LAS VEGAS– Dominick Cruz battled simply as soon as considering that 2016 prior to Saturday. He has simply 6 battles in the previous years. However at UFC 259, among the very best bantamweight fighters ever showed as soon as again that he can hang with the leading professional athletes in the department.

With the sort of technical and tactical efficiency that fans have actually concerned anticipate, Cruz outpointed Casey Kenney by means of split choice (28-29, 29-28, 30-27) on the prelims at the UFC Pinnacle. It was Cruz’s very first triumph considering that he beat Urijah Faber at UFC 299 on June 4, 2016.

” A little closer than I desired,” Cruz stated in his postfight interview. “However I did the job.”

Kenney had success throughout the battle kicking Cruz’s legs. However Cruz, understood for his ingenious footwork, never ever decreased. He stuck to his unconventional design and struck Kenney with huge shots in every round, consisting of a shovel left hook in the very first and a huge blitzing mix in the 2nd.

In the 3rd round, Cruz took Kenney down two times and landed more strong shots from the left and right. Kenney landed difficult numerous times, too, however not with the consistency of Cruz– and typically they did not can be found in mixes.

Cruz (23-3) had actually not battled considering that a loss to Henry Cejudo in a bantamweight title battle at UFC 249 last Might. The San Diego local’s last bout prior to that was a loss to Cody Garbrandt in a bantamweight title battle method back at UFC 207 on Dec. 30, 2016. Cruz, 35, initially won the WEC bantamweight title in 2010 and went into the UFC as champ. He gave up the belt due to numerous knee surgical treatments and foot injuries, which have actually represented his lack of exercise. Cruz likewise is a respected UFC on-air expert.

Kenney (16-3-1) was on a three-fight winning streak being available in. The Arizona local has a 5-2 UFC record and stays one to enjoy in the bantamweight department. Kenney, 29, is a previous nationwide champ judoka who has actually established well-rounded striking at the Mixed Martial Arts Laboratory.

— Marc Raimondi

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Battle in development:

Guy’s bantamweight title bout: Petr Yan (c) (15-1, 7-0 UFC, -120) vs. Aljamain Sterling (19-3, 11-3 UFC, +100)


Lightweight: Islam Makhachev (19-1, 8-1 UFC) beats Drew Dober (23-10 1 NC, 9-6 1 NC UFC) by third-round submission

If Khabib Nurmagomedov is undoubtedly retired from Mixed Martial Arts, as he has actually stated he is, the light-weight department may have its beneficiary obvious– as Nurmagomedov has actually stated Makhachev is.

Makhachev, who matured with the UFC champ in Dagestan and trains with him there and at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California, displayed much of the grappling design of Nurmagomedov in smothering and after that ending up Dober, who merely might not keep the battle standing enough time in any of the 3 rounds to put his crisp striking to work.

Makhachev, 29, made his seventh win in a row with effectiveness, getting takedowns less than a minute into the preliminary, 40 seconds into the 2nd and around 20 seconds into Round 3, and never ever permitting Dober to return to his feet. The battle ended at 1:37 of Round 3 when Makhachev took side control and secured on an arm-triangle choke to generate the tapout.

Makhachev is no carbon copy of Nurmagomedov– his very first takedown came at the center of the Octagon, not along the cage, where the champ likes to run. And Makhachev did not check out his standup, acknowledging that would be Dober’s finest possibility to win. He stayed with essentials, and his essentials were unstoppable.

Dober, who is 32 and from Denver, saw a three-fight winning streak concerned an end. He had actually won all 3 of those bouts by knockout, however on this night he never ever got a possibility to let his hands go.

— Jeff Wagenheim

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Light heavyweight: Aleksandar Rakić (14-2, 6-1 UFC) beats Thiago Santos (21-9, 13-8 UFC) by consentaneous choice

2 light heavyweight competitors continued to head in opposite instructions, as Rakic dominated Santos in a three-round consentaneous choice.

Rakic, of Austria, got his 6th win in 7 looks, while Santos was up to 0-3 considering that July 2019. Tagged as a possible barnburner entering, the 205-pound contest played out more like a chess match, as neither competitor genuinely let his hands go. All 3 judges scored it for Rakic by means of ratings of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.

According to UFC Statistics, Santos in fact outlanded Rakic in overall strikes 57 to 49, however Rakic’s offense was more regularly expanded through the bout, and he appeared to land the more definitive shots. Both fighters leaned greatly on the leg kick, and each took turns trying to find the periodic takedown. In the end, Rakic’s control of range and leg kicks most likely won him the battle.

