Cody Stamann extended his winning streak to nine in UFC 216 prelim action at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, as he won a three-round split decision over Tom Duquesnoy in a clash of top bantamweight prospects.
The opening round was tough to call thanks to the competitive action between the two combatants, and while Stamann was able to score with a pair of takedowns, Duquesnoy didn’t stay grounded for long, and when the two stood, he landed the more telling blows.
Duquesnoy started off the second in control, but a pair of takedowns followed by ground strikes by Stamann allowed the Michigan native to put his stamp on the round.
Stamann stayed aggressive in the final five minutes as Duquesnoy slowed down, and it was that final surge that put “The Spartan” ahead for good by scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 28-29.
With the win, Stamann moves to 16-1. Duquesnoy falls to 15-2 with 1 NC.
VANNATA vs GREEN
Lando Vannata and Bobby Green both went for broke in their lightweight bout, with a draw verdict being rendered after the action-packed three-rounder.
Scores were 29-27 Green, 29-27 Vannata and 28-28.
After some back and forth action to begin the bout, Vannata (9-2-1) stunned Green (23-8-1) with a body shot and then dropped him with a right hand. Vannata appeared to be on the verge of putting his opponent away before he threw an illegal knee at Green, who was still down. The infraction cost Vannata a point, but the bout continued. Vannata nearly sunk in a guillotine choke, but Green hung tough and got loose, allowing him to get through the round, which was punctuated by a Vannata takedown.
Green got back in the fight in round two, with his crisp striking bloodying Vannata. The Albuquerque product did produce a pair of takedowns, but Green bounced right back up. With 1:15 left, Vannata hurt Green with another right hand, putting the momentum back in his favor.
The third round was punctuated by several heated exchanges, with each fighter taking their turn controlling the action. With a minute left, Vannata briefly rattled Green and got a quick takedown, but again, it was Green jumping to his feet immediately and resuming his standup attack, which nearly put Vannata on the canvas in the closing seconds, putting an exclamation mark on a memorable scrap.
BOTELHO vs GONZALEZ
Rio de Janeiro strawweight Poliana Botelho scored a unanimous decision victory over Pearl Gonzalez in her UFC debut, shutting out the Chicago native over three rounds.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Botelho, now 6-1. Gonzalez falls to 6-3.
The first round featured plenty of uneventful grappling against the fence punctuated by elbows from Botelho. Gonzalez did have some early success at range with her kicks, but she clearly wanted to test the Brazilian’s grappling.
The pattern continued in round two, with Gonzalez controlling the clinch and Botelho firing off several elbows in an attempt to get free, but neither was able to take control of the match.
The crowd was clearly restless in the third at the lack of action as Gonzalez continued to clinch, but Botelho did get off some effective kicks and knees when the two weren’t locked up, and she added a takedown just before the final horn to secure her victory.
SCHNELL vs BELTRAN
Matt Schnell picked up his first UFC win in flyweight action, taking a three-round unanimous decision over Marco Beltran.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Schnell, now 11-4. Beltran falls to 8-7.
Schnell’s hands were sharp in the early going, allowing him to take a lead in the opening frame, and he kept the momentum going in the second, not allowing Beltran to surge ahead. Mexico City’s Beltran, whose right eye was rapidly swelling shut, rallied in the third and even got a takedown in the closing moments, but a guillotine choke attempt by Schnell evened the score on that front, allowing the Louisiana native to take the unanimous decision win.
MORAGA vs BIBULATOV
Flyweight veteran John Moraga made a huge statement in his bout with unbeaten prospect Magomed Bibulatov, scoring a stunning first-round knockout.
Arizona’s Moraga looked sharp from the start, and after landing a flush right hand, Bibulatov’s legs were gone. Moraga threw a head kick, but it was a left hook that dropped the Russian and ended the bout, with referee Jason Herzog stepping in at the 1:38 mark.
With the win, the No. 11-ranked Moraga improves to 18-6. The No. 15-ranked Bibulatov falls to 14-1.
TAVARES vs LEITES
Brad Tavares made it three straight wins in the middleweight opener, shutting out fellow veteran Thales Leites.
Scores were 30-27 and 30-26 twice.
Tavares had a strong first round, rattling Leites twice, first with a left hand midway through the frame and then with a right in the closing seconds. In between, Leites tried to work his grappling game, but a pair of stalls against the fence brought in referee Chris Tognoni to restart the action.
The Las Vegan continued to pepper Leites with a variety of strikes in the second, bloodying the Brazilian in the process. Add in Tavares’ thudding kicks to the leg, and things had gone south in a hurry for the former world title challenger, who was increasingly unable to stand on his battered left leg as the third round progressed, with Tavares putting the heat on throughout.
With the win, Tavares moves to 16-5; Leites falls to 27-8.