UFC 246: McGregor vs. Cerrone Full Coverage

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

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

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

UFC 246: McGregor vs. Cowboy Preview

UFC prefers to have the main events of their high-tier cards with a championship belt attached. You see that nearly every time there’s a pay-per-view. But, sometimes, they make exceptions. Sometimes due to the main event being scrapped last minute, and other times due to large star power. This was seem in November, with Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz fighting in Madison Square Garden for an imaginary belt, “The Baddest M*****F*****” belt. Masvidal’s explosive mainstream rise in 2019 allowed him to pair himself with Diaz, and draw a fair amount of viewers.

This exception will be made yet again this weekend, with arguably the biggest UFC star in the last decade, Conor McGregor, making his octagon return against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. The fight is easily the lowest-caliber one McGrgeor has seen in a long time, although a good test for a star who has lost more than he has won in recent years.

With those losses lies a question of when the diamond that is McGregor will lose his value. Can McGregor afford to lose again, better-yet to a fighter who is a gatekeeper to the division? Well, to answer that question would be getting ahead of ourselves, because it’s not a relevant question unless he actually loses. And that will be found out this weekend in the main event of UFC 246.

As it is a pay-per-view event, the card features many recognizable names to UFC fans throughout. Live this Saturday from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, let’s preview this weekend’s UFC 246 card.

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

The evening will begin at 6:30PM EST with three fights on the UFC Fight Pass early prelims. The first of the trio is between flyweights Sabina Mazo and JJ Aldrich. Two fights into her UFC career, Mazo has a 1-1 record, recently winning over Shana Dobson via decision. Aldrich has much more experience in the big leagues, with a 4-2 record since joining the UFC in 2016.

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

Dana White’s Contender Series winner Ode Osbourne will see his UFC debut in a fight against Brian Kelleher, who will try to break his two-fight losing streak. Osbourne finished Armando Villarreal with an armbar within a round on the Contender Series to earn his contract. Kelleher last lost to Montel Jackson in late 2018. He was absent throughout 2019, as a scheduled fight in May against Mitch Gagnon was cancelled due to an injury.

Bout 3: Aleksa Camur (5-0) vs. Justin Ledet (9-2) (Light Heavyweight)

The fight following Osbourne versus Kelleher is one that feels like the exact same scenario. Aleksa Camur, who got a UFC contract through the Contender Series will face Justin Ledet, who is on a two-fight losing streak. Camur has won all five of his pro fights via strikes, being undefeated as a pro and amateur. Ledet’s last fight saw him fall victim to the unpredictable striking of Johnny Walker, back in February.

Bout 4: Nasrat Haqparast (11-2) vs. Drew Dober (21-9) (Lightweight)

At 8PM EST, the preliminary card will switch to ESPN (TSN 3 in Canada) for four more bouts. The first of the group is a lightweight bout between Nasrat Haqparast and Drew Dober. After a road bump UFC debut against Marcin Held, Haqparast has won three in a row, most recently over Joaquim Silva. Dober has much more experience in the UFC, fighting for the promotion since 2013. His most recent win saw him stop Polo Reyes in just over a minute.

Bout 5: Tim Elliott (15-9-1) vs. Askar Askarov (10-0-1) (Flyweight)

In September, Askar Askarov made his UFC debut, wagering his undefeated record. And while he remained undefeated, he did not see the satisfaction of a win, going to a draw against Brandon Moreno. This time around he will face Tim Elliott, who has a 2-3 record in the UFC, recently losing to Deiveson Figueiredo. In a thin division like the flyweight one, a win could bring either fighter into higher relevance.

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

Since winning a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series, Sodiq Yusuff has been flawless in the UFC at 3-0. Now, he will see the biggest challenge of his career so far, facing Andre Fili. The now-UFC veteran has a 7-5 record within the promotion.

