Middleweights Deron Winn and Eric Spicely got the night off to a rousing start with an exciting three-round war won by the unbeaten Winn via unanimous decision.
All three judges saw it 29-28 for Winn, who moves to 6-0. Spicely, who replaced Bruno Silva on short notice, falls to 12-6.
There was no shortage of action in the first five minutes, with Winn throwing solid combinations to the body and head while Spicely kept the newcomer honest with some hard knees in close.
Spicely tired in the second, likely the product of the short notice assignment along with Winn’s pressure and activity rate, yet just when it looked like Winn was about to put the finishing touches on his foe, Spicely would fire back and remind the decorated college wrestler that he wasn’t about to go home yet.
And in the third round, Spicely started to wobble Winn at times, prompting the highly-touted prospect to take some backward steps. Midway through the final round, Winn looked for a takedown briefly, but Spicely responded with more knees at close range, bloodying Winn. Winn found a second wind late, and the middleweights kept throwing before getting a well-deserved ovation at the final horn.
Liverpool’s Molly McCann made it two straight in the UFC, and “Meatball Molly” kept the action fast-paced with a three-round unanimous decision over Ariane Lipski in a flyweight bout.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for McCann, now 9-2. Curitiba’s Lipski falls to 11-5.
For three rounds, McCann and Lipski stood and traded, with only a couple late takedowns in rounds one and two breaking up the standup exchanges. And while Lipski’s crisp punches and kicks kept it close, McCann’s heavier hooks allowed her to keep the pressure on and make an elbow-induced cut on her forehead a non-issue.
Suriname’s Jairzinho Rozenstruik continued to make his mark in the heavyweight division, as he finished Allen Crowder in the first round, delivering one of the fastest knockouts in UFC history in the process.
A touch of gloves started the bout and the next time Rozenstruik put his hand out he dropped Crowder with a short left to the jaw. Crowder appeared to be unhurt, but a follow-up right hand put him out, with referee Blake Grice jumping in to call a halt to the contest. The official time was nine seconds.
Rozenstruik moves to 8-0 with the win. Crowder falls to 10-4 with 1 NC.
Fighting for the first time since 2014, Matt Wiman ran into a buzzsaw in the form of Luis Pena, the lightweight prospect who halted the TUF 5 veteran in the third round.
Pena went on the attack as soon as the two were waved into battle, and after going all-in for knees in the clinch, he landed one that cut Wiman over the left eye. The cut prompted a visit from the Octagonside physician, but the bout was allowed to continue, leading Wiman to look for – and get – a pair of takedowns. Pena was able to get into the top position on the mat, and he kept his activity rate high as Wiman attempted to get a leg lock. In the final minute of the round, Pena had Wiman in more trouble with ground strikes, but the veteran made it out of the frame.
Again, the doctor cleared Wiman to continue, and Pena continued to pressure him on the feet and the mat in round two. With a little over three minutes left, Pena nearly sunk in an arm triangle choke, and though Wiman escaped, he did so at a cost as the blood started flowing again. For the rest of the frame, it was Pena in control on the mat, putting another round in the bank.
Pena’s striking was sharp in the third, and after Wiman tripped and fell to the canvas, the punishment from “The Violent Bob Ross” kept coming until referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the bout at 1:14 of round three.
With the win, Pena moves to 7-1. Wiman falls to 16-8.
Strawweight Ashley Yoder was in top form against Syuri Kondo and the result was a dominant shutout decision victory.
A couple heated exchanges to start the bout led to a Yoder takedown less than a minute in, and the “SpiderMonkey” went on the attack with strikes before taking Kondo’s back. Kondo got free but wasn’t able to get back to her feet. With under two minutes left, Yoder got Kondo’s back again and then transitioned to an armbar attempt, and while the Californian wasn’t able to finish, it was as dominant a round as she could have pulled off.
Yoder got the fight to the mat in the second minute of round two, and she kept it there until the horn, putting another round in the bank.
Kondo nearly made off a miraculous comeback early in the third when she sunk in a standing guillotine choke, but once Yoder got free, it was back to the canvas for more dominance. And while Kondo was ultra-game, the night belonged to Yoder, who picked up her second consecutive win by scores of 30-26, 30-25 and 30-24.
Temecula’s Yoder moves to 7-4 with the win. Tokyo’s Kondo falls to 6-3.
Featherweight prospect Dan Ige extended his current winning streak to four with a hard-fought three-round unanimous decision over Kevin Aguilar.
Scores were 29-28 twice and 29-27 for Ige, now 12-2. Aguilar falls to 17-2.
Ige was throwing everything from bad intentions from the start, and he cut Aguilar almost immediately. As the round progressed, Aguilar got his shots in, but a kick to the body followed by a punch upstairs by Ige put the Texan on the deck. Aguilar tried to hold on in order to force a restart, but Ige stayed busy, with Aguilar not finding daylight until the final moments of the frame.
