Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Al Iaquinta | Rose Namajunas vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk | Renato Moicano vs Calvin Kattar | Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Kyle Bochniak | Joe Lauzon vs Chris Gruetzemacher | Karolina Kowalkiewicz vs Felice Herrig | Evan Dunham vs Olivier Aubin-Mercier | Bec Rawlings vs Ashlee Evans-Smith | Devin Clark vs Mike Rodriguez
UFC 223: Khabib vs Iaquinta main card
Main event: Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Al Iaquinta
Iaquinta stuffs the first of what will be many Khabib takedown attempts in the opening minute. But the local fighter isn’t as successful the second time around. Khabib gets hold of Iaquinta’s leg, gets the takedown and the back. Iaquinta squirms up and brings the feet to the feet but Khabib still has hold. Takedown No. 2 comes at the 3-minute mark. Khabib holds Iaquinta against the cage and rains in left hooks. The punishment continues and at 1:20 Iaquinta finally makes it back to his feet but goes back down instantly as Khabib throws from the top. Iaquinta survives and avoids another takedown in the final moments. Iaquinta lands his best shot 30 seconds into Round 2, an overhand right, and then stuffs a takedown. Khabib is relentless and takes him down seconds later. Khabib takes the back and continues his onslaught of left hooks. Khabib transitions and locks in a rear naked choke but Iaquinta squeezes free with two minutes remaining, only to have Khabib mount him from the back and land more blows. Iaquinta looks exhausted but survives the round. Iaquinta looks for a big left hand to open the third but doesn’t get close. Two minutes in and no takedown attempts yet for Khabib. Instead he’s landing continuous left jabs and bloodies Iaquinta, who comes closer to landing a couple big counter shots. With 1:30 left there’s only been one takedown attempt from Khabib, who throws a leg kick and is hit by an Iaquinta counter hook. The left jab is connecting again and Iaquinta heads to his corner bloodied at the close of Round 3. Iaquinta stuffs a takedown 30 seconds into Round 4 and is throwing with confidence but Khabib’s left jab continues to be a dominant weapon. Another stuffed takedown by Iaquinta, yet he isn’t gaining any ground on the feet as Khabib is landing strikes at will. Iaquinta shoots for a takedown of his own at 1:30 and the crowd cheers. Khabib defends easily. Iaquinta survives the exchanges and Khabib is 0-for-3 on takedowns during Rounds 3 and 4. Iaquinta comes out with energy in Round 5 but still cannot defend Khabib’s jab. A faint takedown by Iaquinta leads to a successful uppercut and then straight left – his best shots of the night. The crowd applauds as Iaquinta is landing but Khabib shakes his head unfazed. At 3-minute mark Khabib gets Iaquinta in control against the cage but IAquinta pushes off. Now Khabib is going all out looking for the finish. Combos and a flying knee before getting his first takedown since Round 2. He takes the back as “KHABIB” chants rain. Iaquinta is scrambling but can’t break free – 1:30 to go. Iaquinta breaks free of another rear naked choke attempt by Khabib – who relentlessly is looking for the finish. Iaquinta survives. Final strikes are 172-43 in favor of Khabib, who earns the unanimous decision victory (50-44, 50-43, 50-43).
The champ and challenger connect with another for the first time at the 4-minute mark with a brief exchange. The next two minutes is mostly action-less with each fighter looking to perfectly pick their spot. Rose connects on her biggest shot with 1:20 to go and Joanna smiles in return. Rose lands again with a big flurry in the final moments but the attack ends with the sound of the bell. Rose walks out to Round 2 with a confident grin. Rose has Joanna on her heels and is the aggressor, landing again at the 3:20 mark. Some damage to Joanna’s right eye but she isn’t backing down and keeps looking for her shot but has yet to land. As the two exit an exchange with 2 minutes to go, Rose lands a big hook. Another left hook from Rose, who is getting the better of the matchup every time the two get close. The two grapple against the cage for the final 40 seconds. A rare touch of gloves between the two open the third. Both fighters are active but neither has yet to land a powerful, clean shot 3 minutes through the third. Joanna’s leg kicks have Rose’s lead leg scratched and bruised, as she keeps Rose at a distance unable to land that left hook. A right hook from Joanna with 15 seconds to go may be her cleanest shot yet as the round ends. Rose enters championship rounds for just the second time in her UFC career. The kicks continue to land for Joanna, who’s owning the distance. Rose finally lands a big left two minutes in – her best shot since Round 2. Joanna controls the distance more with the kicks and it leads to a some open jabs. Rose gets another shot in with a 1 minute to go but is not landing at the pace from the first two rounds. Round 5 could be the deciding factor. Rose is pressing the action now, not allowing Joanna to throw the kicks and lands big with her left hook. A swollen shut right eye for Joanna and now a bloody nose. Rose continues to press and land through the final round’s first minute and a half. Big uppercut for Rose with 3 minutes to go. Joanna can’t get close and Rose lands another combo. Joanna finally responds with a little over a minute to go, a right uppercut. The two exchange at a fairly even pace over the next 30 seconds until Rose takes down Joanna with 20 seconds remaining. She holds Joanna against the cage as the fight comes to an end. Rose Namajunas earns her first title defense by unanimous victory (49-46, 49-46, 49-46).
