Rodriguez vs Caceres | Bermudez vs Jason | Leites vs Camozzi | Ponzinibbio vs Cummings | Smith vs Gigliotti | Moroz vs Taylor | McGee vs Steele | Pesta vs Tybura | Teymur vs Novelli | Ishihara vs Gutierrez | Swanson vs Kawajiri | Sherman vs Ledet
UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs Caceres main card
Main event Yair Rodriguez defeats Alex Caceres
It lived up to the hype. Yair Rodriguez and Alex Caceres engaged in a ninja-like aerial assault and wowed fans in Salt Lake City and around the U.S. watching on FS1. “El Pantera” Rodriguez did enough after 25 minutes to earn the split decision win (46-49, 48-47, 48-47). The one judge’s scorecard who had the fight 49-46 for Caceres was a curious one judging by the reactions on social media. Rodriguez landed an amazing 148 significant strikes compared to 93 for Caceres. Rodriguez improved to a perfect 5-0 in the UFC, while Caceres has a two-fight win streak snapped.
More from Salt Lake City: Results | Rodriguez outduels Caceres in 5-round clash | Bermudez, Leites among big winners in SLC | McGee triumphs in prelims littered with TKO's | Swanson, Ledet punch way to victories | Octagon interviews: Dennis Bermudez, Cub Swanson | Backstage interviews: Cub Swanson | FIGHT PASS Subscribers: Watch the first two fights of the night on demand
Dennis Bermudez got back to his wrestling roots against Rony Jason, landing five of nine takedowns in the fight and doubling up in significant strikes, 51-23, to cruise to a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-26, 30-27). Bermudez now starts a new win streak at two after having a seven-fight win streak snapped recently. After the fight Bermudez called out Frankie Edgar for a fight in New York in November.
They said it:
Dennis Bermudez: “I feel good. Frankie Edgar, November 14th, Madison Square Garden. Let’s go! I think I’m a little better than I showed. Also, Rony Jason was super tough. I thought he would have fatigued a little more, but I could tell he wanted it. He brought it and I returned it back. Everything we’ve seen before. He was a little quicker on the counters after we were jabbing and moving. I’m going to go back and maybe take a week and a half off and start preparing for November 12th at Madison Square Garden.”
Rony Jason: “My performance wasn’t as I expected. I got elbowed in the face and he really surprised me with those takedowns. The blood was rushing in my eyes. I hope the UFC keeps putting me against a lot of top-10 guys and I will look to put on great fights against great fighters.”
It was evident early in the fight that Thales Leites was determined to have the bout take place on the mat as much as possible. The Brazilian landed three takedowns and suffocated Camozzi with a body lock from back mount before finally getting a rear naked choke submission finish at 2:58 of the third round. Leites snaps a two-fight losing streak with the win.
They said it:
Thales Leites: “I feel very happy. I needed this victory after two losses against two tough guys. I was very confident. I’ve been training a lot and believing in myself. I did my homework and did what I had to do. His defenses to my submissions surprised me. He was holding my arm every single time, but I was patient and waited for the right moment to choke him. I don’t want anyone in particular. I just want to get home and relax with my daughter and get back to training until the UFC gives me my next challenge.”
Chris Camozzi: “I was feeling confident heading into the fight. I didn’t think he would be able to take me down. I thought I was better everywhere and he out-hugged me. He did what I thought he would do, but I thought I would be able to neutralize it. At the end of the day, I came to fight and he came to hug me. I just want to get better. Step up in competition like they gave me and prove myself time after time.”
Santiago Ponzinibbio racked up the significant strikes against Zak Cummings, landing 82 total at a 55 percent clip to do significant damage to Cummings’ face and earn a unanimous decision win (29-28, 29-28, 30-27). Ponzinibbio extends his win streak to three and has now won five of his last six overall.
They said it:
Santiago Ponzinibbio: “I am very happy. It has been hard work for a long time. I’m training hard and I am a guy with too much focus and dedication. I work hard every day and I am very happy. Zak is a tough guy and very good and strong. Congratulations to Zak Cummings for a good fight. I am very happy with this performance. I know one day that I will be champion of the world. It’s not tomorrow, but I work hard every day with no injuries. I want someone in the top of the rankings who is a tough guy.”
