Jimmie Rivera and his spouse, Samantha, each handled the COVID-19 pandemic firsthand. The 2 have been recognized with the virus in April and Samantha almost needed to be hospitalized because of the severity of her signs, Jimmie stated.

Rivera was again within the cage on Wednesday. And he placed on a really stable efficiency, defeating Cody Stamann through unanimous determination (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) on the UFC Struggle Night time: Kattar vs. Ige principal card in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Rivera (23-4, 7-Three UFC) took the bout on simply eight days’ discover, however that wasn’t obvious to anybody watching. Rivera used his wrestling and boxing successfully to neutralize the proficient Stamann (19-3-1, 5-2-1 UFC). Specifically, Rivera discovered a house early and sometimes for his left hook. Stamann had some success together with his wrestling within the first and third rounds, however in any other case Rivera cruised.

Afterward, Rivera stated he was “not pleased with the win.” As a result of late discover, Rivera stated he could not actually depend on his cardio. Plus, he was preventing one weight class up at featherweight.

“I simply used my talent as a substitute of pushing the tempo,” stated Rivera, ESPN’s No. 10-ranked MMA bantamweight.

Rivera (23-4) snapped a two-fight shedding streak with the victory. The New Jersey native has confronted the elite of the bantamweight division these days, dropping bouts to present champion Petr Yan, high contender Aljamain Sterling and former title challenger Marlon Moraes prior to now two years. Rivera, 31, efficiently defended 4 of 5 takedown makes an attempt from Stamann. Coming in, Rivera had one of the best takedown protection in UFC historical past (95%), per ESPN Stats & Data analysis.

“It was powerful, taking the struggle on three days’ discover and never being the place I need cardiowise, but it surely was a chance, I needed to step in and take it,” Rivera stated. “There have been so many mishaps and issues that occurred. I used to be presupposed to struggle in February, I had a herniated disk in my neck and pinched nerves in my arms, so it was a troublesome factor I needed to get better from. In March, myself getting COVID on the finish of March and my spouse getting it in Could, after which different private issues we have been coping with at residence, 2020 has been a s—ty yr. Right now was somewhat bit higher, clearly I needed a greater efficiency, however simply coming again and with the ability to get again in there was a chance that I needed, thanks to UFC for letting me take this chance.

“It is loopy, quarantine. We have not seen daylight; I solely acquired to see daylight immediately as a result of I needed to exit and pee as a result of the lavatory is outdoors. Moreover that, I have been going to mattress at 9 a.m. each morning. Earlier than I am going to mattress, I shut the curtains so we do not get any daylight and it would not mess with my head. I have been on New York time, Jersey time, I have been going to mattress at 9 a.m. and waking up at 7 p.m. and I have not seen daylight. I am actually excited proper now once we get carried out to go outdoors and get somewhat daylight. We’ve got a loopy flight again, we’ve got 15 hours again to Vegas, one other six hours again to Jersey. It is a hell of a experience, plus coping with the entire COVID stuff, however I can let you know one factor — UFC fingers down, Abu Dhabi, that they had us. I have been examined 4 instances within the final week, got here up unfavourable, they have been testing everybody, retaining distance, they’re tremendous skilled and doing every little thing proper.”

Stamann (19-3-1) had a three-fight unbeaten streak snapped. The Michigan native had just one loss — to Sterling — in his earlier 14 fights. Stamann, 30, beat Brian Kelleher by unanimous determination at UFC 250 final month, simply days after the demise of his 18-year-old brother, Jacob.

— Marc Raimondi

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Males’s featherweight: Calvin Kattar (22-4, 6-2 UFC) defeats Dan Ige (14-3, 6-2 UFC) by unanimous determination

Calvin Kattar landed a knee, Dan Ige slipped to the canvas and Kattar acquired on high, throwing punches downward as arduous as he may. The time on the clock expired. The struggle was over.

By then, Kattar had the choice within the bag. However he was nonetheless attempting to complete, even within the closing seconds.

Learn the complete story.


