After three weeks out of the spotlight, UFC returned with another event. Live from the Capitol One Arena in Washington, D.C., USA, UFC on ESPN 7 was headlined by Alistair Overeem and Jairzinho Rozenstruick. Before the main event, there was 11 fights, including numerous bouts that featured ranked fighters.

Bout 1: Trevor Smith (15-9) vs. Makmud Muradov (23-6) (Middleweight)

The first preliminary fight of the evening was UFC veteran Trevor Smith facing Makmud Muradov, who was having his second fight in the promotion. Muradov displayed his jab early in the first round. Smith countered with a kick in the second minute, connecting with the groin of Muradov. They went back to fighting quite quickly. While Muradov mostly out-punched Smith in the first round, he tested out a flying knee and a kick in the closing moments.

Muradov kept a fast pace of strikes throughout the second round. Smith tried for a takedown in the final minute of the fight, although Muradov got back up in short time. Muradov landed a knockdown in the final seconds of the round, putting in a rear naked choke until the clock ran out. Smith could have easily been saved by the round ending.

It was another close round of striking for Muradov early on, keeping with the theme of the rounds before. Muradov landed right to the body, followed left and right hook that knocked Smith out cold to end the fight. Smith’s mouthpiece went flying out of the frame. Muradov finishes 2019 with six MMA wins.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Smith 9 9
Muradov 10 10

Bout 2: Virna Jandiroba (14-1) vs. Mallory Martin (6-2) (Strawweight)

Mallory Martin made her UFC debut on Saturday, facing Virna Jandiroba. Jandiroba got a takedown in the first minute of the fight. Jandiroba had quite the entrance, wearing an interesting hat and singing along to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” Martin tried for a guillotine, which Jandiroba eventually popped out of. Jandiroba put in a triangle choke from top position which Martin escaped. Martin fought back to stand-up. Martin clinched up to Jandiroba against the cage. Jandiroba landed knees in the clinch. Jandiroba got another takedown in the final minute of the round, where Martin tried again for a guillotine. Jandiroba escaped before the round concluded.

In the first 20 seconds of the round, Jandiroba got another takedown. She took Martin’s back this time, trying for a rear naked choke. Jandiroba got the choke under the chin, with Martin tapping out eventually. Bouncing back from her first MMA loss as a pro, Virna Jandiroba got the win with a dominant performance.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Jandiroba 10
Martin 9

Bout 3: Matt Wiman (16-8) vs. Joe Solecki (8-2) (Lightweight)

The next fight was a fight between Dana White’s Contender Series winner Joe Solecki and Matt Wiman. Solecki scored a takedown in the first minute of the fight. Solecki took Wiman’s back and was dominant. He landed lots of strikes before trying for a choke. He stayed on the ground for the whole round, keeping Wiman in trouble.

Solecki got another takedown early in the second round. The referee stood them back up with over a minute left in the second round. Wiman tried for a guillotine choke on the ground as the round closed out.

As expected, Solecki got another takedown in the third round. Solecki got on Wiman’s back this time. Wiman was able to avoid chokes and strikes until the round ended. Wiman was shouting at Solecki while on the ground as the third round concluded. When going to the scorecards, Joe Solecki got his first win in the UFC via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Wiman 9 9 9 27
Solecki 10 10 10 30

Bout 4: Bryce Mitchell (11-0) vs. Matt Sayles (8-2) (Featherweight)

Undefeated “Thug Nasty” Bryce Mitchell fought Matt Sayles in the next preliminary fight. Mitchell got a single leg takedown early on. On the ground, Mitchell tried for an arm triangle choke which Sayles escaped. Mitchell put in a rare twister 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Mitchell
Sayles

Bout 5: Jacob Kilburn (8-2) vs. Billy Quarantillo (12-2) (Featherweight) 

In a double debut, Jacob Kilburn and Billy Quarantillo competing in their call-up fight. Early on Quarantillo was striking in a clinch. On the ground, Quarantillo tried for a north south choke. Quarantillo went back to full mount, letting go of the choke. He started to let his hands go on Kilburn while in dominant positions. After landing many punches on the back of Kilburn, Quarantillo tried for a rear naked choke. Kilburn survived the five minutes, but took tons of damage.