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

Still undefeated three fights into her UFC career, Maycee Barber could easily be the top flyweight prospect. However, her next matchup should be a good text, as she will face Roxanne Modafferi. “The Happy Warrior” has been fighting since 2003, with a current 2-3 record in the UFC. There’s no doubt that Modafferi’s advantage in this matchup is experience. However, experience means nothing until it’s used in competition. Many have written off Modafferi, with Vegas odds having her as a heavy underdog.

Bout 8: Anthony Pettis (22-9) vs. Diego Ferreira (16-2) (Lightweight)

Kicking off the pay-per-view portion of the card at 10PM EST will be Anthony Pettis and Diego Ferreira. Brazil’s Ferreira has been on fire lately, on a five-fight winning streak. Pettis is coming off a loss, going to decision against Nate Diaz. In the fight before that, Pettis became the first fighter to knock out Stephen Thompson, landing a superman punch in the first round.

Claudia Gadelha versus Alexa Grasso was meant to also be on the main card, but was cancelled due to the fighters not being within a three pounds of eachother. Grasso couldn’t make the 116-pound strawweight limit, coming in at 121 pounds.

Bout 10: Alexey Oleinik (57-13-1) vs. Maurice Greene (8-3) (Heavyweight)

With a 3-1 record so far in the UFC, Maurice Greene could be described as a prospect for the heavyweight division. However, similar to the Barber/Modafferi matchup earlier in the card, he will face the extremely experienced Alexey Oleinik in his next fight. Oleinik has been finished in his last two fights, those being losses to Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris. After a three-fight winning streak, Greene saw his first UFC setback in October when he lost to Sergey Pavlovich.

Bout 11: Holly Holm (12-5) vs. Raquel Pennington (10-7) (Bantamweight)

The co-main event of the evening will see Holly Holm and Raquel Pennington compete. The fight is Holm’s return after losing to Amanda Nunes in July, failing to take the UFC Bantamweight Championship. Pennington got a split decision in the same month over Irene Aldana, snapping her losing streak. Like most of this card, this fight hasn’t gotten much attention in the media. That could be because there’s no real angle or explicit implications for whoever wins this.

Bout 12: Conor McGregor (21-4) vs. Donald Cerrone (36-13) (Welterweight)

Finally, the main event will be between “The Notorious” Conor McGregor and “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone. Like mentioned before, this fight is one for McGregor that skill-wise is the lowest quality opponent he’s gotten in a while. However, it’s not sure where his skill lies too, so this bout could be a good litmus test for him.

McGregor’s last fight was a failed attempt to win the UFC Lightweight Championship in October of 2018, tapping out to a rear naked choke in the fourth round. His last mixed-martial-arts fight before then was in fall of 2016, winning over Eddie Alvarez. Since his last fight, McGregor has found himself entrenched in controversy outside of the octagon. In August, McGregor plead guilty to assault, following an incident where he punched a man in a Dublin bar. He was given a 1,000 euro fine for the incident.

Also during the layoff, the New York Times reported that two investigations for sexual assault were launched on McGregor. When the allegations were brought up at a press conference on Wednesday, the crowd and panelists reacted negatively.

Cerrone has fought five times since McGregor last fought. He is currently on a two-fight losing streak, dropping to Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje. Before then however, Cerrone won three in a row, notably going five rounds with Al Iaquinta.

The fight is held at welterweight, which is uncommon for McGregor. Cerrone has fought in welterweight before, but not in recent bouts.

Following UFC 246, the next UFC event will be on January 25th, in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, going head-to-head with Bellator’s show in California. The next pay-per-view event by the UFC is on February 8th, with Jon Jones attempting to defend his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against Dominic Reyes.

UFC 242: Khabib vs. Poirier Full Report

Last weekend, the UFC headed to the United Arab Emirates for a special pay-per-view. The evening had 13 fights, including a main event involving Russian Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim Lightweight Champion Dustin “Diamond” Poirier. In a building that was built specifically for the event, UFC 242 started with eight preliminary fights. 

