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Jon Jones seems to carve out a bigger space in the history books every time he steps in the cage.
“Bones” maintained his hold on the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight crown with a unanimous decision over Dominick Reyes in the UFC 247 headliner on Saturday at the Toyota Center in Houston. All three judges sided with Jones (26-1, 20-1 UFC): 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46. It was his 14th win in a UFC title fight—an all-time record.
Reyes (12-1, 6-1 UFC) raised his profile to new heights in defeat, as he provided the champion with his stiffest test since Alexander Gustafsson pushed him to the limit six-plus years ago. He was the aggressor for a majority of the first three rounds, managed to steer clear of danger and pelted Jones with leg kicks, body kicks and occasional head kicks, all while mixing in sporadic punching bursts. More importantly, Reyes nullified the champion’s takedown game, turning the encounter into a five-round kickboxing match.
To his credit, Jones remained calm and composed under duress. He seized control in the fourth and fifth rounds, where Reyes slowed and his inexperience showed. Jones was at his best across the final five minutes, as he nailed “The Devastator” with right hands and kicks to the legs, body and head, along with standing elbows at close range.
Shevchenko Destroys Overmatched Chookagian
Valentina Shevchenko retained the undisputed women’s flyweight championship in overwhelming fashion, as she stopped Katlyn Chookagian with punches and elbows in the third round of their co-main event. Finished for the first time in her career, Chookagian (13-3, 6-3 UFC) bowed out 63 seconds into Round 3.
Shevchenko (19-3, 8-2 UFC) had a field day. The 31-year-old Tiger Muay Thai-trained superstar tore into Chookagian’s lead leg with kicks, assaulted her with blinding combinations and opened a cut above her left eye with a single elbow strike from inside the guard in the first round. The challenger’s situation only deteriorated from there. Shevchenko landed a wheel kick with surgical precision in the second round, delivered the second of her three takedowns and continued to chip away at the former Cage Fury Fighting Championships titleholder’s shaken resolve. Early in Round 3, she took down Chookagian for the final time, moved to side control and trapped her in a mounted crucifix before smashing away with unanswered punches and elbows to force the stoppage.
Unrivaled at 125 pounds, Shevchenko has recorded five consecutive victories.
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Tafa Subdues Spiraling Adams
Justin Tafa dispatched Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Juan Adams with punches in the first round of their featured heavyweight pairing. Adams (5-3, 1-3 UFC), who recently relocated to the famed Jackson-Wink MMA camp in Albuquerque, met his end 1:59 into Round 3.
Tafa (4-1, 1-1 UFC) tested the waters with low kicks before he unleashed. The promising Mark Hunt protégé turned Adams’ head with a right hook, backed him to the fence and floored him with a booming right uppercut. Tafa then pounced with punches, as he authored the second-fastest stoppage of his brief five-fight career.
Adams now finds himself on a three-fight losing streak.
Dark Horse Ige Downs Bektic
Xtreme Couture’s Dan Ige extended his run of consecutive victories to five with a split decision over Mirsad Bektic in a three-round featherweight feature. All three judges struck 29-28 scorecards: J.J. Ferraro and Marcos Rosales for Ige, Patrick Patlan for Bektic.
Ige (13-2, 5-1 UFC) flexed his superiority in the standup exchanges, especially in the first and third rounds. Bektic (13-3, 6-3 UFC) made his move in the middle stanza, where he executed a takedown, moved to side control and blasted the Hawaiian with knees to the body. The Tristar Gym export then framed an arm-triangle choke and held it in place for several tense moments. Ige survived, pushed the bout deeper and resumed his attack on the feet in Round 3, where he unleashed repeated right hands and mitigated a takedown attempt from his counterpart.
After starting his career 11-0, Bektic has dropped three of his last five fights.
Lewis Denies Reeling Latifi
High-impact punches, kicks and knees carried former Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder Derrick Lewis to a unanimous decision over Ilir Latifi in their three-round heavyweight showcase. Lewis (23-7, 14-5 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28 marks from all three judges, as he recorded his second straight victory.
Latifi (14-8, 7-6 UFC) did not shy away from contact. The powerful Swede absorbed multiple flying knees to the chest and a number of well-disguised head kicks. Latifi struck for takedowns in the second and third rounds, applied his ground-and-pound and largely kept “The Black Beast” corralled. The outcome was still in doubt in the waning seconds of Round 3, where Lewis mounted a late surge punctuated by a crushing right uppercut to the face. Latifi somehow remained upright but appeared to lose his grip on a potential upset.
The 36-year-old Latifi has lost three fights in a row.
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