Join us tonight on Bloody Elbow for live results, discussion and play-by-play as UFC on FOX 20: Holm vs. Shevchenko goes down from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Ephemeral bantamweight champ Holly Holm squares off with decorated Muay Thai stylist Valentina Shevchenko, who’s defeated UFC strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk in kickboxing, in tonight’s main event. Top lightweight Gilbert Melendez meets malicious striker Edson Barboza in the co-main event. Rounding out the main card are heavyweights Bojan Mihajlovic vs. Francis Ngannou and strawweights Kailin Curran vs. Felice Herrig.
Live results and play-by-play will commence with the Fight Pass prelims at 4:30 p.m. ET. The full lineup and schedule follows. Check out this week’s MMA Vivisection for predictions, analysis and betting odds on each match up.
(Fox, 8 p.m. ET)
Holly Holm vs. Valentina Shevchenko
R1: Holm throws rear-leg stomp kicks to the knee from distance. Shevchenko is rather complacent through the first 90 seconds. Counter right hand lands for Shevchenko, then another that she steps into for more heft. Holm answers with a three-piece combo and a left hand drops Shevchenko briefly.
Another ducking counter right lands for Shevchenko as Holm advances. Now Shevchenko’s becoming a bit predictable with the counter right. Shevchenko ducks a right and drives Holm to the canvas with a powerful body-lock takedown but Holm pops back up and puts her on the cage. 10-9 Holm.
R2: Cautious range dueling from range from both women with neither fully committing. Axe kick attempt from Shevchenko. They clinch up and Holm puts her on the fence, then disengages with a stumble due to a right hook from Shevchenko. A clean jab and counter right score for Shevchenko.
Holm barely gets a glove in front of a well-timed spinning back fist. Clean lead-leg front kick to the body from Holm. Shevchenko follows a one-two with a sharp inside low kick. Shevchenko with a step-back jab, then Holm puts her off-balance with a stomp kick low. Holm lands an outside low kick and Shevchenko answers with a spinning back fist, then a nasty outside low kick. 10-9 Shevchenko.
R3: Shevchenko comes up short on a spinning back fist but her sharp counterstriking is clearly troubling Holm. Shevchenko lands a pair of counter jabs after a Holm body kick. Shevchenko catches the next kick and sweeps out Holm’s leg to complete the takedown. Holm is quickly back up to her feet though she’s bleeding from a cut above her right eye.
Shevchenko bulldozes Holm across the cage with a body lock and takes her down. Half guard for Holm and a heavy base for Shevchenko on top. Shevchenko is content to lay on Holm and hold position in the final 90 seconds. She postures up for a volley of elbows with 30 seconds left. 10-9 Shevchenko.
R4: More hesitant exchanges throughout the first minute of the round. Shevchenko catches Holm clean with a left cross, then glances with a lightning-fast spinning kick to the head. Two more counters find the mark for Shevchenko, who’s got Holm’s timing down.
Outside low kick is there for Shevchenko, along with another step-back counter right. No dice on her single leg attempt, however. Shevchenko forces a clinch and Holm lands a left body kick on the break. Another counter right for Shevchenko, then she closes a Superman punch with an inside low kick. They trade shots in the closing seconds. 10-9 Shevchenko.
R5: Shevchenko pops her with a step-in jab, then glances with a Superman punch. Glancing one-two from Shevchenko. Outside low kick and a counter right hand for Shevchenko. Holm lands short on a body kick. Inside low kick and a spinning heel kick to the head from Shevchenko.
Holm whiffs with a round kick and a follow-up hook kick. Shevchenko scores with a quick counter. Holm with a left kick that digs into the ribs. Heavy counter right from Shevchenko careens into Holm’s jaw. Holm now trying to compensate for distance by heaving wild punches to no avail. Inside low kick lands for Shevchenko. 10-9 Shevchenko. I have it 49-46 Shevchenko.
- Valentina Shevchenko defeats Holly Holm by unanimous decision (49-46 x3)
Edson Barboza vs. Gilbert Melendez
R1: Melendez comes forward with a glancing one-two. He tries to counter the next two low kicks but they land clean. Melendez leads with a single leg that Barboza limp-legs out of but Melendez follows with a right hand. Glancing lead uppercut for Melendez but Barboza counters with a step-off left hook. Melendez catches a kick and scores with a running knee to the body.