Santos, of Rio de Janeiro, has actually had a hard time in back-to-back looks considering that returning from a knee restoration in 2019. He suffered numerous injuries throughout a five-round title battle versus previous champ Jon Jones, in a battle some observers felt he won. He returned versus Glover Teixeira in November, and lost by means of third-round submission.

Rakic continues to develop his case for a possible title shot. His only loss in the UFC, a split choice to Volkan Oezdemir in December 2019, came under debate as lots of observers felt Rakic did enough to win the bout.

— Brett Okamoto

Guy’s bantamweight: Kyler Phillips (9-1, 3-0 UFC) beats Tune Yadong (16-5-1, 5-1-1 UFC) by consentaneous choice

One streak goes on, and the other has actually ended.

Phillips paired fluid motion with determined aggressiveness to overcome Tune in the very first 2 rounds, then hung on in Round 3 to catch his 4th straight triumph and end Tune’s unbeaten perform at 9 in a row.

With a minute and a half left in the battle, Phillips scored a takedown. It did not cause a surface, however it protected the triumph, as Tune had actually been peppering him with punches in the last round and remained in his face, tossing huge shots focused on taking out the battle with a knockout. Once on the canvas, despite the fact that Phillips lost position and wound up on bottom, and would go on to lose the round, he was safe to make it to the last horn.

All 3 judges scored the bout 29-28.

Phillips, a 25-year-old from Phoenix, had actually constructed a lead through the very first 2 rounds, landing the larger shots and mainly staying out of variety of Tune’s power. He needed to ward off a Tune rise in Round 3, however did so to relocate to 3-0 in the UFC.

Tune, who is 23 and from China, trains at Group Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. He had actually not lost a battle considering that 2016.

Jeff Wagenheim

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Guy’s flyweight: Askar Askarov (13-0-1, 3-0-1 UFC) beats Joseph Benavidez (28-8, 15-6 UFC) by consentaneous choice

Askarov, a flyweight title competitor out of Russia, included a huge name to his resume by beating Benavidez throughout 3 one-sided rounds.

According to UFC Statistics, Askarov transformed 5 of 6 takedown efforts and regulated Benavidez on the ground for big pieces of the very first and 2nd rounds. Benavidez attempted to react with blitzing mixes on the feet, however Askarov’s range management and grappling control basically reduced the effects of the four-time title opposition. Judges scored it for Askarov 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26.

Sporting a bad cut and swelling under his left eye, Benavidez entered into the 3rd round trying to find a surface however never ever came close. He landed a difficult Superman punch midway through the last round, however Askarov used it well and succeeded playing it safe and keeping Benavidez on the exterior.

Benavidez, who battles out of Las Vegas, stays connected with previous champ Demetrious Johnson for the most wins in UFC flyweight history with 13. He has actually been stuck on that number considering that June 2019. He has actually now dropped his previous 3, consisting of back-to-back losses to present champ Deiveson Figueiredo in 2020. Askarov transfers to 3-0-1 in the UFC.

— Brett Okamoto

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Guy’s flyweight: Kai Kara-France (22-9, 5-2 UFC) beats Rogério Bontorin (16-3, 2-2 UFC) by first-round TKO



Kai Kara-France puts Rogerio Bontorin down with a great mix for a knockout triumph, and Bontorin reveals his annoyance as he chucks his mouth piece throughout the ring at Kara-France.

Bontorin was on the method to a 10-8 round. And after that– easily– his head was crashing to the canvas.

Kara-France left after a long stretch of ground supremacy by Bontorin at the end of the preliminary and released a hellish mix. Kara-France landed a right-hand man that rocked Bontorin and a best uppercut that triggered Bontorin to deal with plant. The surface came at 4:55 of the preliminary by means of TKO.

” Mark Hunt walkaway– vintage,” Kara-France stated in his postfight interview, referencing his fellow Oceania native Hunt’s tendency for walk-off knockouts.

The last series was a bit odd. Bontorin fell face-first to the canvas and Kara-France began commemorating. Then, when it looked like referee Herb Dean had actually not in fact aborted the bout, Kara-France ran back to Bontorin in an effort to blast him with more blows. Dean headed him off at the pass and after that formally called the bout over by TKO. Bontorin, who appeared to believe the battle was still going, fired his mouth piece at Kara-France in aggravation prior to cooler heads dominated.

