MMA fans in North America got to wake up to some rare morning/early afternoon UFC action in Fairfax, Virginia. The biggest name on the four-fight preliminary card was two-time former lightweight title challenger Gray Maynard, who had fallen on hard times in recent bouts, losing his last 3 by (T)KO. Would he regain his winning form against Alexander Yakovlev? Here’s a rundown of the prelim results.
Liz Carmouche (10-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) def. Lauren Murphy (8-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) – Women’s Bantamweights
Cannot mince words here – This was a terrible fight. I’d be lying to you if I said it was anything but dull. Offense was lacking, Carmouche was very content to go for head-and-arm throws on Murphy (mostly to no avail), while both women didn’t have very much success on the feet. Murphy outmuscled Carmouche most of the way and got up fairly quickly on the few takedowns Carmouche completed. Lauren had 2 takedowns of her own, once at the end of the 1st and then again in the 3rd.
There’s a pretty good argument for Carmouche not deserving the decision but Murphy didn’t help her case with a general lack of aggression and offensive output. Consider this not worth a re-watch at any point in time.
Alexander Yakovlev (22-6-1 MMA, 1-2 UFC) def. Gray Maynard (11-5-1, 1 NC MMA; 9-5-1, 1 NC UFC) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) – Lightweights
In a bit of a surprise, Yakovlev slammed Maynard to the ground early in the 1st, with Maynard countering with an unsuccessful guillotine choke. Maynard appeared to win the round with good body shots and faster, more accurate boxing. However, a key turning point in the 2nd round proved to be his undoing yet again. Yakovlev dropped the knockdown-prone Maynard with a straight left hand and the Russian swarmed for the finish. He had Maynard’s back, even tried going for an anaconda choke before that, but couldn’t seal the deal. Ultimately it didn’t cost Yakovlev dearly, as he got back to his feet after an early Maynard takedown in the 3rd round, boxed Maynard up some more with his long reach advantage, and clinched the 3rd with a late takedown of his own. It’s Maynard’s 4th straight defeat and possibly the end of his UFC career based on how he looked.
Timothy Johnson (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) def. Shamil Abdurahimov (16-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) via TKO (punches) at 4:57 of round 1 – Heavyweights
Not a whole lot happened in this one but when it did it ended the fight. Abdurahimov was first penalized 1 point by referee Mike King for repeatedly grabbing the fence, which is something you seldom see in MMA. The rest of the round was just ugly, typical lower-level heavyweight striking until Johnson landed a double leg takedown on the Dagestan fighter and moved directly into mount. With about 25 seconds left in the round Johnson started pounding away on Abdurahimov, with King telling him to fight back, but to no avail. Johnson forced the stoppage with just 3 seconds left in the 1st to get a win in his UFC debut.
Ronald Stallings (13-7, 1-1 UFC) def. Justin Jones (3-2, 0-2 UFC) via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) – Middleweights
The 2nd UFC fight for “The Choir Boy” Stallings ended on a high note (get it?) as he bested the very raw Justin Jones by decision to kick off the preliminary card. Stallings very nearly finished the fight early by hurting Jones with hard body kicks, but Jones didn’t go down and he traded shots with Stallings right after grimacing in pain with that vicious left kick to the body. Unfortunately, the rest of the fight wasn’t remotely as exciting as the opening seconds. Jones tried to grind Stallings out with clinching against the fence, takedowns, and smothering top control. Stallings was able to garner most of his success from striking distance, where he outlanded Jones easily with punches and more kicks en route to the W.
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