Jessica Andrade was a powerful force in the UFC strawweight division, where she was champion less than 16 months ago. She opted to move up to flyweight, and on Saturday she showed that she did not leave her power behind.
Andrade, No. 4 in ESPN's 115-pound rankings, took out the 125-pound division's third-ranked fighter, Katlyn Chookagian, with a body-shot TKO in the first round of the co-main event of UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. Zombie in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Andrade (21-8) showed off her strength earlier in the round with a slam takedown that was reminiscent of the maneuver that finished Rose Namajunas on the May 2019 night when the 29-year-old Brazilian won her championship.
Then, out of a clinch against the cage, Andrade landed a right hand to the body that sent Chookagian (14-4) scurrying backward, holding her rib cage and wincing in pain. Andrade went in pursuit and landed a second right hand to the same spot, which dropped Chookagian to the canvas. The referee jumped in at 4:55 of Round 1.
"When you fight with happiness, like I'm having tonight, there's only one result you can have," Andrade said through a translator. "Now I'm No. 1, and let's see if I can get a chance at fighting Valentina."
She was referring to flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko.
With the win, Andrade -- who earned a $50,000 performance-of-the-night bonus -- becomes the first woman in UFC history to win in three weight classes. Earlier in her career, when there was no strawweight or flyweight division, she campaigned as a bantamweight.
"I hit her with a punch on her stomach and she yelled out and turned around, and for a second I thought that the fight could have been over," Andrade said, "but she turned around so I said it's not over, and I went in again and kept hitting her and then the referee stopped it.
"It was really fun, I had a really good fight week. I used to fight at 135 and that's how I used to feel, so it felt good. The girls are bigger, but I'm strong and I can go in there and compete with them."
-- Jeff Wagenheim
UFC featherweight Brian Ortega said he didn't even want people to recognize him on Saturday, as he came off a near two-year layoff from the Octagon. Safe to say, he succeeded.
Finally we have some direction in this division, get in there and take that #1 spot....that's all I wanted!! #ufcfightisland6— Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) October 18, 2020
Fighting for the first time since he was badly outclassed in a UFC championship fight in late 2018, Ortega (15-1) looked like a new man in a dominant five-round decision over Chan Sung Jung (16-6). All three judges scored the featherweight bout, which headlined UFC Fight Night in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, a 50-45 shutout for Ortega.
-- Brett Okamoto
Crute flattens Bukauskas with massive right hook
Jimmy Crute drops Modestas Bukauskas with a huge right hook and a follow-up uppercut at UFC Fight Night.
Crute (12-1) looked sharp and confident from the opening bell. He knocked Bukauskas (11-3) backwards with a stiff right hand in the opening seconds of the bout, and went to work with kicks on his lead leg. He attempted one takedown early in the fight, but Bukauskas defended the shot well and forced Crute to reset. The failed takedown did little to dampen Crute's confidence, as he landed a beautiful counter right and left hook to finish the bout moments later.
"He's hard to take down," said Crute, who earned a $50,000 performance-of-the-night bonus. "The old me, in that position, would have lost a bit of control after the first takedown didn't go to plan. But I just went back to the game plan."
The finishing sequence was a work of art. Bukauskas hit the deck after the initial right hand, but instinctually jumped right back to his feet. Crute immediately tagged him with the left hook, which sent him violently crashing to the ground again near the fence, and brought in the referee to wave it off. It marks Crute's fourth finish since he signed with the UFC in 2018, which is tied for the most during that stretch in the light heavyweight division.
"I thought he was going to leave more openings to be taken down, but he didn't and I'm sort of glad that he didn't," Crute said. "The biggest thing for me was to not rush and be confident in my abilities and not get too emotional in there like I've done in the past."
Krause informs coaches of torn knee, wins fight
James Krause tells his coach he tore his knee in Round 1 but continues to fight anyway.
Krause handed Silva his first defeat in 13 years by fending off the Brazilian's grappling game and totally outclassing him on the feet -- basically operating on one leg for much of the way.
After outlanding Silva by 33-19 in the first round and stuffing five of his seven takedown tries in those opening five minutes, Krause told his cornermen between rounds that he'd injured his knee. It showed in his movement the rest of the way, but he still managed to pepper Silva with straight punches while avoiding most of the wild, looping punches thrown his way.
