LAS VEGAS -- Bryce Mitchell has never looked better -- both in performance and, of course, with his attire.
Sporting his new, custom, camouflage UFC trunks, Mitchell (14-0) extended his unbeaten record by taking out Andre Fili (21-8) via unanimous decision. The featherweight bout, which all three judges scored for Mitchell 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28, served as the co-main event of the UFC Fight Night inside the UFC's Apex facility.
Mitchell, 26, had already collected a win going into Saturday, as he talked the UFC and its apparel partner, Reebok, into tailoring him some custom trunks. It's only the second time the UFC has approved such a request. The other instance was for an athlete with some considerable clout -- former two-weight champion Conor McGregor.
Following the performance, which improved Mitchell's UFC record to 5-0, Mitchell was surprisingly critical of his performance.
"No brother, I do better in the gym," said Mitchell, when asked if he was happy with the fight. "Shouldn't have let him roll me. One time, I let him roll me. I was going for a sub. Other than that, he escaped. I don't want them escaping when I get them down. I think he flying kneed me, too."
Mitchell's self-criticism was reasonable, if not a little harsh. He did have success getting Fili down in all three rounds, however Fili did well avoiding damage off his back and consistently found ways to create scrambles and work back to his feet. He surprised Mitchell with a flying knee attempt during one takedown attempt, and opened a cut over Mitchell's left eye.
He landed a head kick at the second round that sent Mitchell's mouthpiece flying.
Despite those and few other moments by Fili, it was Mitchell's fight. He controlled range, and caught Fili with several punches as Fili looked weary of the takedown attempts. Mitchell is steadily rising up the UFC's ranks, and this win is a big one, as Fili has 16 UFC appearances. He has recorded only one finish since signing with the promotion but has garnered a lot of attention with his grappling.
The Arkansas-based Mitchell moves to 2-0 in the 2020 calendar year.
"I believe I'm the first guy that has dominated Andre Fili," Mitchell said. "He has been beaten, knocked out and submitted. Unfortunately, I could not do that to him, but he didn't win any of the rounds. He did a bit of damage. It was a really tough fight. It was a learning experience for me.
Camo shorts officially 1-0 in the UFC 😂 #UFCVegas12— Megan Anderson (@MeganA_mma) November 1, 2020
"I looked a lot better going into the Octagon than I did going out, I know that. But there ain't no doubt, I've got the coolest shorts in the UFC."
-- Brett Okamoto
Uriah Hall and Anderson Silva both knelt down on the mat, head to head, and clasped each other's hands. Each got emotional showing the other respect following a hard-fought UFC bout. Blood poured from Silva's face.
"I love you," Hall told Silva. "You're still one of the greatest."
Hall stopped Silva via TKO at 1:24 of the fourth round Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas. Hall clipped Silva, widely considered one of the greatest fighters in MMA history, with a right hand and then finished with a flurry on the ground.
-- Marc Raimondi
Greg Hardy finishes Maurice Greene in Round 2
Former NFL star turned pro fighter Greg Hardy finishes Maurice Greene with a flurry of punches in Round 2 at UFC Fight Night.
No illegal strike or other victory-nullifying rule violation this time. Hardy scored his best UFC victory the old-fashioned way, with a straight punch that dropped Greene and strong, accurate ground-and-pound that finished him at 1:12 of Round 2.
For Hardy, it was his first UFC stoppage win outside of the first round. He has six knockouts among his seven career wins.
Hardy, who arrived in the UFC controversially last year as an NFL outcast because of a domestic violence conviction (later overturned), had had his share of sideshow moments in previous trips inside the Octagon, including the illegal use of an inhaler for asthma between rounds. But this time the 32-year-old, who for this fight left American Top Team in south Florida to work exclusively with Din Thomas and Rashad Evans, showed more polish both on the feet and on the canvas.
Greg Hardy's has nasty power!!#UFCVegas12— Jamahal Sweet Dreams Hill (@JamahalH) November 1, 2020
The former All-Pro defensive end dropped Greene in the first round with a left hand and followed him to the canvas to dish out some nasty ground-and-pound. But when he didn't get a finish, he stood up and backed away, allowing Greene to get to his feet.
