Facing an opponent with more than five times his professional MMA experience, Chimaev (9-0, 3-0 in the UFC) wasted no time in adding to his starry legacy in progress, knocking out Gerald Meerschaert in 17 seconds with the first punch he threw on Saturday at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.

"Fifty Gs, baby!" Chimaev said afterward, referring to the $50,000 in performance bonuses that the UFC doles out after each card. UFC president Dana White confirmed Chimaev received the bonus.

With the breathtaking victory, Chimaev became the fastest to 3-0 in the UFC's modern era, notching his third win just 66 days after his debut. The old record was 105 days, held by light heavyweight Johnny Walker, who coincidentally won the fight right before Chimaev's.

For Meerschaert (31-14, 6-6 UFC), the loss was his second in a row and his fifth over the past two years. But he is no slouch. The 32-year-old fighting out of Roufusport in Milwaukee has 29 finishes among his 31 career wins, including 23 submissions. There was some speculation before the fight as to how Chimaev would fare with Meerschaert on the canvas.

Turns out, it never came to that.

"It's been crazy," Chimaev said of his newfound celebrity. "People come to me and take pictures. But I did my hard work in the gym -- always. Now living close to the gym, I go from my home to the gym and back. When I go to the streets, people come to speak with me. I love people have respect for this sport.

"If you win and fight like that, everybody loves you. I've got to keep going and smash people. I never have pressure before the fights. I've done this all my life. Now I am a professional fighter. I'm ready for everybody."

White said before the fight that if Chimaev were to win, he would move on to face jiu-jitsu master Demian Maia later in the fall. Can't wait for that one.

-- Jeff Wagenheim

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Welterweight: Colby Covington (16-2, 11-2 UFC) defeats Tyron Woodley (19-6-1, 9-5-1 UFC) by fifth-round TKO

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Covington keeps up pressure in main event vs. Woodley

Colby Covington stays on the offensive in his main event fight vs. Tyron Woodley at UFC Fight Night.

Colby Covington settled the score, won bragging rights over his biggest rival and perhaps earned another title shot.

The UFC welterweight star defeated Tyron Woodley via TKO at 1 minute, 19 seconds of the fifth round Saturday night in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.

The finish was a bizarre one. Covington took Woodley down against the cage. While Woodley was going for a guillotine choke with Covington on top of him, Woodley screamed out in pain with an apparent injury.

-- Marc Raimondi

Read the entire story.


Welterweight: Donald Cerrone (36-15-1, 23-12-1 UFC) and Niko Price (14-4-1 1NC, 6-4-1 1NC UFC) fight to a majority draw

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Cerrone, Price trade blows in eventful Round 2

Donald Cerrone and Niko Price trade blows in an action-packed Round 2 in their co-main event at UFC Fight Night.

After facing retirement questions from the media all week, Cerrone proved he's still got something left in the tank -- even though it did not result in a win.

Cerrone (36-15-1) fought Price (14-4-1) to a majority draw in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night. One judge scored the contest 29-28 in favor of Cerrone, while the other two had it 28-28. Price committed a pair of crucial accidental eye pokes in the first round, which cost him a point and, as it turned out, a decision win.

But even though Cerrone would have lost without the fouls, he proved he's not an easy out. Cerrone dismissed speculation of a looming retirement this week, talk that has been brought on by a four-fight losing streak, during which he's been knocked out three times.

Price, 30, put the pressure on early, obviously looking to test Cerrone's resolve. He pushed him backward with kicks to the body and combinations. Cerrone looked like a deer in the headlights at first, eating elbows in the clinch and barely firing back. Eventually, he appeared to wake up, and he backed Price off with a few kicks of his own.

Price's aggression continued in the second round but started to wane in the third. Cerrone seemed to find a second wind and used the threat of a takedown to land several good left hooks on Price. He did briefly take Price's back, but he was too high in the position and eventually slipped off.

According to UFC Stats, Price landed 142 total strikes to Cerrone's 110. Cerrone looked disappointed with the result, but Price celebrated the draw. Cerrone has now gone winless in his past five fights.

