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Fortaleza featherweight Godofredo Pepey made it two furious finishes in a row Saturday at the Ginásio Nilson Nelson in Brasilia, Brazil, as he followed up his knockout of Noad Lahat in March with a first-round submission of Dashon Johnson in UFC Fight Night prelim action.
There was plenty of posturing and not enough punching in the first three and a half minutes of the bout before Johnson got the fight to the mat. But as soon as it hit the deck, all hell broke loose, with Pepey responding to the slam with a triangle armbar attempt. Johnson tried to escape, but Pepey just tightened everything up, forcing the American to tap out to the armbar at 4:29 of the opening frame.
With the win, Pepey ups his record to 12-3; Johnson falls to 9-2.
SULLIVAN vs. ARAUJO
New Jersey welterweight George Sullivan showed that his striking prowess on the mat is just as effective as it is on the feet, as he knocked out Brasilia’s Igor Araujo with ground strikes in the second round.
Araujo had the fight where he wanted it for the majority of the first round, but he certainly didn’t expect to be on the receiving end of ground strikes during that time, as the scrappy Sullivan logged an impressive opening frame.
There was more of the same in the second, but this time Sullivan hit the button with a series of right hands, the last one knocking Araujo out and bringing a stop to the fight at 2:31 of the round. The referee was Fernando Yamasaki.
With the win, Sullivan improves to 16-3 with 1 NC; Araujo falls to 25-7 with 1 NC.
TRINALDO vs. SILVA
Lightweight veteran Francisco Trinaldo made a late charge in his bout with Leandro Silva, finishing strong and getting the nod on the judges’ scorecards, taking a close three-round unanimous decision.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Trinaldo, now 15-4; Silva falls to 16-2-1.
Silva scored first, picking up a takedown in the opening minute. Trinaldo avoided any serious trouble, making it back to his feet, where the two remained locked up against the fence. Midway through the round, referee Mario Yamasaki restarted the stalled action, but neither fighter was able to use the fresh start to make any significant noise.
Trinaldo upped his stand-up aggression to start the second, but that only allowed Silva to get the fight to the mat, and the returning vet soon took his opponent’s back and tried to lock in a rear naked choke. With two minutes left, Silva gave up on the choke but kept the position, and even though “Massaranduba” briefly escaped, Silva got him right back to the canvas and kept him there for the rest of the round.
Trinaldo made an admirable effort with his striking and two submission attempts in the third round. Silva was never in any danger though, and he was able to make it to the final horn without much difficulty. That strong run by the hometown favorite was the deciding factor though, much to the delight of the crowd.
SPENCER vs. THIAGO
The slide of Brazilian welterweight veteran Paulo Thiago continued against Sean Spencer, with the Texas product scoring a shutout three-round unanimous decision win over Thiago, who has now lost three straight and five of his last six.
Scores were 30-27 for Spencer, now 12-3; Thiago falls to 15-8.
A right hand seconds in dropped Thiago, quickly taking the crowd out of the fight. They were back in moments later as Thiago got back to his feet, but a subsequent takedown attempt wound up with Spencer on top. The Texan stayed there for a while, but by the final minute he was standing again, pecking away with his faster and more accurate strikes.
The right of Spencer jarred Thiago again in the opening minute of round two, using the momentum of the blow to put the Brazilian on the mat. Thiago rose, only briefly though, as Spencer resumed his ground attack, cutting the Brasilia native with hard elbows. With a little over a minute left, Thiago reversed position and got on top, igniting the crowd, but he was unable to score with anything of note.
Thiago clearly had nothing left in the tank in round three, and Spencer kept the stand-up pressure on, sealing the victory to pick up his third Octagon victory.
YAHYA vs. BEDFORD
There was no controversy the second time around between bantamweights Rani Yahya and Johnny Bedford, as Brasilia’s Yahya finished their rematch in round two.
In their first bout in April, a no contest was ruled after the two clashed heads in the first round, rendering Yahya unable to continue.
Yahya came out firing with his right hand before looking for a takedown, yet he ate an illegal kick to the head in the process. After a brief break, Yahya declined a touch of gloves and then got his takedown, quickly sinking in a guillotine choke. Bedford faced some rough moments, eventually escaping midway through the opening frame. Bedford landed some ground strikes from the top position and got back to his feet, where the two slugged it out briefly before hitting the mat a second time, the Texan staying largely in control.
Setting up another takedown with his striking, Yahya opened the second round strong, moving smoothly into the top position, and the hometown favorite was even smoother with the kimura he locked in, forcing a tap out at 2:04 of the round.
With the win, Yahya ups his record to 20-8 with 1 NC; Bedford falls to 19-13 with 1 NC.