"I just tried to get as much done as I could down there, while staying safe," said Hardy. "And then get back up and finish the fight the way I know how, you know?"
That he did. He again floored Greene early in the second round, and once again he pounced. This time, he finished the job.
"Back to OG Hardy," he said. "Get in, get out."
Greene, who is 34 and fights out of Jackson Wink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has lost three of his past four fights after starting his UFC career 3-0.
"I feel like I fought a game opponent who came out there with a lot of weapons," Hardy said. "Any time I can get it done against a guy with that kind of reach and status, I feel great.
"It's like playing myself in a video game. I know all the moves and buttons. It's a chess game. Before I would just react -- speed, move and athleticism. Now it's kind of like things have slowed down. Having control of my mental game makes my athletic game so much more dangerous. Now that I have a coach to focus on me individually, I'm starting to unlock more weapons that I didn't have before. I'm unlocking things that allow me to finish people and put me in a position to win."
-- Jeff Wagenheim
Holland had control of Ontiveros' shoulder and head from the back. He kicked out Ontiveros' right leg and landed a trip. Ontiveros' landed very hard to the mat on the back of his head and neck. And that was enough to finish the fight.
Holland beat Ontiveros by verbal submission at 2:39 of the first round in a middleweight bout. Ontiveros communicated to referee Mark Smith that he was injured after the impact of the takedown, and Smith called the bout off. It was a scary scene afterward. Ontiveros remained on the canvas and needed to be stretchered out of the UFC Apex and taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons.
UFC president Dana White said after the card that Ontiveros underwent tests at the hospital, and he's "100 percent, he's OK."
Following the finish, Holland turned his attention to UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, who was sitting cageside because he has a teammate fighting Wednesday in "Dana White's Contender Series." In his postfight interview, Holland said he and Adesanya have had some outside-the-cage run-ins and "I don't play that."
"Don't play with me, boy," Holland shouted at Adesanya.
With the victory, Holland became the first fighter in the UFC to win four fights in 2020, per ESPN Stats & Information research. Only two middleweights in UFC history have gone 4-0 in a calendar year: Adesanya and current Bellator champion Gegard Mousasi.
"If you really want this smoke, let's get this smoke," Holland said of Adesanya in his postfight interview.
Holland, 27, has won four straight and seven of his past eight, and he earned a $50,000 bonus for performance of the night. The four-fight run is the second-longest among UFC middleweights after Adesanya's nine. Holland, a Texas resident, has finished three of his past four victories via TKO and is rounding into a legitimate middleweight threat. Ontiveros, a 29-year-old Texas resident, was on a two-fight winning streak coming into what was his UFC debut.
Moises foiled Green's plan to be the first UFC fighter to four wins in 2020, as he upset the veteran via unanimous decision after three hard-fought rounds.
Moises, who is best known as a dangerous grappler, came up on the short end of total strikes landed, according to UFC Stats, as Green out-landed him 86 to 36. The strikes Moises did land, however, seemed to carry some weight behind them. He attacked Green's legs with kicks and opened a cut over his right eye. All three judges scored it for Moises, 29-28.
Idk bout that one smh— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) October 31, 2020
Moises also visibly hurt Green (27-11-1) with a right hand late in the first round, which had Green blinking for several moments. He later told his corner he was seeing triple.
The closest either fighter came to a finish came in the second round, when Moises latched on to a heel hook attempt. Green eventually worked his way free, and actually made Moises pay with a knee to the body in an ensuing clinch. Green's reaction to the final scores indicated he felt he won, although he did not angrily dispute the result and congratulated Moises.
It's a big victory for Moises, who went into the fight a significant 2.5-to-1 betting underdog. The 25-year-old improves to 3-2 in the UFC. The promotion has thrown him directly into the deep end of the division, as he has already faced the likes of Green, Michael Johnson, Beneil Dariush and Damir Ismagulov.
Hernandez lets loose a barrage to KO Gruetzemacher
Alexander Hernandez lets loose a flurry of punches that stuns Chris Gruetzemacher, then finishes with an uppercut that knocks Gruetzemacher out in the first round.
