UFC returned to Mexico City for the fourth time last weekend, headlined by Mexico’s own Yair Rodriguez facing veteran UFC fighter Jeremy Stephens. A large portion of the Mexican roster in the UFC was also featured on the card. While that was the case, a large amount of the prelims didn’t see any Mexican talent. The evening started on ESPN+ with a lightweight battle.

Bout 1: Marcos Mariano (6-5) vs. Claudio Puelles (9-2) (Lightweight)

Kicking off the evening of fights was lightweights Claudio Puelles and Marcos Mariano. Mariano started the fight by throwing a kick, but Puelles landed a takedown right after. Mariano tried for a kimura, but Mariano was able to avoid it. In the process of trying to put in the kimura, Mariano took over top position. With two minutes left in the first round, the referee stood them back up. It didn’t take much longer for Puelles to get another takedown. The round concluded with Puelles in top position. Within the first 10 seconds of the second round, Puelles got a double leg takedown. Puelles landed more strikes in top position this time. The final round opened with a slam takedown by Puelles. Puelles tried for the kimura again. Mariano was avoiding the kimura by holding onto his shorts. Puelles eventually gave up the kimura and went back to strikes. The fight went to the scorecards with Claudio Puelles getting a unanimous decision victory (30-25, 30-25 & 30-25).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Mariano 9 8 8 25
Puelles 10 10 10 30

Bout 2: Bethe Correia (10-4-1) (#15) vs. Sijara Eubanks (5-3) (#14) (Bantamweight)

It was still pretty early in the night, but the next fight was one between two ranked bantamweights, those fighters being Bethe Correia and Sijara Eubanks. Both fighters landed some decent punches in the first round. Eubanks scored the first takedown of the fight with two minutes left in the first round. Eubanks got tons of ground and pound in, but not enough to finish the fight. Correia had a better second round, landing good shots and keeping the fight on the feet. In a fatigued final round, it was Correia who was the busier fighter. They both traded strikes until the fight concluded. Looking at the scorecards, it was Bethe Correia who got the unanimous decision win (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Correia 9 10 10 29
Eubanks 10 9 9 28

Bout 3: Paul Craig (11-4) vs. Vinicius Moreira (9-3) (Light Heavyweight)

The card went to the light heavyweight division for the next fight. Paul Craig and Vinicius Moreira faced off in the third fight of the evening. Early on, Moreira was putting the pressure on Craig, trying to a judo throw. Craig was actually the one who got the takedown, ending up in top position on the ground. When they got up in clinch, Craig landed two knees which floorded Moreira. He did more punches on the ground, and then put in a rear naked choke to finish of Moreira. Submitting Vinicius Moreira for the first time in his career, Paul Craig put together a great combination of moves to get the victory. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Craig
Moreira

Bout 4: Tyson Nam (18-9-1) vs. Sergio Pettis (17-5) (#5) (Flyweight)

Tyson Nam made his UFC debut in the next fight against the well-established Sergio Pettis. The first round had slow paced striking from both fighters. No real combos from either fighters, more just singular or pairs of strikes. Halfway through the second round the crowd started to become restless. The second round was another close one striking-wise. Pettis was out-striking Nam moreso in the final round than the two before. Looking to the judges to find a victor, it was Sergio Pettis walking away with the victory (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Nam 10 9 9 28
Pettis 9 10 10 29

Bout 5: Angela Hill (9-7) vs. Ariane Carnelossi (12-1) (Strawweight)

The show headed to the lightest division in the UFC, the strawweight division for the next fight. The very active Angela Hill fought Ariane Carnelossi in this fight. Carnelossi came forward with punches early on, but was put in a clinch up against the fence by Hill. Carnelossi was consistently the advancing fighter. Despite backing up a lot, Hill was landing shots more frequently and cleanly. The second round was a similar one in that both fighters held a fast pace of striking. There was a pause two minutes into the final round after an elbow opened a huge cut above Carnelossi’s left eye. The cut ended the fight, evening Angela Hill’s 2019 record (2-2).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Hill 10 10
Carnelossi 9 9

Bout 6: Kyle Nelson (12-3) vs. Polo Reyes (8-7) (Featherweight)

In the sixth fight of the evening, the first Mexican fighter had their bout. Mexico’s Polo Reyes received a warm welcome before fighting Canada’s Kyle Nelson. Nelson got a trip takedown in the first minute of the fight, although they got back up moments later. Up against the cage, an elbow shook Reyes. Nelson landed many more punches before the referee stepped in to end the bout. Reyes never fell down, but was not answering back to the near dozen strikes which came his way.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Nelson
Reyes

Bout 7: Carlos Huachin (10-4-1) vs. Jose Quinonez (8-3) (Bantamweight)

Topping off the preliminary portion of the fight night was Mexico’s Jose Quinonez facing Carlos Huachin. The height and reach advantage went to Quinonez by quite a margin. In the first minute of the fight, Quinonez landed a right hook which dropped Huachin. Huachin’s fast-paced movement on the ground bought him time to recover and get back to his feet. Quinonez scored the first takedown of the fight in the second round. Quinonez got another one very early in the third round. Quinonez opened up with more strikes on the ground this time. Halfway through the round they returned to stand-up. When consulting the scorecards it was Jose Quinonez walking away with the victory.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Quinonez 10 10 10 30
Huachin 9 9 9 27

