The UFC is back on FOX this afternoon with eight fights on network TV, and we’ll have live round by round coverage of the maincard starting tonight at 8PM ET right here. Additionally, we’ll have quick results and commentary for both the UFC Fight Pass and the Fox prelims as they get underway at 4:30PM ET, so stick with us all day for live coverage of the fights from Chicago!
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=====UFC Fight Pass Prelims=====
Luis Henrique vs. Dmitry Smoliakov (Heavyweight)
– Henrique by submission (rear naked choke) at 3:58 of round two
Jim Alers vs. Jason Knight (Featherweight)
– Knight by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Alex Oliveira vs. James Moontasri (Welterweight)
– Oliveira by unanimous decison (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
=====UFC on Fox Prelims=====
Michel Prazeres vs. J.C. Cottrell (Lightweight)
– Prazeres by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Kamaru Usman vs. Alexander Yakovlev (Welterweight)
– Usman by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-25)
Darren Elkins vs. Godofredo Pepey (Featherweight)
– Elkins by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-26)
Frankie Saenz vs. Eddie Wineland (Bantamweight)
– Wineland by TKO (punches) at 1:54 of round three
=====UFC on Fox Main Card=====
Main Card Fight One: Felice Herrig vs. Kailin Curran (Strawweight)
Round One:Herrig lands a couple of jabs early. Multiple kicks from Herrig in order to control the distance. Felice is landing to the body with those kicks early. Herrig ate one of her own, and took Curran down off of it. She took Curran’s back and is under the chin. Curran is on her feet, but collapsed to the mat. Herrig is still working for the rear naked choke. Curran is trying hard to fight it off, but she tapped out. That was really easy.
Winner: Felice Herrig by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:59 of round one.
Star Rating and Final Thoughts: (**) Herrig has never looked better in her entire career. Some of that is because Curran isn’t UFC caliber (whatever in the hell THAT means anymore), but mainly Herrig went out and took advantage of what may have been her last chance at relevance. That was a hell of a performance from Herrig.
– The UFC will return to Portland, Oregon on October 1 for a UFC Fight Night event. The event will air on FS1, and will be the seventh successive Saturday night with a UFC card. This will be the promotion’s first time in Portland since UFC 102 on August 29, 2009. In the main event of that card, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defeated Randy Couture in the 2009 Fight of the Year.
– Don’t hold your breath for a comparable fight in the main event.
Main Card Fight Two: Francis Ngannou vs. Bojan Mihajlovic (Heavyweight)
Round One: Not much after the first minutes. Mihajlovic ate a couple of shots while retreating and fell to the canvas. Ngannou pounced, bombed away on the cowering Mihajlovic, and it’s all over.
Winner: Francis Ngannou by TKO (punches) at 1:34 of round one
Star Rating and Final Thoughts: (*) Yuck. Mihajlovic went down after eating a couple grazing shots near the cage. He didn’t get dropped; he fell to the mat going for a desperation takedown. Herb Dean stopped the fight early, much to my pleasure. But Mihajlovic was intelligently defending himself and most of Ngannou’s ground and pound was being blocked by the elbows of Mihajlovic. That said, Mihajlovic didn’t want to fight, and apparently had assurances from his corner that the check had cleared.
– How much did this fight stink? Imagine John Bonham’s breath (or Keith Moon’s if your taste in drumming isn’t as good as it should be) two seconds before aspirating on his own vomit. It stank that badly.
– Maybe I should sell geriatric fragrances, just to help people like Moon and Bonham go out with slightly more dignity.
Main Card Fight Three: Edson Barboza vs. Gilbert Melendez (Lightweight)
Round One: Barboza is 4 years younger, 2 inches taller, and has a 2 inch reach advantage. Everything is is virtually identical. Barboza takes the center of the cage. Barboza lands a couple hard leg kicks early on. Both times Melendez charged forward, he took a kick to the outside of his lead leg. Melendez dove for a takedown but Barboza squirmed free. Melendez is going to have a hard time getting inside of Barboza’s kicking range. nice flurry of punches from Melendez, but Barboza landed one or two of his wn before circling away. Melendez caught a kick and landed a hard knee to the body before Barboza got free. Leg kick again from Barboza. And another, this one to the inside of Melendez’ leg. Spin kick to the body. No need to identify who threw that, is there? Melendez lands a hard left hook. Melendez landed another left hook that seemed to hurt Barboza, but Barboza shook his head as he circled out. Left kick the the ribs from Barboza. Melendez got inside but ate an uppercut and a straight right. Not much action in the final thirty second. 10-9 Barboza Melendez was able to get inside, but didn’t land as much inside as Barboza did from the outside.
