UFC FIGHT NIGHT 88 LIVE RESULTS: Penick’s round by round report for “Almeida vs. Garbandt” event

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

UFC FIGHT NIGHT 88
MAY 29, 2016
LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Thomas Almeida and Cody Garbrandt get their first main event fights in the UFC tonight, headlining this UFC Fight Night event from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. We’ll have quick results on tonight’s preliminary card, along with commentary, leading into a full round by round report for the main card. The event begins on UFC Fight Pass at 6PM ET tonight, so follow along with us right here throughout the night!

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=====UFC Fight Pass Prelims=====

-Adam Milstead def. Chris de la Rocha via TKO at 4:01 of the second

Note: Might not be the most loved stoppage, as de la Rocha remained standing and was trying to throw strikes back, but he took a ton of undefended strikes up against the cage before the ref stepped in. This was a sloppy heavyweight brawl between a couple of guys willing to keep throwing despite a lack of cardio. Milstead did a ton of damage to de la Rocha, who simply refused to go down despite shot after shot after shot to his chin. Entertaining enough for what it was.

-Bryan Caraway def. Aljamain Sterling via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Note: Big upset from Caraway. Sterling had a very strong first round, and arguably should have gotten a 10-8 in his favor, but he wound up getting taken down and giving up too much ground to Caraway throughout the second and third rounds, leading to his first career loss. Disappointing performance from Sterling in the second and third, but Caraway’s got a knack for making even good fighters looking lesser than they normally look.

=====Fox Sports 1 Prelims=====

-Erik Koch def. Shane Campbell via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:02 of the second round

Note: Koch fought a fantastic fight after more than two years out of the cage. He had a strong first round, out-striking Campbell with some great kicks and combinations, and he even scored a late takedown. He got rocked early in the second, but immediately scored a takedown, and worked his transition game beautifully as Campbell tried to escape several positions. The last one Campbell attempted saw Koch snatch a rear naked choke, and he locked it on tight to force the tap. Great finish and great return from Koch.

-Jake Collier def. Alberto Uda via TKO at 1:06 of the second round

Note: Such wonderful, glorious violence. An absolutely brutal fight from both fighters, Collier battled through a badly broken nose to come on strong in the second round. He landed a spinning back kick to the body that started things, then got in a huge knee to the face in the clinch, and another spinning back kick to the body as Uda was covering up, sending Uda to the ground. A couple follow up strikes brought it to an end. Easy front runner for Fight of the Night.

-Abel Trujillo vs. Jordan Rinaldi via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Note: Easy fight to score. Trujillo tried his best to stop the fight in the first, then Rinaldi came on with a strong second round of ground control and a couple near submissions, and then Trujillo found a second win to beat Rinaldi up further in the third. Solidly competitive bout.

-Sara McMann def. Jessica Eye via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Note: The first round was one of the worst of the year with almost zero activity, but McMann did more with her grappling in the second and third. Eye essentially did nothing in the bout, allowing McMann to set the pace on everything that happened. McMann also had the least enthused call for a title fight after the win. Not off that largely forgettable fight.

=====Fox Sports 1 Main Card=====

-It’s Jon Anik and Brian Stann on the call tonight, and after a brief intro for the rest of the event we go to our first main card fight.

FIGHT ONE: JOSH BURKMAN VS. PAUL FELDER (LIGHTWEIGHT)

ROUND ONE: Burkman started out with several leg kicks, working on the outside as Felder tried to walk him down to the cage. Felder got out a nice kick to the body as Burkman kept attacking his legs. Burkman landed a high kick that was partially blocked. Felder connected on a strike. Burkman landed with a knee to the face. He got in some more hard kicks to the body. Burkman landed a nice right hand as Felder feigned a clinch. Felder landed a couple hard kicks to the lead leg. Burkman landed hard with a kick to the body and they traded punches. Felder went high with a kick that was blocked. Burkman went back to the lead leg. Felder missed on a jump kick. Burkman landed a nice right hand as he stepped in with a combination. He landed several more strikes off a front kick to the lead leg. Felder jumped in with a combination. Burkman fired out several that connected while Felder missed on a bunch of counter strikes. Burkman then timed a takedown well and got Felder down, landing in side control. Felder worked his way up the cage, but Burkman held onto him and dragged him back down. Felder again popped up, but Burkman stayed heavy on him with a body lock, landing a knee as the round wound to a close.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Burkman. He connected on much more, he was simply more active, and he added the takedown late for good measure.

