UFC Mexico City Live Report: Real-time results and analysis of Rodriguez-Stephens

Cole Henry MMATorch Live event reporter

UFC Mexico City

UFC Mexico City

September 21, 2019

Mexico City Arena, Mexico City


UFC Mexico City Results

Claudio Puelles vs. Marcos Mariano (Lightweight)

Pre-fight notes: Mariano is 6’1 with a 76-inch reach, both notable for a lightweight. He is perhaps notable for taking a tough debut matchup against Lando Vannata. Puelles is the second-biggest favorite on tonight’s card. 

Favorite: Puelles -370 

Round 1: Puelles shoots for a single, Mariano scrambles, Puelles adjusts to take the body lock and from there he drags his opponent down. Mariano is mostly just holding from the bottom, Puelles is allowing him to move a bit just so that he can advance into a better position. Puelles is looking for a headlock, he transitions to the arm and rolls for a kimura! Mariano appears to be okay though, as he manages to sweep and escape the hold. The ref steps in for a standup, a bit early if you ask me but nobody is. Mariano secures a bit of upper body control, he has the neck, but Puelles slams him to the mat. Mariano is now working from the guard. Puelles is landing short punches from the top, both guys appear to just be riding out the round. (10-9 Puelles) 

Round 2: Puelles shoots and takes Mariano down right out of the gate. It seems like fighters have identified the weakness is Mariano’s game… Puelles is working from the top, he is controlling, adjusting, and landing short shots. But he is not punching much heat on the punches, nor is he looking to inflict much damage. Mariano seems very inexperienced on the ground, and it really feels like Puelles could take a risk going for a finish, and he would probably come out okay. (10-8 Puelles?) 10-8 might be a bit much… he is controlling, but he is not causing much damage. Will probably just depend on the judges’ opinions of the matter… obviously. 

Round 3: After a brief skirmish on the feet, Puelles adjusts and takes Mariano down with a high shoulder drop type thing… Puelles is looking to transition to the mount, but Mariano is using a bit of defense. Puelles is attacking the left arm, looking for a kimura. He is holding his own shorts to avoid the finish, and Puelles can’t seem to break the grip. Puelles moves into the mount, he is landing some shots from there, but honestly, this performance will be tainted if he cannot earn the finish here. His opponent is very overmatched. Puelles is landing punches from mount but Mariano will survive the round and consequently the fight. (10-9 Puelles) (30-26 Puelles) 

Result: Claudio Puelles def. Marcos Mariano via Unanimous Decision (30-25 x3)

Analysis: Well that was something. Puelles dominated but didn’t show much of a killer instinct, and this was a fight where he probably could have got away with it.  He held nearly 14 minutes of control time, but couldn’t put Mariano away. This will probably be the end of Mariano’s UFC run, but as for Puelles, a fight with Lando Vanatta might be a good test if he gets past Diakese. 

Bethe Correia def. Sijara Eubanks via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

I had to step away from my computer for a moment and missed the first round of this fight. Overall Correia seemingly lost the first but rallied to win the second and third rounds. This is the first win in a while for the 36-year-old, former title challenger.

Paul Craig vs. Vinicius Moreira (Light-heavyweight)

Favorite: Moreira -120 

Round 1: Craig allows himself to be backed against the fence, and from there Moreira is looking for a takedown. Moreira pulls guard, and Craig is now working from the top. Moreira is looking for a variety of submissions from the bottom, but Craig is defending so far. Craig is landing short, powerful shots in between Moreira’s sub attempts. Moreira nearly secured a sweep into an armbar position, but Craig scrambled and took the neck. Moreira is now standing and pressuring Craig against the fence. They’re clinched, and Craig uses it to trip Moreira down! Moreira scrambles, and Craig nails him with a knee! He follows it up with some big shots on the mat! Craig jumps on the back of a flailing Moreira! He sets two hooks, and slaps in a rear-naked choke! Moreira taps and it’s all over! Paul Craig with the first round finish and he didn’t even have to take a beating to get it! 

Result: Paul Craig def. Vinicius Moreira via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) Round 1, 3:19 

Analysis: Craig looked very good. He made a head-scratching decision to allow Moreira to pressure him early in the round, but adjusted and earned the stoppage win. A fight with Saparbek Safarov would be a fun one for him. As for Moreira, at 0-3, this will likely be the end of his UFC tenure.

