It took him 26 fights in an 11½ -year skilled profession to get there, however Michael Chandler wasted no time in asserting his presence within the Octagon on Saturday night time.
The previous Bellator light-weight champion knocked out Dan Hooker within the first spherical of the co-main occasion of UFC 257 on Saturday night time in AbuDhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Chandler, who’s 34 and trains in Boca Raton, Florida, bought the job accomplished with a left hook that dropped the New Zealander, adopted by a flurry of punches earlier than referee Herb Dean waved it off simply 2 minutes, 30 seconds into the battle.
However Chandler’s quick night time’s work was not completed.
“Conor McGregor, shock, shock, there is a new king of the light-weight division!” Chandler bellowed into the microphone throughout his interview contained in the cage. “Dustin Poirier, your time is coming. And Khabib [Nurmagomedov], in case you ever do see match to grace us along with your presence again right here within the UFC Octagon, in your quest for 30-0, you have to beat any individual. So beat me, in case you can. God bless, see you on the high!”
The callout of Nurmagomedov may draw the UFC light-weight champion’s curiosity, as he retired in October and this previous week indicated — by way of UFC president Dana White — that he had no plans to return except he noticed one thing particular at UFC 257. Chandler’s debut was certainly particular.
Khabib vs Chandler. Ebook it. #UFC257
— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) January 24, 2021
He made fast work of Hooker, who’s 30, and got here into the battle No. 6 in ESPN’s light-weight rankings. Chandler is No. 7 — for now.
— Jeff Wagenheim
Combat in progress:
In a violent, back-and-forth affair, Calderwood pulled out a unanimous-decision victory (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) over Eye in a pivotal girls’s flyweight battle. Calderwood emptied her complete toolbox — touchdown nasty knees to the pinnacle and physique, elbows and hard-punching combos.
ESPN had Calderwood ranked No. 5 on this planet at girls’s flyweight coming in. She was lined up for a title shot in opposition to champion Valentina Shevchenko final yr, however fell to Jennifer Maia to lose out on that chance. This win will get Calderwood again in that dialog. However “Dr. Kneevil” will not be banking on it.
Shut again n forth battle. Calderwood extra various assaults although #UFC257live
— Brian BOOM Kelleher (@brianboom135) January 24, 2021
“If they need me to go on and battle 10 extra ladies, I am good for that, too,” Calderwood stated in her postfight interview.
Eye was bullying Calderwood within the first spherical within the clinch a bit. However Calderwood bought her photographs in, too, and when the battle was extra huge open at distance she did her finest work. Within the second spherical, Calderwood landed a entrance kick to the face and a tough physique kick. Again within the clinch, Calderwood chewed up Eye with elbows.
Eye properly selected to attempt to take Calderwood down to start out the third spherical, however was unsuccessful. Calderwood slowed down a bit within the remaining spherical, however nonetheless landed an enormous knee out of the Thai clinch that opened a minimize over Eye’s left eye. When the bell rang, the 2 girls shook fingers, doubtlessly signifying the top of the meat.
Calderwood, 34, has gained 4 out of her previous six fights. The Scotland native has 5 UFC girls’s flyweight wins, tied for second all time. Eye, a 34-year-old Ohio native combating out of Las Vegas, has dropped three of her previous 4.
— Marc Raimondi
Makhmud Muradov had simply absorbed a tough overhand proper hand, which despatched him backward towards the cage, drawing a cheer from the Andrew Sanchez nook. However the cheering rapidly stopped, as Muradov got here ahead with a proper hand that linked on the button, wobbling Sanchez and resulting in the end for Muradov’s 14th straight victory.
The 30-year-old native of Uzbekistan, who lives within the Czech Republic, had not competed since 2019, seeing 4 battle bookings canceled. So it took him some time to get his punching assault going. However till that point, his kicks have been doing simply tremendous.
Muradov stored the battle at kicking distance early. That meant each males have been arising quick with lots of their punches, however Muradov was touchdown calf kicks that by the top of Spherical 1 had broken Sanchez’s lead leg.