Barboza fires off an outside low kick and a left kick to the body, both of which connect, but he’s short on the spinning kick to the body. They trade left hands in a close quarters exchange. I thought Barboza slipped but the commentary team attributes it to a left hand from Barboza. Barboza clips Melendez with a short uppercut and a left hook. Jump knee to the body is there for Barboza just before the horn sounds. 10-9 Barboza.
R2: Melendez makes an adjustment with distance, stepping a little deeper in the pocket to stay out of kicking range. Barboza tosses Melendez aside on a double-leg attempt and takes a few swipes to his legs with low kicks before letting him stand up. Heavy outside low kick from Barboza and it spins Melendez around. Barboza torques off another and it chops out the footing of Melendez again.
Two more clean low kicks land for Barboza, and they’re timed when Melendez is throwing punches and unable to check. Now Barboza digs a left switch kick deep into his ribs. Melendez plugs him with a right hand out of nowhere and it looks to wobble Barboza. Melendez flurries but slows down when Barboza sends a few heaters back his way. Barboza catches a right body kick and sweeps out the support leg of Melendez for a takedown. Barboza postures up and rains down a heavy volley of right hands. 10-9 Barboza.
R3: Barboza cranks off a pair of low kicks as Melendez advances, the second one thudding home and causing Melendez to back off with a limp. Barboza continues to chop away at the lead leg of Melendez, cracking him with well timed round kicks to the knee.
Melendez is now visibly wincing and stepping gingerly on his mangled leg. Melendez is understandably hesitant to close the distance and Barboza glides around on the fringe, throwing jabs. Melendez has a wide right hand blocked, then glances with a left hook. 10-8 Barboza. I have it 30-26 Barboza.
- Edson Barboza defeats Gilbert Melendez by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
Bojan Mihajlovic vs. Francis Ngannou
R1: Ngannou towers over Mihajlovic with his comic-book physique as if he’s fighting a middleweight. After a prolonged moment of ominous doom as Ngannou is closing in, the behemoth unreels a left hook to the chest and, for whatever reason, Mihajlovic goes down. Ngannou goes caveman-mode with primitive hammer-fists until Herb Dean steps in.
- Francis Ngannou defeats Bojan Mihajlovic by TKO (hammer-fists) R1 1:34
Kailin Curran vs. Felice Herrig
R1: Herrig lands a counter left hook and a left kick to the body. Curran steps inside a low kick and scores with a hard right but Herrig takes her down. Herrig with a gorgeous transition from half guard, to half-mount and then to full back control with both hooks in. Herrig threads her forearm under the chin and, with a little effort, forces the tapout.
- Felice Herrig defeats Kailin Curran by submission (rear-naked choke) R1 1:59
(Fox, 6 p.m. ET)
Frankie Saenz vs. Eddie Wineland
R1: Saenz lands an inside low kick as Wineland looks to sight in his jab. Another inside low kick from Saenz. And there’s a third. Can I get a fourth? Amen. Wineland sidesteps the next one and glances with a right cross. The next is half-checked by Wineland. Now Wineland evades a front kick and glances with a counter left.
The next low kick, outside, smashes into Wineland’s lead leg. Wineland responds with a scorching right hand that wobbles Saenz. Another right finds the mark, this one of a standard velocity. Wineland lands an outside low kick but he allows Saenz to get too deep on a double leg. Heel-to-hip on one side for Wineland in full guard. Hard left elbow from Saenz crashes into Wineland’s face. Saenz gets Wineland’s back in a transition but time expires. 10-9 Saenz.
R2: Wineland catches an unintentional shot low and we pause briefly. Saenz steps into a glancing right hand on the restart. Counter right hand off the back foot lands for Wineland. Saenz grazes with an uppercut counter before landing an inside kick to the thigh.
Now a right from Saenz. An inside kick lands with questionable placement but Wineland says, “It wasn’t that bad” after readjusting his cup. Saenz off-balances Wineland and lands a knee to the body as he’s getting back up. Another inside low kick from Saenz. Wineland scores with a three-piece combo, then seemingly knocks Saenz off balance with a counter flurry. 10-10.
R3: Fairly even exchanges on the feet for the first minute of the final round … until Wineland rips a counter right that puts Saenz on roller-skates. Saenz goes down and Wineland flurries. Saenz makes it back to his feet but gets plastered with a nasty salvo of punches and the ref steps in.