The awkward striking of Silva landed at a meager clip of 29%, while Krause was accurate on 59% of his strikes.
All three judges scored it 30-27.
With the victory, the 34-year-old from Lee's Summit, Missouri, got back on track after seeing his six-fight winning streak end with a split-decision loss to Trevin Giles in February.
Silva, 38 and from Brazil, had won 14 in a row after dropping his pro debut in 2007.
Martinez (13-3) took the nod via judges' scores of 30-27 in a fight that never saw the floor. Martinez looked very comfortable in the pocket, and repeatedly caught Almeida (22-4) with the jab and slick counterpunches. Almeida took the shots well, although he was visibly wobbled by a hard left hook at the end of a Martinez combination in the third round.
From what I learned in the fighter meetings and saw in the octagon tonight, Jonathan Martinez is a baddddd dude. #UFCFightIsland6— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) October 17, 2020
Fighting out of Denver, Martinez set the tone early with his jab. Almeida had some success with leg kicks and his right hand, but Martinez's counter work was clearly more effective. He cut Almeida under the left eye with a punch in the first round and landed a huge knee up the middle from a clinch position in the second.
Almeida responded at times to make the fight competitive, including a blistering one-two combination that sent Martinez on his heels in the third round, but he was clearly a step behind for much of the fight. The bout was contested at 145 pounds even though both Almeida and Martinez traditionally compete at 135.
Martinez, 26, is now 4-2 in the UFC. Many observers felt he actually won a split-decision loss to Andre Ewell back in February. That controversial loss is the only blemish in Martinez's past five appearances.
"It was pretty fun, on my Instagram in 2015, I put, 'Almeida is going to be a world champion one day,' and I fought him, so it's pretty good," Martinez said. "I started seeing how he was throwing just hooks, straight hook, straight hook. I knew I was going to be a lot faster than him, and I've seen a couple of his fights, so I just started throwing my jab more and more.
"I took this fight on eight days' notice, so I feel good, really good. I just want people to know who I am. A lot of people don't even know who I am, I am here to make statements and climb up the rankings. I just beat Almeida, so hopefully that clicks."
Kutateladze handed the former KSW champion his first career defeat by attacking him with body kicks and fending off his grappling game in the UFC debut for both fighters.
It was the ninth straight victory for the 28-year-old, who was born in the Republic of Georgia and is based in Sweden.
He got the job done by landing hard kicks early and defending well whenever Gamrot was able to close distance on him. Through two rounds, Kutateladze had successfully fended off seven of nine takedown attempts.
All three judges scored the bout 29-28, but afterward, Kutateladze said he didn't think he won. "I'm an honest man," Kutateladze said. "It wasn't my fight."
Both fighters, however, were rewarded with bonuses as each will get $50,000 for fight of the night.
Gamrot, who is 29 and from Poland, came in 17-0 with a no-contest, which was the third best record on the UFC roster, behind only the 28-0 of the champion in his division, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and middleweight champ Israel Adesanya's 20-0.
Robertson (9-4) improved to 6-2 in the UFC with a dominant decision over Botelho (8-3). Judges scored the bout for Robertson 29-28, 29-27 and 29-27. The 25-year-old Canadian was far too much for Botelho on the ground, as she consistently improved position and worked her ground and pound. Robertson admitted she was disappointed by the lack of a finish, but it was a very strong performance otherwise.
"[Getting her to the ground] was the plan, but the plan was also to finish her, so I'm not happy," Robertson said. "I'm trying to get that 100% finish rate and ruined it tonight, so I'm not happy."
Robertson shot a single-leg attempt on Botelho within the first three seconds of the bout. She struggled to get the Brazilian down in the first round, but had no trouble doing so in the second and third. She moved to full mount on multiple occasions, and caused some nasty facial swelling by the end of the fight with her strikes.
The win actually moves Robertson to No. 1 on the flyweight division's all-time wins list. She's been very active, as this was her fifth fight since the start of 2019. Her only losses in the UFC have been to Maycee Barber and Mayra Bueno Silva. After the win, she called for Antonina Shevchenko next, or "anyone ranked in the Top 14."
