UFC held it’s first event of 2020 on Saturday, featuring easily their biggest star of the past decade: Conor McGregor. In his returning fight, “The Notorious” returned to face fan-favourite fighter “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone. The show included 11 fights in total, with six preliminary bouts. Here’s the full report of the show.

Quick Results:

Bout 1: Sabina Mazo def. JJ Aldrich via Decision, Split

Bout 2: Aleksa Camur def. Justin Ledet via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 3: Drew Dober def. Nasrat Haqparast via TKO, Punches (RD 1, 1:10)

Bout 4: Askar Askarov def. Tim Elliott via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 5: Sodiq Yusuff def. Andre Fili via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 6: Roxanne Modafferi def. Maycee Barber via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 7: Diego Ferreira def. Anthony Pettis via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 2, 1:46)

Bout 8: Brian Kelleher def. Ode Osbourne via Submission, Guillotine (RD 1, 2:49)

Bout 9: Alexey Oleinik def. Maurice Greene via Submission, Armbar (RD 2, 4:38)

Bout 10: Holly Holm def. Raquel Pennington via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 11: Conor McGregor def. Donald Cerrone via TKO, Punches (RD 1, 0:40)

Full Coverage

Bout 1: JJ Aldrich (8-3) vs. Sabina Mazo (7-1) (Flyweight)

The UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims started with a flyweight fight between JJ Aldrich and Sabina Mazo. It was clear when seeing the fighters that Mazo had the height advantage. The fighters had a close stand-up battle to start the fight. Aldrich was coming in with small combinations of punches. Mazo was consistently backing up, but overall she was landing the better shots.

Mazo picked up the pace a little with her punches at the start of the second round. This round looked way better for Mazo, as not only was she constantly advancing but also landing more. Aldrich still had her moments with punches. Mazo started to bleed around her nose. Mazo landed a good knee in the clinch in the final minute of the fight, as well as a head kick in the closing seconds.

Mazo opened the final round with a clinch up against the cage. When they returned to stand-up, it was clear that Mazo was working a faster pace that Aldrich. Initiating another clinch, Mazo got a lot of strikes in. Aldrich had blood on her face, but it was hard to see if the blood was from her or Mazo. The referee separated them and brought them back to stand-up with just over a minute to go. The fighters survived all three rounds, going to the decision. When they went to the scorecards, Sabina Mazo won with a split decision (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Aldrich 10 9 9 28
Mazo 9 10 10 29

Bout 2: Justin Ledet (9-2) vs. Aleksa Camur (5-0) (Light Heavyweight)

Making his UFC debut after earning a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series, Aleksa Camur faced Justin Ledet in the next fight. Camur tried for a spinning kick right off the bat. He did not connect with it. Ledet landed a combination of punches in the second minute which rocked Camur a little. The round was very back-and-forth. 

Camur was seemingly having cardio issues early on in the fight. He landed good one or two-piece shots in this round. Ledet had his shots as well. With Ledet against the cage in the final minute, Camur had a good combination of punches.

The final round was a slow paced one as both fighters were clearly tired. Camur got a takedown as the round ended, doing some very exhausted ground and pound. When going to decision, Aleksa Camur got the unanimous decision win (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ledet 9 9 10 29
Camur 10 10 9 28

Bout 3: Nasrat Haqparast (11-2) vs. Drew Dober (21-9) (Lightweight)

Kicking off the ESPN preliminary card was a lightweight battle between Nasrat Haqparast and UFC veteran Drew Dober. Dober landed a good jab to start the fight. Haqparast landed a good combination of strikes, but slipped at the end. Dober landed an overhand punch which dropped Haqparast. Dober followed up with numerous punches on the ground until the referee stepped in. The stoppage was way late, but nonetheless a great performance by Drew Dober.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Haqparast
Dober

Bout 4: Askar Askarov (10-0-1) (#12) vs. Tim Elliott (15-9) (#7) (Flyweight)

In the first fight of the evening that featured ranked fighters, undefeated Askar Askarov fought Tim Elliott. Elliott’s outside of the box movement made him hard to hit, but Askarov landed a shot which rocked him hard in the second minute. Askarov took top position on the ground after the knockdown. Elliott tried for a guillotine choke from the bottom position. Askarov did some ground and pound from top position. They stayed on the ground until the round ended.