Round Two: Melendez sneaks inside and lands a couple right hands. He shoots and got stuffed eaily. Melendez is on his back with Barboza standing over him, throwing kicks at the legs of the prone Melendez. John McCarthy gets in the middle and allows Melendez to stand. Hard leg kick from Barboza. And another that drops Melendez. Melendez gets up and eats two more. I thoguht the leg kick that dropped Melendez blew out his knee by the visual of it buckling, but clearly not the case. Melendez is limping and changing stances a little now. nice switch kick to the body. there’s a leg kick. and a hard body kick. Meldndez staggers Barboza with a right hand! Barboza is on his bike. Barboza shoots for a double and puts Barboza on the cage. Barboza shucks him off and we’re back to the middle. Barboza seems fine now. Melendez’ lead leg is red now. Barboza lands a right hand to the body. Leg kick from Barboza almost fells Melendez. He’s got to start checking those. But maybe he can’t, they come in so fast. Barboza catches a body kick from Melendez and trips Melendez. Full guard. Barboza eats an illegal upkick, but McCarthy didn’t say anything about it. Barboza pounds away from an upright position as the horn sounds. 20-18 Barboza Fun fight so far. Both guys are doing what they have to do in order to win, but Barboza is just much more effective.
Round Three: Two hard leg kicks, and for the first time in the fight Melendez is retreating. Melendez ate another and he almost collapsed. Wild hook from Melendez missed by three feet. Another leg kick, and Melendez looks broken. Melendez misses another awful hook. He’s headhunting, but he can’t move. And he can’t dodge and parry. Another leg kick. Barboza with a right hand to the body. Another kick, this one to the upper thigh. Melendez charges in and eats a leg kick. Melendez dives for a takedown and got stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey. Melendez has two and half minutes to go. Melendez is game, but Barboza is content to circle and evade until the horn blows. He knows better than to get drawn into a sloppy war at this point. The last minute and a half have had little to no action. The crowd is starting to figure this out, but they’re trying to rally Melendez more than they’re booing the lack of inactivity. Barboza circles into a right hook, but it had no impact. Melendez is trying to bring it to barboza, but there’s just no power on it. 30-27 Barboza The last two minutes were just awful.
Winner: Edson Barboza by unanimous decision(30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Star Rating and Final Thoughts: (**) Was much higher until the dreadful third round. Barboza is on an absolute roll right now, but let’s not forget that he’s been dropped and stopped by Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone, and beaten soundly by Michael Johnson and Tony Ferguson. That’s a tought lineup, but it shows that he’s beatable.
Main Card Main Event: Holly Holm vs. Valentina Shevchenko (Bantamweight)
Round One: Nice pop from the normally awful Chicago fans for both fighters (relax, I live and die Bears. But Chicago MMA is the worst). Both fighters come out southpaw. Shevchenko takes the middle, and man is she smaller than Holm. Thirty seconds in before the first strike lands, a leg kick from Shevchenko. A nice exchange of leg kicks, with Holm landing the first one. A high thrust kick from Holm comes up a little short. Shecchenko lands a counter right hook. Shechanko lands a counter jab that snapped Holn’s head back. Shevchenko gets dropped by a nice 1-2 punch combination from Holm. Shevchenko gets right back up, but that’s first blood. Shevchenko’s nose is read as a tomato now. Crowd is cheering wildly for Holm. Holm charges in and eats a right hand. Right hook from Shevchenko. I can’t get over how much of a size disparity there is here. Shevchenko ducks under a wild punch and takes Holm down hard. Holm gets right back up and presses Shevchenko against the fence. Knee to the body from Holm. Shevchenko misses a knee, and then eats another. Holm is just pressing all of her weight against the smaller Shevchenko here. Knee to the thigh from Holm before disangaging. 10-9 Holm Shevchenko was effective, but she’s just too small to hurt Holm consistently.
