It’s once again fight day here at LowKickMMA, and the talent on display tonight (Saturday, June 9, 2018) will come from in the form of UFC 225. Headlining the card are Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero, but there’s a whole bunch of great fights also taking place on the preliminary section of the card.
Alistair Overeem vs. Curtis Blaydes in a heavyweight bout closes the preliminary card on FOX Sports 1. In round 1, Both men are fainting, Overeem switching stances, his stance low, looking to load up an uppercut. Blaydes is pumping his jab. He finally follows it up with a cross, which Overeem steps aside from, but Overeem hesitates on his counter, Blaydes takes him down easily. Blaydes is staying heavy on top. Overeem tries wrist control and getting his butterfly hooks in play but nothing doing. Mild ground and pound for Blaydes, smothering from half guard. Overeem ties up a leg in the waning moments of the round and Blaydes isn’t in a position to land hard. In round 2, Blaydes feints a shot and Overeem stumbles awkwardly. Blaydes moves forward and runs right into a huge knee. Overeem tries putting the wood to him but Blaydes manages the takedown anyway. Blaydes again has to fend off a leglock, manages to do so, and ends up on the back with a ride. Overeem soon explodes up and separates. Overeem ducks a right hook from Blaydes but eats an uppercut. Overeem is slipping Blaydes’ shots but not following up much. In round 3, He meets Blaydes with another big knee but Blaydes takes him down easily. Mild ground and pound for Blaydes as he stays smothering on top. Overeem isn’t doing much and not getting any help from the ref. Blaydes finally postures up and lands a couple big shots. Blaydes is opening up with ground and pound more this time, landing elbows and hard punches at the base of the cage, staying very heavy on top in half guard still. Blaydes with some huge elbows from the top and that’s a wrap. Overeem was bleeding badly.
Claudia Gadelha vs. Carla Esparza is next in a women’s strawweight bout. In round 1, Esparza darts forward with a left hook and Gadelha tries to counter. The process repeats. Gadelha shoves Esparza over off a leg kick, they throw hands in transition and each try to take the other down. Gadelha lands a nice left hook and Esparza returns with a leg kick. Gadelha hits an uppercut and a cross. Esparza wobbles Gadelha. Esparza charges forward with a flurry and takes Gadelha down. But Gadelha uses a leg lock to sweep to top and now she’s in guard. Gadelha goes body-head with her ground and pound. Esparza looks for a leg herself and then kicks away to get up. Gadelha times an Esparza rush for an easy reactive takedown. Side control. Ground and pound for Gadelha and she wraps up a guillotine and rolls into mount but Esparza survives. In round 2, Esparza comes out of the corner swinging hooks but Gadelha scares her off. Left hook lands for Claudia on an Esparza blitz. Esparza ties up and pushes her into the cage. Esparza working knees and dirty boxing against the cage. Gadelha turns her around and drags her to the mat. Esparza unsuccessfully tries to reverse and she’s eating ground and pound from half guard on the cage. Full guard now but Gadelha staying heavy on top. When she was getting worked on the cage, her gas tank might’ve drained, but top position is going to let her keep a comfortable pace. Esparza works up but Gadelha drags her down again and works mild g&p from half guard. Esparza works up and hits her own takedown to end round. In round 3, Esparza opens with a rush of hooks, one lands. Esparza cracks Gadelha with a big right. Claudia’s face is swollen but she lands a couple big counters. Front kick to the face for Esparza, then a knee to the body. She misses a superman punch and eats a right hand. Claudia seems to be sitting back to counter, perhaps waiting to shoot. Esparza leg kicks then lands a right. Gadelha swings back hard counters but doesn’t quite connect. Another blitzing right lands clean for Esparza. Halfway into the rd Gadelha tries catching a front kick and she runs Esparza into the cage. Body lock takedown for Gadelha straight into side control. Gadelha is staying tight on top but isn’t mounting much offense. Esparza with a little hammerfists. Claudia sits back for a leg but Esparza slips right out, gets on top. The judges gave the win to Gadelha.
Ricardo Lamas vs. Mirsad Bektic is next in a featherweight bout. In round 1, Lamas is pressuring a bit but has yet to really pull the trigger. Bektic explodes with a few shots that are mostly blocked. Lamas shoots a beautiful reactive double but can’t keep Bektic down. Lamas is holding Bektic against the cage and knees him. Bektic soon turns him around and returns the favor. Lamas knees a bit too and circles off. Left hook glances off Lamas and then Bektic smashes home a brutal leg kick. Overhand lands for Bektic. A Bektic counter drops Lamas but Lamas shoots right into the charging hips, stuffed. Bektic holding Lamas on the cage kneeing. Lamas goes for a hip toss but can’t quite finish and falls down. Bektic shoots and takes him down as he tries to stand. Bektic holding him but not doing much damage. In round 2, big flurry for Bektic to start off the round by winging hard, wide shots. Lamas looks for a knee as he absorbs a right hook. Lamas shoots and they both try to get to the hips but they cancel. A winging overhand catches Lamas behind the ear and he clinches up but Bektic pushes him into the cage again. A headbutt opened a cut under Lamas’ left eye. Lamas shoots but gets sprawled on. Nice spinning elbow lands for Lamas as they work to their feet. He hesitates on a hop-knee and Bektic is able to grab him and push him into the cage again. Nice left hook for Lamas followed by an uppercut to the body. Bektic throws hooks in the pocket but doesn’t seem accurate. Brief clinch results in ref Herb Dean restart. In round 3, Lamas lands a right to start off the round but Bektic comes back with a combo to the body. Lamas kicks the body but Bektic smothers it and clinches him on the cage again. Lamas circles off and is looking for a head kick. He goes for two wheel kicks and Bektic knocks him over on the second. They land in an awkward position. Lamas sweeps to top beautifully but immediately sits back for a guillotine that slips off immediately. He gets a hold of the neck again and adjusts but Bektic escapes. Bektic is maintaining a grip on Lamas as they work to their feet. He’s got a body lock and tries getting a hook in. Lamas turns to face him and again wraps the neck standing. The judges gave the win to Bektic.
