Jack Hermansson wasted no time in reasserting his standing among the many higher echelon of UFC middleweight contenders.

The native of Sweden, who fights out of Norway, had received 4 in a row previous to having his momentum abruptly halted by final September’s TKO loss to Jared Cannonier. On Saturday, within the co-main occasion of UFC Struggle Evening in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Hermansson was searching for redemption towards Kelvin Gastelum, who simply over a yr in the past was competing for an interim championship.

Hermansson, 32, received that redemption and he received it rapidly, submitting Gastelum with a heel hook simply 1:18 into the combat.

Hermansson went for a takedown earlier than the combat was 40 seconds previous, and he received it. Nevertheless, Gastelum reversed him as they went to the mat and went proper into half guard. However Hermansson was unfazed, grabbing maintain of his opponent’s left ankle and securing it tightly as Gastelum tried to scramble away. It took simply moments for Gastelum to faucet out.

It was the sixth profession submission for Hermansson (21-5, 8-Three within the UFC), who has constructed his title principally together with his fingers (11 KOs). He’s No. 7 within the ESPN middleweight rankings.

Hermansson referred to as out the winner of subsequent Saturday’s bout between Darren Until and Robert Whittaker.

“First-round end, what extra can you would like for?” Hermansson mentioned. “I am very harmful on the bottom. I believe that he’s comfy together with his prime recreation, however folks do not understand how a lot I’ve from the bottom as a result of I am not a lot on my again in my fights, virtually by no means, so folks do not understand how harmful of a recreation I’ve from there. Now they’ve a clue.

“I need a title shot.”

The sixth-ranked Gastelum (16-6, 1 NC; 10-6, 1 NC UFC) has misplaced three in a row, a skid that started with an interim title combat in April 2019 towards Israel Adesanya, who now reigns as champion.

— Wagenheim

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Males’s flyweight championship: Deiveson Figueiredo (19-1, 8-1 UFC) defeats Joseph Benavidez (28-7, 15-5 UFC) by first-round rear-naked choke

This time, Deiveson Figueiredo left little doubt.

In a rematch of their controversial bout earlier this yr, Figueiredo knocked down Joseph Benavidez thrice after which choked him out at 4:48 of the primary spherical in the principle occasion of Sunday’s UFC Struggle Evening in Abu Dhabi. With the win, Figueiredo claimed the vacant UFC flyweight championship.

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Light-weight: Rafael Fiziev (8-1, 2-1 UFC) defeats Marc Diakiese (14-4, 5-Four UFC) by unanimous choice

Diakiese is an excellent, explosive MMA striker with knockout energy. Fiziev is a longtime Muay Thai fighter and kickboxer — and the Muay Thai coach at Thailand’s Tiger Muay Thai health club. Collectively, they produced the combat of the night time.

There are positively ranges to the standup recreation in blended martial arts. That was obvious in Fiziev’s unanimous choice (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) light-weight win over Diakiese. Fiziev clearly put Diakiese out of his depth on the toes, ripping exhausting low kicks and physique kicks and touchdown huge punching combos. On protection, Fiziev was a lot tougher to hit, too — together with a Matrix-like leaning evasion of a Diakiese left head kick within the second spherical.

Fiziev truly did a few of his greatest work on the bottom within the first spherical, touchdown an enormous elbow from prime place after a scramble that bloodied Diakiese. Again on the toes, he landed an enormous physique kick on Diakiese. The second spherical was all putting and dominant for Fiziev, who landed some vicious leg kicks and at one level a spinning again fist.

All through, Fiziev’s putting was free and highly effective. When Diakiese would land, Fiziev appeared nonplussed, waving him in. Within the third, that just about value Fiziev. Diakiese landed a pair of exhausting proper fingers that snapped Fiziev’s head again. Diakiese hung in till the top and put forth important offense, however the choice was apparent for Fiziev.

Fiziev, 27, has received two straight after dropping his UFC debut to Magomed Mustafaev in April 2019. The Kyrgyzstan native had a protracted kickboxing and Muay Thai profession previous to transitioning to MMA in 2015. Diakiese, a 27-year-old Congo-born England resident, had a two-fight profitable streak snapped.

— Raimondi

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Girls’s flyweight: Ariane Lipski (13-5, 2-2 UFC) defeats Luana Carolina (6-2, 1-1 UFC) by kneebar

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Ariane Lipski flooring Luana Carolina with a strong proper hand to the intestine, then forces Carolina to faucet out with a savage knee bar.