Males’s flyweight: Tim Elliott (17-11-1, 5-9 UFC) defeats Ryan Benoit (10-7, 3-5 UFC) by unanimous determination

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Tim Elliott lands photographs on Ryan Benoit, who responds with punches of his personal within the second spherical.

Neither of those flyweights was going to have his quick future impacted by the championship struggle arising in three days between Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo. However as soon as they acquired going, Elliott and Benoit confirmed off the all-action nature of the 125-pound division.

And Elliott acquired stronger because the struggle wore on, incomes 29-28 scorecards from all three judges.

The final half of Spherical 2 alone was well worth the worth of admission. After absorbing a succession of crisp punches to the face, Elliott lastly acquired the bout to the canvas, the place he figured to have a bonus. He shortly achieved full mount place and locked in a guillotine. However Benoit hung in there, and with 1:20 left within the spherical he reversed place and locked in a kneebar that made Elliott wince. The end didn’t come, however these late scrambles swung the struggle forwards and backwards.

Elliott got here out aggressively in Spherical Three and landed time and again, together with his opponent showing drained. However Benoit got here to life with an assault on his personal, and the struggle ended with the 2 males within the pocket, exchanging. It could have been a crowd-pleaser, if there had been a crowd.

It was a much-needed win for Elliott, a onetime title challenger who had misplaced his previous three fights. It was Benoit’s second straight loss.

— Jeff Wagenheim

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Girls’s flyweight: Taila Santos (16-1, 1-1 UFC) defeats Molly McCann (10-3, 3-2 UFC) by unanimous determination

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Taila Santos takes down Molly McCann in the midst of Spherical 2 of their bout at UFC Struggle Night time.

Santos was 15-Zero earlier than dropping her UFC debut in February 2019. That made her desirous to proper the ship, however over the following 14 months she had three fights canceled. Lastly, the 27-year-old Brazilian acquired again into the cage and confirmed off what had fueled that unbeaten run.

Santos didn’t get a end — McCann was too powerful to take out — however all three judges scored each spherical for Santos.

The 30-year-old McCann, of Liverpool, England, had numerous struggle in her proper from the beginning. She acquired the higher of the early preventing, opening a lower above her opponent’s left eye. However Santos countered the aggression with kicks to the physique that steadily slowed down McCann. And earlier than the spherical’s finish, Santos’ jabs and elbows began to hold the best way.

Spherical 2 was a lot the identical, so going into the ultimate 5 minutes, McCann acknowledged that she wanted a end. She got here out arduous. McCann landed some straight photographs, however Santos absorbed all of them. Then, halfway via the spherical, Santos secured a takedown proper into full mount. McCann scrambled out of hazard as soon as, however Santos regained her place and labored for a end proper to the horn.

— Wagenheim

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Welterweight: Mounir Lazzez (10-1, 1-Zero UFC) defeats Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-2, 4-2 UFC) by unanimous determination

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Mounir Lazzez will get Abdul Razak Alhassan up towards the fence as he peppers Alhassan with punches within the second spherical.

There was anticipation concerning the return of Alhassan, one of the vital explosive and highly effective welterweights on the UFC roster. Lazzez spoiled it, and within the course of he made a reputation for himself.

In his UFC debut, Lazzez, a rangy and expert striker, beat Alhassan through unanimous determination (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) to open the principle card. It was named the struggle of the evening, however Alhassan did not obtain his share of the bonus as a result of he missed weight.

Lazzez needed to climate Alhassan’s early flurries. Alhassan landed arduous photographs within the first spherical, cornering Lazzez towards the cage and throwing lengthy, wild combos. Lazzez was in a position to shake them off and take over the remainder of the spherical with elbows, knees to the physique and a slick head kick.

Within the second, it was extra of the identical for Lazzez, who additionally landed a takedown and damage Alhassan with a mix that backed Alhassan up towards the cage. Lazzez blasted Alhassan with an enormous knee up the center within the third and landed a pleasant takedown. Within the closing minutes, Alhassan made his technique to his toes and threw wild hooks, a few of which landed. However Lazzez was by no means in any bother, as he earned the choice victory.