After an action-less opening minute, Kattar opens things up with a combo. Kattar presses again with 1:30 to go but Moicano continues to keep his distance out of danger. Moicano gets in a left jab at the 40-second mark and gets more aggressive over the last 15 seconds but doesn’t land much. Each fighter picks up the pace to start Round 2, with Kattar still pressing forward and Moicano countering. Moicano working in some legs kicks a minute in, making it hard for Kattar to get in range. Kattar seems frustrated as Moicano continues to land leg kicks whenever Kattar presses. The final two minutes are much of the same. Kattar is pressing even harder to open the third but Moicano is still landing his counters to stay in control. Boos from the crowd come in at the four-minute mark, hoping for some action that lives up to the previous bout. Moicano lands a big upper cut with three minutes to go and Kattar is bleeding from the nose. Moicano lands a big right and moves forward with a flurry looking for a finish but Kattar survives with 1:30 to go. Another big flurry from Moicano moments later, with a big right hook and uppercut combo. Round 3 comes to a close with Moicano holding a massive advantage on the stat sheet: 101-32 in strikes. It earns the Brazilian a unanimous decision win (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).
Bochniak comes out slinging with aggressiveness while Magomedsharipov looks poised and calm. Bochniak lands a couple shots in the first minute and Magomedsharipov returns with hard leg kicks. A spinning leg kick to the body and several flashy dodges by Magomedsharipov has the crowd impressed. With two minutes left Magomedsharipov dazzles the crowd again with more gaudy leg kicks. Bochniak’s shots are missing by wider margins as the round goes on until he lands a clean shot right before the bell. Bochniak comes out with fire again to start Round 2 and seems to have caught the attention of Magomedsharipov, who picks up his pace and earns back-to-back takedowns a minute in. Back on the feet halfway through the second, Magomedsharipov connects with a knee and Bochniak responds by allowing the Russian to throw several free jabs to his face. Bochniak wasn’t stunned but appeared bloodied moments later. A sweeping takedown with a minute to go by Magomedsharipov has the crowd impressed yet again. Bochniak heads to his corner a bloody mess at the end of Round 2 but is screaming at Magomedsharipov to let him know he’s not hurt. The third opens with more back-and-forth exchanges and the crowd on their feet, the two fighters attempting to lock in a Fight of the Night performance. Bochniak exits the exchange with his cuts open again. Magomedsharipov gets a takedown and controls the top with 3 minutes to go and keeps control but doesn’t do any damage. They return to the feet with a minute left and take turns exchanging hooks over the final minute. With seven takedowns and a striking advantage of 103-43, Magomedsharipov takes the fight by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).
Dunham comes right out of the gate with a ferocious pace and smothers Gruetzemacher. After landing a double elbow combo, Dunham gets taken to the mat and Gruetzemacher lands some strikes from the top. Dunham finally gets the fight back to the feet halfway through the round and now it’s Gruetzemacher taking control and pressing forward. Gruetzemacher lands a nasty combo with 45 seconds left followed by an uppercut and elbow to close the round. Gruetzemacher’s momentum continues early in Round 2 and bloodies Dunham. Dunham goes for a takedown but it’s defended perfectly and Gruetzemacher continues his dominance on the feet, combo’ing elbows to the head and knees to the body. With a bloody cut under his right eye, Dunham shows life with 2 minutes to go and lands a couple big strikes. It wasn’t enough to deter Gruetzemacher, who owns the final 1:30 of the round with his knees and elbows from the clinch. Dunham heads to his corner after the bell with both eyes damaged and the fight is stopped before Round 3 begins. Gruetzmacher gets the win by TKO.
Kowalkiewicz steps in striking distance and lands a blow 2 minutes into Round 1. Herrig fires back with a fury while Kowalkiewicz holds her in the clinch, landing some herself. Kowalkiewicz goes back for the clinch later in the round and throws some effective elbows. Kowalkiewicz finds herself on her back with 30 seconds left but flips position, mounts Herrig and lands blows that inevitably take the round. Kowalkiewicz continues to throw often early in Round 2 but Herrig is landing some powerful counters. With two minutes to go in the round Kowalkiewcz combos Herrig with a jab, knee to the head, then elbow – all landing cleanly. The clinch continues to be Kowalkiewicz’s sweet spot through the final two minutes, as she controls the fight and increases her striking margin. With the fight clearly in her favor, Kowalkiewicz keeps her distance and picks her spot for the first 2 minutes of the final round, then it’s right back to the clinch with a swift elbow. Herrig lands a big counter shot with 1 minute left before the two grapple against the cage for the final 40 seconds. Kowalkiewicz earns the split decision victory (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
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Evan Dunham landed a nice left hand in the opening exchange with Olivier Aubin-Mercier, but OAM got the best of the veteran early, landing a pair of devastating knees that led to the TKO win at 53 seconds of the first round. The first shot landed and Dunham looked to be hurt, backing away from OAM who likely realized he had an opening. Then he crumbled Dunham with a second big knee to pick up the first KO/TKO win of his career. OAM improves to 7-1 as a lightweight in the UFC.
Evans-Smith lands a series of right jabs early in the opening round and mixes in a few uppercuts. Rawlings is unfazed and the two exchange on the feet for the rest of the round. Evans-Smith continues to work the jab and lands a couple powerful blows from the clinch. Rawlings’ counter-game remains strong as she lands at a slightly lesser pace. The action steadies in Round 3 with each fighter landing a similar total. Evans-Smith outstrikes Rawlings by a final of 90-77 to earn the unanimous decision victory (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Rodriguez knocks Clark down with a leg kick and lands a couple blows but Clark survives and becomes the aggressor as they exit the exchange. Rodriguez, again, lands a significant strike with a flying knee but Clark rebounds with a takedown. Clark maintains control throughout the second while Rodriguez keeps looking for the knockout blow. Clark works Rodriguez to the mat several times in Round 3 - bringing his total takedowns to five – and earns a victory (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).