Emmett vs Stephens | Andrade vs Torres | Saint Preux vs Latifi | Perry vs Griffin | Barao vs Kelleher | McMann vs Reneau | Moroz vs Hill | Saunders vs Jouban | Alvey vs Prachnio | Yahya vs Doane| Shelton vs Perez | Morales vs Bermudez
Fight Night Orlando FOX main card
Main event: Josh Emmett vs Jeremy Stephens
Some well-timed shots by Stephens landed as he pivoted from the center of the Octagon in the first. After pausing the fight for a goroin shot from Emmett, Stephens slipped on a leg kick allowing some shots from Emmett to find their target. Some excellent counter-punches from Emmett dropped Stephens to the mat where he received some heavy ground and pound late in the first. A rejuvenated Stephens began swinging huge in the second, a series of combinations dropping Emmett to the canvas, where Stephens swarmed in with a flurry of punches, having to be literally thown off of Emmett by the referee on his way to the KO victory at 1:35 in the second. Stephens easrns his second headlining victory within six weeks.
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A first round that stayed mostly on the feet followed a repeating pattern: Torres would land a strike to the head, followed by a forward-marching combination flurry from Andrade as both fighters landed plenty of heavy hands. Andrade scored the first takedown and got off a few hammer fists as the round expired. Andrade got another takedown in the second but quickly found herself in a triangle two times, escaping both. Andrade led in strikes and takedowns by a wide margin, but Torres threatened continually with the triangle, slowining Andrade's roll. The third round started with an embrace as both fighters displayed their characteristic sportsmanship, before Andrade found herself again havbing to escape another hold by Torres. Torres had been successful in minimalizing her time on the mat until a takedown by Andrade midway through the third where she was able to get top position and get some successful ground and pound on Torres. The sheer number of extra strikes (158-53) secures the unanimous decision win for No. 2 contender Andrade (29-27, 29-28, 29-28).
THEY SAID IT:
Jessica Andrade : “Everybody saw it was a tough fight and I knew it was going to be like that since the beginning. I was in a battle with a lion. I had to use my ground skills to get this win, but I was already expecting that. I can’t wait to fight for the title again and show how much I improved. I came to show I’m part of one of the greatest female MMA teams and I’m very thankful to my head coach, Paraná. This victory is for him!”
As Saint-Preux marched forward at the edge of range, it was Latifi who was able to get underneath and fire off multiple combinations, eventually knocking OSP to the mat on two occasions. The second time, upon getting to his feet, Saint Preux found himself in a guillotine choke from which he would not escape. Latifi scores the submission at 3:48 in the first round.
THEY SAID IT:
Max Griffin: “He was a bull, I was a matador. He was just trying to charge me, he’s so telegraphed with his bombs. I’m longer and precise. I knew I could move around and pick him apart. He looked slow. He really loads up. It seems on tape that he’s beating guys up but in real life he’s really slow. If you like fighting, you respect a good fighter and the fans were all respectful and I put on a good show. At the end of the day I think I scooped up a few fans and put them in my pocket.”
Two fighters with a penchant for first round finishes kicked off the FOX main card. Griffin drew first blood, literally, opening a cut on Perry's head at the top of the first round. Griffin continued to do damage, taking advantage of hometoen hero Perry's low hands and winning the strike-count battle. Griffin got a takedown to end the first, but traded control with Perry and barely eluded a choke as the round ended. Griffin's reach advantage continued to serve him well to start the second, delivering several heavy combinations that Perry had no counter for. Uncharacteristally patient to his own detriment, a bloodied Perry continued to eat Griffin's well-timed throws, falling far behind in the strike count and barely escaping a TKO when Griffin dropped him to the mat. Swinging for a finish in the third, Perry was able to land some damaging overhands to Griffin's head, but knowing he was ahead in the scorecards, Griffin was successful in evading Perry's attack. Perry continues his career pattern of only losing by decision and only winning by finish, as Griffin scores the unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-27).