Muradov did extra harm along with his fingers in Spherical 2, particularly within the remaining moments, when he landed two exhausting rights. He got here out for the third spherical throwing the correct hand time and again, stunting the offensive output of Sanchez. When Muradov wobbled his opponent with a proper hand, he adopted with a flying knee that despatched Sanchez backward towards the cage, the place Muradov completed with a flurry of punches at 2:59 of the spherical. It was his seventeenth profession knockout.
Sanchez, who’s 32 and from St. Louis, trains at Tristar Fitness center in Montreal. He got here in having gained three of 4.
— Jeff Wagenheim
Rodriguez picked up the most important victory of her profession, a TKO end of Ribas at :54 of the second spherical to open the UFC 257 primary card. The bout was a key one within the UFC girls’s strawweight division, and Rodriguez picked up her first knockout since 2018. However the ending got here in weird trend.
Rodriguez dropped Ribas with an enormous proper hand and appeared to complete on the bottom with extra punches. Referee Herb Dean closed in, seeking to cease the battle, however appeared to stumble into Rodriguez by the way. Rodriguez thought the bout was over, as a result of Dean touched her and she or he stopped the onslaught. However Dean by no means formally halted the bout.
“[Dean] got here in shut, he had his fingers out,” Rodriguez stated via an interpreter within the postfight interview. “I assumed I used to be throwing lot of punches and she or he was motionless.”
Tremendous sketchy second there lol however glorious putting by Rodriguez!! Clear! #ufc257
— Stephen Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) January 24, 2021
Dean instructed the 2 fighters to proceed competing and so they did. Rodriguez did not let the funky sequence deter her. She landed one other large proper hand, adopted by a second one. Each rocked Ribas. Dean stepped in from there with Ribas nonetheless standing. This time, it was over. For actual.
“Now, you understand who I’m,” Rodriguez stated.
Ribas had first spherical. She was capable of get a bodylock takedown and spend period of time in high place, touchdown some floor and pound. However Rodriguez’s energy punching took over within the second spherical.
Coming in, ESPN had Rodriguez ranked No. 8 on this planet at girls’s strawweight. This victory ought to get her a giant contender bout. Rodriguez cashed as a +260 underdog and she or he was +1200 to win by knockout, in line with Caesars William Hill.
Rodriguez, 33, was coming off the primary lack of her profession, by way of cut up choice to Carla Esparza final July. The Brazil native is now 3-1-2 within the UFC. Ribas, a 27-year-old Brazil native, was on a five-fight profitable streak.
— Marc Raimondi
Arman Tsarukyan flowed and flowed for quarter-hour, placing on strain when the battle was being contested on the toes, then taking Matt Frevola to the canvas time and again on the best way to incomes his third win in a row.
The 24-year-old Russian hit double figures along with his takedowns, and each time Frevola tried to scramble into higher place on the mat, Tsarukyan was a transfer forward of him.
What a battle!!!! That was an unbelievable tempo! #UFCFightIsland8
— Tatiana Suarez (@tatianaufc) January 24, 2021
When Frevola did handle to make it a standup battle, Tsarukyan was too slick for him there, too, feeding him a weight loss plan of punch combos and utilizing head motion and footwork to keep away from most of what Frevola tried to land. Frevola was barely capable of eclipse the 28% mark in putting accuracy.
All three judges gave every spherical to Tsarukyan, with one scoring the battle 30-26.
For Frevola, who’s 30 and from Huntington, New York, it was his first loss in his previous 4 fights.
This matchup was swiftly put collectively on Friday after weigh-ins. Frevola was scheduled to face Ottman Azaitar, however Azaitar was pulled from the bout — and minimize from the UFC — after sneaking a visitor into the fighter lodge, a violation of the promotion’s security protocol. Tsarukyan was slated to battle Nasrat Haqparast, however Haqparast was in poor health and didn’t weigh in. So Frevola and Tsarujyan have been matched up, although at a 157-pound catchweight after Tsarukyan missed the light-weight restrict.
— Jeff Wagenheim
The questions have been aplenty for Brad Tavares going into his first battle again from ACL surgical procedure. He answered them authoritatively.