Elliott got a judo throw at the start of the second round and tried for a guillotine on the ground, but Askarov slipped out and stood back up. Askarov put Elliott against the cage, failing to get a takedown before they went back to stand-up. Elliott landed another throw takedown. Askarov tried for an armbar for a moment but didn’t commit to it. Elliott went into side control, escaping a possible triangle choke. Despite Elliott putting them on the ground, it felt like he was fully playing defence in the position. They went back to stand-up in the final minute. Elliott shot for another takedown but did not get it.

Askarov was connecting with some punches early in the final round. Elliott was egging on Askarov, telling him to do more and putting his hands down. Elliott was landing, but getting hit just as much by a backpedalling Askarov. They were in a clinch for a bit of the final minute, with Elliott getting them to the ground for a moment. They went the distance, clearly both tired at the end. When going to the scorecard, Askar Askarov saw the victory (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Askarov 10 9 10 29
Elliott 9 10 9 28

Bout 5: Sodiq Yusuff (10-1) vs. Andre Fili (20-6) (Featherweight)

Continuing into the second hour of the prelims, Sodiq Yusuff fought Andre Fili. Both fighters were swinging hard punches right from the jump. Yusuff was connecting good with a jab. Fili tried for a takedown in the second minute of the fight, failing to take the fight to the ground. He tried again a minute later, getting the takedown this time. Yusuff was quick to get back to his feet. Fili’s face was starting to turn red from strikes. Fili got another takedown, although Yusuff got back up in a clinch. Fili landed his best shot of the round in the fourth minute, almost dropping Yusuff with a shot. He got a takedown on the rocked Yusuff, although they got back to their feet. They went back down as Yusuff put in a kimura. It looked good, but Fili escaped eventually. Fili tried for an armbar from bottom position but let go as Yusuff lifted him up and possibly tried to slam him.

Yusuff caught a leg kick by Fili, sweeping him to the ground in the first minute of the second round. Yusuff was in control on the ground, landing some knees to the body while in side control. When Yusuff got up, Fili threw some upkicks. Yusuff went back down to the ground into full mount. They got back up with a minute left in the round. Fili got a double leg takedown, but Yusuff stood back up again. They went into a standing clinch up against the cage.

In the third round, Yusuff was connecting with powerful singular shots again. Fili got a good counter-punch in the round. The whole round was slower pace striking, with nobody ever landing anything that showed particular damage. The fight went to the scorecards with Sodiq Yusuff earning the unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Yusuff 10 10 10 30
Fili 9 9 9 27

Bout 6: Roxanne Modafferi (23-16) (#7)  vs. Maycee Barber (8-0) (#9) (Flyweight)

Finishing off the preliminary card, undefeated prospect Maycee Barber was pitted against MMA veteran Roxanne Modafferi. Ben Askren was in the corner of Barber. After landing a few punches, Modafferi got a takedown from a clinch. Modafferi did short little punches from half guard. From bottom position, Barber tried for a guillotine choke, but Modafferi’s head popped out eventually. Modafferi got on Barber’s back for a moment, but ended on her back on the ground as the round ended.

Modafferi dropped Barber with a leg jab at the start of the second round. Modafferi went to the ground and took side control. She went into full mount, and started to do some ground and pound. Modafferi started to throw some elbows. Barber was able flip the position, taking control on the ground. It was clear that the elbows cut Barber open. Modafferi was able to get back in top position, focusing on strikes. She took Barber’s back, trying for a rear naked choke for a moment. Barber flipped around again, with Modaffering in half guard. Barber was really bleeding at this point. When Barber got up at the end of the round, it was clear her left leg was injured, limping badly. 

A timeout was called at the start of the final round, letting a doctor check out her left leg. The doctor said she has an ACL tear, but she’s fine. When the third round started, Barber was having tons of trouble moving around. Modafferi was landing some good punches, knocking Barber back quite a bit. Modafferi got another takedown, where Barber tried for a guillotine at the bottom. Barber flipped into top position, trying for an americana. They eventually got out of the position. Modafferi went back into top position for the rest of the round. Barber didn’t bleed as much this round, but did start to bleed more near the end of the round. Upsetting the Vegas oddsmakers, Roxanne Modafferi went on to get a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27 & 30-26).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Modafferi 10 10 10 30
Barber 9 9 9 27

Bout 7: Diego Ferreira (16-2) vs. Anthony Pettis (22-9) (#11) (Lightweight)

Kicking off the main card, ranked fighter Anthony Pettis fought Diego Ferreira in a lightweight fight. Ferreira shot for a takedown in the first minute but did not get it. He tried again halfway through the round, getting it to the ground on the back of Pettis. They returned to stand-up a minute later. Ferreira got a second takedown in the final 30 seconds of the first round. From side control he landed a couple of short elbows.