Fight Night Orlando FOX prelims
Barao won the stand and trade battle in the first round, however an overhand right by Kelleher that dropped him to the mat seemed to make him gun shy and shift the momentum to Kelleher as Barao held him against the fence. In the second it was Kelleher's turn to hold his opponent to the fence, although taking turns with Barao in clinch control. While the strike count stayed with Barao, the momentum seemed to stay with Kelleher, landing a brutal succession of right hands and combinations. The late surge is enough to edge Barao in the strikes and score the unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
THEY SAID IT:
Brian Kelleher: “I feel on top of the world. I looked up to him even before I was in the UFC seeing him as world champ and just dreaming of days like this and here I am living it. It’s kinda crazy but I knew I belonged here the whole time. I have a strong self-belief and I think I showed it tonight. I really think John Lineker is a good fit. I’ve been calling him out since my first win and I know it was unreasonable because I wasn’t ranked but I think this win puts me up in the top ten and puts me in line to fight a guy like that.”
In a positively pivotal bantamweight showdown, McMann controlled the first round from the mat after scoring the takedown, but Reneau managed to elude a crucific and a guillotine in between eating a barrage of head punches. Determined to keep it standing for the second, Renau landed several strikes and a knee that bloodied the face of McMann. McMann got the takedown to avoid more damage, but it was Renau who did the damage from the bottom position, securing the triangle choke on the way to a submission win (Round 2, 3:40).
THEY SAID IT:
Marion Reneau : “I knew the first round was going to be a grinder. I knew she was going to come out and apply that pressure and we knew that. We knew we just had to get out of that first round because she would break. My boxing coach told me to use that right hand to let it go, it’s going to be there because she’s going to stay straight down the middle, so that’s what we did in the second round. I threw the right hand and knew I knocked her off and the jabs were rocking her off balance. The right hand was definitely going to do it so we just stayed patient. Once she got into my guard I knew it was all over. I knew we could pull of a triangle. Once my foot locked behind my knee I knew it was over and it was just a matter of time. She was in the Olympics in 2004 and that was a long time ago that’s like remember when you ran track in 2000, that was 18 years ago. It was a long time ago not to take anything away from her but it’s an amazing win over an amazing opponent. I’ve beaten three title contenders and I’ve had five straight wins and I’m ready for that title shot. I’m not getting any younger and the longer they wait the worse it’s going to get.”
Maryna Moroz vs Angela Hill
In the battle of two high-energy strawweights, it was Moroz who was the aggressor early, but it was Hill getting the better of the exchanges with her counterstrikes, coming out of the round with ten more significant strikes than her opponent. When the strikes continued to go Hill's way in the second, Moroz scored the first takedown of the fight, though Hill got back to her feet after scoring a few punches from top position. Hill seemed to figure out Moroz's timing as the fight wore on, and while she continued to win the strikeingwar, she still had to eat plenty from Moroz's long-armed attack. The fighters continued to work from the opening bell to the very end, and it was Hill's superior counterstriking that won the day and the unanimous decision (30-27).br />
Saunders' considerable size and reach advantage were easily countered by Jouban's speed throughout the first, where Jouban landed his combinations and leg kicks at a rate of almost five to one. Saunders' first fight at home since 2012. A similar scene followed in the second, with Jouban adding plenty of uppercuts and elbows to his repertoire. After gamely eating Jouban's work, Saunders succumbed to a brutal left hook. Following the KO, Saunders stayed on the mat for an extended period, but eventually rose to his feet and congratulated Jouban on the knockout. Jouban spoils Saunders first fight in Florida since 2012.
THEY SAID IT:
Alan Jouban: “It feels great. I was trying not to allow myself to emerge in this moment this feeling the whole camp because I just wanted to have straight focus. I wanted to visualize that feeling of a knockout that feeling of victory it’s so rewarding but I wanted to stay focused so I wouldn’t let me guard down. I wanted it to be the perfect night as I said on the mic, tonight is my anniversary, and I wanted to celebrate afterwards. It’s the first time my son has seen me fight in person. I just wanted this feeling to take it all in. I felt like an animal out there. I got in the Octagon and it took a couple of moments to get my bearings but I saw my son sitting in section 102 row 20 and I saw him waving at me and when he did that I had no fear. I just wanted to get the fight started and felt fearless around him. It was amazing. I don’t like to fight friends but I have so much respect for him but I feel like Cowboy Cerrone is a good fit for my next fight.”
