Betting underdog Jordan Rinaldi lived up to his nickname as he was on foe Jason Knight’s back all day in the UFC 230 prelim headliner.
Rinaldi (14-6) scored multiple takedowns and dominated Knight on the ground, where he essentially lived on his opponent's back for roughly half the length go the featherweight fight. Knight (20-6) fended off countless submission attempts but was never allowed to ever find a rhythm whatsoever. In the end, Rinaldi’s dominant ground game was key and he won a lopsided unanimous decision via tallies of 30-27, 30-25 and 30-26.
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Eubanks Misses Weight, Bests Modafferi
Flyweight contender Sijara Eubanks may have had problems making weight for her fight with fan favorite Roxanne Modafferi (22-15), but she didn’t have much trouble with her inside the cage. “Sarj” rocked Modafferi a few times in the contest with punches to the head and dropped “The Happy Warrior” with a head kick, but Eubanks couldn’t put her opponent away.
Modafferi, a pioneer in women’s MMA, never stopped coming forward on her feet and was always threatening with subs or sweeps on her back, but she was a step behind the Maryland fighter throughout. In the end, all three judges saw it 30-27 for Eubanks, who improved to 4-2 with the unanimous nod.
Moraes Busts Up Arce
Featherweight Sheymon Moraes was a betting underdog against Julio Arce on Saturday and he nearly let a virtual surefire win slip through his fingers.
The Brazilian dropped Arce (15-3) with a right hook to the jaw in the first and nearly took him out, but Moraes was unable to do so in that frame. Nearly the same punch felled the New Yorker in the second, but again, Moraes (11-2) was unable to put Arce away. Arce, who was cut badly in the second and covered in blood, stormed back in the third, but his rally fell short. Moraes won a split decision via tallies of 28-29, 29-28 and 30-26.
Good Returns in Style
Welterweight contender Lyman Good looked great Saturday in the first preliminary bout on FS1. “Cyborg” waded through a moderate storm of knees to the body within a clinch from dangerous jiu-jitsu player Ben Saunders, but Good (20-4) never wavered.
Instead, the New York City fighter countered Killa B’s knees with a series of right uppercuts on the inside and when he finally landed one cleanly, Sunders was toast. Saunders, from Orlando, crumbled in a heap and was quickly knocked completely out from follow-up hammerfists. Saunders (22-11) officially bowed out in just 92 seconds.
Vannata, Frevola Fight to Majority Draw
In a battle of exciting lightweights, Lando Vannata (9-3-2) and Matt Frevola tore each other up for three rounds, but neither man had his hand raised in victory.
Both fighters landed powerful kicks and punches to the head and legs, and each was deposited onto the canvas. The fight was exciting from start to finish, but neither had a definitive upper hand and two of the cageside judges agreed. In the end, one judge had it 29-28 for Frevola (6-1-1), while the other two had it 28-28.
Burgos Taps Holobaugh
Highly-touted featherweight prospect Shane Burgos (11-1) had to walk through a little fire before nabbing the victory, and he did it in sensational fashion.
Opponent Kurt Holobaugh stormed out of his corner and peppered the New Yorker with several leg kicks before goading him into a punching exchange. Burgos obliged, but he was dropped by a near-perfect left-right combo to the head, but “Hurricane” never crumbled. Holobaugh (17-6) pounced on him, but Burgos quickly wrapped the Louisiana fighter up in an armbar off his back and forced the tap. The end came officially 2:11 into the fight.
De Lima Outpoints Wieczorek
Heavyweight contender Marcos Rogerio de Lima may not have turned in his best performance, but he got the win nonetheless. The Brazilian opposed late replacement Adam Wieczorek (10-2), who had won nine in a row, and was expected to lose.
However, “Siwy” wasn’t in the best shape of his life and gassed out halfway through the fight. “Pezao” busted the Pole up with leg kicks, tied him up when needed and scored sporadic takedowns over the course of three rounds. In the end, all three judges favored de Lima (16-5-1) with scores of 30-27 across the board.