Bout 8: Steven Peterson (17-9) vs. Martin Bravo (12-2) (Featherweight)

Kicking off the main card was a battle between America’s Steven Peterson and Mexico’s Martin Bravo. Bravo scored a takedown in the first minute of the fight. They got back up moments after, going back to their fast pace of striking. Bravo was throwing the better combos. The fast-paced striking picked up where it left off in the second round. Early in the second Bravo got another takedown, but just like the first they got up shortly after. During the chaotic striking, Bravo threw a spinning elbow. It was countered with a spinning backfist by Peterson which knocked out Bravo cold. In nothing short of a highlight reel knockout, Steven Peterson earned his 18th professional MMA victory.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Peterson 9
Bravo 10

Bout 9: Vanessa Melo (10-5) vs. Irene Aldana (10-5) (#10) (Bantamweight)

Mexico’s Irene Aldana fought Vanessa Melo in the next bout. Aldana’s height and reach advantage was clear. As expected, the crowd was quite behind Aldana. While Melo was the advancing fighter throughout the round, Aldana landed the cleaner punches. The second round was another win for Aldana, who continued her precise and fast paced striking. While Vanessa Melo hung in the fight throughout, it was clear at the end that Aldana was the better striker. All three judges gave Irene Aldana the decision victory (30-26, 30-26 & 30-26).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Melo 9 9 8 26
Aldana 10 10 10 30

Bout 10: Askar Askarov (10-0) vs. Brandon Moreno (15-5) (#9) (Flyweight)

The next main card fight saw undefeated Askar Askarov debut in the UFC against Brandon Moreno. The crowd favoured Moreno since he is Mexican. Within the first minute of the fight, Askarov attempted a takedown. It took him a while to secure it, but he did eventually secure it. Askarov took the back of Moreno. Moreno was able to transition into a top position, avoiding the possibility of a triangle choke or an armbar in the process. Moreno tried to rain down strikes from above but struggled to pass Askarov’s guard. When they got back on their feet, Askarov was eating hard punches. Askarov failed to get a takedown as the round ended. The second round started with Moreno throwing great strikes. Askarov was able to stop the flurry by landing a takedown. Askarov wrestled Moreno for most of the round, although they stood back up with a minute and a half left in the round. In the final minute of the second round, Moreno dropped Askarov with a leg kick. Askarov was able to hold Moreno on the ground until the round ended. Surprisingly, it was Moreno who got a takedown to open the final round. Moreno tried for a rear naked choke with two minutes left, but Askarov fought it off. Moreno stayed in the dominant position on the ground until the final 10 seconds of the fight. The scorecards were indecisive, with the result being a split draw (28-28, 29-28 Askarov & 30-27 Moreno). While Askarov didn’t take his first loss, he got his first draw added to his record.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Askarov 9 9 8 26
Moreno 10 10 10 30

Bout 11: Alexa Grasso (11-2) (#9) vs. Carla Esparza (15-6) (#8) (Strawweight)

The co-main event of the evening saw ranked strawweights Alexa Grasso and Carla Esparza battle. It was mentioned by the commentary that Grasso trained with Irene Aldana for her camp. Halfway through the first round, Esparza landed a takedown. Grasso almost reversed the takedown but Esparza ended up on top. They went back to stand-up, not before Grasso almost got a takedown. Grasso was able to stuff a takedown and put Esparza up against the fence in a clinch. Esparza did a judo throw and tried for a head and arm choke as the round was ticking down. They threw hard punches as the round concluded. Esparza got another takedown to open the second round. Esparza was pretty dominant on the ground, but they went back to their feet with 90 seconds left in the round. Esparza landed a double leg takedown as the round winded down. Early in the final round, Grasso hurt Esparza with punches. Grasso was able to keep it in stand-up, defending numerous takedowns. Grasso was able to reverse a takedown, trying for an armbar that was deep, but Esparza somehow escaped. They returned to the feet with 30 seconds left in the fight. They both traded punches as the fight concluded. The fans were on their feet after the final round expired. The scorecards read a majority decision, going in favour of Carla Esparza (28-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Grasso 9 9 10 28
Esparza 10 10 8 28

Bout 12: Jeremy Stephens (28-16) (#8) vs. Yair Rodriguez (12-2) (#7) (Featherweight)

Finally, the main event of the evening was Yair Rodriguez versus Jeremy Stephens. As expected, Rodriguez got a large reaction from the crowd. Within the first 15 seconds of the fight, there was a pause as Stephens was poked in the eye accidentally as Rodriguez was attempting to establish the distance. Referee Herb Dean lended him time before bringing in a doctor. When the doctor came over, Stephens couldn’t open his eye. After five minutes passed and Stephen’s still couldn’t open his eye, Herb Dean called off the fight. Only moments after, fans started throwing stuff in an around the octagon. When Rodriguez was rushed backstage, still with a shut eye, fans threw stuff at him and the people around him. The fight was ruled a no contest. Rodriguez was very emotional afterwards, snapping at commentator Michael Bisping, then apologizing after he cooled down a little.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Stephens
Rodriguez

UFC will return next Saturday on a busy weekend of MMA. The promotion will head to Copenhagen, Denmark for a main event with Jack “Joker” Hermansson and Jared Cannonier. Due to its location on the globe, it will be an early start, beginning at 11AM EST with the preliminary card, and 2PM EST with the main card.