Ige wanted to keep working his ground game, but as he slipped off Aguilar, “The Angel of Death” was able to take control. Ige battled hard to get the momentum back, but Aguilar nearly locked up a submission until the Hawaiian got into the top position with a little over two minutes left.
The two battled on even terms on the feet for the first half of the final round, but then a right hand with under two minutes left wobbled Aguilar and Ige surged into the lead behind more flush power shots. Aguilar got a takedown in the final minute, but Ige jumped to his feet and scored a knockdown seconds later, putting a stamp on the win for the Hawaiian.
Middleweight prospect Kevin Holland fought through a shoulder injury to take a close unanimous decision over Alessio Di Chirico.
The first five minutes were close, but Di Chirico may have taken the opening frame after he landed a flush left elbow and followed up with a takedown.
Holland appeared to injure his right shoulder in the second round, and what appeared to be a winning stanza for him saw Di Chirico surge late. Holland brushed off the injury to the referee and Octagonside physician between rounds, and he came out ready to fight for the final frame.
Di Chirico didn’t press the action too much in the third round, and though the Italian did get a takedown in the closing seconds, it wasn’t enough to pull out the win, which went to Holland via three scores of 29-28.
Holland moves to 16-4 with the win. Di Chirico falls to 12-3.
In a clash of flyweight contenders, it was Andrea Lee keeping her perfect UFC record intact with a three-round unanimous decision win over Montana De La Rosa.
Lee controlled the standup action in the first round, and even though De La Rosa was able to secure a couple takedowns, Lee jumped back to her feet with no issues and got back to business with her striking, which marked De La Rosa’s face up.
The second followed a similar pattern, with De La Rosa pressing for takedowns and Lee defending well and staying a step ahead on the feet. But with more extended time on the mat in the third, De La Rosa had her chance to lock up a submission. Lee continued to defend impressively though, and when she went on the offensive, she secured her victory with her ground strikes, allowing her to take the bout via scores of 30-27 twice and 29-28.
With the win, the No. 10-ranked Lee moves to 11-2. The No. 11-ranked De La Rosa falls to 10-5.
Bantamweight prospect Andre Ewell returned to the win column with a unanimous decision over Anderson dos Santos in a fight punctuated by plenty of high-impact action.
Scores were 29-28 twice and 29-27 for Ewell, now 15-5. Dos Santos falls to 20-8.
Using a stick and move strategy that ultimately turned into a game plan of standing in the pocket and trading with his foe, Ewell was faster and more accurate than dos Santos, but when the exchanges heated up, the Brazilian got in his share of hard shots.
Ewell extended his lead in the first three minutes of round two, forcing dos Santos to use a takedown with 1:43 left to try and turn things around. Ewell didn’t stay grounded for long, though, and he continued to pick apart his bloodied foe with his strikes.
Dos Santos was able to keep Ewell on the mat for a longer spell in the third round, even getting the mount briefly. An ensuing scramble allowed Ewell to get upright, but the Brazilian stayed locked on to him until the final 30 seconds, which was capped off by a hard 1-2 by Ewell.
Elevated to the co-main event slot in Greenville, Randy Brown made the most of his opportunity, as he stopped always-tough welterweight brawler Bryan Barberena in the third round.
Brown (11-3) was crisp and busy with his striking – particularly his kicks – in the first round. Barberena (14-7) had sporadic success when he was able to get close, but at range, it was all Brown in the first five minutes.
Barberena got more aggressive to start the second, and he made every effort to make it a brawl on the inside. And though Brown kept scoring well from long distance, in the trenches Barberena was coming on strong heading into the third frame.
Brown’s accurate striking attack returned with a fury in the last round, and he got Barberena in trouble with shots to the head and body. Finally, after an unanswered series of shots, Barberena fell to the deck and referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight. The official time was 2:54 of the third round.
Though he’s known for the instant classics that earned him the nickname “The Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung isn’t a bad finisher either, and he proved it in the UFC Greenville main event Saturday night, as he halted Brazilian featherweight contender Renato Moicano in the first round at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.
With the fight moments underway, a flush right hand ignited the crowd and sent Moicano crashing to the canvas. As Jung went in for the finish, it was remarkable that Moicano weathered the first storm, but the Seoul product kept the offense coming, and after more ground strikes, referee Blake Grice had seen enough, and he stopped the fight 58 seconds into the opening round.
“This was a move that I focused on for a long time,” said Jung. “It was a matter of time before I used it.”
With the win, the No. 12-ranked Jung improves to 15-5. The No. 5-ranked Moicano falls to 13-3-1.