Following a one-week break, an extended stretch of action inside kicked off on Saturday at the UFC APEX, as 13 pairs of athletes marched two-by-two into the Octagon, culminating with a critical flyweight matchup between Kai Kara-France and Amir Albazi.
From the opening bout through to the main event, the fights delivered, giving everyone in attendance and watching at home a number of highlights and plenty to talk about going forward.
UFC Fight Night: Kara-France vs Albazi Results
- Main Event: Amir Albazi (48-47, 48-47) defeats Kai Kara-France (48-47) by split decision
- Co-Main Event: Alex Caceres defeats Daniel Pineda by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Jim Miller defeats Jesse Butler by KO (left hand) at 0:23 of Round 1
- Tim Elliott defeats Victor Altamirano by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Karine Silva defeats Ketlen Souza by submission (kneebar) at 1:35 of Round 1
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (29-28, 29-28) defeats Abubakar Nurmagomedov (29-28) by split decision
- Daniel Santos defeats Johnny Munoz by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
- Don’Tale Mayes defeats Andrei Arlovski by TKO (right hand) at 3:17 of Round 2
- John Castaneda defeats Muin Gafurov by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
- Muhammad Naimov defeats Jamie Mullarkey by TKO (right hook and punches) at 2:59 of Round 2
- Elise Reed defeats Jinh Yu Frey by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Da’Mon Blackshear defeats Luan Lacerda by TKO (strikes) at 3:54 of Round 2
- Philipe Lins defeats Maxim Grishin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
UFC Fight Night: Kara-France vs Albazi Main Card Fight Results
Amir Albazi (48-47, 48-47) defeats Kai Kara-France (48-47) by split decision
The headlining flyweights ran parallel from the outset, both showing the depth of their repertoires as they closed out the show on Saturday night.
Each of the first two rounds were largely contested on the feet, with Kara-France throwing more, but Albazi holding his own in the striking department, landing a few clean shots and avoiding the big right hand from the New Zealander.
“The Prince” successfully imitated a stretch of grappling in the third, nearly finishing a rear-naked choke, only for Kara-France to defend and close out the round by smashing home elbows from top position.
In the fourth and fifth, Kara-France appeared to be the more effective striker of the two, though Albazi was content to stand in and throw hands with the former interim title challenger.
This was a tremendous fight between two excellent fighters. Albazi established that he’s the genuine article and Kara-France doesn’t lose any ground with a performance like this.
Alex Caceres defeats Daniel Pineda by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
As anticipated, the featherweight co-main event between Alex Caceres and Daniel Pineda was absolutely bonkers.
The opening round was a five-minute blur of heavy shots and scrambles, submission attempts and escapes, blood, sweat, and general chaos.
It was much of the same in the second, with fatigue setting in for both men, but not slowing the action in the slightest before Caceres grabbed control of the action early in the third, hammering Pineda to the body and putting on him for the majority of the frame.
Everyone expected this fight to be in the mix for Fight of the Night and it still managed to exceed expectations. With the victory, Caceres picked up a second straight win, moving to 7-1 over his last eight.
Jim Miller defeats Jesse Butler by KO (left hand) at 0:23 of Round 1
Jim Miller collected a walk-off knockout win over late replacement Jesse Butler in the middle of the main card, catching Butler with a thudding left hand that put him out in a flash.
In a career that has produced a UFC record 25 wins, that is the quickest finish of the New Jersey native’s illustrious career.
That’s now four wins in five fights and another step closer to competing at UFC 300 for the veteran lightweight.
Tim Elliott defeats Victor Altamirano by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Tim Elliott leaned on his veteran tool kit to grind out a unanimous decision win over Victor Altamirano midway through the main card.
The flyweight veteran piled up control time while showcasing his trademark toughness and scrambling abilities, eating the best shots Altamirano threw his way while repeatedly putting his shoulders on the canvas.
He was active enough from top position to keep things on the ground and register points with the judges, forcing Altamirano to engage on his terms for long stretches.
A fixture in the Top 15, Elliott has now earned back-to-back victories to bring his record to 8-10 inside the Octagon, while the loss snaps Altamirano’s two-fight run of success, dropping him to 2-2 under the UFC banner.
Karine Silva defeats Ketlen Souza by submission (kneebar) at 1:35 of Round 1
Karine Silva is quickly becoming a dangerous fighter to watch in the flyweight division, as she sat back on a leg lock to tap out fellow Brazilian Ketlen Souza on Saturday’s main card.
The Dana White’s Contender Series grad immediately closed the distance and swung Souza to the canvas, and after establishing control in top position, she dropped back, clamped onto Souza’s heel and torqued, causing her knee to pop and the fight to be stopped.
That’s back-to-back first-round submission wins for the 29-year-old, who is living up to her “Killer” nickname.
Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (29-28, 29-28) defeats Abubakar Nurmagomedov (29-28) by split decision
Welterweights opened the main card as Abubakar Nurmagomedov and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos spent 15 minutes in a back-and-forth battle.
Nurmagomedov stunned the Brazilian right out of the chute, but from there, it was Zaleski dos Santos that was more keen on engaging in space, while the Russian preferred to crash forward, close the distance and look to grapple.
Zaleski dos Santos defended the body lock work well, and Nurmagomedov countered with some good shots of his own on the feet, sending this one to the judges to sort out.