ROUND TWO: Felder tried to close the distance early on, but Burkman continued to keep him at bay with kicks. Felder grazed Burkman with a few counter-strikes. Burkman missed and Felder missed on the counter. Felder landed to the body with a kick. He nearly tripped Burkman up with a leg kick. He connected to the body while ducking under a strike. They traded strikes in the center. Felder got in a knee to the body but ate a left hand from Burkman. Felder landed a good counter left as Burkman stepped in. Felder landed another right hand. Felder got in another body kick, but ate a spinning back fist in return. Felder locked up a clinch and drove Burkman to the cage. He got turned around. Felder landed some strikes with his back on the cage and finally got separation. Felder landed several big strikes in a couple of combinations. Burkman clinched up again and turned Felder around on the cage. Felder wound up sneaking behind Burkman, taking his back standing through the horn.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Felder? Neither did a ton this frame, but Felder edged it with a bit more effective damage.

ROUND THREE: Felder landed a hard knee to the body and his corner yelled out that it hurt Burkman. Burkman tried to fight him off and managed to slow him down as he came in. Felder landed a hard outside leg kick. They traded punches. Felder slipped on a spinning back kick and are a right hand on his way up. Felder landed another nice knee to the body. He landed a huge counter right, then ate a strike in return. Felder landed some solid inside leg kicks as he tried to increase his attack. Felder got in two hard kicks to the lead leg. Burkman got in a hard two-punch combo. Burkman got in a clinch late and scored a brief takedown, but Felder immediately hopped up, turned him around, and landed a hard elbow. Burkman turned him around again and they continued to battle for position. Burkman got cut open badly from that elbow and he was bleeding everywhere. They were separated with 20 seconds left. Felder shot in for a single leg, but Burkman countered and scored a takedown just before the horn.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Felder. Despite that final takedown, Felder did more offensively that round and should take the frame and probably the fight.

WINNER: Felder via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

STAR RATING: (**-) It had a few moments to elevate it, but there was some hesitance from both fighters early and often that dragged it down. Good win for Felder regardless, though he’ll need to be better to compete in the future.

FIGHT TWO: JORGE MASVIDAL VS. LORENZ LARKIN (WELTERWEIGHT)

ROUND ONE: Both look very similar size-wise, which is crazy given Masvidal’s fought at lightweight and Larkin as high as 205 lbs. Larkin tried to move forward early, and they traded some kicks. Larkin landed a hard inside leg kick after missing a left hook. Masvidal landed a solid body punch. Larkin with another punch-kick combo. Both were feeling out the range with their early attacks. Larkin tossed out a few jabs that didn’t quite make it in. He landed a brutal body kick. He followed with a nice punch over the top. Masvidal fired back, but Larkin landed a few more strikes in return. Masvidal got in a nice leg kick. Larkin landed a nice overhand right over a jab from Masvidal. Larkin landed another hard kick to the lead leg. He got in a jab and avoided a counter. Masvidal tried to back him up but nearly got hit with an uppercut. He missed a spinning kick, but connected on a nice right hand. Masvidal tried to keep him on the cage, but Larkin clinched up to avoid a rush. Larkin landed a couple knees. Masvidal landed a quick elbow. Larkin landed some short strikes as things stalled out. Masvidal broke with a strike. Larkin landed a hard leg kick and pressed back. He got in a right hand and avoided a short combo. Larkin barely missed a couple of strikes. Masvidal landed a kick and then took a poke to the eye as Larkin was off balance. Masvidal stomped the mat and dropped down to the ground. Larkin stuck his hand straight into Masvidal’s face while off balance. Points need to be taken on those. That’s terrible. The ref gives Masvidal time after the doctor “checks” him, even though that’s not what’s in the rules. Still, it should be. Masvidal wants to fight through, and they continue with no deduction. They traded leg kicks, and a few short jabs as the round comes to an end.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Larkin. Out-struck Masvidal overall, though Masvidal had some solid offense himself. Would be an even round had the point been taken as it should have been.