Bontorin injured Kara-France with a left hand early in the very first and after that took him down. From there, he took Kara-France’s back and controlled, almost cinching in rear-naked chokes on numerous celebrations. It was entirely one-sided up until Kara-France got to his feet in the closing seconds and got rid of Bontorin.

” I put the flyweights turning up on notification,” Kara-France stated. “Anybody because leading 5 can get it.”

Kara-France, 27, was available in ranked No. 10 on the planet at flyweight by ESPN. The New Zealand local was coming off a second-round submission loss to Brandon Royval at UFC 253 in September. Bontorin, a 28-year-old Brazil local, has actually dropped 2 directly following a four-fight winning streak.

— Marc Raimondi

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Guy’s flyweight: Tim Elliott (18-11-1, 6-9 UFC) beats Jordan Espinosa (15-9, 2-4 UFC) by consentaneous choice

Elliott got a takedown early in the preliminary and controlled Espinosa from leading position while providing damage for the remainder of the very first 5 minutes. Elliott got a takedown early in the 2nd round, and continued to control and do more damage, not permitting Espinosa off the canvas up until the horn. The 3rd round? More of the exact same.

It was 15 minutes of overall control, and one judge provided Elliott a number of 10-8 rounds, making it a 30-25 scorecard. The other 2 judges scored the bout 30-27.

The 3 takedowns offer Elliott 47 for his UFC profession, putting him alone in 2nd location amongst flyweights, behind previous champ Demetrious Johnson (58 ).

Elliott, who is 34 and from Lee’s Top, Missouri, won his 2nd in a row after holding up against a three-fight losing streak versus ranked fighters.

Espinosa, a 31-year-old from Albuquerque, New Mexico, almost landed head starts both the very first and 2nd rounds, however Elliott ducked under both and hurried forward for takedowns. While on his back in Round 3, Espinosa cut Elliott with an elbow. However that was all he handled in losing for the 4th time in his previous 5 bouts.

These 2 were set up to fulfill in January, however the bout was delayed after Espinosa evaluated favorable for COVID-19.


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Light heavyweight: Kennedy Nzechukwu (8-1, 2-1 UFC) beats Carlos Ulberg (5-1, 0-1 UFC) by second-round KO

Nzechukwu, a light heavyweight possibility out of Dallas, made the most significant win of his profession with a second-round upset of Ulberg.

Nzechukwu left to an awful start, as he was noticeably wobbled by a left head start the opening minute. Ulberg, who battles out of New Zealand and is a close colleague of Israel Adesanya, pushed in trying to find the surface, and did so wisely. He ripped Nzechukwu to the body with punches and knees from the Thai clinch, however Nzechukwu handled to endure and separate.

As the round advanced, Nzechukwu began to even things behind straight left hands to Ulberg’s head. Ulberg looked a bit tired in between rounds, however still came out pumping the jab and low leg kicks to slow the forward movement of Nzechukwu. Nzechukwu would not be rejected, nevertheless, as he strolled through Ulberg’s offense and knocked him out with a brief right-hand man along the fence 3:19 into the round.

Nzechukwu, 28, is now 2-1 in the UFC. His only loss came versus the presently ranked Paul Craig. Ulberg drops his UFC launching.

— Okamoto

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Welterweight: Sean Brady (14-0, 4-0 UFC) beats Jake Matthews (17-5, 10-5 UFC) by third-round submission



Sean Brady gets Jake Matthews up versus the cage and makes him tap to strengthen a submission win in the 3rd round.

In a fight of welterweight potential customers, Brady appeared in a huge method.

Brady steamrolled Matthews, ending up with a submission (arm triangle) at 3:28 of the 3rd round. The unbeaten Brady controlled Matthews in every aspect of Mixed Martial Arts, outwrestling him and outgrappling him– and even wobbling him with strikes in the 3rd. It was the sort of triumph that revealed Brady as a genuine hazard in a great UFC welterweight department. Brady winning by submission was +400 per Caesars by William Hill.

” I believe I simply should have a top-15 man,” Brady stated in his postfight interview. “Let’s see who they offer me after this.”

Matthews’ finest minute was available in the preliminary. He dropped Brady with a punch after capturing a Brady kick. However Brady fasted to get on top in a ground scramble. And he invested the remainder of the round there. Brady returned to that clear benefit in the 2nd round, shooting a double-leg takedown on Matthews and getting him down. Brady controlled from there, getting the back and slipping into install while landing punches.