Quarantillo got another takedown as the second round started. Quarantillo tried for a triangle choke but couldn’t get it. After some tweaking to the triangle choke, Kilburn tapped out. He was given a belt after the fight and also told everyone that tomorrow is his birthday. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Kilburn 8
Quarantillo  10

Bout 6: Thiago Alves (23-14) vs. Tim Means (28-11-1) (Welterweight)

The preliminary card wrapped up with Thiago Alves facing Tim Means. Both fighters were attempting to come back from a previous loss. Both fighters got to some fast paced striking early on. Means shot for a takedown which Alves avoided by staying against the fence. Means landed some good strikes. He knocked down Alves with a left hook in the third minute of the fight. Means put in a guillotine choke on the ground which tapped Alves out. A slick combination of strikes brought Alves to the ground, and grappling did the rest to give Tim Means the win.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Alves
Means

Bout 7: Rob Font (#10) (16-4) vs. Ricky Simon (15-2) (Bantamweight)

Kicking off the main card, Rob Font faces Ricky Simon. The last fight for Simon was his first loss since joining the UFC. Going into this fight, Font was ranked #10 in the featherweight division. Font got a double leg takedown in the first minute of the fight. They got back up, with Simon putting Font up against the cage. They split up shortly, going back to stand-up. Simon tried for his own takedown but Font stopped it. Simon had Font retreating after he landed a good combination. Simon got a takedown finally. When they got back up into a standing clinch, Simon landed some good knees to the head. Simon got another takedown, trying for a guillotine. Font stood up before escaping the choke. Font came forward with his own nice combination of strikes. Simon got another takedown in the final minute of the fight.

Font stuffed a takedown in the first minute of the second round. Font’s sharp striking, including a nice jab was showcased in the second round. Simon got a takedown in the third minute of the round, although it looked like Font was going to stop it for a second. They did get back up quite quickly. Font’s striking was showcased better in this round than the one before. Simon got another takedown in the final minute of the second round.

Both fighters had strong stand-up at the start of the third round. Simon got another takedown halfway through the final round. Font’s jab was further put on display. The fight went the distance and was praised by the crowd afterwards. By unanimous decision, Rob Font took the fight (29-28, 29-28 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Font 9 10 10 29
Simon 10 9 9 28

Bout 8: Cody Stamann (18-2) (#9) vs. Song Yadong (15-4) (#13) (Bantamweight)

In the first bout of the evening that was a battle between two ranked fighters, Cody Stamann fought Song Yadong. In the first round, Yadong was the first one to come forward with good punches. Stamann got a takedown in the second minute of the fight. Yadong tried for a guillotine on the ground. While cranking the guillotine, Yadong landed a knee to the head which is not allowed since Stamann was grounded. After a point was deducted, the fight resumed. Back in stand-up, Yadong was the better striker. Stamann got a single leg takedown as the first round concluded.

In the opening minute of the second round, Yadong stopped a takedown and went back to stand-up. He got another takedown with just over a minute left.

Stamann’s wrestling continued in the third round, getting another takedown and just smothering Yadong. When Stamann got on Yadong’s back he really started to let his fists go. Stamann finished strong, throwing lots of punches before the horn went. Heading to the judges, the fight was decided to be a majority draw. (29-27, 28-28 & 28-28)

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Stamann 9 10 10 29
Song 9 9 9 27

Bout 9: Aspen Ladd (8-1) (#5) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (12-4) (#7) (Bantamweight)

In the last of many bantamweight fights of the evening, Aspen Ladd fought Yana Kunitskaya in a ranked fight. They went into a standing clinch, with was broken after the referee saw Kunitskaya grab the fence. She put in another standing clinch only moments later. Ladd got a trip takedown with two minutes left in the round. Ladd got on the back of Kunitskaya and started to unload strikes. She did so until the round ended.

Ladd tried for a takedown in the second round, although Kunitskaya blocked the attempt. Ladd got a takedown upon another attempt. Just like the last round, Ladd stayed in top position until the round ended.