Lazzez (10-1) earned his spot within the UFC when a good friend of UFC president Dana White’s son confirmed Lazzez’s highlights to White on the web, in keeping with play-by-play man Jon Anik. The 32-year-old Tunisian-born Dubai resident has received three in a row and appears like somebody to look at at 170 kilos.

Alhassan (10-2) had his three-fight profitable streak snapped. The 34-year-old Ghana native, who lives and trains in Dallas, had not fought since September 2018. Alhassan was inactive after dealing with expenses of sexual assault. He was acquitted in March.

— Raimondi

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Middleweight: Khamzat Chimaev (7-0, 1-Zero UFC) defeats John Phillips (22-10, 1-Four UFC) by second-round submission

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Khamzat Chimaev dominates John Phillips on the mat in Spherical 2 to drag out a submission through D’Arce choke at UFC Struggle Night time.

Chimaev arrived for his UFC debut as an undefeated fighter. He walked out of the Octagon together with his document nonetheless unblemished, having raised eyebrows with as domineering a efficiency as a fighter can have.

He completed Phillips with a slick D’Arce choke at 1:12 of Spherical 2 after softening up the Welshman with an unrelenting ground-and-pound for all however just a few seconds of the struggle.

Chimaev, who’s of Chechen descent and has lived in Sweden from a younger age, got here out with a right away head kick, then ducked below and took the struggle to the canvas. From there he managed Phillips the remainder of the best way, immobilizing his legs with a Khabib Nurmagomedov-style lockdown and throwing rights and lefts with abandon. By the top of Spherical 1, Chimaev had a 72-1 putting benefit.

It acquired no higher for Phillips within the second spherical. Chimaev acquired a takedown 12 seconds in, continued his beatdown, then ended it with the submission. Chimaev received a performance-of-the-night bonus.

Phillips is a resilient one. The 35-year-old Welshman, who fights out of SBG fitness center in Dublin, misplaced his first three UFC fights however saved coming again for extra. He lastly acquired a win final September, and what a win it was. He knocked out Alen Amedovski in 14 seconds. However he took a fall as soon as once more this time.

— Wagenheim

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Males’s featherweight: Lerone Murphy (9-0-1, 1-0-1 UFC) defeats Ricardo Ramos (14-3, 5-2 UFC) by first-round TKO

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Lerone Murphy unleashes a vicious stretch of ground-and-pound late within the first spherical on Ricardo Ramos to choose up a win on Struggle Island at UFC Struggle Night time.

Murphy proved his UFC debut was no fluke.

The British featherweight blasted Ramos with arduous ground-and-pound for a TKO at 4:18 of the primary spherical. After being swept initially by Ramos, Murphy countered and acquired again into high place and rained down some brutal punches.

Initially, it seemed like Ramos would have his approach. He was throwing flashy spin kicks and briefly acquired Murphy’s again. Murphy went for a takedown and Ramos slickly swept and acquired into aspect management. That didn’t final lengthy. Murphy exploded his approach as much as his toes, acquired Ramos down and landed some spectacular strikes — together with an enormous elbow — from the highest with Ramos inclined. Murphy described his blows from that place as “like a sledge.”

Murphy, 28, fought to a stunning draw with the very powerful Zubaira Tukhugov, the longtime teammate of Khabib Nurmagomedov, in his UFC debut at UFC 242 final September. Murphy, an England native, remained undefeated and seems to be a professional prospect within the featherweight division.

Ramos, 24, was on a two-fight profitable streak coming in. The Brazil native has 5 UFC wins after beginning within the promotion when he was simply 21 years previous in 2017.

“I needed to show that I belong right here within the UFC,” Murphy stated. “I plan to spend the remainder of my profession within the UFC, climb to the highest, get into that high 15 and clearly sooner or later be champion. I am simply going to return, heal up for a month after which get again to coaching and develop and develop. That is all I wish to do, develop.”

Murphy received a performance-of-the-night bonus.

