UFC 259 is taking place live from The UFC Apex, in Las Vegas, Nevada. 15 fights will be contested, including three title fights. Jan Blachowicz defends his Light-Heavyweight belt against Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, Amanda Nunes defends her Featherweight title against Megan Anderson. The Bantamweight belt is on the line as Petr Yan attempts to defend his belt vs. Aljamain Sterling.
The action through the first two fights has been epic! Two fights, two TKO finishes that had me jumping off the couch. Trevin Jones in his 2nd UFC appearance was losing his fight, and then came back to finish by TKO! Uros Medic backed up his pre-fight bravado as he finished Aalon Cruz with no issue in the first round of their lightweight clash. If these 1st two fights are any indication of how this night is going to unfold, we are going to witness a very special night of fights!
Jan Błachowicz vs. Israel Adesanya 205 lbs- A very calm start to this big fight. Both men feeling out one another, they exchange leg kicks in the center in the first minute. Not much to speak of halfway through the first, each man landing some gauging strikes, but nothing of importance. Blachowicz is holding the center, showing patience as is his foe in Adesanya. Could go either way, I went 10-9 Blachowicz.
Round 2: Blachowicz is doing well, and is landing the more significant strikes as we hit 2 minutes in the round. Adesanya is walking forward, landing some kicks, they clinch and Blachowicz lands a short knee, Izzy lands with another leg kick that is answered by a body kick by Blachowicz, and Izzy lands his own combo, and then hits Blachowicz in the nuts, for the 2nd time. I give this to Blachowicz, and have him up 20-18.
Round 3: Blachowicz is landing numerous strikes, and has jumped out to a lead in the 3rd, Izzy landed a big one, but Blachowicz recovered fine and is still winning the round. Jan has the clinch for the 2nd time and is winning against the octagon. They separate both lands the left jab. Israel is now leading the strike count in this round, and then Jan lands a big jab that moved Adesanya backward. They clinch again, and the horn sounds, I gave the 3rd to Adesanya 10-9, and after 3 I have it 29-28 Blachowicz.
Round 4: Adesanya lands a few, Blachowicz clinches, they break Blachowicz lands a huge shot that sent Adesanya reeling. After eating some, Blachowicz takes Izzy to the ground in the center of the octagon and is staying heavy on his opponent. Jan is controlling Adesanya who has no answer for this position. Jan has landed a few punches, but more importantly, is weighing and wearing on Adesanya. 3 minutes on top, landed some solid strikes, took the round 10-9. I have it 39-37 Blachowicz heading into the fifth.
Round 5: Jan opens the round landing a nice punch kick combo. Israel lands a couple, as they go back and forth in the 1st minute. each man being economic with their punches. The takedown secured again in the center of the octagon for Blachowicz with 2 plus minutes to work toward the win. Blachowicz is landing strikes and putting his weight on Adesanya, who again has no answer off his back. Blachowicz did good work on top for 2 and a half minutes to take the round, and retain the belt. I have it 49-46 for Blachowicz. Judges have it as follows: 49-46, 49-45, 49-45 for Blachowicz! He gets the win, he keeps his belt, and he takes the 0 from Adesanya!
*Amanda Nunes vs. Megan Anderson 145 lbs- Nunes is landing big punches, Anderson is hurt badly holding on for dear life on the ground. Nunes sinks in the triangle/armbar to retain her Featherweight title with zero resistance from the completely overmatched Anderson. The end comes at 2:03 seconds of round 1.
*Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling 135 lbs- Great start to this fight, Sterling out early to establish control. Funkmaster has landed an array of different strikes, and the first takedown goes to … Petr Yan! Some striking back and forth, and Sterling gets his 1st takedown. Back to the feet, Yan scores a knockdown with a big right hand. Sterling back up, they clinch in the middle. To the ground again, Sterling lands some solid ground strikes, gets Sterling’s back, nice ground exchange. Yan 10-9, even though he was outstruck, the knockdown gave him the round.
Round 2: Yan is stoic in his approach and Sterling is not. He overshoots and ends up falling to his back where we get a Lil pause in the action before the referee stands them up. Now we have some action on the feet as Sterling works his way to the clinch against the cage working for a single leg. Funkmaster is expending a lot of energy and not really getting anything out of it. They break, Yan lands a few strikes, and takes down Sterling and takes his back to end the round. 10-9 Sterling, 19-19 heading to the third.