Afterward, Cerrone said he felt he lost the fight and he won't fight again in 2020.

-- Brett Okamoto


Light heavyweight: Johnny Walker (18-5, 4-2 UFC) defeats Ryan Spann (18-6, 4-1 UFC) by first-round KO

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Walker finishes Spann, meditates afterward

After going down early, Johnny Walker finishes Ryan Spann in Round 1 and proceeds to meditate in the middle of the Octagon.

Walker was on rubber legs. Spann was one or two blows away from a highlight-reel finish. At one point, Spann was in mount.

But somehow, some way, Walker pulled off a knockout win at 2:43 of the first in one of the wildest rounds of the year. It was the first time a fighter has come back from getting knocked down twice in the first round to win via first-round finish since Travis Browne knocked out Alistair Overeem in August 2013, per ESPN Stats & Information research.

Spann clipped Walker with a left hand on the opening exchange. Spann ended up in mount, landing ground-and-pound shots. Walker was able to get up when Spann went for a triangle choke, but he couldn't stay upright -- his legs buckled underneath him. With Walker slipping, Spann landed big shots again, then went for a takedown against the cage.

From there, Walker landed huge elbows and hammerfists to the exposed head of Spann, who continued trying for the single-leg takedown. The blows crumpled Spann to the mat and referee Chris Tognoni stepped in to stop it. Spann's coach, Sayif Saud, protested, saying the strikes came to the back of the head, which would have made them illegal.

Walker, 28, snapped a two-fight losing streak with the comeback victory. The Brazil native spent this training camp at SGB Ireland, Conor McGregor's home gym, under the tutelage of coach John Kavanagh. Spann, a 29-year-old Texas resident, had an eight-fight winning streak snapped.

"It's good to be back," Walker said. "I know I'm coming from two losses, but I know my potential. I know what I can do. I'm happy with this result, but not really happy because the guy hit me so hard. Next one, I'm going to try and not get hit."

-- Marc Raimondi

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Strawweight: Mackenzie Dern (9-1, 4-1 UFC) defeats Randa Markos (10-10-1, 6-8-1 UFC) by first-round armbar

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Dern taps Markos late in Round 1

Mackenzie Dern submits Randa Markos with an armbar late in the first round of their bout at UFC Fight Night.

News flash: Mackenzie Dern is very, very good at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Dern dominated Markos on the ground en route to a first-round submission victory. Referee Jason Herzog stopped the bout at 3:44 of the first round, when Markos tapped to an armbar. It is the prospect's sixth career submission and fifth finish inside the first round.

The BJJ standout went into the fight throwing aggressive shots on the feet, so aggressive she slipped completely off her feet in a wild head kick attempt. Markos elected to follow her to the ground, despite saying earlier in the week she had no intention of grappling with Dern. It was all trouble for Markos from that moment on. Dern looked for a potential triangle choke, mounted her, hit her with some clean hammerfists and wrapped up the armbar.

Dern earned a $50,000 bonus for performance of the night.

Dern, 27, has been very active since the birth of her child in June 2019. She's already fought three times since. After dropping a decision to Amanda Ribas in October, she has submitted Hannah Cifers and Markos in May and September, respectively. Markos, who had never lost two fights in a row during her entire UFC career dating back to 2014, does so for the first time.

"When I was on the ground, it was almost like being in a Jiu-Jitsu tournament," Dern said. "I threw maybe five or six punches in the whole fight. It was my home, so it definitely felt kind of easy on the ground. The standup is always dangerous.

"Being a mother has changed how I am as a fighter because I'm more focused. I've never been more focused than I am now. I hope everyone can see that and how much I'm taking this seriously. My weight cut is better than ever and I'm feeling stronger. I feel more aggressive. I'm not just paying for me; I have a daughter to take care of. I have to show her how to be professional. I was living like a girl who had a fighter life, but now I'm a fighter who happens to be a mom and wife. I've tried to give her the best life and be the best role model as possible."

