Frankie Edgar pushed past some initial difficulty in the first round of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main event to dominate, and ultimately finish, Cub Swanson. The two top featherweight contenders went hard for nearly five full rounds, with Edgar controlling the action with his superior wrestling, ground control and strikes.
Though he was doubtless well on his way to winning a unanimous decision, Edgar’s coaches told him to go for the finish should he get the opportunity in the fifth round. And, he did.
With the full mount against the fence with seconds left in the fifth and final round, Edgar rained down punches on the bloodied Swanson, forcing him to turn and give up his back. From there, Edgar locked in a neck crank from behind and earned the latest finish in UFC history.
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Swanson tapped with just four seconds left in the round and fight. The former lightweight champion promised that he’s coming for Jose Aldo’s featherweight belt, afterwards, and that the best is still to come from him.
"This is just the beginning," he said.
"I’m just getting started…I haven’t seen the ceiling yet."
Barboza controls Green
In the night’s co-main event, Brazilian Edson Barboza snapped Bobby Green’s impressive win streak with a clear-cut unanimous decision win. For three straight rounds, Barboza kept Green off-balance and guessing with constant lateral movement.
In addition, Barboza repeatedly stopped and planted long enough to fire off and land nasty power strikes to the head of Green. Green showed a great deal of conditioning in surviving despite being stunned and dropped by punches and kicks.
Frankie Edgar (16-4-1) vs. Cub Swanson (21-5)
Swanson lands with an over hand right, and then a left jab. Edgar fires back with a punch combo and ties up Cub for a moment.
Swanson fighting with his hands low. He clearly believes that he has the speed advantage.
Edgar lands a cross and misses with an uppercut. Edgar throws a punch combo and then shoots in deep for a take down.
Swanson defends the take down and comes up smiling! Edgar follows up with punches and a knee to the head.
Swanson lands a clean overhand right. Swanson hits a leg kick.
Frankie has had enough, catches a kick and takes Swanson down with a minute and a half left in the round.
Swanson gets up after eating a few punches. Edgar answers a jab from Swanson with a punch combo.
Edgar looks for another single leg, doesn’t get it but then hits a hip toss with ten seconds left. The round finishes with Edgar inside Swanson’s guard, landing pot shots.
Swanson misses with an uber upper cut, Edgar tries to duck under and get behind Cub. They both free up and center up.
Swnason lands an uppercut to the head, then a body shot. Edgar shoots, gets stuffed, then gets tagged again on the feet. Cub is cut near his left eye.
Swanson sticks his tongue out at Edgar, then lands a right cross. Edgar takes Swanson down and begins to work with punches from on top in his half guard.
Swanson content to stall, try to control Edgar’s posture instead of fighting for an underhook. He makes a flopping attempt to turn into Edgar and get up but Edgar keeps him pinned down.
Swanson composes to his butterfly guard but Edgar then gets back to half guard and pounds away, busting up Cub’s bloody face even more.
Edgar opens up with his fourth take down of the fight. This one is a suplex from behind.
Edgar inside Swanson’s full guard, moving to half guard. Edgar up to his feet, then back down to half guard.
Edgar landing short punches and elbows. Edgar has arm and head control, keeping Swanson down. Edgar has a 108-49 total strikes advantage in at this point.
Edgar to "I-position," and now to cross side! Swanson avoids big damage from there, and gets back to a half guard. Edgar looking to pass the half guard with a minute left.
Edgar postures up and lands heavy punches down on Swanson’s bleeding head. Edgar has spent more than seven minutes of the first fifteen minutes or so on top of Swanson.
Round ends and Swanson is bleeding on both sides of his face.
Jab and uppercut attempts from Swanson. Jab landed, uppercut did not.
Swanson taking full advantage of being back on his feet and is swinging hard. He lands a body kick.
Edgar gets another take down, then takes Swanson’s back, against the fence. Five take downs in total for Edgar.
