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A first UFC win remains elusive for former Invicta FC champion Lauren Murphy, who lost another razor-thin decision in the Octagon, this time to former world title challenger Liz Carmouche in UFC Fight Night action from Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia Saturday.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Carmouche, now 9-5; Murphy, who lost her debut to Sara McMann last August, falls to 8-2.
The first half of the opening round was fought in the clinch against the fence, Murphy controlling matters but unable to get Carmouche down, resulting in a restart from referee Keith Peterson midway through. Murphy kept the pressure on while standing, and though Carmouche landed some sharp counters, the Alaska native ended the round with a takedown of “Girlrilla.”
Carmouche was the much busier fighter in the second round, even when being pinned to the fence, and she mixed her strikes up well when the two were separated. Murphy wound up on top when the fight hit the mat late, which certainly didn’t hurt her on the judges’ scorecards.
A slam by Carmouche got the third round off to a good start, but Murphy used a series of elbows to find daylight and get back to her feet and back into the clinch. Carmouche did hip toss her way out of trouble briefly, but Murphy remained locked on to her opponent, refusing to give Carmouche space to breathe. Carmouche did end the round with a takedown, possibly locking up the win with the maneuver.
YAKOVLEV vs. MAYNARD
Longtime lightweight contender Gray Maynard suffered his fourth straight defeat, dropping a three-round unanimous decision to Russia’s Alexander Yakovlev.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Yakovlev, a former welterweight making his lightweight debut.
Surprisingly, it was Yakovlev taking the former All-American wrestler to the mat early, but Maynard got back to his feet easily, and while he wasn’t spectacular throughout the rest of the round, the Las Vegan put in enough solid work against the less active Yakovlev.
Maynard (12-6-1, 1 NC) began the second round with a takedown, and while he didn’t do much with it, once the two rose, it was back to a workmanlike pace for the former world title challenger. Yakovlev (22-6-1) changed the complexion of the fight with less than two minutes left though, as he dropped Maynard with a left to the head. Maynard ended up on the ground for the rest of the round, but he was able to make it to the end of the frame.
With the fight possibly up for grabs, Maynard got a quick takedown to start round three, Yakovlev responding with a hard left hand once the two rose. The pace slowed from there, with Yakovlev getting a point-scoring takedown in the final minute that kept Maynard from making a final surge.
JOHNSON vs. ABDURAKHIMOV
In a clash of debuting heavyweights, Tim Johnson got off to a slow start but finished strong, halting Shamil Abdurakhimov in the first round.
It looked like a decent first round for Abdurakhimov, but things began to go downhill for the Dagestan native after four warnings from referee Mike King for grabbing the fence drew him a point deduction. Then, with the round winding down, Johnson got a takedown and immediately moved into the mount position. From there, the Minnesota native rained down a series of unanswered strikes, with King stepping in to halt the fight at the 4:57 mark.
Johnson improves to 9-1 with the win; Abdurakhimov falls to 15-3.
STALLINGS vs. JONES
Local favorite Ron Stallings made the Fairfax fans happy in the middleweight opener, outpointing Justin Jones via unanimous decision.
Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice.
The first round was fought mainly at close quarters against the fence, with Jones doing decent work there and cutting his foe over the left eye. But he likely lost the round due to a Stallings body kick in the opening minute that put the Californian in deep trouble for a spell.
Jones bulled Stallings into the fence to start round two, but after the action stalled, referee Todd McGovern restarted the fight, allowing Stallings to get off his strikes from long range before the two locked up again. With under two minutes left, Jones scored a takedown, and he kept his foe grounded for the rest of the frame.
With Jones fatigued and doing nothing with his clinches against the fence, prompting two referee restarts, Stallings was able to get off some solid combinations when separated from his opponent, capping off the Maryland native’s first UFC win.
Stallings improves to 13-7 with 1 NC; Jones falls to 3-2.
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