Round 3: Yan coming out to control the fight. Yan is coming forward and putting the pressure on Sterling, Yan eats the 1st nutshot of the night, takes no pause and the fight continues. The takedown game is all Yan, Sterling is 1 for 10 at this point. Yan is showing championship talent and patience. Yan tosses Sterling to the ground with little effort. Sterling is gassing and fighting sloppily. The final minute taking place and Yan is headed to another round in the bank. 10-9 Yan, 29-28 Yan after 3.
Round 4: Yan takes the center, puts Sterling on his back yet again scoring his 7th takedown of the fight. They stand in the center and trade strikes while Sterling attempted to clinch, Yan wasn’t having it. Sterling again working for a takedown and produces no fruit for his labor. Yan is starting to pull away now as he looks fresher, he is more efficient by far. Sterling eats a couple of big strikes and has no real answer. Yan lands an illegal knee to the head, a 100% blatant illegal strike. An intentional foul is being assessed against Yan, as referee Mark Smith told Yan that he was a downed opponent. This fight should be stopped because Sterling is out of it. Also, because of the warning by the ref, if this is called, Sterling wins and is the new champion.
After all the discussion post-fight, the decision has been made at 4:29 of round 4 winner by disqualification due to a blatant illegal strike from Petr Yan, the new Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling!
Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober 155 lbs- Dober was able to land a couple of solid strikes, and then Makhachev shot in and took the fight to his world. Makhachev is remaining on top as expected. Dober is unable to do anything from his back as Makhachev secures the full mount. Dober gets back to half guard and Makhachev goes knee to belly to move to side control. An exciting scramble ensues, and the grappling expertise of Makhachev is on full display. From mount to back mount, slides over into a deep armbar, total control for Makhachev. 10-8 on my card.
Round 2: Makhachev continues where he left off, secures a takedown, and top position where he is absolutely dominating Dober. Makhachev is smothering Dober. It’s so hard to believe how dominant Makhachev is against other world-class athletes. Nearly an entire round on top in the 2nd for Makhachev who maintained top position worked for submissions and landed some solid ground and pound until the horn. Makhachev 20-16 after 2.
Round 3: It is The Makhachev Show once again. Takedown, control position, look for submissions, land ground, and pound. Boom Makhachev strikes like a cobra with the arm-in-triangle from half guard, putting his strength on display and ending the fight at 1:37 seconds of the 3rd round.
*Thiago Santos vs. Aleksandar Rakić 205 lbs- Two dangerous men, and the respect of one another’s power is evident in the fairly easy pace over the first 4 minutes. Both have landed some strikes with their hands, and kicks. Santos I feel has landed the bigger strikes and takes round 1 10-9.
Round 2: Santos comes out a little more active than in the first, but both men are exhibiting caution. Rakic was coming forward in the first dictating the pace and is continuing the trend in the 2nd. Rakic puts Santos against the octagon and lands some solid strikes to the body of Santos. Not much to talk about in the 2nd, I have Rakic winning the round, and the fight all even after 2 at 19-19.
Round 3: Much of the same action, or lack thereof as we hit the one-minute mark of the 3rd. Santos lands a solid kick, best of the fight for him so far, follows up with another kick to the body of Rakic, which seems to have hurt him. Rakic continues to move forward, the absence of his wresting is glaringly evident. Neither seems overly excited to really unleash anything. Santos lands an elbow defends a takedown. Rakic has Santos against the panel but isn’t doing much with the position, they come off the cage and come to the center for 30 seconds more of not much. I have it 29-28 Rakic. Judges have it 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 Rakic via unanimous decision.
*Dominick Cruz vs. Casey Kenney 135 lbs- Digging the action in this one! Kenny caught a takedown attempt from Cruz in the opening seconds and takes the front headlock position. Cruz works his way free and starts landing punches and kicks, including a front kick to the face, and a nice head kick. Cruz’s footwork is starting to hypnotize Kenny with his movement. Kenney lands a few good strikes, but Cruz takes the round 10-9.
Round 2: Cruz is showing that he is still a threat to anyone. Kenney has been able to land kicks to the leg of Cruz, causing some redness, but no change in the movement of Cruz. Cruz is still landing the more effective strikes. Kenney is scoring with his kicks, but can’t answer the footwork or striking prowess by Cruz. The former champ is faster and more effective. Even with the striking numbers being close, Cruz’s are more effective. 20-18 Cruz.