Zak Cummings: “I felt great coming in. I knew he was a very good striker and a good boxer. His takedown defense tricked me a little bit. I thought I would be able to take him down and hold him down. That wasn’t the case. I landed some good shots and he landed some good ones. It was a close fight, but you let it go to the judges and never know what’s going to happen. As soon as I heal up I’ll get back in the gym and keep getting better. Got to learn better and come back to prove that I’m better in the next fight and continue to climb the ranks.”
Trevor Smith out-landed Joe Gigliotti 145-27 and his three takedowns allowed him to control 12:46 of the 15 minutes of action. Smith earned a unanimous decision win (30-26, 30-26, 30-26).
They said it:
Trevor Smith: “It was surreal. Joe’s a tough kid. He was undefeated and I could see the fire in his eyes as he tried to stare me down in there. I knew he was going to come in a real game opponent and throw some heavy punches. He stuck around a lot longer than I thought he would. Nothing really surprised me. Some of his punches landed early and affected me more than I thought. He snuck one over that kind of caught me in the back of the head early that shook me up a little bit so I just controlled the pace after that. The altitude got to me a little bit. I’m just coming off a year layoff with that broken hand and Joe Silva called me and offered me this fight and I had to take it. It was a short camp, but I tried to rally and give the best I could. There’s no one in particular that I want next. I just want to stay as active as I can. I’ve had two long breaks back-to-back and it’s just too hard to try and get back in there and feel that mojo. I need to get back in there and keep my conditioning up and stay sharp. I’m looking to be as active as I can.”
Maryna Moroz landed one less significant strikes and only 11 percent of her total strikes thrown, but she still did more than Danielle Taylor to earn the split decision win (30-27, 29-28, 28-29).
They said it:
Maryna Moroz: “I was very hyped before the fight and was ready to win. I was ready to go and my goal was, no matter what, to get the ‘W’. I did have a reach advantage and a height advantage, but at the same time I knew I’m going to fight a dangerous fighter who is explosive. There could be a knockout and it was a short notice fight so I didn’t want to take chances. My coaches told me not to rush or go in to an exchange and I did the plan. I really would like to fight for the belt. My goal is to reach that belt for the strawweight division. Of course, I need to talk to my coaches and they are going to tell me who will help my career. Joanna is on my list to get that belt, but if she is not going to be available right away I wouldn’t mind fighting Carla Esparza since she was the first strawweight champion in the UFC.”
Danielle Taylor: “It felt amazing. I was really excited and really nervous, but it felt great. I felt like I was a little hesitant, but I was tagging her up too. She got me a few times, but I was getting her as well. In the end, maybe I should have taken her down a little more. I thought the decision really was going to be in my favor, especially with that last takedown. Should have pulled that trigger a little sooner and took her down, but we live and we learn. I think with the nerves I was a little too hesitant. I keep saying that word, but it’s so true. I’m going to get ready for the next fight. Keep training and working hard and have a full camp. Took this fight on 10 days notice, but I wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Court McGee delivered in front of his home city, taking a unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) against Dominque Steele. “Non-Stop Action-Packed” Dom T. Steele landed the majority of the significant strikes – although McGee rocked Steele in the first and almost finished a neck crank on the ground. McGee landed four takedowns and controlled the fight to earn the win.
They said it:
Court McGee: “It’s hard to explain how I felt. I think I did the best that I could tonight. It felt absolutely incredible. I’ve got a decade in this fight game and it’s every MMA fighters dream to make it to the big show and when the big show comes to Utah and to get the victory is just incredible. His heart surprised me. I felt like I had him right off the bat and then he just came right back. Felt like I had him and then he came right back again. He had an incredible heart and drive and determination to keep on going which was very impressive. Onward and upward. Nobody specific in mind, but keep climbing the ladder.”
Dominique Steele: “I felt fine and then got hit with something. The crowd didn’t play a factor. It was a loss and I’d like to win.”