ROUND TWO: Larkin came straight ahead with kicks. He landed a big jump kick to Masvidal’s face and Masvidal tried to laugh it off. That was a hell of a kick. They traded more kicks to the legs. Larkin connected to the body. He checked a kick. Larkin landed a nice step-in uppercut and avoided a counter. He connected on a right hand. They both missed big overhand rights. Larkin landed a step-in elbow. Masvidal got in a right hand. Larkin landed a big right hand and Masvidal countered again. Larkin landed a big body kick. They clinched and Larkin barely missed a big elbow before clinching up again. He got in a couple knees. Masvidal got in an elbow and a knee and turned Larkin around. Larkin got in a hard knee of his own. Masvidal broke with an elbow. He landed a couple grazing kicks. He landed a punch. Larkin pressed him back but missed. He landed a body punch. Larkin landed a nice jab. Larkin landed a hard outside leg kick. They traded strikes. Masvidal missed but clinched up again. Larkin nicely turned him around. They jockeyed for position and each landed. Larkin landed a hard straight right and Masvidal smiled again. They traded again. Masvidal got in a body kick. Larkin with another hard right hand and an uppercut. Masvidal’s got a ridiculous chin. They clinched up and Masvidal landed a few strikes. Larkin then shot in and scored a takedown just before the horn. That was unexpected.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Larkin. He’s landing more often and with more effective strikes than is Masvidal at this point, but it’s close.

ROUND THREE: Masvidal pawed out a couple jabs and a high kick. He landed a right hand. Larkin countered with a knee. Masvidal landed a punch. Larkin got in with a nice right hand. Larkin landed a hard body kick once again. Masvidal landed another jab and Larkin was bleeding a bit from the nose. He walked Larkin down and landed a short combo. Larkin landed a big uppercut with a strike behind it. He shot in, got stuffed, and Masvidal landed several strikes. Masvidal went for a standing guillotine but lost it, and Larkin landed two huge right hand strikes. He started winging strikes and Masvidal connected on a couple. Larkin clinched and Masvidal tried to pull a guillotine. Larkin got free and popped to his feet, but Masvidal stayed on him for a takedown attempt. Larkin avoided it for a bit, then popped up once he got taken down. After finally separating, Larkin landed a huge uppercut, but they clinched again. They stalled out in this clinch, then Larkin looked for a takedown. Larkin got in a knee to the thigh. He finally backed off, then landed a big body kick. Masvidal shot in and got stuffed. He landed a couple of big elbows. They jockeyed for position. Masvidal got in another elbow late as Larkin threw some knees. Larkin fired back. Larkin turned him around and went for a late takedown to no avail. He landed a big spinning elbow at the horn. How the hell do you score that round?

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Larkin? He had to fight a guillotine and ate a few jabs early, but he did serious damage and had Masvidal rocked at least twice. Could easily be given to Masvidal with how close that round was, but this should be Larkin’s win.

WINNER: Larkin via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

STAR RATING: (***+) That’s the right call on the decision. I don’t agree with the 29-28 Masvidal score, but the first and third I suppose maybe were close enough to justify it. Regardless, it was a fantastic and competitive fight, as expected. Great win for Larkin, who continues to improve his game.

-Larkin immediately apologized in his post-fight interview for the eye poke from early in the fight and said it’s the first time that’s happened in one of his fights.

FIGHT THREE: CHRIS CAMOZZI VS. VITOR MIRANDA (MIDDLEWEIGHT)

ROUND ONE: Camozzi tried to close the distance early, walking Miranda to the cage and landing a couple leg kicks. Miranda threw a kick to the body. Camozzi fired back, then got in a hard knee. Miranda threw a high kick that was blocked. Camozzi got in a hard jab. Miranda fired off a nice inside leg kick. He went to the lead leg on the outside. Camozzi missed as he tried to pepper out a couple jabs. Miranda landed a nice hook with an uppercut behind it. Miranda got in to the body. Camozzi missed a front kick. He connected on a big combination and drove Miranda back. He landed another hard jab after backing off. Camozzi connected inside. Camozzi landed a couple more jabs. He landed a nice combination, but Miranda caught it and took him down. Camozzi went for a heel hook and they stalled out attacking each other’s legs. Camozzi tried to sneak in to top position, but Miranda sat up well to avoid it. Camozzi landed a few strikes to try getting Miranda to move. Miranda covered up and fired back. Awkward position and both tried to land. Camozzi again tried to snake Miranda down. The crowd rained down boos, but there’s not a ton either could do here smartly. Miranda left the exchange with a cut as the round ended.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Camozzi. Miranda was effective when he connected, but Camozzi was far more active overall and did some solid damage of his own.

