Ageless Andrei Arlovski earns third straight win, takes split decision over Jared Vanderaa

Sign up for ESPN+ hereand you can then stream UFC 271 live to your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet, or streaming device through the ESPN app. There doesn’t appear to be an expiration date on Andrei Arlovski’s mixed martial arts career.

The former heavyweight king won for the fifth time in six outings at UFC 271, taking a split decision over Dana White’s Contender Series veteran Jared Vanderaa in a preliminary fight at Toyota Center in Houston Saturday night. Judges Jeff Rexroad and Douglas Crosby scored the fight 29-28 for the Belarusian, while Robert Alexander made it 29-28 in favor of Vanderaa (12-7, 1-3 UFC).

Arlovski, 43 (33-20, 22-14, 1 NC UFC) has relied on the formula that has brought him consistent success at this point in his professional tenure. He used superior speed and hand movement to keep the laborious Vanderaa at bay – connecting with several solid right hands throughout the contest while mixing in the occasional kick. To his credit, Vanderaa never stopped moving forward and increased his aggression in round 3, but he was unable to put Arlovski in serious danger.

O’Neill spoils Modafferi’s farewell

Casey O’Neill continues to look like a talent to watch in the women’s flyweight division, unceremoniously ending Roxane Modaferri’s MMA career in a split-decision triumph. Judges Ivan Guzman and Kerry Hatley submitted 29-28 scorecards for O’Neill (9-0, 4-0 UFC) while Robert Alexander saw the fight in favor of Modafferi (25-20, 4-8 UFC ). This is expected to be the final appearance for ‘The Happy Warrior’, who is considered one of the pioneers of women’s MMA.

“I’m okay with this last fight,” said Modafferi, who left his gloves in the center of the Octagon. “I gave everything I had. It’s time for me to pass the torch to the next generation.

O’Neill consistently beat Modafferi with stinging punch combinations, setting an Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight record for major strikes in the process. Typically, Modafferi was a game competitor, and her own punches bloodied O’Neill’s nose and caused swelling under her left eye. However, Modafferi simply couldn’t match his opponent’s superior athleticism, power and punch volume, while his wrestling attempts came far too late to make a difference.

Phillips Triangle Armbar Dispatches Rojo

Kyler Phillips staged an offensive masterclass en route to a submission win over Argentina’s Marcelo Rojo in a bantamweight duo. The MMA Lab rep used a triangle armbar to tap out his opponent 1:48 into Round 3, winning for the fifth time in six pro outings. Rojo, meanwhile, lost three of the four.

Phillips was working every facet of his game. He attacked Rojo (16-8, 0-2 UFC) with an arsenal of combinations of punches to the head, kicks at all levels and knees from close – while mixing up well-timed kills. “The Matrix” set the stage for the finish when he took down Rojo early in round three and switched to a mounted triangle. From there, Phillips (10-2, 4-1 UFC) hunkered down and extended Rojo’s arm to end the fight and put on a thoroughly impressive performance.

Ulberg Cruises Past Cherant

Carlos Ulberg earned his first promotional triumph, taking a three-round verdict against former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Fabio Cherant in a relatively uneventful bout at light heavyweight. The three caged judges submitted 30-27 counts in favor of exporting City Kickboxing.

The majority of the fight was contested at Ulberg’s preferred pace and range, with Cherant (7-4, 0-3 UFC) largely hesitant to pull the trigger. Ulberg (4-1, 1-1 UFC) methodically stalked his opponent, picking his points with combination punches and a variety of kicks, including opening a cut near his Cherant’s right eye with a left hook in check in the second round. Cherant’s only bright spot came late in the opening stanza when he caught Ulberg holding his right hand low and dropped him with a left hand. It wasn’t enough though, as Ulberg was able to keep Cherant on his heels for most of the fight.