-- Okamoto

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Middleweight: Kevin Holland (19-5, 6-2 UFC) defeats Darren Stewart (12-6 1 NC, 5-5-1 NC UFC) by split decision

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Holland, Stewart trade strikes in Round 1

Kevin Holland and Darren Stewart waste no time exchanging pleasantries as they trade massive blows early in Round 1 of their bout.

"C'mon! C'mon!"

That was Stewart talking, as he delivered elbows and punches to the face of Holland, who had been the one doing all of the talking throughout the fight.

Stewart was making a strong case -- with his assault more than his words -- but he could persuade only one of the three judges to score the bout his way. All three scorecards had the fight 29-28, and two went with Holland, who has won three in a row and, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, became the seventh UFC fighter to win three times in 2020.

It was a competitive scrap all of the way through. When the fighters were at distance, Holland's strikes were getting the best of the fight. But Stewart kept closing the distance and going for takedowns, and whether or not he managed to get the fight to the canvas, he fared better from close range.

Holland, 27 and from Fort Worth, Texas, has won six of his past seven. Stewart, a 29-year-old from London, came in having won three of his previous four.

"We were throwing hard, but my face is pretty tough and his face is pretty tough," Holland said. "Our fists just aren't as tough as our faces, so we just kept going. He started using his elbows at the end and cut me open. If he didn't cut me open, we could have run our rematch sooner. Thanks for giving me some time to go home and work on some things.

"I'm not like most guys. Most guys get a decision and are like, 'I did it!' Squeaking by is never good enough for my family. That goes for all the kids at home. If you think you're going to squeak by, you better bring your grades up at the end of the year."

-- Wagenheim

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Men's flyweight: David Dvořák (19-3, 2-0 UFC) defeats Jordan Espinosa (15-8, 2-3 UFC) by unanimous decision

The flyweight division could have a new contender.

Dvorak, using a steady diet of hard calf kicks, beat Espinosa by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) in what might be a breakout performance in the 125-pound division.

Dvorak landed a hard right hand in the first round. Espinosa landed some decent shots, too. But the story was Dvorak's kicking game. He peppered Espinosa from the outside with calf kicks throughout. By the second round, Espinosa was clearly experiencing discomfort, switching stances. Before the third, Espinosa had his left calf iced in the corner. Dvorak continued those hard shots over the final five minutes and cruised to a one-sided decision.

Dvorak, 28, has won 15 straight. The Czech Republic native has won both of his first two UFC fights and has not lost since May 2012. Espinosa, a 30-year-old New Mexico resident, has dropped three of his past four fights.

-- Raimondi

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Men's featherweight: Damon Jackson (18-3-1 1NC, 1-1 1NC UFC) defeats Mirsad Bektić (13-4, 6-4 UFC) by third-round guillotine

It took Jackson four years to get back to the UFC, and he returned with a splash against a heavily favored Bektic.

Jackson (18-3-1), who was cut by the UFC in 2016, submitted Bektic (13-4) via guillotine choke at 1:21 of the third round. Jackson accepted the fight on just three days' notice, after Bektic's original opponent, Eduardo Garagorri, was pulled because a cornerman tested positive for COVID-19.

Bektic, 29, was once considered one of the top prospects in the sport, and he went in extremely motivated having lost his past two. Those two losses came against ranked opponents in Dan Ige and Josh Emmett, though, and Bektic was considered more than a 3-1 betting favorite in the bout. He turned to his wrestling early and often, but the submission skills and cardio of Jackson prevailed.

The featherweight bout turned into a grappling match, as Bektic looked to impose his wrestling every round. Jackson finished the second round on top and landing hard elbows, however, and Bektic was slow returning to his corner. Jackson appeared to smell blood, as he came out aggressively in the third and secured the guillotine when Bektic desperately looked to take him to the ground.

"He shot in on me and I was like, 'No one ever shoots in on me.' Hardly in my gym people try to take me down, because I go for those guillotines," Jackson said. "It caught me off guard, but I'll be ready from here on out. If they want to match me with another wrestler, I'm down with that all day."