- Eddie Wineland defeats Frankie Saenz by KO (punches) R3 1:54
Darren Elkins vs. Godofredo Pepey
R1: Pepey somehow pulls off a spinning back fist and a spinning kick, in sequence. Elkins backs off to gather himself, then bounces off the cage to finish a double leg. Pepey leans over for a kimura and gets a strong two-on-one, using the hold to roll into top position. Elkins pulls his arm out of danger but takes a big right to the face as Pepey stands up. Pepey passes to half guard on his way back into Elkins’ guard but they separate after Elkins’ leg lock attempt.
Elkins hits another double leg and Pepey closes his guard, getting decent head and posture control. Elkins is able to posture up and land some short punches. Pepey gets to his feet and uses the Sakuraba kimura counter to Elkins’ rear waist lock. Elkins, aware of the risk, picks Pepey off the ground and carefully converts the bad position into a takedown. 10-9 Elkins.
R2: Pepey glances with a wild spinning kick to open the round and Elkins takes him down. Pepey isolates a leg and starts cranking a heel hook, and it forces Elkins into a panicked defensive sequence. Pepey smashes Elkins with a hard elbow off his back. Elkins finally steps over and out of the heel hook but Pepey sweeps on top with a calf slicer in the works. Pepey bails on it but gets overzealous, landing a blatantly illegal knee to the head while Elkins was still grounded. Herb Dean takes a point, appropriately.
Pepey stings him with a right on the restart but he’s on his back a moment later. Smothering top control from Elkins as Pepey looks to create with submission attempts. Two cleaving elbows to the head from Pepey off his back. And one more. 10-8 Elkins with the point deduction.
R3: Elkins wings double one-twos and closes the combo with a clean left kick to the body. He repeats the process and glances with another kick. Elkins comes forward and Pepey acquiesces to the takedown or pulls guard. Elkins lands a short forearm to the jaw. And another, though he nearly got caught in an arm-triangle on the latter.
Pepey creates enough space to stand up but then offers little resistance on the imminent takedown. Hard right to the jaw from Elkins. Grinding top control from Elkins with sporadic punches. 10-9 Elkins. I have it 30-26 his way.
Kamaru Usman vs. Alexander Yakovlev
R1: Usman forces an early clinch and steers Yakovlev onto the fence. Usman off-balances Yakovlev and he’s countered with a whizzer, but Usman readjusts his angle and completes the takedown. Yakovlev takes a knee and Usman grapevines a leg, threatening to take the back ride. Yakovlev grabs the fence and Big John McCarthy slaps his hand away with a harsh warning, then pauses the action to take a point away when Yakovlev blatantly grabs it again.
They’re restarted in the same position and Yakovlev grabs the fence again … twice. McCarthy notices the second time and yanks his hand off the cage. Unfortunately the cage-grabbing drama is taking precedence because of Usman’s boat-anchor style of unremarkable top control. 10-8 Usman with the point deduction.
R2: Yakovlev lands a heavy left kick to the body. Now two more from Yakovlev, enjoying the distance. And another. Make it five straight left kicks to the body. Yakovlev steps forward to initiate a clinch, then backs off with a knee to the body. He tries the same brazen strategy again but this time Usman stays attached, bullying Yakovlev to the canvas and landing in half guard. Short left foream from Usman.
Usman buries Yakovlev under his heavy base, firing off elbows to Yakovlev’s head, the only visible sign of the Russian’s existence. Yakovlev craftily hooks an ankle and looks to wrench a leg lock but Usman is wise to it. 10-9 Usman.
R3: Yakovlev manages a body kick attempt before finding himself entombed under the chiseled girth of Usman. Usman passes to half guard, then keeps on moving to side mount. Knees to the body from Usman. Yakovlev rolls onto one hip and gets to his feet but he’s dumped by an outside trip, and Usman lands in full mount.
It’s an aggressive hail of right elbows to the face from Usman as Yakovlev looks to mute it with a body lock. Yakovlev forces a scramble and gets back to his feet but cannot get Usman’s filthy mitts off of him. He’s back down and mounted a moment later. 10-8 Usman. I have it 30-25 Usman.