(5) Sergio Pettis vs. Tyson Nam (Flyweight)

Pre-fight notes: Tyson Nam has a bit of a notable background. He was notable years ago for stopping then Bellator Bantamweight Champion, Eduardo Dantas in Brazil at a charity MMA event. He was a hot free agent after that win but was not able to capitalize on his hype. Since then he has earned several notable victories, including one over former UFC title challenger, Ali Bagatinov. His UFC debut has been a very long time coming. 

Favorite: Pettis -350

Round 1: We’re seeing a few skirmishes to get things going, but nothing serious. Pettis scores with a kick to the midsection. Nam is allowing Pettis to lead the dance, he’s taking a bit of a passive approach, likely intending to counter. Lots of movement but not a ton of action throughout the first round. Both guys look explosive, but nothing notable has happened so far. (10-9 Pettis)

Round 2: Nam is electing to stand and trade with Pettis, but Pettis is just a bit quicker. Nam is moving forward with a jab, but Pettis is evading and forcing his opponent to chase him. Pettis fires a knee right up the middle, it appeared to land. Nam lands a 1-2 counter off an ill-timed superman punch by Pettis. Pettis throws a cart-wheel kick sort of thing to end the round, it awkwardly lands, but he didn’t have much on it. (10-9 Nam) He is moving forward, but Pettis is probably landing more. It could be a draw… anything is possible with the scoring here in round 2. 

Round 3: More of the same here in round 3. Pettis is sticking and moving, landing lots of combos, and largely avoiding most of Nam’s power. Nam lands a right hand but eats a jab in return. Nam forces the clinch but Pettis pushes him off. Nam throws a big right hand but eats a counter for his efforts. Jab lands for Pettis with just under thirty seconds left in the round. Nam is looking for a takedown in the final moments of the round, but Pettis won’t allow it. (10-9 Pettis) (29-28 Pettis) 

Result: Sergio Pettis def. Tyson Nam via Unanimous Decision 

Analysis: Good showing by Pettis, he continues his run as a top Flyweight contender. Nam stumbled in his debut, and it’s tough to say if he will be able to do much at 35 years of age, in a young man’s division. 

Angela Hill def. Ariane Carnelossi via TKO (Cut via Elbows) Round 3, 1:56 

Good fight Hill. She was crisp across all three rounds, and the elbow that ended the fight was well placed. The cut was vicious and the stoppage was justified.

Polo Reyes vs. Kyle Nelson (Lightweight) 

Favorite: -115 Pick ‘Em 

Round 1: Reyes scores early with a few shots to the body. Nelson shoots, but Reyes maintains balance. Nelson forces Reyes against the fence, nice adjustment on his part. Nelson scores with a knee, and then an elbow! Reyes tries circling away and eats a huge right hook! Reyes is in trouble here! Nelson’s landing some big shots, Reyes appears to be stunned and this fight is all over! Wow. The arena is silent, Reyes has a stunned, and a confused look on his face and Kyle Nelson is one excited Canadian. 

Result: Kyle Nelson def. Polo Reyes via TKO (Punches) Round 1, 1:36 

Analysis: This seemed like it was going to turn into a good fight, but instead Nelson ended things early. Not much else to say about it really.

Martin Bravo vs. Steven Peterson (Featherweight)

Round 1: They are going at it in the early going. Bravo is far more accurate, and he is showing no respect for Peterson’s stand up game. Bravo is landing to the body and head, but Peterson is starting to string some shots together himself. The round started out totally in Bravo’s favor, but Peterson found his rhythm at the round progressed. Still, though, Bravo seems to be the superior fighter so far. (10-9 Bravo)

Round 2: Bravo scores early with a takedown, but Peterson scrambles right back to his feet. They’re exchanging in the center of the octagon. Both guys throw spinning back fists! Bravo misses and Peterson lands flush! Wow! Martin Bravo is out cold!

Result: Steven Peterson def. Martin Bravo via KO (Spinning Backfist) Round 2, 1:31

Vanessa Melo vs. Irene Aldana (Bantamweight)

Favorite: Aldana -350

Round 1: Aldana has a massive height advantage. She is using her length to strike at a distance, and Melo cannot close the distance. Aldana is looking crisp, she is clearly the technically superior striker. (10-9 Aldana)

Round 2: Aldana is targeting the lead leg of Melo. Melo is moving forward with hooks, but Aldana is proving a bit elusive here in the second round. Melo is charging forward, not much technique here, but she is certainly determined. Aldana is landing kicks at about 70% of the time that she throws them. Melo charges forward with a series of hooks, but Aldana avoids most of them and returns a straight right hand. Melo lands to the body and then a right hook to the head. Melo is having her moments at a certain range but she cannot keep it there. (10-9 Aldana)