At the time of the stoppage, Jackson had been out-landed in total strikes 76 to 20, but Bektic's fatigue was visible. Jackson attempted seven submissions in the fight per ESPN Stats and Info research.

"Obviously, I didn't come out as strong as I would have in the grappling," Jackson said. "I've been kind of back and forth with short-notice fights for the last three weeks. So I was kind of game-planning for something soon, but I had no clue it would be against Bektic for the No. 15 spot. Let's see where that takes me. I'm ready to go again. I just need a few weeks to heal up.

"It's just refreshing to come back here and get a win. It wasn't the performance I wanted, but I felt strongly about the matchup. If I had a full camp, I would have finished him in the first."

Jackson earned a $50,000 performance-of-the-night bonus.

-- Okamoto

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Women's flyweight: Mayra Bueno Silva (7-1, 2-1 UFC) defeats Mara Romero Borella (12-9, 2-5 UFC) by first-round submission

Silva got back on track with patience, patience, patience ... then a sudden pounce upon an armbar opportunity to get the tapout at 2:29 of Round 1.

The 29-year-old from Brazil, who was coming off her only career loss, found herself on her back 45 seconds into the fight thanks to a timely Borella takedown. And that's where the fight remained, with Borella dropping the occasional hammerfist from full guard while also being cautious to keep herself free of submission danger.

Silva was in position to set up a triangle submission, but Borello defended well. Then, in a flash, Silva switched her attack to an armbar, and as soon as she secured it, Borello tapped. It was the 34-year-old Italian's fourth loss in a row, including two straight first-round submissions.

"Anyone who follows my career knows that it is marked by major injuries that do not allow me to progress, but I am training more focused on myself to avoid this," Silva said. "Almost always I leave the Octagon for the hospital, but this time I will celebrate with my team."

-- Wagenheim

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Women's bantamweight: Jessica-Rose Clark (10-6, 3-2 UFC) defeats Sarah Alpar (9-5, 0-1 UFC) by third-round TKO

For a second straight week, referee Chris Tognoni's decisions will be a talking point coming out of a UFC card.

Clark beat Alpar by TKO via strikes at 4:21 of the third round in a women's bantamweight bout. But the fight arguably could have been over prior to that sequence.

Earlier in the third round, Clark landed a hard knee to Alpar's face as Alpar was falling to the canvas. Tognoni paused the fight, believing at the time that it was an illegal knee. But it was not. Only Alpar's feet were touching the mat when the knee landed, so it was not a foul.

Tognoni did correct himself. However, instead of calling the bout a TKO finish right there, Tognoni allowed it to go on. Alpar was clearly damaged badly by the knee and her face was pouring blood.

"I was like, did I win?" Clark said in her postfight interview. "He looked like he was stopping it."

Clark continued to maul a compromised Alpar for another few minutes. Tognoni finally stepped in when Clark landed another vicious knee to Alpar's face following a hard right hand. In the end, it was one of the best performances of Clark's career despite the confusion.

"I think the ending was even better anyway," Clark said.

Clark, 32, snapped a two-fight losing streak with the victory. The Australia native has looked like a new fighter since moving to CSA Gym in California. Alpar, a 29-year-old Texan, had a three-fight winning streak snapped.

-- Raimondi

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Men's featherweight: Darrick Minner (25-11, 1-1 UFC) defeats T.J. Laramie (12-4, 0-1 UFC) by first-round guillotine

It's a moment Minner (25-11) has worked hard and long for. The 30-year-old has been fighting professionally since 2012, and he didn't make it to the UFC until his 34th professional fight. He went into Saturday's contest a pretty significant betting underdog but proved oddsmakers wrong by recording his 21st first-round finish.

Minner looked comfortable from the opening bell. He went to work with dirty boxing in the clinch, working Laramie to the body with punches. Laramie didn't seem to like the early offense and looked for a takedown, which opened the door for Minner's guillotine. Minner became only the sixth fighter this year to win a fight without absorbing a single significant strike.