Hernandez's nickname is "Alex the Great," and he lived up to it with a supreme performance.
It was a short one, though, as he landed a punch after a kick and finished things just 1:46 in with a barrage of punches against the cage.
Hernandez is just ridiculously faster. #Vegas12— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) October 31, 2020
The 28-year-old Hernandez had lost two of three coming in. But those defeats were against Drew Dober and Donald Cerrone, and Hernandez had made changes to his training since then, moving to Colorado to train at FactoryX. He looked loose as he walked out to fight, and he remained so for the short time he was going toe to toe with Gruetzemacher.
For Gruetzemacher, who is 34 and fights out of Surprise, Arizona, this was his first fight since 2018. Following an impressive finish of veteran Joe Lauzon, he had been sidelined by injuries. He looked rusty, unable to get on track after landing a couple of low kicks right off the bat. Hernandez gave him no breathing room, no chance to get comfortable in his return to the cage.
"Before, I was getting all these big names and tough challenges. I was so new and novice to this level," Hernandez said. "Now, I'm getting my paychecks up. I'm making money and am going to keep growing. I'm working my way back into that higher echelon. I'm in no hurry. I'm becoming a prizefighter. That's what I want. I was looking at it all wrong before. I'm going to get my way to the top as soon as the time is right, but I'm not rushing it at all.
"I felt his tension. He was smiling and having fun all the way out. Then I saw he wasn't the second he was in the Octagon. I knew he was scared. So I wanted to take advantage of that and put a little pressure on him but not be my usual, overzealous self."
Hernandez earned a $50,000 bonus for performance of the night.
Yanez's head kick puts Rodriguez down in Round 1
Adrian Yanez lands a solid head kick on Victor Rodriguez to send him to the canvas for a knockout win in the first round.
Yanez finished Rodriguez via knockout with a left head kick at 2:46 of the first round.
"I want to do something with this. I want to be here for a very, very long time," Yanez said. "... I'm fired up. I want to keep going, man."
I think thats 50k!#ufcvegas12— Jamahal Sweet Dreams Hill (@JamahalH) October 31, 2020
Leading into the finish, Yanez landed a two-punch combination against the cage. Rodriguez attempted to escape to his right. Yanez stopped him dead in his tracks with a left kick to the head that put Rodriguez out.
"I've been telling my training partner, 'I'm gonna get him with the head kick,'" Yanez said.
Indeed, he did. Rodriguez landed a hard right hand early. But Yanez started getting his rhythm in striking quickly. He nailed Rodriguez with a nice counter right hand, then a 1-2 combination shortly after that rocked Yanez a bit. Seconds later, Yanez dropped Rodriguez with a right hand and it was off to the races. Yanez was clearly loose and confident after that, which resulted in the finish.
Yanez, 26, has won five straight. The Texas native earned his way into the UFC off a 39-second knockout of Brady Huang on "Dana White's Contender Series" on Aug. 11. Rodriguez, a 28-year-old Alaska native, had a four-fight winning streak snapped.
Yanez earned a $50,000 bonus for performance of the night.
It was Strickland's first appearance since a motorcycle accident threatened to end his career in 2018.
Strickland cruised to 30-27 scores on all three judges' cards as he peppered Marshman with punches to the body and head. Strickland looked so comfortable in the matchup, he began yelling at Marshman, playfully, to fall down so he could collect a fight night bonus. Ultimately, Strickland couldn't get the finish, but he did pick up his first win since October 2018.
The 29-year-old Strickland thought he might never fight again after the 2018 motorcycle accident left him with a mangled knee. He defied all odds by returning to boxing drills just 12 weeks after the injury, although it was a long road to return to the Octagon.
The layoff did little to hinder Strickland's performance, as he out-landed Marshman in total strikes 88 to 50. Even those stats are probably misleading, as Strickland's punches caused far more damage than anything Marshman landed. He opened cuts under both of Marshman's eyes and routinely mixed in work to the body.
Both fighters were in their second UFC bouts. Each had lost his debut in the very first round. What separated them was that Witt wasted no time before showing a determination -- and a plan -- to change his fortunes in the Octagon.