Marcin Tybura landed a titanic head kick against Viktor Pesta, knocking him out cold at 0:53 of the second round to finish the fight. Tybura said after the fight that he had been working on the specific punch head kick combo that landed and boy did he execute it to perfection.
They said it:
Marcin Tybura: “We were preparing this combination for tonight. The kick was a part of the plan. Thanks to my coaches and team. They prepared me for that. He (Pesta) was my friend before and we will still be friends. I am so excited right now after my victory. I want to celebrate and then we will figure out what’s next.”
David Teymur turned Jason Novelli’s dome into a bobblehead with a series of on-target punches to finish him in the second round by TKO at 1:25. Teymur only needed to land 6 of his significant strikes thrown to drop Novelli and referee Herb dean stepped in to save the UFC debutant.
They said it:
David Teymur: “I’m so happy right now. My background is striking and I know I have the best striking. I want to take it to a new level. My next opponent, I hope you watch me right now. Sage Northcutt, I’m telling you, you’re my next fight.”
Jason Novelli: “I felt good coming in. I had a half camp which is more than most guys get. I’ve said yes to probably four short notice fights and just throwing my name out there. It gives me a chance to get in there, but it didn’t work out this time around. Still felt good out there. Hopefully I get another chance to prove myself soon. My nose feels fine. Haven’t looked at it yet and don’t know if I want to look judging by the way everyone is looking at me. I want to really get back in there. I’ve put a lot into these last few years just going all or nothing. This time I came up on the short end, but I’m happy with the way the journey has been going. Not everybody, especially guys my age, get a chance to do something they love this late in life. I’m going to take every opportunity I can get.”
Teruto Ishihara landed a monstrous overhand left right on the chin of a charging Horacio Gutierrez win by TKO at 2:32 of the first round. Ishihara felt a few punches from “The Punisher” in the opening minutes but was able to time a counter overhand perfectly as Gutierrez anxiously plotted forward with wild punches.
They said it:
Teruto Ishihara: “I’m a professional so my performance is a must. It’s automatic. I didn’t think I would finish, but God was on my side. I want to fight someone on my level.”
Horacio Gutierrez: “I was feeling okay. I think I was getting my distance and landing my punches and I got caught with a left hand and that’s it. I feel okay. I just want to go train tomorrow. I just want to win. I’ve never lost before in my life, I just want to win.”
UFC Fight Night: Rodriguez vs Caceres FIGHT PASS prelims
Cub Swanson took a few big shots in the first round but overcame and bounced back with a terrific performance in the second and third to capture a unanimous decision win against Tatsuya Kawajiri (30-27, 30-27, 29-28). Swanson was taken down three times in the fight but was able to get back to his feet multiple times and out-strike Kawajiri 82-67 and 57-31 in significant strikes.
They said it:
Cub Swanson: “My cardio got to me, but I wanted to dig deep. I trained at altitude, but I definitely felt it in there and I know he did too so that kept me going. My defense was on point and I wasn’t getting taken down at all this camp. He’s not very explosive, but he slowly works you down. I started to catch the hang of it and stuff them, but he got me down a few times. When he got me down he made it count. I was surprised the choke didn’t finish him. I wanted to go all the way around his neck, but he had a pretty big head. I want to go on vacation and then get right back to work. I would like to get one more fight in before the end of the year. I want to keep this ride going. You know, I took this as a challenge. They put me on Fight Pass and I was pretty proud how the crowd responded. It was pretty cool.”
Tatsuya Kawajiri: “I didn’t know what was going on and my consciousness went out for a little bit. I don’t want to make excuses because I lost the fight. If UFC can give me a chance, which I want, I will fight in bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight. It doesn’t matter. I will put up a great and exciting fight.”
Justin Ledet was all smiles during his UFC debut against fellow newcomer Chase Sherman by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). Ledet dominated with his jab and earned his first UFC victory in what was a potential Fight of the Night candidate bout.
They said it:
Justin Ledet: “Felt good being in there. I’ve been in Utah for a while now and was ready to get in there, I was anxious. I’ve got a boxing background and when you box you work everything off your jab. That just comes natural to me. I want another fight so I can make more money.”