In the 3rd round, Brady rocked Matthews with a left hook. Matthews wound up being the one choosing a takedown, which Brady packed and after that won position in a scramble yet once again. From there, Brady entered dominant position and covered Matthews up into an arm-triangle choke from arm triangle.

Brady, 28, is 4-0 in the UFC with 2 straight submission surfaces in a row. The Philadelphia local is the previous Cage Fury Battling Champion welterweight champ. Brady’s four-fight UFC winning streak is the third-best active winning streak in the department, behind champ Kamaru Usman (13) and Leon Edwards (8 ). Matthews, still simply 26 years of ages out Australia, had a three-fight winning streak snapped.


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Strawweight: Amanda Lemos (9-1-1, 3-1 UFC) beats Livinha Souza (14-3, 3-2 UFC) by first-round TKO

Lemos completed this battle in between Brazilian ladies with a jab.

The straight punch dropped Souza, and referee Jason Herzog leapt in practically right away, waving off the bout as a TKO at 3:39 of Round 1. It was a fast action by the ref, practically as fast as Lemos’ effective fists.

The 33-year-old Lemos, in winning her 3rd straight battle, was in command from the start, taking ownership of the center of the Octagon and stalking Souza, who was overmatched in the standup battling. The bout went to the canvas midway through the round after Lemos landed an overhand right-hand man that dropped her countrywoman, however that in fact provided Souza a twinkle of a possibility. She clinched Lemos’ ankle and chose a submission– Souza has 8 of them amongst her 14 profession wins– however Lemos left, provided some ground-and-pound, then got the battle back to standing.

That was the start of completion for Souza, who is 29. She had no responses, got visited the jab, which sealed her 2nd loss in her last 3 battles.

— Wagenheim

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Lightweight: Uroš Medić (7-0, 1-0 UFC) beats Aalon Cruz (8-4, 0-2 UFC) by first-round TKO



Making his UFC launching, Uros Medic squanders no time at all as he drops Aalon Cruz early in their bout at UFC 259.

Medic has actually been stating he’s UFC-ready for a while. He showed it huge time in his advertising launching.

Medic ravaged Cruz with strikes on the feet, en path to a first-round TKO surface. Medic injured Cruz practically right away, and referee Mark Smith provided Cruz every chance to continue– maybe a lot of– prior to lastly calling the bout at the 1:40 mark.

Medic, who battles out of Alaska however was born in Serbia, terribly hurt Cruz with a left hook to the temple and followed that with a flying knee that Cruz consumed flush. Cruz essentially dropped to the ground, concealed and kept Medic’s leg. Medic struck him with a long series of unanswered punches, and dropped him once again with a left hand after Cruz in some way handled to stand. Completion was never ever in concern.

A previous candidate on Dana White’s Competitor Series, Medic has actually completed all of his expert bouts, consisting of 6 in the preliminary. Cruz, who likewise was on DWCS and is from Tampa, drops to 0-2 in the UFC with 2 first-round losses by knockout.

— Okamoto

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Guy’s bantamweight: Trevin Jones (13-6 1 NC, 1-0 1 NC UFC) beats Mario Bautista (8-2, 2-1 UFC) by second-round TKO



Trevin Jones shocks Mario Bautista in the 2nd round of their bout at UFC 259 in Las Vegas.

Jones lastly has his very first UFC triumph– formally.

He in fact won his advertising launching last August, knocking out Timur Valiev, however the outcome was reversed to a no-contest after Jones evaluated favorable for cannabis. He had actually taken the battle on 2 days notification.

Now the 30-year-old local of New Orleans, who matured in and still trains in Guam, has another knockout. This one came 40 seconds into the 2nd round, when he captured Bautista being available in with a lead right uppercut, dropping him. Jones is unbeaten in his previous 4 battles.

Bautista, a 27-year-old combating out of the Mixed Martial Arts Laboratory in Glendale, Arizona, saw a two-fight winning streak concerned an end.

— Wagenheim

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Still to come:

Light heavyweight title bout: Jan Blachowicz (c) (27-8, 10-5 UFC, +200) vs. Israel Adesanya (20-0, 9-0 UFC, -240)
Women’s featherweight title bout: Amanda Nunes (c) (20-4, 13-1 UFC, -1100) vs. Megan Anderson (11-4, 3-2 UFC, +700)
( c) = protecting champ


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