The highly unofficial UFC.com awards season continues with the top submissions of the first-half of 2020 and how we called them on fight night.
5 (Tie) – Jim Miller-Roosevelt Roberts
Lightweight veteran Jim Miller showed that he still has some tricks up his sleeve against the young guns of the division, as he submitted Roosevelt Roberts in the first round of a 160-pound catchweight bout.
An early exchange saw Roberts slip to the deck, which allowed Miller to get into his wheelhouse on the mat. After a spell on his back, Roberts scrambled and appeared to be seconds away from getting to his feet, but Miller locked in an armbar, and that was it, as Roberts tapped out at 2:25 of the opening frame.
With the win, Miller - the man tied with Donald Cerrone with the most fights in UFC history with 35 – moves to 32-14 with 1 NC. Roberts falls to 10-2.
5 (Tie) – Kay Hansen-Jinh Yu Frey
The youngest female fighter on the UFC roster fought like an old pro in her UFC debut, as 20-year-old Kay Hansen submitted former Invicta FC champion Jinh Yu Frey in a strawweight bout.
The first was a methodically paced round, as the two looked for openings to score. Frey won that battle, as she landed several crisp left hands while avoiding Hansen’s attempts to grapple.
In the second minute of round two, Hansen got the fight where she wanted it as she took Frey down and kept her there for all but a brief spell at the end of the round, and just like that, it was all even.
With the fight up for grabs, Frey got off to a good start in the third, but Hansen forced a takedown, and in the process she was able to transition into an armbar that forced Frey to tap out at 2:26 of round three.
With the win, Fullerton’s Hansen ups her record to 7-3. Frey falls to 9-5.
4 – Thiago Moises-Michael Johnson
Thiago Moises made a major statement in his lightweight bout against Michael Johnson, bouncing back from a rough first round to submit “The Menace” in the second frame.
Johnson dominated the first five minutes, tossing aside Moises’ two takedown attempts while peppering his foe with a busy striking attack that saw him landing with punches and kicks upstairs and downstairs. It was a different story in the second, though, as Moises went all-in for a takedown. And when he didn’t get it initially, he kept pushing and pulled guard, locking up Johnson’s leg and producing a tap out due to a heel hook 25 seconds into round two.
With the win, Sao Paulo’s Moises improves to 13-4. Boca Raton’s Johnson falls to 20-16.
3 – Charles Oliveira-Kevin Lee
Now tied with Donald Cerrone for the most finishes in UFC history with 16, lightweight contender Charles Oliveira continued to impress in the main event at Ginasio Nilson Nelson on Saturday, extending his current winning streak to seven with a third-round submission of Kevin Lee.
Oliveira went airborne with several of his attacks in the early going, but once Lee started getting into his rhythm, the Brazilian took the fight to the mat and began working for a submission. Lee defended well and tried to scramble his way into a position of control, and he ultimately got there with a minute left. Yet while Lee was now on top, Oliveira kept seeking the finish. Lee did land some hard strikes in the closing 30 seconds, though, capping an interesting five minutes.
Lee’s striking was sharp as the second round began, but Oliveira kept marching forward with his own strikes, landing an uppercut that slowed the Michigan native down. With a little over three minutes left, Lee switched things up with a takedown, nearly getting caught in an armbar in the process. Lee got loose while Oliveira rose to his feet, but another Lee takedown followed. Able to slow things down from the top position, Lee stayed busy enough to avoid a restart, and he remained in control until the horn.
Using his striking to set up a takedown, Lee shot in to start the third round, but Oliveira locked in a guillotine choke. Lee tapped out 28 seconds into the frame, and while he later protested, the replays told the tale.
With the win, the No. 13-ranked Oliveira moves to 29-8 with 1 NC. The No. 8-ranked Lee, who missed weight for the bout at 158.5 pounds, falls to 18-6.
2 – Mackenzie Dern-Hannah Cifers
Mackenzie Dern got a spirited effort out of Hannah Cifers in the main card opener, but once Dern got her hands on her opponent on the canvas, it was no surprise that a first-round submission victory followed for the strawweight up and comer.
Cifers went on the attack immediately, bulling Dern into the fence where she scored with knees and punches. Dern got free and showed off some fast hands before the fight hit the mat in the third minute, and once there, it was Dern’s world. Moments later, Dern had a kneebar and Cifers tapped. The official time of the finish was 2:36 of round one.
With the win, Dern moves to 8-1. Cifers falls to 10-5.
1 – Aljamain Sterling-Cory Sandhagen
Aljamain Sterling left no doubt in making his case for a shot at the bantamweight title, as he finished Cory Sandhagen in spectacular fashion, ending the bout via submission in the first round.
Sterling tore after Sandhagen as the fight began and quickly got him to the mat and took his back. The New Yorker’s first rear naked choke attempt didn’t hit the mark, but the second did, with the end coming at 1:28 of round one.
With the win, the No. 2-ranked Sterling moves to 19-3. The No. 4-ranked Sandhagen falls to 12-2.
Others receiving votes – Renato Moicano-Damir Hadzovic, Herbert Burns-Evan Dunham, Jimmy Crute-Misha Cirkunov, Diego Ferreira-Anthony Pettis, Maurice Greene-Gian Villante, Marvin Vettori-Karl Roberson, Brian Kelleher-Ode’ Osbourne
Voters – Jon Gagnon, Thomas Gerbasi, E. Spencer Kyte, Steve Latrell, Zac Pacleb, Gavin Porter