Read on for UFC Fight Night main card results...
NELSON vs ROSHOLT
Roy Nelson’s first fight at home in Las Vegas since 2012 was no barnburner, but the longtime heavyweight contender did snap a three-fight losing streak Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, taking a near-shutout unanimous decision over Jared Rosholt in the UFC Fight Night co-main event.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for the number 11-ranked Nelson, now 22-12. The number 12-ranked Rosholt falls to 14-3.
Nelson pressured Rosholt throughout the first round, and while “Big Country” got in some shots, Rosholt may have landed more blows during some wild exchanges.
The second round was another close one, but this time it looked like Nelson was getting closer with his power shots, leaving Rosholt backpedaling and seeking salvation in the form of wild, off-balance haymakers.
Nelson kept pressing in the final frame, and when he held off a Rosholt takedown, it may have been the turning point of the bout, as it only boosted the Las Vegan’s confidence as the seconds ticked away.
More from Fight Night Las Vegas: Full results | Post-fight bonuses | Thompson pounces on Hendricks for victory | Nelson, Saint Preux and Benavidez wins take time | Gall gets job done to set up CM Punk clash | Burkman, Lewis among prelim winners | Backstage interviews: Stephen Thompson, CM Punk, Ovince Saint Preux, Joseph Benavidez, Misha Cirkunov, Diego Rivas | Octagon interviews: Stephen Thompson and Johny Hendricks, Mickey Gall | Watch: Post-fight press conference highlights
SAINT PREUX vs. FEIJAO
Light heavyweight contender Ovince Saint Preux shook off an ankle injury suffered early in his fight against former Strikeforce champion Rafael Feijao and pounded out a three-round unanimous decision victory via scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
After keeping his distance from Saint Preux in the first two minutes, Feijao began firing off kicks to the leg after OSP apparently injured his right ankle while throwing a kick. Despite the injury, Saint Preux continued to move forward, albeit gingerly. Remarkably, Saint Preux rocked and dropped Feijao in the final minute, but the Brazilian was able to hold on and make it to the horn.
Saint Preux was moving a little better as round two opened, and Feijao returned to being tentative with his offensive attack. With two minutes left, Feijao stumbled and the two fighters went back to the mat. While there, OSP fired off several unanswered strikes, capping off another round on the scorecards.
Dominating on the ground in the third, Saint Preux completed the shutout with more hard strikes, nearly stopping Feijao in the closing stages of the bout.
With the win, Knoxville’s Saint Preux, ranked sixth in the world at 205 pounds, ups his record to 19-7; the number 13-ranked Feijao falls to 12-7 with 1 NC.
BENAVIDEZ vs. MAKOVSKY
Number one flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez kept his spot in the 125-pound rankings intact, defeating number eight-ranked Zach Makovsky via unanimous decision to make it five wins in a row.
Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice.
Makovsky was able to implement his wrestling game in the opening round to the tune of a couple takedowns, but Benavidez didn’t stay grounded for long, allowing him to control the first stanza with a varied striking attack.
There were more grappling exchanges and scrambles in the second frame, a development that played right into Makovsky’s hands. And while the Philadelphia product wasn’t able to put Benavidez in serious trouble for any length of time, it was a positive five minutes for “Fun Size,” who began to close the gap on the scorecards.
Benavidez let his striking do the talking once more in the third, and as he kept Makovsky from getting the takedown, it allowed him to push the pace on his tiring foe and secure the victory on the scorecards.
With the win, Benavidez moves to 24-4; Makovsky falls to 19-7.
CIRKUNOV vs. NICHOLSON
Highly touted light heavyweight prospect Misha Cirkunov made it two for two in the Octagon, submitting UFC newcomer Alex Nicholson in the second round.
Nicholson (6-2) was busy from the start, throwing both conventional and spinning strikes, but Cirkunov was relentless with his pressure, and whenever he was able to get within striking or grappling range, he made the Floridian pay. With less than a minute left, Cirknov got his first takedown and he drilled Nicholson with a hard elbow just before the horn.
Cirkunov (11-2) got the takedown early in round two, immediately taking Nicholson’s back. The end came just moments later, as the Toronto product caught Nicholson in a rear naked choke. And when Cirkunov cranked it, it was game over for “The Spartan,” who tapped out at 1:28 of the second round.
PYLE vs. SPENCER
The fighting life apparently begins at 40 for Mike Pyle, who delivered an impressive third-round TKO win over Sean Spencer in an exciting welterweight bout that kicked off the main card.
Spencer (12-5) got in Pyle’s face as the bout commenced, and he kept moving forward throughout, eating some flush shots from “Quicksand” but walking right through them as he looked to land the big shot. That shot came with 2:21 left, as he dropped Pyle with a right hand, but the veteran recovered and even finished the round strong as he and Spencer traded blows.
With a little over three minutes remaining in round two, Pyle (27-11-1) got even, landing a hard forearm to the head that staggered Spencer and sent him wobbling into the fence. Eventually, Spencer recovered and went back on the attack, but Pyle was there every step of the way, adding a late takedown for emphasis.
After splitting the first two rounds, the combatants battled it out evenly on the feet to start the third, so just before the midway point, Pyle took the bout to the mat and went fishing for a submission that Spencer eluded. As the Texan rose, Pyle got off some hard shots and Spencer responded with some of his own. But with clock ticking down, a spinning back elbow from Pyle rocked Spencer. Pyle went on the attack and fired away with elbows and knees, prompting referee Yves Lavigne to stop the fight at 4:25 of the final frame.