Round Two: Chicago doing the civilized world proud with a USA chant. It’s not the Olympics, you meatballs. Shevchenko grazes with an axe kick, doing Booker T proud (the wrestler, not the musician). Not much action through 2 minutes. Holm gets in close and Shevchenko grans a clinch. Holm overpowers the smaller Shevchenko and presses her into the cage. Shevchenko disengages and lands a punch to the back of the head of Holm as she does so. That’s legal now? Who knew? Good jab from Shevchenko. Nice hook from Shevchenko. Spinning backfist from Shevchenko, but it was partially blocked. Nice side kick to the ribs from Holm. She’s landed several front leg side kicks tonight. Left hand by ctrl-v I mean Shevchenko. Shevchenko lands a kick to the thigh of Holm. She’s landing at a high rate of accuracy through nine minutes. Another hard jab by Shevchenko. Big leg kick from Holm, but Shevchenko respoinds with a counter spinning backfist. 19-19 That was a close round, gave it to Shevchenko. She’s more active, and Holm isn’t evading anything.
Round Three: Most of the redness is gone from Shevchenko’s nose now. Nice kick from Shevchenko. Lots of leg kick feints. Hook from Shevchenko. Holm misses a Superman punch and almost got plastered with another counter spinning backfist. What she lacks in size, she makes up for in sizzle. Crescent kick to the face of Holm. Well blocked, but looked awesome. Holm lands a nice kick, but eats a counter hook. Shevchenko catches a kick and takes Holm down. Holm is back up and reverses position and puts Shevchenko back on the fence.. Holm’s cut above her right eye. They’re still clinched up on the cage and Shevchenko trips Holm down. Full guard for Shevchenko. Half-guard. Holm is controlling the posture of Shevchenko. Holm triies to hip escape but didn’t have the leverage to pull it off. The crowd is booing, because Chicago MMA fans suck and they just can’t help themselves. Shevchenko lands a couple short punches. OK, Chicago, go ahead and boo now. Shevchenko postures up and throws a couple elbows. And a little more ground and pound before Holm pulls her back down. Rogan is saying that the cut Holm suffered was from a headbutt. We’ll see. Anyhow, 10-9, 29-28 Shevchenko And yep. Headbutt caused the cut.
Round Four: Fin fight. It’s interesting to see the smaller fighter be the more effective fighter. It took her until a minute in to round two to realize that Holm hadn’t hurt her. We’ll see what Holm can do to impose her will. Leg kick from Shevchenko. And another a few moments later. Nice 1-2-leg kick combo from Shevchenko. Wheel kick from Shevchenko just missed. Hard leg kick by Holm as Shevchenko was backing away. Shevchenko checked a leg kick and countered with one of her own. Nice hook, followed by a left hand. She’s got her range down, and her timing is fantastic tonight. Holm is pressing, trying to get off first, and she’s not sure exactly how to get the momentum back. Hard leg kick by Shevchenko. Another check and counter leg kick from Shevchenko. If Holm doesn’t steal this round late, she’ll need a fifth round finish. When the cameraman is nice enough to actually show the legs and feet of these kickboxers, Holm’s feet certainly seem plastered to the canvas much more than Shevchenko’s. Hard left hand from Shevchenko lands on the shoulder of Holm. Superman punch feint followed by a leg kick from Shevchenko. Holm lands a kick to the body. Shevchenko lands another combination. Everything she throws lands, it’s as simple as that. 39-37 Shevchenko
Round Five: Nice counter jab from Shevchenko. Her timing tonight may be the best I’ve seen since Anthony Pettis in his prime. She just doesn’t miss. And even her defensive timing is impeccable. Everything Holm throws misses by 3 inches. Big left hand from Shevchenko. Holm is pulling punches before she throws them because Shevchenko sees them and is already out of range. Big counter right hand from Shevchenko. Holm lands a nice kick to the body. Shevchenko thinks about a clinch, but backs out. Counter wheel kick from Shevchenko lands to the ear of Holm! And yet another counter hook. Holm is missing at a seemingly historic rate tonight (non-Leonard-Garcia-Category). Holm has great techniques, but against a moving target? Not so effective. One minute remaining. Nice right hand from Shevchenko. And a sharp jab. Holm is really pressing the action now, missing at a much more furious rate than early on. Nice left right from Shevchenko. It’s over. 49-46 Shevchenko. When I say it’s over, I mean Holm’s chances at another main event. sorry for the confusion there.
Winner: Valentina Shevchenko by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
Star Rating and Final Thoughts: (**+) Thorough domination by Shevchenko. Holm was never in trouble, but after the first round she never had a chance. UFC 193 is looking more and more like a mirage every day. Take away Ronda Rousey’s utter arrogance and stupidity, and Holly Holm is an unmitigated flop. Shevchenko may deserve a shot at Nunes, but no way she should get it ahead of Rousey, Tate, or Nunes because she already lost to Nunes just 4 months ago. Plus, let’s be real here, Nunes vs. Shevchenko ain’t drawing a dime.