Swanson gets up, then Edgar gets his sixth take down. Back on top, inside Swanson’s half guard, for "The Answer."
Edgar nearing a full mount position. He feels comfortable to open up with punches.
He has full mount with under three minutes left. In all, Edgar is marked as having 141 ground strikes, compared to Swanson’s 37.
More punches from Edgar from mount. He postures up, punches more and makes Cub turna round to give up his back.
Swanson turns back around onto his own back and gets a half guard. Edgar punches his way into mount again, compels Swanson to turn and give his back, then back again into mount.
Swanson scoots out, gets space and gets a butterfly guard before standing back up with fifteen seconds left in the round.
The always tough Swanson smiles through a crimson visage moments before the round ends.
Edgar stands Cub up with a nasty uppercut/hook combo to the head. Edgar gets another take down, goes inside the full guard.
Edgar steps over to his left side to pass into half guard. Edgar works for a guillotine chokes, gets a sweep, loses the choke.
Edgar moves from side mount to full mount. The former lightweight champ is hammering away with punches.
Edgar goes for an arm-triangle choke on Swanson, but Cub retains half guard, hangs on and defends the choke before escaping.
Swanson has his half butterfly guard passed and Edgar is back in side control with a minute and a half left in the fight. Edgar has landed a total of 246 strikes compared to Swanson’s 79.
Swanson bucks up to escape, but Edgar gives him just enough room to take his back. Swanson turns in and gives up mount, then back again and gives up the back again.
Edgar transitions back into mount, then the back with fifteen second and unleashes hell with punches, opening up the rear naked choke and forces the tap out with seconds to go in what would have been a dominating decision win!
Whoah, scratch that – it was a neck crank. Edgar wanted to make a statement, and he did – per usual.
Jon Anik calls it as the latest finish in UFC history.
Frankie Edgar submits Cub Swanson with a neck crank from behind at 4:56 in the fifth round.
Bobby Green (23-5) vs. Edson Barboza (14-2)
Jab and overhand right from Green to kick things off. Left body kick from Barboza that Green catches and trips him with.
Stiff leg kick from Barboza. Nice body-head punch combo from the Brazilian. Green shaking his head, "no," after every time he gets hit, as if to say the shots don’t hurt.
They no doubt do, in fact. Now Green is brushing his shoulder off like Jay-Z taught us. He’s also walking forward with his hands completely down, and jawing at Barboza.
So far, no real offense from Green. Nasty check left hook from Barboza lands on the chin of Green.
Nice rear round house from Barboza to the lead leg of Green. Left straight punch from Barboza.
Left body kick lands for Green. One-three punch combo from Green.
Triple jab attempt from Barboza that Green dodges. Head kick from Barboza lands clean to thead of Green.
Barboza lands an overhand right to the back of Green’s head and stumbles him. Barboza follows up with a spinning kick that drops Green!
Barboza weaves out of the way of a jab and counters with his own right hand. Green throws a flying knee that is mostly blocked.
Green slaps Barboza with his left hand and follows up with a right leg kick. Green checks a leg kick from Barboza.
Green gets inside with double underhooks, briefly, but Barboza gets away. Another flying knee from Green. It lands to the body.
Green lands a leg kick to Barboza again. An again, with a leg kick from Green with twenty seconds left in the round.
Green catches a kick from Barboza with under ten seconds left and tries for a take down but Barboza defends.
Green’s coach tells him he needs to throw more combos, and that he needs to make it a "street fight." The round begins with Green bowing to and fist-bumping Barboza, instead of taunting him.
Green eats a right hand before landing a very solid left hook to the chin. Barboza bleeding badly underneath his right eye. Barboza lands another head kick, followed by a right hand.
Parry and a left straight from Barboza before angling out. Green misses with a big straight left.
Green now bleeding near his left eye. Left straight lands for Green.
Green is said to have landed 25 head strikes to Barboza’s 16, at this point. Green lands a left hook, and then eats one.