— Raimondi

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Mild heavyweight: Modestas Bukauskas (11-2, 1-Zero UFC) defeats Andreas Michailidis (12-4, 0-1 UFC) by first-round TKO

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Modestas Bukauskas repeatedly lands elbows to Andreas Michailidis’ head on the finish of Spherical 1, and the ref calls the top to the bout.

Michailidis tried to make an impression on the judges with a late takedown in Spherical 1 of this assembly of sunshine heavyweights making their UFC debuts. However Bukauskas made the judges pointless.

For almost 5 minutes, it was an excellent back-and-forth struggle on the toes, with Michailidis’ footwork presenting an issue for the aggressive assault of Bukauskas. Then, with seconds to go within the spherical, Michailidis went for a takedown. Bukauskas defended it and started dropping elbows to the aspect of the top. When the horn sounded and the assault ended, Michailidis dropped ahead on his fingers and knees.

Michailidis ultimately sat, however when he leaned again the cage door was open and he almost fell over. The ref waved off the struggle.

Bukauskas, a local of Lithuania who trains in England, has received seven in a row. The 26-year-old is a former Cage Warriors gentle heavyweight champ.

Michailidis, who’s 31 and preventing out Athens, got here in having received seven of his previous eight.

“I really feel completely wonderful. I have been visualizing this second,” Bukauskas stated. “Visualizing the end, writing it on my board and every little thing like that, for it lastly to come back to fruition within the cage is completely wonderful, to be a part of such a historic occasion as effectively, I could not have requested for something higher. This can be a nice technique to introduce myself to the UFC, however I am solely going to maintain getting higher and maintain placing on higher performances.

“I knew as soon as these photographs have been touchdown that they have been going to be arduous as a result of in my final struggle in Cage Warriors I completed the man with the very same end. Even after I went with the man to the medical room, he was utterly dazed and confused, so I want for a speedy restoration for my opponent. I’d have favored to complete it differently as a result of I used to be simply beginning to really feel my vary, and I had a little bit of a leg damage coming into the struggle, so it was somewhat bit harder to indicate extra of myself, however to come back on the market and see these elbows and land them, I could not have requested for something higher.”

Bukauskas earned a performance-of-the-night bonus.

— Wagenheim


Males’s featherweight: Jared Gordon (16-4, 4-Three UFC) defeats Chris Fishgold (18-4-1, 1-Three UFC) by unanimous determination

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Jared “Flash” Gordon beats Chris Fishgold with UFC commentator and light-weight Paul Felder, who left the desk to work the struggle.

A hellish few weeks was price it for Gordon.

After his fiancée and all his nook individuals examined constructive for COVID-19, Gordon made the trek all the best way to Abu Dhabi alone. Whereas there, he handled a false constructive for the coronavirus. The trials and tribulations all paid off with a dominant unanimous determination (30-26, 30-26, 30-26) over Fishgold in Gordon’s return to the featherweight division.

With Gordon not having any corners with him, he requested UFC light-weight and broadcast analyst Paul Felder to nook him. Felder, Gordon’s longtime good friend, left his place as coloration commentator quickly to again his pal for the bout.

Fishgold had an early takedown within the first, however as soon as Gordon acquired up he landed his personal takedown and ended up in high place. That is how the following two rounds went, too. Gordon took Fishgold down and landed ground-and-pound within the second. Within the third, he acquired Fishgold down once more and landed arduous punches to the edges of Fishgold’s head. Gordon was near ending, however Fishgold survived to the top of the bout.

Gordon landed 241 whole strikes, which was the fourth most landed in a single struggle in UFC featherweight historical past, per ESPN Stats & Information.

Gordon, 31, picked up his second win in three fights. The New York native had dropped three of 4 coming in. Fishgold, a 28-year-old England native, has dropped three of his previous 4 bouts. Fishgold missed weight Tuesday by three kilos.

— Raimondi

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Girls’s flyweight: Liana Jojua (7-3, 0-1 UFC) defeats Diana Belbita (13-5, 0-1 UFC) by first-round armbar

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Liana Jojua will get Diana Belbita into an armbar and forces her to submit within the first spherical.

