We’ll be back for main card UFC 253 live coverage promptly when the PPV starts. While you’re waiting, you can check out our interview with AEW champion Jon Moxley where we talked a lot about the UFC and previewed UFC 253.
Zubaira Tukhugov Vs Hakeem Dawodu
Tukhugov is very comfortable throwing his right hand and it’s landing. Dawodu is a little apprehensive and falling for a lot of feints. That could set things up later in the fight. Dawodu had some success with leg kicks, but his strikes are mostly coming up short. Neither guy has really put any punches or kicks together. I’d give the round to Tukhugov.
Tukhugov is very confident in his boxing, but Dawodu is countering with leg kicks and body shots. Both guys are throwing hard shots. Tukhugov went for a takedown that was stuffed, but Tukhugov got it with about a minute left in the round. Tukhugov also throw a nice uppercut straight right combo. I think Dawodu won the second round slightly when you add up the leg kicks which Tukhugov wasn’t worried about checking.
Tukhugov is going hard for takedowns as Dawodu is having much more success on the feet thanks to the leg kicks. Dawodu is being patient and not wasting any motion at all. This is a good technical fight. Tukhugov got behind Dawodu but Dawodu slipped out. That was excellent. Now Dawodu is walking Tukhugov backward. Dawodu is now screaming at Tukhugov for not engaging. I have Dawodu winning 2-1.
Winner: Hakeem Dawodu by way of split decision
The scores were 29-28 for Tukhugov and 30-27 and 29-28 for Dawodu.
Sijara Eubanks Vs Ketlen Vieira
It was mostly a striking battle in the first. Eubanks landed a few early on, but it is so much effort for her to land, versus Vieira easily throwing her counter straight right. The striking is just more fluid for Vieira. Eubanks took a lot of shots in the last couple of minutes, but is tough as nails. Vieira got a late leg trip for a takedown.
Vieira got another takedown and the referee stood them up. Eubanks isn’t being steamrolled on the feet, but it takes so much more energy from her to land a punch versus Vieira’s very fluid striking. The rounds are close enough, but I have Vieira up 2-0.
Eubanks’ corner wanted her to throw a left hook and she finally got it off. Vieira looks like she’s fine to allow Eubanks to land shots so that she can throw her counter shot. It worked more in the first two rounds than in the third. Eubanks avoided a few attempts at Vieira trying to clinch her and possibly take her down. Eubanks won the third with her leg kicks and more accurate striking. I have Vieira winning 2-1.
Winner: Ketlen Vieira by way of unanimous decision
All the scores were 29-28 in favor of Vieira.
Brandon Royval Vs Kai Kara-France
Kara-France dropped Royval with a big shot and went to follow up and Royval caught him with a back elbow. They went to the ground and this is where Royval really has the upper hand. Kara-France eventually got out of some submission attempts. Royval might tire himself out with his activity. He’s moving forward and throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Kara-France. Royval knocked him backward and then tried to sink in a guillotine. Kara-France took some punishment, but if you’re Kara-France, you hope that Royval can’t keep up his activity. Great first round for Royval.
Royval got another guillotine and submitted Kara-France.
Winner: Brandon Royval by 2nd round submission
Jan Blachowicz Vs Dominick Reyes
Reyes started out nicely, but Blachowicz won the round. He landed a few lead kicks to Reyes’ right side. There was a nasty bruise midway in the first round. Reyes was very patient, but didn’t really land much of note. Good round for Blachowicz.
Blachowicz put his lights out. They traded on the inside and Reyes didn’t look comfortable. He tried throwing a high kick which landed, but all it did was allow Blachowicz to get inside again and he put Reyes’ lights out. Reyes tried to trade and ate a left hand and went down. Blachowicz followed him to the ground and the fight was stopped.
Winner: Jan Blachowicz by 2nd round TKO
Paulo Costa Vs Israel Adesanya
Costa had cupping marks up and down his calf. They were like targets for Adesanya. Costa was way more patient than he has been in the past, which meant Adesanya piled up the points with leg kicks. Costa’s best shot was a nice body kick. Lots of gamesmanship by both guys in the first round, trying to get someone off their game plan. First round goes to Adesanya.
Adesany stopped him in the 2nd round. There was an even bigger difference in talent than I thought. Costa couldn’t really do anything with him and didn’t even really try to strike because of Adesanya’s technical striking and counter striking. Adesanya landed a kick to the head which looked to cut Costa on the eye. At that point, Costa was trying to block feints and not seeing actual strikes coming. Costa missed and Adesanya landed a left hand that knocked Costa down and he finished him.
Winner: Israel Adesanya by way of 2nd round TKO