Green picks the taunting back up with under a minute left. Barboza lands a left, then Green lands an uppercut.
Barboza throws and lands a kick to Green’s back. With the seconds ticking away, it’s Barboza’s turn to taunt and celebrate.
The horn sounds, Green motions that Barboza ran. At the end, however, both kneel, embrace each other and share some words.
Official decision coming up next.
All three judges scored the fight for Edson Barboza, 30-27. Man, there is so much parity in this division. Either of these guys look capable of competing for the title, even though neither is discussed much as very top contenders.
Brad Pickett (25-9) vs. Chico Camus (14-5)
More elite flyweight action coming up now. Camus bouncing around, then throws a flying knee!
Picket gets in deep on a double leg take down but Camus gets his own hips back and sprawls out defensively. The Wisconsin fighter takes Pickett’s back for a moment before the top-ranked Londoner gets free.
Pickett gets his take down and works from inside Camus’ full guard. Pickett mixing up his punches to the body and head of the downed Camus.
Pickett begins to pass and gets to half guard before Camus recomposes to full guard. Pickett stands up and breaks the guard.
Pickett dives in with a punch but Camus turns away, makes him fist mat, and then gets back up to his feet before attacking Pickett with punches! Camus soon attempts another flying knee that Pickett manages to avoid.
Camus lands a left hook to the head of Pickett. Camus drops his hands down, bleeding fron the right side of his head.
Camus shoots in, gets stuffed but then transitions to the back of Pickett. Pickett defends but eats a left hand from Camus.
The round ends.
Pickett goes to the body of Camus early with punches. Camus lands a right uppercut to Pickett’s head. He follows up with a left-right uppercut combo that rattles Pickett’s head.
A stiff left hook from Camus to Pickett’s head makes him think to try to tie up Camus and attempt to take him down. He gets rebuffed but manages to land an overhand right on Camus.
Camus strikes back soon, however, with more head punches. Camus lands a hard jab, then two hooks before Pickett connects with his own head punch and then follows up with a double leg take down.
Camus works his way back to his feet and momentarily tries to lock in a guillotine choke. Pickett gets head snapped to the ground from the front head lock, but defends the choke and returns to his feet and breaks free.
Camus has landed 30 strikes to Pickett’s 18 strikes in the second round, according to the official stats. Pickett ties up Camus against the cage with fifteen second left in the round.
Both men raise their arms in the air and show boat as the round ends.
Camus momentarily gets Pickett’s back again but the Brit gets away with a quickness. Nice jab, again, from Camus. Two rear round house leg kicks from Pickett in succession.
Camus still dancing around but not throwing with much volume at this point. Pickett shoots in deep, but Camus defends and breaks free.
Pickett stalking Camus, trying to corner him, as Chico continues his near-constant lateral movement. Right hook from Camus lands to the head of Pickett.
Pickett lands a spinning back kick to the arm of Camus. Pickett ties Camus up again against the fence, looking for a take down.
Camus defends, gets free and centers up in the middle of the cage. Camus lands two left hooks.
Camus show boats some more, Pickett answers him in kind, then with a huge left uppercut at the horn. Official decision coming up next!
Chico Camus wins a split decision over Brad Pickett. Scores were 29-28 (twice for Camus), and 30-27 for Pickett.
Jared Rosholt (11-1) vs. Alexey Oliynyk (49-9-1)
The Russian veteran catches an early leg kick from Rosholt and counters with a right cross. The two get into a telephone slug fest and Rosholt gets the better of it with big head punches and a knee to the mid-section.
Alexey shoots, Rosholt sprawls and sticks a front head lock. He backs the 37 year-old against the cage.
Alexey is up but Rosholt hammers away with uppercut punches to his head. Rosholt looks winded as they center up and Alexey starts to find his range.
The Russian lands big again and drops Rosholt! A right hand to the back of Rosholt’s head, followed by a left hook to the jaw drops Rosholt to the mat, out cold, and the Russian finishes with hammer fists to force the ref to stop the action.