Round 3: Cruz scores the early takedown, however, Kenney has a half guillotine around the neck of Cruz which is uncomfortable but puts Cruz in no danger. Chasing Cruz around has seemingly drained the gas tank of Kenney who is starting to show he’s tired. Under 2 minutes left and they are swinging. Cruz scores with a solid combo forcing Kenney backward. Kenney is trying hard to land big, but missing bigger. Cruz scores another takedown with 30 seconds left and is staying on top, where the fight ends. Cruz 30-27 on my card. Judges have it 29-28, 28-29, 30-27 for Dominick Cruz via split decision.
*Kyler Phillips vs. Yadong Song 135 lbs- These two are looking to establish themselves on the feet. each one taking their turn at leading the dance. Phillips has been the more effective fighter early. Song is walking through the punches of Phillips and continuing to walk him down. Phillips lands a sizzling head kick and Song ate it with no issue. The back and forth continues, Song attempts a flying knee, Phillips lands another big right followed by the takedown but isn’t able to keep Song on the ground. Song lands a few big strikes including a nice uppercut, but Phillips seems unfazed. Phillips 10-9.
Round 2: Song is coming forward as he continues to dictate the pace. Phillips lands a spinning kick against the panel, and again Song keeps coming forward. Phillips is doing a great job of mixing up his punches and kicks. The bout seems to be very even with under two minutes left in round 2. Phillips again lands a takedown with a minute left in the round. Song gets back to his feet with 40 seconds left, but he isn’t able to change the tide. Phillips 20-18.
Round 3: The 3rd starts much like the previous 2 with each man having brief moments, and Phillips winning the exchanges. 3 minutes left in the round and Song needs to ramp up his aggression because he will need a finish to win this one. They stand in the center of the octagon and bang. Song comes forward and is landing on Phillips against the panel. Song has caught the momentum and I feel is winning the 3rd, and then Phillips scores another takedown near a minute left in the round.. Song reverses position and ends up on top and is looking for a way to finish the fight. Song takes the 3rd 10-9, but I have Phillips winning 29-28. Judges 29-28×3 Phillips.
*Joseph Benavidez vs. Askar Askarov 125 lbs- Benavidez starts out leading the dance, but Askarov is starting to find his rhythm, and landing front kicks to the mid-section of Benavidez. Askarov lands a nice right that caught the attention of Benavidez. Askarov seems calm and calculated in his work. Askarov lands a short punch to the face and then clinches with Benavidez, and ends up on his back to finish the round. 10-9 Askarov.
Round 2: Thes guys are brawling early in the frame. Both landing big. Askarov’s punches seem to have more effect than those of Benavidez. They go to the ground, and Askarov as expected assumes the control. Askarov is floating on the back of Benavidez with the body triangle locked in, Benavidez is stuck. They get to the feet briefly, but Askarov’s strength and his technique brings the fight back to the mat. Benavidez has had 4 warnings for fence grabs by referee Jason Herzog, yet no point deduction. Askarov maintains control, and in the closing seconds of the round, they get back to the feet where Askarov lands a few nice scoring strikes. 20-18 Askarov.
Round 3: Askarov is making the seasoned veteran in Benavidez look bad, outclassing the perennial title contender. Askarov lands a beautiful question mark kick to the left side of Benavidez’s head. Askarov seems like he’s in the midst of a spirited sparring session. He is calm, cool, and collected and is cruising to what looks to be a dominating unanimous decision win. The fight stays on the feet for the 3rd and Askarov has managed the distance well throughout the fight, causing Benavidez to be ineffective, the bell rings to end the fight. I have it 30-27 Askarov. Judges 30-27,30-27,30-26 unanimous decision Askar Askarov.
*Kai Kara-France vs. Rogério Bontorin 125 lbs- The feeling out process begins. Bontorin seems to be waiting for the takedown and secures it within 90 seconds. Immediately takes the back of Kara-France and locks in the body triangle. Bontorin attempts a rear-naked choke that Kara-France is able to avoid. Bontorin is relentless and clearly is the better fighter on the ground. Kara-France stands and Botorin gets the rear-naked but isn’t able to finish. They get back to the feet, and Kara- France lands a huge right that faceplants Bontorin near the end of the round scoring the knockout win at 4:55 of round 1. There was some confusion at the end as Kara-France seemingly was the judge, and the jury(referee) as after dropping Bontorin he walked off, calling an end to the fight before referee Herb Dean actually called a stop to the bout.