Park must have been watching phenom Khamzat Chimaev's UFC debut in July, because he knew exactly what to do against Phillips. And then he outdid Chimaev, at least in terms of record-breaking numbers.
Park, who typically is a stand-up fighter, took Phillips to the canvas in the first minute of each round and kept him there until the horn, peppering him with short punches in a dominant performance for which all three judges awarded him 30-25 scorecards.
Whereas Chimaev submitted Phillips after outlanding him 43-1, Park amassed striking numbers that dwarfed that output, finishing with 260 total strikes, which according to ESPN Stats & Information is tied for the sixth-most in a three-round fight in UFC history.
Much of what Park landed was not damaging. For example, he outlanded Phillips 53-1 in Round 1, but it was only a 3-0 margin in significant strikes. But Phillips had no answers.
Park, a 29-year-old teammate of main eventer Chan Sung Jung at Korea Top Team, has won nine of his past 10 fights.
Phillips, a 35-year-old Welshman, has lost four of five.
The 155-pound matchup showcased a difference in styles, as Ziam appeared happy to stay on the outside and use his length, while Mullarkey constantly looked to close the distance and get the fight to the ground. Both had success, as UFC Stats showed a close tally in overall strikes. Ziam landed 54 to Mullarkey's 29, although Mullarkey added five successful takedowns.
Ohh idk bout that decision— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) October 17, 2020
Mullarkey, of Australia, appeared stunned as unanimous 29-28 judges' scores were read in Ziam's favor. He did his best work in the second round, landing several solid elbows from top position and nearly taking Ziam's back. He had some success in the third round on the floor as well, although he allowed Ziam to sweep him and move into a favorable position in the final moments of the fight.
It drops Mullarkey to 0-2 in the UFC. This was his first appearance of 2020. Ziam picks up his first win inside the Octagon in two tries. He suffered a decision loss to Don Madge in his UFC debut in September 2019.
"Jamie is really strong, but I'm better, my technique is better," Ziam said. "Hey, Bobby Green, take the fight. I'm angry, I'm young, I'm a lion, the Smile Killer is here."
Once his opponent engaged in a fight, Grishin ended it, using a barrage of punches as Round 2 was winding down to get the finish at 4:58 for his first UFC win.
These veteran Russian light heavyweights had trained together at American Top Team in Florida, so Grishin was well aware of Antigulov's reputation as a fast starter. But on this night, Antigulov did not come out firing, so much of the first round played out as a staring contest.
But when Antigulov, a 33-year-old from Dagestan, came out aggressively for the second, and even took the fight to the canvas, Grishin responded, getting out of a submission attempt by reversing position, then getting back to his feet and going on attack. As Grishin fired away with punches against the cage, Antigulov did no more than cover up. The referee twice asked Antigulov to fight back before stepping in.
Grishin, 36, is a former PFL fighter who saw a nine-fight winning streak end in July in his UFC debut, a decision loss to Marcin Tybura.
For Antigulov, this was his fourth UFC loss in a row, although in the others he had been finished in the first round.
Said Nurmagomedov makes quick work of opponent
Said Nurmagomdeov, with no relation to Khabib, makes quick work of Mark Striegl at UFC Fight Night in Abu Dhabi.
UFC bantamweight Said Nurmagomedov does not need much of an opportunity in order to knock an opponent out. That much was on full display on Saturday.
Nurmagomedov recorded his third win in the UFC in emphatic fashion as he knocked out Mark Striegl with ground-and-pound just 51 seconds into their bantamweight contest. Nurmagomedov (14-2) dropped Striegl with a counter left hand that didn't even appear to have much on it. Nurmagomedov was stepping backwards and looked off-balance as he threw the punch, but it was a perfect shot to Striegl's temple.
Damn what a performance for Said Nurmagomedov! Vicious ground and pound 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 #UFCFightIsland6— Tatiana Suarez (@tatianaufc) October 17, 2020
After Striegl (18-3) went down, Nurmagomedov jumped on him with follow-up strikes that quickly ended the fight. It's his second knockout in the UFC, and seventh career finish overall.
Nurmagomedov fights out of Russia but is not related to undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. He is now 3-1 in the UFC. His loss came via unanimous decision to Raoni Barcelos in December.