Bout 1: Fares Ziam (10-2) vs. Don Madge (8-3-1) (Lightweight)

The evening kicked off with Fares Ziam and Don Madge in a lightweight bout. Madge tried for a takedown in the opening moments of the bout. They stayed clinched up against the cage for a while as no takedown was landed. Ziam gave Madge tons of knees to the thighs while in the clinch. With just under two minutes left in the round, the referee put them back in stand-up due to inactivity. Madge clinched up again, trying for a takedown which Ziam avoided. Madge did another body lock early in the second round. As the second round was closing out, Madge finally scored his first takedown. The final round was a dominant one for Madge, doing pretty much what he did in the two rounds before. The judges all had Don Madge getting the win (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ziam 9 9 9 27
Madge 10 10 10 30

Bout 2: Zak Cummings (23-6) vs. Omari Akhmedov (18-4-1) (Middleweight)

The next fight had two much more experienced MMA fighters in Zak Cummings and Omari Akhmedov face off. There was a pause very early on as Akhmedov was hit in the groin. Halfway through the first round, Cummings dropped Akhmedov with a left hook. He was able to get back up and continue in the fight. Akhmedov got a double leg takedown with two minutes left in the first round. Akhmedov had a good second round, out-striking Cummings on the feet, and then getting in some ground and pound in with less than a minute left. Akhmedov got another takedown near the end of the final round. Similar to the round before, Akhmedov ended the round with some ground strikes. Omari Akhmedov got the unanimous decision win when they turned to the judges (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Cummings 9 9 9 27
Akhmedov 10 10 10 30

Bout 3: Muslim Salikhov (14-2) vs. Nordine Taleb (15-6) (Welterweight)

Tristar Gym’s Nordine Taleb was pitted against Muslim Salikhov in the next fight. The fight started off somewhat slow with both fighters being weary of each other’s power. Salikhov landed a good spinning kick which got Taleb in the mid-section. A pause came shortly after as a kick hit Salikhov in the groin. In the final minute of the first round, Salikhov floored Taleb with a right hook, immediately earning the victory via walk-off KO.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 4: Takashi Sato (15-2) vs. Belal Muhammad (15-3) (Welterweight)

After his impressive UFC debut, Takashi Sato was put against Belal Muhammad on this card. Muhammad’s striking was looking sharp early on. Muhammad got a takedown, but Sato got up shortly after. In the final minute of the first round, Muhammad got a slam takedown and took the back of Sato, looking for a rear naked choke. Muhammad had another good round, although Sato had a decent moment near the end, landing a takedown and staying in control on the ground. Muhammad failed to score a takedown early in the third round. When he tried again he succeeded. Muhammad took Sato’s back quite easily and applied a rear naked choke which eventually made him tap out. Getting his first career win via submission, Belal Muhammad got his second victory in a row.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Sato 9 9
Muhammad 10 10

Bout 5: Teemu Packalen (8-2) vs. Ottman Azaitar (11-0) (Lightweight)

Switching over to ESPN for the rest of the preliminary card, Teemu Packalen versus Ottman Azaitar was up next. Both fighters were landing hard shorts early on. While Packalen was having his moments, it was Azaitar who was getting more action in. Packalen shot for a single leg takedown but had it denied. With over a minute left in the first round, Azaitar landed an overhand right which dropped Packalen. Extending his undefeated streak, Ottman Azaitar impressed in his UFC debut.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total

Bout 6: Sarah Moras (5-6) vs. Liana Jojua (7-2) (Bantamweight)

The first of two female fights of the evening featured Sarah Moras and Liana Jojua. Moras aimed to even her record with this fight. Moras had Jojua up against the cage for a large amount of the first round until the referee separated them. Moras was pushing the pace of the fight, consistently coming forward. In the second round, Jojua was able to get the top position on the ground. Moras was able to reverse the position after a minute or so. Jojua had top position for a decent amount of time in the start of the thirds round. Moras was able to get top position and start getting strikes off. After tons of unanswered strikes, the referee eventually stepped in, giving Sarah Moras a win.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Moras 10 10
Jojua 9 9