At the very start of the final round, Ladd dropped Kunitskaya with punches. Ladd went to the ground at took the back of Kunistkaya, throwing strikes until the referee stepped in. A dominant win for Aspen Ladd after suffering a tough first loss as a pro before.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ladd 10 10
Kunitskaya 9 9

Bout 10: Stefan Struve (29-11) vs. Ben Rothwell (36-12) (Heavyweight)

Coming out of retirement, Stefan Struve fought Ben Rothwell on the next bout of this show. Struve landed leg kicks to start off. Rothwell put Struve up against the cage in the second minute. Struve was hit in the groin as the round was more than halfway through. Struve was down for a while, and took many minutes to regain his composure. Struve eventually went back to the fight.

Rothwell was hit in the groin in the first minute of the second round, although it didn’t take long to resume. As Rothwell was throwing kicks later in the second round, Struve was hit with another kick to the groin. A point was docked from Rothwell this time. Rothwell started rushing Struve when they resumed. Struve was dropped with uppercuts and finished in the closing seconds of the fight.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Struve 10
Rothwell 9

Bout 11: Cynthia Calvillo (8-1) vs. Marina Rodriguez (12-0-1) (Strawweight)

My recap of Cynthia Calvillo vs. Marina Rodriguez can be found at Fansided MMA.

Result: Cyntia Calvillo vs. Marina Rodriguez via Majority Decision (29-28, 28-28 & 28-28).

Bout 11: Alistair Overeem (45-17) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (9-0) (Heavyweight)

In the main event of the evening, UFC veteran Alistair Overeem faced up and comer Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Before the fight started, Overeem offered to shake hands but Rozenstruik did not respond to the offer. Overeem landed a trip takedown in the second minute of the fight after a pretty slow start of a couple of minutes. He focused on strikes while in half guard. Rozenstruick almost escaped bottom position, but Overeem stopped it, transition into side control. Overeem landed some elbows to the head from the position. 

Overeem went into a standing clinch in the second round. He put Rozenstruick up against the cage and landed strikes. With two minutes left in the fight, the referee brought the fighters back to stand-up. Rozenstruick ate lots of hard strikes in the round, not showing much weakness from it.

Rozenstruick opened the third round with some punches. Overeem tried for a double leg takedown in the first minute of the third round but didn’t get it. He tried for another one with two minutes left in the round, this time securing it after some fight.

Rozenstruick had his first jolt of offense in the fourth round. With under two minutes left in the round, Rozenstruick came forward with another good combination, including a head kick.

The pace of the striking in the final round was much slower. After the 10-second clapper hit at the end of the fifth round, Rozenstruick threw a right hook which dropped Overeem and ended the fight. The punch cut the top lip of Overeem very deeply. With the hard knockout win, Jairzinho Rozenstruick extended his undefeated record into double digits. The win was also his first that went into the fifth round. After the fight he called out Francis Ngannou.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Overeem 10 10 10 10
Rozenstruick 9 9 9 9

UFC returns next week with UFC 245, a pay-per-view headlined by three championship fights. Here’s how the card looks as of right now:

  1. Kamaru Usman (15-1) vs. Colby Covington (UFC Welterweight Championship)
  2. Max Holloway (21-4) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (20-1) (UFC Featherweight Championship)
  3. Amanda Nunes (18-4) vs. Germaine de Randamie (9-3) (UFC Bantamweight Championship)
  4. Jose Aldo (28-5) vs. Marlon Moraes (22-6-1) (Bantamweight)
  5. Petr Yan (13-1) vs. Urijah Faber (35-10) (Bantamweight)
  6. Mike Perry (13-5) vs. Geoff Neal (12-2) (Welterweight)
  7. Ketlen Vieira (10-0) vs. Irene Aldana (Bantamweight)
  8. Ian Heinisch (13-2) vs. Omari Akhmedov (19-4-1) (Middleweight)
  9. Matt Brown (21-16) vs. Ben Saunders (22-12-2) (Welterweight)
  10. Daniel Teymur (7-3) vs. Chase Hooper (8-0-1) (Featherweight)
  11. Brandon Moreno (15-5-1) vs. Kai Kara-France (20-7) (Flyweight)
  12. Jessica Eye (14-7) vs. Viviane Araujo (8-1) (Flyweight)
  13. Punahele Soriano (6-0) vs. Oskar Piechota (11-2-1) (Middleweight)