Three titles are on the line in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check out all the action, highlights and results right here.
Unbeaten Hawaiian Punahele Soriano didn’t get the finish on this summer’s Contender Series, but he got the desired result in his UFC debut, as he knocked out Oskar Piechota in the first round of the middleweight opener.
Soriano (7-0) nearly ended the bout in the second minute when he dropped Piechota (11-3-1) with a left hand, but the Poland native weathered the storm and got back to his feet. But as soon as Soriano landed the left again, it was game over, with referee Chris Tognoni halting the bout at the 3:17 mark.
Flyweight contender Jessica Eye got back in the win column in her first fight since a title fight loss to Valentina Shevchenko, taking a unanimous three-round decision over Brazil’s Viviane Araujo
Scores were 29-28 across the board for the No. 2-ranked Eye, now 15-7, 1 NC. The No. 5-ranked Araujo falls to 8-2.
The bout was close throughout, but after dropping the first round to Araujo, Eye picked up the pace and made a run, using leg kicks and sharp punches upstairs to nullify her opponent’s striking and a pair of takedowns.
Eye missed weight for the bout, coming in at 131 pounds.
Former Ultimate Fighter castmates Brandon Moreno and Kai Kara-France met as flyweight contenders tonight and gave the fans a three-round show before Mexico’s Moreno emerged with a unanimous decision win.
The flyweights kept it standing in the opening round, and while Moreno was busy, the harder and more accurate shots were clearly landed by Kara-France. “The Assassin Baby” made some key adjustments in round two, though, and behind a stiff jab that bloodied his foe and effective body work, he turned the momentum back in his favor.
Remarkably, the fast pace got even faster in the final round, with neither fighter backing down from the other. It was great for the fans, but not for the judges who had to score the back and forth action, but in the end, the nod went to Moreno via scores of 29-28 twice and 30-27.
With the win, the No. 5-ranked Moreno moves to 16-5-1. The No. 6-ranked Kara-France falls to 20-8 with 1 NC.
The youngest fighter on the UFC roster got a win in his first trip to the Octagon, as 20-year-old Chase Hooper stopped Sweden’s Daniel Teymur in the first round of their featherweight bout.
Teymur locked in a choke almost immediately, putting Hooper in deep trouble, but the Washington product broke loose and got the fight to the mat briefly before the two rose. Teymur drilled Hooper with a right hand, but in a subsequent scramble, the newcomer took his back and went to work. With under two minutes left, Hooper locked in a tight rear naked choke, but Teymur found a way out. Hooper kept the pressure on with his strikes, and as Teymur had nowhere to go while in a mounted triangle, referee Jason Herzog decided he had seen enough, stopping the bout at 4:34 of the opening round.
With the win, Contender Series graduate Hooper moves to 9-0-1. Teymur falls to 7-4.
Welterweight veteran Matt Brown returned from a layoff of over two years to pick up where he left off in 2017 with a second-round stoppage of Ben Saunders.
Nearly a minute in, the fight went to the mat, with Brown on top but Saunders controlling matters from his back as he locked “The Immortal” up. Brown defended well and got loose with a minute left, but he wasn’t able to deliver any significant offense before the horn sounded.
Brown began finding the target with his strikes in round two, bloodying Saunders before the fight went back to the mat. Brown got in some shots on the ground before referee Keith Peterson stood the action up with under a minute left, but when the two returned to the canvas, Brown closed the show with some thudding strikes that brought Peterson to stop the fight at the 4:55 mark.
With the win, Columbus’ Brown moves to 24-16. Orlando’s Saunders falls to 22-13-2.
Surging middleweight contender Omari Akhmedov extended his unbeaten streak to six with a three-round unanimous decision over Ian Heinisch.
All three judges scored it 29-28 for the No. 14-ranked Akhmedov, who ups his record to 20-4-1. The No. 10-ranked Heinisch falls to 13-3.