Jojua withstood an early onslaught and methodically labored her technique to an armbar end at 2:23 of Spherical 1 in a gathering of younger flyweights. Jojua is 25, Belbita a yr youthful.

Belbita, a Romanian preventing out of Canada, got here out aggressively, shifting ahead behind punches, then trapped Jojua in a clinch. However when the struggle went to the canvas, Jojua, a Georgian, instantly arrange the submission. She acquired it for her first UFC win.

These fighters had adopted comparable paths to the large present. Jojua misplaced her promotional debut final September after driving in on a five-fight profitable streak. Belbita had received 4 in a row earlier than she dropped her first UFC bout in October.

“I believe submission, not armbar, however any submission will do, however armbar is my favourite submission and I make do,” Jojua stated. “I did not suppose I’d make this within the first spherical, I believe one or two rounds, however she took me down and I end. I am very comfortable as a result of I have not received in two years, it is very arduous for me. That is my first UFC win and struggle on the new weight. I felt excellent, however the weight lower may be very arduous for me, it is very loopy for me. However then I believe it should change into simpler for me as a result of it will not be new for me and solely having one month for the struggle was somewhat bit quick discover.

“I do not know after I wish to struggle subsequent, I have not thought of it. I believe I wish to go to new camps, make a visa for America. I wish to go to America and practice there after which I’ll take into consideration preventing. Proper now it is very arduous for coaching, if I do not change camps, it is not good for me.”

— Wagenheim

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Males’s bantamweight: Jack Shore (13-0, 2-Zero UFC) defeats Aaron Phillips (12-4, 0-Three UFC) by second-round rear-naked choke

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Jack Shore submits Aaron Phillips early within the second spherical of their bout within the prelims of UFC Struggle Night time at Struggle Island.

The UFC has a professional prospect from the UK on its fingers.

Shore stopped Phillips with a rear-naked choke at 2:29 of the second spherical to open the UFC’s second card on Yas Island. Shore was in a position to take Phillips down within the opening seconds of the second spherical, take Phillips’ again after which lock within the choke.

Shore dominated nearly each second of the struggle together with his wrestling and grappling. He pressed Phillips towards the cage within the first spherical, landed punches from the turtle place after which blasted Phillips with some arduous knees within the clinch.

Shore, 25, has 12 stoppages in 13 profession victories and eight of these stoppages are submissions. The Wales native is now 2-Zero within the UFC. Shore is a former Cage Warriors bantamweight champion.

“I am gonna maintain the end fee excessive,” Shore stated. “Folks pay to see finishes.”

Phillips, 30, had his five-fight profitable streak snapped. The Louisiana resident was making his first look within the UFC since 2014.

“It has been a troublesome struggle week with the quarantine in London for 2 days, flight to Abu Dhabi, caught within the resort room for 2 days right here, the climate, the sleeping sample, the change of opponents, however it’s what it’s, as fighters we have to study to cope with adversity,” Shore stated. “Aside from a sloppy begin to the primary spherical, I am unable to complain, second-round end — I am a contented man. I am a little bit of a perfectionist, I am a kind of guys, I wish to go on the market and win each second of each spherical of each struggle. I am going to in all probability return and watch it on the TV or on my telephone and I am going to have a unique view like I all the time do. I simply felt somewhat bit sloppy beginning off, however as soon as I acquired in my rhythm and loosened up, I acquired the job carried out.

“I wish to maintain getting higher between fights. I wish to convey a greater model of myself to each single struggle; I do not wish to be that man who’s preventing each month. Give me a month or two now to enhance my talent set and it might be nice to come back again to the Octagon. October or November time, excellent. I might like to come back again to Abu Dhabi as effectively, I did not get to see a lot of this stunning place, been caught within the resort for every week chopping weight, so I might love to come back again right here for a visit and take a look about and luxuriate in it somewhat bit extra too.”

— Raimondi

Watch this struggle on ESPN+.





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