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Marquez gets finish in debut; challenges Woodley to beard contest



MARQUEZ vs STEWART

After earning a UFC contract on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Julian Marquez got a tough scrap out of Darren Stewart before earning his first UFC victory by submitting the Brit in the second round.

There was no feeling out process with these middleweights, as both Marquez (7-1) and Stewart (7-3 with 1 NC) got after it immediately. Marquez held the edge with his striking, especially with elbows and knees at close range, but Stewart’s takedowns kept him in the fight until he could land some hard right hands on the feet. Marquez nearly pulled off a surprise late in the round when he tried to lock up Stewart’s arm, but the Londoner stayed cool until the horn ended the round.

Marquez went right back on the attack to start round two, with a guillotine choke attempt and a follow-up knee kicking things off well for him. But Stewart wasn’t going anywhere, and the two proceeded to trade haymakers, much to the delight of the crowd. As the round approached the midway point, Stewart looked for a takedown, but this time, Marquez’ guillotine attempt was on target, and it ended the fight, with referee Jerin Valel stopping it at the 2:42 mark.

Stewart was a late replacement for the injured Vitor Miranda.
BLACHOWICZ vs CANNONIER

Poland’s Jan Blachowicz closed out 2017 with back-to-back wins, as he decisioned fellow light heavyweight contender Jared Cannonier in UFC Fight Night prelim action at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg on Saturday.

Scores were 29-28 across the board for the No. 15-ranked Blachowicz, now 21-7. The No. 14-ranked Cannonier falls to 10-3.

The first round was largely tactical, with Blachowicz using a stiff jab to keep Cannonier at bay. The Texas native did land several hard kicks to the leg, but he wasn’t busy enough to take the frame.

Cannonier did up his work rate in the second, leading Blachowicz to seek – and get – a takedown, but “Tha Killa Gorilla” got up immediately. The Warsaw product did get the fight back to the mat with under two minutes left as he landed a right-left that knocked Cannonier down. Cannonier was unhurt, but Blachowicz had put more points in the bank leading into the third and final round.

Cannonier’s right hand scored well in the third frame, but just when it appeared that he was about to make a late fight run, a pair of takedowns added to Blachowicz’ lead.

LAPRISE vs BOFANDO

Former TUF Nations winner Chad Laprise continued to shine in his return to the welterweight division, as he rose from a first-round knockdown to stop Galore Bofando later in the opening stanza.

Keeping things interesting with his unorthodox movement, Bofando struck suddenly with a right hand that dropped Laprise hard to the mat. The Canadian shook off the follow-up ground assault and got back to his feet, seemingly unhurt, and moments later, he scored a takedown and went to work. Getting into the mount position, Laprise opened up with both hands, and after a series of unanswered blows, referee Yves Lavigne halted the bout. The official time was 4:10 of round one.

Chatham’s Laprise moves to 14-2 with the win. London’s Bofando falls to 5-3.
TALEB vs ROBERTS

Nordine Taleb scored an impressive victory over Danny Roberts, knocking out the Liverpool welterweight in the first round.

After both sent out range-finding kicks as the bout commenced, Taleb quickly found his range and stunned Roberts with a right kick to the head that sent the Brit back to the fence. A final right hand followed, and that was the end of the fight, with referee Jerin Valel stepping in at 59 seconds of round one.

Montreal’s Taleb moves to 14-4 with the win. Roberts falls to 14-3.

MAKDESSI vs TRUJILLO

Lightweight veteran John Makdessi returned from a year-long layoff and picked up a unanimous decision victory, outpointing Abel Trujillo over three rounds.

All three judges saw it 30-27 for Montreal’s Makdessi, now 15-6. Trujillo falls to 15-8 with 1 NC.

Trujillo had a rough first round, not just with legal techniques like the right hand by Makdessi that produced a flash knockdown, but with a pair of fouls by the Canadian that nearly prompted a point deduction from referee Dan Miragliotta.

In the second, Trujillo had a better time as he cut Makdessi with a jab and scored a takedown, but “The Bull” did have the Floridian limping thanks to some hard kicks to the leg, and in the third, Makdessi kept Trujillo at bay for the final five minutes, wrapping up his first win since a decision victory over Mehdi Baghdad in July 2016.

DI CHIRICO vs BAMGBOSE

Alessio Di Chirico took a less than thrilling bout with fellow middleweight Oluwale Bamgbose and ended it in spectacular fashion, knocking the New Yorker out in the second round.

There was the threat of sustained action in the opening round but not the realization of it beyond a few brief spurts where Bamgbose marked up DiChirico’s eye with a lunging punch and the Italian returned fire with a knee to the head.

The second round was playing out like the first, with Bamgbose moving around the Octagon and Di Chirico following, but just past the two-minute mark, Di Chrico put an end to matters with another flush knee, this one putting Bamgbose down face first and prompting a stoppage by referee Herb Dean at 2:14 of round two.

With the win, Rome’s Di Chirico moves to 11-2; Bamgbose falls to 6-4.

MEIN vs SILVA

Alberta veteran Jordan Mein snapped a three-fight losing streak in the welterweight opener, scoring a shutout three-round unanimous decision over Erick Silva.

Living up to his intention of being more aggressive than he has recently, Mein went on the attack from the start and kept the offense coming throughout the opening round, keeping Silva on the defensive for the first five minutes.

With his takedown game coming up empty, Silva got more active with his strikes early in round two, but it was Mein who then put the fight on the mat, where he landed with several hard elbows that built his lead on the scorecards.

The third was more of the same on the mat, with Mein dominating en route to a clear-cut 30-26 and 30-27 (twice) decision that lifted his pro record to 30-12. Vila Velha’s Silva falls to 19-9 with 1 NC.



Saturday, January 20
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