When the nines and tens were tallied, it was Zaleski dos Santos that came out ahead, landing on the happy side of the split decision verdict to collect his second straight victory and pushing his record to 10-3 inside the Octagon.
UFC Fight Night: Kara-France vs Albazi Prelim Fight Results
Daniel Santos defeats Johnny Munoz by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Daniel Santos continued to prove himself to be an aggressive, entertaining addition to the bantamweight ranks, taking the fight to Johnny Munoz Jr. while collecting his second straight UFC victory.
The Chute Boxe Diego Lima representative was the quicker, more dynamic of the two on the feet throughout, but also showed to be capable in the grappling entanglements, sprawling well and making Munoz pay when he opted to keep his shoulders pinned to the canvas.
Even with losing a point due to a low blow in the third, Santos still swept the scorecards.
After losing his promotional debut to Julio Arce, “Willycat” has now posted back-to-back wins to move to 11-2 overall.
Don’Tale Mayes defeats Andrei Arlovski by TKO (right hand) at 3:17 of Round 2
Don’Tale Mayes detonated a looping right hand on the jaw of Andrei Arlovski to register the biggest win of his career.
The heavyweights spent the first five minutes trading sporadic shots, Arlovski landing well in the early stages and Mayes scoring with flush shots late.
Just when it appeared things would play out similarly throughout the second, Mayes landed a counter overhand right that sent the 44-year-old veteran tumbling to the canvas, quickly putting him away soon after.
This was easily the biggest win of Mayes’ career. Now 3-3 with a No Contest in seven UFC appearances, this one snapped a two-fight run without a victory and showed the kind of power “Lord Kong” carries each time he steps into the Octagon.
John Castaneda defeats Muin Gafurov by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
It was all gas, no break between John Castaneda and Muin Gafurov on Saturday, with the bantamweights trading punches, kicks, spinning attacks, and level changes from the jump and never once choosing to down-shift.
Castaneda rocked the newcomer with a high kick midway through the opening round, but was unable to capitalize, as Gafurov showed that he might have spent time at the Weapon X facility in Alkali Lake with Wolverine.
The Tajik fighter was docked a point for leading with his head and connecting with Castaneda’s face in the second, and they stayed pushing the red line and landing big shots on one another through the third as well.
The judges scores were needed to determine the winner, and in the end, the point deduction didn’t have much of an impact, as Castaneda claimed a hard-earned unanimous decision win. Wildly entertaining fight where Gafurov’s stock rises even in defeat.
Muhammad Naimov defeats Jamie Mullarkey by TKO (right hook and punches) at 2:59 of Round 2
Welcome to the UFC Muhammad Naimov!
Just as it seemed like Jamie Mullarkey was settling in and starting to take over, Naimov sat down on a counter right hook that found the Australian’s chin, put him on the canvas, and earned him an incredible highlight reel finish to start his UFC career.
Naimov made the absolute most of this short-notice opportunity, picking up his third straight victory and putting himself on everyone’s radar for when he makes his full-camp debut later this year.
Elise Reed defeats Jinh Yu Frey by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jinh Yu Frey and Elise Reed faced off in a clash of styles early on Saturday’s fight card, with Frey looking to grapple and Reed seeking to keep things standing and connect with her strikes.
Frey was sharp in the first, hitting Reed with several big shots while controlling the wrestling interactions. While Frey put her on the deck again in the second, Reed was the more effective striker when they were on the feet and kept the Fortis MMA representative from doing any damage from top position. In the third, Reed was the fresher of the two and scored well in space, with the judges being called upon to determine a winner.
When the scores were tallied, all three judges saw it the same way, handing Reed the unanimous decision victory. The win means Reed maintains her pattern of alternating wins and losses inside the Octagon, with her record now standing at 3-3 in the UFC and 7-3 overall.
Da’Mon Blackshear defeats Luan Lacerda by TKO (strikes) at 3:54 of Round 2
Third time was indeed the charm for Da’Mon Blackshear, who picked up his first UFC win with a second-round stoppage victory over Luan Lacerda.
After battling Youssef Zalal to a draw in his debut and dropping a decision to Farid Basharat earlier this year, Blackshear dominated Lacerda on Saturday, getting the better of the exchanges on the feet and defending well when the Brazilian went hunting for leg locks.
In the second, Lacerda committed to chasing another leg lock, and Blackshear simply unloaded, busting up the Nova Uniao man and forcing referee Chris Tognoni to step in.
Now 1-1-1 in the UFC, Blackshear has established himself as another solid addition to the talent-rich bantamweight division. After entering on a 10-fight winning streak, Lacerda has now dropped each of his first two appearances inside the Octagon, falling to a12-3 overall as a result.
Philipe Lins defeats Maxim Grishin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Philipe Lins continues to have success since moving to light heavyweight, opening the night with a unanimous decision win over Maxim Grishin.
The Brazilian landed the bigger blows and in greater frequency in each of the first two rounds before getting on his grind for much of the third. Although Grishin scored with a few sharp elbows over the course of the fight, Lins was able to deal with the shots, connect with attacks of his own, and neutralize the Russian veteran for long stretches.
After struggling to find success in a pair of heavyweight appearances to start his UFC career, Lins is now 3-0 since moving to the 205-pound weight class, putting himself in a position for a step up in competition next time out.