Bout 7: Lerone Murphy (8-0) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (18-4) (Featherweight)

The next preliminary fight had English fighter Lerone Murphy attempt to extend his undefeated streak against Zubaira Tukhugov. In the second minute of the fight, Tukhugov dropped Murphy with strikes. He got back up, but at tons of strikes in the process. Tukhugov swarmed Murphy on the ground, staying on him and throwing him back down when he would get back up. Murphy’s only real offense was an upkick at the end of the round. Murphy got more striking in at the start of the second round. Tukhugov landed a strong double leg takedown, but on the ground Murphy nearly got a guillotine choke in. When standing up, Murphy put in another guillotine that Tukhugov had to fight out of. While Murphy got some good punches in later, Tukhugov scored another takedown before the round ended. Murphy’s takedown defence got stronger in the final round, finally stuffing a takedown. Tukhugov’s grappling overwhelmed Murphy for most of the final round, making it so that he was defending and never really getting to attack. The scorecards added up to a rare split draw (29-28, 29-28 & 28-28). Lerone Murphy stayed undefeated, but added a “1” to the third column of his record.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Murphy 8 10 9 27
Tukhugov 10 9 10 28

Bout 8: Andrea Lee (11-2) (#6) vs. Joanne Calderwood (13-4) (#5) (Flyweight)

The final preliminary bout on the card was flyweight prospects Andrea Lee and Joanne Calderwood facing off. It was the first fight on the card that included ranked fighters. With over a minute left in the first round, Lee caught a kick, and used it to take the fight to the ground. Lee scored a solid takedown early in the second round. Calderwood got a takedown of her own in the closing seconds of the second round. Calderwood had a more busy final round, out-striking Lee. Going to the scorecards, the judges had a split decision, with the win ultimately going to Joanne Calderwood (29-28 Lee, 30-27 Calderwood & 29-28 Calderwood).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Lee 9 10 9 28
Calderwood 10 9 10 29

Bout 9: Diego Ferreira (15-2) vs. Mairbek Taisumov (27-5) (Lightweight)

The main card kicked off with Diego Ferreira and Mairbek Taisumov. In the first round, Taisumov stayed on the outside of the octagon, circling around Ferreira. Taisumov rocked Ferreira with a punch halfway through the round. Ferreira had a good closing moments of the round, landing a few good strikes. Taisumov scored a good judo throw early in the second round. Ferreira was much more generous with strikes in the second round. Taisumov was getting tagged much more. Ferreira applied the pressure from the very start of the third round. The third round was the best one for Ferriera, who landed tons of combos while not getting anything in response. Diego Ferreira walked away with the victory (29-28, 29-27 & 29-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ferreira 9 10 10 29
Taisumov 10 9 9 28

Bout 10: Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-4) (#9) vs. Curtis Blaydes (11-2 1 NC) (#4) (Heavyweight)

In the next fight, the show went to the big boys as ranked heavyweights Shamil Abdurakhimov and Curtis Blaydes competed. Blaydes shot for a takedown early, taking the back of Abdurakhimov. They got back up after Blaydes was dominant on the ground for a couple of minutes. Blaydes got another takedown and continued to smother Abdurakhimov. Blaydes finally started to unload some strikes on the ground in the final seconds of the first round. As expected, Blaydes got another takedown early in the second round. Blaydes started with the ground and pound again, with the referee ending the fight after a cut was opened on Shamil Abdurakhimov’s face.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Abdurakhimov 8
Blaydes 10

Bout 11: Davi Ramos (10-2) vs. Islam Makhachev (17-1) (#15) (Lightweight)