Alexey Oliynik beats Jared Rosholt by TKO due to strikes at 3:21 of the first round.
Joseph Benavidez (20-4) vs. Dustin Ortiz (14-3)
The two flyweights begin to trade and block in bursts. Benavidez scores with some leg kicks and body kicks, and then, an overhand right hand.
Nice push kick from Ortiz. Benavidez throwing head-body punch combinations.
The former title challenger lands witha big left hand. Benavidez nearly tripling Ortiz’s strikes landed total in the early going.
Ortiz takes a right hook to the body, then a left hook to the temple, then a knee to the chin. Benavidez lands a lead rear leg kick, then a right punch.
He charges in with two wide hooks and eats a stiff jab from the Southpaw. Ortiz sticking in there and stalking Joe.
Benavidez shoots and scores with a take down with under thirty seconds left. From on top in Ortiz’s half guard, Benavidez looks to land a guillotine choke.
He lets it go, and ends the round with a short elbow to the jaw of Ortiz.
Benavidez tries to pick up where he left off in round one, and charges in with hooks. He lands a couple punches, glancing, then lands a head kick.
Benavidez is said to have a 58-20 advantage in "significant" strikes landed, so far. Benavidez lands another big left kick to the head. Ortiz looks hurt but stays in the pocket.
Ortiz takes Benavidez down but the Team Alpha Male member gives up his back and stands back up, then separates. Benavidez has a cut opened up under his right eye.
Left uppercut lands on Ortiz’s head from Benavidez. Ortiz catches a leg kick from Benavidez that he didn’t set up with punches, throws a straight punch and drops Joe.
Benavidez scrambles up and gets top position before getting to his feet again. Ortiz is bleeding on the right side of his face with a minute and a half left in the round.
Ortiz eats another big shot. Ortiz lands a glancing left hook to the head of Benavidez. Benavidez misses on a spinning heel kick and then shoots for a double leg take down but gets stuffed.
Benavidez lands a big hook that backs up Ortiz. Ortiz rucks under a big punch from Benavidez and shoots for his own take down but Joe sprawls, defends and spins to the back of Ortiz as the round ends.
Ortiz shoots for a take down, Benavidez defends and takes Ortiz’s back. Ortiz gets to his feet, then eats an over hand right, and then uppercut from Benavidez.
Joseph lands another uppercut to the head, then a head kick. Ortiz shoots again and gets stuffed. Benavidez tries to work for an arm-in guillotine choke by shoving Ortiz’s right arm aside with his own right leg and hip, but Ortiz defends and gets back to his feet.
Benavidez ducks under Ortiz and takes his back. Ortiz scrambles up to his feet.
Now Ortiz takes the back of Benavidez and takes him down. Benavidez gets top position and threatens with a knee bar set up before returning to his feet.
Benavidez working a front head lock before they return to their feet. Ortiz shoots for a take down and Joe sprawls, defends and works a front headlock again.
Ortiz gets up to his feet, then lands a single-leg take down but Benavidez gets back to his feet in a moment.
Benavidez shoots for another take down with 15 seconds left. Ortiz misses. They are up on their feet in the final moments.
Ortiz misses with a superman punch, and Benavidez counters with a short overhand. Round ends.
Great fight. Official decision coming up next!
All three judges give a unanimous decision win to Joseph Benavidez by scores of 30-27.
Matt Wiman (15-7) vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg (14-5-1)
The UFC is about to get a whole lot more handsome, again, people! After nearly two years away from competition, lightweight stalwart Matt "Handsome" Wiman returns against the well-respected Isaac Vallie-Flagg in the opening bout of tonight’s main card.
Both men are coming off of losses so likely extra hungry for a ‘w’. And. Here. We. Go.
Wiman looking amped up and his shorts looking two sizes too big. Wiman comes in hard, ducks under a swing from Vallie-Flagg, but the Jackson-Wink fighter turns the TUF 5 veteran around and presses him against the cage.