- Kamaru Usman defeats Alexander Yakovlev by unanimous decision (30-25 x3)
J.C. Cottrell vs. Michel Prazeres
R1: Prazeres ducks a left hand and finishes a single leg. Cottrell bounces off the canvas quickly and separates. Prazeres with another reactive takedown but Cottrell hits a nice reversal. Prazeres spins into an omoplata and it’s deep. Prazeres is stuck on his butt, looking to sit up and take a knee. A chess match ensues at the final tipping point of the omoplata.
Prazeres switches to an armbar, then bails on it to take top position as Cottrell defends. Cottrell looks for a kimura but Prazeres patiently dismantles the risk. Prezeres passes to half guard, then side mount. 10-8 Prazeres.
R2: Cottrell stays curiously upright while leading with a left hook and Prazeres again hits a duck-under takedown. Cottrell fights back to his feet and manages to separate without much of a struggle. Cottrell literally wades forward with the same telegraphed left and gift wraps a takedown for Prazeres.
Cottrell works back to his feet but can’t seem to even think of throwing a punch without Prazeres tossing him to the floor. This exact sequence occurs two more times, and Prazeres is able to hold him down until the round ends. 10-9 Prazeres.
R3: Prazeres catches Cottrell with a lead right hand to the head. Prazeres unloads another right that gets through, then a left kick to the body. Prazeres goes off: a heavy left body kick, another right upstairs and another cracking body kick before hitting an easy takedown. Cottrell gets back to his feet and shakes Prazeres off his back despite having one grapevine from the rear waist cinch.
Prazeres bulldozes forward with right hand upstairs. Cottrell lands a counter left and Prazeres answers with a right hand before hitting a double leg. Prazeres oddly rolls onto his back, then kicks Cottrell away and stands up. Hard jab to the face from Prazeres. Now a clean right. Short left from Prazeres. 10-9 Prazeres. I have it 30-26 his way.
Fight Pass Prelims
(UFC Fight Pass, 4:30 p.m. ET)
James Moontasri vs. Alex Oliveira
R1: They throw simultaneous kicks and Oliveira follows behind his to clinch, putting Moontasri on the cage. Moontasri gets a wide base to prevent Oliveira from locking his hands, then maintains his balance on the throw attempt. Whizzer throw attempt from Oliveira but it’s denied. Moontasri circles off the fence and lands a hard knee to the thigh. Oliveira answers with a huge knee up the middle and, though it looked legal live, we pause for what the ref deems a low blow.
Based on the way Moontasri is writhing in agony on the canvas with both doctors and the ref huddled around him, this is a bad scenario for Moontasri’s genitals. After taking almost the full five, Moontasri is ready to resume. Moontasri lands a short counter knee to the body as Oliveira locks horns and puts him on the fence. Heavy knee to the body from Oliveira, and another; Joe Rogan thought the second knee was below the belt. They trade elbows to the head but Oliveira thumps him with another knee to the midsection. Make it two more from Oliveira from the single collar tie. 10-9 Oliveira.
R2: Oliveira ducks a punch and puts Moontasri back on the fence. Oliveira fires another knee to the body and it lands dangerously close to the cup again. Oliveira continues to grind away in the clinch with short punches and knees to the body. Oliveira takes him down at the halfway mark.
Oliveira passes to half guard, then mounts Moontasri when he goes for a careless escape. Moontasri gets half butterfly guard but can’t elevate Oliveira’s hips. Oliveira stands up and drives down a trio of right hands, one of which crunches Moontasri in the face. Heavy punches now from Oliveira as Moontasri fades. Moontasri looks to escape but is countered effectively by Oliveira’s front headlock. Moontasri gets back to his feet and lands an elbow. 10-9 Oliveira.
R3: They land simultaneously, Moontasri with a spinning back fist and Oliveira with a right cross. They continue to trade with their feet planted but Oliveira continues his forward momentum and takes Moontasri down. Moontasri is somewhat passive off his back again, closing his guard and controlling posture with his head trapped on the fence. Oliveira methodically chips away with punches from the top.
Hard rights to the ribs from Oliveira, each of which resound with a sickening thud. Big-brother mode for Oliveira, who’s battering Moontasri with a steady shelling of ground-and-pound. Another cringe-worthy salvo of beefy right hands to the ribs. 10-8 Oliveira. I have it 30-26 Oliveira.