ROUND TWO: Miranda opened with a couple hard inside leg kicks. He avoided a rush from Camozzi. Miranda back to that lead leg of Camozzi, which was bright red around the knee. Miranda connected to the body with a kick. He landed a body punch. He tried to back Camozzi up. He landed another hard body kick. Camozzi caught the next kick and swept Miranda with a leg kick to get down into Miranda’s half card. Miranda immediately got to full guard. Camozzi couldn’t get much in offensively. Miranda kicked him off, but couldn’t get back to his feet as Camozzi rushed back and took his back. Miranda tried to walk up the cage but Camozzi kept him down. He landed a knee to the body nicely. Miranda turned into Camozzi with his back on the cage, but got dragged down. Camozzi continued to hold position well without doing a ton offensively himself. He tried to posture up but Miranda improved position. Camozzi got in a couple short elbows. That cut Miranda open. He got in a few more late in the round. He passed to side control, and Miranda began escaping at the horn.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Camozzi. Give him credit, he scouted Miranda well and has employed an effective gameplan thus far.

ROUND THREE: Miranda’s left eyebrow was destroyed by those late elbows, but they let him fight on. Miranda tried to press in early and they traded strikes. Miranda went high with a kick, then blocked a short combo from Camozzi. Miranda covered up and it allowed Camozzi to take his back standing and take him down. That was Miranda just giving this to Camozzi. Camozzi got into side control. He really didn’t do much of anything, and Miranda got butterfly guard with his back at the cage. He kicked Camozzi off and finally got up to his feet. He landed a knee to the body and finally got separation. Miranda threw a few high kicks that were blocked. Miranda swung with a winging right hand. They traded punches. Camozzi clinched as they got in close. Miranda circled out and got in a knee. Miranda tried to advance aggressively as he needed to get desperate. Camozzi fired off a few strikes. They traded again. Camozzi landed a nice straight left. Miranda’s strikes looked quite labored. Camozzi peppered some more jabs. Miranda threw an awful looking spin kick and continued to get tagged, even as Camozzi had his back to the cage. Miranda landed another series of right hand strikes late to close out.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Camozzi. Miranda gave probably as much as he could there, but he was exhausted, slowed down, and was just getting beat to the punch. Good performance from Camozzi start to finish.

WINNER: Camozzi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

STAR RATING: (**) Not a bad fight, and it was a good start to finish performance from Camozzi for a significant win, and a slight upset at that.

FIGHT FOUR: TAREC SAFFIEDINE VS. RICK STORY (WELTERWEIGHT)

ROUND ONE: Story came forward with a leg kick and Saffiedine circled on the outside. Story rushed with a wild combo that didn’t quite connect. He pressed back in with a leg kick. Story connected on a combo. Saffiedine landed a nice body kick, then a right hand behind it when Story caught the kick. Story shot in shortly thereafter but got stuffed. Saffiedine connected on a high kick as he backed out, but it was kind of a grazing strike. Story missed on a short combo. He tried to walk Saffiedine down and missed again. Story landed another combo. He went for a throw, failed, but stayed on a takedown attempt at the cage. Saffiedine held him off in the clinch. Saffiedine’s injury into the bout was a bad cut on his knee, and the scab got opened up and started bleeding down his leg. They jockeyed for position. Saffiedine finally worked out of the clinch. Story shot in again but got held off. Saffiedine got in a couple hard knees, but ate several body strikes late.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Story? Close round, but Story probably edged that one.

