The UFC made landfall in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the first time in the promotion’s history, and the preliminary card was quite entertaining. There were plenty of finishes to kick off the event, including a rare submission win for Smilin’ Sam Alvey. Here’s how the fights played out.
Katlyn Chookagian (8-0) def. Lauren Murphy (9-3) via unanimous decision (29-28 x3) – Women’s bantamweights
Murphy was the aggressor in a striking-heavy 1st round, but Chookagian showed good footwork, lateral movement, jabs, and kicks. There was a clear speed advantage in the newcomer’s favor. Round 2 was Murphy’s, who took away Chookagian’s striking advantage by using her own striking to set up a takedown. Chookagian was on her back for more than half the round, with Murphy smothering her and beating her up with ground-and-pound. Round 3 was a comfortable one for Katlyn, who picked apart Murphy with her jab and drilled her opponent with vicious knees as Murphy ducked her head. Murphy was unable to get that crucial takedown to get the fight to the ground, and Chookagian’s undefeated record stayed intact once the scorecards were read.
Sam Alvey (27-8, 1 NC) def. Eric Spicely (8-1) via submission (standing guillotine) at 2:43 of round 1 – Middleweights
Spicely was dead set on getting a takedown, and it cost him his neck. Alvey was able to defend Spicely’s takedowns and score with his counterpunching, led by his powerful right hand. Spicely made another entry to try and get Alvey to the ground, but Alvey got a hold of Spicely’s neck, turned Eric against the cage, clasped his hands, and squeezed until Spicely tapped.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) July 14, 2016
Cortney Casey (5-3) def. Cristina Stanciu (5-2) via TKO (strikes) at 2:36 of round 1 – Women’s strawweights
This wasn’t competitive. Casey took Stanciu down with ease in the opening minute and went straight into full mount, hammering Stanciu with hard elbows. Stanciu recovered to half-guard, then Casey returned to her feet and had Stanciu stand back up. Seconds later, Casey just muscled Stanciu down, advanced to mount again, elbowed Stanciu repeatedly until Bobby Wombacher stepped in to call it off. Third time is the charm for Casey, who gets her first UFC win. Stanciu drops to 0-2 inside the Octagon.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) July 13, 2016
Scott Holtzman (9-1) def. Cody Pfister (12-6-1) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) – Lightweights
Holtzman looked comfortable in dealing with Pfister’s striking and his wrestling in the opening round. He was sharp with his combinations and used punches, kicks, and knees to back Pfister up. It wasn’t complete Holtzman domination, as Pfister landed a left inside elbow that briefly dropped him. In the 2nd round, a massive right high kick decked Pfister and had him in major trouble. Pfister not only survived that, he swept Holtzman while fully mounted, and repeated this act at the end of the 2nd. The 3rd was a little more closely contested, although Holtzman easily took Pfister down with a single leg after stuffing Cody’s takedown attempt. An illegal upkick halted action momentarily, but only a warning was issued to Pfister. Cody tried generating a last-ditch moment to finish the fight after taking Holtzman down and fending off the guillotine attempt, but lost control of Holtzman’s back and “Hot Sauce” wound up on top in half-guard. An easy win for Holtzman likely sends Pfister out of the UFC.
Rani Yahya (22-8, 1 NC) def. Matthew Lopez (8-1) via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 4:19 of round 3 – Bantamweights
The 1st round was back-and-forth both in the striking and the grappling. Lopez was able to get the better of Yahya nit he striking exchanges, including a knockdown off a short right hand. The RFA product went for an armbar on the decorated BJJ black belt, but Yahya scrambled out of it and later went for a leglock, then an omoplata. Lopez more than held his own on the ground in the 1st, but it was a different story in the 2nd. He actually had Yahya in an inverted triangle, but lost position and found himself on the bottom. The Brazilian dominated from top position, smashing Lopez with elbows. They eventually returned to their feet, with Lopez clearly more exhausted than Yahya. Round 2 ended with Yahya attacking with an armbar, but Lopez denied Yahya the wrist leverage needed to fully extend the left arm. The 3rd round was all Yahya, who had an answer for every Lopez counter on the ground, and after a failed sweep by a gassed Lopez, Yahya finished the fight with an arm-triangle choke.
Alex Nicholson (7-2) def. Devin Clark (6-1) via KO (punches) at 4:57 of round 1 – Middleweights
South Dakota’s own Clark was able to get a takedown just 1 minute into the fight and advance to mount. Nicholson had to fend off an arm-triangle choke, which included grabbing the cage with his toes to help him escape and stand back up. After a groin kick by Nicholson, Clark responded at the restart with a check left hook that dropped Nicholson. Devin was unable to get the finish, but was clearly dominating the round. In a dramatic turn of events, Nicholson charged forward in the closing seconds and clipped Clark with a right that sent him down. Two follow-up lefts put Clark out cold. What a comeback win for Nicholson, who gets his first UFC win at the expense of the local fighter, who was chosen off of Dana White’s Lookin’ For a Fight series.
— #UFCSiouxFalls (@ufc) July 13, 2016
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