Rashad Coulter vs. Chris de la Rocha in a heavyweight bout opens the FOX Sports 1 preliminary card. In round 1, Rocha pumps his jab, shoots but gets stuffed and comes up winging a left hook that misses. Coulter tries to step in with a big 1-2 but Rocha ducks under and pushes him into the cage. They trade knees in close quarters. Coulter lands a big 3-2 and they trade bombs in close. Coulter slips trying to pull Rocha into a knee and Rocha is on top. He goes for a mounted guillotine, then takes the back. Rocha has both hooks in but he’s seated at the base of the cage. Coulter manages to turn over into guard, get up and disengage, and he smashes Rocha with a left hook. Coulter is throwing BOMBS. Rocha is bloodied and Coulter seems gassed. Rocha pushes him into the cage and starts putting the wood to him but Coulter starts swinging and connecting on more haymakers. In round 2, Rocha opens with a big cross that wobbles Coulter. Coulter circles away and lands his own huge right hand. Rocha gets an easy takedown against the cage. Coulter is trying to get his hips back to the cage but he gives up his back again. Rocha is across the face as Coulter is belly-down. Rocha is sitting on Coulter’s back and is finally starting to throw. They don’t look like massive shots but Coulter is not doing anything to escape. Rocha goes for the choke again but it’s rebuffed. Rocha got the TKO win.
Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith in a light heavyweight bout finishes off the UFC Fight Pass preliminary card. In round 1, Smith landing a couple leg kicks early. Evans shoots in, Smith shucks him off and lands a couple short hooks. Evans back in on the clinch, looking for a takedown. Smith lands a crushing knee and Evans is out cold.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis is next in a flyweight bout. In round 1, Benavidez trying to swarm, ate a hard counter. Pettis landing right hands as Benavidez leaps in and Joe B got dropped hard. Benavidez with a driving takedown that was more of a push than a double leg but he got it and has Pettis down. Benavidez jumps for a left hook and eats a right hand counter again. Pettis looking sharp, and Benavidez just doesn’t look as dynamic closing distance. Benavidez charging in looking for body shots and body head combos, but they’re all him entering on straight lines. Pettis doing well to stuff shots now too. In round 2, Sergio sliding back, lancing straight punches down the pipe. Benavidez wades in with a combination upstairs. Pettis hits one counter but absorbs a leg kick. Benavidez shoots him into the cage. Pettis back outside and Benavidez jumps in with a left hook and a left right. Throwing low kicks. He’s landing some of these shots, but he’s also still jumping into the pocket over and over. Right hand lands as Benavidez pushes for the clinch. Benavidez probably winning this round on volume so far. In round 3, Low kick for Joe and he lands a pair of overhands, one from each stance. Spinning backfist for Joe now. He shoots in but Pettis shucks him off after a moment. Sergio snaps out a jab but Benavidez gets inside and works the body. Pettis continues to stuff the takedowns. Leg kick for Joe answered by 1-2 body kick for Pettis. Joe comes in but eats a knee and then has to fight out of a guillotine. Joe shoves him into the cage again but again can’t get him down. Pettis snaps a jab and blocks a head kick. Joe shoots but has to settle for clinching on the cage again. Cross for Joe but he eats a jab. Joe finally blasts Pettis off his feet but can’t hold him down and he fights out of another guillotine. They throws bombs to the bell. The judges gave the win to Pettis.
Clay Guida vs. Charles Oliveira is next in a lightweight bout. In round 1, Hard uppercut/hook combo from Oliveira, he’s pressuring really well early. Guida with the overhand counter to a lowkick. Lands a couple lowkicks of his own. Guida having to fight off his back foot is not good for him. Just dove into a bad shot and Oliveira jumps on the guillotine for the instant sub.
Opening the UFC Fight Pass prelims is Mike Santiago vs. Dan Ige in a featherweight bout. In round 1, Ige going with the overhand to takedown. Lands a combination and stuns Santiago while pushing him to the mat. Santiago gives up his back, and Ige is on him landing hard ground and pound for the win.
Here are the results:
PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1/8 p.m. ET)
Heavyweight: Curtis Blaydes def. Alistair Overeem via TKO (elbows) at 2:56 of R3
Strawweight: Claudia Gadelha def. Carla Esparza via split decision (29-28, 28-28, 29-28)
Featherweight: Mirsad Bektic def. Ricardo Lamas via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Heavyweight: Chris de la Rocha def. Rashad Coulter via TKO (strikes) at 3:53 of R2
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/6 p.m. ET)
Light Heavyweight: Anthony Smith def. Rashad Evans by knockout (knee) at :53 of Round 1
Flyweight: Sergio Pettis def. Joseph Benavidez by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Lightweight: Charles Oliveira def. Clay Guida via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:18 of R1
Featherweight: Dan Ige def. Mike Santiago via TKO (punches) at :50 of R1