Vallie-Flagg using his head to keep Wiman’s own head pressed sideways. Isaac also working in nice dirty strikes in on Wiman from the clinch.
Wiman getting enough space to throw and land some elbows to the head, but he still can’t get off the fence. Wiman presses out but then gets pressed right back against the cage.
Vallie-Flagg hooking Wiman’s left leg with his own right, looking to pick it up and work a trip or a single leg. Wiman defends and works off the fence. Soon, however, Vallie-Flagg gets back inside.
Wiman throws knees to the mid-section of Isaac but gets pushed back up against the cage. Vallie-Flagg goes low to go for a double leg take down.
Wiman defends the take down against the fence, and transitions to the back of Vallie-Flagg! Wiman looking for the rear naked choke.
Vallie-Flagg looks to be in trouble but defends. Wiman transitions to a straight arm bar.
Vallie-Flagg put on his back, but holding strong. Wiman switches to his own back and then a triangle choke, briefly, and back to an arm bar before the round ends.
Both men start out with big strike attempts. Clearly feeling as though he has the advantage on the ground, Wiman looks for a single leg take down, early.
Vallie-Flagg defends and presses Wiman against the cage again. Vallie-Flagg looking for a double leg take down.
As soon as he gets it, Wiman hits a switch, and momentarily gets the back of Isaac. Vallie-Flagg and Wiman back out in the center of the cage, trading big punches, knees and elbows.
Big overhand right from Wiman lands. Big right elbow from Vallie-Flagg lands to the left temple of Wiman.
Vallie-Flagg presses the bald, but still handsome, Wiman against the cage. Wiman works out and presses Vallie-Flagg against the cage for a moment.
Soon, however, Isaac gets Wiman back against the cage. Wiman circles out but eats a big uppercut from Vallie-Flagg. Then an elbow from Vallie-Flagg!
Two uppercuts in a row from Vallie-Flagg after Wiman falls into the clinch. Once more the take down attempt from Vallie-Flagg goes wrong as Wiman takes his back again!
Both hooks are in for Wiman as he works for another rear naked choke with a minute left. Vallie-Flagg defends by hand and wrist fighting with Wiman before getting back to his feet!
Vallie-Flag hits Wiman with several body shots before landing more elbows. Wiman counters with knees to the gut and then presses Vallie-Flagg against the cage with ten seconds left. Wiman ends the round with an overhand right.
Wiman comes out pushing the pace as well as his opponent against the cage. Many of the fight’s strikes have come in the clinch and Vallie-Flagg has outlanded Wiman there, barely, 50-46.
The referee breaks them up and re-centers because, yeah, these guys are totally coasting out here…*sigh*. #StandUps&ResetsDemeanTheSport.
Vallie-Flag pressed Wiman against the cage for the first two rounds but so far in the final stanza, it’s Wiman who is pushing him against the cage. Vallie-Flagg goes for another take down, gets it, and again Wiman reverses position and gets the back!
Over one and a half minutes left for Wiman to potentially try and finish the rear naked choke that has thus far eluded him. Wiman with a figure-four body lock from the back of Isaac. Wiman cupping Vallie-Flagg’s chin with both hands, to try and open up his opponent and force him to expose the neck.
Wiman looks as though he may try and take the mount or an arm-triangle choke. He goes back underneath Vallie-Flagg and continues to work the over-under grip in search of a rear naked choke.
The final horn sounds and the two guys gab at each other and talk smack as we go to commercial! Official decision coming up next!
Hard one to score from where we are sitting but here’s how the judges have it: Unanimous decision for Matt Wiman by scores of 30-27 (twice), and 29-28.
Ruslan Magomedov (12-1-0) vs. Josh Copeland (9-0)
Not sure he’s safe for cuddling, but "CuddlyBear" Copeland sure is smiling a lot as he’s introduced. Here we go…
Big lead knee to the body from Ruslan. Ruslan lands a big right hand.
