IAQUINTA vs. SANCHEZ
A two-year absence didn’t appear to slow down lightweight contender Al Iaquinta, as his first bout since April 2015 saw him score a spectacular first-round knockout of Diego Sanchez in the UFC Fight Night co-main event at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
A tactical opening from both fighters heated up in a hurry when Iaquinta dropped Sanchez with a right hand. The Albuquerque veteran rose immediately, but he wasn’t able to get back in the fight, as another right hand sent Sanchez down and prompted referee John McCarthy to stop the bout at 1:38 of the opening round.
OHHHHH @AlIaquinta drops Sanchez, then finishes him off!!! WHAT. A. RETURN. #UFCNashville pic.twitter.com/sEhHTmCUpR
— #UFCNashville (@ufc) April 23, 2017
The No. 14-ranked Iaquinta, who has now won five straight, ups his record to 13-3-1; Sanchez falls to 29-10.
SAINT PREUX vs. DE LIMA
Fighting in his home state of Tennessee, Knoxville light heavyweight Ovince Saint Preux snapped a three-fight losing streak with a second-round submission of Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
De Lima was able to fight his fight in the first round with little resistance from Saint Preux outside of a hard left hand late in the frame. Early in the second, though, Saint Preux put the ball back in his court by catching a kick and dumping the Brazilian to the mat. OSP’s striking quickly cut de Lima around both eyes, and then the former world title challenger sunk in a Von Flue choke, and it was game over for de Lima, who tapped out at the 2:11 mark of round two.
With the win, the No. 8-ranked Saint Preux moves to 20-10. Sao Paulo’s de Lima, who missed weight for the second consecutive time, falls to 15-6-1.
DODSON vs. WINELAND
In a matchup of bantamweight contenders, John Dodson was a step ahead of Eddie Wineland all night, ultimately winning a clear-cut three round unanimous decision.
It wasn’t a firefight between the two 135-pound standouts in the opening two rounds, but in the tactical battle, Dodson’s speed and accuracy pushed him into the lead and kept him there, as the bloodied Wineland had no answers for his opponent’s attack.
Unfortunately for the Indiana native, matters didn’t get better for him in the third, as Albuquerque’s Dodson continued to stick and move and pile up the points. And while the crowd didn’t like the lack of sustained action, “The Magician” will take the win, which he earned via scores of 29-28 and 30-27 twice.
The No. 7-ranked Dodson moves to 20-8 with the win; the No. 10-ranked Wineland falls to 23-12-1.
RAY vs. LAUZON
Scotland’s Stevie Ray had a rough first round against veteran Joe Lauzon, but the lightweight prospect roared back in the final two frames to score a majority three-round decision in his United States debut.
Scores were 28-27, 29-27 and 28-28 for Ray, now 21-6. Lauzon falls to 27-14.
Lauzon put the pressure on Ray immediately, catching a kick from his opponent and then going to work to get the fight to the mat. Lauzon put Ray down and nearly sunk in a rear naked choke, but the Fife native escaped. But Lauzon wasn’t done, and he began firing off thudding strikes from the top position. Ray was able to survive, but not without getting bloodied and dominated for five minutes.
Ray got back into the fight with his striking in the first half of round two, but Lauzon then put him back on the mat, keeping the bout there until the horn.
Out of gas as the third opened, Lauzon trudged forward, but the momentum was now on Ray’s side. The New Englander ate several hard shots at close range as he attempted a takedown, but he got it. Unfortunately for him, Ray was the busier fighter and he got up fairly quickly. And while on the feet, Ray began pouring it on in the closing minute, nearly finishing his game foe before the final horn sounded.
PERRY vs. ELLENBERGER
Welterweight prospect Mike Perry ended his grudge match with veteran contender Jake Ellenberger in emphatic fashion, as he scored a second-round knockout.
After a quick front kick by Perry to open the bout, Ellenberger dumped his foe to the mat. Perry got back to his feet quickly, and the first round settled into a tactical kickboxing match, with Ellenberger holding the edge, but Perry able to bloody his foe.
Ellenberger continued using his veteran experience in round two, but less than a minute in, Perry dropped the Nebraskan with a left hand, showing that he still has an equalizer in his back pocket when he needs it. Ellenberger recovered quickly and rose to his feet, but a vicious right elbow landed flush, knocking Ellenberger out on impact. The official time of the finish was 1:05,
Orlando’s Perry moves to 10-1 with the win; the No. 13-ranked Ellenberger falls to 31-13.