Ferreira caught a kick at the start of the second round, getting a takedown and hopping on the back of Pettis on the ground. Pettis moved around, but Ferreira got back on the back of Pettis. After throwing lots of punches, Ferreira committed to the rear naked choke, which made Pettis tap out. Diego Ferreira should expect to crash the rankings, stopping Anthony Pettis in the second round and extending his winning streak to six in a row.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ferreira 10
Pettis 9

Bout 8: Ode Osbourne (8-2) vs. Brian Kelleher (19-10) (Bantamweight)

Contender Series success story Ode Osbourne debuted against Brian Kelleher in the next fight. This matchup was originally meant for the preliminary card, but after some changes, found itself pushed up two slots. Right at the start, Osbourne landed an odd jumping punch. Kelleher’s stance seemed very shelled up, while Osbourne had his arms out quite often. Kelleher got a takedown in the first minute. He did some ground and pound from top position. Kellher put in a guillotine choke which made Osbourne tap out eventually. Bouncing back from a two-fight losing streak, Brian Kelleher got a fast win against the still learning Ode Osbourne.

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Osbourne
Kelleher

Bout 9: Alexey Oleinik (57-13-1) (#12) vs. Maurice Greene (8-3) (Heavyweight)

In the next fight, MMA veteran Alexey Oleinik fought Maurice Greene. Oleinik got dropped right off the bat from a kick. He got back up immediately. Dodging a kick, Oleinik clinched up and took him down. He took side control on the ground. Green tried for a triangle from bottom position, but Oleinik escaped quickly. The crowd was booing the whole time they were on the ground. They got up for a second but went back down where Oleinik was in full mount. He went into side control and tried for a head and arm choke. Greene endured for a while, eventually throwing some hammerfist punches too. He survived the choke until the round ended.

At the start of the second round, Oleinik seemed fatigued. He was eating lots of strikes from Greene, including a head kick. Oleinik walked down Green, starting another clinch. Greene got out, throwing more punches. Oleinik tried for a takedown, eventually getting it. Oleinik tried for a choke from top position again. The crowd went back to booing. Greene tried for a kimura from the bottom position. Oleinik, who was now bleeding a bit on his forehead, tried for an armbar in the final minute. He was really huffing and puffing while trying for this hold. Eventually, Greene tapped out, giving Alexey Oleinik another win.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Oleinik 10
Greene 9

Bout 10: Raquel Pennington (10-7) (#5) vs. Holly Holm (12-5) (#3) (Bantamweight)

In the co-main event of the evening, high ranked bantamweights Raquel Pennington and Holly Holm collided. The first two minutes of the fight were slow. Holm charged in and put Pennington put against the cage in the third minute. Holm landed many strikes in the clinch. Holm was controlling up against the cage until the end of the round, trying for a guillotine as it closed out.

Holm put Pennington up against the cage early in the second round. They went back to stand-up with two minutes left. The crowd cheered for that. Holm put Pennington back up against the cage moments later, to the crowd’s displeasure.

The third round was slow paced with more clinch work. It felt like this was Pennington’s best round, throwing lots of shots when they did stand-up. The referee separated a clinch near the end of the round. The fight went the distance, with Holly Holm getting the unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27)

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Pennington 9 9 10 28
Holm 10 10 9 29

Bout 11: Conor McGregor (21-4) vs. Donald Cerrone (36-13) (Welterweight)

 

The main event saw the return of “The Notorious” Conor McGregor against fan-friendly fighter Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. The welterweight fight was not for a championship but was for five rounds. The crowd was heavily in favour of McGregor, although there wasn’t much hostility towards Cerrone. McGregor came charing at Cerrone right off the bat, throwing strikes in the clinch. When they left the clinch, it was clear damage was done to Cerrone’s nose. He threw a leg kick which had Cerrone retreating. He then got dropped by punches. McGregor kept with punches until referee Herb Dean stepped in and ended the fight. Winning in under a minute, Conor McGregor had a successful return to MMA. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
McGregor
Cerrone