Copeland game but looks a bit dazed. Big hook attempt from Copeland, who is bleeding a little above his left eye, and it misses.
Copeland lands a shot to the body next, takes one himself, and then follows up with a huge one-two combo to the head of the Russian. Ruslan lands a double jab to the dome of Copeland.
Ruslan storms Copeland next, backing up the big man, and ends a combo with a high kick. A lead Brazilian high kick from Ruslan (fake a low kick, flipping the foot high to land on the head) hits Copeland. Ruslan switching stances up now, and trying to set up another high kick with a double jab.
Ruslan has landed 18 head strikes to Copeland’s 3. The round ends.
Copeland dodges and counters a jab from Ruslan and lands a huge overhand right punch. Copeland charges in and throws a straight punch to Ruslan’s body.
Another charge from Copeland, he feints a punch to the body and then comes over the top with another right hand. Copeland lands a third overhand right hand but Magomedov answers back with a punch combination to Copeland that backs the American up.
Copeland switches his stances up as he charges in again, and lands an overhand left. Ruslan lands a straight kick to the head, then follows up with a head kick that misses.
As commentator Brian Stann says, Copeland is throwing big, but Ruslan is answering with two or three every time. Ruslan lands a head kick, then another and turns Copeland around, making him wince and stumble backwards with his hands up.
Copeland looks to be on his way out of the fight but answers back and stuns Magomedov with punches! The action has slowed down a bit now, with thirty seconds left, as both men are hurt.
Ruslan tosses a few more flip kicks up that miss and the round ends.
Ruslan lands an inside leg kick, then an outside one. Lead superman punch from Ruslan connects.
Copeland charges in and connects a huge left hook, flush, to the jaw of the Russian. Magomedov clinches up and presses Copeland against the cage. From there, he holds and lands knees to the legs and body.
The referee separates them and resets the two heavyweights in the center of the ring with less than a minute left in the fight. Copeland charges in again, with lopping punches.
Ruslan backs and angles away from the danger and then lands a push kick to the American. Copeland charges in again and jumps, Magomedov ducks under, grabs the cuddly warrior by the waist and legs, and dumps him to the ground for the fight’s first and last take down.
Bout over. Official decision coming up next.
Ruslan Magomedov wins a unanimous decision over Josh Copeland with scores of 30-27 (twice) and 29-28.
Luke Barnatt (8-1) vs. Roger Narvaez (6-1-0)
Narvaez throws a rear kick to the body that partly lands on Barnatt, but the force knocks himself backwards and he takes a seat on the mat for a moment. An accidental low blow to Narvaez pauses the fight for a few moments as he recovers.
Barnatt dancing around, and light on his feet as both men mostly are still measuring one another out and throwing half speed strikes at each other. Narvaez begins to land his right hand.
Soon he lands a lead hook to match. Barnatt still looking light on his feet, but he’s not throwing anywhere near as many strikes as Narvaez.
In an exchange, Barnatt lands a stiff right hand to the head of Narvaez. It’s his strongest piece of offense thus far.
Barnatt misses with a spinning back fist as time winds down in the round. Narvaez ducks under the punch and attempts a take down that the Brit himself reverses and uses to land a hip throw.
Narvaez gets back to his feet and the round ends.
Both men immediately a bit more active with punches thrown in the first minute of the second round. Narvaez shoots a double leg take down attempt on Barnatt but is stuffed.
Good hips from the Brit. They are back standing in the center of the cage.
In another combo exchange between both men, Barnatt lands a glancing but thudding over hand right hand to the head of Narvaez. Nice double jab from Narvaez to the head of his opponent.
They trade body kicks, both partially blocked. Counter right hook from Narvaez lands to the mug of Barnatt.
Narvaez bleeding a little on the right side of his head. Barnatt lands a punch to the top of Narvaez with fifteen seconds left. Barnatt lands an uppercut to end the round.