ROUND TWO: Furious opening exchange with a few strikes from Story followed up by a big head kick. Saffiedine landed a solid leg kick. Story got tripped up on a kick. Saffiedine briefly got on top, but Story got right back to his feet. Saffiedine nicely worked out of the clinch at the cage and threw a high kick that was blocked. They traded leg kicks. Story landed a nice left after Saffiedine missed and shot in. They clinched again at the cage. They separated again, then Story rushed in with body strikes and ate a big knee from Saffiedine. More clinch work, and Story threw out some punches and knees to the body. Story more active in these clinch exchanges, and he again landed some body punches. Saffiedine tried to get himself free but ate a big strike and was held on the cage in that clinch. They were finally separated due to some inactivity. Story landed a hard leg kick. Saffiedine switched stances and grazed Story with a kick to the face. He missed a strike and ate a body kick. He went high again, but Story ducked under it and drove him to the cage. Story kept him there, eating a few knees and firing back some more before the horn.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Story. Saffiedine’s just not doing enough yet, and he’s going to need to pick up the pace significantly if he hopes to finish this fight in the third.

ROUND THREE: Story connected early. He landed again and shot in, but Saffiedine stuffed it. Saffiedine landed a hard inside leg kick. Both barely missed big kicks. Saffiedine tried to circle out. Story came in with a bunch of body strikes, then ate an uppercut and shot in. Saffiedine worked out of the clinch fairly quickly. He ate a leg kick which threw his uppercut off target. He missed a head kick. Saffiedine landed a left, then they clinched and it was back to the cage. Story got in a knee. He tried for a trip but failed. Saffiedine landed a couple knees, but ate some big body punches. They separated again. Saffiedine got in a couple strikes but Story closed distance again to clinch up. Story backed off with a big elbow. Saffiedine landed a nice head kick. Story again clinched it up. Story backed off with another short elbow. They traded leg kicks. Saffiedine landed a big strike, then a high kick, and another right hand, but Story just absorbed it all. He backed Saffiedine up and they traded strikes. Back to the clinch with just over a minute left. Story backed off with a short combo. He pressed in with a body kick. He landed a nice body punch. Saffiedine connected on a counter-right. He stuffed a takedown attempt. Story landed a big left. Then a right. He clinched it up again. The round came to an end with Story throwing knees to the body.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Story. Can see a case for Saffiedine in this round, and perhaps even in the first to edge a close decision, but Story kept up the pressure, did damage at the cage, and will probably edge it himself.

WINNER: Story via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

STAR RATING: (**) That’s about right. Not the best fight, not a bad fight, but solid performance from Story after a very long layoff.

FIGHT FIVE: RENAN BARAO VS. JEREMY STEPHENS (FEATHERWEIGHT)

ROUND ONE: Barao opened with a leg kick. He backed away from a Stephens kick. Barao went high with a kick that was partially blocked. Stephens landed a couple of low kicks. Barao missed a spinning kick. Barao landed a nice two punch combination. He shot in, then landed a huge right hand when he let it go. Stephens landed a right hand but Barao brushed it off. Barao landed a nice right hand hand. Stephens landed a kick, then got hit with a big left. Barao connected again and avoided the counter. Barao ate a body kick and landed a nice counter-right. Barao shot in and drove Stephens to the cage. Stephens stuffed it, but Barao stayed on him on the cage. Barao landed some solid knees, but Stephens worked himself free. Barao landed a nice left hand. Barao connected with a nice kick to the body. Stephens got in close and grabbed a body lock. Barao got in a knee with his back on the cage. He landed another as he continued to hold off Stephens’ ineffectual takedown attempt. Barao nearly pulled off a trip but broke free. They both swung wildly, but neither connected. Barao landed a nice counter as Stephens swung and missed. Barao got in a spinning back kick to the body, then a couple more strikes before shooting in. Stephens again held it off, but Barao got a body lock and nearly dragged him down. He got his back standing but the horn sounded.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Barao. The Brazilian looked good in his first round at 145 lbs. He was faster, more effective with his strikes, and avoided trouble. Nice start.