Tavares bested Antonio Carlos Junior by way of unanimous choice (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) to take his place again among the many hardest middleweight fighters within the sport. Carlos Junior was additionally making his return from ACL surgical procedure.
The story of the battle was Carlos Junior’s incapability to get Tavares to the bottom. Carlos Junior is among the most harmful Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners within the UFC middleweight division. However Tavares stuffed nearly each single takedown, by no means permitting Carlos Junior to work his dominant high recreation and submission abilities. At one level within the first spherical, Carlos Junior adopted up a mixture superbly with a double-leg takedown try. But one way or the other Tavares stored his stability, bought to the cage and stored his again off the mat.
Tavares takedown protection legit as at all times
— Jamahal “Candy Desires” Hill (@JamahalH) January 24, 2021
Per UFC Stats, Tavares stopped 11 of 12 takedown makes an attempt.
On the toes all through, Tavares was the higher man. He chopped on the taller Carlos Junior’s lead leg and landed stunning boxing combos, more often than not ending with a tough straight proper cross. By halfway via the second spherical, Tavares had all of the momentum, and he rode it the remainder of the best way.
Tavares, 33, snapped a two-fight shedding streak with the victory. The Hawaii native, who lives and trains in Las Vegas, owns 13 UFC middleweight wins, tied for third all time. Carlos Junior, a 30-year-old Brazil native, has dropped three straight.
— Marc Raimondi
Julianna Pena will get Sara McMann to faucet out late in Spherical 3 of their bout.
Sara McMann entered the battle because the slight favourite and all-time UFC bantamweight chief in takedowns with 20. Julianna Pena, who has 14 takedowns of her personal, was up for the problem.
After two very even rounds, Pena took management within the third and completed off McMann by way of rear-naked choke. She earned her sixth UFC victory, her first by submission.
“It performed precisely as I assumed it was,” Pena stated. “Sarah is the very best wrestler within the division … and I beat the very best wrestler within the division.”
Pena then referred to as out the champ, Amanda Nunes, saying she ought to “fast ducking her.”
The Lioness already responded to Julianna Pena’s callout at #UFC257 👀
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 24, 2021
Pena landed some knees and tried a guillotine to carry the battle down within the first spherical, however McMann was evasive. Each girls exchanged large photographs from their respective positions and went to the corners and not using a clear victor within the spherical.
The second spherical began with a Pena guillotine try and an incredible use of the cage as McMann used her toes on the metallic to change positions to rotate out of hazard. Pena transitioned right into a triangle, placing immense strain on McMann. Regardless of McMann being on high, Pena dominated, working very nicely from her again. McMann landed some key elbows from the highest, however Pena stored the strain on. McMann secured Pena’s again, making an attempt to lock in a choke, however a hand-fight ensued, Pena escaped and there could be a 3rd spherical.
A fast minute of standup began off the ultimate body, however to no person’s shock the battle went again to the bottom with Pena being the dominant fighter. Pena caught her breath and fought for place for over a minute, then landed some hammerfists and elbows that rapidly turned the battle in her favor for good. Pena rolled McMann over, secured a physique triangle and completed the battle with the submission.
At 1:21 left within the remaining spherical, this was the fourth-latest stoppage in UFC girls’s bantamweight historical past.
Pena outlanded McMann 38-21 in important strikes and 140-28 in complete strikes, in line with UFC Stats. McMann has misplaced three of her final 4.
— Andrew Feldman
Khalil Rountree Jr. drops Marcin Prachnio late in Spherical 2, however Prachnio will get up and the battle retains going.
Anybody who watched the second spherical between Khalil Rountree Jr. and Marcin Prachnio would have been shocked by the ultimate consequence. Rountree dropped Prachnio with a proper hook and cracked him with a head kick.
However Prachnio was the clear winner within the first and third rounds. And that was sufficient to earn a unanimous-decision win (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
— Stephen Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) January 24, 2021
Prachnio did a stable job holding Rountree at bay with aspect kicks and leg kicks within the first spherical, mixing in some exhausting punching combos. Rountree put Prachnio in large bother within the second with a verify hook after which a left head kick that caught Prachnio proper underneath the chin. However Rountree was by no means capable of land the follow-up shot to place Prachnio down for good.