Lipski, often known as “The Queen of Violence” for her aggressive standup assault, took her violence to the canvas by securing a kneebar that had Carolina shrieking in ache earlier than the referee might bounce in at simply 1:28 of Spherical 1.

Lipski is the primary girl within the UFC to get a kneebar submission and earned a performance-of-the-night bonus. It was the second-fastest submission in flyweight historical past.

Lipski closed the gap on her fellow Brazilian flyweight instantly, giving Carolina no room to make the most of her kickboxing. Then, barely a minute in, Lipski floored Carolina with a tough proper hand to the physique and went to work on the bottom.

Carolina gave the impression to be on the verge of reversing place when she grabbed Lipski’s foot and went for a heel hook. However Lipski sat again to get out of hassle, then instantly appeared for the kneebar. She clamped it on tight, and Carolina set free a scream straight away, earlier than she might faucet.

It was the second straight victory for Lipski, after the 26-year-old out of Curitiba had misplaced in her first two UFC appearances. Earlier than becoming a member of the promotion, she was a champion in KSW.

Carolina, competing for the primary time since profitable her UFC debut in March 2019, is a 27-year-old who relies in Sao Paulo.

— Wagenheim

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Males’s flyweight: Askar Askarov (12-0-1, 2-0-1 UFC) defeats Alexandre Pantoja (22-5, 6-Three UFC) by unanimous choice

The subsequent flyweight title challenger might need been determined.

Askarov outpointed Pantoja through unanimous choice (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in a important bout within the UFC’s flyweight division. The third spherical, which Askarov received with the tougher punches all through, was the one which determined it.

Coming in, Pantoja was ESPN’s No. 6-ranked MMA flyweight and Askarov was No. 7.

It was a back-and-forth bout crammed with wild scrambles and even exchanges on the toes. Askarov’s recreation plan was what it sometimes is: wrestling. He pushed Pantoja up towards the cage and took him down within the first spherical. Pantoja tried an armbar, however Askarov defended and ended up in prime place. Pantoja ended up getting Askarov’s again in a loopy floor scramble, however was not capable of safe a choke earlier than the top of the spherical.

Pantoja received Askarov’s again once more within the second spherical, however Askarov was capable of escape. It was one other spherical crammed with fast-paced grappling — and really exhausting to attain for the judges due to the velocity with which each males have been shifting. Within the third spherical, Askarov deserted his wrestling a bit and had plenty of success on the toes with exhausting proper and left fingers. Askarov switched his stance from orthodox to southpaw and again a number of occasions within the spherical, which saved Pantoja on his toes.

Askarov, 27, has now received two straight following a draw with Brandon Moreno in his UFC debut in September 2019. The Russia native had received his first 10 professional bouts through end. Pantoja, a 30-year-old Brazilian, had received 4 of 5 coming in with the one loss in that span coming to Deiveson Figueiredo.

— Raimondi

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Mild heavyweight: Roman Dolidze (7-0, 1-Zero UFC) defeats Khadis Ibragimov (8-3, 0-Three UFC) by first-round KO

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Roman Dolidze lands a punishing kick to the pinnacle of Khadis Ibragimov, knocking him out in Spherical 1.

It was a powerful — and concussive — UFC debut by Dolidze, who remained undefeated and nonetheless has not gone the gap in his profession.

The 32-year-old Georgian, who fights out of Ukraine, landed an array of calf kicks early within the mild heavyweight combat. However the deciding blow was a left excessive kick that landed not with the foot or shin however with the knee, dropping Ibragimov limply. Dolidze adopted it up with punches on the canvas for the TKO end at 4:15 of the primary spherical.

Dolidze was coming off over a yr and a half of inactivity. He received his first three profession fights by submission, and his most up-to-date 4 have come by knockout. 5 of these finishes have are available in Spherical 1.

Ibragimov, a 25-year-old Dagestani, has misplaced in all three of his UFC outings after getting into the promotion final yr unbeaten.

“He was an excellent opponent, robust opponent, however I do not like when somebody seems to be at me like he achieved yesterday [at the weigh-ins], this was his huge mistake, that is why it was like that at this time,” Dolidze mentioned. “Simply combating, that is all, nothing extra. I am prepared, no issues with me, I am able to combat yesterday, tomorrow …”

— Wagenheim

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Catchweight (150 kilos): Grant Dawson (16-1, 4-Zero UFC) defeats Nad Narimani (12-4, 2-2 UFC) by unanimous choice

The longer term appears to be very shiny for Dawson.

The prospect out of Glory MMA in Missouri picked up a dominant, unanimous choice (30-26, 30-27, 29-27) win over Narimani, displaying off his putting along with his wrestling and grappling.