Both fighters landed hard punches in the opening minute, getting the fight off to a strong start. As the round progressed, Akhmedov began to take the lead, his strikes keeping Heinisch at bay before a slam to the mat with under 90 seconds left. Heinisch got up quickly but wasn’t able to overtake his foe by the end of the first five minutes. Heinisch upped his work rate in the second to try to even the score, but it was still Akhmedov playing marksman with his accurate blows, and in the third he continued to tag the Coloradan, most notably rocking him with a left hook as Heinisch got too aggressive. “The Hurricane” kept pressing, though, with a takedown of the tiring Russian giving him the chance for a late run. Akhmedov got back to his feet quickly and landed some more hard shots that were answered by Heinisch as the bout came to a close.
Mexico’s Irene Aldana continued her march to the top of the bantamweight division, as she knocked out previously unbeaten Ketlen Vieira in the first round.
Vieira was chasing Aldana from the start, trying to end the fight with every blow, but Aldana’s superior striking experience served her well as she fought off her opponent’s charges. Ultimately, Vieira got some shots in, but the last ones came from the fists of Aldana, who drilled the Brazilian with a left hook followed by two right hands on the ground that ended the bout. The official time of referee Jason Herzog’s stoppage was 4:51 of round one.
With the win, the No. 10-ranked Aldana moves to 12-5. The No. 2-ranked Vieira falls to 10-1.
Rising welterweight star Geoff Neal won his seventh straight fight in impressive style, taking only 90 seconds to knock out Mike Perry.
The feeling out process between the two wasn’t long, and when things heated up, Neal pounced, hurting Perry with a flush left kick to the head before unleashing a series of strikes that dropped the Floridian and brought in referee Chris Tognoni to stop the fight at 1:30 of the opening frame.
With the win, the No. 14-ranked Neal ups his record to 13-2. Perry falls to 13-6.
Bantamweight wrecking machine Petr Yan scored the biggest win of his career, as he knocked out UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber in the third round of the main card opener.
Faber scored first with a knee up the middle, drawing a roar from the crowd, by Yan was unmoved as he kept marching forward, and as the round progressed, he was able to get his shots in, albeit at a measured pace that allowed Faber to be the busier of the two.
Midway through the second, Yan struck, bloodying and hurting Faber with a right-left, and as “The California Kid” went to the mat, it looked like the end was near. Faber shook off the blows and got back to his feet, but Yan sent him back down with an elbow with less than two minutes left, leaving Faber with a nasty cut and swelling around his left eye. Again, Faber weathered the storm and was allowed to continue after a check from the Octagonside physician, but it was Yan in complete control now, and early in round three, “No Mercy” ended the bout with a kick to the head that dropped Faber and brought in referee Keith Peterson to halt matters 43 seconds into the final round.
With the win, the No. 4-ranked Yan moves to 14-1. The No. 12-ranked Faber falls to 35-11.
Number one bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes got back in the win column with a split decision victory over Jose Aldo, but the story of the fight was Aldo’s performance in his debut at 135 pounds after a Hall of Fame-worthy career at featherweight.
After taking some thunder from Moraes (23-6-1) early, Aldo settled into the fight, landing two big right hands late in the opening frame that forced Moraes to seek a takedown just before the horn sounded.
Buoyed by his strong finish to the previous round, Aldo (28-6) kept the pressure on Moraes throughout the second, showing off prime offensive form with his shots to the body and head that had Moraes bloodied and on the defensive.
The third was close, with Moraes staying busy but Aldo potshotting effectively throughout, and while both fighters raised their hands in victory at the end of the bout, it was Moraes getting the nod via scores of 29-28 twice and 28-29.
Double champ Amanda Nunes successfully defended her UFC bantamweight title for the fifth time, extending her current winning streak to 10 with a clear-cut unanimous decision over the Netherlands’ Germaine de Randamie.
Scores were 49-44, 49-46 and 49-45 for Nunes, 19-4, who defeated de Randamie in their first fight in 2013. De Randamie falls to 9-4.
Nunes was measured in her attack early on, but it was still an attack, and after landing some hard shots, she dumped de Randamie to the mat, where she attempted a guillotine choke. De Randamie fought her way out of trouble, but in a return to the mat, she was on the receiving end of several more hard shots. With a little over a minute left, Nunes unloaded with both hands and then locked in an arm triangle. De Randamie survived and made it out of the round, but things weren’t looking good for “The Iron Lady.”