Witt, a 33-year-old from Kansas City, came out of his corner at the start and immediately took Williams to the canvas, where he beat him up for the entirety of the first round and the start of Round 2, as well, before finishing the fight at 2:09 with an arm triangle choke.
That was a mauling! #Vegas12— Aljamain Sterling (@funkmasterMMA) October 31, 2020
For Witt, who had dropped his UFC debut in June by TKO to Takashi Sato, it was his eighth career submission -- but his first that was not a rear-naked choke.
Williams, who is 36 and from Madison, Wisconsin, simply had no answers. He was taken down at the start of both rounds, and he had no escape. He absorbed a series of first-round elbows, one of which opened a large gash over his left eye. And when Witt went for the choke in Round 2, Williams had no counter.
The bout was fought at a catchweight after Williams badly missed the welterweight limit at Friday's weigh-ins, stepping on the scale at 175.5 pounds, which is 4.5 pounds over the limit. It was his second weight miss in two UFC appearances. He came in heavy for his debut in August 2019 before losing to Claudio Silva by first-round submission.
"It's been a long road," Witt said. "It really has. I've had a lot of support throughout my career. I missed a lot of stuff in my career. I know it's cliché to say I missed relationships, parties and stuff like that --that's part of life. Getting this first win really proves that it's worth it.
"This is where I belong, and I think I proved that tonight."
Nearly a decade later, Jacoby is back in the UFC in a big way.
Jacoby smashed Ledet via TKO at 2:38 of the first round in a light heavyweight bout. Jacoby initially dropped Ledet with hard kicks to the left leg. Ledet was able to get back to his feet, but then Ledet put him back down with a punching combination. Referee Chris Tognoni stepped in and that was it.
Man that guys violent— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) October 31, 2020
"I knew I could get him with some low kicks," Jacoby said. "I was just going to deposit checks -- kicks to the legs and the midsection. ... I believe in my standup, I'm one of the best strikers in the world."
Jacoby, 32, went 0-2 in the UFC back in 2011 and 2012. He was released thereafter. Since then, the Colorado native evolved his game, going to Glory Kickboxing and honing his skills in the standup aspect of MMA. He won a Glory one-night tournament in 2016. Jacoby took a four-year break from MMA but won two straight to get back into the UFC. On "Dana White's Contender Series," Jacoby beat Ty Flores by unanimous decision on Aug. 4.
"I'm emotional, but I love this s---, man," Jacoby said. "... I'm officially a UFC fighter. It feels awesome."
Ledet, a 32-year-old from Texas, has lost four straight after starting his UFC run at 3-0.
Miles Johns flattens Kevin Natividad with epic uppercut
Miles Johns lands a big right hand that sends Kevin Natividad flying to the mat in Round 3.
It was jab, jab, jab, jab ... and then an uppercut to finish the job.
After controlling distance for two-plus rounds with a crisp left jab that his opponent simply could not get inside, Johns broke out of a clinch with a right uppercut that sent Natividad to his back, unconscious before his wayward mouthpiece hit the canvas.
Ouch! What a knock out 👏🏻— Mallory Martin (@MalloryyMartin) October 31, 2020
The one-punch knockout came at 2:51 for Johns, a 26-year-old former LFA champion fighting out of Fortis MMA in Dallas. He was coming off his only career loss -- a first-round, flying-knee knockout by Mario Bautista in February. This time, he was on the positive side of a highlight finish -- his first knockout since 2016.
Natividad, who is 27 and from Tempe, Arizona, continually stalked Johns but received jabs to his face for his trouble. He did manage to fend off every takedown attempt, but the final time he did so he left him open to the big uppercut.
He came into his Octagon debut having won five straight.
"It means the world to me to get the win and get those checks for my kids," Johns said. "In between rounds, I was smiling and talking to him. I just had a good time in there tonight, and that's when I'm at my best. Getting that last one out of the way and shaking that off, I just felt like a whole different fighter. I really did feel free in there. That's the most fun I've had and I think the best performance.
"A lot of people talk about the motivation after a loss, but they don't realize you can be demotivated. You ask if you really want to do this and if it's really for you. It takes that extra little bit to get up and go train."
Johns earned a $50,000 bonus for performance of the night.