Round 3: Melo closes the distance and secures a body lock. Aldana escapes the position though, likely avoiding a takedown attempt. She is stringing together straights, jabs and punches and Melo just cannot avoid them in any meaningful way. Left hook lands for Aldana with two minutes left in the round. Aldana is mixing it up to the face and body, and Melo is starting to slow down a bit. Aldana connects with a grazing spinning back kick to the body, just more evidence of her well-rounded attack. Aldana is opening up in the final seconds of the round! She connects with a straight, and then a left hook to the body! Wow-what a performance! (10-9 Aldana) (30-27 Aldana)

Result: Irene Aldana def. Vanessa Melo via Unanimous Decision

Askar Askarov vs. Brandon Moreno (Flyweight)

Round 1: They are both fighting for a takedown early on. Moreno scores with a takedown and is now working from top control. Askarov is looking for a submission from his back but only for a moment before they scramble again. Moreno is throwing some big shots, but Askarov is returning fire. Moreno lands a nice shot and Askarov appears to be staggered, but quickly recovers. Moreno lands an uppercut as he avoids a takedown attempt from his opponent. Very hectic round, with lots of action and moments for both fighters. (10-9 Moreno)

Round 2: Moreno connects with some shots early on. Askarov adjusts and scores with a quick takedown. He is now working from side control, but he is looking to transition. Askarov is landing some short shots from the top, but Moreno is looking to scramble. Moreno is up against the fence, but Askarov takes him right back down. Moreno is back up though, and swings but misses. This fight is wild, classic flyweight fight here, tons of movement and lots of speed. Askarov connects with a right straight on a prone Moreno! Moreno connects with a high kick! Askarov hits the mat, but he appears to be okay! Wow-what a round. (10-9 Moreno)

Round 3: Moreno takes Askarov down early in the round. He is landing some hard shots from the top. Askarov is working to improve his position but Moreno is relentless with his attack. Askarov is doing a good job of holding guard, which is preventing Moreno from doing a ton of damage or transitioning to a better spot. Moreno takes the back, and from there he is looking for a rear-naked choke. He is about seventy-five seconds until the conclusion of the round. (10-9 Moreno) (30-27 Moreno)

Result: Brandon Moreno vs. Askar Askarov (DRAW)

Carla Esparza vs. Alexa Grasso (Strawweight)

Pre-fight notes: Esparza holds the distinction of being the first Invicta and UFC Strawweight Champion, as well as an Ultimate Fighter winner. She perhaps does not get the credit that she deserves.

Favorite: Grasso -140

Round 1: Esparza shoots for a takedown after a brief boxing exchange. Grasso nearly sweeps her but Esparza is able to maintain position. They scramble and we’re back on the feet. Esparza secures an underhook and forces Grasso against the fence. (10-9 Esparza)

Round 2: Esparza is looking for a takedown early, and completes it roughly thirty seconds into the fight. She is mostly maintaining control. Grasso is doing work to get back to her feet but Esparza is controlling. Grasso is landing elbows from the bottom position, but aside from that, she is allowing herself to stay where Esparza wants her. Esparza is returning elbows of her own. Grasso attempts to stand, but Esparza takes her back. Grasso scrambles and we’re back on the feet. Grasso connects with a big right hand! Esparza connects with a quick right hand and then scores with a quick takedown. (10-9 Esparza)

Round 3: Grasso connects with a flurry right out of the gate! Esparza is hurt! She is stumbling, but Grasso stumbles and loses her footing. Esparza appears to still be in danger though, Grasso takes her down and slaps on an armbar! Wow, this is deep! Esparza somehow escaped… wow, that was deep. Esparza is now working from top control, she has just under one minute to get things finished here. Grasso manages to get back to get feet in the final moments of the round. She is connecting with some big shots here, Esparza manages to hang on though! Great fight! (10-9 Grasso) (29-28 Esparza)

Result: Carla Esparza def. Alexa Grasso via Majority Decision

Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens (Featherweight)

Round 1: After a brief exchange we see Stephens raked across the eye by Yair Rodriguez… we have a break in the action. Stephens’s eye appears to be damaged, he will get five minutes to recover but things are not looking good. Herb Dean is doing all that he can to keep this fight going. And it’s over… Stephens cannot continue. The fans are pelting the cage with trash, this is such a disappointment.

Result: Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens ends via NO CONTEST (Eye Poke) Round 1, 0:15

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