De Randamie came out throwing to begin round two, determined to get back into the fight, and she landed well. Nunes halted the rally with a takedown 90 seconds in, but de Randamie was able to stall and get a standup from referee Keith Peterson. Once standing, she landed a head kick followed by knees on the inside. Nunes got another takedown in response, but she was unable to do much with it by the end of the frame.
Nunes brought the fight back to the mat early in the third, and she kept the challenger grounded until there were 20 seconds left and even then, the respite was brief, as de Randamie got taken down once again just before the horn. And while de Randamie did score with a flush upkick, it was not enough to stop the grappling attack of the champion.
Not surprisingly, Nunes put the fight on the deck in the fourth, as she seemingly found her key to victory, but de Randamie wasn’t done yet, as she nearly locked in an armbar that had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Nunes powered her way free and back into the top position on the mat, and she kept it there, sending the fight into the fifth round.
Nunes kept it grounded in the final five minutes, leaving de Randamie no openings to implement her striking game and turn things around, and it was no surprise when the final scorecards were read, as “The Lioness” continued to reign supreme.
Alexander Volkanovski’s 18th consecutive win was the most important of his life, as he will be bringing a championship belt back to Australia after winning a five-round unanimous decision over Max Holloway to take the UFC featherweight title in the UFC 245 co-main event.
Scores were 48-47 twice and 50-45 for Volkanovski, who ups his record to 21-1. Holloway, who saw a 14-fight featherweight winning streak snapped, falls to 21-5.
The action was measured in the first round as both fighters got acclimated to each other, but the harder shots were landed by Volkanovski, who battered Holloway’s lead leg with kicks.
Holloway got a little busier in the second, but Volkanovski stayed disciplined and kept pecking away at the left leg, leaving it marked up heading into round three.
The champion began round three in the southpaw stance in order to protect his banged up left wheel, and a fight proceeded to break out, as the exchanges finally heated up. Both fighters got their licks in, but it was Volkanovski’s consistency that was winning him the fight.
Volkanovski broke from his steady attack to attempt a takedown in the fourth, and while Holloway stuffed it, it was the kind of move that forced the Hawaiian to have something else to be concerned about. Holloway’s fighting spirit was not dulled, though, and he landed some of his best punches of the fight in the frame.
Holloway had a solid fifth round, but in a close fight, it was no surprise that Volkanovski landed more than enough hard shots to give the judges something to think about when the final horn sounded.
UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman successfully defended his crown for the first time in spectacular fashion, breaking open a razor-close fight with Colby Covington with a fifth-round stoppage that may not have put an end to their rivalry, but that certainly cemented Usman’s place as the top 170-pounder in the world.
The combatants traded kicks to begin the bout and then started throwing hands, each having success. Usman began landing more effective blows, but Covington would try to answer every landed blow with one of his own, and it was hard to imagine the two would keep this pace up for five rounds. With 90 seconds left, both took turns rocking each other, and as the round ended, neither wrestler looked for a takedown.
Usman’s jab was sharp in round two, and as he switched stances he kept Covington off-balance. In the second minute, Covington was finding his range again, though, and he got Usman’s attention with a couple well-placed shots. A borderline low kick by Covington with two minutes left brought a brief halt to the action, but it was right back to work as soon as referee Marc Goddard waved them back into the battle, and each had their moments before the horn sounded.
Covington’s frantic work rate dipped in the third, and Usman took advantage with not only punches upstairs, but kicks and punches to the body that were paying dividends in a big way. A kick to the head in the final minute got Covington back in business, but an eye poke from the challenger halted any momentum he had, as the Octagonside physician checked out Usman’s eye and gave the champion the all clear.
Between round replays showed a right hand from Usman that apparently broke Covington’s job, but “Chaos” answered the call for round four and landed a couple hard shots that produced an equal response from “The Nigerian Nightmare.” Neither man was willing to give an inch, but with the fight possibly on the line, Usman stepped up big time in the fifth round, dropping Covington twice with right hands, and after a barrage of ground strikes, Goddard had seen enough, calling a stop to the fight at 4:10 of the final frame.
With the win, Usman moves to 16-1, extending his winning streak to 15. Covington falls to 15-2.
At the time of the stoppage, the bout was dead even, with Usman ahead 39-37 on one card, Covington up 39-37 on another, and one judge seeing it 38-38 heading into the final round.