“I knew this was a combat the place it was protected to point out that,” Dawson mentioned of his standup. “I wanted to get higher on this combat.”

Dawson’s excessive stage of grappling has already been established and he utilized each abilities within the first two rounds. Within the first, Dawson slipped after Narimani checked certainly one of his calf kicks. Narimani tried to pounce, however Dawson landed a leaping knee that linked. Quickly after, Dawson was in prime place after which took Narimani’s again, searching for a choke.

Dawson received Narimani to the mat in a extra conventional method within the second, with a single leg takedown. As soon as once more, Dawson received to the again and did harm there, bloodying Narimani with punches. The choke was not there once more, although, and Narimani made it into the third spherical.

Within the third, Dawson stayed on the toes and landed a number of exhausting calf kicks that clearly induced Narimani points. Narimani had moments earlier than the combat closed, although. He landed some exhausting proper fingers on Dawson and pushed the tempo, clearly searching for a end as a result of he was behind on the scorecards. Dawson eluded the knockout blow and went on to win the choice.

Dawson, 26, has received 4 straight. This was the Nebraska native’s first choice win in his previous three bouts. His earlier two wins got here through rear-naked choke submission. Narimani, a 33-year-old England native, has dropped two in a row following a five-fight profitable streak.

Afterward, Dawson mentioned he’d combat at 155 kilos or a 150-pound catchweight through the pandemic, so he will be accessible for short-notice fights. Dawson mentioned he’d contemplate a transfer again to featherweight (145 kilos) when issues returned to normalcy.

— Raimondi

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Light-weight: Joel Alvarez (17-2, 2-1 UFC) defeats Joe Duffy (16-5, 4-Four UFC) by first-round guillotine

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Joel Alvarez upsets Joe Duffy after forcing him to faucet out through guillotine choke in Spherical 1.

You needed to know somebody was going to be tapping out on this one. Every of those males got here in with 16 professional wins on his résumé, with Alvarez having scored all however two of them by submission and Duffy having produced 10 subs.

However the lightweights made it a kicking contest for the primary two minutes. Every man reddened the opposite’s left calf with a succession of low kicks, and neither took a backward step. They each appeared content material to proceed the putting battle.

Then Duffy shot for a double-leg takedown and put Alvarez on his again with 2:45 to go within the spherical. However the Spaniard wasted no time in switching to grappling mode. He locked in a guillotine choke, and earlier than it might register to onlookers that it was a decent submission try, Duffy was tapping at 2:25.

For Duffy, a 32-year-old Irishman who had not competed in 16 months, it was his third straight loss.

Alvarez, 2-1 within the UFC, had not fought in simply over a yr. He is 27.

— Wagenheim

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Males’s bantamweight: Brett Johns (17-2, 5-2 UFC) defeats Montel Jackson (9-2, 3-2 UFC) by unanimous choice

Johns knew he had a bonus within the grappling and by no means let up in that side of the combat.

Regardless of getting dropped within the first spherical, Johns caught to his grappling-heavy recreation plan and pulled off a unanimous choice (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) win over Jackson. Afterward, Johns instructed analyst Paul Felder that he needed to overcome Jackson’s unbelievable grip power, which he described as one thing he had “by no means felt in my life earlier than.”

“That was a dire efficiency,” Johns mentioned. “That wasn’t the perfect. I might do lots higher than that.”

Johns labored for a takedown towards the cage within the first spherical, however did not get it. Jackson was capable of get far and land an enormous left hand that put Johns down. Jackson received in prime place and landed exhausting elbows. Johns tried for an armbar because the spherical was coming to an finish, however Jackson defended and clearly received the primary.

The wrestling and grappling of Johns received out within the subsequent two rounds. Johns was capable of get Jackson down within the second and work for a triangle choke. Within the third, Johns took Jackson down twice and at one level cinched in a decent guillotine. Jackson escaped, however the third spherical — just like the second — was clear for Johns.

Johns, 28, has now received two straight after dropping two in a row. The 28-year-old Welshman has received 4 of his six UFC bouts and appears to be headed again towards a rise in competitors stage. Jackson, a 28-year-old Wisconsin native, had a three-fight profitable streak snapped.

— Raimondi


Amir Albazi (13-1, 1-Zero UFC) defeats Malcolm Gordon (12-4, 0-1) by first-round triangle choke

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Amir Albazi stops Malcolm Gordon after submitting him with a triangle choke in Spherical 1.

Albazi confirmed the tighter, extra correct putting early on, however he actually separated himself as soon as this combat between two 125-pounders making their UFC debuts hit the canvas.