- Alex Oliveira defeats James Moontasri by unanimous decision (30-26 x2, 30-25)
Jim Alers vs. Jason Knight
R1: Alers catches Knight with a sharp inside low kick but he eats a crisp jab in return. Outside low kick from Alers amidst many fast jabs from Knight. They trade right hands in a mutual exchange. Alers slips a right hand through and, after waving Alers forward, Knight chops out his footing with an outside low kick. “Come for that takedown, that’s you want, bitch!” is quite clearly heard from Knight in between heated exchanges.
Knight has been throwing in an occasional rear-leg stomp kick to the knee, though the latest lands to the left hip of Alers. Hard outside low kick from Knight but he’s taken down by an Alers double leg. Knight sits up and pushes on the head to scramble free and separate. Knight, bloodied up under his right eye, grazes with a one-two and scores with an outside low kick. Knight takes Alers down, then backs off to lend more furious commentary to Alers. 10-9 Knight.
R2: Outside low kick from Knight. Alers lands a step-back right counter. Knight answers with a stomp kick to the knee before flinging a double jab. Knight lands a right hook to the body and comes high with a left hook upstairs. Another hard outside low kick from Knight followed by a stomp kick to the knee.
Knight again has some choice words for Alers, then he raises his arms and taunts him a little. Yet it’s somehow tasteful and fitting. Knight stuffs a takedown and shouts something to the effect of “not today” to Alers before dinging him with a right cross. Knight lands a low kick and a stomp kick to Alers’ lead leg. Alers fires off a double leg and finishes it, though Knight immediately goes offensive from rubber guard. Knight gets close on a gogoplata but Alers slips out and throws strikes. 10-9 Knight.
R3: Alers vaults out of his corner and cracks Knight with a punch, then takes him down. Knight keeps his hips active for a submission but Alers shuts it down and stabilizes on top. Closed guard now for Knight, and he creates enough space to stand up and separate. Knight lands an outside low kick; Alers is yet to even attempt to check any of them.They trade left hands.
Knight goes back to the low/stomp kick combo, attacking the lead leg. Knight lands a hard shot upstairs. Alers, who’s been circling heavily, shoots a somewhat telegraphed takedown that’s easily stuffed, but he cleanly finishes his next attempt. Alers in side mount with a heavy base. Knight expertly gets full guard and lands short elbows to the head from the bottom. Knight sits up on the cage and peels his legs loose, getting back to his feet. Just as they break the clinch, Alers plasters him with a clean right but his spinning back fist is blocked. Knight gets a takedown from the clinch at the bell. This was a very intense and enjoyable scrap. 10-9 Knight. I have it 30-27 Knight.
- Jason Knight defeats Jim Alers by split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)
Luis Henrique vs. Dmitry Smolyakov
R1: Smolyakov dodges a left high kick. Henrique comes forward winging low-left shovel punches, catching Smolyakov with at least one and putting him on the fence with a body lock. Henrique lands a knee to the body while breaking the clinch. Smolyakov hops forward behind a pair of heavy overhand rights and Henrique puts him back on the fence with a defensive clinch.
Back to the body lock for Henrique as Smolyakov chatters to his corner. They separate and Smolyakov’s first course of action is to spit his mouthpiece out in open space, for whatever reason. The ref gets in back in quickly and Henrique hoists Smolyakov off the ground with a double leg, then unleashes a downpour of punches, hammer-fists and elbows. After the barrage ends, Smolyakov falls back on the reliable strategy of spitting his mouthpiece out. Henrique starts pounding away again, then, oddly, notices Smolyakov’s mouthpiece and starts to grab it, but he’s scolded by the ref. 10-9 Henrique.
R2: Smolyakov steps inside a high kick but Henrique shows excellent balance in fending off the reactive takedown attempt. Henrique puts him back on the fence, clinging to a single leg as Smolyakov tries to jog out of range and finishes it. Left hands and hammer-fists to the head as Smolyakov turtles.
Smolyakov freezes as Henrique pounds away from the back ride; actually a strategic improvement from the mouthpiece shenanigans. Henrique bides his time and keeps the pressure on with strikes, then threads his forearm under the chin and forces the tapout via the mata leao.
- Luis Henrique defeats Dmitry Smolyakov by submission (rear-naked choke) R2 3:58
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