Within the third, Rountree appeared to have misplaced steam and Prachnio remained recent, coming ahead with big-punching combos. Rountree landed a pleasant uppercut with Prachnio ducking in, however it was too little, too late.
Prachnio, 32, picked up his first UFC victory with this consequence. The Poland native was probably combating for his UFC job — he had misplaced three straight, all by some type of knockout. Rountree, a 30-year-old California native who trains in Thailand, has dropped two straight and three of 4.
— Marc Raimondi
Movsar Evloev headed to Combat Island with a objective — to get a quantity subsequent to his identify. It did not look promising early, however he finally topped UFC veteran Nik Lentz in a 150-pound catchweight battle, and when the subsequent set of featherweight rankings come out, Evloev probably could have simply that. Evloev remained undefeated and gained the bout by cut up choice 29-28, 29-28, 28-29. He has gained all 4 of his UFC bouts by choice.
The battle did not begin out in Evloev’s favor. The -700 favourite from Russia was caught in plenty of Lentz’s guillotine choke makes an attempt within the first spherical. Evloev remained affected person and fought his approach out, finally touchdown a couple of key photographs on Lentz within the closing seconds. Though Evloev was in inferior positions for a lot of the spherical, Lentz’s face was bloodied as he walked again to his nook.
The second spherical confirmed a unique aspect of Evloev, who landed at will with livid combos. Lentz went again to the guillotine try practically each time Evloev modified ranges, however Evloev was evasive and confirmed brilliance within the scramble to keep away from getting completed.
The third spherical was nonstop aggression from Evloev with primarily your entire spherical happening on the toes. Evloev combined in some kicks along with his unending jabs, consistently touching Lentz always and placing his cardio to the check.
After the battle, Evloev pleaded to Dana White and requested for a top-15 opponent subsequent.
Lentz has misplaced his previous three bouts. The previous D-1 wrestler had the file for many guillotine makes an attempt in UFC historical past getting into the bout with 20, and added to that complete all through the night time.
— Andrew Feldman
It is early in his UFC profession, however Albazi certain looks like he’ll be a handful for even the very best fighters within the flyweight division.
Albazi defeated Zhumagulov by way of unanimous choice (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in a whole efficiency to open UFC 257 on Saturday. Albazi bought it accomplished with each facet of MMA, from putting to wrestling to grappling.
“I like to complete fights to be trustworthy,” Albazi stated. “However Zhalgas may be very robust. I hope to get a end subsequent time.”
Amir Albazi dedicates his win tonight to metropolis of Baghdad, which was not too long ago hit by a pair of suicide bombings. Albazi has an incredible story, his household fled from Iraq when he was 7, however he nonetheless loves it and needs to be an emblem of hope for his birthplace.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) January 24, 2021
Albazi was in Zhumagulov’s face from the opening bell. Zhumagulov bought some licks in early, swinging with exhausting punches and touchdown a couple of of them within the first spherical. Albazi, although, wouldn’t be deterred. He moved ahead with feints adopted by combos and by no means let Zhumagulov actually get snug within the cage. He took Zhumagulov down briefly on the finish of the spherical after which did so once more within the third, taking Zhumagulov’s again.
Albazi, 27, has gained three straight, together with his first two within the UFC. The Sweden-born fighter of Iraqi descent has misplaced solely to former UFC flyweight Jose Torres in his profession. Zhumagulov, a 32-year-old Kazakhstan native, has dropped two in a row and remains to be looking for his first UFC victory.
“I felt like he was determined ultimately,” Albazi stated. “He wished to commerce and hopefully get me out in one thing, so I simply performed it cool, moved round. I knew there wasn’t an excessive amount of time left.
“I anticipated him to be somewhat bit more durable to take down, however after I bought a maintain of him, it was quite a bit simpler than I assumed. Now, wanting again to the battle, I ought to have gone for the takedown earlier.”
— Marc Raimondi