Lawrence survives a late scare and holds off Martinez

American Top Team’s Ronnie Lawrence withheld a third-round charge to secure a unanimous verdict against Houston native Leomana Martinez in a bantamweight showdown. All three judges saw the fight in favor of Lawrence: 29-27, 29-27 and 29-28. Lawrence (8-1, 2-0 UFC) has won five straight pro outings.

Lawrence was in complete control for the first 10 minutes. He dropped Martinez (9-3, 1-1 UFC) three times, secured the top spot and threatened a full-back choke to silence a pro-Martinez crowd. Martinez fought with an appropriate sense of urgency in the final stanza, as he floored Lawrence twice and swarmed for the finish before rolling for an armbar when his opponent responded with a desperate takedown. In the end, Lawrence was able to escape and regain control to take the win from there.

Malkoun Outworks debuts with Dobson

Jacob Malkoun’s gas tank was his best friend as he gradually wore out Strong Style Fight Team representative AJ Dobson in a middleweight affair. The PMA Super Martial Arts member earned a trio of 29-28 scorecards from the cage judges to hand Dobson his first career setback.

At first, Dobson’s deft combination of punches and takedown defense made it look like a long night was in store for Malkoun (6-1, 2-1 UFC). However, Malkoun never wavered in his approach, and he dragged his opponent to the canvas in rounds 2 and 3 while landing effectively on the ground and pounding from above. As the fight progressed and Malkoun racked up more control time, Dobson (6-1, 0-1 UFC) offered no answer on the canvas.

Bloodied Silva de Andrade rallies, hits Morozov

Douglas Silva de Andrade shook off a tough opening round and rallied for a scintillating submission victory over former M-1 world title holder Sergey Morozov at bantamweight. The 36-year-old Brazilian ended the show when he knocked Morozov unconscious with a rear-end choke at 3:34 of the second set.

Morozov (17-5, 1-2 UFC) started fast in the opening frame, when he dropped Silva de Andrade (28-4, 6-4 UFC) with an uppercut, opened it with a elbow from the top position, then rocked his foe with a knee when he tried to stand. Although he bled profusely for the remainder of the competition, Silva de Andrade was undeterred. He took control in round two by knocking Morozov twice to the ground with body-head punch combinations before the action shifted to the canvas, where he took his back, adjusted the choke and put him to sleep. native of Kazakhstan.

Wells smothers the unconscious in “Blood Diamond”

Jeremiah Wells overwhelmed City Kickboxing prospect Mike Matheha, winning by submission in a welterweight contest. Wells (10-2, 2-0 UFC) earned his second straight first-round result in the Octagon when he knocked “Blood Diamond” unconscious with a rear-end choke at 4:38 of the first round. All four of Wells’ pro submission victories came by way of a rear-end choke.

Wells wasted no time in forcing a draw with his sharp-witted opponent and after a brief struggle he propelled Matheha to the canvas with a body lock takedown. From there, he spent the majority of the round punishing his enemy with ground and punches and threatening him with chokeholds. When Matheha (3-1, 0-1 UFC) tried to get up, Wells was able to slip her arm under her chin and eventually put her opponent to sleep — even without securing her hooks.

Grishin walks past an overweight knight

Straight punches, ranged kicks and a tough defensive fight took Maxim Grishin to a unanimous decision over Dana White’s Contender Series alum William Knight in a heavyweight bout. The three judges submitted 30 to 27 scorecards in favor of the former Professional Fighters League contender.

Despite dropping 12 pounds in weight on Friday, Knight (11-3, 3-2 UFC) still appeared to be significantly smaller than his opponent in the cage. Grishin (32-9-2, 2-2 UFC) caught Knight’s eye in the first round with a headbutt to the face, then was largely content to control the range with a variety of kicks in the legs and midsection. Knight’s finest moment came in the second frame, when he slammed Grisin to the canvas. However, Grishin was able to rise to the top position in a relatively short time. The majority of Knight’s attempts to lead the action on the canvas were denied and Grishin largely dictated the action with strikes from range.


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