ROUND TWO: Barao circled around, landed an inside leg kick, then stepped in with a two-punch combo. Stephens landed a right hand. Barao shot in but got stuffed quickly. Barao shot in again and got held off. Stephens missed a strike. Stephens landed a hard kick to the lead leg. They traded punches in the center. They traded again. Stephens landed a hard jab. He rocked Barao with an uppercut. Barao was forced to back up and Stephens tried to take advantage. He landed a couple of hard strikes. He landed another right hand and ate a knee. Stephens landed again with the right hand. Barao was flat-footed and not nearly as fast as he was in the first. He shot in and Stephens stuffed it again. Barao’s in trouble here. He never recovered against Dillashaw and he’s reverted to that here. Stephens turned him around and landed some short strikes. Barao finally separated and had to reset. Stephens came back in with a nice jab. Barao landed a spinning back kick but it was mostly blocked. Barao missed a couple strikes. Barao landed a left. Stephens rocked him with another straight right. They traded strikes with Stephens again getting the best of it. He landed a hard outside leg kick. Stephens grazed another right hand. Barao shot in and finally scored a takedown, but Stephens quickly worked back to his feet. They clinched up again and Stephens separated with an elbow just before the horn.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Stephens. Close to a 10-8. Huge round for Stephens and I don’t know if Barao can recover given what happened in both Dillashaw fights. Fight changed on a dime with Stephens’ first major strike.

ROUND THREE: Barao landed the first jab about 20 seconds in, then got in a body kick. Stephens connected to the body as he swung wildly. Barao landed a strike. Stephens again whiffed on a big strike attempt. Barao got in a short combo and circled out. He beat Stephens to the punch again. Stephens landed another hard body punch. Barao closed in with a jab and shot in. Stephens stuffed it again and turned him around. Stephens landed a couple knees, but Barao circled out. They traded strikes in the center, with Barao getting the best of that exchange. Barao continued to stay busy, then ate an uppercut. Stephens landed a hard jab, then ate the counter. Barao shot in again, this time completing it against the cage. Stephens tried to get his legs free to get up, but Barao kept him down. Stephens got to his knees, but Barao took his back. Stephens popped up and got free, though. Well done. Stephens went for his own takedown, then landed a knee when it failed. Barao stuffed it again. Barao circled out to reset. Stephens landed the uppercut. Barao went for a spinning kick that was just out of range. Stephens tried to move in and he landed a jab. Stephens landed an uppercut as he stuffed a takedown attempt. He landed a big right hand late. Barao connected on a few strikes. Barao got in a big left hook. They traded late. Stephens missed a spinning back fist. They traded late and both raised their hands at the horn.

Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Barao? Very, very close round. I think Barao edges it with fairly even striking and the takedown, but there’s an argument the other way. Good, close fight, and with two clear opening rounds, it comes down to how this one is scored and whether there are any 10-8 scores for the second round.

WINNER: Stephens via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

STAR RATING: (***-) Yeah, that decision is certainly justifiable. Stephens connected on some more damaging strikes in that third round to negate the takedown, especially in that last minute. Tough loss for Barao in his featherweight debut, but a huge win for Jeremy Stephens.

MAIN EVENT FIGHT SIX: THOMAS ALMEIDA VS. CODY GARBRANDT (BANTAMWEIGHT)

ROUND ONE: Garbrandt went for a bit of a capoeira kick to the body to start things off. He tried to own the center early and Almeida circled around a bit. They traded leg kicks. Almeida landed a nice counter-right off a leg kick. Garbrandt pressed in with a solid two punch combo. He missed a big flying knee attempt but connected on a right hand after Almeida failed to counter. Garbrandt popped Almeida’s head back with a couple strikes. Slow start as usual from Almeida. Almeida landed a right hand but ate a couple counter-strikes. Almeida landed a nice right hand and he stepped off to the side. Garbrandt landed another solid right hand off a kick. Almeida countered. Garbrandt rocked him with a big right hand and rushed him to the cage. He opened up with a big flurry, but Almeida recovered well and turned back into Garbrandt. He got in a couple strikes. Almeida tried to walk Garbrandt down and he landed a big left hook. They traded. Garbrandt then landed another huge flurry of strikes and knocked Almeida down with a right hand! Holy hell! He landed a couple strikes on the ground and Almeida was just covering up so “Big” John McCarthy just threw him off for the stoppage. What a fight from Garbrandt. Without question his best career performance.

WINNER: Garbrandt via KO at 2:53 of the first round

STAR RATING: (***+) Stunning fight. Extremely impressive work from Garbrandt to hand Almeida his first career loss, and after a couple of fairly shaky performances he stepped up to the pressure in the biggest fight of his career. Can’t praise that performance highly enough.

Thanks for joining us here tonight! We’ll have plenty of reaction throughout the week on a great fight card, and we move right ahead to next week’s UFC 199 event on pay-per-view!

 

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