Before the main event, we got two lightweight bouts between high level fighters in the division. The first of two fights was Davi Ramos versus Islam Makhachev. Early in the fight, Ramos stopped a takedown attempt by Makhachev. The striking was pretty quiet from both fighters in the first round. Ramos tried to score a takedown early in the second round after a combination of punches, but Makhachev stopped it. Halfway through the round Ramos landed a jab which wobbled Makhachev. In the final round there was a scary moment for Ramos, where he was dropped by a knee and hit with more strikes on the ground. He was able to recover but gave Makhachev the top position on the ground. The fight went all fifteen minutes with all three judges handing it to Islam Makhachev (29-27, 30-26 & 30-26).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ramos 9 9 9 27
Makhachev 10 10 10 30

Bout 12: Paul Felder (16-4) (#10) vs. Edson Barboza (20-7) (#7) (Lightweight)

The co-main event of the evening was a lightweight rematch between Paul Felder and Edson Barboza. There was a pause in the first round after a clash of heads caused a cut on Felder’s head. Luckily, the fight was able to continue. Felder was the one coming forward throughout the first round. While Felder opened the second round with clean striking, Barboza scored a takedown in the second minute of the round. An elbow cut open Barboza in this position. Felder tried for an armbar from bottom position but couldn’t get it. Both fighters were swinging away in the final minutes of the fight. Barboza scored one last takedown as the fight was about to end. The scorecards were split, with Paul Felder being favoured (30-27 Barboza, 29-28 Felder & 30-27 Felder). He was quite emotional afterwards. The win for Felder makes the rivalry 1-1 between the two.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Felder 10 10 10 30
Barboza 9 9 9 27

Bout 13: Dustin Poirier (25-5 1 NC) (IC) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (27-0) (UFC Lightweight Championship)

Finally, the main event of the evening was the clash between the Interim UFC Lightweight Champion, Dustin Poirier, and the Lightweight Champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. The crowd was very pro-Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov shot for his first takedown a minute and a half into the fight. Poirier was initially able to prevent it, but Nurmagomedov’s pressure made it so that they eventually went to the ground. Nurmagomedov got on the back of Poirier and tried for a rear naked choke. Poirier escaped, and was also able to get back up, albeit in a standing clinch against the cage. Nurmagomedov took it back to the ground again before the round ended. In top position, Nurmagomedov let some punches go at the end of the first round. More stand-up was showcased in the second round, with Nurmagomedov retreating at one point because Poirier was landing some solid shots. Nurmagomedov got his fourth takedown, smothering Poirier for a few minutes. Poirier got a guillotine when standing against the cage with a minute left in the second round, but Nurmagomedov popped out of it eventually. Nurmagomedov got a takedown in the third round, with Poirier trying for a guillotine again. Nurmagomedov stayed in it for some time but stayed composed and eventually worked his way out of it. Nurmagomedov took the back of Poirier, eventually putting in a rear naked choke which made Poirier tap out. Khabib Nurmagomedov earned his 28th professional win, putting on an amazing performance against Dustin Poirier.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Poirier 8 9
Nurmagomedov 10 10

This weekend, UFC heads to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for UFC on ESPN+ 16. The main event of the card features “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone facing Justin Gaethje.

UFC 242: Khabib vs. Poirier Full Preview

Under a year ago, Khabib Nurmagomedov put on a dominant performance over Conor McGregor. The fight was stopped after four rounds, with McGregor tapping out to a rear naked choke. It was set to be a triumphant moment at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA for the Russian fighter who had just made his first Lightweight Championship defense, but that’s only the first half of the story. Right after his win, Nurmagomedov jumped out of the cage and lunged at McGregor’s corner. Despite the phenomenal performance, it was the fight after the fight that made headlines across the world. That was the last time Nurmagomedov competed in the octagon, as many people from his camp, including him, were handed suspensions and fines. 

The lightweight landscape has changed since then, and while many names could arguably get a title shot, the man who’s next in line is Dustin Poirier. The fight will take place on Saturday, with the special location giving the event an early start time. Live from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, UFC 242 has the Lightweight Championship will be on the line as the current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will face the interim champion Dustin Poirer. The show also includes 12 other fights, with the prelims starting at 10:15 AM Eastern, and the main card beginning at 2 PM EST.