Fight Night Orlando FIGHT PASS prelims
Alvey caught and early spinning kick from Marcin Prachnio, and turned it into a takedown. Prachnio escaped, but got caught in a guillotine for an extended hold that gassed him and gave Alvey the edge for the rest of the round. Escaping yet another hold from Alvey, Prachnio caught Alvey's overhand right and became the first knockout of the night. Alvey calls out Gian VIllante from the Octagon.
THEY SAID IT:
Sam Alvey : “This is the first full fight camp I’ve had since Nate Marquardt. I’ve been injured, I’ve torn this and that. But this is the first full one and I’ve had my coaches with me, I know what doesn’t hurt me anymore so I was able to perform. It felt great, I felt good at 185 pounds after the weight cut, but 205 pounds is way easier. I’m happy staying at either weight. They want me at heavyweight and I’m fine fighting anyone in that division but Francis Ngannou.”
Yaha shot the takedown immediately to open the fight, and kept Doane on the defensive for almost the entirety of the round. Doane somehow managed to stave off a prologned full nelson attempt. The ref stood the fight up when a knee to Doane's spine connected. Yaha was not docked a point, but did lose the position. The fight stayed on the mat for the second, with Doane having no answer for the strikes and grappling other than merely surviving. Late in the second, Doane did manage to get to his feet, where Yaha promptly mounted his back and stayed there, talking in his ear until they dropped as time expired in the round. Doance scored his own takedown to start the third, but quickly lost position to Yaha, and his last submission attempt was too much for Doane to handle. He taps at 2:32 in the third. With the win, Rani Yahya has tied Urijah Faber for most submissions in UFC/WEC bantamweight history with seven.
THEY SAID IT:
Rani Yahya: “The loss of my mom made my focus even better tonight. My mother was the one who motivated me and she was the person that would support me. In this situation, she would never not want me to fight. She always came out to her seats to watch me fight. I’m here for her tonight.”
With punches that could be heard from the cheap seats, Perez's power shots helped him control Shelton throughout the first, both from the feet and from the gurard on the mat. The fight stayed on the mat for the second, with Perez again controllung and Shelton visibly gassing. Sensing he might be behind on the scorecards, Shelton came out swinging in the third, landing strong overhands shots on Perez until Perez was able to take the fight back to the mat where he kept control. Shelton's renewed sense of urgency came a little too late as Perez scores the unanimous decision (30-27).
THEY SAID IT:
Alex Perez: “I work with one of the best nutrition companies, Perfecting Athletes, and I was 140 pounds when I left which is 2 pounds heavier than I expected. But then we got stuck in LA from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. and I couldn’t work out and could only drink water and try and eat healthy. There are no excuses as a professional but I tried to get the last half a pound off and couldn’t do it – apologies to Eric and his team because it’s my mistake. Always good to win and see that all of the hard work is paying off. There are a few things I need to fix but hopefully I can get back in there soon.”
Bermudez looked sharp early on in his UFC debut, busying Morales with some excellent grappling for most of the round and keeping him mostly on defense. Morales was determined to stand and trade in the second, escaping Bermudez's first two takedown attempts, but succumbing on the third, where Bermudez went back to work on a tired Morales, scoring the submission by guillotine choke at 2:33 in the second.
THEY SAID IT:
Manny Bermudez: “I came off a fight in January and had three days off in between camps. My game plan is to do what I always do, come in hard and fast. He showed the experience factor and kept away and used his timing well and was able to make it tough the first round but the second round he messed up and I capitalized with a guillotine. I have cat-like reflexes and even when he caught me early on I was on the ground knowing I had to get back to work. You can’t just rest during those times. Hats off to him, he’s a great opponent. Next, I want Benito Lopez, he just beat Albert in a three-round decision but I just beat Albert with a finish. We will see what happens with that.”