Albazi, a 26-year-old combating out of London, threatened Gordon from prime place after getting the takedown halfway by way of Spherical 1, working his method to full mount with simply over a minute to go. When Gordon reversed him and received on prime, Albazi instantly locked in a triangle choke and elicited the tapout at 4:42. It was the primary triangle submission of 2020.

Gordon got here into his debut driving a four-fight profitable streak — all finishes, together with three submissions. He is 30 and fights out of Toronto.

This was the primary of three males’s flyweight bouts on the cardboard, together with the championship principal occasion.

“The victory felt superb, precisely what I have been engaged on,” Albazi mentioned. “It went precisely to plan, plan was to face up a bit, really feel him out, take him down and eventually put him to sleep with a choke maintain or a submission. I have been coaching jiu-jitsu because the age of 14, each again dwelling in Sweden and in London Shoot Fighters in London, so I really feel very comfy on the bottom.”

— Wagenheim

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Light-weight: Arman Tsarukyan (15-2, 2-1 UFC) defeats Davi Ramos (10-4, 4-Three UFC) by unanimous choice

This felt like a coming-out get together for Tsarukyan. Whereas the Armenian wrestler appeared spectacular in his earlier two UFC fights, Tsarukyan actually put all of it collectively in a unanimous choice (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) win over the very expert and robust Ramos.

Tsarukyan’s boxing was sharp, his wrestling was wonderful as normal and he stayed out of hassle your complete time on the bottom towards Ramos, a harmful Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace.

Tsarukyan was capable of take Ramos down within the first spherical, which some might need thought was a dangerous choice given Ramos’ prowess on the bottom. It went high-quality for Tsarukyan, who landed ground-and-pound. Tsarukyan’s various putting took over within the second spherical. With Ramos searching for one huge proper hand, Tsarukyan threw nice punching combos — certainly one of which briefly wobbled Ramos — and kicks. By the third, Ramos was bleeding from a number of cuts on his face. Ramos was pushing the tempo, searching for a end. However Tsarukyan was too expert and technical together with his countering and combos.

Tsarukyan, 23, has received two straight since dropping his UFC debut towards Islam Makhachev in April 2019. The Russia resident has cemented himself as top-of-the-line prospects within the stacked UFC light-weight division. Ramos, a 33-year-old Brazilian, has dropped two straight following a four-fight profitable streak.

“This was an incredible combat for me as a result of Davi Ramos is a really robust opponent,” Tsarukyan mentioned. “He is likely one of the stronger grapplers on this planet. Subsequent combat, I need to combat with top-15, top-10 guys, possibly Al Iaquinta as a result of he’s a really robust man and he fought with Khabib Nurmagomedov. I need to combat with him as a result of it is a good combat for me. I am a really younger fighter. Day-after-day I’ll get higher and higher. I can destroy my entire division.”

— Raimondi

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Heavyweight: Serghei Spivac (11-2, 2-2 UFC) defeats Carlos Felipe (8-1, 0-1 UFC) by majority choice

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Serghei Spivac unleashes a barrage of punches on Carlos Felipe and exchanges a confrontation after the official choice.

Spivac’s dominant Spherical Three secured the victory within the battle of 25-year-old heavyweights.

All three judges scored the ultimate spherical 10-Eight after Spivac took down Felipe within the opening seconds and saved him on the canvas for virtually everything of the 5 minutes. And he did not simply maintain the place; the Moldovan punished his opponent with exhausting punches and elbows. Felipe was exhausted, rendering him all however defenseless.

Two judges scored the bout 29-27, whereas the third had it 28-28, indicating that he had awarded the primary two rounds to Felipe.

That in itself is puzzling, as a result of whereas neither man distinguished himself within the first 10 minutes, Spivac was way more correct together with his punches and confirmed extra poise general.

Felipe, making his UFC debut as an undefeated fighter, confirmed off a black belt in head shaking and never rather more. Each time Spivac landed, Felipe shook his head. Which is to say: Felipe shook his head lots in Spherical 1, as he absorbed a number of straight punches whereas he was winging looping proper fingers towards Spivac, who dodged or blocked most of them.

Felipe did have some success within the second spherical, however aside from bravado, the large Brazilian didn’t present a lot.

“I believe that I wasn’t nice on this combat as a result of I by no means had a correct camp due to the COVID scenario,” Spivac mentioned. “I used to be mad at my opponent due to his tips on the weigh-ins and through the combat.

“My daughter was born proper earlier than the combat so I did not sleep nicely due to that, and I need to dedicate the victory to my spouse and daughter.”

— Wagenheim

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