The Pearl at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada was home to a good night of fights. The card saw three (T)KOs, five submissions, and five decisions, including two split-decisions.
Performances of the Night: Roosevelt Roberts, Joseph Benavidez, Juan Espino, Kamaru Usman
Roosevelt Roberts was like a bolt right out of the gate, throwing a variety of low and high kicks at Darrell Horcher, who answered with some of his own. Roberts, clearly the faster guy, is throwing from range, content to let Horcher get trapped in his web of trickery. Sure enough, Darrell rushes Roberts and gets a body lock on him, and they start fighting for position. Roberts sees his opportunity, grabs a guillotine and snakes his arm all the way under Horcher’s chin and goes palm-to-palm. Roberts lifts Horcher into the air, and gets the tap with just a few seconds left on the clock.
Roosevelt Roberts gets the guillotine victory and 50,000 smackers for his bank account.
Joseph Benavides finished Alex Perez twice tonight and should probably have gotten two bonuses for his pair of TKOs in the first round. The two men did the “getting to know you” dance for about a minute or so, but after disengaging from a failed arm triangle attempt, Perez eats some hard punches on the inside and is stumbled by the veteran. From there, Joe B is just landing anything he wants, finally putting young Perez down, landing big bombs and hammerfists the whole time. Referee Yves Lavigne steps in and clearly puts both hands on Benavidez, which should have signaled the end of the fight, but he stepped back and has the two continue fighting! Perez tries to escape, but Benavidez gets him back to the ground where he beat the stuffing out of him until Lavigne finally, mercifully, stopped the fight.
Joseph Benavidez gets 50Gs for reaping the soul out of a body twice in five minutes.
Juan Espino and Justin Frazier went into the octagon looking to become the next TUF winner, but it was Espino who dominated from start to finish, beginning with a big slam inside the 10-second mark. Espino pressed Frazier against the cage, landing hard lefts before getting full mount and landing everything he threw. Frazier, through some sort of big man magic, managed to get back to his feet, but is ultimately taken down again. Espino pins Frazier with a crucifix and secures the straight armbar. Frazier tried to TUF it out, but ends up tapping.
Juan Espino gets the first-round submission, $50 Gs in bonus cash, the six-figure contract and the TUF 28 winner’s trophy.
Kamaru Usman put on a dominant performance against former lightweight kingpin Rafael Dos Anjos, and despite failing to secure a finish, impressed UFC head honcho Dana White enough to get a $50K bonus.
The fight saw a bizarre spread on the scorecards, one judge giving it to Usman 49-45, one 48-47 and one 50-43. General consensus was that it was a blowout victory for Usman, so the 48-47 scorecard is especially strange.
Dos Anjos fought valiantly and was constantly trying to strike from the bottom or climb back to his feet, but he was always on the back foot, or more accurately, his back everything. Usman’s wrestling and top pressure was stifling, and he poured punishment on RDA for at least 22 of the 25 minutes this fight lasted.
Usman’s record now sits at 9 wins and 0 losses in the UFC, and this win over a former champion surely sets him up for the next shot at the welterweight crown after Tyron Woodley and Colby Covington settle their beef. In the meantime, Usman gets to find a fun way to spend the 50 large Uncle Dana gave him for his hulk-smashing of dos Anjos tonight.
Fight of the Night: NONE
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