Rodriguez wins Battle of the Spectacular
Yair Rodriguez put on a dazzling display of flashy techniques over the first two rounds of his main event bout with Alex Caceres. Despite fading over the last three rounds, the 23-year-old just about scraped a win via split decision in Salt Lake City.
Round three saw a resurgence in Caceres and while he continued with his momentum in the fourth round, keeping the fight at boxing range, Rodriguez rallied in the fifth with an impressive five minutes of output.
John Anik asked him about potential future opponents, but Rodrguez remained humble and claimed that we would take on whoever UFC wanted him to face. There will be plenty of criticism of what appeared to be a small arsenal of techniques Rodriguez utilized during the bout, but a five-round win at his age will be worth its weight in gold.
In the early phases of the bout, 'El Pantera' was absolutely breathtaking, but as the contest wore on his lack of sophistication with his hands became evident. If he wants to tackle the contenders at the top of the division he will need to develop his boxing a lot more.
Bermudez wants Edgar in New York
Dennis Bermudez immediately called for a fight with former lightweight champion and featherweight contender Frankie Edgar in New York, following his decision win over Rony Jason.
After evading early armbar and triangle attempts in the guard of the tricky Brazilian, Bermudez opened a cut on Jason's forehead with an elbow and imposed his will on him for the vast majority of the contest.
Jason threatened with a rear-naked choke late in the third round, but Bermudez eventually turned back into the TUF Brazil contestant's guard to get out of trouble. Jason couldn't contend with Bermudez's wrestling, top control, and grounded shots, and despite the late scare, it was a very one-sided win for the New Yorker.
Leites puts on Grappling Showcase against Camozzi
The crowd in Salt Lake City may not have liked it, but Thales Leites was completely dominant throughout his middleweight bout with Chris Camozzi due to his superior grappling.
The jiu jitsu black belt spent most of the first round straddling the back of the American and enjoyed the same one-sided command in the second. After taking the back in the third, Camozzi looked a dejected figure having suffered under Leites stifling control throughout the bout.
After numerous failed rear naked choke attempt, the gap finally presented itself in the third. Camozzi winced and tapped as Leites applied pressure, securing a much-needed win after two consecutive losses to Michael Bisping and Gegard Mousasi.
Elsewhere on the Main Card...
Zak Cummings' failure to take down powerful Argentinian striker Santiago Ponzinibbio resulted in a loss for the Texan on Saturday night's main card. Ponzinibbio was able to deal out far more potent strikes over fifteen minutes against the wrestling standout who showed no urgency to shoot in for a takedown.
Trevor 'Hot Sauce' Smith returned after a year on the sidelines to use dominant grappling on route to a unanimous decision win over Joe Gigliotti. Smith threatened with a series of submission during the contest, coming close to finishing a rear naked choke before transitioning to a D'arce choke at the end of the second round, but failed to find any quit in Gigliotti.
Opening the main card, Maryna Moroz took her second consecutive win in the Octagon with a split decision win over debutant Danielle Taylor. Despite her obvious height disadvantage, Taylor utilized leg kicks to tag the Pole as he looked to score from the outside. Moroz's jab proved too much as the fight wore on and she also scored well with her right cross on a number of occasions throughout the three rounds.
An emotional Court McGee thanked the Salt Lake City crowd for his rousing reception in his home state after seeing off Dominique Steele over three rounds. McGee nearly finished the fight in the opening exchange of the contest when a right cross wobbled Steele.
Eventually, Steele regained his composure but spent the majority of the contest defending the takedown attempts of McGee as he was pinned against the fence.
Marcin Tybura scored a highlight reel knockout over Viktor Pešta in the penultimate contest on the prelim card. Setting up a monstrous left head kick with some punches on the way into an exchange, Pešta was completely separated from his senses from the impact of the perfectly timed shot.
Swedish kickboxer David Teymur claimed his second technical knockout victory in as many UFC outings over Jason Novelli. Novelli showed no desire to shift the dynamic from the striking realms where Teymur clearly had an advantage. The Swede cracked his opponent with three solid left hands before Herb Dean stepped in to stop the contest eighty-five seconds into the second round.
To open the preliminary portion of the night, Teruto Ishihara added to his growing star with a first round knockout win over Horacio Gutiérrez. Ishihara timed a swift left hand as he was moving backward to stun the oncoming Gutiérrez. When the Mexican looked to get back to his feet, 'Yashabo' cracked him with two more shots that prompted the referee to step in and stop the contest.
Fight Pass Prelims
Cub Swanson managed to get the better of Tatsuya Kawajiri over three rounds in the headliner of the UFC Fight Pass Prelim card. Despite conceding a number of takedowns to the Japanese veteran, Swanson managed to score well in the striking exchanges to claim the win.
Swanson looked close to finishing the fight in the second round with a rear naked choke, but Kawajiri managed to escape. In the same round, Kawajiri displayed his legendary toughness when he continued to fight after eating a substantial knee to the head from Swanson.
Heavyweight debutants Justin Ledet and Chase Sherman put on show in the curtain raiser for the Salt Lake City event. Sherman's inability to move his head allowed Ledet to jab his way to victory in a bout with plenty of devastating exchanges.
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