Minner improved to 1-1 in the UFC. He lost his debut on short notice against Grant Dawson. Laramie, who just earned a UFC contract on Aug. 11, dropped to 0-1.

"He pushed me against the cage and thought that grind was going to work," Minner said. "I slowed my game down. People might not think so because it was a quick submission. My fight IQ is just going to keep growing."

-- Okamoto

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Men's bantamweight: Randy Costa (6-1, 2-1 UFC) defeats Journey Newson (9-3 1NC, 0-2 1NC UFC) by first-round KO

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Costa stuns Newson with brutal head kick

Randy Costa ends the bout vs. Journey Newson early with a stunning head kick in Round 1.

Costa apparently likes to get his work done early.

The 26-year-old from Taunton, Massachusetts, continued his run of fast finishes by crushing Newson with a head-kick knockout just 41 seconds into Round 1. Costa has first-round KOs in all six of his career wins, and this was his second-fastest one.

Costa stalked his opponent in the opening moments of the fight, lining up his range, then threw a left hand that Newson dodged. But right behind the punch came a kick that landed flush on the chin and dropped Newson stiff on the canvas. Costa pounced with punches before being pulled away by the referee.

Costa earned a $50,000 performance-of-the night bonus.

Newson, 31, fights out of Portland, Oregon. He still is winless in the UFC, after losing his debut last year and having a no contest in February.

-- Wagenheim

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Men's bantamweight: Andre Ewell (17-6, 4-2 UFC) defeats Irwin Rivera (10-6, 1-2 UFC) by split decision

Ewell and Rivera made an early bid for Fight of the Night.

In the end, Ewell earned a split-decision (28-29, 29-29, 29-28) win in the bantamweight contest. But the bout itself was action from start to finish. Ewell landed some huge shots in every round and outworked Rivera throughout. Somehow, the durable Rivera was able to survive and look like the fresher fighter in the final minutes.

Ewell started strongly. He landed some beautiful combinations, snapping Rivera's head back with straight left hands. Rivera had a nice blitzing combo and a jumping knee in the first round, as well. But Ewell was able to have success on the ground, briefly getting Rivera's back at one point.

Both men slowed down a bit in the second after a fast-paced beginning of the fight. Ewell stuck with his technical boxing, though, finding a home over and over for that left hand, usually preceded by a jab. In the second, he also went to the body and hurt Rivera at one point with a left to the midsection.

Rivera attempted to rally in the third. But Ewell kept up with the combinations and did big damage with a punching flurry. Rivera continued going forward, even in the closing minutes, landing a combination and taking Ewell down. Rivera was attempting ground-and-pound as the fight came to an end.

Ewell, 32, has won two straight and three of his past four. The California native has four wins via decision since 2018, tied for the most in the bantamweight division with Merab Dvalishvili, per ESPN Stats & Info research. Rivera, 31, has dropped two of three in the UFC, all in the past four months.

-- Raimondi

Watch this fight on ESPN+.


Men's bantamweight: Tyson Nam (20-11-1, 2-2 UFC) defeats Jerome Rivera (10-3, 0-1 UFC) by second-round TKO

Nam recorded his 11th career knockout at the 1:34 mark of the second round.

Usually a flyweight, Nam (20-11-1) fought Rivera (10-2) at the bantamweight 135-pound limit. The finish came when Nam knocked Rivera down with a right hand and followed it with hard strikes standing over his guard. It's Nam's second consecutive win in the UFC, after suffering back-to-back losses to open his UFC career in late 2019 and early 2020.

The bout was competitive until the finish. Rivera targeted Nam's legs with kicks, while Nam focused on the body and the head. This was Nam's third appearance of 2020. Rivera, a former Contender Series alum, falls to 0-1 in the promotion.

"I really want to fight Joseph Benavidez," Nam said. "He's a legend and we're almost around the same age. That would feel great to fight him.

"It's the beginning of something, this late in my career. They say fine wine does age. I'm just that."

-- Okamoto

Watch this fight on ESPN+.