Narvaez hurts Barnatt badly one minute into the final round with a left straight punch, and then a left head kick. Barnatt standing up straight and wobbling.
Narvaez bides his time but eventually charges in and takes Barnatt down. He lands big punches down from inside the open guard of Barnatt.
Narvaez transitions to the back of Barnatt and works a rear naked choke. Barnatt defends but Narvaez resets his grips and latches on a short grip, then back into a full rear naked choke.
Barnatt gets out of the choke and works an butterfly guard, and then closes up a full, closed guard. Narvaez looks a bit spent from attempting to finish the bout with strikes and the chokes.
Barnatt working to set up a triangle choke by pushing the left wrist and arm of Narvaez out of the way. Narvaez doesn’t let him get close, and begins to pass into a half butterfly guard.
Narvaez is up on his feet and Barnatt gets back to his feet as well. Ten seconds left in the fight.
Barnatt lands a kick to Narvaez’s face and the round ends. Official decision coming up next!
Roger Narvaez wins a split decision over Luke Barnatt with scores of 29-28 (twice), and 28-29.
James Vick (6-0) vs. Nick Hein (11-1-0)
For the second fight in a row, we’ve got a Texas home town hero of sorts fighting. Yves Edwards fell short in front of his Austin fans, now Ft. Worth’s James Vick tries to do better against the German Hein.
Dang. Vick is my height, and forty pounds lighter. Way to make a brother feel fat, "Texecutioner." Well, you and the pile of cookies I’m eating at this moment…
Lots of feinting, changing directions and measuring one another out before a head kick from Vick that Hein blocks. Vick circles into Hein’s power but it’s the German’s lead hand that lands first and drops Vick.
Hein in side control on the much larger Vick. Vick bides his time, stays safe and turns Hein over, and reverses position. Vick now in full guard of Hein for a moment before the shorter fighter hustles back to his feet.
High kick from Vick blocked again by Hein, but Vick follows up with a stiff jab. Vick lands a nasty knee on Hein but Hein follows up himself with another punch that drops Vick again!
Vick survives on the ground, gets back to his feet before landing a cross-jab combination. Round ends.
Hein lands first with a two-punch combo to the head. Vick is standing tough but still mostly throw one strike at a time, including that high kick that has yet to land. Nice one-two combo landed to the head of Hein for Vick. Vick lands another punch, this one a counter strike. They trade inside leg kicks. Hein lunges in to punch, and Vick throws the high kick again and this time lands! Hein gets stunned but keeps coming forward. Hein is cut on the outside of his left eye. Hein finally tries to get inside by working for a clinch. He briefly gets double under hooks but Vick presses away. The round ends with Vick trying another high kick and Hein throwing a spinning back fist. Both miss.
Hein walks Vick back into the cage. Vick stumbles briefly after tripping on the mat.
Hein lets Vick off the hook and off the fence without throwing any shots. That changes in short order, however, as the Southpaw Hein lands an over hand left to the chin of Vick.
Vick pumps and misses the jab. Hein counters with a two punch combo but catches air. His next four-punch combo finds him landing to the body of Vick, however.
Lots more circling, waiting, but then Hein lunges in with another multiple-punch combo from Hein that lands to the body.
Vick finally finds his range and connects with a hard straight right that knocks Hein’s mouth guard out. After a few more moments, the ref returns the guard to Hein and Vick lands another right punch.
The fans begin to boo as the round and fight ticks away as Vick continues to bounce around and evade Hein’s stalking. Official decision coming up next!
Official Decision: The judges score the fight for James Vick. Scores were 30-27, 29-28 (twice).
Listen, Vick may have stolen the last two rounds and earned the win, but which judge scored the first round for the Texan after he got dropped twice in it? Goodness…
Yves Edwards (42-21-1) vs. Akbarh Arreola (22-8-1)
Arreola comes out firing with a kick-punch combination but Yves answers back with a one-two and a grimace on his face. Hard body kick from Yves. Arreola lands a huge uppercut that sends Yves falling to the ground and his back.