*Tim Elliott vs. Jordan Espinosa 125 lbs- Lots of posturing between these two. Espinosa is fast, he actually dodged an entry by Elliot who whiffed. Elliot in typical fashion has pressed Espinosa against the cage panel a couple of times and was able to dodge a strike from Espinosa. The fight moved to the ground, and Elliot took the back of Espinosa. Elliot maintained top position for the final 2 minutes giving him the 10-9 score for the round.
Round 2: It’s the Tim Elliot Show on display. Elliot took Espinosa to the ground in the first 30 seconds and does what he does in smothering his opponent. Elliot has been on top for the majority of the round with nearly 4.5 minutes of positional control where he worked for submissions and used his elbow and arm to rake his opponent’s face. Espinosa had no answers for Elliot who gets the 10-8 score on my card.
Round 3: Elliot picked up right where he left off in round 2. Espinosa, who is a solid wrestler in his own right has looked like a deer in the headlights in every ground exchange with Elliot. Espinosa cuts Elliot with an elbow from the bottom, and Elliot is using his head as a weapon. Not headbutting, but rubbing it on Espinosa’s face, and depositing his blood in Espinosa’s eyes. Espinosa took a flyer at an armbar that was unsuccessful. Elliot remained on top applying pressure and doing dirty work from the top until the bell rings. I have it Elliot 30-26. The judges score it 30-27,30-27,30-25 for Tim Elliot.
*Carlos Ulberg vs. Kennedy Nzechukwu 205 lbs- Ulberg is an absolute beast! Firing off kicks and punches at will, and landing wherever, and whenever he wants. Nzechukwu looks lost and slow in comparison. At 3 minutes in, Nzechukwu landed a solid head strike and seemingly turned the tide. Now both men are landing in a back and forth battle. Neither man is really playing defense, and Ulberg is looking a bit gassed. 10-9 Ulberg.
Round 2: More back and forth between these 2 light-heavyweight prospects. This fight is awesome! Two big guys that are all offense, and no real defense to speak of. A thumb to the eye by Ulberg stops the action briefly. Once they get back to it, both men picked up the pace. Ulberg throwing hands and kicks, and Nzechukwu kept on coming, and finally lands the big one that was the beginning of the end for Ulberg. A huge hook by Kennedy, followed up by nasty ground and pound that forced referee Herb Dean to stop the fight at 3:19 seconds of round 2 for your winner by TKO Kennedy Nzechukwu.
*Sean Brady vs. Jake Matthews 170 lbs- Matthews showed off his power when he dropped Brady in the 1st. However, once on the ground Brady took control of the fight on the ground maintaining control and position, and secured the 10-9 score.
Round 2 opens up with both mixing in strikes, and then Brady shot for and secured a take-down. Brady then went to work smothering Matthews and continually searching for the guillotine from multiple positions, eventually finishing the round on top and in control of the bout 20-18.
Round 3: At 45 seconds into the round Brady wobbles Matthews with a solid left hook. The fight once again went to the ground where Brady had undoubtedly held the advantage throughout the fight. Brady eventually worked his way to the top position where he was able to end the fight via arm triangle at 3:28 seconds for his 2nd consecutive submission inside the octagon as he moved to 14-0.
*Livinha Souza vs. Amanda Lemos 115 lbs- From the opening bell, Lemos was attacking. Lemos took a striker’s stance and showed her prowess and power as a striker! Lemos dropped Souza twice with jabs, used some vicious ground and pound to dominate Souza. The second drop of Souza forced referee Jason Herzog to stop the fight at 3:39 seconds of round one for your winner by TKO, Amanda Lemos.
*Uros Medic vs. Aalon Cruz 155 lbs- Uros Medic went to work quickly and let loose with a big hook that put Cruz in la-la land. Medic then dropped a ridiculous amount of ground and pound (45-0 total strikes) on Cruz, who hung tough eating strike after strike from Medic. Referee Mark Smith was on top of the action and gave Cruz every opportunity to fight back. Cruz couldn’t answer his opponent and Smith finally stepped in at 1:40 seconds of round one for your winner by TKO Uros Medic.
*Trevin Jones vs. Mario Bautista 135 lbs- After losing round one, Trevin Jones lands a right hook/uppercut and drops Bautista to the canvas. Jones goes into finish mode and unleashes a barrage of hammer fists forcing the referee to call a halt to the bout at 40 seconds of round 2 for your winner by TKO Trevin Jones.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.