Bout 1: Don Madge (8-3-1) vs. Fares Ziam (10-2) (Lightweight)

The evening will begin in a contest between two lightweight prospects in Don Madge and Fares Ziam. Madge came into the UFC earlier this year, earning a victory against Te Edwards. The South African fighter has an 8-3-1 record, although is on a hot five fight winning streak. His opponent, Fares Ziam will be fighting in the UFC for the first time ever, also currently on a five fight victory streak. Ziam has been around the European scene for most of his career.

Bout 2: Zak Cummings (23-6) vs. Omari Akhmedov (18-4-1) (Middleweight)

In the first fight of many more on the card featuring Russian fighters, middleweight Omari Akhmedov faces Zak Cummings. Holding a 6-3-1 recording within the UFC, Akhmedov recently went to the scorecard against Tim Boetsch, getting back in the win column after going to a scorecard draw against Marvin Vettori. With an 8-3 win-loss record within the promotion, Zak Cummings has had a good past year, defeating Trevor Smith and Trevin Giles. Neither fighter is currently ranked, but chances are a win for either one could put them on the list.

Bout 3: Nordine Taleb (15-6) vs. Muslim Salikhov (14-2) (Welterweight)

Coming off over a year of a layoff, Muslim Salikhov will return to face Nordine Taleb. Salikhov has only fought twice in the UFC, experiencing victory and defeat. With much more experience in the UFC, Nordine Taleb is returning after a May loss to Kyle Prepolec. The Tristar Gym fighter holds a 7-4 promotional record, although half of the losses came in his last three fights. 

Bout 4: Belal Muhammad (15-3) vs. Takashi Sato (15-2) (Welterweight)

Finishing off the UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims will be a prospect fight in the welterweight division. Takashi Sato made his UFC debut back in April, getting a TKO victory over Ben Saunders. Previous to then, he had made a name for himself within the Japanese MMA promotion Pancrase, being a consistent finished in his fights. Belal Muhammad has only been in the UFC since 2016, although he has already attained a record of 6-3. While not being much of a finisher, Muhammad has been favoured frequently on scorecards. His recent win was in April against Curtis Millender.

Bout 5: Teemu Packalen (8-2) vs. Ottman Azaitar (11-0) (Lightweight)

Starting off the preliminary card on FXX and ESPN+, Teemu Packalen will return to the UFC after a large absence to face a debuting Ottman Azaitar. Packalen lost to Marc Diakiese in 2017, and currently has a 1-2 UFC record. Azaitar is an undefeated MMA fighter, being experienced in regional promotions, frequently finishing his fights via strikes. Both fighters still have to prove themselves to the UFC fanbase.

Bout 6: Sarah Moras (5-5) vs. Liana Jojua (7-2) (Bantamweight()

Recently, Canadian fighter Sarah Moras evened her win and loss column, getting her third loss in a row in May. In a real must-win situation, Moras will face Liana Jojua, who will be looking to impress in her UFC debut. Jojua has fought all around the world, including notable promotions like Kunlun Fight League and Fight Nights Global, currently on a five-win run. The fight is the first of two female fights on the card.

Bout 7: Zubaira Tukhugov (18-4) vs. Lerone Murphy (8-0) (Featherweight)

On Saturday, Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t be the only America Kickboxing Academy fighter on the card. Holding a record of 3-1 in the UFC, Tukhugov will look to bounce back from his first big-league loss, which was against Renato Moicano. He will also attempt to make it a hard promotional debut for Lerone Murphy, who has attained an undefeated 8-0 record through the British MMA scene. Only debuting as a professional in 2017, Murphy has attained numerous first round stoppages.