Arreola briefly mounts the veteran and throws punches, but Yves gets back to his feet. Yves throws a head kick that Arreola catches and uses to put Yves down with a take down.
Arreola follows up with an arm bar from the mount, fully extended Edwards’ arm, and forces the tap out submission!
Official Decision: Akbarh Arreola submits Yves Edwards with an arm bar from the mount at 1:52 of the first round.
Kailin Curran (3-0) vs. Paige VanZant (3-1)
These two both storm the center of the cage and exchange punches until VanZant gets inside for a clinch. VanZant presses Curran against the fence and the two exchange a steady barrage of dirty boxing strikes.
VanZant presses Curran against the cage, working for a take down and inserting in strikes in between. Curran hits a hip toss and puts Van Zant on her back. VanZant works back to her feet but is put down again, soon.
From there, VanZant immediately goes for the arm bar from her full guard. VanZant would throw up four arm bar attempts in the round, but Curran deftly defended all of them, while landing the occasional heavy bomb from on top.
As the round draws to a close, VanZant lands an open guard sweep on the standing Curran, gets top position and goes for the kill with heavy punches from a knee weave-like half guard position.
The referee looks a moment away from stepping in to stop the fight with just ten seconds left in the round. Curran uses her knee reap position from her back on the standing VanZant to nearly sweep "12 Guage," and lives to fight another round!
Curran is pressed against the cage again by VanZant, who proceeds to land great uppercuts from the clinch. VanZant follows up with more knees to the head. Curran is trying to get off the fence and get free from VanZant but Paige keeps a hold of Curran and steadily punishes the Hawaiian with more strikes on the inside.
At the 3:30 mark Curran briefly manages to separate. VanZant gets inside again but Curran lands another hip toss!
Once more, VanZant gets to her feet without taking damage on the ground and immediately gets double undercooks and presses Curran against the fence. Curran gets another hip toss, but VanZant gets back to her feet and once more presses Curran against the fence.
The two trade foot stomps. Curran hits a bull rush take down but Curran quickly gets back to her feet. Curran is managing to stay on her feet and defend VanZant’s take down attempts, but cannot get away from the fence or break free from VanZant’s hold. More knees to the legs, body and head from VanZant.
Curran gets off the fence but can’t get free from the clinch and gets pressed against the fence again. With thirty seconds left, Curran breaks free, gets off the fence, lands two punches and takes VanZant down again. VanZant works an arm bar but the round ends.
VanZant gets the clinch again and presses Curran against the fence again, continuing to mix in many strikes in from that position. Her total strikes landed advantage on the cards is huge, at this point. VanZant using good head position while pressing Curran against the cage, and peppering Curran with punches along the way.
VanZant works in food stomps and a knee to the head. VanZant is throwing more foot stomps than, perhaps, anyone in UFC history. Somewhere, Marco Ruas is smiling while watching.
VanZant gets the take down and doesn’t hesitate in following up with heavy punches to the downed Curran. Punch after punch, with no defense, and the referee is forced to call a halt to the fight. 2:54 of round three.
“My heart is pounding. It’s an unreal experience," VanZant says in her post-fight interview. "I worked so hard."
Official Decision: Paige VanZant beats Kailin Curran by TKO at 2:54 of the third round.
Juan Puig (11-3) vs. Doo Ho Choi (11-1)
Puig comes out with a jab that misses, and Choi counters with a right cross that lands flush on the chin. Puig is down!
Choi follows the Mexican to the ground and follows up with right hand after right hand, forcing the referee to stop the fight just eighteen seconds into the first.
The card is off to an explosive start. In his post-fight comments, "The Korean Superboy" was as humble as he was quick.
"Thank you very much. I knew it was going to end quickly, but I didn’t know it was going to end like this," he said, through a translator.
"I got lucky."
Official Decision: Doo Ho Choi wins via TKO, due to strikes on the ground at the 18 second mark of the first round.