Bout 8: Joanne Calderwood (13-4) vs. Andrea Lee (11-2) (Flyweight)=

Concluding the preliminary portion of the card, Joanne Calderwood will fight Andrea Lee in a women’s flyweight contenders match. Joanne Calderwood recently lost to Katlyn Chookagian, with wins over Ariane Lipski and Kalindra Faria before then. Andrea Lee has had a much better recent track record, being undefeated since her UFC debut. On a 7-0 run, with three of those fights in the UFC, it’s safe to safe the Lee is on a run. Both fighters are highly ranked in the division, and chances are the winner of this fight will be discussed as one of the next in line for a title shot.

Bout 9: Mairbek Taisumov (27-5) vs. Diego Ferreira (15-2) (Lightweight)

The pay-per-view section of the night will begin with experienced fighters in Mairbek Taisumov and Diego Ferreira. Ferreira will be attempting to extend his four-fight winning streak, recently going to the scorecards against Rustam Khabilov. While that recent tear is impressive, Taisumov’s six-fight winning streak blows it out of the water. While the record is impressive, Taisumov has been absent for a year, with his last win coming from September 2018 against Des Green.

Bout 10: Curtis Blaydes (11-2) vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov (20-4) (Heavyweight)

In the only heavyweight fight of the evening, Curtis Blaydes will face Russian talent Shamil Abdurakhimov. Both fighters have been at a high level of the heavyweight division for some time now. Blaydes recently came back from a loss, defeating Justin Willis via decision. Shamil Abdurakhimov is on a three-fight streak of wins, although it’s worth noting that the first win in that series came in late 2017, so Abdurakhimov isn’t fighting as frequent as others.

Bout 11: Islam Makhachev (17-1) vs. Davi Ramos (10-2) (Lightweight)

For the rest of the night, it will be lightweights taking the stage. In the first fight of three lightweight fights, ranked fighter Islam Makhachev will face up-and-coming Davi Ramos. Ramos has picked up four wins recently, with three of them via rear naked choke. A win over Makhachev would likely put Ramos in the top 15 lightweights. Makhachev hasn’t lost since 2016, recently beating Arman Tsarukyan in April.

Bout 12: Paul Felder (16-4) vs. Edson Barboza (20-7) (Lightweight)

In a rematch, Paul Felder will face Edson Barboza in the co-main event of the show. Their last meeting was in 2015, with Barboza getting the better of the matchup. Going to decision, Barboza won, ending Felder’s undefeated record at the time. Felder has been 6-3 since then, with Barboza having a record of 4-4 within the same period of time. Felder is ranked #10 in the lightweight division, with Barboza currently holding the #7 spot.

Bout 13: Khabib Nurmagomedov (27-0) vs. Dustin Poirier (25-5) (UFC Lightweight Championship)

In the main event of the card, UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will seek to take the interim belt off of Dustin Poirier’s shoulders. While Nurmagomedov has won the belt and defended it once, he’s never had a real crowning moment with the belt being placed around him inside the octagon. He will strive for that this weekend when facing Dustin Poirier. His last win came against Conor McGregor at UFC 229 in a complete dismantlement of the MMA icon. It was clear in the fight that while McGregor was struggling to compete in stand-up, that Nurmagomedov was clearly the better fighter on the ground. This was proven definitely when McGregor tapped to a rear naked choke in the fourth round. Not only will Nurmagomedov’s Championship be put on the line, but just like every fight in his life, it will be putting his undefeated record on the line as well.

While there’s many names in the lightweight division that could give Khabib Nurmagomedov a good fighter, with Tony Ferguson being a prominent name on that list, Dustin Poirier earned this fight. Defeating Max Holloway in a decisive five round battle in April, Poirier was crowned the interim Lightweight Champion. “The Diamond” will be in the biggest fight of his career on Saturday.

After UFC holds their PPV in The United Arab Emirates, a week afterwards the promotion will head to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada for UFC on ESPN+ 16. Live from the Rogers Arena, the show is currently scheduled to be headlined by Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Justin Gaethje.